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."
Today, May 15, marks the feast day of a saint remembered for his hard work, humility, and visions, Saint Isidore the Farmer (also known as Isidore the Laborer, 1060-1120). Saint Isidore, along with his wife, Saint Maria de la Cabeza (due to the custom of carrying her head in procession to bring down rain in times of drought-- who is sometimes venerated with her husband on May 15, but is commemorated on her own feast day in September), are the patron saints of farmers, good harvest, and humble work in the fields of the Lord.
"Sir, it may be true that I am later at my work than some of the other laborers, but I do my utmost to make up for the few minutes snatched for prayer; I pray you compare my work with theirs, and if you find I have defrauded you in the least, gladly will I make amends by paying you out of my private store." His master, still suspicious, followed Isidore to church one morning, and then back to the fields. Holy legend recounts that upon this occasion (and others), angels came down from Heaven, dressed in white and working the plow behind teams of snow-white oxen in his absence. The angels were three times as productive as a man, so how could an employer complain! Running to Isidore, Senor Vergas questioned him as to who they were. Isidore replied, “Sir, I work alone and know of none save God to whom I look for strength." He continued, "I know, sir, that I am your servant but I have another Master as well, to Whom I owe service and obedience." Recognizing his sanctity, generosity, and humility, and having witnessed these miraculous events, Senor Vergas treated Isidore with the utmost respect throughout his life, looking to him for spiritual guidance and advice.
O God, Who didst give Thy people blessed Isidore as a minister of eternal salvation, we beseech Thee; grant that we may deserve to have him as an intercessor in heaven, whom we had as a teacher of life on earth.
O God, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, revealed yourself the husbandman of our souls, deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.
O God, through the intercession of St. Isidore, the holy Farmer, grant that we may overcome all feelings of pride. May we always serve You with that humility which pleases You, through his merits and example.
O holy Isidore and Maria, continue to intercede for those who work the fields and grow our daily food. Ask our Merciful God to continue to bless their efforts to produce abundant food and fiber.
We ask your prayerful aid in the cultivation of the fields of our hearts. Help us through God’s grace to grow in holiness and accept the grace-filled opportunities God gives to us in our work, our marriages and our everyday lives.
O holy Isidore, intercede with our Lord to send angels to aid us in opening our hearts so that one day, enlightened by God’s wisdom and having grown in God's likeness, we may join you and all the Saints in Heaven.
O Most Holy Trinity, you have created us out of your love. We pray that we will always recognize your presence in all that we are, all that we do, and all that we will become.
Help us realize that your Message of Salvation is found in all of Creation -- the fields, the plants, living water, fresh air, all creatures, love for one another.
We await in joy and hope for the day, O Merciful God, when we will be united with You in your Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.