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."

February 3: Saint Blaise

Posted by Jacob

February 3 is the feast day of Saint Blaise (birth unknown, death 316), a saint, who like Saint Brigid, has a life story steeped in legend and fantastical tales. Apart from these miraculous occurrences, and the traditional blessing of throats that continues today, little is definitively known about this great bishop and saint. His Acts were recorded approximately 400 years following his death, allowing ample time for the facts of a holy and simple life to become larger than life, yet profoundly inspirational to the devout.

Saint Blaise was born into a rich noble family, likely in Armenia, where he trained as a physician. While the details are unclear, his piety and charity, as well as his ministry to the ill, likely led to his being appointed Bishop of Sebaste (Armenia), shortly after the Edict of Tolerance was passed by the Roman Emperor. While this edict allowed the free religious practices of Christians, the implementation of the edict was slow to arrive in Armenia, and Saint Blaise was at risk of persecution.

Warned in a dream by the Lord, Saint Blaise fled the city, journeying deep into the wilderness, living as a hermit, and befriending the wild animals that dwelled there. It is in this untamed land that he was found by hunters employed by the local governor, Agricolaus (governor of Cappadocia). These hunters were out looking for wild animals to capture and bring back to the governor for use in the torture of Christians. When they found Saint Blaise, he was kneeling in prayer in a cave, surrounded by sick and dying wild animals, all waiting patiently for him to finish. Upon completion of his prayers, he is said to have healed the wild animals—wolves, lions, and bears-- that had sought him out for that very purpose.

Two additional miracles were recounted following his capture and return to the governor. On the way back to town, Saint Blaise was approached by a woman whose only pig had been stolen by a wolf. She and her child were starving without the food the pig would provide. Saint Blaise found the wolf, convincing it to return the pig. The second, and more famous of the miracles, involves a mother and young child as well. As recounted by the faithful, this mother brought her son, who was choking on a bone, to Saint Blaise, who commanded the bone from his body, saving his life. This is why, even today, Saint Blaise is looked to as intercessor for those with throat ailments. He is also regarded as the patron saint of wild animals.

Upon return to the city, the governor ordered Saint Blaise to renounce the Lord and worship the pagan gods of the time. Of course, Saint Blaise refused, and subsequently underwent near continuous torture until his death. While imprisoned, awaiting torture, he is remembered for healing many. First, he was starved, but the woman whose pig he had returned snuck into his cell, delivering him food and candles. Then, he was beaten mercilessly, but refused to recant his beliefs. He was thrown into the lake to be drowned, but floated on top of the water while his guards sunk to the bottom. Frustrated, the governor ordered him hung from a tree and tortured with iron rakes, stripping the flesh from his bones. Finally, Saint Blaise was beheaded, a martyr for his beliefs.

Saint Blaise is regarded as one of the 14 Holy Helpers of the Church, a set of martyrs known for their intercessions for the sick or troubled. At least four miracles have been reported at his shrine.

Today, the Church continues to celebrate the life and intercession of Saint Blaise, in the ritual blessing of throats during Mass. Two blessed candles, held slightly apart, are placed on either side of the throat. At the same time the following blessing is given: "Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo" (May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil). Saint Blaise is oftentimes pictured in art with the two candles used in the blessing, as well as surrounded by wild animals.

We pray for the intercession of Saint Blaise during times of illness. We also implore his blessing during the ritual blessing of the throats once a year. But we need remember, as did this holy bishop, that it is not he, nor the ministry of the Church that heals or saves us-- because on their own, neither he nor the Church has such power. It is only through the faith in the power of the Lord whose grace provides comfort to the sick, through the Holy Spirit, that we are able to be blessed and cured. Our health is testimony to the healing love of God, the sacrifice (which all our human suffering is joined to) of Christ, and the graces of the Holy Spirit generously poured forth into our lives!

Invocation of St. Blaise

St. Blaise, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen.

My Lord and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen

Day 34 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Continued health and safety; Willingness to help others; Professionals in the Medical Field
Requested Intentions: Priests and leaders of the Church (L); The rest and repose of a dearly departed friend (J); Reconciliation of struggling marriages (A); Reconciliation and healing in personal relationships (N); Safety for friend deployed to Afghanistan (S); Safety of friend/ relief worker in Haiti (L); Health and safety of new daughter (J).
Special Intentions: Novena to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, for those who are struggling in the face of personal trials and tribulations, unemployment and financial stress, natural disasters (including the poor of Haiti), poverty, war, and exploitation. May Our Lady of Prompt Succor hasten to help us!


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