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 24: Our Lady of Walsingham

Posted by Jacob

"Walsingham, 'in thee is built New Nazareth'

Where shall be held in a memorial
The great joy of my salutation,
First of my joys, their foundation and origin
Root of mankind's gracious redemption,
When Gabriel gave me this news:
To be a Mother through humility
And God's Son conceive in virginity.

O England, you have great cause to be glad
For you are compared to the Promised Land, Zion
You are called in every realm and region
The Holy Land, Our Lady's Dowry.
In you is built new Nazareth,
A house to the honor of the Queen of Heaven
And her most glorious Salutation
When Gabriel said at Old Nazareth,
Ave, This same joy shall here be daily and for ever remembered."
(From the Pynson Ballad, c.1470)

Today, September 24, we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Walsingham, one of the many titles and devotions to Our Blessed Mother. Located in England, pilgrims visit the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to contemplate the great mystery of the Incarnation.... that moment when God emptied Himself and became man, took flesh in the womb of Mary. At Walsingham, the New Nazareth, Mary asks that Christians remember the great act of love when the Creator embraced his creatures. At Walsingham, too, devotion to Mary is a call to unity and to world peace. Every Thursday, a candle is lit before the statue of Our Lady as a reminder to all, residents and pilgrims alike, to pray for Christian unity. This is in keeping with the message of the reconciliation of all things in Christ, which this shrine has proclaimed for over 900 years. Near to the Catholic shrine are an Anglican shrine to Our Lady, a Methodist Chapel, and a Greek Orthodox Church. Pilgrims to the Roman Catholic shrine are encouraged to visit these in a spirit of Christian unity and love.

Devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham began in the eleventh century when Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to a Saxon noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches. Her husband, the Lord of the Manor of Walsingham Parva, had previously died, leaving her a young widow with a son named Geoffrey. At this time in history, there was a great deal of interest in the Holy Land and people undertook long and often dangerous pilgrimages there. Christian armies were soon to be engaged in a number of Crusades to liberate the holy sites from Muslim control and it is believed that Geoffrey eventually joined one of those Crusades as an expression of his Christian faith.

For Lady Richeldis, however, despite the tragedy of the loss of her husband, she devoted herself to cheerful prayer and good works… and her devotion to the Christian faith was rewarded by a vision in the year 1061. In her vision, she was taken “in spirit” by Mary to be shown the house in Nazareth where Gabriel had announced the news of the birth of Jesus. Our Blessed mother asked that Richeldis build an exact replica of that house in Walsingham. This is how Walsingham became known as England's Nazareth. Our Lady gave Richeldis three reasons that the structure should be built: 1) for the honor of Mary, 2) as a place where all who sought Mary could find succor, and 3) as a memorial of the great joy of the Angelic Salutation.

Lady Richeldis was graced with the same vision three times, and eventually hired construction workers and began construction. However, the project ran into difficulties with land selection, and unaccustomed to construction, Lady Richeldis had difficulty communicating to the workers the specifications of the project. Discouraged, she spent the night keeping a vigil of prayer and in the morning, upon the arrival of the workers, discovered that Our Blessed Mother had sent angels to complete the project.

Upon the death of Lady Richeldis, Geoffrey inherited the land, and eventually bequeathed it to an Augustinian order who built a priory to house the simple wooden structure that Mary had asked to be built. This priory became the focus of pilgrimages, and grew in wealth and size due to the patronage of the faithful royals Henry III, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Edward IV, and Henry VII. Unfortunately, Henry VIII, eventually brought about its destruction in 1538. The pilgrimages to Walsingham were suspended during the time of Catholic persecution in England, but were kept alive in secret by the faithful, to return upon the granting of religious freedom to Catholics. Today, pilgrimage to Walsingham is a regular part of Christian life in the British Isles.

The statue present at Walsingham today, commemorating the visions of Lady Richeldis, was modeled after the seal of Walsingham priory, a medieval seal preserved in the British museum. (The previous statue was destroyed by Henry VIII). It depicts Mary as a mother, crowned in the Saxon style, and seated on the throne of wisdom. She is herself a throne for Christ, her Son, who is represented holding the Gospels as if to present them to the world. Mary is holding the three-fold lily-scepter of virginity. Her right hand points to Christ. The child extends his arm in a double gesture of blessing and protection of his mother. Each part of the statue is rich in symbolism, such as the seven rings on the throne which stand for the sacraments. The crown for today's statue is used only on special occasions. It was made from gifts from all over the world. It is made from 18 carat gold and contains 116 precious stones including 71 diamonds.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, gave the sermon at the National Pilgrimage to Walsingham in 2004. In his message, he noted:

”For centuries, Christians have kept coming back to the idea that what happens in Mary is what has to happen to some degree in each of us. She, uniquely and once for all, says a yes so complete that her entire material life is changed by the coming of God to her; God's everlasting gift of himself that is the Son, the Word, emerges from her to begin that life which will change everything in creation. But we are called to the same job, to give God room so that we may be changed, so that the eternal Word will live in us and speak and act in love to others. Only so are we 'magnified', given our full dignity and splendor--not by rushing around in panic defending ourselves and standing on our dignity, but by being still enough to reflect and absorb the light flowing from God the Holy Trinity, something so wonderful that it can put into perspective the fears and pettinesses that we think are real life, and silence us for a moment, letting true life in.”

Today, Walsingham continues its ancient ministry to all who truly seek God. It struggles to establish a deep interior life of prayer, and strives to spread its spirit abroad to all people. Walsingham exists in the spirit of Nazareth -- loving service to all, deep interior peace based on obedience to the will of God in all things, joy in being the least in the household of God's Church in order that God, and not us, receive the glory. Our Blessed Mother, in emptying herself to the Lord, that she might be filled with His presence, reminds us that the joy and sacrifice of the Annunciation and Incarnation are not reserved solely for her—but that we each share in these precious gifts and moments through the living of our faith! Pray for us, Our Lady of Walsingham!

Blessed Lady of Walsingham, win for us those gifts of the Holy Spirit which inspired the early Church with courage and power. Let us share your joy in the Annunciation, and your devotion to the great mystery of the Incarnation.

Day 267 of 365

Prayer Intentions: The living of our faith and joy in the Incarnation
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).


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