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 26: Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

Posted by Jacob

Today, June 26, we commemorate the feast day of Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer (1902-1975), priest, modern-day saint, and founder of Opus Dei, a Catholic institution dedicated to “helping people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society.” Pope John Paul II said of this holy man, “Saint Josemaría was chosen by the Lord to proclaim the universal call to holiness and to indicate that everyday life, its customary activities, are a path towards holiness. It could be said that he was the saint of the ordinary."

Josemaría Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain, the son of pious parents. He received a deep Christian education in the home, and the family turned to God during times of need, especially following the deaths of three of his five siblings in infancy and childhood. When Josemaria was a teenager, the family moved to Logrono, as his father needed employment, and it was there that he first sensed his calling to vocation. Moved by the sight of footprints left in the snow by a barefoot friar, he sensed that God was asking something of him, though he did not know exactly what it was. He began to prepare for the priesthood, first in Logrono and later in Saragossa.

Josemaria was ordained in 1925, serving in rural parish, as well as Saragossa for a few years. In 1927, having received permission from his bishop, he traveled to Madrid to earn his doctorate in law. It was while studying in Madrid that Josemaria received from the Lord the purpose of his life: to found Opus Dei-- a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. Not limited to religious, this inspired society would be comprised of laity and religious, and would provide a template for bringing the Lord into the daily lives of its members. From that moment on, Josemaria’s life changed. He worked continuously toward his new goal, all the while continuing his studies, ministering to his congregation, and spending time in service to the poor and the ill.

The Spanish Civil War created a challenge to the saint’s mission. When the war broke out in Madrid, religious persecution forced Josemaría to go into hiding, ministering to his flock in secret. Eventually, he left Madrid, and after a harrowing escape across the Pyrenees, took up residence in Burgos. In the years after the civil war, he was able to return to Madrid and complete his doctorate in Law, all the while giving many retreats to laity, priests, and religious.

Saint Josemaria moved to Rome, obtaining a doctorate in Theology, and establishing Opus Dei as an institution. In 1950, it was officially approved by the Holy See. He was appointed by Pope Pius XII as a consultor to two Vatican Congregations, as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, and as an honorary prelate. He was also elevated to the position of Monsignor. In his later y ears, Josemaria traveled the world, preaching, and spreading the message of Opus Dei, bringing large numbers to holiness. By the time of his death in 1975, Opus Dei had begun in dozens of countries and had touched countless lives. After his death thousands of people, including more than a third of the world's bishops, sent letters to Rome asking the Pope to open his cause of beatification and canonization.

Josemaria is remembered for saying, "The ordinary life of a Christian who has faith, when he works or rests, when he prays or sleeps, at all times, is a life in which God is always present.” Through his work in Opus Dei, we are further reminded, "We find the invisible God in the most visible and material things." Today, Opus Dei has around 87,000 members, both men and women, of which 98% are laypersons. The mission of Opus Dei is as follows: “It is in the midst of the most material things of the earth that we must sanctify ourselves, serving God and all mankind. The family, marriage, work – all of our activities – are opportunities for dealing with and imitating Jesus Christ, trying to practice charity, patience, humility, diligence, integrity, cheerfulness and all the other human and Christian virtues.” Members are called to lives of sanctifying work, prayer and sacrifice, charity, and unity of life—the blending of our interior personal relationship with the Lord with our exterior professional and personal lives.

In his 2002 address, in praise of Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, Pope John Paul II proclaimed:

“In the Founder of Opus Dei, there is an extraordinary love for the will of God. There exists a sure criterion of holiness: fidelity in accomplishing the divine will down to the last consequences. For each one of us the Lord has a plan, to each he entrusts a mission on earth. The saint could not even conceive of himself outside of God's plan. He lived only to achieve it.

Saint Josemaría was chosen by the Lord to announce the universal call to holiness and to point out that daily life and ordinary activities are a path to holiness. One could say that he was the saint of ordinary life. In fact, he was convinced that for those who live with a perspective of faith, everything is an opportunity to meet God, everything can be an incentive for prayer. Seen in this light, daily life reveals an unexpected greatness. Holiness is truly within everyone's reach.

Escrivá de Balaguer was a very human saint. All those who met him, whatever their culture or social status, felt he was a father, totally devoted to serving others, for he was convinced that every soul is a marvelous treasure; indeed, every person is worth all of Christ's Blood. This attitude of service is obvious in his dedication to his priestly ministry and in the magnanimity with which he launched so many works of evangelization and human advancement for the poorest persons.

The Lord gave him a profound understanding of the gift of our divine sonship. He taught him to contemplate the tender face of a Father in the God who speaks to us through the most varied events of life. A Father who loves us, who follows us step by step, who protects us, understands us and awaits from each of us a response of love. The consideration of this fatherly presence which accompanies the Christian everywhere gives him steadfast confidence; he must trust in the heavenly Father at every moment. He should never feel lonely or frightened. When the Cross is present, he should not see it as a punishment, but a mission entrusted by the Lord himself. The Christian is necessarily optimistic, because he knows he is a son of God in Christ.”

The life of Saint Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer calls us to examine our own lives, and the extent to which we lead “double lives”—one life as a hidden Christian, and another as a member of our families, jobs, and communities. We are reminded, through his ongoing legacy of Opus Dei, that “Work, family life, and other ordinary activities are occasions for spiritual union with Jesus Christ.” How might we better unite our deep interior lives of faith with our daily actions? How might we better bring Christ into the world, into our jobs, into our families?

O God, through the mediation of Mary our Mother, you granted your priest St. Josemaría countless graces, choosing him as a most faithful instrument to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of my life into occasions of loving You and serving the Church, the Pope and all souls with joy and simplicity, lighting up the pathways of this earth with faith and love. Amen.

Year 2: Day 177 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Union with Christ in our daily lives.
Requested Intentions: For a mother’s mental health and for kindness and forgiveness, for housing problems, for dental health (T); For the soul of a departed friend (X); 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).


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