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."

March 25: Saint Dismas, the "Good Thief"

Posted by Jacob

Today, March 25, we celebrate the feast of Saint Dismas (died 30), also known as the “Good Thief” or the “Penitent Thief”, crucified beside Jesus. While Saint Dismas was never officially canonized by the Church, he is considered a saint by virtue of Jesus inviting him into Paradise while on the Cross. Saint Dismas is the patron saint of condemned prisoners, reformed thieves, undertakers, funeral directors, penitent sinners, and prisoners. His life and story provide inspiration for each of us—especially during this Lenten season—on the importance of true repentance.

From the Gospel of Luke, the story of Saint Dismas, the Good Thief:

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read of the Good Thief’s repentance and humility, and of Jesus’ forgiveness of him. In the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, we learn the name of the Good Thief, Dismas:

“And Pilate, after sentence, ordered a title to be written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin letters, according to what the Jews said: This is the King of the Jews . And one of the robbers who were hanged, by name Gestas, said to Him: If you are the Christ , free yourself and us. And Dismas answering, rebuked him, saying: Do you not even fear God, who art in this condemnation? for we justly and deservedly have received those things which we endure; but He has done no evil. And he kept saying to Jesus: Remember me, Lord, in Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Verily I say unto you, that today shall you be with me in paradise.”

We know much about the death of Saint Dismas, but little about his early life. What is known derives from a letter written by Saint Anselm, telling what might be the pious legend of Saint Dismas and his companion, Gestas, and their encounter with the Holy Family. From these writings, we are told that Dismas and Gestas were thieves, who set upon the Holy Family—Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus—as they fled into Egypt following the massacre of the Holy Innocents. As the thieves advanced upon the unarmed family, Saint Dismas was moved by the “Glorious beauty and majesty” of Jesus, and rather than rob them, defended them against the other brigands. Dismas hosted the Holy Family in his own cave, offering all that he had to them, and upon seeing the respect he paid to her child, Our Blessed Mother assured him that he would be rewarded for his actions prior to his death

While Dismas continued in a life of crime following that sacred encounter, although Saint Augustine wondered in his writings if he might also have been baptized into the faith. Regardless, Saint Dismas (according to Saint Anselm) always conserved the memory of that promise, trusting that it would be fulfilled.

From the letter of Saint Anselm:

"Dismas was living in a forest on the confines of Egypt, when Mary went thither with the Child Jesus, to escape the rage of Herod. He was a highwayman, and the son of the chief of a band of robbers. One day, as he lay in ambush, he saw a man, a young woman, and a little Child approaching, from whom he rightly expected no opposition. Therefore, he went towards them, with his comrades, with the intention to ill-treat them. But he was at once so charmed with the supernatural beauty and grace which shone on the countenance of Jesus, that instead of doing them harm, he gave them hospitality in the cave which he inhabited, and made ready for them everything of which they stood in need. Mary was grateful for the tenderness and care which the robber bestowed on her Beloved Son, and warmly thanking him, she assured him that he would be rewarded before his death. This promise was fulfilled later, when Dismas was crucified with the Savior of the World, and obtained the grace of repentance in his last hour, openly confessing Jesus Christ's Divinity. When the Apostles had fled, he had the happiness to receive the first fruits of the Redeemer's Sacrifice, and soon after, entered the Heavenly Kingdom with his Savior.”

Saint Dismas is a symbol of the Lord’s Divine Mercy. He inspires us to trust in the Lord, to recognize our own human weaknesses, and to bring them to Jesus on the Cross—taking full responsibility and accountability for our actions, and offering them in hope to Christ. While Saint Dismas struggled throughout his life, and stumbled in sin, upon the cross he held onto the hope that Our Blessed Mother had provided to him while still a youth—that he would be rewarded for his kindness, obedience, and love of Jesus.

So it is with Saint Dismas, and so it is with us, as well. Our loving God has made us the same promise that was made to Dismas, and that promise will be fulfilled. We look toward our heavenly reward with hearts of true repentance, recognizing that our faith in Jesus Christ should always give us that same certain hope that was the good thief's when Jesus said to him: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."

Saint Peter of Damascus On True Repentance

It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. ‘You fell,’ it is written, ‘now arise’ (Proverbs 24:16.) And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach will suffice for your salvation. ‘For at one time we ourselves went astray in folly and disobedience,’ says St. Paul. ‘…Yet He saved us, not because of any good things we had done, but in His mercy’ (Titus 3:5.) So do not despair in any way, ignoring God’s help, for He can do whatever He wishes. On the contrary, place your hope in Him and He will do one of these things: either through trials or temptations, or in some other way which He alone knows, He will bring about your restoration; or He will accept your patient endurance and humility in the place of works; or because of your hope He will act lovingly towards you in some other way of which you are not aware, and so will save your shackled soul. Only do not abandon your Physician, for otherwise you will suffer senselessly the twofold death because you do not know the hidden ways of God.”

Almighty and merciful God, who justify the wicked, we beg You graciously to grant that just as Your Only-begotten Son drew the Blessed Thief to Himself with His kind glance, You might move us also to worthy repentance, and grant also to us as You promised to him the everlasting glory of Paradise. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Glorious Saint Dismas, you alone of all the great Penitent Saints were directly canonized by Christ Himself; you were assured of a place in Heaven with Him "this day" because of the sincere confession of your sins to Him in the tribunal of Calvary and your true sorrow for them as you hung beside Him in that open confessional; you who by the direct sword thrust of your love and repentance did open the Heart of Jesus in mercy and forgiveness even before the centurion's spear tore it asunder; you whose face was closer to that of Jesus in His last agony, to offer Him a word of comfort, closer even than that of His Beloved Mother, Mary; you who knew so well how to pray, teach me the words to say to Him to gain pardon and the grace of perseverance; and you who are so close to Him now in Heaven, as you were during His last moments on earth, pray to Him for me that I shall never again desert Him, but that at the close of my life I may hear from Him the words He addressed to you: "This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."

Year 2: Day 84 of 365
Prayer Intentions: True Repentance.
Requested Intentions: Health for a soon to be delivered baby (T); Financial security (L); Healing of tooth pain (A); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Purification of the souls in Purgatory (A); Guidance in studies (J); Healing and security for a displaced family (C); Healing of high blood pressure; Recovery of brother following surgery (A); For a sister in trouble, that she may make better decisions in the light of Christ (M); Health of expectant mother and child (R); Attainment of funds for surgery (J); Freedom from financial difficulties (E); For employment and college acceptance (E); Recovery and healing of a friend (C); For successful outcome to surgery (C); Healing for brother (M); Successful employment (C); For the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake (J); Healing (E); For a son struggling with depression (B); Successful conception (M); Freedom from social anxiety; confidence in the Lord (J); Improved success in employment and studies (D); Freedom from illness (T); For a wife’s employment (E); Healing of a husband’s knee (M); Freedom from sickness (R); Healing (C); Restoration of marriage (F); Freedom from medical difficulties, employment, successful relationship (D); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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