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."

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal: The First Apparition

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 18, we commemorate the first apparition of Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, to Saint Catherine Labouré at the convent at Rue du Bac in Paris. During a series of three apparitions, Our Blessed Mother detailed to Saint Catherine the evils of the world, encouraged her to pray for salvation, and provided a means in which for the holy to consecrate themselves to her Sacred Heart, providing protection and grace.

Catherine Labouré was born the seventh of nine children to a poor farming family in the small French village of Fain-les-Moutiers. From an early age she wished to join religious life, her heart set upon the Daughters of Charity, an order which her older sister had joined. Her father, however, was opposed to another daughter joining the religious life, instead wishing for Catherine to be married. Twice she refused offers of marriage, instead praying for the grace to serve the Lord. As a young woman, she dreamt a holy dream in which she was visited by Saint Vincent de Paul (see here, Saint Louise de Marillac, for further information), founder of the Daughters of Charity. In Catherine’s words: “I was praying in the church. An old priest came to say Mass. He looked at me and I felt like running away. Then he said ‘Someday, you will meet me again. God has plans for you.’” Catherine did not recognize the founder of The Daughters of Charity until her father eventually allowed her to enter the order. It was there, upon her first day at the convent that she observed a picture of the holy saint, and realized her prophetic calling.

At age 24, in April of 1830, Catherine’s life was to change dramatically. Over the months prior, she had witnessed apparitions of Saint Vincent de Paul while at prayer in the chapel. On three successive days, he appeared to Catherine, showing her his heart. Each day, his holy heart appeared as a different color: white for peace, red for fire, and then black—an indication of the misfortunes that would come upon France. Saint Catherine also experienced mystical ecstasies in which she say Christ physically present in the Sacred Eucharist, and on the feast of the Holy Trinity, a vision of the crucified Christ as King.

These miraculous visions set the stage for the events of July 18, 1830. Saint Catherine had spent the evening in the chapel, praying to Saint Vincent de Paul, voicing her desire to see the Blessed Virgin. Retiring to her room, she attempted to sleep, when a mysterious child appeared at the foot of her bed. The child, in a pure, sweet voice, encouraged her, saying, “Sister Catherine, Sister Catherine, get up quickly. Come to the chapel. Our Lady is waiting for you.”

Catherine dressed quickly, following the child who radiated light wherever he went. Arriving at the chapel, Catherine found it to be illuminated by countless candles, similar (but in greater number) to those found at Midnight Mass. There she prayed in uneasy silence for approximately thirty minutes. At midnight, Saint Catherine hear a sound which she would describe as “the swish of a silk dress.” A beautiful and majestic Lady walked down the altar steps and seated herself in the director's chair.
“Look,” said the child. “Here is the Blessed Virgin.”

Sister Labouré knelt at the foot of the chair and talked with the Queen of Heaven. In her own words, she wrote, “I then bounded to the steps of the altar, knelt, and let my hands rest on the knees of the Blessed Virgin. There I spent the most pleasant time of my life. It would be impossible for me to describe what I experienced. The Blessed Virgin told me how I should conduct myself with regard to my confessor and many other things.”

At first the conversation was personal, and then Our Lady delivered a message for the world. With Catherine kneeling before her, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal declared:

"Great troubles are about to happen in France. The danger will be great. But do not be afraid. The good God and Saint Vincent will take care of the Sisters of Charity and the Priests of the Mission...”

She continued, forewarning of the continuing revolution and unrest in France. During this portion of the conversation, Our Blessed Mother’s face was etched with sadness:

"My child, the Cross of Jesus will be hated, many priests will be put to death. The Archbishop will die. The streets will run with blood. My child, the whole world will be filled with trouble and sorrow. The days are evil. Terrible things are going to happen in France. The King's throne will be overturned. The whole world will be filled with trouble of every kind. But come to the foot of this Altar often. Here many graces will be given to everyone who asks for them. They will be given to the rich and to the poor, the great and the lowly.”
Lastly, Our Blessed Mother spoke to Saint Catherine about her mission: “My child, the good God wishes to give you a mission. Later I shall let you know what it is. You will have much to suffer.” She added: "Do not be afraid of difficulties. Pray to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. But do not be afraid.”

With that, the Holy Virgin disappeared. Saint Catherine returned to her room, surprised that nearly two hours had passed. Saint Catherine would not see Our Blessed Mother again until November 27. During that time, much of what she had predicted had come to pass. In her subsequent visitations, Holy Mary provided Saint Catherine with a remedy to the evils of the world, a method of devotion and consecration, and the encouragement to pray for sinners and engage in acts of penance. It was during the apparition of November 27 that Our Blessed Mother provided Saint Catherine the instructions to create the Miraculous Medal—a devotion which continues today.

Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate,
we unite ourselves to you under your title of
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

May this medal be for each one of us
a sure sign of your motherly affection for us and a
constant reminder of our filial duties towards you.

While wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection
and preserved in the grace of your Son.

Most powerful Virgin, Mother of our Savior,
keep us close to you every moment of our lives
so that like you we may live and act
according to the teaching and example of your Son.

Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death
so that in union with you we may enjoy
the happiness of heaven forever.

O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days.
Today’s Psalm: Psalm 84: Desire for the Sanctuary

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
9 Look upon our shield, O God;

look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts

than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.

Day 199 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Consecration to Our Lady; Grace and Peace; Protection from sin.
Requested Intentions: Employment for husband and wife (K); Wisdom; Closer walk with Jesus (R); For successful conception (I); Thanksgiving for blessings received (K); Healing and financial assistance (F); Employment; Discernment of God’s will (A); Healing of illness (P); Small business assistance, blessings on jobs, financial aid for college student (M); Financial assistance (F); For a recovery and sanctification (X); For a daughter struggling with disease and illness (T); For all lost children (I); Prosperity, health, healing, and conversion for a family (M); Health and healing of a mother (A); Healing of heart and mind (T); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 84: Desire for the Sanctuary


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