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."

August 16: Saint Roch

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 16, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Roch (also known as Saint Rocco and Saint Roque, 1295-1327), the patron saint of dogs and surgeons, and against plagues and epidemics. Saint Roch left a privileged life to work amongst those infected with the black plague, and in doing so, contracted the illness himself. His selfless service, and miracles of healing, earned him the mantle of sainthood.

Born to a rich government family in Montpellier, France, Roch’s mother immediately recognized the great piety and religious potential in her son—due to the fact that he was born with a red birthmark in the shape of the cross on his chest. His childhood was spent in education and the pursuits of the wealthy, but he was also drawn to the religious life. As early as age five he engaged in various bodily mortifications, and against the wishes of his parents, frequently invited the poor and ill into the home to provide them food and shelter. After his father died when he was twelve, and his mother when he was 20, Roch distributed his wealth to the poor, handed over the reigns of the governorship to his uncle, and joined the Franciscan Order.

Once a Franciscan tertiary, Roch journeyed to Italy, dressed as a mendicant pilgrim, stopping along the way to care for the victims of the Bubonic plague he encountered. He stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague victims, curing them with prayer and the sign of the cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighboring cities, and then finally Rome. Legend has it that everywhere he visited, the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities, all with the same results. In the city of Piacenza—greatly devastated by black death—Saint Roch, himself, contracted the plague.

From the Golden Legend:
“And from thence went to Piacenza, for he understood that there was great pestilence. Rocke was ever of great study how he might, in the name of Jesu and of his passion, deliver mortal men from the hurt of pestilence. And so an whole year he visited the houses of poor men, and they that had most need, to them he did most help, and was always in the hospital. And when he had been long in the hospital of Piacenza, and had helped almost all the sick men therein, about midnight he heard in his sleep an angel thus saying:
O Rocke, most devout to Christ, awake and know that thou art smitten with the pestilence, study now how thou mayst be cured. And anon he felt him sore taken with the pestilence under his both arms, and he thereof gave than kings to our Lord. And he was so sore vexed with the pain, that they that were in the hospital were deprived of their sleep and rest of the night, wherefore S. Rocke arose from his bed and went to the utterest place of the hospital, and lay down there abiding the light of the day.”

Despite his failing health, he continued working throughout the city, miraculously curing many simply by his touch and making the sign of the cross over the heads of the ill.

Saint Roch wandered into the forest to die, but was befriended by a loyal dog. The dog fed him with food taken from his master’s table each day, and Saint Roch eventually recovered. He spent the next five years in the forest, living as a hermit, praying to the Lord. After a time, he returned to Montpellier, but this uncle did not recognize him as his illness, years of service, and hermitude had taken their toll. Thought to be a spy (as France was in the midst of a civil war), he was arrested and thrown into prison for five years, which Saint Roch endured without complaint in service to the Lord. It is said that during that time he was cared for by an angel. Only upon his death was the birthmark on his chest discovered, and the governor grievously saddened by the loss.

From the Golden Legend, the death of Saint Roch:

“In the end of the fifth year, when God would that his soul should be brought into the fellowship of his saints, and be always in the sight of God, he that bare meat to S. Rocke into the prison, as he was accustomed every day, he saw a great light and shining in the prison, and S. Rocke kneeling on his knees praying, which all these things he told to his lord. And the fame hereof ran all about the city, so that many of the citizens ran to the prison because of the novelty of this thing. And there saw and beheld it and gave laud thereof to Almighty God, and accused the lord of cruelty and woodness. Then at the last, when S. Rocke knew by the will of God that he should finish his mortal life, he called to him the keeper of the prison, and prayed him that he would go to his lord, and to exhort him in the name of God and of the glorious Virgin Mary, that he would send to him a priest, of whom ere he died he would be confessed, which thing was anon done. And when he had confessed him to the priest and devoutly taken his blessing, he prayed him that he might abide alone three days next following for to be in his contemplation, by which he might the better have mind of the most holy passion of our Lord. For Rocke felt well then that the citizens prayed the lord for his deliverance, which things the priest told to the lord. And so it was granted to S. Rocke to abide there alone three days. And in the end of the third day the angel of God came to S. Rocke, saying thus: O Rocke, God sendeth me for thy soul, of whom in this last part of thy life that what thou now desirest thou shouldest now ask and demand. Then S. Rocke prayed unto Almighty God with his most devout prayer, that all good Christian men which reverently prayed in the name of Jesu to the blessed Rocke might be delivered surely from the stroke of pestilence. And this prayer so made, he expired and gave up the ghost.

Anon an angel brought from heaven a table divinely written with letters of gold into the prison, which he laid under the head of S. Rocke. And in that table was written that God had granted to him his prayer, that is to wit, that who that calleth meekly to S. Rocke he shall not be hurt with any hurt of pestilence. And then after the third day the lord of the city sent to the prison that S. Rocke should be delivered out of it. And they that came to the prison found S. Rocke departed from this life, and saw through all the prison a marvelous light, in such wise that without doubt they believed him to be the friend of God.”

Saint Roch was buried with the angel's tablet beneath his head. His body is enclosed in a glass tomb in the church of San Rocco in Venice, Italy. Throughout time since his death, he has been invoked via procession and prayer to ward off epidemics and plagues.  His life reminds us that service to our community is of great importance, and that the Lord cares for His people who love others-- even at great risk to themselves!

O blessed Saint Roch
Patron of the sick,
Have pity on those
Who lie upon a bed of suffering.

Your power was so great
When you were in this world,
That by the sign of the Cross,
Many were healed of their diseases.

Now that you are in heaven,
Your power is not less.
Offer, then, to God our sighs and tears
And obtain for us that health we seek.
Saint Roch, pray for us,
That we may be preserved
From all diseases
Of body and soul.

Dear mendicant Pilgrim,
You once took care
Of sufferers from the plague
And were always ready to help others
By kind service and fervent prayers.
You yourself had no home
And you died in a dungeon.
No wonder countless invalids
Have confidently invoked your help.
Please grant a cure to all who suffer
and help us all become spiritually healthy.

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.
Psalm: Psalm 113: Praise for the Lord and of His Care for the Lowly

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.
9 He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.

Day 228 of 365
Prayer Intentions: For all those suffering from illnesses, including HIV and AIDS.
Requested Intentions: Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); For healing of a head injury (S); For employment for two sons (R); For sanctification of a fried considering a move (A); For friends experiencing job difficulties (A); Health, employment, and conversion of a son (S); Health, financial success, positive move (S); Financial security, and health, guidance, and protection for children (ML); For the religious and children of Saint Xavier’s Boarding School, India (FB); Fortitude and faith, Career success (A); Healing of a relationship, employment (A); End to debt and legal difficulties; immigration success (B); For a mother’s continued employment (S); For continued blessings on a relationship (S); For a sick grandmother (R); For the building of a Catholic community, family, and law practice (M); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 113: Praise for the Lord and of His Care for the Lowly


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