Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

January 30: Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti

Posted by Jacob

It seems that most saints we read about, and look to for inspiration, were considered holy since birth (or at least from an early age). One of the saints we celebrate today, January 30, is quite the exception to that rule. Saint Hyacintha (Giacinta) Mariscotti (1585-1640), by all reports, had little interests in acts of piety, and was generally of bad temper. Raised in a wealthy noble family, she indulged in the finest things life could offer her—rich foods, luxurious clothing, frivolous hobbies. She was both comfortable and complacent with her lift, rarely looking beyond the walls of her family’s home.

At age 17, Hyacintha suffered an unknown accident, and her life was miraculously saved. Not even this changed her heart. At age 20, Hyacintha was passed over by the man she had hopes to marry—he chose her younger sister, which filled her with rage. Furious, she became unable to be tolerated by her parents, who, according to tradition at that time, declared she should enter the convent. Hyacintha half-heartedly took the veil at the Franciscan convent of Viterbo. The Franciscan sisters followed the rules of poverty, chastity, and obedience. While Hyacintha attended devotions, and maintained her vow of chastity, she ignored the rules of poverty and obedience, declaring her intention to use her personal funds to finance a life of comfort. For over 10 years she lived within the convent, maintaining her own kitchen, wearing a habit of the finest material, entertaining visitors, and keeping her room both comfortable and worldly.

It was not until her confessor visited her in her cell to deliver the Holy Eucharist while Hyacintha was ill that her ways changed. Surprised, appalled, and somewhat dismayed, he pointed out the inappropriateness of her life. He stated that her presence in the convent was merely to help the Devil. His remarks changed her heart. She later declared publicly before her sisters and the Franciscan community the errors of her ways, confessing, and becoming a model Franciscan, and mentor to the novices.

Moved by her realization, and changed by the grace of God, Hyacintha discarded her costly habit for an old, used one. She gave up her worldly pleasures, oftentimes going barefoot, replacing her bed with rough boards, rigorously practicing self-denial, and frequently fasting on bread and water for days at a time. Hyacintha requested and performed the most menial jobs in the convent. Her personal devotion to the Jesus, to the Passion of Christ, to the Holy Eucharist, and to the Blessed Mother deepened through contemplative prayer. She embraced mortification, scourging herself with a spiked belt (pictured below), and connecting her bodily pain to the Passion of Christ.

Hyacintha became a model of charity towards others, begging door to door to collect food and clothing for the poorest of her community. She ministered to those others had forgotten: those infected with plague, the homeless, the imprisoned, the ill, and the proud. Hyacintha founded two community groups (one of which, the Oblates of Mary, was dedicated to the Blessed Mother) to serve the poor, ill, and aged. Despite her courage, Hyacintha refused praise or commendation of any kind, considering herself completely unworthy. She said, “The sort of people who most appeal to me are those who are despised, who are devoid of self love and who have little sensible (spiritual) consolation.... The cross, to suffer, to persevere bravely in spite of the lack of all sweetness and relish in prayer: This is the true sign of the spirit of God.”

Saint Hyacintha died in 1640, at age 55. She was canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII who declared that she had, through her charity, “converted more souls than many preachers of her time.”

Saint Hyacintha’s life is unlike many of the holy men and women we hear about. She was blind to the call of the Lord for the first 35 years of her life, choosing instead worldly indulgences. Her repentance and rebirth in Christ, through contemplation, service to those in need, and mortification of her body is all the more remarkable, given her early life. This woman, of quick temper and spiritual apathy, became a model of Christ to her Franciscan sisters and to her community, herself a reflection of His love for all—even those that had been forgotten by society. This inspires us to look at our own lives, regardless of age—what are the habits and addictions we put before the Lord? What worldly pleasures are more important to us than the deepening of our faith in Christ? What will it take for us to hear the call, see the error of our ways, and be reborn?

Day 30 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and conviction to be reborn to the Lord, regardless of age!

Requested Intentions: Reconciliation of struggling marriages (A); Reconciliation and healing in personal relationships (N); Safety for friend deployed to Afghanistan (S); Those considering or having attempted suicide (Pr. L); Those who serve the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (N); Safety of friend/ relief worker in Haiti (L); Health and safety of new daughter (J); Renewal of loving Christ-centered relationship (A).


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