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."

March 31: Saint Benjamin the Deacon

Posted by Jacob

Today, March 31, we celebrate the feast of Saint Benjamin the Deacon (died 424), Martyr of the faith, and patron saint of preachers and evangelizers. The courage and steadfast conviction of Saint Benjamin—who preached publicly despite considerable risk to his life—remains inspirational to us today.

Benjamin was born in Persia, but the remainder of his early life is lost to history. He was appointed a deacon of the Church, and for some, enjoyed the years of peace that Christians were granted during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III. Prior to his twelve-year reign, Christians had been actively persecuted. Near the end of his reign, the ire of Isdegerd was raised by Abdas, a Christian bishop who burned the Temple of Fire—the great sanctuary of the Persian pagan gods—in his zeal for Christ. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all Christian churches unless Abdas agreed to rebuild the Temple of Fire. Of course, he refused, and was summarily executed.

For the next 40 years (first under Isdegerd, and then his son, Varanes), a general persecution was unleashed on Christians. Churches were destroyed, and Christians were tortured and imprisoned mercilessly. Among the faithful who suffered during this persecution was Saint Benjamin, a deacon. He was imprisoned for one year after being overheard preaching by a member of the royal court. Saint Benjamin was renowned for his zealous preaching, brining many Persians and Greeks to the faith. Following his imprisonment, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople negotiated his condition release: the condition, that he never preached within earshot of any member of the royal court again.

Saint Benjamin, however, at great risk to his life, declared it his duty to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and could not remain silent. He resumed his preaching with great intensity, finding audiences wherever he could, including public places and street corners. Before long, he was re-arrested and brought before the king who again ordered him to stop preaching. Saint Benjamin replied, "I cannot possibly do that. Those who hide the talent they have received will be given over to greater suffering." King Varanes then ordered that he undergo extreme torture. Reeds and thorns were thrust beneath his finger and toe nails, and into the most tender parts of his body before being withdrawn. Following this, which he bore with smiles and joy, a knotted stake was thrust into his bowls to rend and tear them. In this most terrible agony, he died, earning the martyrs’ golden crown.

Saint Ephrem, considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, wrote: "The wisdom of philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb through amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spectacle and glorious actions of the martyrs: the tyrants and judges were not able to express their astonishment when they beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadful day of judgment, if we, who have never been exposed to any cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life? No temptations, no torments, were able to draw them from that love which they bore to God; but we, living in rest and delights, refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the marks of their wounds? What shall we then show? Shall we present a lively faith? true charity towards God? a perfect disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? silence and recollection? meekness? almsdeeds? prayers poured forth with clean hearts? compunction, watchings, tears? Happy shall he be whom such good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the martyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels."

Saint Benjamin is remembered by Christians today for his great courage and faith in Jesus Christ. Today, many continue to look to Saint Benjamin for courage and strength by wearing Saint Benjamin medals—a reminder of the importance of preaching, living courageously in the Lord, and the sacrifice that the brave martyrs of the faith made throughout Church history.

Thy martyr, Benjamin, O Lord, by his struggle hath received from thee, our God, the imperishable crown; because, acquiring thy strength, he demolished usurpers and crushed the powerless might of Satan. Therefore, through his intercessions, O Christ God, save our souls.

We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Savior and his love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ that it may enlighten our souls that we may love him.

Year 2: Day 89 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and strength in the Lord
Requested Intentions: For a son fighting a rare immune system disease (R); Freedom from imprisonment (J); Employment and end to depression (H); Successful employment (A); Health for a soon to be delivered baby (T); Financial security (L); Healing of tooth pain (A); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Purification of the souls in Purgatory (A); 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).


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