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."


November 5: Saints Zachary and Elizabeth, parents of Saint John the Baptist

Posted by Jacob

Today, November 5, we celebrate the feast day of Saints Zachary (Zechariah) and Elizabeth, parents of Saint John the Baptist. Little is known about either saint, with the exception that they were of advanced age upon conceiving and bearing the cousin of Jesus, the Forerunner of the Son of Justice, Saint John the Baptist. Though all we know of them is recorded in the Gospel of Luke (chapter 1), detailing Our Blessed Mother’s visitation to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, given the honor bestowed upon them by the Lord we can be certain of their piety, strength of character, and love.


5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.


8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.


11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”


19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”


21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.


23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1: 5-25)


Following Our Blessed Mother’s visit from the Archangel Gabriel, and her acceptance of the will of the Lord, she left her home and traveled alone, at great peril, to visit Elizabeth.

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”


56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1: 39-45, 56)


Following Mary’s departure, Elizabeth gave birth to Saint John the Baptist, and Zachary was so filled with the Holy Spirit, he sang of song of prophesy and praise!

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.


59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”


61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”


62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.


67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”


80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. (Luke 1: 57-80)


The name Elizabeth, which has been borne by several saints, means in Hebrew "worshiper of God." We can be certain of this truth as she has the distinction of being one of the first to know about Mary's great blessing as the Mother of God. A descendant of the priestly line of Aaron, she was a kinswoman—how close we are not told—of the Virgin Mary. According to the Gospel, Elizabeth had lived a blameless life with her husband in one of the hill-towns of Judea: “righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.” However, having reached an advanced age with her prayers for a son unanswered, she thought that her barrenness was a reproach. Following the miraculous conception, and Zachary’s visit from Saint Gabriel, Elizabeth is visited by Our Blessed Mother, and realizes the great honor and task that the Lord has set before her. The Gospel story tells us further that at Elizabeth's delivery her friends and neighbors rejoiced with her, and when the child was brought to be circumcised, they were going to call him after his father Zachary, but his mother said, "His name shall be John."

Saint Zachary, whose name in Hebrew means “Jehovah hath remembered,” served as the High Priest in the Temple of Jerusalem, and had also lived an honorable and pious life. However, he was mocked and questioned by some, due to the fact that he had never produced a son. Following his visit from Saint Gabriel, Zachary was struck dumb, and his speech was not restored until he concurred with his wife’s assertion that their child be named John, despite no one of that name coming from their lineage.

Tradition, supported by Saint Basil and Cyril of Alexandria, asserts that when Herod set out to kill the Christ, he heard of the special circumstances surrounding Saint John's birth and tried to hunt him down. Saint Elizabeth took John, who was 18 months old, into the wilderness. They came to a mountain, and she spoke to it and a cave opened in it with a fresh stream and a fruitful date palm sprang up at its mouth. She escaped Herod's men by hiding in the cave. Saint Zachary died a martyr, killed in the Temple "between the porch and the altar" by command of Herod, because he refused to disclose the whereabouts of his son. Holy legend continues to tell us that the blood spilled in his martyrdom turned to stone as testimony against the reign of Herod. As the Roman Martyrology does not report this incident, it is unclear as the circumstances of this holy couple’s lives and deaths.

The lives of Saints Elizabeth and Zachary were lives of dedication to the Lord, faith in His ways, and hope in His love. Despite their advanced age, their disappointment in not conceiving a child, and the mockery they endured from their neighbors, both Zachary and Elizabeth continued to place their faith and trust in the Lord… and were rewarded by bringing forth the Precursor to Jesus, Saint John the Baptist. What might we accomplish if we look to the Lord with faith, hope, and confidence, rather than clinging to our doubts?

Day 309 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and certainty in the Lord. For all those experiencing difficulty in conception or adoption.
Requested Intentions: Spiritual growth and family peace (A); Freedom to immigrate (D); End to debt (N); Restoration of a marriage (J); Complete recovery of son (P); Recovery of parish priest, health of mother, conversion of son (J); Successful employment, end to depression (J); Successful immigration and employment (S); Conversion of an unloving daughter (M); Recovery of husband, health of mother, economic freedom (R); Freedom from depression, restoration of family relationships (N); Restoration of a relationship (J); Healing of friends from cancer (J); Complete healing of a friend with pancreatic cancer (J); Recognition of God’s Will; Obedience in vocation (J); Successful employment (M&I); For a son who struggles (S); Conversion (P); For family, peace, and social justice (J); 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); Healing of a father following stroke (S).

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