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."


April 30: Saint Aimo, Model of Charity

Posted by Jacob


Today we celebrate the feast day of a lesser-known saint, Saint Aimo (died 1137).  Saint Aimo was a monk, born near Rennes, France, in a difficulty time of poverty and sickness.  As a young man, he entered the Benedictine monastery at Savigny, France (in modern-day Normandy).  There, he demonstrated his charity and love for all those in the community.

Of particular note, Saint Aimo fearlessly ministered to members of the community who were afflicted with Leprosy.  Given his seeming lack of personal fear, and confidence and joy in his work, his superiors assumed that he, too, was infected with the dreaded illness.  As such, he was segregated from the community, as was the practice in that day, and spent his days as a laybrother in humble service to the ill.

Over time, his superiors realized that he was not infected with leprosy.  Saint Aimo, who never complained at his isolation, was eventually returned to the general population of the community, selected to become a priest, and ordained.  He went on to preach charitable kindness and experience mystical ecstacies.

The life of Saint Aimo reminds us all of our call to service, charity, and love for one another.  All too often, we may refrain from helping others, either out of concern for ourselves, our health, the appearance it might give to others, or our own financial security.  As with Saint Aimo, we must remember that the Lord will care for us and provide for us, as we do for our brothers and sisters.  Today, we pray for charitable hearts open to the needs of those in our community and our world.


O my Jesus, Thou who art very Love, 
enkindle in my heart that Divine Fire 
which consumes the Saints and transforms them into Thee. 

O 
Lord our God, 
we offer Thee our hearts 
united in the strongest and most sincere love of brotherhood; 
we pray that 
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament 
may be the daily food of our souls and bodies; 
that 
Jesus may be established as the center of our affections,
even as He was for 
Mary and Joseph.
Finally, O Lord, may 
sin never disturb our union on earth; 
and may we be eternally united in 
heaven with Thee 
and 
Mary and Joseph and with all Thy Saints.


Amen.


Prayer Requests: End to financial difficulties, successful business opportunities (P); Resolution of immigration difficulties (A); Healing, continued employment, grace in old age (S); For personal and family intentions (M); Success in academics, family life, and faith (C); Healing of a father with lung infection (L); Healing of a brother with cancer (S); Healing of a relationship with the Lord (L); Employment for a son, end to anxiety and financial stress for a family (M); Blessing upon a relationship and marriage (A); Blessing and early release from jail for a son, restoration of a marriage (B); Comfort and healing for a sick sister and colleague (M); Guidance and the Lord’s will in a new career (C); For healing in a relationship (A); For healing of depression (B); Resolution of a medical condition (J); For Blessings upon a marriage (S); Healing of a son with a congenital heart defect (J); Grace in relationships (A); Blessings and healing upon a mentally ill daughter, peace and comfort for family (M); Success in academic endeavors, successful passing of important examination (R); Blessings upon an unborn child, mother, and family (A); End to pain and anxiety, freedom from cancer (J); Health, healing, and grace in relationships (S); Success of overseas work (M); Blessings upon a family (S); End to legal difficulties, healing (K); Grace in relationship (M); Blessings upon a relationship (C); Restoration of a relationship (P); Blessings upon a father, academic success for children (J); Blessings upon a family (K); Healing, strength (S); Healing of stomach and mental health issues, strength for medical tests (M); Employment for granddaughter (C); Restoration of a marriage (J); For a young man discerning vocations (P); Continued successful employment (E); Successful Employment (P); Successful employment (L); Healing upon a husband and a relationship (E); Success in legal situation (J); healing, freedom from pain, successful employment, financial recovery (A); Financial security (C); Resolution to financial and legal difficulties (B); Academic success for children, occupational security (C); Resolution to immigration and employment challenges (K); Restoration of a marriage (M);

April 22: Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu, Model of Christian Unity

Posted by Jacob



In simplicity of heart I gladly offer everything, O Lord.
The Lord put me on this path, he will remember to sustain me in battle.
To His mercy I entrust my frailty.
I saw in front of me a big cross..., I thought that my sacrifice was nothing in comparison to His.
I offered myself entirely and I do not withdraw the given word.
God's will whatever it may be, this is my joy, my happiness, my peace.
I will never be able to thank enough.
I cannot say but these words:" My God, your Glory."

(Blessed Maria Gabriella )

Today we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu (1914-1939), a Trappestine nun who gave her life in service of Christian unity.  From the Trappist webiste:But who is Blessed Maria Gabriella? She is a young girl from Sardinia, in Italy, who died in 1939 at the Trappist monastery of Grottaferrata on the outskirts of Rome, at the age of 25. Like many another young man or woman she had accepted the gentle but compelling call of God to give her youth and life to Him. She entered a poor and hidden monastery and after three and a half years of prayer and penance died of the tuberculosis which had sapped her strong constitution. The only thing she had at her command was her life and this she offered as a holocaust to heal divisions and make all Christians visibly "one" in Christ. Her brief but total gift of herself was lived without any self-pity or regret. Outwardly, her life was insignificant, but through a series of events hard to explain in human terms, God used her to make known the beginning of the ecumenical movement in Italy and then, in the late 30's, the universal call to Christian Unity. In his encyclical "Ut unum sint" John Paul II pointed to her as an outstanding example of spiritual ecumenism.”

Blessed Maria was born in Sardinia, to a family of shepherds.  She was an obstinate and critical child, finding fault in most everything, and protesting and rebelling against her parents.  With their gentle persuasion, she grew into a loyal and obedient young woman, and at the age of 18 became involved in the local Catholic youth movement, “Azione Cattolic.”    She later reported this involvement to lead to a personal encounter with the Lord, but refused to speak more specifically about the event.  Rather, she dedicated herself to Him, wishing a life of deep prayer and charity, and entering the Trappestine monastery at Grottaferrata (near Rome).  There her life appears to have been dominated by three elements: gratitude, desire to respond to the grace of her calling with strength, and Christian Unity—to which she dedicated her life.  Upon acceptance into the order, she gave herself over completely to the Lord, saying, “Now do what You will.”

The overwhelming devotion to Christian unity espoused by Blessed Maria appears to have stemmed from the encouragement of the leader of her religious community, Father Paul Couturier.  He encouraged the community to pray for ecumenical unity during the Prayer for Unity Octave, and from that moment, she demonstrated a single-mindedness in offering both her prayers and her life to this cause.  Maria sought to reduce the separation and disagreement between Christian branches, uniting them in service to Christ.
At age 23, following her offering of her life to the Lord for this cause, Maria was struck ill with tuberculosis.  Until that day, she had enjoyed perfect health.  For 15 months, Maria spent her days in agony, offering her suffering and life for unity.  On April 23rd. 1939, her long agony ended in total abandonment to the will of God.  Her body, found intact on the occasion of the recognition in 1957, now rests in a chapel adjoining the monastery of Vitorchiano, where her community of Grottaferrata transferred.




Pope John Paul II proclaimed:

Praying for unity is not a matter reserved only to those who actually experience the lack of unity among Christians. In the deep personal dialogue which each of us must carry on with the Lord in prayer, concern for unity cannot be absent. Only in this way, in fact, will that concern fully become part of the reality of our life and of commitments we have taken on in the Church. It was in order to reaffirm this duty that I set before the faithful of the Catholic Church a model which I consider exemplary, the model of a Trappestine Sister, Blessed Maria Gabriella of Unity, whom I beatified on 25 January 1983. Sister Maria Gabriella, called by her vocation to be apart from the world, devoted her life to meditation and prayer centered on Chapter 17 of Saint John's Gospel and offered her life for Christian Unity. This is truly the cornerstone of all prayer: the total and unconditional offering of one’s life to the Father; through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The example of Sister Mara Gabriella is instructive; it helps us to understand that there are no special times, situations, or places of prayer for unity. Christ's prayer to the Father is offered as a model for everyone, always and everywhere."


Today, we join the prayers of Blessed Maria Gabriella, in praying for Christian unity both within our congregations and between the braches of the Churches of Christ.


0 God, eternal Shepherd, who inspired Blessed
Maria Gabriella, virgin, to offer her life for the
unity of all Christians, grant that through her
intercession, the day may be hastened in which
all believers in Christ, gathered around the table
of your Word and of your Bread, may praise you
with one heart and one voice. Through Christ
our Lord.


Prayer for Christian Unity
Lord God, eternal Shepherd, You inspired the blessed virgin, Maria Gabriella, generously to offer up her life for the sake of Christian unity. At her intercession, hasten, we pray, the coming of the day when, gathered around the table of Your word and of Your Bread from heaven, all who believe in Christ may sing Your praises with a single heart, a single voice.

April 12: Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes

Posted by Jacob

Today, we remember Chile’s first saint on the feast day of Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes (1900-1920). Teresa was born in Santiago de Chile to a middle class family. Christened Juana, and nicknamed “Juanita,” she was educated by the French nuns of the Sacred Heart, where she read the biography of Carmelite mystic Saint Therese of Lisieux.


By all accounts, Juanita led a typical childhood, embracing her education, learning to play the piano, experiencing a close relationship with her sister. She developed a friendship with a neighborhood boy, but eventually ended the friendship, instead consecrating herself to Christ. At the age of 14, Juanita took a 9-day vow of virginity, which she subsequently renewed every day. Her love for the Lord was overwhelming, and following her first Eucharist she thought of little else. At 14 she entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Los Andes (about 90 kilometers from her family home).
At that time, at just age 14, Juanita wrote to her sister in a letter: "How happy I am, my dear sister! I've been captured in the loving nets of The Divine Fisherman. I wish I could make you understand this happiness. I can say with certainty that I am His promised one and that very soon we will celebrate our betrothal in Carmel. I'm going to be a Carmelite. What do you think?.... I've give myself over to Him. On the 8th of December I promised myself to Him. It's impossible to say how much I love Him. My mind is filled with Him alone. He is my Ideal, an infinite ideal. I long for the day when I can go to Carmel to devote myself to Him alone, to abase myself before Him and to live His life alone: to love and suffer that I may save souls. Yes. I thirst for souls because I know that is what my Jesus longs for more than anything else. Oh, I love Him!"

As a novice, Juanita was given the name Teresa de Jesus. She relayed to her confessor that Jesus had spoken to her at her First Eucharist—something that at the time she assumed happened to everyone. He had called her to Himself, but also revealed to her that she would die young and join Him in heaven. She relayed her vision with happiness and peace, confident in her love of the Lord, and ready to meet Him. While on earth, Teresa rarely complained, but rather lived her life to spread the love of the Lord. When she was only 19, Teresa fell ill from Typhus, which she painfully struggled with for six months prior to her death.
Saint Teresa wrote, "How great is the mission opening up before me! It's universal, and I'm so incapable of fulfilling it. But He, my adored Spouse, is with me and will give me the strength to sacrifice myself and pour out all my heart's blood mystically each day, because a Carmelite must die at every moment for her own soul and for all souls. What purity my vocation demands, always united with God. To live my whole life in a divine atmosphere. What recollection, what uninterrupted adoration. What peace. How inflamed with love is the soul espoused to the Crucified One! What poverty and detachment of heart and spirit, and what obedience and submission of our being! Carmelite ... How incapable l am, Father, to fit the pattern offered me by my Divine Spouse and my Most Holy Mother."

Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes is remembered for an extraordinary love, intelligence, and commitment to the Lord. Despite being young, she was a witness of Christ’s love and grace throughout her life. Prior to entering the convent at Los Andes, her classmates and siblings recognized her as different. They were drawn to her, and she to them in the friendship and love of Christ. Serving as a model for those she encountered, Saint Teresa de Jesus demonstrated constant virtue, acceptance, and confidence in the Lord, wedding herself to Him, and living for Him each moment of her life until her early death. She was fond of saying, "Christ so foolish in his love, has driven me madly in love!”

Saint Teresa wrote to her brother, shortly before her death: “My time is not my own. I gave away everything I had. Even my own will! I must do everything Our Lord asks of me moment by moment... What a joy! How happy I find myself in sacrificing everything for God! It's all nothing in comparison with the way Our Savior sacrificed Himself from the cradle to the Cross and from the Cross to the point of annihilating Himself under the form of bread till the end of time. Oh, how great is this infinite love. A love unknown, a love not returned by most of humanity.”

The short, yet intensely holy, life of Saint Teresa de Jesus de Los Andes inspires us to re-center ourselves on our gracious Lord—to live and breathe for Him, to sacrifice for Him, to love Him by loving each other. Saint Teresa was open to the call of the Lord, even at age 10 during her First Eucharist. Are we open to hearing His call?


Easter: Resurrection, Redemption, and New Life

Posted by Jacob

Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate with great joy the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ! Alleluia! The Resurrection of the Lord is also the first Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary. We can imagine that Our Blessed Mother, Mary, having been foretold of His birth by an angel, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and suffered with Him as he died on the cross, knew that Her Son, Our Lord, was unlike any other. Her heart—the heart of a mother—died with Christ, but like ourselves, was reborn in the Resurrection!


We, like Christ, die a thousand times in sin, rising again in the forgiveness of Our Lord. Monsignor Romano Guardini writes, “This dying and entombing of the old self is a constant process within us through every struggle against evil, through every conquest of self, through every suffering which is bravely borne, through every sacrifice of love and charity. But through this dying of the old self, the resurrection of the new man is also accomplished.” We are reminded on Easter Sunday that our own lives must be those of conversion and resurrection. That our daily pain and struggle against sin brings us closer to the newness of life. After the pain of Good Friday, and the silent waiting of Holy Saturday, we find the love and forgiveness of the Lord on Easter morning.


1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8Then they remembered his words.



9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.


17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"


19"What things?" he asked.

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."

25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"


33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. (Luke 24:1-35)

Jesus is risen, just as He told the disciples He would. Of course, they did not quite understand. More interestingly, they didn’t recognize Him. He was mistaken for a traveler and a gardener. He was mistaken for just an ordinary man. And only when He revealed himself, only when the disciples were given reason to search their hearts and view Him with opened eyes, did they perceive the presence of the Lord.

That may be the message of Easter. The Lord resides within each one of us. He resides in you. He resides in me. Through the Resurrection, we are able to find him both within ourselves and within those we come in contact with. And finding Him there, we are called to live lives of His love, peace, and forgiveness—with ourselves, and with all those we come in contact with. During Lent we embrace penance and self-denial. In the newness of Easter, we offer the all-encompassing love, acceptance and forgiveness, first to ourselves (as Christ is there waiting for us in our hearts!) and then to others. Through the Resurrection we are made new, we are changed, we are blessed. Through the Resurrection we are filled with the grace of God and the Holy Spirit. Through the Resurrection we recognize the Lord in our lives, in our bodies, in our neighbors.


Easter Sunday reminds us to have hearts of conversion and transformation. It reminds us that Jesus Christ, Our Lord, is within each of us—all we have to do is recognize Him there. And it reminds us that our beliefs, the very core of our faith, is the Resurrection. Without belief in the Resurrection, we are nothing. But by believing, we become members of the Body of Christ, His Church on earth, and we revel in the promise of everlasting love!



12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.


20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. (1 Corinthians 15: 12-21)


Alleluia! Alleluia!



He is not here! He is risen from the grave. Alleluia!

Posted by Jacob


He is not here!
He is risen from the grave.
Alleluia!

Wishing you all a Blessed and Joy-filled Easter!

"Sepulcher:" A Poem for Holy Saturday

Posted by Jacob


“SEPULCHER” 
 George Herbert

Oh blessed body!  Whither art thou thrown?
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
                                      Receive thee?




Sure there is room within our hearts good store;
For they can lodge transgressions by the score:
Thousands of trifling things dwell there, yet out of door
                                      They leave thee.

But that which shows them large, shows them unfit.
Whatever sin did this pure rock commit,
Which holds thee now?   Who hath indicted it
                                      Of murder?

Where our hard hearts have took up stones to brain thee,
And missing this, most falsely did arraign thee;
Only these stones in quiet entertain thee,
                                      And order.

And as of old, the law by heav’nly art,
Was writ in stone;  so thou, which also art
The letter of the word, find’st no fit heart
                                      To hold thee.

Yet do we still persist as we began,
And so should perish, but that nothing can,
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
                                      Withhold thee.





Holy Saturday: Waiting in Silence

Posted by Jacob

Holy Saturday.

The bleakest of days.

Holy Saturday marks the day after. It is the day that the disciples of Jesus stood in shock, in horror, in guilt, in sadness, in utter desolation. It was a day of mourning, of fear, and of silence-- complete silence, as if the entire world had gone quiet. As if the Lord, Himself, had grown silent.

For the disciples, it was a day of hopelessness. All that they had hoped in, all that they had believed, all that they had expected to come to pass had died on a cross. They were deserted. They didn’t know what would happen next. They were afraid.

And they waited.

The first disciples of Jesus didn’t have the hope-giving knowledge that we do. They didn’t know what was about to transpire, how the world was to be changed forever. It is this knowledge that we have that allows us to continue on, to hope, to look forward to the glorious new day about to dawn.

But the disciples sat in disbelief and grief. They no longer had anything to hope in. They sat in silence, hearts broken, lives shattered.

Today, we know the truth. We know that the Lord answered their silence with the most profound of words- Resurrection. We know that by tomorrow, the tomb will be empty and Jesus will have risen in glorious triumph over death. And yet, like the first disciples, we remain silent all too often in our lives. We lose hope all too often. We despair all too often. We turn away from the promise of Christ all too often.

And on Holy Saturday we are reminded of this. Good Friday reminds us that our loving God died for our sins and saved us. Holy Saturday reminds us that despite this, we lose faith and turn from God every day in small ways. And Easter Sunday reminds us that God continues to love us, regardless of our sins. He is our light in the time of darkness, our comfort in the time of pain, our hope in the time of loneliness, fear, and despair.

Tomorrow, like the disciples of Christ, we will run joyfully to the empty tomb. But today, Holy Saturday, we are called to sit in our pain. We are called to sit in our loneliness, taking final stock of our lives prior to the dawning of Easter. We are called to pause, while the entire world groans in the pain and suffering of uncertainty and loss. We are called to wait, in silence, for the coming of Our Lord.



22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8: 22-27)






Lenten and Triduum Prayer Requests

Posted by Jacob

During Lent and the beginning of Triduum, I have recieved a significant number of prayer requests.  I am humbled and privileged to lift these requests in prayer to Our Lord, through the gracious intercession of Our Blessed Mother.  I invite you all to join me in remembering one or more of the intentions below during your Easter prayers.

For healing of depression (B); Resolution of a medical condition (J); For Blessings upon a marriage (S); Healing of a son with a congenital heart defect (J); Grace in relationships (A); Blessings and healing upon a mentally ill daughter, peace and comfort for family (M); Success in academic endeavors, successful passing of important examination (R); Blessings upon an unborn child, mother, and family (A); End to pain and anxiety, freedom from cancer (J); Health, healing, and grace in relationships (S); Success of overseas work (M); Blessings upon a family (S); End to legal difficulties, healing (K); Grace in relationship (M); Blessings upon a relationship (C); Restoration of a relationship (P); Blessings upon a father, academic success for children (J); Blessings upon a family (K); Healing, strength (S); Healing of stomach and mental health issues, strength for medical tests (M); Employment for granddaughter (C); Restoration of a marriage (J); For a young man discerning vocations (P); Continued successful employment (E); Successful Employment (P); Successful employment (L); Healing upon a husband and a relationship (E); Success in legal situation (J); healing, freedom from pain, successful employment, financial recovery (A); Financial security (C); Resolution to financial and legal difficulties (B); Academic success for children, occupational security (C); Resolution to immigration and employment challenges (K); Restoration of a marriage (M); Reunification (I); Healing and comfort for a father diagnosed with cancer, strength for caregivers (T); Academic success (G); Healing, clarity of faith (S); Healing for mother and children, blessed relationships (D); For a wife diagnosed with cancer and the husband caring for her (E); Blessings upon a relationship (S); Healing upon a family, conversion of children (J); Successful employment (M); Successful employment (J); Freedom from anxiety, end to legal troubles (M); Healing and comfort for a terminally ill friend, strength for caregivers (J); Successful examination (M); Healing of an eye disease (S); For conversion of neighbors (C); successful employment, financial security (D).

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion of Our Lord

Posted by Jacob

Today, Good Friday, Jesus continues His steady march toward death, bringing us ever closer to forgiveness and new life. On the eve of His suffering, Holy Thursday, Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and then taken Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden of Gethsemane. There, He prayed in agony until His arrest.


Jesus has been tried and condemned to death. He has been mocked and painfully scourged. He has endured the humiliation of a mock coronation, designed to make Him less than human, but only succeeding in elevating His divinity. He has carried our burdens on the long way of pain to Golgotha.

And then Our Lord was crucified.  The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary.


28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." (John 19: 28-37)

Over the course of this Lenten season, I have meditated on the Seven Last Words of Christ, which has taken me through the moments of His crucifixion. And I have addressed the pain, the sorrow, the torture, and the agony in those posts, all portions of the crucifixion that can not be forgotten. As I write this post, I feel it nearly impossible to summarize my thoughts, but feel drawn not to the sadness of the cross, but to the gift that it holds for each of us.

Jesus, in the moments leading up to His death—a death which He clearly died for us—is still thinking of others. He comforts His mother and the disciple whom He loved, he offers redemption to the “good thief,” He draws us all to Himself in His suffering, reaching into the darkest void of sin and death, and converting it to an unending well of grace. In His death, Jesus creates a new world, a reborn world, a world where sin no longer has the power it usurped in the Garden of Eden.

And as the world is reborn, so, too are we. We are freed from the burdens of sin that we carry in our own personal Via Delarosa. We need only look within ourselves, contemplating our own suffering, and we see the joyful sacrifice of the Lord on the cross—He who suffered for us, did so willingly, freely, joyfully. He ransomed us from slavery.

He set us free.


The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Way of the Cross

Posted by Jacob

Today, Good Friday, Jesus continues His steady march toward death, bringing us ever closer to forgiveness and new life. On the eve of His suffering, Holy Thursday, Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and then taken Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden of Gethsemane. There, He prayed in agony until His arrest.


Jesus has been tried and condemned to death. He has been mocked and painfully scourged. He has endured the humiliation of a mock coronation, designed to make Him less than human, but only succeeding in elevating His divinity. And now, He must endure the Way of the Cross, the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary.


16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). (John 19: 16-17)


Saint Luke, in his Gospel, tells us a bit more about Jesus' journey along the Via Delarosa.
26As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30Then " 'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"
and to the hills, "Cover us!"’ 31For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (Luke 19: 26-31)

The Way of the Cross, The Way of Sadness, the Via Delarosa.

Jesus, taking upon Himself all the sins of the world, all the sadness and pain of those around Him, climbs to Golgotha. His burden is enormous—not the crossbar of the cross, which physically would have been too heavy for Him following the vicious scourging, but the spiritual and emotional burden he bore for us. Everything that Jesus carried up that hill, surrounded by the triumphant Romans, observed by the confused citizens, was marked by the stain of sin—rendered cumbersome, unwieldy, heavy. Too heavy for us. But not too heavy for He who loved us.

We can’t even begin to imagine the heaviness of His burden, or the heaviness of His steps. Each step brought Him closer to His final torment, His final torture, His human death. But each step also brought Him closer to the completion of His mission of love and forgiveness for us. This is clear, that even in the midst of the shadow of pain and sin that hung over Him on his long walk to the cross, He is thinking of us. Jesus stops to comfort the women of Jerusalem. “Weep not for me,” He says, “But for yourselves and your children.” He is predicting the final judgment. He is still, on His way to His death, calling those He is sacrificing for to repentance-- just as He continues to call us to repentance today.

Luke tells us in his Gospel that Jesus had some help. A man from the crowd, who theologians tell us becomes a respected elder in the earliest Christian church along with his sons following the crucifixion, is conscripted to assist Jesus. He lightens the load of Christ in a physical way, even if for just a moment. We are called to do the same for others, in our daily lives. And in doing for others, we are doing for Jesus.


The footsteps of Christ are heavy… And for us, we too dread the final steps of His journey to Golgotha. We walk with Him, on the streets of Jerusalem that are wet with His blood. We know what awaits Him. And we know what awaits us on Good Friday.

And then the hopelessness, desolation, and waiting of Holy Saturday.

But through our faith, through the love that the Lord has for us, we also know what awaits us on Easter morning. Even as we prepare for the horror of the crucifixion, we set our eyes firmly on the dawn of forgiveness, for that is the only thing that gives us the strength to continue on.

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

Posted by Jacob

Today, Good Friday, Jesus continues His steady march toward death, bringing us ever closer to forgiveness and new life. On the eve of His suffering, Holy Thursday, Jesus had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and then taken Peter, James, and John with Him to the garden of Gethsemane. There, He prayed in agony until His arrest.


Jesus has been tried and condemned to death. He has been mocked and painfully scourged. And now He must endure the humiliation of the Roman soldiers, drawing upon Himself the vanity, pride, and rebellion hidden in the hearts of all mankind. The Crowning with Thorns is the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary.
16The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" 19Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. (Mark 15: 16-20)



The crown of thorns may not have physically hurt Jesus—this is something that Biblical scholars disagree on. Some insist that the sharp thorns pierced the scalp (and even the skull) of Our Lord, oftentimes depicted in art. Others suggest that this crown of thorns was, in reality, a decorative garland used in royal ceremonies, and that by the soldiers placing in on the head of Jesus, it was a final act of mockery, degradation, and insult.

Whatever the case, the audience of Jesus in front of the Roman soldiers serves to strip Our Lord of His dignity, to make a farce out of His claims, to nullify the power of God. But we know this not to be the case. As the Roman soldiers judge Him, we know that Jesus sits in judgment of all. As they hurt Him, we know that He is the great healer. As they make Him less than human, we know that He is divine.

The crowning with thorns reminds us of our pride and our vanity. It reminds us that when we judge others, mock others, insult others, degrade others, we are re-enacting the humiliation of the Roman soldiers. We are reminded that the Lord allowed Himself to be brought low for our sins, because He loves us. We are reminded that everything we have belongs to Him and everything we do comes from Him. We are reminded that despite our cruelty, Jesus is Our Lord, and wears not a crown of thorns, but one of radiant light!