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."

February 15: Saint Claude la Colombière

Posted by Jacob

February 15 marks the feast day of Jesuit priest and devotee to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Claude la Colombière (born 1641, died 1682). Claude was a reluctant saint, born into a middle class family in southeastern France. He excelled at studies, and enjoyed the company of his family and friends, social activities, and the explosion of arts and literature occurring at the time. While he felt called to God, in his early writings, he noted “a terrible aversion for the life embraced.”

Saint Claude spent numerous years in study, first in rhetoric and philosophy, than in grammar and literature, finally in theology. He taught at various colleges throughout France, educated the children of nobles, and was recognized for his poise, tact, and effective teaching style. After taking his vows, he became known for decisive homilies. They were easy to understand, but faithful to their inspiration from the Gospel. He solidly communicated to his listeners the serenity and confidence in God, which he so ably nurtured within himself. His teachings brought many to Christ.

In 1674, Saint Claude, following prayer and meditation, vowed to observe the rules of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits. He joyfully embraced the vows of the order, eloquently put forth by Saint Ignatius of Loyola: “Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine."

In February 1675, he was re-assigned as the Rector of the College at Paray-le-Monial, a secluded area, far from the reach of crowds where such a proficient homilist might be useful. However, in Paray was a small convent, the Monastery of the Visitation, where a humble sister, Margaret Mary Alacoque, required spiritual direction. Saint Margaret Mary, known for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, had been receiving visitations from Our Lord, revealing the treasures of his Heart. She was struggling to make sense of her visions, understand her role, and was worried and anguished about how to proceed. During her visitations, the Lord had promised to send her "My faithful servant and perfect friend" to help her undertake her calling: revealing to the world the unfathomable riches of his love.

Saint Margaret Mary had several visitations from our Lord in the years leading up to Saint Claude’s arrival and role as her confessor and spiritual director. During these meetings with Christ, He encouraged her to lay her head on His chest, listening to His Sacred Heart, and revealing the mysteries of His unfathomable love. Per Margaret Mary’s reports to Father Claude, Jesus further requested honor under the figure of His Sacred Heart, reception of frequent Eucharist, and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament as reparation of sins. Finally, during what has come to be known as the “great apparition,” Jesus said to Saint Margaret Mary, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude..." Jesus urged a feast day of reparation, as well as continued prayer and Eucharist.

Upon meeting her, Saint Claude immediately recognized her humble sanctity, and acknowledged the truth of her claims. She told him of her communications with the Lord, which he encouraged her to write down in detail. Convinced through prayer and meditation that it was the will of God for others to hear of these communications, he later compiled these visions into a book, and devoted himself to spreading the message of God’s love.

“The love of Our Lord’s Heart was in no way diminished by the treason of Judas, the flight of the apostles, and the persecution of his enemies. Jesus was only grieved at the harm they did themselves; His sufferings helped to assuage His grief because He saw in tham a remedy for the sins committed by His enemies. The Sacred Heart was full of most tender love; there was no bitterness in it; no creulty and injustice that He received moved it to feelings other than those of compassion and affection.”

After 18 months In Paray, Saint Claude was re-assigned to London, England, having been appointed as confessor to the Duchess of York. He took up residence in the Palace of Saint James, continuing to deliver powerful sermons and spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart. The English weather did not agree with him, and he was frequently ill, a pulmonary disease causing significant pain. However, he embraced his suffering, continuing to preach and brought many back to the Church.

Saint Claude continued his good work in England until 1678 when he, along with many priests and religious, were accused of involvment in a “Papist Plot” to assasinate and wrest power from King Charles II. Saint Claude was thrown into prison, where he languished in horrible conditions, until the intervention of the Duchess of York and King Louis XIV. He was released and returned to France, but his imprisonment had taken a serious toll on his health. He rapidly deteriorated, and died on the first Sunday of Lent in 1682. He is considered a “dry martyr,” having long-suffered for the Lord.

When the news reached the Visitation monastery on the following morning, Saint Margaret Mary immediately urged her community: “Pray for him and get everyone else to pray for him.” However, at sometime around eleven that morning, she stopped praying, smiling, and declared: “Stop worrying about him. Invoke him; have no fear, he is more powerful than ever to help you.” The prioress of the order, Mother M. Greyfie, gently inquired as to why she had felt the urge to stop praying. Generally, Margaret Mary would ask for prayers or mortifications when someone died. Saint Margaret Mary replied with an expression of great joy: “Father La Colombière has no further need of them. He is now in a position to pray for us, so well placed is he in heaven by the goodness and mercy of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.”

Devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus only grew. Saint Margaret Mary continued to seek the intercession of Saint Claude for the next eight years, until she died, praying, “O Blessed Father Claude la Colombiere, I take you for my intercessor before the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Obtain for me from his goodness the grace not to resist the designs he has on my soul, and to make me a more perfect imitator of the virtues of his divine heart.”

Saint Claude la Colombière is recognized for his important decisions, decisions that may be helpful to contemplate as we enter the Lenten season: 1) to sacrifice his earthly desires to serve the Lord; 2) to honor his call to the vows of the Jesuits; 3) to recognize the truth in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and propagate the devotion; 4) to go where the Lord would have him, suffering without complaint; and 5) to continue unafraid and undeterred in preaching the Good News. Saint Claude la Colombière never lost sight of the Lord, never gave up hope, never let his confidence be shaken. How often can we say the same of ourselves?

Saint Claude De La Colombiere: An Act of Hope and Confidence in God

My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thess, and that we can want fo rnothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thess; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moments of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. "For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope." This confidence can never be in vain. "No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded."

I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. "In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded."

I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded."

Day 46 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Confidence and Hope in the Lord
Requested Intentions: For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L); For a niece suffering with autism, and for all those affected by autism (V); For a daughter’s employment (J); For a son’s employment and growth in faith (M); Those planning for surgery (L); Those who are unemployed or in danger of losing jobs (A).
Special Intentions (Day 5 of 45-day Novena to Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes): The intentions of all those who read this blog, whether submitted or retained in the quiet of their hearts; Penance, Penance, Penance for sinners; For all those who are suffering.


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