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."
In the days leading up to Good Friday, I will be meditating on the Seven Last Words of Christ.
Lent is a time of solemn contemplation of the Passion of Christ. We may choose to meditate, contemplate, or pray on His suffering for us. One way in which me might do this is through devotion to His Seven Last Words—the seven final phrases uttered by Christ as recounted in the Gospels. These Seven Last Words of the Passion of Christ are understood only in light of the true one Word of Life and Resurrection—the phrases uttered by Jesus before His death take on new life and new meaning following the glory of His resurrection. We sit with the pain and loss of crucifixion during Lent, but look forward to the brightness of new life on Easter.
1. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
2. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
3. “Woman, Behold your Son. Behold your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mark 15:34)
5. “ I thirst.” (John 19:29)
6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
But if we look a little deeper, we realize something incredible about this phrase. Jesus spoke this before He was crucified, before the humiliation of hanging on a cross for public display, before the outrage of His death. He came into this world to bring forgiveness, to create new life from death, to make the barren wood of the cross flower with abundance. And this is the bittersweet mystery of Christ’s act of sacrifice—we are forgiven, despite the fact that we are the ones who killed Him.
We are forgiven.
We don’t need to ask for it.
We don’t need to earn it.
We don’t need to do anything.
We are forgiven.
God has forgiven us our many sins. But this only serves to remind us that we, too, need to forgive—others who wrong us, and more importantly, ourselves for our won wrongdoings. In forgiveness, we find the sorrow of the cross, and the joy of the resurrection.