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."

Lourdes: Personal Reflections

Posted by Jacob

Where to begin writing about Lourdes? It is a difficult task for me, as this spiritual endeavor that I have embarked on is so closely linked to Lourdes. When people ask me how I ended up going on pilgrimage to the grotto, I have no easy answer. Lourdes was not someplace that I had thought about, or really someplace that I knew anything about. I was completely ignorant regarding the history of the Marian apparitions that occurred there, the life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, and the remarkable and miraculous healings that have occurred since. As a psychologist, I could imagine that somewhere, at some point, I was exposed to all of this information, and that slowly, over time, my brain coalesced these random moments of exposure—from conversations, television, readings, perhaps—into a cohesive curiosity that brought me to Lourdes…

… but that’s not what happened.

The Blessed Mother called me to Lourdes. I can find no other explanation that is satisfactory… and this experience is not uncommon. During Reconciliation at Lourdes, the priest I was speaking with offered this insight: “We don’t know why we come here, or what is in store for us. Those things are not important. What is important is that the Blessed Mother calls us to Lourdes for reasons important to her and to the Lord, and we answer her call.”

I visited Lourdes in October 2009, after a chain of events which can only be explained as “a call.” The pilgrimage itself was awesome (in the true sense of the word), and I will write more about that over the next few days as I recount the incredible story of Saint Bernadette. It wasn’t until weeks after my return from Lourdes that the idea for a year of prayer, and this accompanying blog, popped into my head at the most random of times, while I was out for a run on the beach. The thought, which took shape quickly, was accompanied by a feeling of serenity like that I had experienced in the grotto at Lourdes (and at no other time during the course of my life), but seemed impractical and quite demanding. I put it out of my head, and went about my life, busy, preparing for the holidays. On Christmas Day, the feeling came back, and this time I couldn’t avoid it. This time, I no longer wanted to avoid it. And so this incredible spiritual journey began.

Yesterday, the eve of the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, this humble blog hit 500 visitors, representing 22 countries on six continents. 148 Rosaries have been constructed in that time (so many, in fact, that I have run out of supplies and am awaiting a new shipment!). Countless prayer requests, donations, and messages of support and encouragement have been submitted. Only 41 days into this experience, it has already surpassed my expectations, and I thank all of you who visit for contributing. Today, I will start a 54-day Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes. The intentions submitted, as well as those in the hearts of the visitors to this blog, will be lifted in prayer, through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. I will pray for each one of you—those I know and those I don’t know—and that my prayers will be penance for all.

God bless each of you, and may Our Lady of Lourdes bring you comfort and peace.

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, you are the refuge of sinners, the health of the sick, and the comfort of the afflicted.
By your appearances at the Grotto of Lourdes you made it a privileged sanctuary where your favors are given to people streaming to it from the whole world.
Over the years, countless sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities,whether of soul, mind, or body.
Therefore I come with limitless confidence to implore your motherly intercession.
Loving Mother, obtain the grant of my requests.
Let me strive to imitate your virtues on earth so that I may one day share your glory in heaven.

Day 42 of 365
Prayer Intentions: The intentions of all those who read this blog; Penance, Penance, Penance!
Requested Intentions: 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); Those fighting depression (L); For a growing love of the Eucharist and peace within a family (A).


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