Saint Etheldreda (also known as Saint Audrey, 636-379), ascetic, queen, and foundress of the “double monastery” at Ely. Against earthly pressures, and through divine intervention, Saint Etheldreda maintained her personal consecration to the Lord, remaining a virgin and engaging in ascetic pursuits despite her noble station. Her perseverance in faith and commitment to a life of prayer and service is remarkable still today.
St. Cuthbert, the young Prior of Lindisfarne, upon whose monastery she bestowed many gifts from her own private property. Over time, Etheldreda became friends with Saint Wilfrid, her confessor, who on her behalf, encouraged the king to allow her to retire for some years to the Convent at Coldingham Abbey. There, she lived as a sister, having received the veil from Saint Wilfrid himself. Her husband, the king, shortly after consenting to her departure from the royal court, changed his mind and pursued her. When Saint Wilfrid pleaded on her behalf, the king made his intentions known: he would find Etheldreda and bring her back to the court by force, where he would consummate his marital privileges.
who bestowed such grace upon your servant Etheldreda
that she gave herself wholly to the life of prayer
and to the service of your true religion:
grant that we, like her,
may so live our lives on earth seeking your kingdom
that by your guiding
we may be joined to the glorious fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Today’s Psalm: Psalm 59: Against Bloodthirsty Enemies
1 Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from bloodthirsty men.
3 See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!
5 O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.
6 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
7 See what they spew from their mouths—
they spew out swords from their lips,
and they say, "Who can hear us?"
8 But you, O LORD, laugh at them;
you scoff at all those nations.
9 O my Strength, I watch for you;
you, O God, are my fortress, 10 my loving God.
God will go before me
and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
11 But do not kill them, O Lord our shield,
or my people will forget.
In your might make them wander about,
and bring them down.
12 For the sins of their mouths,
for the words of their lips,
let them be caught in their pride.
For the curses and lies they utter,
13 consume them in wrath,
consume them till they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over Jacob.
14 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
15 They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.
16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
Day 174 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Separation from earthly desires; Steadfast conviction; Focus on the Lord alone.
Requested Intentions: For all lost children (I); Prosperity, health, healing, and conversion for a family (M); Health and healing of a mother (A); Healing of heart and mind (T); Healing of a new relationship before marriage (K); Healing of a relationship (T); Eternal rest for the dearly departed, end to financial struggles, successful sale of home, ability to travel on pilgrimage (L); For healing of a stomach illness (L); For the repose of the soul of a sister (C); Vocational security for family, Financial security for daughter beginning college (M); Vocational guidance, courage and strength (I); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 59: Against Bloodthirsty Enemies
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."