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."

August 23: Saint Rose of Lima

Posted by Jacob

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”

Today, August 23, we celebrate the feast of the first canonized saint of the Americas, Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617). A beautiful flower of the saints of the Church, Satin Rose is remembered for her inexhaustible love for the Lord, her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, and her life of harsh penances and mortifications. Once having said, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart,” Saint Rose lived a life of difficulty and suffering on the earth, receiving the crown of sainthood in heaven.

Born Isabella de Flores, Saint Rose was the daughter of a Spanish immigrant father and a Peruvian mother. She was personally confirmed by the Archbishop of Lima, Saint Turibius de Mongrovejo, and took the name Rose. Her family and friends had been calling her “Rosa,” as when she was still an infant, one of the family’s servants had seen her face miraculously transform into the vision of a mystical Rose.

Her childhood was spent in spiritual pursuits, having demonstrated great piety and love for the Lord at a young age. She emulated Saint Catherine of Siena, whom she had read about, and began fasting three times a week. Rose also implemented severe, but secret, penances, so as not to upset her parents. Her mother, quite proud of her beautiful daughter, would frequently adorn her with garlands of flowers. Rose, however, did not want to be admired by others, as she did not want to contribute to the sinfulness of the world. Afraid that she would become beautiful, which would lead to the sins of others, Rose cut off her hair and purposefully disfigured her face by rubbing pepper and lye against her skin. Her daily fasting evolved into perpetual abstinence from meat.

Saint Rose spent the majority of her days undertaking acts of charity and industry, directed especially toward the indigenous people of Peru who were horribly mistreated by the conquering Spaniards. Along with Saint Turibius, and Saint Martin de Porres, Rose helped the sick and hungry of Lima. Not content to leave them suffering in the squalid slums of the city, Rose would bring the poor, orphans, elderly, and sick to her home, personally taking care of them—the beginning of social services in Peru. She worked tirelessly day and night, hand crafting exquisite lace and needlework, and growing beautiful flowers—both of which she took to market to sell, supporting not only her family, but the poor as well.

Saint Rose spent every night in prayer, in a small grotto that she had built. She spent many hours contemplating the Blessed Sacrament, which she received daily. She determined to take a vow of virginity in opposition to her parents, who wished her to marry. Humble, she obeyed them (and supported them) in every command, except the command to marry. Her love of Jesus was so great that when she talked about Him, her face glowed and her eyes sparkled, and she could not turn from her perpetual pledge to Him.

At age 20, Rose was so attracted to the Dominican Order, and through her good works had attracted their attention as well, that she was permitted to enter a Third Order Dominican convent in 1602 without payment of the usual dowry. In her twentieth year she donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. Following her taking of the veil, she increased her mortification. She wore coarse clothing, and a garland of silver (hidden by flowers) which had sharp spikes that penetrated her scalp. She would fast so long and hard that she would find it impossible to stand, upon which she would lay down on shards of broken glass and pottery. More than once, when she shuddered at the prospect of a night of torture, a voice said, "My Cross was yet more painful," giving her the spiritual strength to go on.

As a result of her exterior mortification, she had interior mystical experiences and ecstasies, as well as long periods of darkness and desolation. For fifteen years, she was tormented by the Devil, and the feelings that the Lord had abandoned her, or was too far away to reach. In response to this "dark night of the soul" she continued her prayer and penance, and was forcefully cheerful to those she encountered lest they be troubled by her sadness.

For eleven years, Saint Rose continued to serve the community, and devote herself to penance and the Blessed Sacrament. Her harsh self-martyrdom continued without relaxation, but not without consolation. Our Lord revealed Himself to her frequently, flooding her soul with such inexpressible peace and joy as to leave her in ecstasy for hours. At these times she offered to Him all her mortifications and penances in expiation for offences against Him, for idolatry, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory. She was graced with visions of her guardian angel, Our Blessed Mother, and the Infant Jesus. Both her mortifications and ecstasies continued until she died at the young age of 31, having prophesied the date of her death exactly. Her funeral was attended by all the public authorities of Lima, who took turns carrying her coffin through the streets of the city for public veneration. The archbishop pronounced her eulogy in the cathedral.

Saint Rose of Lima is the first Catholic in the Americas to be declared a saint. Her shrine is located inside the convent of Saint Dominic in Lima, and many miracles have been attributed to her intercession—both while she was alive and after her death.

Saint Rose of Lima lived a life of extreme penances. What might be considered eccentric or odd by others was transformed by the love of the Lord from the inside out. Her penance and mortification was surpassed by only one thing—her consuming love of God, a love so strong and so beautiful it withstood mockery, suffering, lengthy sickness, and temptations from the Devil. We pray today for the strength of a similar love for the Lord—a love which will enable us to create change in the world, starting with ourselves!

God our Father,
for love of you
Saint Rose gave up everything
to devote herself to a life of penance.
By the help of her prayers
may we imitate her selfless way of life on earth
and enjoy the fullness of your blessings in heaven.
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.

For an excerpt from her writings, entitled, “The Beauty of Divine Grace,” click here.

Year 2: Day 235of 365
Prayer Intentions: Charity, Service to others, Social Justice.
Requested Intentions: Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C); Financial assistance and employment (B); For a family’s intentions (T); Successful examination results (B); Healing of a friend with cancer, for all those who help others (B); Healing and love (L); Grace and healing (V); Healing of a heart, consecration of a marriage (M); Health of a family, intentions of apostolate (H); For repentance (J); For a family in trouble (R); Healing, successful relationships for son, financial success (J); Success of a company (L); For a religious society (J); Healing of a husband, strength as a faithful caregiver (D); Healing of a son (T); Financial security, Healing and guidance (M); Healing of a heart and relationship (V); Employment for daughter (J); For a marriage that glorifies the Lord (K); Resolution of family situation, parents’ health (A); Positive results (C); For a son’s employment, faith, and relationships (S).


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