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."

May 2: Saint Mariana de Jesús y Flores de Paredes, "Lily of Quito"

Posted by Jacob

Today, May 28, we celebrate the feast of Saint Mariana de Jesús y Flores de Paredes (1618-1645), the “Lily of Quito, Ecuador.” Mariana’s life was one of complete devotion to both Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother, and embraced the sacrifices of a virtuous Christian lifestyle. After living a brief life of incredible mortification and austerity, she offered herself to the Lord in reparation for the sins of the people of Ecuador, and was taken to heaven.

Mariana was born in Quito, Ecuador of noble Spanish parents. At her birth, those attending to her mother noted a strange phenomenon in the sky, when the stars in the heavens appeared to dance. Orphaned as a young girl, she was raised by her elder sister and her husband. From an early age, Mariana demonstrated great virtue and attraction to a religious life, becoming a solitary in her sister’s home under the direction of a Jesuit confessor. She exhibited a great love of Jesus and Mary, and at the age of ten, took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, hoping to enter one of the many religious communities in Quito. She demonstrated an extraordinary desire for prayer and physical mortification—often at the expense of her health—and desired nothing more than to be a shining witness of the love of God on earth.

Mariana was obedient to the Will of God, even when it was disappointing to her. When it became apparent that she would not enter a convent, she remained a recluse in her sister’s home. She practiced the greatest of austerities as penance for both herself and others. Most days, she ate nothing, nibbling on a morsel of bread every 8 to 10 days. Instead, her body miraculously subsisted on the Holy Eucharist, which she received daily. Most nights she slept little, approximately 2 hours, instead spending her time in prayer. One of her many penances was to drag about a heavy wooden cross in imitation of her beloved Jesus on the way to His crucifixion, and on certain days of the week, she would lash herself to transfixed beams that were affixed to the wall of her room and hang there for three hours, all to bring herself closer to the crucified Savior.

Mariana was graced with many spiritual blessings, including the ability to read hearts and minds of those who sought her out. She also performed miracles of healing as well as prediction of the future and recounting of past events as if she was present.

Mariana lived a quiet life of devotion, leaving her sister’s home only for Mass or to offer charitable services to those in need. However, she was drawn into a more public display of devotion in 1646. At that time, Quito was being ravaged by earthquakes, plagues, and natural disasters, sure signs of the sinfulness of the residents. More than 14,000 people had perished, and when the locally dormant volcano of Pinchincha erupted, the people were very much afraid.

A local Jesuit priest, Father Alonso de Rojas, offered himself publicly to the Lord, as a victim, that he might die to save the people from punishment. After his sermon, Mariana, who had been listening, slowly rose from her pew, declaring that she would take the place of Father Rojas. In her words, he was a good priest and much more important to the people of Quito than she was. She then asked the Lord to accept her offering “in defense of her country, her compatriots, and her kindred” and that she “might be chastised for everything in the city which deserved chastisement.”

Mariana returned home and was almost immediately overcome with illness—an illness which would prove to be fatal. All of Quito prayed for Mariana’s recovery, realizing what a great sacrifice she had made for them, but she was not to recover. She bravely continued her prayer for reparation for almost two months, at which time she perished. As she died, the earthquakes stopped, the volcano quieted, and those stricken with the plague recovered. When she breathed her last, her body fell over on the dirt floor, and a white lily miraculously sprang forth from the earth, watered by her blood. This is why she is known as the Lily of Quito.

Pope Pius XII spoke of Saint Mariana:

“At times when especially impelled by love for God and fellowmen, she afflicted herself severely to expiate the sins of others. Oblivious then to the world around her and wrapped in ecstasy, she had a foretaste of eternal happiness. Thus transformed and enriched by God's grace, she was filled with zeal to care not only for her own salvation, but also for that of others to the utmost of her ability. She generously relieved the miseries of the poor and soothed the pains of the sick. And when severe public disasters such as earthquakes and plagues terrified and afflicted her fellow citizens, she strove by prayer, expiation and the offering of her own life to obtain from the Father of mercies what she could not accomplish by human effort"
We pray today for the willingness to sacrifice and repent, not only for ourselves, but for all, taking Saint Mariana as a shining example of the joy of self-sacrifice and suffering.

Holy virgin, Mariana, chosen from amongst us by Our Lord, Jesus Christ, at a tender age like a delicate lily to be transplanted into the celestial garden of Paradise; cultivated by His Divine hands and watered by gentle streams of His grace: we prostrate ourselves at your feet, imploring mercy so that, by your great merits of virginal innocence, and angelical virtues with which your Divine Spouse adorned you, obtain for us the grace we need to spend our life in innocence , keeping us out of mortal sin, cleansing our souls of our faults and defects in the beneficial fountains of penance, and obeying the holy laws of Our Lord and the obligations of our state, so that at the end of our life we will be found to be pruned into flowers most pleasing to Our Lord and worthy to be placed in the Eternal Gardens of Heaven. Amen.


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