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."

Saint Gregory of Nyssa: “In Praise of Blessed Theodore, the Great Martyr”

Posted by Jacob

Today, November 9, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Theodore Tyro (also known as Saint Theodore of Amasea and Saint Theodore the Recruit, 286-306), one of the oldest of the eastern martyrs. While little is known about his life, he is included in the Roman martyrology, and greatly venerated in the Eastern Church as one of the three "Soldier Saints," with Saints George and Demetrios. Saint Gregory of Nyssa was one of the first to record the life and acts of Saint Theodore. Below, an excerpt from a homily he gave, “In Praise of Blessed Theodore, the Great Martyr.”

You, the people who belong to Christ, a holy flock, a royal priesthood which had come from every place, city and the countryside, what is the source of that sign which brought you to this sacred place? Who are you who hasten here and planned this [journey] beforehand? Is it not the season of winter which is untroubled by war, when armed soldiers are not present, sailors set sail over the foamy [waves] and the farmer puts to rest the ox used for plowing in the stall? It is not clear that the holy martyr sounded the trumpet from among the roster of warriors, rouses people from diverse regions to a place of rest, proclaims a home, not in preparation for war but to a sweet and attractive peace for Christians? We believe that in the year when the barbarian invasion stopped and the horrible war against the savage Sythians came to an end we witnessed no frightening, terrible war, no triple crested helmet nor a brandished sword glittering in the sun, but the all-powerful cross of Christ which wards them off, the means by which he obtained glory through his suffering.

Furthermore, I ask you to consider closely those who keep blameless religious observance such as the martyrs who compose an outstanding assembly of the just as well as those deemed worthy of recompense while still in the world. Let me affirm that they are still with us. Their great honor is open for all to see: by recognizing the fruit of piety, you must strive to share in their reverence. Desire the honors which Christ dispenses according to the worthiness of his athletes. But if it pleases him that we may enjoy future benefits which a pure hope offers to the just when the judge of our lives comes to us, we may see the company of the saints which is so magnificent and glorious. For the soul which is ascending is fond of residing in its own inheritance and converses in an incorporeal manner with its own brethren; the body a deserving and immaculate vehicle for that purpose which never allows the harm originating from its own passions to reside with incorruptibility. Enwrapped with much honor and solicitude, it dwells in this holy place as an inestimable treasure reserved for the time of regeneration and shares the uniqueness with regard to other bodies. For this common death which is similar in nature has no comparison. There are other abominable matters, for example, no one should lightly disregard the tomb, but if this person opens himself to persuasion, he is liable to have no share in the repugnance of this present age, thereby avoiding the burden of the human condition.

Should a person come to a place similar to our assembly today where the memory of the just and the rest of the saints is present, first consider this house's great dignity to which souls are lead. God's temple is brightly adorned with magnificence and is embellished with decorations, pictures of animals which masons have fashioned with delicate silver figures. It exhibits images of flowers made in the likeness of the martyr's virtues, his struggles, sufferings, the various savage actions of tyrants, assaults, that fiery furnace, the athlete's blessed consummation and the human form of Christ presiding over all these events. They are like a book skillfully interpreting by means of colors which express the martyr's struggles and glorify the temple with resplendent beauty. The pictures located on the walls are eloquent by their silence and offer significant testimony; the pavement on which people tread is combined with small stones and is significant to mention in itself.

These spectacles strike the senses and delight the eye by drawing us near to Saint Theodore’s tomb which we believe to be both a sanctification and blessing. If anyone takes dust from the martyr's resting place, it is a gift and a deserving treasure. Should a person have both the good fortune and permission to touch the relics, this experience is a highly valued prize and seems like a dream both to those who were cured and whose wish was fulfilled. The body appears as if it were alive and healthy: the eyes, mouth, ears, as well as the other senses are a cause for pouring out tears of reverence and emotion. In this way one implores the martyr who intercedes on our behalf and is an attendant of God for imparting those favors and blessings which people seek.

From all this, oh devout people, learn that "the death of His holy ones is admirable before the Lord" [Ps 115.6], for all men comprise one and the same body; they share the same substance as one dough and are carried off to death. However, the martyr's suffering bestows grace which is lovable, joyful and undeniable as the text above teaches. Therefore we believe that appearances hold out the promise of future blessings procured from trials endured in the world. Many are those who pursue [pleasures of] the stomach, vainglory and the rubbish of all this world's charms while neglecting that which is to come; rather, such persons believe that death puts an end to all these things [Phil 3.19]. But a thoughtful person will learn about great matters from that which is small and about archetypes from shadows. To whom will the honor of kings go? Who will be remembered among men with regard to that arrogance resulting from visible reality? Which general who has captured fortified cities and has enslaved many peoples is celebrated as this soldier, poor man and conscript, whom Paul has armed [Eph 6.11] and whom the angels have anointed for combat and whom Christ has crowned with victory [2 Tim 4.8]? Since these words unite you to the martyr's trials, follow the saint's uncommon example and forsake any useless pursuit because everyone loves such things.

Therefore, oh blessed anniversary graciously provided by the Creator, we flock to your festival with the martyrs' holy band which worships a common God. By recalling the victory of our many struggles, you return to us, and when you arrive, you provide us with a day of celebration. We beseech you, whether you dwell in the air above or in some celestial circle or angelic chorus, that you assist the Lord or worship him as a faithful servant with the powers and virtues. Come from that place to those who beseech you, invisible friend! You have learned of his death, a means by which you might give double thanks to God who conferred this favor through one passion and one pious confession that you may rejoice in the blood he shed and in the grievous fire he endured. As a result you will have as worthy ministers those who witnessed the spectacle. We lack many benefactors. Intercede on behalf of the people that they may share one kingdom because the martyr's country is one of affliction whose citizens and brethren and kinsmen have died and have been honored. We fear afflictions and expect danger because we are close to the ungodly Sythians who grieve us with war. As a soldier, fight for us; as a martyr, grant courage to your fellow servants. Since you have prevailed over this life yet are familiar with humanity's sufferings and needs, grant peace that the festivals may continue, that the furious, insolent, mad barbarians might not triumph over the temples or altars and that they might not tread the holy place.

We who have been kept safe and unharmed ponder your beneficence and implore protection for the future. Should we experience stress and dishonor, let your people beseech the chorus of your fellow martyrs; the prayers of many just people will exonerate sin. Remember Peter, awaken Paul along with John the theologian and beloved disciple, who are solicitous on behalf of the churches which they have founded and on whose behalf they endured dangers and death. They did not engage in idol worship which was inimical to our Head [Christ] in order that heresy may resemble thorns to pluck out vines, that weeds might not suffocate wheat, that no rock hinder the true, rich dew and that anything without root may show the power of the fertile word [cf. Mt 13.25, 7, 20]. But by the power of your intercession and those with you, oh marvelous and most bright among the martyrs, the young shoot will return to you, the flourishing citizenship of Christians will endure to the end in the splendid, fruitful field of faith in Christ which always bears the fruit of eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord. To him with the Father and Holy Spirit be glory, power and honor now and forever. Amen.


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