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."

June 4: Saint Petroc of Wales

Posted by Jacob

Today, June 4, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Petroc of Wales (died 564), worker of miracles, and hero-figure of Welsh Celtic legend. Similar to Saint Patrick, it is difficult to separate the life of Saint Petroc from the colorful legends and stories which surround him in Celtic tradition. Nonetheless, what we do know informs us of Petroc’s commitment to the Lord, his miraculous works, humility, and service to others.

Saint Petroc was the son of a wealthy noble Welsh king (King Glywys of Glywysing) who upon his father’s death declined the throne and instead dedicated his life to the Lord. Petroc, and approximately sixty of his noble friends, became monks, traveling to Ireland, where they remained in study for nearly 20 years. Writings from that time describe Petroc as being "handsome in appearance, courteous in speech, prudent, simpleminded, modest, humble, a cheerful giver, burning with ceaseless charity, always ready for all the works of religion because while still a youth he had attained by watchful care the wisdom of riper years.”

Following their studies, Saint Petroc and his companions returned to Wales, sailing for Cornwall. Upon landing, and giving thanks to God, they group encountered a hermit, who refused their request for drinking water, suggesting they find it themselves. Petroc, striking the ground three times and looking to God, miraculously caused a clear, fresh spring to flow forth, providing drinking water not only for the group of monks, but also for the hermit.

The group continued traveling, arriving at the monastery at Llanwethinoc (now Padstow), where Petroc took a cell and led the religious community. During this time, the monastery grew, and Petroc traveled throughout England and Wales, working miracles and converting many. For thirty years "he so afflicted his flesh with vigils and cold that for the curbing of illicit impulses of seething pleasure he very often spent the night in the middle of a torrent from cock-crow until dawn." He ate nothing but bread except on Sundays, when "for the sake of reverence of the resurrection by the Lord, he modestly tasted some little condiment.” On one occasion, after predicting the weather, legend tells us, Petroc was overcome with humility at having dared try to anticipate the Lord’s plan, and set off on solitary pilgrimage for seven years. His travels, during this time of reparation, led him to Rome, India, and many other remote regions, holy legend suggests. He lived for some time in India, during which the Lord fed him with fish, and angels brought him counsel. During this time of solitude, Petroc is said to have befriended and tamed a wild wolf, with whom he returned to Wales.

Upon returning to Cornwall, having been warned by an angel that he was needed there, Petroc worked many miracles. He healed the sick by touching their garments, saved harvests by creating springs, and convinced a dragon from the region that was terrorizing the people to leave. As legend tells us, this huge dragon had a splinter stuck in it’s eye, and hearing of Petroc’s ability to hear, traveled to the monastery, putting aside it’s ferocious ways "and, with bowed head, for three days lay first on the threshold, awaiting the miracles of God.” At Petroc's command, the dragon was "sprinkled with a sprinkling made with water mixed with the dust of the pavement.” And immediately "the wood being removed from his eye, he was healed, wonderful thing!" The dragon left the village alone and "returned to his solitary wallow.”

Perhaps the most well-known legend of Saint Petroc concerns his harnessing of the dragon-serpent, Tregeagle, an evil man who had been consumed by his sin and changed into a horrible, wailing monster. As John Penware wrote, “In Cornwaile's fair land, bye the poole on the moore. Tregeagle the wicked did dwell.” Per the legend, Saint Petroc forged a golden girdle—each link made by hand and sealed with a prayer—which he wrapped around the vicious monster, chaining him to the coast and forcing the beast to carry sand and rake the rugged shore for eternity, thus saving the people.

The tale of Tregeagle remains told today, with his mournful wailing heard and reported throughout Wales. As Robert Hunt edited: WHO has not heard of the wild spirit Tregeagle? He haunts equally the moor, the rocky coasts, and the blown sand-hills of Cornwall. From north to south, from east to west, this doomed spirit is heard of, and to the day of judgment he is doomed to wander, pursued by avenging fiends. For ever endeavoring to perform some task by which he hopes to secure repose, and being for ever defeated. Who has not heard the howling of Tregeagle? When the storms come with all their strength from the Atlantic, and urge themselves upon the rocks around the Land's End, the howls of the spirit are louder than the roaring of the winds. When calms rest upon the ocean, and the waves can scarcely form upon the resting waters, low wailings creep along the coast. These are the wailings of this wandering soul. When midnight is on the moor or on the mountains, and the night winds whistle amidst the rugged cairns, the shrieks of Tregeagle are distinctly heard. We know, then, that he is pursued by the demon dogs, and that till daybreak he must fly with all speed before them. The voice of Tregeagle is everywhere, and yet he is unseen by human eye. (Popular Romances of the West of England, 1903)

Less fantastical, Saint Petroc is also credited with converting King Constantine, who ruled Wales at the time. As legend tells us, one afternoon while Petroc was praying in his cell, a deer appeared, nuzzling him, and hiding beneath his robes. Soon thereafter, a huntsman followed, and through conversation and protection of the deer (as well as healing of a wounded arm), the huntsman was brought to Christ. As it turned out, the huntsman was the king, whose conversion led to the conversion of many in Wales.

Later in life, Saint Petroc left the monastery, embarking on a hermit’s life, living alone, communing with the Lord in prayer and fasting, and engaging in self-deprivation and mortification. Despite his hermit-like ways, he felt called to establish another monastery at Bodmin—Bothmena Monastery (Abode of the Monks), and receiving permission to do so, developed a thriving monastic community there. For the remainder of his days, Saint Petroc continued to travel occasionally to visit the many religious communities he founded, and during one such journey, died peacefully surrounded by his companions. His relics are entombed in an ivory casket at the monastery in Bodmin, where they are venerated today.

The life and legend of Saint Petroc is both fun and inspirational. Given our modern interpretation of events, we are likely to shake our heads at talk of tame wolves, sea monsters, converted dragons, and wild animals seeking refuge with a saint. However, even these fantastical legends are based in Christian truths—kindness and loyalty, love and forgiveness, peace and obedience, faith and conversion. The manner in which the life of Saint Petroc has been preserved through oral tradition in no way lessens his virtue or works. Stripping away the legend, we are left with a man who devoted his life to the Lord, sought forgiveness and reparation, worked tirelessly and obediently to establish monastic places of worship, and through practical (or miraculous) means, brought the love and message of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. Even without wolves, dragons, and sea monsters, there is much to learn from the life of Saint Petroc!

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.  Many of the prayer requests I receive are for individuals who are sick, suffering, or struggling with medical conditions and diagnoses.  Today's psalm reminds us in a powerful way that the Lord looks after the sick, healing and restoring body and soul!

Today’s Psalm: Psalm 41: Thanksgiving after Sickness

1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.
4 I said, "O LORD, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you."
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
"When will he die and his name perish?"
6 Whenever one comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it abroad.
7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,
8 "A vile disease has beset him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies."
9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted,
he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me;
raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 In my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.
13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Day 155 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humility, Obedience, Service.
Requested Intentions: Vocational security for family, Financial security for daughter beginning college (M); Vocational guidance, courage and strength (I); Reconciliation of a relationship (M); Strength, financial security, motivation, repose of a loved one (V); Recovery of left shoulder fracture (E); Financial recovery (A); The repose of a lonely soul (L); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful conception of a child (D); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 41: Thanksgiving after Sickness


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