Saints Acestes, Longinus, and Megistus (died 67), Roman soldiers and Martyr of the Church. According to Holy Legend, these three brave men were the soldiers assigned to convey Saint Paul to his martyrdom.
On the journey from the prison to the place of execution, these three soldiers were struck by the joy that Saint Paul emoted, and impressed by his courage and commitment to his cause. Confused, they questioned him, asking Paul who this king was—a king that he loved so much he was willing to die for so joyfully and courageously.
Today, on the feast of Saints Acestes, Longinus, and Megistus, we pray for courage and strength to bear witness to the Gospel, and openness to those we encounter, that we may understand their needs, hear their stories, and genuinely interact in the spirit of Christ.
Dear God, give me courage,
for perhaps I lack it more than anything else.
I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.
I need courage to bear unkindness,
I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.
I need Your help, dear God.
Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.
Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven.
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."