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."

Mary, Help of Christians

Posted by Jacob

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians. Our Blessed Mother has been the help, counsel, succor, and success of Christians throughout time. She gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic as a powerful prayer aid, and has repeatedly encouraged its use throughout history, appearing and assisting at Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, Banneux, Beauraing, Akita, Pontmain, New Orleans, Laus, and many other places. We are reminded of Our Lady’s love for us, and her unfailing assistance, every time we pray the opening words of the Memorare: “Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary, that it is a thing unheard of, that anyone ever had recourse to your protection, implored your help or sought you intercession, and was left forsaken…”

The tradition of the title of Mary, Help of Christians, dates back to 1571 when Christianity was saved through the intercession of the Blessed Mother during the now famous battle of Leparto. It was in this battle—on October 7, later declared as the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-- that Christian forces were victorious over Muslim invaders, believed to be due to the continuous Rosary prayers of Christians throughout Europe. Tradition tells us that following the decisive battle, many Christian soldiers marched to Loreto, where then invoked Mary, Our Blessed Mother, as the “Help of Christians.” Following that invocation, devotion to Mary under this title spread.

Centuries later, in 1809, the army of Napoleon Bonaparte, rampaging across Europe, stormed the Vatican and arrested then Pope Pius VII. The pope, was chained, brought to Grenoble, and later Fontainebleau where he would remain imprisoned for more than five years. During his imprisonment, Pope Pius VII smuggled a message from his cell, urging Christians everywhere to pray to Mary, Help of Christians, for the defeat of Napoleon and restoration of the Church. In 1814, Napoleon was defeated, and the Pius VII returned, triumphant to Rome, giving thanks to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin for his release. At that time, he decreed that the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, would be celebrated on May 24. Devotion spread across the Church, throughout the world.

Furthering the devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, was Saint John Bosco (1815-1888), priest and founder of the Salesian Order and the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. A prophetic dreamer, Saint John Bosco foresaw the difficult times ahead that the Church would face. In one such dream, he witnessed the future pope anchoring the ‘ship,’ the Church, between two pillars—one with a statue of Mary, Help of Christians, the other with a large Eucharistic host. He wrote to his order, saying, “The principal objective is to promote veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. This title seems to please the Queen of Heaven very much." He stated, “If you want to see miracles, have devotion to Mary, Help of Christians.” Saint John Bosco dedicated his entire order to her invocation, and upon his deathbed stated, “The help of God and of Mary will not fail you...I recommend devotion to Mary Help of Christians and frequent Holy Communion.”

Of course, devotion to Our Lady is not an end to itself, but leads us into a deeper relationship with Christ, her glorious son. Speaking of devotions to Mary, the Second Vatican Council stated: "While honoring Christ's Mother, these devotions cause her Son to be rightly known, loved, and glorified, and all His commands observed." Similarly Saint John Bosco often repeated: "I beg you first to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and then to pay homage to Mary, most holy."

Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin, Help of Christians, we place ourselves under your motherly protection. Throughout the Church's history you have helped Christians in times of trial, temptation and danger. Time and time again, you have proven to be the Refuge of sinners, the Hope of the hopeless, the Consoler of the afflicted, and the Comforter of the dying. We promise to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, your Son, to proclaim His Good News of God's love for all people, and to work for peace and justice in our world. With faith in your intercession, we pray for the Church, for our family and friends, for the poor and abandoned, and all the dying.

Grant, O Mary, Help of Christians, the graces in which we stand in need. May we serve Jesus with fidelity and love until death. Help us and out loved ones to attain the boundless joy of being forever with our Father in heaven.

O Mary, powerful help of those Christians who approach the throne of your mercy with trust! Listen to the prayers of your children who invoke your help to avoid sin and the occasions of sin.

O Mary most holy, kind and merciful mother, with your visible help you freed the Christian people from the ferocious assaults of the Muslims. Free our souls from the attacks of the devil, the world, and the flesh, so that we may always overcome the enemies of our salvation.

Most powerful Queen of heaven, you triumphed over heresies which sought to tear your children away from the Church. Come to our assistance so that we may remain steadfast in our faith and may guard the purity of our hearts in the midst of the many dangers that beset us.

Mary, our most amiable Mother, you are the Queen of martyrs because of the heroic courage and strength you exercised on earth. Obtain for us the strength we need to be constant in your service and always to show ourselves your devoted children in life and in death.

Loving Mother Mary, you showed your powerful protection in the triumph of Pope Pius VII. Spread your mantle over the Church; and protect our Shepherd, the Holy Father, from the attacks of the enemy, free him from all attacks, and assist him always as he steers the bark of St. Peter to safety.

Mary, Queen of the Apostles, take under your protection all the ministers and the faithful of the Catholic Church. Fill them with a burning zeal for the salvation of souls, and give special assistance to missionaries so that they may succeed to attract all souls to faith in Jesus Christ and thus form one flock under the guidance of one Shepherd.

Loving and merciful Mother, you saved Christians from countless misfortunes. Free us from the plague of infidelity which seeks to alienate us from the Church and religious observances by means of corrupt publications and schools and irreligious sects. Grant perseverance to the good, give strength to the weak, and move sinners to repentance, so that truth and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ may triumph in the world.

Mary, Pillar of the Church and Help of Christians, we beg to keep us firmly rooted in our faith and to protect in us our freedom as children of God. We promise not to stain our souls with sin and to obey our Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him. We want to live and die in the bosom of the Church and to attain eternal salvation.

Most loving Mother Mary, you have always been the Help of Christians. Help us with your powerful protection in life and especially at the hour of our death, so that, after having loved and venerated you on earth, we may come to proclaim your mercy in heaven.

Almighty and merciful Lord, in a marvelous manner you deigned to make the most holy Virgin Mary a powerful helper in defense of Christians. Grant that, having fought the good fight under her protection during our life, we may be victorious over our infernal enemy at the hour of our death. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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