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 19: Saint Henry of Sweden

Posted by Jacob

Today, January 19, we celebrate the feast of Saint Henry of Sweden (also known as Saint Henrik, or Saint Henry of Uppsula, Saint Henry of Finland, died 1156), bishop of Sweden, missionary to Finland, and Martyr of the Church. While never formally canonized, Saint Henry remains a central figure in the Scandinavian Catholic Church, given his importance in the spread of the faith throughout the region.

Henry was born in England, but moved to Rome where he was ordained a priest. Chosen to accompany Papal Legal, Nicholas Breakspear (who later became Pope Adrian IV) to Sweden, Henry was consecrated bishop of Uppsula, Sweden at the council of Linköping in 1152.

Three years later, King Saint Eric of Sweden led a crusade into Finland, as a result of Finnish pirates marauding throughout the country. Saint Henry accompanied him on this apostolic mission, baptizing the defeated Fins in the spring of Kuppis near Abo. Both King Eric and Saint Henry did all they could to offer peace and the Christian faith to the people of Finland, but upon their refusal, defeated them soundly in battle. King Eric returned to Sweden, but Henry remained behind, working for the conversion of more of the local people.

To accomplish this goal, Henry had a church built at Nousis, which became the heart of the Finnish Catholic Church. It was a difficult time for Saint Henry, as the locals were less than accepting of his presence, given the arrival of the Swedish missionary accompanied by a great army! Over time, he worked to make his presence more acceptable, modeling the Christian faith, and delivering the sacraments. Such was his love for the Lord that he held the Fins to the letter of the Christian law, at times imposing harsh penances on those who sinned. In time, Henry met a violent death on account of his love of God. A converted Finnish soldier named Lalli had murdered a Swedish soldier. After careful consideration of the facts and assiduous prayer, Henry imposed the penalty of excommunication on the murderer. Lalli became enraged and slew the saintly bishop with an ax. Henry was buried at Nousis, and miracles were reported at his tomb. (It is said that Lalli lived a long life in exile following the murder, but that for the remainder of his days he was tormented by mice.)

The union of Finland and Sweden wrought by Henry and Eric lasted much longer than they did–until the 14th century. In 1300, Saint Henry’s relics were translated from Nousis to the Abo Cathedral, and his cult spread throughout Finland and Scandinavia. Miracles continued to be reported at his tomb until 1720 (including miracles of healing an justice), when invading Russian forces removed the relics.

Much of Saint Henry’s life—including the 11 miracles recorded in his Acts—have been questioned for accuracy. Despite these historical questions, the truth of Saint Henry’s life remains extant in the vibrant Catholic faith that developed throughout Sweden and Finland. Saint Henry followed the Lord’s call from England to Rome to Scandinavia, into battle, and throughout challenging times. His steadfast obedience earned him the martyr’s crown, and inspires us today.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy Martyr Henry was enabled to witness to the truth and to be faithful unto death: Grant that we, who now remember him before thee, may likewise so bear witness unto thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Year 2: Day 19 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Steadfast Obedience to the Lord.
Requested Intentions: For an RCIA candidate struggling with financial and family stressors (O); Freedom from anxiety regarding medical procedure (J);  Return home of an ill mother, peace and financial security (J); Restoration of a marriage; family peace (N); 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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