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 7, 2013: Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted by Jacob

Today, we celebrate the feast of Divine Mercy, remembering on the Octave of Easter, the mercy of the Lord. Proclaimed by Pope John Paul II (who is also celebrating beatification today), at the canonization Mass of Saint Faustina, this day “from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.”

Prior to her canonization, Pope John Paul II had actively promoted the message of Saint Faustina, regarding the Divine Mercy of Jesus. Saint Faustina had recorded in her diary the specific devotion to Jesus, given to her by the Lord. She stated that anyone who participates in Mass and receives both the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist on Divine Mercy Sunday, is assured by Jesus of the full remission of their sins. In his encyclical on the Mercy of the Lord, Pope John Paul II developed and explained a spiritual and doctrinal basis for our faith in the mercy of God. By linking the revealed truth about God’s mercy to one of the most solemn Sundays after Easter itself, he illumined the fact that the liturgy already proclaimed the divine mercy. The truth has been embedded for two millennia in the worship of the Church.

Today, during Mass, we sing from Psalm 118, “His mercy endures forever.” In the Gospel of John we remember that gift of “Peace” given to the disciples by the Risen Christ, showing the marks of His suffering and Passion, and demonstrating the saving grace and mercy of His death and resurrection. They, like ourselves, are filled with joy as He provides to the disciples the power of God’s mercy for the sinner, the gift and sacrament we know as Reconciliation: “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Cardinal Justin Rigali of Saint Louis noted regarding Reconciliation, “This beautiful Sacrament was presented to the Church by Christ himself on the day of his Resurrection, hence this Sacrament of Mercy is supremely relevant also in this Easter season.”

As we gather around the table of the Mass, we realize that Divine Mercy Sunday (while possibly given a new name) is not a new feast established to celebrate Saint Faustina's revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about Saint Faustina at all — nor is it altogether a new feast! This solemn Mass recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo about the Easter Octave, which he called "the days of mercy and pardon," and the Octave Day itself "the compendium of the days of mercy."

We may doubt like Thomas. We may struggle and fall. But we can remain confident in the Divine Mercy of the Lord, given to us in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, and present in the sacraments. We need only look to the Eucharist for a vivid reminder of Our Lord’s unending mercy and love, both during the Easter season and throughout the year.


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