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."
In 1245, Pope Innocent IV called a general council in Lyons, France. The current Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Crescentius, was too ill to attend, and sent John in his place. There, John made a deep impression on the leaders of the Church gathered, impressing them with his deep faith, kind words, and appreciation of silent contemplation. Here was a man who had little negative to say about anyone or anything, and rather than speak, listened carefully to all that was said before rendering his own opinion. Blessed John was a model of humility and love of the Lord—so much so that he never spoke idly, as it distracted him from focusing on God.
Those seeking reform were not disappointed. As Minister General, Blessed John set out to visit each house of the order—the first to do so—and restore the original Rule of Saint Francis. He traveled, always on foot, across Europe, stopping at each Franciscan convent. At times he would arrive at these places of worship and not be recognized. On these occasions, he would remain for three days to test the true spirit of the brothers before revealing his role. John’s journeys were recorded by his brethren. He is remembered as being a robust man, with only kind words to say, regardless of how tired he was after his journey. In most cases, he could be found performing the most menial duties, cleaning or peeling vegetables in the kitchen. His humility, faith, and obedience inspired his brethren. It is said that at times, when celebrating Mass, he was assisted by an angel from heaven.
The life of Blessed John of Parma is one of quiet faith, kindness, and gentle encouragement of others. In examining his life, we can see the benefits of his contemplative silence, listening, avoidance of idle words, and positive attitude. How often do our own words fail to encourage others, and quite the opposite, serve as reasons for discouragement? How frequently do we speak wickedly or angrily of others? During this Lenten season, we can look to Blessed John of Parma as inspiration to chose our words more carefully, abstain from gossip, and encourage those we encounter with Christian love .
Year 2: Day 79 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Encouraging and supportive tongues; Avoidance of wickedness and gossip.
Requested Intentions: Guidance in studies (J); Healing and security for a displaced family (C); Healing of high blood pressure; Recovery of brother following surgery (A); For a sister in trouble, that she may make better decisions in the light of Christ (M); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Attainment of funds for surgery (J); Freedom from financial difficulties (E); For employment and college acceptance (E); Recovery and healing of a friend (C); For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C); For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); Healing of a father following stroke (S).