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."

The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

Posted by Jacob

Today, Holy Thursday, marks the beginning of Jesus’ final act of love and mercy—the act that is completed on the cross when our Lord shouts triumphantly, “It is finished!” Earlier in the evening, on the night of His betrayal, Jesus had gathered the disciples in the Upper Room and celebrated the Passover with them. He had washed their feet, and in an act of love, instituted the Holy Eucharist.

Knowing what was to come, Jesus then departed from the, taking only Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden at Gethsemane. It was there He began His Passion, a journey of suffering remembered and meditated upon during the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. His Agony in the Garden is the first of these mysteries, all of which would occur before three o’clock the following day, Good Friday.
32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" (Mark 14: 32-42)

We also read in the Gospel of Luke, the mental suffering of Jesus made physical.

39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." 41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22: 39-46)

Jesus sweat blood for humanity. This suggests to us the intense physical strain that Our Lord made man was under, in the moments prior to His arrest. He took into Himself all of our sins, which stood in direct opposition to all that He had lived. Sinless on earth, Jesus became the receptacle for sin, and in doing so, experienced the depths of evil that mankind had wrought, experienced the loss of righteousness through His humanity, experienced the desolation of the separation from His Father through the lives of those who had sinned against Him.

As if the realization that He had to die wasn’t enough, He had to die for us, sinners. He had to break the hold of sin on the world and call His people back to the Father. It is nearly incomprehensible, the physical, mental, and spiritual weight that Jesus carried to Calvary. And the anticipation of that act, the agony of waiting, may have been the worst of it. But Jesus remained strong in His faith in His Father, submitting His will to the Lord in perfect obedience. And His faith was rewarded with comfort from an angel, just as our faith is rewarded in the Resurrection.

The agony in the garden, like the remainder of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary is difficult to write about. It’s difficult to think about. We might prefer to avoid it, falling asleep, pretending it isn't happening.  In contemplating the actions that occur next, we are brought face to face with the worst of that which humanity has to offer. Like Jesus in the garden, we are confronted with the sins of time, and in doing so, are confronted with the fear and realization of our own sinfulness-- a sinfulness which is so brutal, so evil, it threatens to separate us from God.


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