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."

Common Ground

Posted by Jacob

Today, we continue our Lenten reflections on the grace and forgiveness of God, our sinful natures, and our call to repentance (see the parables of The Fig Tree and The Prodigal Son). We read about a woman, caught by the Pharisees in the act of adultery, and brought to Jesus for condemnation and judgment—two acts He refuses to engage in. The story of the woman reminds us of our acceptance by God, but more importantly are commonality and community with each other in the Church.

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:1-11)

Setting aside the brutality of stoning, the misogyny of the times (if the woman was “caught in the act,” so to speak, why isn’t her partner brought with her?), and the motivation of the Pharisees (trying to discredit Jesus to increase their own power and authority), the Pharisees come to Jesus having pre-judged the woman. In judging her, they have neatly separated themselves from her, viewing her as sinful, different, less than themselves. In their judgment, they have equated themselves with God, who alone can determine sinfulness and offer the grace of forgiveness. In their judgment, they have discarded the commonality of humanity, replacing it with the divide of false divinity and superiority.

Jesus doesn’t do that. A crowd has gathered, and the Pharisees are yelling questions at Him, pressing Him for answers. I can imagine this scene being quite a spectacle—loud and crowded, the woman frightened, the Pharisees arrogant, the onlookers curious. But when we read the text, Jesus remains calm, and peaceful. He bends down, and runs his fingers through the dirt, writing what some Biblical scholars suggest are the broken commandments of the Pharisees, one written with the finger of God on the tables to Moses. In doing so, he halts the debate, the argument. He centers the crowd on himself, on the space he creates in the midst of the noise and anxiety, he draws their eyes to the earth—the common ground on which we all stand in our humanity.

And then, with a single comment, he forces the crowd—the Pharisees, the woman, the onlookers—to confront their own sinfulness, their commonality, their community, and their acceptance in the eyes of the Lord despite their transgressions. It is unclear if the Pharisees had their hearts changed that day, or if they left the argument bested, hoping to return for retribution. It is unclear whether the woman changed her life, leaving that place, and turning from sin. And the individual change in those figures may not be the important message we are receiving from the Lord in this moment form His life.

The message we receive is that of acceptance. Jesus doesn’t say, “I forgive you,” to any of them. He acknowledges sinfulness, but doesn’t condemn. The Lord continues to love us, despite our sinfulness. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He urges her to repent, as he has in the parables of the Fig Tree and the Prodigal Son. His words inspire us to look beyond our judgments and differences, to look beyond those things that separate us from each other, and to instead come together as the Body of Christ, the Church on earth—loving each other, supporting each other, encouraging each other, and yes, pointing out to each other when we might be morally stumbling—not with an eye of judgment, but with a heart of acceptance, as Christ has accepted us.

Day 80 of 365

Prayer Intentions: Acceptance, rather than judgment; The strength to turn from sin; Those who have been wrongfully judged, ostracized, or treated poorly.
Requested Intentions: For Healing (A); The blessing of children (S); Safety of travelers (J); Improved family relationship with the Lord, using gifts for His glory (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 39 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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