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 20: Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarme

Posted by Jacob

March 19 commemorates the feast day of Saint Cuthbert (634-687), the “Wonder-worker of England.” Saint Cuthbert is one of the most beloved saints of the British Isles, with numerous miracles attributed to him both while alive and posthumously, and a deep reverence for his relics continuing to this day. A detailed depiction of his life was recorded by Saint Bede, which documents the life and miracles attributed to the “Wonder-worker.”

Saint Cuthbert was born to poor parents in present day Scotland. While little is known of his parents or childhood, it is clear that like many young men of that age, he tended sheep in the fields around Melrose. The fields he tended were adjacent to a monastery, and it is likely that this helped inspire his holiness. Holy legend tells us that one night while tending his flock, Saint Cuthbert witnessed a vision of Saint Aiden ascending to heaven accompanied by angels, confirming his wish to enter the religious life, becoming a monk at the Melrose Abbey.

However, Cuthbert did not rush to his vocation, instead entering the army and serving to defend his homeland in a series of regional and territorial wars. During the battle, Cuthbert is reported to have been injured, visited by an unknown elderly man on a white horse, and miraculously healed.  Upon their conclusion, he consecrated himself to the Lord, and entered the monastery. Cuthbert quickly impressed his brothers and superiors with his piety, diligence, and humility. He was admired for his gentle and sensitive nature, devotion, and the persuasive ability to model Christian virtues. Following a great sickness which struck the abbey, leading to the death of the prior, Cuthbert was appointed prior in his place.

At this time in the Church, there was strife regarding the differences in Roman Catholic Rite and Celtic Catholic Rite. In recognition of the seat of the Church in Rome, the monastery where Cuthbert served had accepted the Roman Rite. This was a difficult transition for many of the brothers, but through Cuthbert’s leadership, adopted the Rite and practices. Over time, Cuthbert would be asked to serve the same purpose at other monasteries and abbeys, gently persuading and teaching, leading to greater uniformity in the Church through patience and love.

As gifted as he was, Cuthbert desired a life of quite contemplation. He left the monastery after several years, retiring to (now referred to as) Saint Cuthbert’s Island, and then later to Farne Island. There he resided in seclusion in a cave, living an austere life of prayer and contemplation. His piety was such that he began to receive many visitors, and performed many miracles, recorded by Saint Bede. To stem the flow of visitors, he sealed himself into his cave, speaking to visitors only through the cracks in his door. He also established the first recorded rules of environmental protection, prohibiting the distrubance of ducks who nested along the shores of the island.  As such, he is sometimes depicted holding a duck, or surrounded by wild birds or creatures, in religious iconography.  During this time, he also befriended a hermit residing on the island, Saint Herberte, to whom he predicted the time of his death. As Saint Bede described:
NOT very long afterwards, the same servant of God, Cuthbert, was summoned to the same city of Lugubalia, not only to consecrate priests, but also to bless the queen herself with his holy conversation. Now there was a venerable priest of the name of Herebert, who had long been united to the man of God, Cuthbert, in the bond of spiritual friendship, and who, leading a solitary life, in an island in the large marsh from which the Derwent rises, used to come to him every year, and receive from him admonitions in the way of eternal life. When this man heard that he was stopping in that city, he came according to his custom, desiring to be kindled up more and more by his wholesome exhortations in aspiring after heavenly things. When these two had drunk deeply of the cup of celestial wisdom, Cuthbert said, among other things, "Remember, brother Herebert, that you ask me now concerning whatever undertaking you may have in hand, and that you speak to me about it now, because, after we shall have separated, we shall see each other no more in this life. I am certain that the time of my death approaches, and the time of leaving my earthly tenement is at hand." Upon hearing these words, he threw himself at his feet with tears and lamentations, saying, " I beseech you by the Lord not to leave me, but be mindful of your companion, and pray the Almighty Goodness that, as we have served Him together on earth, we may at the same time pass to heaven to see his light. For I have always sought to live according to the command of your mouth; and what I have left undone through ignorance or frailty, I have equally taken care to correct, according to your pleasure." The bishop yielded to his prayers, and immediately learnt in spirit, that he had obtained that which he had sought from the Lord. "Arise, my brother," says he, "and do not lament, but rejoice in gladness, for his great mercy has granted us that which we asked of Him." The event confirmed his promise and the truth of the prophecy; for they never met again, but their souls departed from their bodies at one and the same moment of time, and were joined together in a heavenly vision, and translated at the same time by angels to the heavenly kingdom. But Herebert was first afflicted with a long infirmity, perhaps by a dispensation of holy piety, in order that the continual pain of a long sickness might supply what merit he had less than the blessed Cuthbert, so that being by grace made equal to his intercessor, he might be rendered worthy to depart this life at one and the same hour with him, and to be received into one and the same seat of everlasting happiness.
Saint Cuthbert was persuaded to come out of retirement, reluctantly accepting an appointment as Bishop of Lindisfarne, a post he held for less than two years. Having predicted his own death, Saint Cuthbert resigned his position, and returned to Farne Island where he preferred to die. Surrounded by monks in his cell, his last words were encouragements of faithfulness to Catholic unity and the traditions of the Fathers. He died shortly after midnight in 687. His friend and companion, Saint Herberte died at exactly the same hour, as he had predicted.

Following his death, his bones were interred at Lindisfarne, but then due to fear of Danish invasion, monks of his order exhumed the body to find it incorrupt. Upon opening his casket, a small bound Gospel was found, reported to not have been buried with him. As pious legend recounts, the Gospel was tossed overboard by stormy seas as the monks crossed from the island, but Cuthbert appeared to them, telling them where to recover it on the shore. As predicted, the Gospel showed up three days later in the exact spot, with only small water damage due to seawater. On display today in the Royal Museum, the artifact has been examined, with traces of salt water found on its pages.

The monks of Lindisfarme are said to have moved constantly for seven years, looking for a safe place to settle, carrying the body of Saint Cuthbert with them during that time. Numerous miracles were reported, and the body itself was said to have chosen it’s resting place: Chester-le-Street, near Durham. Again interred, Saint Cuthbert’s body was again exhumed in 1104 and moved to the new Cathedral in Durham. Again found to be corrupt, another new discovery was noted in the coffin, namely the Saint Cuthbert’s Cross, a jeweled cross.

Saint Cuthbert was a man of gentle persuasion, deep devotion to the Lord, faithfulness, obedience, patience, and charity. His recorded miraculous intercessions have led to countless cures of illness. Saint Cuthbert reminds us that Christian love, patience, and meekness are oftentimes more persuasive than argument, anger, and debate. By modeling his love for Christ, his obedience to the Lord, those who opposed him came to respect him, believe him, and eventually love him. During this Lenten season, we think of those we disagree with, those we argue with, those who irritate us and lead us to anger. How might we use Saint Cuthbert as a model of Christian virtue to change the way we approach others in our minds, hearts, and deeds?

Day 79 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Loving, meek, and humble hearts; Humility; Love for our “enemies.”
Requested Intentions: For a return to good health (A); The blessing of children (S); Safety of travelers (J); Improved family relationship with the Lord, using gifts for His glory (L); For a restorative, faith-deepening Lent for all those who are struggling (L).
Special Intentions (Day 38 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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