Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar), the earliest recorded apparition of Our Blessed Mother. Tradition tells us that in the early day of the Church, Saint James the Greater was spreading the Gospel in Spain, but making very little progress. He was dejected and questioning his mission. In the year 44, the Mother of God, who was still living in Jerusalem at the time, bi-located and appeared to Saint James in a vision to boost his morale. During this vision, Our Blessed Mother appeared on top of a column or pillar, which was being supported by angels. That pillar is now venerated in the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza, Spain. Numerous miraculous healings have been reported in its presence.
Venerable Sister Maria de Agreda, visionary who recorded six volumes on the life of The Blessed Virgin, directly from mystical visions and communications with Our Lady-- tells us the following story of Our Lady of Pilar. Before Our Blessed Lady departed from Jerusalem to take up her abode in Ephesus, she ordered and arranged many things, both by herself and the holy Angels, to provide for the needs of the Church in her absence. The most effectual service Our Blessed Mother offered was her continual prayer—prayer that has continued unceasingly for all Christians since that time. The Blessed Virgin—help of Christians-- offered special prayers for Saint James, head of the Church in Jerusalem, as she knew that he would be the first to shed his blood for Christ as a martyr.
“This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.” Special graces and protection would be granted to the people of Zaragoza in exchange for a pure devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady.
“Today I have fulfilled my desire to kneel, as a devoted son of Mary, before her holy pillar… The Christians of Spain have seen in this pilar a clear analogy with the pillar that guides the journeying of the people of Israel towards the promised Land (cf. Nm 14:14), that accompanies the new Israel, the Church, in her pilgrimage towards the promised Land, Christ the Lord. Our Lady of the Pillar is a radiant beacon… The Pilar is considered a symbol of the Spaniard’s strong faith, and is also an indication of the journey that leads to knowledge of Christ through apostolic predication.”
O Virgin Mother of El Pilar, deigning to appear to Thy beloved disciple, Saint James, promising him the victory over paganism, and blessing so abundantly his labors for the spread of the True Catholic Faith, secure for us also, who are the children of that same Faith, the victory over our many foes and the paganism that is laying waste the harvest of souls in our day.
Through the intercession of Thine Apostle, Saint James, the "Son of Thunder", may we as clouds flying through the air at the least breath of the Holy Ghost, establish everywhere the true devotion to Thy Immaculate Heart that Jesus wills for the conversion of all sinners. Amen.
Day 288 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Grace, protection, and refuge from Our Blessed Mother.
Requested Intentions: Son’s employment (K); Discernment of the Lord’s will (A); Mother’s full recovery from a stroke (K); Employment (P); For family’s prosperity and employment (M); For a husband’s addiction (F); Health in a relationship, literary representation (D); For a mother struggling with cancer (P); Employment and financial assistance (L); End to work troubles, return to health (R); For a husband’s recovery from alcoholism (M); For a pregnant sister in the ICU (J); For a family’s safety, health, and successful education (S); Successful employment and relationship (E); Reconciliation with a friend, sanctity of a relationship (G); Increase in Rosary prayers by youth and students (S); Successful outcome of court case and employment (L); For guidance and righteous love (K); 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); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
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."