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 18: Saint Helena of Constantinople

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 18, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Helena of Constantinople (also known as Saint Helen, Eleanor, and Olga, 246-330), mother of Constantine the Great, and finder of the True Cross of Jesus. Despite being elevated to empress of the Roman Empire during her life, she worked tirelessly for the poor, released prisoners, and humbly mingled with the ordinary worshipers in modest attire. Throughout her life, Helena built magnificent churches throughout the Holy Land, spreading the Gospel of Christ, and bringing many to the faith through her witness.

Born in Bithynia, the daughter of a humble innkeeper, Helena rose above her humble beginnings after marrying the Roman General Constantius I Chlorus. Following the birth of their son, Constantine, Helena’s husband was elevated to junior emperor and proclaimed Caesar. He promptly divorced Helena and took a new wife. Years later, in 312, Constantine became emperor (renamed Caesar) following a decisive victory in battle during which his father was killed, and his mother, Helena, named empress (renamed Helena Augusta).

Helena converted to Christianity, and through her witness, the emperor made Faith in Christ the official religion of the Roman Empire. As Eusebius wrote, Helena was: "such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind.” Helena spent her days in acts of charity, and built many churches on the holy sites of the faith, oftentimes tearing down pagan temples that had been built on the sites. In the year 325, Helena was moved to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, as she had been called by God to search out the True Cross on which Jesus had been crucified. Elderly by this time, she undertook the hardships of the journey without complaint.

Upon reaching Golgotha, the holy place where Christ was crucified, Helena had the temple of Aphrodite (built by Emperor Hadrian to defile the place of the Passion) torn down, and the hill excavated. During excavation, three crosses were found buried in the earth—one for each thief crucified beside Jesus, and the True Cross upon which He gave His life for the world. Gazing upon the crosses, Helena was unsure of which might be the wood of salvation. A woman from Jerusalem, who was near certain death from a disease she had contracted, was brought to Golgotha and made to touch each of the crosses. As soon as she approached the Cross of Our Lord, she was cured. The Cross itself was venerated and placed in a magnificent church (Church of the Holy Sepulchre) built by Saint Helen in Jerusalem, although she took a small portion back to Constantinople with her as a blessing. Within fifteen years, Saint Cyril, the bishop of Jerusalem, reported the wide spread distribution of the True Cross as a relic: "The holy wood of the cross gives witness: it is here to be seen in this very day, and through these who take [pieces] from it in faith, it has from here already filled almost the whole world."

Legend also suggests that Saint Helena recovered other relics of Christ, including the tunic He wore prior to the crucifixion, and the nails and rope used to affix Him to the Cross. Some of these relics are on display, even today, in the private chapel of her palace in Rome (now converted to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem), while others are housed at the Staurovouni monastery, which she founded.

Following her miraculous discoveries, Saint Helena resolved to spread the devotion to Christ throughout the region. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius, that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment,” and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself.” Then, when she "had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Savior,” she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended into heaven, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. Further churches were raised marking the sites of the Resurrection and Crucifixion.

Saint Helena passed into heaven at the advanced age of eighty. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his "Translatio.” Her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum.

Holy and blessed Saint Helena, with the anguish and devotion with which you sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that you give me God's grace to suffer in patience the labors of this life, so that through them and through your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, which God has placed upon me, so that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.

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 115: The Greatness and Goodness of the True God

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
2 Why do the nations say,
"Where is their God?"
3 Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless the house of Israel,

he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD—
small and great alike.
14 May the LORD make you increase,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to man.
17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD,
those who go down to silence;
18 it is we who extol the LORD,
both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.

Day 230 of 365
Prayer Intentions: True faith in Christ.
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 115: The Greatness and Goodness of the True God


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