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 31: Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, Apostle of the English

Posted by Jacob

"His life is in marked contrast to the apathy of our times." (Venerable Bede on Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne)

Today, August 31, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne (died 651), known as the Apostle of the English (or the Apostle of Northumbria). Saint Aidan was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. He is credited with restoring Christianity to the region. It is said of him, by Bishop Lightfoot, “Augustine was the Apostle of Kent, but Aidan was the Apostle of the English." Saint Bede the Venerable would write of Saint Aidan in his biography: "he was a pontiff inspired with a passionate love of virtue, but at the same time full of a surpassing mildness and gentleness."

Aidan was born in Ireland, probably in Connacht, and studied as a monk at the monastery on the Island of Iona in Scotland. While Christianity had spread into Britain centuries earlier, during the invasion of the Romans, gradually paganism had reclaimed the region. When Oswald of Northumbria regained the kingship, he sought to re-establish Christianity, and bring the light of Christ to the peoples living there. (Oswald is likely to have converted himself, upon a visit to the monastery on Iona).

Based upon his experience on Iona, King Oswald requested missionaries be sent to work amongst the peoples. At first the monastery sent a new bishop named Cormán, but he met with no success and soon returned to Iona, reporting that the Northumbrians were too stubborn to be converted. Saint Aidan criticized Bishop Cormán's methods and was sent as a replacement in 635.

Upon arrival in Northumbria, Aidan established Lindisfarne—an island similar to Iona—as the center of his diocese. Here Aidan established an Irish-type monastery of wooden buildings: a small church, small, circular dwelling huts, perhaps one larger building for communal purposes and in time, workshops as needed. The monks lived a life of prayer, study and austerity, but spent the majority of time preaching and engaged in activities of conversion. Through translation efforts of the royal family—first Oswald, and then Oswine of Deira after the death of Oswald—Aidan and his fellow monks preached the Gospel to all who would listen. Over time, he came to be recognized for his piety and gentleness, and respected by even the harshest critics of Christianity.

Gentle and unassuming, Aidan traveled on foot from one village to another, engaging those he met in polite conversation, and slowly raising their interest in Christianity. According to legend, the king gave Aidan a horse so that he wouldn't have to walk, but Aidan instead gave the horse to a beggar, modeling the charitable love of Christ. Through patience and wisdom, Christianity took root in these rural communities, and began to grow, fanned by the flames of love and zeal of Aidan and his companions. To further the growth of the faith, Aidan took in twelve English boys to train at the monastery, hoping to ensure that the area's future religious leadership would be English. The monastery he founded grew and helped found churches and other monasteries throughout the area. By his death, it was widely recognized as a center of Christian faith and learning throughout the regions.

Numerous miracles were attributed to him while alive, including his intercession to save the city of Bamburgh during attack by pagans. As holy legend tells us, when the pagans attacked the city, they set the walls on fire. Aidan prayed for respite, and the winds turned against the invaders, blowing the smoke from their own fires over the invading army. They were forced to flee, and the city was saved.

After 16 years as bishop, Aidan died at Bamburgh. In his life we see the zeal and the spirit of the first Apostles—a spirit based in generosity and dedication, in passing along the gifts of grace one possesses to all encountered. The Venerable Bede wrote of Saint Aidan: "He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works."

Saint Aidan’s Prayer:

Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,
Make me an island, set apart,
alone with you, God, holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide
prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond,
the world that rushes in on me
till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

O holy Bishop Aidan, Apostle of the North and light of the Celtic Church, glorious in humility, noble in poverty, zealous monk and loving missionary, intercede for us sinners that Christ our God may have mercy on our souls.

Thou didst teach and preserve Christ’s doctrine and didst spread the faith throughout Northumbria, O holy Aidan. Unceasingly pray to God for us for thou dost worship before His throne for ever. Amen.

Year 2: Day 243 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Generosity of spirit.
Requested Intentions: Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); 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).


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