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 4: Saint Francis Caracciolo: "Preacher of Divine Love"

Posted by Jacob

“Zeal for Thy house has consumed me!”

Today, June 4, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Francis Caracciolo (1563-1608), confessor, and founder of the Minor Clerks Regular, and servant of the Lord. Saint Francis was afflicted with a rare skin disease, much like leprosy, but managed to find joy in his constant suffering, serving those in his order by performing the most menial tasks, even after being appointed Superior of the order. The lifelong lesson of humility, obedience, and service evident in the life of Saint Francis is one which still serves as a powerful reminder to each of the faithful today. Saint Francis is also the patron saint of Italian cooks!

Francis was born Ascanio Pisquizio in the Villa Santa Maria in the Abruzzo region, in the Kingdom of Naples (modern day Italy). Born into nobility, of the princely family of Caracciolo, Ascanio shunned all things luxurious and opulent, showing great devotion to the Lord and a desire to life in austerity from an early age. Especially dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, Ascanio prayed the Rosary each day, spent hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and was frequently reprimanded for giving his food away to the poor and beggars of the community.

At the age of 22, Ascanio developed a terrible skin condition, similar to leprosy, and was soon on the verge of death. As he watched his body decay, Ascanio came to understand and then loathe the vanity of the world, and he made a solemn vow to the Lord that he would serve Him with his whole might, should he survive. At once, the illness left his body, and Ascanio made good on his vow. He left his parents’ home, sold his possessions, gave his inheritance to the poor, and entered the seminary in Naples. He spent the majority of his time visiting those that others ignored: those imprisoned or enslaved, and criminals preparing to be executed. He was further in regular attendance at various churches for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Upon ordination, he took the name Francis.

At the age of twenty-five, Francis founded the Order of Regular Minor Clerks, working in collaboration with two like-minded priests. Together, they prescribed a Rule that required complete fasting on bread and water, discipline, the wearing of a hair shirt in perpetual penance, and perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Thus they hoped to appease the anger of God unceasingly, and draw down His blessings by their penance. After taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they further added a vow of humility.

Traveling to Rome on the kindness and alms of strangers, they sought audience with Pope Sixtus V, who approved their Order and Rule, and presented a church in Naples for their first home. From there, Francis and his co-founder Saint John Augustine Adorno, traveled on foot throughout Europe—concentrating in Italy and Spain—gathering members and living on charity. Wherever they went, they were met with miraculous prophecy and the Lord cared for their every need. In Spain, a Dominican proclaimed (prior to their introduction): “You are the founders of a new Order which will soon spread, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and will be especially flourishing in this kingdom.” Asked when that would occur, he replied, “Not for three years.”

Three years later, when Saint Francis returned to Spain, he found that the twelve brothers left there had multiplied to more than the Order house could hold. He was quickly elected first Superior of the Order, but continued to live a life of austerity and penance. He took little food, slept rarely, and served his community through the most menial of tasks—cooking, sweeping, cleaning. Francis devoted seven hours daily to meditation on the Passion, besides passing most of the night praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

Saint Francis further reflected the love of the Lord to others, his face shining and emitting brilliant rays while in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. At the age of forty-four, Francis fell ill with a serious fever. He died, exclaiming, “Let us go, let us go to heaven!” When his body was opened after death, his heart was found seemingly burnt, with these words imprinted around it: “Zelus domus tuae comedit me” — “The zeal of Thy house has consumed me.” He is frequently referred to as the “Preacher of Divine Love.”

O God, You adorned blessed Francis, the founder of a new Order, with a zeal for prayer and a love of penance; grant that your servants may make such progress in the imitation of his virtues, that by constant prayer and bringing their bodies into subjection, they may deserve to attain heavenly glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who being God, lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.


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