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 7: Saint Robert of Newminster

Posted by Jacob

Today, June 7, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Robert of Newminster (1100-1159), man of God, and co-founder of the Cistercian (Benedictine) Abbey at Shedale, England. While little is known about the life of Saint Robert, what is remembered is his gentle spirit, merciful judgment, and love of the Lord. His daily sacrifice and self-denial, through concern for sinfulness, remains a model of temperate living today.

Robert was born in Gargrave in Yorkshire, England. He studied for the priesthood in Paris, France, during which time he wrote a commentary on the Psalms which has unfortunately been lost to history. Upon ordination, he returned home to his place of birth, where he served as a parish priest.

After years serving as rector of Gargrave, Robert joined the Benedictine Order, having received permission from his local bishop, and working with a group of monks founded a monastery in which the strict Benedictine Rule would be revived (a movement initiated by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, whom Robert met). For their community, they chose a beautiful spot—surrounded by natural springs-- in the valley of Sheldale (within the town of Sutton) on land given to them by the local archbishop. The monastery became known as Fountains Abbey, given the natural flowing waters mirroring the flowing of the Holy Spirit from within. The group of monks became known for their holiness, poverty, and austere way of life, with Robert recognized for his devotion and self-denial. In time, Fountains Abbey became the center of religious study in North England, and eventually affiliated with the Cistercian reform.

Given the success of Fountains Abbey, a local lord built another abbey on his land, the Abbey of Newminster. To Newminster, he brought Robert and a dozen companions. Robert was appointed Abbot, and under his leadership, the community prospered, establishing two additional abbeys in later years.

While Robert grew the religious communities at Newminster, his life was not without trials. At one point, while serving as Abbot, members of the community accused him of impropriety, suggesting that he had engaged in lascivious acts with a local pious woman. Saint Robert traveled to France, visiting Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the head of the Order. Saint Bernard determined the accusations to be false, and as a symbol of his belief in Robert's innocence, presented him with a golden girdle to be used to affect miraculous cures of the sick at Newminster.

Robert ruled and directed the monks at Newminster for 21 years. He was a man of prayer, favored with gifts of prophecy and miracles. He is described as a devout and gentle man. While he is known for being merciful in his judgment of others, and a warm and considerate companion, he was also very zealous toward his own vows of poverty. Saint Robert is recorded as having had supernatural gifts, including visions and encounters with demons, and the gift of exorcism. In one such encounter, the Devil himself entered the church while Robert and his brothers were praying. The Devil, seeking a weak soul to tempt, was thwarted by Robert’s prayers for strength and encouragement for the monks in his charge.

Saint Robert is said to have fasted so rigorously during Lent that his brothers grew concerned, and asked him the reason for his refusal to eat. Robert responded that he might be able to eat a small piece of buttered oatcake, but once it was placed before him, fearing gluttony, he requested that it instead be given to the poor. Over the protest of his brothers, the food was taken to the front gates of the Abbey, where a beautiful stranger took both the cake and the dish it sat upon. While a brother was explaining the loss, the dish miraculously appeared on the table before the abbot, leading the men to realize that the beautiful stranger had been an angel of the Lord.

Saint Robert was close friends with the hermit Saint Godric, whom he visited frequently. On the night Robert died, Godric is said to have seen a vision of Robert's soul, like a ball of fire, being lifted by angels on a pathway of light toward the gates of Heaven. As they approached, Godric heard a voice saying, "Enter now my friends." His relics were translated to the church at Newminster. Numerous miracles have been reported at his tomb, including one in which a brother monk is said to have fallen unhurt from a ladder while whitewashing the dormitory. His tomb remains a center of pilgrimage.

The life of Saint Robert of Newminster reminds us that one does not need to live a life filled with extravagant miracles or preaching, or die a martyrs’ death to be holy. Saint Robert lived a simple life, rich in the spirit of the Lord. He gave all that he have, sacrificed, and spent his days in prayer and self-denial—oftentimes for the souls of his brothers and those who were less fortunate. Robert considered his actions carefully, always on the look-out for temptation, and wary of the pathways to sinfulness. Through fasting and prayer he converted many souls, grew the Church of God on earth, and earned himself a saint’s place in Heaven. How might we better live up to the example of this holy man?

God our loving Father, you inspired Robert
to establish a new monastery, and to preside as abbot
with gentleness and justice.
As we honor today this man of prayer, may we also learn from his example.
We ask 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.

Year 2: Day 158 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Courageous lives of faith
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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