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."

June 11: Saint Barnabas

Posted by Jacob

Today, June 11, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Barnabas (died 61), martyr, humble preacher of Christianity, early apostle, and faithful companion to Saint Paul. He is largely credited for beginning the work of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, bringing Saint Paul to the disciples, and recounting the story of his conversion:

26When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:26-27)

Saint Barnabas was instrumental in the foundations of the Church, and it’s eventual spread throughout the world. Initially, Scripture leads us to believe that he was a wealthy landowner, who gave up all he had to the fledgling Christian community. He was humble, concerned only with the glory of God (not his own personal glory), and provided support and encouragement to the disciples. He was able to see the good in others (even Saul). For his gifts, the disciples gave him a special name—unique to his contributions to the community— “Son of Encouragement.”

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:32-37)

Saint Barnabas lived his name—the Son of Encouragement-- first with the disciples, and then later with Saint Paul during their evangelical travels together. He was a warm and encouraging person. He was positive and uplifting. He was able to see the best in people ---- to overlook the differences that could produce personal prejudice. This very virtue was used to open the possibility of membership in the early Church to converts of all nations. In the Acts of the Apostles (11: 22-24), Saint Luke tells us that Barnabas was sent to Antioch to see Christian ministry with the Greeks was going. Barnabas was pleased with the progress and "encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord." Saint Luke further described Barnabas saying: "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith"

Saint Barnabas, filed with the Holy Spirit, traveled to Tarsus to seek out Saint Paul (whom the disciples had not yet fully accepted). Together, they returned to Antioch, where Scripture indicates that Paul served as assistant to Barnabas in preaching and evangelizing. They had great success, and in the midst of their preaching, prayer, and fasting, were moved by the Spirit to travel to Cyprus—the birthplace of Barnabas. There, Barnabas was content to humbly fill the role that the Lord had planned for him, and Saint Paul moved into the leadership position. Never jealous or prideful, Barnabas continued to travel with Paul, together making great progress in the spread of the Gospel of the Lord.

On one occasion, Paul and Barnabas were mistaken for gods and nearly stoned to death:

At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (Here they are mistaken for gods, and the crowds wish to offer sacrifices to them.) 14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15"Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." (Acts 14: 1-3; 14-17)

At the Council at Jerusalem, Barnabas (demonstrating his characteristic love of all peoples) defended the claims of the Gentile Christians. He later he returned to Antioch with Paul, but later they parted company. Barnabas continued to travel widely, as in later epistles, Paul mentions him as if he were known to the Galatians, the Corinthians, and possibly the Colossians. After traveling to Italy, Saint Barnabas returned to Cyrus, where he was martyred at Salamis by stoning while preaching in the synagogue. His body was buried by Saint John Mark (his younger cousin), and his relics were housed in a monastery built at the place of his death. He remains the patron saint of Cyprus.

The witness and life of Saint Barnabas reminds us of the importance of humility, encouragement, and acceptance of everyone, regardless of our differences. Saint Barnabas saw the good in all he encountered. His ability to see past Saint Paul’s persecution of Christians, and instead embrace him as a brother changed the face of the Church. Barnabas ministered to all who would listen—Gentile or Jew—at a time when great prejudices existed. His support and encouragement to those around him, as well as his pleasure at diminishing himself to increase the glory of the Lord, are lessons we could all benefit from in our society built upon recognition of individual accomplishments. How many opportunities to serve the Lord have we missed due to our need for recognition, or own pride, or our prejudices about those in need? Saint Barnabas, pray for us!

God our Father,
You filled Saint Barnabas with faith and the Holy Spirit and sent him to convert the nations. Help us to proclaim the Gospel by word and deed.

Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Most Holy Spirit, Saint Barnabas was converted shortly after Pentecost, and he gave up all his possessions in order to detach from the world and follow the way of Christ to Heaven. His helpful, compassionate and optimistic nature inspired other new Christians, including Saint Paul. I ask him to pray for my attitudes. Loving God, help me to convert any negativity that's within me into an optimism that comes from hoping and trusting in You. Deliver me from selfishness and turn it into a generosity that benefits the people who need my help. Anoint me to become an inspiration for others. Saint Barnabas, pray for me. Amen.


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