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."

April 23: Saint George

Posted by Jacob

April 23 is Saint George’s Day—an English tradition in which they commemorate the feast day of England’s patron saint, Saint George (280-303). While little factual information regarding the life of Saint George is known today, the legends which surround his life and martyrdom have inspired wide-spread devotion to this pillar of courage and faith. Truly, a Soldier of Christ, Saint George is the patron saint of not only England, but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia. He has been written about by Shakespeare, invoked by kings in battle, and is the inspiration for the hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Regardless of what we can separate as “truth” from holy legend, the life of Saint George remains inspirational, even on a metaphorical level!

What we know to be true is this: Saint George was born in Cappadocia to noble, Christian parents. His father likely held high office in the Roman army, and his mother was of Palestinian descent. On the death of his father, George accompanied his mother to back to Palestine, where she still owned land. George was to run her estate there. Like his father, George was a brave solider, who was quickly promoted through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually holding the post of tribune (similar to a modern day colonel, perhaps). He was favored by Emperor Dioclesian, who at the height of his power was one of the greatest persecutors of Christians. The Emperor sent an edict ordering the army to destroy Christian churches, burn all Christian books, dismiss Christians from their jobs, take all their possessions, make most of them slaves, and make them offer sacrifices and burn incense to the Roman gods.

Having been raised in the faith by his Christian parents, George felt unable to obey these orders. When the persecutions began, he settled his affairs (giving all he had to the poor), resigned his commission and complained personally to the Emperor of the harshness of his decrees regarding Christians. As a result, the Emperor had him thrown in prison, and subsequently tortured. Trying to trap him, Emperor Dioclesian sent a woman of ill repute to George’s prison cell to try to seduce him. Instead, however, he converted her to the faith, leading to her martyrdom. George was then subjected to horrific torture on the rack, had his body weighted with stones, raked with metal hooks, burnt, and had his wounds salted to increase his pain. Throughout his torture, he held true to the faith, and refused to recant. Holy legend tells us that when he was returned to his cell, the Lord Himself appeared, embracing him to give him strength.

Eventually, frustrated, the Emperor ordered that George be dragged through the streets and beheaded. He was one of the first Christians to perish during this great persecution, and his courage became legend. The Emperor's wife, Alexandria, was so impressed at the Saint's courage that she, too, became a Christian… and so too was put to death. Saint George was martyred at Lydda in Palestine (Nicomedia). His tomb became a place of great pilgrimage, and countless miracles have been reported there. His legend and cult were brought back to Europe by English soldiers during the great Saracen wars, after which he was made the patron saint of British soldiers, and eventually the entire country.

'I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry God for Harry, England and St George!'.
(Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1, l. 31)

The remainder of what is celebrated about Saint George is legend perhaps, but inspirational nonetheless. The most famous legend of Saint George is the Golden Legend in which he slays the dragon he is frequently depicted with. According to this legend, a terrible dragon had ravaged the land surrounding the city of Selena (Libya), making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence and all growing crops to wither and die whenever it approached the town, so the townspeople chose to give the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger. On some days, however, the dragon was not satisfied with sheep, and human sacrifices were required. On those days, the townsfolk drew lots to determine the victim, eventually leading to the selection of the king’s daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. It was at the dragon’s den that Saint George appeared, riding by on his steed. When the dragon appeared, Saint George sealed himself with the sign of the cross, and courageously attacked it and slew it with his lance. Upon return to the city, Saint George encouraged the people to be baptized, converting them to the faith. Rather than accept any reward from the king, he instead bid him to take care of God’s churches, honor the clergy, and have pity on the poor.

Many scholars have written about the legend of Saint George, suggesting metaphorically that the dragon represents our sin—those temptations, behaviors, and wickedness that we struggle against on a daily basis. The maiden represents holiness, good, the Church, and the Divine power of God’s holy truth.

Saint George is also considered one of the 14 Holy Helpers, saints who are venerated together as their intercessions are particularly helpful against warding off various diseases and ailments. Saint George is the patron of domestic animals, the Boy Scouts, those with skin diseases or Syphilis, soldiers, archers, agricultural workers, butchers, farmers, horseman, and knights.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

On Saint George’s Day, we are inspired by the life and legend of a great and courageous saint. We look to march onward ourselves, slaying our personal dragons of wickedness, temptation, and sin, and stepping victoriously into the light of God’s holy truth!

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint George

Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit. Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end. Amen.

Day 113 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage to face our sins; For the safety of soldiers at war.
Requested Intentions: For the repose of the soul of M (J); Financial security and employment (A); For financial security (M); Health and recovery of Cardinal Sean Brady (R); Healing from a chronic illness (J); Deepening of faith and true conversion for a family (J); Successful employment (H); Restoration of a marriage (J); For a friend’s daughter, seeking medical treatment for a blood disorder (D); For the grace and conversion of a loved one (Z); For a beloved son’s return to the faith (A); For the improved health and recovery of a mother (G); For health, blessings, and protection (K); For an improvement in a difficult employment situation (T)


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