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."

The Desert of Temptation

Posted by Jacob

In today’s Gospel, we read about the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the desert.

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'"
5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours."
8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"
9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
12Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus has left his people, and gone into the desert alone, as a time of preparation for his ministry. Having just been baptized by Saint John the Baptist in the river Jordan, where the Father announced his pleasure from Heaven, Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), and the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He spent forty days and forty nights praying, fasting, and preparing for his ministry, and during that time, was tempted by the Devil.

Biblical scholars deconstruct the language of this passage, specifically the word ‘led.’ In the Greek, from which the Gospel of Luke is translated, led indicates a constant presence, a continuous guidance, or a passive acceptance of direction. In this way, we can be quite certain that the Spirit of God didn’t simply leave Jesus alone for 40 days to fend for Himself. Rather, the Holy Spirit continuously guided Jesus, a constant presence in His life, providing power and strength to resist every sort of temptation.

And it is the same for us. We are continuously tempted—by our senses in the external world, and by our thoughts in the internal world. But we are never alone during those temptations, and that is important to remember. If we were alone, we would constantly succumb. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to turn away from temptation and thus, avoid sin. For temptation in and of itself does not equal sin. It is in the freedom to choose between the law of the Lord and the empty promises of Satan that we assert our human holiness, weak though it may be. To never be tempted disallows our opportunity to sharpen our faith, rely on the Holy Spirit, and turn to the Lord. Just as steel is strengthened by fire, so, too, are our souls refined through resistance to temptation. Just as shadow draws attention to the light, so, too, does temptation point the way to righteousness. As Martin Luther famously said, "You can't help it if a bird flies over your head, but you don't need to let him make a nest in your hair."

The Devil tempts Jesus three times that are recorded in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, and each time, he is attempting to accomplish a specific goal. Each time, however, he is met by Jesus, armed by Holy Scripture and the Spirit.

Jesus has been fasting for 40 days, and we are told that He has eaten nothing. The Devil suggests, given His hunger, that he miraculously turn stone to bread. In this way, Satan is testing the humanity of Jesus, daring Him to perform a miracle, and prove his power. Moreover, he is tempting Jesus to use His power outside of God’s will—that is, to serve his own human weakness. Jesus turns to Scripture, reminding Satan that hunger and, indeed, all human needs, are superceded by the Word of God from above—a gift which never leaves one hungry. We needn’t believe we can immediately solve our own problems, but rather, with patience and reliance on the Lord, our reward will be greater than we can imagine. Or said another way, just because we think we can work miracles, doesn’t mean we should.

The second time that the Devil tempts Jesus, he takes a different approach—the promise of power. And in doing so, he encourages Jesus to avoid the suffering He would endure on the cross, and take the “easy way” instead. But that way would not be easy at all, and would come with a significant price. We are tempted each day to take the easy way, to “forget” if even for a moment the right thing to do, just to get ahead. Satan would have us believe, as he suggested to Jesus, that wealth and power come only from him. But this wealth and power rightfully belongs to the Lord, as do all things, and again, through patience, faith, and reliance on God alone, we are always provided with what we need. Jesus reminds us in the face of temptation to remember the truth of the one God.

Satan is persistent, both the Jesus in the desert, and with us in our everyday lives. He comes back once more, offering Jesus instant acclaim, wide recognition, and fame. All He would have to do is throw Himself from the parapet of the temple, using His divinity improperly, and manipulating His Father into saving Him. Jesus resists, choosing the more humble approach that is recorded in the next three years of His ministry, eventually achieving fame by dying for each one of us. But this seduction of instant fame and recognition is a temptation that we face each day, and we manipulate those around us to achieve its end. But we cannot manipulate the Lord, and we should not test His power. We are reminded to be humble and to eagerly await that which our Father deems best for us.

Saint Matthew writes in his Gospel that Jesus is rewarded, attended to by angels following his resistance to the temptations by Satan. The Holy Spirit, which never left Him, fills Him completely as he restores His strength and begins public ministry.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:11)

As we embark on our Lenten journey- one which mirrors the 40 days of isolation Jesus spent in the desert, we think of the lessons from today’s Gospel. The Lord will provide all we need, attending to both our physical and spiritual needs, if we turn to Him and ask, if we have faith, if we are patient. The Holy Spirit will never dessert us, and will provide us the strength to resist the temptations of the Devil. There is no “easy way”-- there is only God’s way, despite what our pride might tell us.

Humble thyself in the eyes of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (1 Peter 5:6)

Day 52 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humility and Reliance on God
Requested Intentions: For the safe return of the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor (M); For the orphans of Saint Francis Xavier in India (Fr. B); For the health of a family member with Rett’s Disorder (C); For the restoration of hearing (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L); For a niece suffering with autism, and for all those affected by autism (V); For a daughter’s employment (J); For a son’s employment and growth in faith (M).
Special Intentions (Day 11 of 45-day Novena to Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes): The intentions of all those who read this blog, whether submitted or retained in the quiet of their hearts; Penance, Penance, Penance for sinners; For all those who are suffering.


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