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."

March 4: Sylvester of Assisi, Servant of God

Posted by Jacob

March 4 marks the feast day of Sylvester of Assisi, Servant of God (born, unknown, died 1240). Sylvester is remembered as one of the first twelve original followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, and also holds the honor of becoming the first Franciscan priest. Other that the fact that he was of noble descent, and had obtained success as a merchant in Assisi, little else is known of Sylvester prior to his meeting Saint Francis.

The story of Sylvester’s meeting of Saint Francis is both famous and illustrative of the manner in which the Lord uses simple exchanges and objects to make His will known. Sylvester, a merchant in town, had sold Saint Frances some stone with which he intended to rebuild fallen church. Noting that Francis was a faithful man, and likely could not afford to great a price, Sylvester had set a fair price, albeit one below market value. Some time later, Sylvester observed Saint Frances and his companions distributing the wealth of Bernard de Quintavalle to the poor. Bernard had recently converted, being moved to join the initial companions of Saint Francis, and eventually earning himself the title of Minorum Ordinis prima plantula, or the "First fruits of the Order of Minors.”

Seeing the excess of wealth that Francis and his followers possessed, Sylvester approached and complained that he had been underpaid. Saint Francis paid him the difference he requested, but as legend has it, Sylvester was soon overcome by guilt. Following in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Bernard de Quintaville, he sold his possessions and undertook countless acts of penance. Joining the Franciscans, his life changed into one of prayer and sanctity. He was known in the order for his strict observance of the life of poverty and contemplation.

Sylvester became a confidant and companion to Saint Francis. He advised the saint to be more active in the world, preaching to the people, rather than secluding himself in prayer. Francis also chose Sylvester for sensitive missions, including the cleansing of Arezzo, a city stricken by civil war, where the residents were victimizing each other with hatred and acts of cruelty. Sylvester approached the city gates, crying out, "In the name of almighty God and by virtue of the command of his servant Francis, depart from here, all you evil spirits." As legend goes, peace was restored to the city.

Sylvester outlived his companion, Saint Francis, by fourteen years, during which time he continued a quiet life of prayer and contemplation. Upon his death, he became one of four companions to be buried near to Saint Francis in the basilica of the same name in Assisi.

The life of Sylvester of Assisi, Servant of God demonstrates to us that we are all called to the Lord in His time, not our own. Sylvester had built a successful life for himself by societal standards. Only when the money returned to him by Saint Francis illuminated the emptiness of riches did Sylvester keenly hear the word of God, give up his possessions, and transform his life. What stands in our way, preventing us from hearing the word of God? Money? Relationships? Work? Success? Fame? Power? All of these things are nothing compared to the love of Christ. What is the Lord calling you to do this Lenten season?

Day 63 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Transformation of our lives through the love of Christ.
Requested Intentions: 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 the health of a family member with Rett’s Disorder (C); For the restoration of hearing (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 22 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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