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."

September 11: Saint Paphnutius the Confessor

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 11, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Paphnutius the Confessor (fourth century, also known as Saint Paphnutius of Thebes), hermit, ascetic, and bishop. Saint Paphnutius suffered tremendous persecution under the Emperor Maximinus II, but never renounced his faith. When peace returned to Egypt, Paphnutius worked tirelessly to rebuild the Church in that region, making himself known as a confessor and spiritual director. Through his efforts, many were converted and restored in the faith, recorded for us today in holy legend.

Few specific details are known today about the life of Saint Paphnutius. We do not know the dates of his birth or death, but only of his works. Tradition tells us, however, he was a disciple of Saint Anthony of the Desert. Paphnutius lived as a hermit and ascetic for some time in the desert, emptying himself of worldly desires and connections, and coming to rely fully on the Lord. Eventually, Saint Anthony elevated him to bishop.

Paphnutius lived during the last great Christian persecution, during the reign of Roman Emperor Maximinus II. At that time, the emperor would capture clergymen and, if they would not renounce the faith, gouge out their right eyes and send them to almost certain death as mine laborers. Given Saint Paphnutius’ respect and position within in the Church, the emperor was not content with simply gouging out his eye. Upon capture, he ordered that the sinews of his left leg be cut as well. Sent to the mines, Paphnutius was unable to walk properly for the rest of his life.

Through the grace of God, Paphnutius outlived Emperor Maximinus’ short reign, and was able to leave the mines and return to Egypt. When the persecution ended, these faithful “surviving” Christians were dubbed “confessors” for having confessed their faith even in the face of such costly consequences. Back in Egypt, Paphnutius set about rebuilding the region’s Church and congregations as a model pastor, actively fighting against the Arian heresy which began soon thereafter. He ministered to his flock and defended Orthodoxy until his death. He was also highly respected by the Emperor Constantine who sometimes asked the saint for personal advice, and never dismissed him without kissing respectfully the place which had once held the eye he had lost for the Faith.

Saint Paphnutius is mostly remembered for his actions during Church Councils, including the First Council of Nicaea (325). Later, at another Council that met to address Arianism, he saw a fellow confessor (Maximus, bishop of Jerusalem) sitting among the heretical bishops. His heart was almost broken to see someone who had already suffered so much for the true faith forsaking it. Paphnutius approached Maximus, took him by the hand and led him outside of the council chambers, where he warmly but urgently appealed to the prelate to return to the fullness of the true faith. Maximus was so moved that when they returned to the council he stayed by Paphnutius’ side and sat with the Catholic bishops, and from then on he always upheld the Catholic faith.

Paphnutius was also a great friend of Pope Saint Athanasius I (c. 293-373). When charges of decadent and inappropriate behavior were brought against Athanasius, Paphnutius was one of the forty-nine bishops who attended the First Synod of Tyre (335) and helped to clear Athanasius' name.

From 'The Desert Fathers,’ the story of a pilgrimage made through Egypt in AD 394, by a brother, possibly Timotheus, from Rufinus' own monastery on the Mount of Olives:
'We saw also the cell of the holy Paphnutius, the man of God, that was the most famous of all the anchorites in these parts, and that had lived the most remote inhabitant of the desert round about Heracleos, that shining city of the Thebaid.

Of him we had a most warrantable account from the Fathers, how at one time, after living an angelic life, he had prayed to God that He would show him which of the saints he was thought to be like. And an angel stood by him and answered that he was like a certain singing man, that earned his bread by singing in the village. Dumbfounded at the strangeness of the answer, he made his way with all haste to the village, and sought for the man. And when he had found him, he questioned him closely as to what works of piety and religion he had ever done, and narrowly enquired into all his deeds. But the man answered that the truth was that he was a sinful man of degraded life, and that not long before from being a robber he had sunk to the squalid craft which he was now seen to exercise. But for this Paphnutius was the more insistent, asking if perchance some good thing might have cropped up amidst his thieving. “I can think of nothing good about me,” said he: “but this I know that once when I was among the robbers we captured a virgin consecrated to God: and when the rest of my company were for deflowering her, I threw myself in the midst and snatched her from their staining, and brought her by night as far as the town, and restored her untouched to her house. Another time too, I found a comely woman wandering in the desert. And when I asked her why and how she had come into these parts, ‘Ask me nothing,’ said she, ‘nor question me for reasons, that am the wretchedest of women, but if it pleases thee to have a handmaid, take me where thou wilt. I have a husband that for arrears of tax hath often been hung up and scourged, and is kept in prison and tortured, nor ever brought out unless to suffer torment. We had three sons also that were taken for the same debt. And because they seek me also to suffer the same pains, I flee in my misery from place to place, worn out with grief and hunger, and I have been in hiding, wandering through these parts, and for three days have had no food.’ And when I heard this, I had pity for her, and took her to the cave and restored her soul that was faint with hunger and gave her the three hundred solidi for which she and her husband and their three sons were liable, she said, not only to slavery but to torture; and she returned to the city and paid the money and freed them all.” Then said Paphnutius, “I have done naught like that, yet I think it may have come to thine ears that the name of Paphnutius is famous among the monks. For it was with no small pains that I sought to fashion my life in this kind of discipline. Wherefore God has shown me this concerning thee, that thou hast no less merit before Him than I. And so, brother, seeing that thou hast not the lowest room with God, neglect not thy soul.” And straightway he flung away the pipes that he carried in his hand, and followed him to the desert, and transforming his skill in music into a spiritual harmony of life and mind, he gave himself for three whole years to the strictest abstinence, busying himself day and night in psalms and prayer, and taking the heavenly road with the powers of the soul, gave up his spirit amid the angelic host of the saints.”

Paphnutius was esteemed by all for his great simplicity and holiness of life. He withstood the persecutions of his age, remaining true to the faith, and inspiring those around him to do the same. Through his simple example, many came to know God and turned from their sinfulness to the newness of life. We are called to the same task—through our witness, through our daily acts, through the manner in which we lead our lives—to inspire others to lives of greater sanctity and holiness, pleasing to the Lord.

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 139: The All-knowing and Ever-present God

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Day 253 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives of simple inspiration and holiness.
Requested Intentions: For a daughter’s successful relationship (M); For a relationship sanctified by God (M); For health of father; For canonization of Pope John Paul II (A); For the conversion of a family (L); For the ill (A); For the health of a family (I); For a father’s successful surgery and recovery (G); For those who are ill, and their caretakers (D); For the safety of a sister who is traveling (A); Recovery of mother with cancer (R); Successful acquisition of a visa (T); Restoration of a marriage (A); For employment and health of mother (G); Successful employment (M); Restoration of a family, End to brother's addiction, Successful marriage (R); Employment (I); Successful recovery of a mother; for all stroke victims (D); Successful return to the faith (A); Emotional, physical, and financial healing (D); Diagnosis and recovery (A); For a successful relationship (J); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S).
Psalm: Psalm 139: The All-knowing and Ever-present God


  1. Unknown said...

    Excelente blog. Parabéns! Que Deus a abençoe a sua missão.

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