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."

Lost and Found

Posted by Jacob

Today, we read in Luke 15 the continuation of Jesus’ message of repentance and forgiveness (see the parable of The Fig Tree). At this time, as the days that Jesus had left on earth could be measured in months, Our Savior was earnestly preaching a message of forgiveness through repentance, a message the Pharisees were most uncomfortable with. In clarifying the unending love of the Lord, and His yearning for His people to return to Him, Jesus told the well-known parable of the Prodigal Son.

11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
25"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
28"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' " (Luke 15: 11-31)

The parable of the Prodigal Son tells a simple message on the surface: The Lord wishes us to return to Him, and when we do, with hearts of repentance, He will welcome us back with far more love than we deserve. But there seems to be more that that written in the text. The wayward son commits to his father, even from a far distance. He recognizes the error of his easy, acknowledges his sinfulness, and in his heart, declares his intention to return and beg forgiveness. And then he actually does it. This may be the crux of the parable. How often do we intellectually think and speak of repentance? We offer an insincere or disconnected, “I’m sorry, Lord,” or “Forgive me, Lord,” and then continue to engage in the same behaviors we’ve only just mentioned. The lost son has the opportunity to do this as well, far from his home. But he doesn’t. He sets off, trudging wearily toward what he must have expected to be anger, humiliation, and a poor reception on the part of his father. But he has committed in his heart. He has changed his heart, and the minute that happens on a deep level, his father knows. Just as Our Father knows.

Repentance is slow, but forgiveness is fast. His father knows he’s coming. He senses him at a great distance, and runs most of that distance to find his son. Our acknowledgment of our sin, our repentance is slow and halting, and if it were left to us, we would rarely reach the Lord. But the Lord doesn’t leave it to us. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, he runs to greet us, lavishing us with kisses, throwing Himself upon us in a tide of love and forgiveness and welcome. We only need acknowledge our sins and ask to be forgiven in a humble and contrite manner—in a deeply felt way.

The parable of the prodigal son reminds us during Lent of the Lords quickness to bless us, and His slowness to anger. His joy is in our repentance, His love in our movements toward Him, His forgiveness and comfort waiting for us. And when He greets us, we are offered full restoration of our relationship, He accepts us back graciously, and we enter into communion with Him—in our lives, in our hearts, and in the Eucharist. What was lost is thereby found, and that, my friends, is the deeply felt, all-surpassing love and peace of the Lord.

Day 73 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humble and contrite hearts.
Requested Intentions: For a return to good health (A); The blessing of children (S); Safety of travelers (J); Improved family relationship with the Lord, using gifts for His glory (L); For the orphans of Saint Francis Xavier in India (Fr. B); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 32 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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