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 21: Saint Matthew

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 21, we celebrate the feast of the feast of Saint Matthew, Disciple of Jesus, evangelist, reformed sinner, Gospel writer, and pillar of the early Church. While little is recorded in the New Testament regarding the life of Saint Matthew, scholars have placed him amongst the most important of the twelve, given the manner in which he is listed among them in Holy Scripture. What we do know is the circumstances of his calling, and his leaving of wealth and privilege to follow Christ.

Saint Matthew was a Jew who worked for the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes from other Jews. The Romans were not scrupulous about what the "tax farmers" got for themselves, and many took advantage of their fellow countrymen. As a rule, tax collectors were not well respected or liked, and were viewed as traitors by most Jews. The Pharisees had publicly labeled them "sinners, and as such, it was shocking to them to hear Jesus call such a man to be one of his intimate followers.

9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9: 9-13)

The early life of Saint Matthew is less clear. The son of Alphaeus, Matthew lived at Capernaum on Lake Genesarth. He was of Galilean or Syrian descent. His life was apparently one of ease and comfort until he left his position as tax collector to follow Christ.
Saint Bede the Venerable said of Saint Matthew: “Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me.” Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men.” He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: “Follow me.” This following meant imitating the pattern of his life - not just walking after him. Saint John tells us: “Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” “And he rose and followed him.” There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift.”

Saint Eusebius says that Saint Matthew, like Saint John, wrote only out of necessity. He wrote: "For Matthew, after preaching to Hebrews, when about to go also to others, committed to writing in his native tongue the Gospel that bears his name; and so by his writing supplied, for those whom he was leaving, the loss of his presence." Following the death of Jesus, Matthew is credited with writing the first Gospel of Our Lord—and his Gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament. Composed in Aramaic (the “Hebrew tongue”), theologians assert that the Gospel of Matthew was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He likely preached among the Jews for 15 years in Palestine, and possibly inaccurate Church legend informs that his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East.
From the Golden Legend:

The Apostle St. Matthew evangelized Ethiopia, where he disclosed as agents of the Devil the various magicians who misled the King and the people. He resurrected the son of the King, and the admiring people wanted to adore him as a god. But St. Matthew did not permit it and used the gold and silver they brought in his homage to build a great church. He resided there under the protection of the sovereign for 33 years. The king’s daughter, St. Ephigenia [Feast day also September 21], consecrated herself to God and founded a convent where she was the superior of more than 200 virgins.

The King died, and his successor, Hirtacus, wanted to marry St. Ephigenia since he considered her the only woman worthy of him. The new King asked St. Matthew to convince the Princess to marry and promised him half of his kingdom if he should succeed. The Apostle told him to come to church on Sunday, and that there he would find a response to his request. The King hastened to comply, thinking that the Apostle would persuade Ephigenia to marry him. With the virgins and whole populace present, St. Matthew preached at great length on the excellence of the sacrament of marriage.

Hirtacus was pleased believing that the sermon would make Ephigenia consent to marriage with him. However, at a certain moment, St. Matthew said:

"Since marriage is good as long as the union is kept inviolate, all of you here present know that if a servant dared to usurp the king’s spouse, he would deserve not only the king’s anger, but death as a penalty."

Then he turned to the king and addressed him:

“So it is with you, O King! You know that Ephigenia has become the spouse of the Eternal King and is consecrated with the sacred veil. How can you take the spouse of One who is more powerful than you and make her your wife?”

Filled with rage and hatred, the King left the church. When the Mass was concluded, he sent a swordsman with the order to kill St. Matthew. Finding St. Matthew standing before the altar with his hands raised to Heaven in prayer, he stabbed the Apostle in the back, killing him and making him a martyr.

Learning of this, the indignant people ran to the royal palace to take revenge for that crime, but the priests restrained them and advised them to follow the funeral of the Saint instead. Hirtacus then had a huge fire ignited around the convent of St. Ephigenia to kill her and the virgins. But St. Matthew appeared to them and turned the fire away from the convent and towards the royal palace, which was completely consumed along with all in it. Only the King and his son managed to escape.

The Prince immediately ran to the tomb of St. Matthew confessing his father’s crimes and asking forgiveness. The King was stricken with a loathsome leprosy and took his life with his own sword. The people chose as king the brother of Ephigenia. He reigned for 70 years spreading the cult of Christ and building churches throughout Ethiopia.

Saint Matthew is regarded as a martyr, and venerated by the Church for his contributions to the foundation of the faith. We are reminded by the call of Saint Matthew that when we put on Christ, and follow Him, our old ways are made new, our sins are forgiven, and we are reborn into the light of His salvation. If Christ could call a tax collector to be His Disciple, we are filled with the hope that our salvation—however improbable it may seem based upon our wicked lives—is not only possible, but inevitable when we put our faith in the Lord, lift our gaze to Heaven, and center our lives in His love.

O Glorious Saint Matthew, in your Gospel you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant and as the new Lawgiver who founded a Church of the New Covenant. Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in his Church and to follow his teachings in our lives on earth so that we may live forever with him in heaven. 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 149: Invitation to Glorify the Lord with Song and Sword

1 Praise the LORD.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with tambourine and harp.
4 For the LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with salvation.
5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters,
their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them.
This is the glory of all his saints.
Praise the LORD.

Day 264 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives centered on the Lord; Strength to turn from sin.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of a relationship (H); For successful employment (I); 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 149: Invitation to Glorify the Lord with Song and Sword


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