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 14: Saint Peter Gonzales

Posted by Jacob

Today, April 14, we celebrate the feast of Saint Peter Gonzales (1190-1246), Dominican priest, preacher, and patron saint of sailors. Saint Peter is sometimes invoked as Saint Elmo, given his patronage of the sea, but has earned veneration by his own life of conversion and service.

Peter Gonzales was born in Spain to wealthy parents of the nobility. His parents, wishing him to achieve a prestigious office, offered him to be raised by his maternal uncle, the bishop of Astorga. While still young, Peter was named canon of the cathedral. Despite his lack of study, and his tendency to spend his time in idle worldly pursuits, Peter was later chosen to become the head of the cathedral chapter, a significant honor. Just as Saint Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, Saint Peter Gonzales was similarly converted as he road toward the prestigious position he so desired.

As Peter rode his fine horse, appointed in rich garments, to the cathedral, the noble animal stumbled and Peter was thrown to the muddy ground. All those present were amused, laughing and mocking him, but Peter was awakened by grace during that moment. Rather than accept his post, he turned from his worldly desires and entered the Dominican Order at Palencia. Family and friends tried to draw him back to his old life and their planned pursuit of position, but he responded, "If you love me, follow me! If you cannot follow me, forget me!"

Peter embraced his new calling with vigor, and as a novice demonstrated exceptional generosity, charity, and service to his brothers and the community. No task was too small or too menial, and he approached each with profound humility and joy. Never having been one for studies previously, Peter stayed up late into the nights, learning and fully embodying the spirit of the Dominican Order. So successful was he at his studies, he was soon sent to preach—which he did with extreme effectiveness—and hear confessions. Through him, many were converted to the faith. Such was his own call to penance, given his previous manner of living, he could reach and touch the most hardened of hearts, bringing them to Christ through his words and example.

Saint Peter’s fame became widespread, but he remained humble and obedient. When summoned to the royal court of King Ferdinand III, Peter accepted the post of court chaplain, exerting a positive influence on the behavior of the members of the court. He revitalized the faith of both the court and the army, whom he persuaded to refrain from pillaging Cordoba following their defeat of the Moors. Instead, the army extended compassion and Christian love to the soldiers, through his guidance, with many converting.

One member of the royal court soon became jealous of the influence Saint Peter held through his prayers and counsel. A trap was set, with a seductive courtesan approaching him, apparently to make her confession. When Peter recognized her design, he went to an adjoining room and wrapping himself in his cloak. Standing unharmed amidst a great fire which was lit there, he called her to him. She and his false friends were converted at the sight of this miracle.

After retiring from the court, as he had restored its faith and was no longer needed, Saint Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. God honored him with the gift of healing and miracles, and above all gave him the grace to make the truths of salvation understood by the poor and uneducated lay persons. He developed a special mission to Spanish and Portuguese seamen, and is considered the patron saint of sailors following his appearances to mariners in danger. Saint Peter also saw to the building of a bridge over a river, at a place where many had perished. He is often depicted walking on the waters with a torch in hand.

He fell ill during Holy Week and died on the day of our Lord’s Resurrection in 1248. He lies buried in the cathedral of Tuy. Saint Peter’s life is a journey from worldly pursuits of status and glory, to one of God-given humility and faith. He, like Saint Paul, experienced a profound conversion on the road. During this Lenten season, where will we find our call to conversion?

Almighty God, you bestowed the singular help of Blessed Peter on those in peril from the sea. By the help of his prayers may the light of your grace shine forth in all the storms of this life and enable us to find the harbor of everlasting salvation. 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. Amen.

Year 2: Day 104 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Conversion; Humility.
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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