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 24: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Posted by Jacob

April 24 marks the feast day of Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622), priest and martyr of the Church. Fidelis was born in 1577 in Sigmaringen, Prussia, the son of a high official in the city. Provided every opportunity for education, he matured with great intelligence, studying law, and teaching philosophy. As a student he was different from his peers, seeking only education, abstaining from wine, wearing a hair shirt, and known for his modesty and charity. Upon becoming a lawyer, he was selected to tutor three young princes, and did so, traveling the world as their personal instructor. During this time, his heart was drawn to charity, and he visited the poor and ill in each city visited, offering prayer and assistance to those in need. Fidelis eventually returned to Sigmaringen to practice civil law, upholding the highest moral standards, refusing to speak ill of his adversaries, and serving the poor tirelessly. He earned himself the name “counselor and advocate of the poor,” but was quickly disenfranchised with the corruption of the system and gave up his practice to enter the priesthood. He wrote:

“From now on I want to live in complete poverty, chastity, and obedience amidst sufferings and persecutions and in austere penance and profound humility. I came from the womb of my mother with nothing, and with nothing I desire to return to the arms of my Savior.”

Saint Fidelis became a priest of the Capuchin Order—an austere Franciscan order (for whom, among other things, the Cappuccino is named in reference to their brown and white habits). Fidelis, upon completing his religious studies, was determined to be a great orator, and was dispatched to preach and hear confessions. During a time when the Calvinists had grown in numbers, Fidelis and his companions bravely traveled into towns and countries to convert them back to Catholicism. In return, the Calvinists loudly called for his death, and Fidelis, willing to die for his faith, prepared himself for martyrdom. He prophesied his own death in a sermon, saying, “Shortly you will see me no longer for I was called to shed my blood for the Faith.” Moreover, he began signing his letters, “Fidelis, soon to be food for worms.”

Along with his companion, Saint Joseph of Leonissa, Saint Fidelis was sent to Switzerland to continue his work with the Calvinists. There he was set upon by soldiers, and after refusing to convert, was bludgeoned to death. An observer recorded the event in words, which became portion of the martyrology:

From Grüsch he went to preach at Seewis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Grüsch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees, and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!." Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.

Local Catholics buried the saint’s body following his martyrdom, and six months later, upon exhuming it to move in on behest of the bishop, they found it to be incorrupt.

Fidelis, a name which means faithful, was just that. He was faithful to the Lord, to his mission of preaching the faith and helping those less fortunate, despite what he knew to be the eventual outcome of his life’s work. His faith and obedience inspire us today, on his feast day, to evaluate our own mission, our own orientation to the world and the will of God. How might we be more obedient in a world which places our own wants, needs, and achievements above all else? How might we recenter our lives on those virtues which we known to be the core of existence: faith, hope, and love? How might we live the life that God calls us to more fully each day?

God, who didst enkindle thy blessed Saint Fidelis with heavenly fervor of the spirit, and in the preaching of the true Faith, didst suffer him to shew forth wondrous miracles, and to be glorified with the palm of martyrdom: grant, we beseech thee; that, by his merits and intercession, we may through thy grace be so established in faith and charity, that we may be made worthy to show forth our fidelity in thy service, even unto death. Through Christ our Lord, we pray.  Amen.

Day 114 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and Obedience; Safety of missionaries.
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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