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 6: Venerable Anthony Margil de Jesus, the "Wing-Footed Friar"

Posted by Jacob

Today, August 6, we celebrate the feast day of Venerable Antonio (Anthony) Margil de Jesus (1657-1726). Known as the “wing-footed friar,” the “Apostle of New Spain”, and the “Apostle of Texas,” Venerable Anthony labored tirelessly as missionary, miracle-worker, servant of the Lord throughout the Americas. While others gave him such laudable nicknames, ever humble Anthony referred to himself as “La Misma Nada,” translated as “Nothingness Itself.” At his eulogy, it was said of him: “All America was the witness and the scene of his virtues and miracles. To trace his journeys among the pagans, turn your eyes to east and west, to north and south, and you will find him in all these places, leading a very austere life, crossing mountains, combating the evil spirits until he had triumphantly planted his foundations. The widely scattered provinces of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, of Honduras and Chol and Panama, of Coahuila and Tejas – all of them heard his apostolic voice.”

Anthony was born in Valencia, Spain, and at the young age of 15 joined the Franciscan Order at La Corona de Cristo. Ordained at 25, Anthony was assigned to “New Spain” and made the voyage to Mexico where he was initially stationed at the newly established Mission college of Queretaro. Like other new world missionaries (for example, Junipero Serra in California, twenty-five years later), Anthony encountered difficult living and harsh conditions. Never one to complain, he embraced his challenges as mortifications, offering his sufferings to the Lord for the sake of those he preached to.

Over the course of his life, Anthony would travel throughout Mexico and Central America. His first two missions were to Guatemala and Nicaragua, where he founded colleges. He became known for his fierce preaching, life of penance and prayers, miracle-working, and ability to read souls. He survived multiple attacks, including being burned in a pile of flaming wood by the Talamanca Indians. Rather than be injured, he walked unharmed from the pyre as the flames died. Similarly, reports were told of Anthony walking across swollen streams or rivers without getting wet, and multiplied small quantities of food so that entire villages could eat for months on end.

While on his mission, Anthony received notice that he had been elected Father Guardian (Superior) of the Holy Cross Monastery in Queretero. Requested to return, he left immediately, covering the 700 mile distance barefoot (without a mule) in only 14 days. Once at the monastery, Father Anthony governed fairly and through his own example of exact observance of the Rule of the Order, penance, mortification, fasting, and prayer. His favorite devotion was to that of the stations of the Cross, which he prayed through the streets each Friday, barefoot, carrying a large cross, with a rope around his neck and a crown of thorns atop his head. In Guatemala alone, he established more than 2,500 Ways of the Cross to encourage this devotion.

Similarly, in a miraculous occurrence, a tree sprouted and grew in the courtyard garden of the monastery where Anthony stuck his walking stick into the ground one afternoon. After a few days, it became clear that the walking stick had sprouted and began growing into a tree. The miraculous tree produces a series of small thorns, each it the form of a cross along its trunk and branches. Each cross, in turn, presents three smaller thorns recognizing the spikes of the crucifixion. The tree, which is unlike any other in the world, continues to grow in the monastery courtyard today.

At approximately the age of 60, Anthony was appointed vice-commissary of Missions of New Spain, and was granted the right to establish missions wherever he thought the most work for the Lord could be accomplished. Having heard of the Indians of Texas, who lived in horrible conditions, he became intent on journeying to Texas to establish missions on their behalf. The journey was difficult due to weather, hostile animals and Indian tribes, insects, reptiles, hunger, and lack of water. He was repeatedly captured and tortured, beaten, and left for dead, but never gave up. Walking barefoot through the harsh terrain, he established multiple missions throughout the region. Bringing nothing with him, he relied each day on the provisions of the Lord, which were never withheld from him.

Throughout his journeys, Anthony worked further miracles, kept peace between natives and settlers, and founded multiple missions—some of which needed to be abandoned during the war between France and Spain in 1719. One of his most famous miracles occurred during a journey from Nacogdoches when his band of travelers found themselves without water, and with no hope of finding any. Faint with thirst, Anthony said: “Fear not, do not be dismayed. Trust in God, for in a short time you shall have water.” Then striking a rock in the dry creek bed twice with his staff, fresh and clear water gushed forth and continues to flow to this day. The area is named in his honor.

Given Anthony’s great success at missionary work, and the unmatched peace-keeping and influence he had on all he encountered due to his humility, he was sent on various missions in his elder years including travel to Zacatecas, Guadalajara, and others. These rigorous trips took their toll on his declining health, and it soon became clear that he would not live much longer. When the people noted this, they began to surround him, cutting pieces from his travel cloak as holy relics. He was sent to Mexico City for medical attention, and upon arrival declared to his superior: “Reverend Father Superior, the donkey has come here to deposit its burden.”

Anthony insisted on making a last confession, which due to the nature of his life, was quite short (given that he had few faults to confess). His confessor, having difficulty finding sufficient sin to absolve him of, paused with a look of wonder and confusion. Seeing this, Anthony said, “If Your Reverence should see a ball of gold suspended by a hair, though gold is very heavy, would you think that it was supported by itself? Now, I have been a poor creature, liable to fall at any moment, and if God had not kept his omnipotent hand over me, I do not know what I might have done.”

Anthony lay ill for five days, never one complaining of his suffering. On August 5, a picture of Our Lady of Remedies was brought to him, and he greeted her lovingly saying, “Until tomorrow, my dearly beloved Lady.” The following day, on the feast of the Transfiguration, he died peacefully. Just short of his 69th birthday, Anthony had served the Lord with profound humility for nearly 53 years, 43 of which as a missionary in North and Central America.

Year 2: Day 218 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Humility; Acknowledgement that our accomplishments are possible only through the grace of God.
Requested Intentions: 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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