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 25: Saint Genesius, Patron Saint of Actors

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 25, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Genesius of Rome (died 303), patron saint of actors. Genesius set out to mock and persecute Christians, and in the process, was brought to the light of Christ through baptism. So filled with joy, he proclaimed the Good News, and promptly received the crown of martyrdom. His life, conversion, and death remind us that our intentions are secondary to the plan that the Lord has in store for us.

According to the Acts, which chronicle the lives of the saints, Genesius was a gifted actor and comedian in Rome during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (late third century, early fourth century) who was actively persecuting Christians. As the leader of a local acting troupe, he had earned some local fame as an actor. However, actors were not considered to be respectable members of society at that time, given that the craft had declined into mime and comedy, and few classic works were performed. Not held in great regard, the only manner in which an actor could achieve respect was to be appointed to the imperial court of the emperor. Genesius, but all accounts, was ambitious, and had decided to attract the attention of the emperor to achieve such an appointment.

Emperor Diocletian hated Rome, and rarely visited there, preferring to reside in Nicodemia. However, in 303, he planned one summer trip to Rome, and Genesius seized upon this opportunity to impress him. As the leader of the acting troupe, it was his responsibility to create a comedic play that would entertain the powerful ruler. Given Diocletian’s hatred of Christians, Genesius decided to mock Christians, specifically the Rite of Baptism. It was sure to entertain!

To learn more about the Christian beliefs, Genesius befriended a group of covert Christians, entering the Catechumenate and “preparing for baptism” under the guidance of his instructor. There, he developed a keen interest in the faith, engaging in many long conversations with the Christians he encountered… but his heart was not moved. As soon as he had gathered enough information to organize his new play, he left the group.

The opening night of the play was a great success with Diocletian and much of his imperial court in attendance. The first act opened with Genesius playing a sick man confined to bed with his friends gathered around him. He said, “Oh my friends, I feel a great weight and would like to be enlightened.” This line would lead to many cruel and ribald remarks on the part of the other actors. One responded by saying, “If you want to be lighter, I can use my pruning knife!” At this point, Genesius was graced by visions of angels hovering around him, unseen to others, and he was touched by the Holy Spirit. Overcome with the teachings he had learned during his research, he could no longer resist the call of the Lord. No longer acting, but speaking from his heart, he said, “You fools, I am resolved to die a Christian that God may receive me as one who seeks His salvation by turning away from idolatry & superstition.” When the other actors asked him why, he said, “All my life I have been a fugitive, and only today have I found God.”

Everyone, especially the Emperor laughed as Genesius spoke, assuming his words to be comedic mockery.

Two actors then entered, one playing a priest and the other an exorcist. The actor-priest asked, “My child, why did you send for me?” Again, he repeated his heart’s true desire for baptism. He said, “I wish to receive the grace of Christ. I long to be reborn and set free from all the sin that lies around me.” The actor priest then baptized Genesius, and when the water flowed upon him, he was graced with new life in Christ.

The Emperor Diocletian could not stop laughing, and began to send small gifts of gold, food and wine up to the players. Genesius had earned the attention and admiration of the powerful leader, but he was no longer interested. His heart now belonged to Christ, and his ambitions of the world were distant memories.

For Act III, Genesius was dressed in white and led before an actor playing a Roman judge. As other actors played soldiers, Genesius was interrogated, mimicking an actual Roman trial of Christians. No longer acting, Genesius began to preach to the audience:

“Oh Emperor and his soldiers. Listen also people of Rome, especially if you have a mind of your own and know how to use it. Before today, whenever I heard the name Christian, it would make me sick and angry. I would make fun of them and encourage others to abuse them. Over and over I insulted them and encouraged others to be violent towards them. I so hated Christians, that I deserted my own family as a child when I realized that there were Christians among them. So much did I hate them, that I went secretly among them to learn their secrets.

O great Diocletian, I started this play as a way to deride the Christian mysteries in which I did not believe. Yet lying on that make believe sick bed and having an actor-priest, pour water over me, I found that the words I was speaking were true. I wrote this play, these are my words. But now they are the words of my heart. I believe and when I said these words today, I saw the very angels of God surround me. The angels told me that my sins were really forgiven and that water that washed over me, washed away all the evil I have done.

I came here today to please an earthly Emperor but what I have done is to please a heavenly King. I came here to give you laughter, but what I have done is to give joy to God and his angels. From this moment on, believe me, I will never mock these great mysteries again. I now know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true God, the Light, the Truth and the Mercy of all who have received his gift of baptism. O great Emperor, believe in these mysteries! I will teach you, and you will know the Lord Jesus Christ is the true God.”

At the conclusion of his witness, the emperor was enraged. He stopped the play and had the troupe arrested. He ordered that they all be beaten. Genesius’ fellow actors cursed the name of Jesus and cried out that Genesius was the only Christian among them and that he was a mad man! Genesius was condemned to be tortured until he sacrificed to the gods. Upon the rack he was torn with iron hooks and burned with torches to force him to recant his Christian faith and sacrifice to the Roman gods. He refused, holding steadfastly to his faith, and crying out: "There is no other Lord beside Him whom I have seen. Him I worship. To Him I will cling should I suffer 1000 deaths. No torments will remove Jesus Christ from my mouth & my heart. Bitterly I regret the ridicule I performed while detesting His holy name.” Genesius earned the crown of martyrdom that same day by beheading.

Saint Genesius was buried in the cemetery of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina in Rome. His relics are said to be divided between San Giovanni della Pigna, San Susanna di Termini, and the chapel of Saint Lawrence. He was venerated at Rome in the fourth century and a church was built in there in his honor.

The life of Saint Genesius is not one of flashy miracles and incredible works. Rather, it is a simple legend of the grace of the Lord overcoming a sinful man, purifying him, and prompting him to center his life around Christ—even to the point of death. Genesius, when confronted with the Holy Spirit, opened himself to the truth of the Gospel, and in doing so, changed his perspective, his ambitions, and his life. Through the Holy Spirit he was saved. Like us, all he had to do was accept the grace poured out upon him. We might pause today to remember our own baptismal vows. How faithful are we to our profession of faith? How might our lives be different with a new perspective, centered on Christ?

Dear Genesius, according to a very ancient story, when you were still a pagan, you once ridiculed Christ while acting on the stage. But, like Saul on the road to Damascus, you were floored by Christ's powerful grace. You rose bearing witness to Jesus and died a great martyr's death. Intercede for your fellow actors before God that they may faithfully and honestly perform their roles and so help others to understand their role in life and thus enabling them to attain their end in heaven. Amen.

Prayer to Saint Genesius for Actors
Holy Saint Genesius,
martyr for Christ,
by the grace of the Holy Spirit
through your acting
you came to discover
the truth of the Christian faith.

In your first profession of that faith
you were baptized through the shedding
of your blood,
offering your life for the praise and glory
of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray for those who dedicate their lives
to the theatrical and cinematic arts.
Like you may they find the presence
of the Lord in their work
and generously open their hearts
to his teaching,
living it in the midst of the challenges
and demands of their calling.

Eternal Father, in your love you call all men and women to come to know you and to share in your divine life. Through the intercession of your martyr, Genesius, who responded so generously to the grace of conversion, grant that the same grace may be given to those who as yet do not know you, and may be renewed in those who do. We ask this through Christ our Lord. 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 122: The Pilgrim’s Greetings to Jerusalem

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There the thrones for judgment stand,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
8 For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Day 237 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Renewal of our Baptismal vows; Lives centered on Christ.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of health and successful marriage (A); Health and employment for a friend (G); Restoration of health (M); Answers to prayers (A); Conversion of son and family (S); 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 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 122: The Pilgrim’s Greetings to Jerusalem


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