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 23: Saint Philip Benzini de Damiani

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 23, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Philip Benzini de Damiani (1233-1285), miracle worker, servant of the Blessed Mother, and General Superior of the Order of the Servites. Despite his brilliant mind and gifts of miracles and tongues, Saint Philip’s humility and simple faith remained throughout his life—continuing to inspire us today.

Born in Florence, Italy, on the Feast of the Assumption, Philip was entering the world as Our Blessed Mother appeared to the Seven Holy Founders. Upon being in their presence, at not yet one year of age, Philip clearly spoke, announcing them as the Servants of Mary, and stating his desire to join their order. From that moment on, he demonstrated great piety and resistance to the temptations of youth, praying daily the Penitential Psalms, and constantly begging God’s mercy for his sins.

Saint Philip clung to his desire to enter the Servite Order, but felt sinful and unworthy to serve the Lord or the Blessed Mother, and for that reason, followed his father’s wishes and studied medicine and philosophy at Universities in Paris and Padua. Upon graduation, he set up practice, but soon grew weary of the work, feeling as if he was called to greater service. One day, while attending a Mass at the Florence Servite Chapel, The Blessed Virgin appeared to Philip, bidding him to enter her Order. Obediently, his heart overjoyed—but still laced with the fear of unworthiness—he entered the order, but only as a lay brother. To his superiors he mentioned nothing of his scholastic and professional achievements, maintaining his humility as penance for sins.

It was not, however, long before his great intellect and wisdom were discovered, and his superiors prepared him for the priesthood. Following his ordination at Siena in 1258, he was made Master of Novices and developed a reputation for practicality, wisdom, and inspiring conversions. He was also noted for miracles, his first occurring upon meeting a leper walking along the road outside the city. As the leper had little clothing, and Saint Philip had no money, he gave the poor man his cloak. Upon placing it around his shoulders, his leprosy was immediately healed.

Saint’s Philip’s life was instantly changed, following his first miracle. He was accorded honors quickly, and his counsel was sought by local and international leaders. Saint Philip was sent to Forli, Italy to resolve a conflict between the Pope and the Emperor. During the negotiations, he was heckled and then struck across the cheek by the Emperor’s emissary. Patiently, Philip turned his head to offer the other check to the emissary, who was so moved by the gesture, converted on the spot (becoming Servite Saint, Peregrine). Saint Philip healed many additional political rifts throughout Italy, common in those days, and was subsequently sent to the Netherlands and Germany, in both of which he did great good. In good time, he was elected General of the Servite Order, and was discussed in conclave to ascend to the Papacy, but fled the discussions out of humility, hiding in cave in the mountains until Pope Gregory X was elected. At the Council of Lyons, he defended and codified the Servite Order, speaking to the assembled prelates with the gift of tongues.

The rite of blessing of bread is also celebrated today, in honor of Saint Philip Benzini. This rite owes its origin to two miracles. One day, in the beginning of his generalship, Saint Philip found his brothers at Arezzo, in Tuscany, almost dying from starvation. Moved with compassion, he made a long and fervent prayer to God through our Blessed Lady. At last a loud knock was heard at the door of the monastery, and the Brother who went to open, found a large basket of the purest bread. As nobody was to be seen, all thought that God had sent His angel to bring them food from heaven. Another time the Saint had lost his way in an immense forest, and after having long wandered about, was starving with his companions. Philip redoubled the fervor of his prayers and suddenly shepherds called the religious to a little hut, where they found bread and water. When they had dined, and wished to thank the charitable shepherds, they could see them no more. So again they attributed their deliverance to God’s angels.

Despite all his achievements, Philip never lost his humility, living a life of extreme penance, and proclaiming himself as fit only for hell despite an exemplary life free from mortal sin. On his deathbed he recited verses of the Miserere, his cheeks streaming with tears. Shortly before he died, the Mother of God appeared before him. He lifted up his arms with joy and breathed a gentle sigh, as if placing his soul in Her hands. Saint Philip Benzini died in the Servite Monastery at Todi (Umbria) on the Octave of the Assumption, 1285. His relics are buried at Todi, where he is venerated today.

The life of Saint Philip Benzini reminds us that all to often we fail to examine our lives with a critical eye. Saint Philip never made that mistake, spending his days in contemplation and evaluation of his behaviors and perceived sins, offering them to the Lord in penance, penitence, and humility. His legacy inspires us to endeavor so to act as we would wish to have acted when we stand before your Judge. This is the rule of the Saints, and the only safe rule for all.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, who, in the abundance of Thy loving-kindness, dost go beyond both the merits and the request of Thy suppliants, who didst so blest the actions of our holy father Philip, that a poor leper, to whom he gave his tunic, was immediately cleansed as soon as he put it on; favorably on the devotion we show to Thee, and to blessed Philip, the faithful Servant of Mary, in distributing his allowed bred; and grand that those who have received, and in the future shall receive it, may ask nothing in vain, nothing hurtful to themselves, but may be cleansed from all stains of the soul and aliments of the body, serve Thee faithfully with both, and rejoice with Thee for ever. Through our Lord Jesus Thy Son, who with Thee lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God world without end. 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 120: A Complaint Against Treacherous Tongues

1 I call on the LORD in my distress,
and he answers me.
2 Save me, O LORD, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
3 What will he do to you,
and what more besides, O deceitful tongue?
4 He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom tree.
5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
7 I am a man of peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.

Day 235 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Conscious awareness of our sins; humility; Hearts of penance and penitence.
Requested Intentions: Successful business, home purchase, health of brother (SJ); Successful delivery of a baby girl (U); Successful return to the faith (A); 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 120: A Complaint Against Treacherous Tongues


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