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."
Today, January 19, marks the anniversary of the third apparition of Our Blessed Mother at Banneux, Belgium, to eleven year old Mariette Beco in 1933. The first two apparitions occurred on January 15 and January 18. During these encounters, Mariette saw a woman “made of light” smiling at her through her kitchen window, eventually following the Blessed Virgin, praying with her, and following her instructions to claim a small stream of water for her. Eyewitnesses saw Mariette speaking, but were unable to discern Our Holy Mother. Both her parents and Church authorities were skeptical of her claims.
Following her last visitation with Our Lady, Mariette had been questioned by the local priest. He had instructed her to ask the name of the beautiful lady, when next Mariette encountered her. On January 19, 1933, Mariette returned to the garden, despite the bitter cold. Her father accompanied her. She knelt in the snow and began praying the Rosary when Our Lady of Banneux appeared before her. Mariette exclaimed, “Oh, there she is!” although none around her could see anything. Upon asking her name, the beautiful lady said:
“I am the Virgin of the Poor.”
She then beckoned for Mariette to follow her. Again, Mariette walked as if in a trance, dropping to her knees three times on the road in prayer, and arriving at the small stream she had plunged her hands into the evening before. There, the Virgin of the Poor said:
“This spring is reserved for all nations – to relieve the sick.”
Mariette thanked the beautiful lady, who replied, “I will pray for you,” prior to disappearing. Mariette returned home. She was noticeably pale and apparently sick from spending her evenings in the freezing cold winter nights.
Our Lady of Banneux, the Virgin of the Poor, would appear to Mariette five more times over the course of the next month. Her message each time was to pray for the poor, for the sick, and for sinners.
Mary, Virgin of the Poor,
You lead us to Jesus, source of grace, and you come to alleviate our suffering.
We implore you with confidence: Help us to folow you Son with generosity, and to belong to Him unreservedly.
Help us to welcome the Holy Spirit Who guides and sanctifies us.
Obtain us the grace to look like Jesus everyday more, so that our life will glorify the Father and contribute to the salvation of our Brothers.