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."

January 17: Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante

Posted by Jacob

Today, January 17, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Gonzalo de Amarante (1187-1259, also known as Gonzalvus de Amarante and Gundisalvus de Amarante), miracle-worker, Dominican friar, and hermit burning with a solitary love of the Lord. Little is definitively known about the life of Blessed Gonzalo, but what remains in Holy Legend is remarkable. The faith and zeal for the Lord required to perform such extraordinary acts is surely testament to the sanctity and holiness of this simple man.

Gonzalo was born into a wealthy and high-ranking family in Portugal. It is said that from an early age, his eyes were literally fixed on the Lord—that is, as he was carried to the baptismal font as an infant, his eyes were drawn to the Crucifix, and that a look of extraordinary love was observed by all present. Destined for the religious life, Gonzalo entered the seminary and was ordained a priest, at which time he distributed his wealth and inheritance amongst his nephews.

And then Gonzalo disappeared into a pilgrimage through the Holy Lands—a pilgrimage that lasted fourteen years. He prayed and contemplated the Word of God in the desert, moving from one sacred site to the next, all the while maintaining a solitary hermit’s lifestyle. Upon his return to his family, they did not recognize him, and turned their dogs loose to drive him away.

Gonzalo set himself in prayer before the Lord, and through divine directive, received instructions to enter the religious Order in which “the Office begins and ends with the Ave Maria.” Recognizing the call of the Dominicans, Gonzalo entered the Order, receiving permission form his superiors to continue living as a hermit in the wilderness near Amaranthe, Portugal.

During his years as a Dominican, Church tradition tells us that Blessed Gonzalo worked many extraordinary miracles and works. Gonzalo is said to have built a bridge over the Tamego river, primarily by himself, using only his hands and no tools. When the workers who briefly helped him with this project ran out of wine, Gonzalo became nervous that they would dessert him or go on strike. He prayed, and striking a rock on the riverbank with his staff, fine wine immediately poured forth. Similarly, when the workers ran of food, he prayed over the water of the river, and the fish jumped onto the river bank to feed the workers.

Blessed Gonzalo—while a hermit—also preached the importance of belonging to, and participating in, the Church. During one such homily, attempting to show the horrors of being excluded from the Body of Christ, he excommunicated a basket of bread. While his listeners watched, the loaves of bread immediately rotted, turning black and inedible. Upon his removal of the excommunication, the bread became fresh and edible again—better than it had originally been!

While so much of the life of Blessed Gonzalo is unknown, and that which we do know seems somewhat fantastical, we can appreciate the simple faith of this holy man, who desired nothing more than to serve and contemplate the Lord. Blessed Gonzalo took the time to wander through the desert, seeking and finding inspiration in the history of the Church and the Passion of Christ. We are called to do the same—setting aside quiet time for the Lord, and coming before him, simply and openly.

God of mercy and compassion, in your grace Blessed Gonzalo came to love your holy name and served you in the solitary life. By the help of his prayer and the grace of the Spirit may we keep you in our thoughts and with burning zeal do what is pleasing to you. We ask 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.

Year 2: Day 17 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives that are pleasing to the Lord
Requested Intentions: Freedom from persecution (A); For a friend struggling with medical problems and surgery (L); Financial blessings (D); For the success of a project (T); Improved financial stability (A); Improved relationship with business partner (A); For employment (N); Reconciliation of a workplace relationship (R); Healing of son, cousin, and friend (L); Healing of a husband from cancer, end to medical problems (T); Freedom from persecution (E); Successful employment (R); Reconciliation of a marriage (M); Successful marriage, employment, healing (J); For a family struggling with a difficult situation (M); For family intentions (I); Reconciliation of a marriage (S); For blessings upon a family (R); Permanent employment (N); Successful employment (M); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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