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."

September 16: Pope Saint Cornelius

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 16, we celebrate the feast of Pope Saint Cornelius (died 253), leader during a difficult time, and eventual martyr of the Church. Pope Saint Cornelius ascended to the Chair of Peter following a fourteen year absence of papal authority (during which time the Church was governed by a committee of bishops) during the harsh persecution of Christians by Emperor Decius. To ascend to the papacy at that time was almost a certain death sentence, but Cornelius, although reluctant, obediently accepted his calling. Like so many before him, his efforts to unite the Church, welcoming back the many strayed souls through penance, allowed the faith to grow despite inhospitable conditions.

Decius himself is reported to have said that he would prefer to have a rival emperor in Rome, as opposed to the pope. His hatred of Christians was so extreme that while he was in full control of his government, there was little chance for a replacement to martyred Pope Fabian to be elected. Eventually, Decius became distracted by rebels attacking his empire, and the fledgling Christian community (estimated at 50,000 congregants, forty-six priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes, and fifty-two clerics) elected Cornelius. He was a Roman bishop, a man of strong mind and character. Little more is known of him prior to his papacy.

At his elevation to pope, Cornelius was declared "by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the vote of the people then present, by the consent of aged priests and of good men, at a time when no one had been made before him, when the place of Fabian, that is the place of Peter, and the step of the sacerdotal chair were vacant." Saint Cyprian, an African bishop (whose feast is also celebrated today) wrote: "What fortitude in his acceptance of the episcopate, what strength of mind, what firmness of faith, that he took his seat intrepid in the sacerdotal chair, at a time when the tyrant in his hatred of bishops was making unspeakable threats, when he heard with far more patience that a rival prince was arising against him, than that a bishop of God was appointed at Rome… Is he not to be numbered among the glorious confessors and martyrs who sat so long awaiting the sword or the cross or the stake and every other torture?”

The years of Christian persecution had left the Church on unsteady ground. Many of the faithful had wavered, weakly denying their faith, sacrificing to idols, or bribing officials to say that they had—all to escape imprisonment and death. With the persecution over, these lapsed Christians returned to the Church, seeking forgiveness and wishing to gain readmission to the congregation. Cornelius was criticized and attacked from both sides—from those who felt that allowing these individuals back into the Church was too lax a stance (rigorists), and those who would readmit anyone without sufficient penance (laxists)

The papal declarations and orders that Cornelius enacted to ensure that proper confessions and penances were undertaken were met with opposition, namely from a Roman bishop named Novatian, who eventually declared himself the first antipope. This set up the Novatian schism, which lasted for approximately two centuries. During this time, Pope Saint Cornelius upheld the unity of the Church, and fairly and justly worked toward the saving of the souls of those who had strayed. Despite it being a time of great upheaval, the Church steadily grew under his unwavering influence, and the heretical attacks of the Novatians were defended against.

With Emperor Decius replaced by Trebonianus Gallus, the persecution of Christians returned—this time in response to a plague which spread through Rome, a plague that was blamed upon the Christians. Due to the restorative work that Cornelius had undertaken in the intervening years, the practice of apostasy (renouncing the faith) was not repeated by the congregation this time, who stood firm in their faith and beliefs. Throughout the persecution, Pope Saint Cornelius kept the Roman Christians in high morale, and was eventually exiled to Centum Cellae, where he was martyred in 253.

Pope Saint Cornelius is one of many of the great early leaders of the Church who withstood persecution from both within and without the ranks of the faithful. Outnumbered and outflanked, he maintained a rigorous moral course marked by equity and justice for all—practicing the rules of forgiveness and reconciliation as modeled by Jesus. His leadership prepared the faithful for further persecution, and in the process, ensured the salvation of their souls through their reaffirmed faith. We pray today, on the feast of Pope Saint Cornelius, for a steady and unwavering faith despite the many obstacles we encounter in our daily lives.

During his papacy, Cornelius was assisted and supported by Saint Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage. Below, one of the letters sent to Pope Saint Cornelius by Saint Cyprian:

Cyprian to his brother Cornelius.

My very dear brother, we have heard of the glorious witness given by your courageous faith. On learning of the honor you had won by your witness, we were filled with such joy that we felt ourselves sharers and companions in your praiseworthy achievements. After all, we have the same Church, the same mind, the same unbroken harmony. Why then should a priest not take pride in the praise given to a fellow priest as though it were given to him? What brotherhood fails to rejoice in the happiness of its brothers wherever they are?

Words cannot express how great was the exultation and delight here when we heard of your good fortune and brave deeds: how you stood out as leader of your brothers in their declaration of faith, while the leader’s confession was enhanced as they declared their faith. You led the way to glory, but you gained many companions in that glory; being foremost in your readiness to bear witness on behalf of all, you prevailed on your people to become a single witness. We cannot decode which we ought to praise, your own ready and unshaken faith or the love of your brothers who would not leave you. While the courage of the bishop who thus led the way has been demonstrated, at the same time the unity of the brotherhood who followed has been manifested. Since you have one heart and one voice, it is the Roman Church as a whole that has thus born witness.

Dearest brother bright and shining is the faith which the blessed Apostle praised in your community. He foresaw in the spirit the praise your courage deserves and the strength that could not be broken; he was heralding the future when he testified to your achievements; his praise of the fathers was a challenge to the sons. Your unity, your strength have become shining examples of these virtues to the rest of the brethren. Divine providence has now prepared us. God’s merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. By that shared love which binds us close together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fastings, vigils and prayers in common. These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure; they are the spiritual defenses, the God-given armaments that protect us.

Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials.

God our Father,

in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian
You have given Your people an inspiring example
of dedication to the pastoral ministry
and constant witness to Christ in their suffering.
May their prayers and faith give us courage
to work for the unity of Your Church.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 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.

Psalm: Psalm 144: Prayer for Victory and Prosperity
1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.
3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him,
the son of man that you think of him?
4 Man is like a breath;
his days are like a fleeting shadow.
5 Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down;
touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
6 Send forth lightning and scatter {the enemies};
shoot your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
8 whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David from the deadly sword.
11 Deliver me and rescue me
from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

Day 258 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Steady and unwavering faith.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 144: Prayer for Victory and Prosperity


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