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."

April 13: Pope Saint Martin I

Posted by Jacob

April 13 marks the feast day of Pope Saint Martin I (died 655), the last pope to be considered a martyr for the faith. Little is recorded about Saint Martin’s early life, other than he was born in Umbria, Italy, and served as a high diplomatic representative to Constantinople. Saint Martin was, in fact, the last pope who was elected from a position as a diplomat, securing the separation of the Church from ties to governments and leaders.

Saint Martin assumed the papacy in 649. He had a reputation for both intelligence and virtue, although was frail and somewhat ill of constitution. At the time Saint Martin was elected, Constantinople, under the leadership of Emperor Constans II, was the most powerful and influential government—influencing both politics and the doctrine of the Church. Prior to Martin’s assumption of the papacy, Constans II had issued an edict in support of the theory of Monothelism—the belief that Christ had no human will, only divine will. The Church considered this a heretical belief, but had been silenced by the power of Constantinople, and forbidden to even discuss the will of Jesus Christ.

Upon election, the first thing that Martin I did was convene a council at Lateran, during which he condemned the emperor and made clear the heretical nature of the Monothelistic doctrine of faith. Saint Martin asserted the Church’s belief that just as Christ had two natures—that he was simultaneously human and divine-- that he also had two wills-- both human and divine. In the written statement, Saint Martin wrote, "The Lord commanded us to shun evil and do good, but not to reject the good with the evil."

Of course, Constans II was infuriated by this affront to his authority. He sent soldiers to Rome to “escort” Saint Martin to Constantinople. Saint Martin, already quite ill at that time, was arrested without resistance, and placed on a ship. By the time the ship landed, he was much sicker—too weak to stand unsupported-- but rather than being allowed an audience with the Emperor, or even given a trial, he was summarily thrown into prison, where he remained for three months. During this time, Saint Martin contracted dysentery from both the poor sanitation and rancid food he was provided. From his cell, he wrote many letters, including the one excerpted below:

“At all times in our letters we have desired to encourage you in your charity and to alleviate any anxiety you may have for us, as we have for all the saints and all our brothers who share this concern for us in the Lord. But now I am writing to you of things which do oppress us, and I speak the truth in the name of Christ our God.

I have not been allowed to wash, even in cold water, for forty-seven days. I am wasted away and frozen through, and have had no respite from dysentery. The food that is given me makes me feel sick. I hope that God, who knows all things, will bring my persecutors to repentance after He will take me out of this world. As to this wretched body, God will have care of it. He is at hand. Why should I trouble myself? I hope in His mercy that He will not prolong my course.

I have been amazed and continue to be amazed at the lack of perception and the callousness of those who were once connected with me, both my friends and my relatives. They have all completely forgotten about my unhappy state, and do not care to know where I am, whether I am alive or dead.

But God wishes all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth through the prayers of Peter. Hence I pray that God will strengthen their hearts in the orthodox faith, help them to standfirm against every heretic and enemy of the Church, and guard them unshaken.”

True to his writings, there was little support from his former friends or from the Church as a whole, subsequent to his imprisonment. The emperor, following a brief trial during which the saint requested that the “witnesses” against him be excused so as not to be forced into bearing false witness, was sentenced to death. Following three more months of imprisonment, he was led to the town square to be hanged, but the residents of Constantinople came to his defense, and the Emperor commuted the sentence. Rather than death, Saint Martin was exiled to Crimea, where he lived the remainder of his days in poverty and ostracism.

While the six years of his life during which he served as pope were difficult, multiple miracles have been reported at his tomb in death. Pope Martin I is regarded as a courageous and gallant saint, who altered the course of history by confronting heresy and worldly power, despite his failing health. Saint Martin never distanced himself from the true faith, proclaiming the beliefs of the Church at a time when it was dangerous to do so, and living the virtuous life of a solder of the Lord. At a time in our history where the Church is the recipient of much public negative sentiment, can we say the same about ourselves?

Merciful God, our Father,
neither hardship, pain, nor the threat of death
could weaken the faith of Saint Martin.
Through our faith, give us courage
to endure whatever sufferings the world may inflict upon us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Year 2: Day 103 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courage and Steadfastness in the teachings of the Church; For Church leaders.
Requested Intentions: Financial ability to send children to school (S); Safe return of a runaway (J); Healing of a family (J); Reconciliation of marriage (S); Healing of a daughter with congenital heart disease (F); Healing and an end to suffering (J); For the children (M); For a son fighting a rare immune system disease (R); Freedom from imprisonment (J); Employment and end to depression (H); Successful employment (A); 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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