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."

July 19: Saints Justa and Rufina

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 19, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Justa (268-287) and Saint Rufina (270-287), virgins of the Church, and martyrs for the faith. These two sisters worked tirelessly throughout their brief lives to serve the poor, standing up for their beliefs, and fearlessly dying rather than betray their faith in Christ.

Born in Seville, Spain, the sisters Justa and Rufina were artists—the makers of fine earthenware pottery, the sale of which supported not only these holy young women, but many of the city’s poor. Each day, Justa and Rufina would rise early, creating beautiful pots and vessels, which they would then carry on their shoulders to the marketplace. The proceeds from their sales were invariably donated or given away to those in need.

Born into a poor, but pious Christian family, Justa and Rufina were educated in their home regarding the faith. At a young age, both pledged their virginity, becoming brides of Christ. Their deep faith extended to their work—the sisters refused to sell their wares to those who would use them in pagan celebrations or in sacrifice to the Roman gods. During the festival of the goddess Venus, the townspeople were so angered by the young women, they overturned their carts, smashing all of their creations. In return, Justa and Rufina spoke out against the pagan rites, overturning a statue of Venus in the process. They were arrested and imprisoned on the spot.

The city’s prefect, Diogenianus, encouraged by the rampant persecution of Christians under orders of the Emperor, ordered the holy women tortured until they renounced their faith in Christ. First, they were stretched on the rack, with their sides raked with iron hooks. Near their instruments of torture, an idol was placed, incense at the ready. The sisters were told that if they would offer sacrifice to the idol, they would be freed. Neither saint wavered in her faith, refusing to pay homage to the idol, and embracing their punishments. Following their horrific torture, the women were ordered to walk barefoot to Sierra Morena, a distant journey, without food or water. There, they were again thrown into prison, neither their spirits nor their faith broken.

Having no success in encouraging the saints to renounce Christ, Diogenianus ordered Justa killed, believing that her death would break Rufina’s resolve. Justa was killed upon the rack, her body thrown into a well. Rufina, deeply grieved, continued to express her faith in Christ, and was thrown to the lions. However, the hungry animal refused to attack, and Diogenianus eventually had Rufina strangled, beheaded, and then burned. The Bishop Sabinus recovered the relics of both saints, and buried them beside each other in 287.

Saints Justa and Rufina are deeply venerated in Spain, with chapels and churches in Zaragoza (La Seo Cathedral) and Toledo. A hermitage dedicated to the sisters can be found in Valencia. According to tradition, they are protectors of the Giralda (bell tower) and the Cathedral of Seville, and are said to have protected both during the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

The lives of Justa and Rufina are lives defined by deep faith, commitment to their beliefs, and courage. How often do we stand up for the tenets of our faith? Do we back down at the first signs of inconvenience or hardship? These young women clung to their beliefs, first to the detriment of their occupation and livelihood, and later to their lives. For their faith and courage, Saints Justa and Rufina earned martyrs’ crowns. We ask for their intercession today, that we might be filled with courage and confidence in the Lord.

Dear God, give me courage,
or perhaps I lack it more than anything else.

I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.

I need courage to bear unkindness,
mockery, contradiction.

I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.

I need Your help, dear God.

Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.

Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven.

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 85: Prayer for Complete Restoration

1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, O God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints—
but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

Day 200 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and committment to the Lord.
Requested Intentions: Employment for husband and wife (K); Wisdom; Closer walk with Jesus (R); For successful conception (I); Thanksgiving for blessings received (K); Healing and financial assistance (F); Employment; Discernment of God’s will (A); Healing of illness (P); Small business assistance, blessings on jobs, financial aid for college student (M); Financial assistance (F); For a recovery and sanctification (X); For a daughter struggling with disease and illness (T); 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); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 85: Prayer for Complete Restoration


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