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."

June 16: Saint Benno of Meissen

Posted by Jacob

Today, June 16, we celebrate the feast of Saint Benno (1010-1106), Confessor, Bishop of Meissen, Germany, and patron saint of fishermen. Saint Benno worked throughout his long life to reform the Church, supported the legitimacy of the Pope at a time when the papacy was being politically attacked, suffered persecution and exile, and worked numerous miracles. Saint Benno remains one of the most venerated saints throughout Germany.

Benno was born to a noble family in Saxony (modern day Germany), and was educated from a young age by the monks of the abbey of Saint Michael. He was ordained a priest, and eventually, at the age of 56 became Bishop of Meissen. Soon thereafter, he was appointed Canon to the imperial chapel of Emperor Henry III, a pious ruler who looked to the Church for guidance in political matters. Upon his death, Henry IV ascended to the throne, at the young age of sixteen. Unlike his predecessor, he sought to subjugate the Church to the state, and restrict the legitimacy of the papacy throughout Germany.

However, at that time, one of the greatest of the Church’s popes, Pope Gregory VII, sat on the Chair of Peter, and wished for nothing more than to preserve the role of the Pope in investing bishops—that is, providing bishops with the symbols of their holy office, signifying their marriage to the Church. This “Investiture Contest” spread throughout Europe, and many bishops sided with the political leaders of their regions, rather than the Pope. However, Saint Benno stood alongside Pope Gregory VII, against the Emperor, instituting the reforms of the Church and maintaining the divine duties of the Pope. For his trouble, he was imprisoned and exiled for many years.

One of the most famous legends told of Saint Benno involves his barring the emperor from receiving the Holy Eucharist following his excommunication (the Pope had excommunicated Henry IV, due to his decisions to challenge the Church’s legitimate authority to invest bishops). Henry, however, hoped that the German bishops would take no notice of this `excommunication' and rode to Meissen—to the cathedral served by Saint Benno—to receive the Eucharist. Saint Benno realized that there was nothing he could do to keep the emperor out, save barring the cathedral to everyone. So that is what he did. He locked the cathedral doors, and threw the keys into the river Elbe. Henry knew that if he attempted to break down the doors to the cathedral, he would anger the crowds gathered, so simply rode away vowing vengeance on the holy bishop.

After he had gone, Saint Benno ordered the local fisherman to cast their nets into the Elbe, and after praying over the water, they hauled in their nets. In the net was a fish that had the keys to the cathedral hanging upon its fins. Benno retrieved the key and reopened the cathedral. It was not soon thereafter that he was both imprisoned and exiled, although would not stray from the teachings of the Church, even under threat of punishment.

Saint Benno lived to be a very old man, and spent the last years of his life preaching the faith to those who had not yet converted. He never lost sight of his calling as a diocesan bishop, visiting and preaching at all the parishes in his diocese, celebrating the Mass, enforcing discipline and enacting reform amongst the clergy, and building many grand cathedrals for the glory of the Lord. An accomplished musician, Saint Benno encouraged music and chanting during Masses throughout the diocese, penned many hymns, and wrote extensively on the Gospels.

Following his death, at the age of nearly one hundred, Saint Benno was buried in the cathedral at Meissen. When the cathedral was rebuilt in 1285, his relics were translated to the new cathedral, and many miraculous cures were reported at that time. His relics were later translated to Munich in 1580, and Saint Benno remains the patron saint of that city today.

Saint Benno lived during a difficult political time, and managed—despite threat, imprisonment, and punishment—to remain true to the teachings of the Church, and his role as priest and bishop. At a time when the Church is criticized and attacked from both the inside and outside, we look to saints like Saint Benno as inspiration. His witness provides example to each of us, inspiring fidelity and truth, even when these are the “hard decisions” to make.

Year 2: Day 167 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Reform within the Church; For church leaders to remain true to the teachings of the Gospel and avoid political influence.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of health (D); Successful employment for couple (N); For employment for children (K); For health of friend, for successful relationships for children, for safe pregnancy for daughter (C); For the health of a mother (J); Virtue for daughter (V); Successful acceptance to college for nephew (M); For the health of a cousin (T); Freedom from legal difficulties for husband (S); Husband’s freedom from illness (L); Personal intentions (S); Successful passing of dental board examination (P); Blessings on a family (Z); Successful permanent employment (C); Healing of a son with autism (J); Son’s successful employment (L); For the intentions of family and relatives, for the Carthusian community (T); For personal intentions (A); Restoration of lost hearing (C); Resolution of relational and financial challenges (S); Comfort following loss of husband, security for family, assistance with housing (B); Healing and return of brother (O); Successful hermitage foundation (S); Support from family, permission to marry (H); Recovery of wife following surgery, freedom from depression (W); Protection and recovery of mentally ill daughter (J); Successful resolution to legal proceedings (N); Freedom from worry and successful employment (M); For successful sale of home and freedom from debt (J); Freedom from pain and illness (E).


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