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."
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
The second night I was in Lourdes, I chose to watch the processional from the balcony of the Upper Basilica, rather than walk in it (see my video in the Video tab above, although it doesn’t do it justice!). Standing in darkness and watching the square fill with tiny, flickering lights, until the entire plaza is lit is an unforgettable experience! It reminds us that we are connected. We are many parts, but only body. We are the Body of Christ, alive in His Church. And our mission is to light the way for others.
Above the thousands of prayer candles lit each day is one phrase, written in many languages. “This flame continues my prayer.” We have confidence that Our Blessed Mother prays, intercedes, and advocates for us constantly with Our Father in heaven. And these flames give momentary tangible measure to that confidence. To see the number of candles lit makes one aware of the power of our prayers, and the power of the prayers of those blessed Saints in communion with us.
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevae,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
In hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra,
Illos tuos misericordes oculos
Ad nos converte.
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
Nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And after this, our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.Pray for us O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.