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 22, 2013: Saint Nicholas Owen

Posted by Jacob

Today, March 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Nicholas Owen (born, unknown; died 1606). Born into a poor, but devout Catholic family in England in the late 16th century, Nicholas worked tirelessly throughout his life as a skilled carpenter, building hiding places throughout the region to protect priests and religious from persecution. Despite the active persecution of the Church under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, two of Nicholas’ brothers became Catholic priests, one printed and distributed Catholic literature. Nicholas, drawing upon his skills, aiding the survival of the faith in another way.

While little is known about his life, other than his works, it is clear that Nicholas never took formal vows. However, during his work for first Saint Edmund Campion, and later Fathers Garnet and Gerard, Nicholas was schooled in the Jesuit traditions. He was made a lay brother of the order in 1577, and served both priests throughout his life.

Saint Nicholas first drew the attention of the authorities following the martyrdom of Saint Edmund. He spoke out adamantly about the treatment that Edmund had received, as well as the atrocity his death. As a result, he was imprisoned, but released shortly afterwards. Prior to his death, Saint Edmund had initiated the work that would occupy Nicholas through most of his life. By day, he would build, repair, and undertake “legitimate” construction on the large homes that housed the religious, and by night would craft secret rooms and hiding places, finding and reinforcing subterranean passages, small spaces between walls, impenetrable recesses. He always worked alone, and no records were kept of his constructions. So intricate and creative were the designs, it is likely that some have never been discovered to this day. His gift of design and construction was such that he even assisted in the escape of two Jesuit priests, Fathers Garnet and Gerard, from the Tower of London, assumed to be impenetrable.
Father Garnet, who himself had employed Nicholas in building hiding places, described him in 1596 as “a carpenter of singular faithfulness and skill who has traveled through almost the entire kingdom and, without charge, has made for Catholic priests hiding places where they might shelter the fury of heretical searchers. If money is offered him by way of payment he gives it to his two brothers; one of them is a priest, the other a layman in prison for his faith.”

At some point, although it is unclear when, the anti-Catholic authorities discovered one of his secret hiding places, but did not know who had constructed them. Nicholas was arrested on more than one occasion, but always let go, as he refused to give up the names of his Catholic brethren, and his simple and humble demeanor suggested he couldn’t be the “mastermind” responsible. Eventually, however, Nicholas himself was taken to the Tower of London, and mercilessly tortured for days. With chains around his wrists, heavy weights were attached to his feet, and he was hoisted off the ground. A man of short stature, who had a pre-existing hernia due to the heavy work he undertook each day, Nicholas’ stomach split open after many days of hanging, his intestines spilling to the floor. He died after several more hours of excruciating pain, without ever having given up the names of those he protected.

Father Gerard wrote of him, "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular."

Saint Nicholas Owen was a brave and humble man. He recognized that the Lord gives us each a special gift. For Nicholas’ brothers, it was preaching, writing, and printing. But Nicholas embarked on a different path, looking to his hands graced by God, and courageously utilizing them to safeguard His Church. We are reminded by Nicholas Owen that we all possess different abilities, that these abilities all come from the same God, and He is pleased when we use them to honor Him. What are your gifts from God? How often do we recognize these gifts, offer praise and thanksgiving for them, and consciously lift our actions in prayer to the Lord who made us? During this Lenten season, we might pause for reflection, acknowledging our human frailty, and thanking God for all the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Prayer Requests: Week 11

During this week, the most holiest of weeks, please join me in lifting the following intentions  submitted through this blog, to Our Lord and Savior, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother:

End to loneliness, renewed relationship with God (G, United Kingdom);  Successful employment for a husband (S, USA-NM); Successful employment for a son (J, India);  For resolution to difficulties at work for daughter (B, Ireland); Healing of relationships, justice (J, Australia); Healing for a brother-in-law (D, United Arab Emirates); Successful employment for a son (D, USA-MA); Successful academic studies and examinations (L, India); Stable employment, end to suffering, healing, family strength, financial security (S, South Africa); Blessings upon a family, health for a newborn daughter, employment for husband (M, India); For the prayers of the faithful (L, Canada); Financial security, blessings upon a family (A, India); Healing of a father (J, USA-IN); Healing of a father (N, Australia); Blessings upon a suffering world (J, USA-CA); Healing of a friend with cancer (C, USA-GA);  Healing (M, USA-OH);  Healing of a friend (J, USA-CA); Successful employment for one who is struggling (D, India); Safety of those serving overseas, strength in relationships, health of those who are pregnant (C, USA-FL); Successful employment, financial security (S, USA-KS); For an improved relationship with God (C, Nigeria); Resolution to difficult legal situation, finding joy in work, end to depression (J, USA-MO); Blessings upon a sister (E, Nigeria); Successful employment (L, USA-LA).


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