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 Fig Tree

Posted by Jacob

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the barren fig tree. He tells this story, as often was the case, using typical and recognizable aspects of the region and times—a fig tree. If you have never seen a fig tree, they are beautiful, with large broad leaves, and thick branches. In thinking of the fig tree, we come face to face with ourselves, as seen through the eyes of our Lord. Each of us is beautiful, sturdy, and able to produce that which God wills. In the parable of the fig tree, we learn of the Father’s expectations of us, and the intercession and nurturance of Jesus. The parable, which directly follows repeated warnings to repent or perish, reminds us that Jesus alone is the path to our eternal salvation.

6Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

8" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' " (Luke 13: 6-9)

But what does the parable mean? Theologians and scholars tell us that the vineyard owner, who has run out of patience with his tree, represents God, Our Father—He who has created a people, rightly expects them to obey His laws and repent, and justly moves to destroy them when this is not the case. The man who took care of the vineyard—the gardener—is Jesus: the last opportunity to save Israel as a whole, and to save each of us as individuals. Because, we, of course, are the fig tree- seed scattered on the ground, miraculously grown, fed by the hand of Jesus. Because that is who cares for us, pruning our leaves, and shining upon us like the sun. Our loving Father has left us in the care of His Son, and only he can tend us, giving us the “water of life,” and nurturing our growth.

In the parable, the gardener secures a little bit more time for us-- in the reality of the life of Jesus, about 3 months before He is crucified to save us. During that time, Jesus performs miracles, raises Lazarus from the dead, and converts many, but Israel as a whole is not repentant. And sometimes, neither are we. We struggle in this world, trying to solve our own problems, placing our hopes in things of this world, weighed down by sinfulness and pride. And yet, all we need do is turn to Christ.

Jesus, speaking more plainly, returns to the allusion of flowering plants and fruit, telling his disciples:

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15: 5-8)

We see through these words that Jesus is our salvation. Without Him, we are lost. With Him, we will bear much fruit-- fruit that endures. On this Sunday of Lent, we are called to look inward, conducting a thoughtful inventory of those things that prevent us from turning whole-heartedly to the Lord, those things that prevent our true repentance. Jesus has nourished us, watered us with His blood, nurtured us in the garden of His love. What have we done to prevent being chopped down?


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