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 20: Saint Sebastian

Posted by Jacob

Today, January 20, we celebrate the feast of Saint Sebastian (died 288), Martyr of the early Church. While most of the historical facts of the life of Saint Sebastian are lost, holy legend tells us of his endurance and bravery in the face of martyrdom. One of the most frequently depicted saints in Church art and iconography throughout the history of the Church, Saint Sebastian has inspired countless faithful to live their lives for the Lord!

According to his legend, Sebastian was born in Narbonne, Gaul, the son of a wealthy Roman family. Sebastian enlisted as a soldier in the Roman army approximately five years prior to his martyrdom. During that time, he served valiantly, and encouraged his comrades in the Christian faith. Among those he encouraged were fellow soldiers, Marcellian and Marcus, had been sentenced to death. With the assistance of Saint Sebastian, they testified to their faith, receiving the martyrs’ crown. Saint Sebastian further worked within the ranks to convert many soldiers to the faith, including the master of the rolls (who was charged with overseeing prisoners) and his wife, whom he cured miraculously of her deafness and muteness. He worked further miracles of healing, including the Prefect of Rome, whom he cured of gout. Following this miraculous cure, the Prefect set the prisoners of Rome free, freed his slaves, and resigned his position to follow a faith-filled life.

Sebastian, given his service in the army, was named captain of the Praetorian guards by Emperor Diocletian, as well as his successor Emperor Maximian. Both rulers were impressed with his service, but were unaware of his Christian faith. When Maximian began active persecution of Christians, he discovered that Sebastian had been visiting Christian prisoners, providing them solace and encouragement, as well as converting powerful Romans to Christianity. The emperor had Sebastian called before him, demanding he renounce his faith. However, Sebastian held true to his faith, and was subsequently ordered executed by arrows. He was tied to a tree, and Mauretanian archers shot him with arrows, which Voragine describes in detail in the Golden Legend: "Diocletian had him bound to the medium of a plain and ordered to the archers that one bored him with blows of arrows. He was covered so much with it, that he appeared to be like a hedgehog; when it was believed dead.”

However, he was discovered by Saint Irene still alive, and she nursed him back to health. Upon regaining his strength, Sebastian sought out Emperor Maximian, denouncing him publicly for his cruelty to Christians. Again, he was sentenced to death, this time by beating with clubs. Saint Sebastian went to his martyrdom filled the Holy Spirit, testifying and proclaiming the Good News to all those present.

The relics of Saint Sebastian were buried in the catacombs named after the holy man in Rome. He is venerated there still today. Saint Sebastian is recognized as the patron saint of soldiers, athletes (due to his physical endurance and energetic manner of spreading and defending the faith), and the patron saint of those suffering from the plague (due to numerous reported miraculous cures of plague victims at his intercession).

Reliquery of Saint Sebastian

Lord, fill us with that spirit of courage which gave your martyr Sebastian strength to offer his life in faithful witness. Help us to learn from him to cherish your law and to obey you rather than men. 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.

Iconography of Saint Sebastian:

Year 2: Day 20 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faithful physical endurance and energetic spreading of the faith!
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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