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 2: Saint Marcellinus and Peter

Posted by Jacob

Father, may we benefit from the example of Your martyrs Marcellinus and Peter, and be supported by their prayers. Grant 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.

Today, June 2, we celebrate the feast of Saints Marcellinus and Peter (died 304), early Church martyrs. While very little is known today about the lives of these holy men, Marcellinus and Peter were prominent enough in the early Church to be included amongst the saints of the Roman Canon, and their names continue to be mentioned during celebration of the Eucharist. Further evidence of the veneration and respect of the Church lives on in the basilica that Emperor Constantine built over their tombs in Rome.

Saint Marcellinus
The story of the lives and martyrdom of Marcellinus and Peter was recorded by Pope Saint Damasus, who learned of their heroic acts directly from their executioner—a man who converted to Christianity shortly after their deaths. Per the saintly pope, the executioner was deeply troubled following his role in the martyrdom, and could not shake the feeling that a faith that had given Marcellinus and Peter such peace of mind and steady joy in the face of death must be authentic.

Saint Peter
According to Holy Legend, Marcellinus was a priest, and Peter was an exorcist (authorized by the Church to work against demonic possession in individuals) who worked alongside him. Imprisoned during the persecution of Christians under the reign of Diocletian, Marcellinus and Peter embraced their suffering, seeing it as an opportunity for evangelization, and quickly had converted the majority of prisoners in jail with them—including the jailor and his entire family. This was accomplished when Peter set the daughter of the jailer free from an evil spirit which possessed her. Shortly thereafter, the jailor, his wife, and their other children were baptized into the faith—right in the cell of Peter and Marcellinus.

Saint Marcellinus
When Diocletian heard of their activities, he was greatly incensed and had them tortured, stripped naked, and thrown into cells filled with only broken shards of glass. When it was observed that this only served to increase their faith and joy in suffering, he had them taken to the forest of Silva Nigra, and dig their own graves. Then, he had them beheaded in the forest, so that other Christians would not find their bodies, bury them properly, and then subsequently venerate them. However, that was not to be the case. Shortly following their death, a Christian matron by the name of Lucilla learned of their martyrdom through a dream (or possibly a prophetic vision), and came with some fellow faithful to the gravesite. The relics of the holy martyrs were removed and translated to a more proper burial place, a set of catacombs in Rome. When Christianity was restored as a “legal” faith tradition under Constantine, he had a great basilica built over their tomb, in their honor.

Saint Peter
The foundation of our faith rests on the lives of the holy men and women of the early Church who willingly gave themselves over to the faith, courageous and joyful in their martyrdom. When we consider the struggles of today, and our own personal difficulties in daily life, we might pause to consider the sacrifice of these early martyrs. How might we demonstrate our love for the Lord, and our faith, today?

Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter
O God, Who by the glorious confession of the holy martyrs
Marcellinus and Peter,
dost surround and protect us,
grant that we may go forward under their protection
and be sustained by their prayer.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


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