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."

September 12: The Most Holy Name of Mary

Posted by Jacob

Whenever I say Hail Mary

The court of heaven rejoices
And the earth is lost in wonderment
And I despise the world
And my heart is brim full
Of the love of God.
When I say Hail Mary;
All my fears wilt and die
And my passions are quelled.
If I say Hail Mary;
Devotion grows within me
And sorrow for sin awakens.
When I say Hail Mary
Hope is made strong
In my breast
And the dew of consolation
Falls on my soul
More and more
Because I say Hail Mary.
And my spirit rejoices
And sorrow fades away
When I say
Hail Mary.
by Blessed Alan de la Roche

Today, September 12, we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, echoing what Saint Anthony of Padua proclaimed in 1231: “O name of Mary! Joy in the heart, honey in the mouth, melody to the ear of Her devout clients!” The Holy Name of Mary is invoked for the same reason as that of Jesus. In a unique way Mary shares in the royal dignity and power of Jesus Christ. The Name of Mary like the Name of Jesus is a proclamation of the presence of God and His kingdom.

This feast was established by Pope Innocent XI in 1683, that the faithful may in a particular manner recommend to God on this day, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the necessities of His Church, and return Him thanks for His gracious protection and numberless mercies. It is the counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which we celebrate on January 3. In accordance with Jewish custom our Lady's parents named her eight days after her birth, and were inspired to call her Mary. The feast of the Holy Name of Mary therefore follows that of her Birthday, as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus follows Christmas.

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513. In 671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples, and in 1683, Pope Innocent XI extended the celebration to the entire Church following a miraculous event: An army of 550,000 invaders loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople had reached the city of Vienna, laid siege, and was threatening all of Europe. John Sobieski, the King of Poland, arrived with a much smaller army to assist the besieged city during the octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. Devoutly Catholic, the king prepared for battle by having a Mass celebrated, which he himself desired to serve, his arms in a cross. After receiving Communion with fervor, he rose at the close of the sacrifice and cried out: “Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin!” Miraculously, the far superior army of the Turks was struck with a sudden panic and fled in disorder. From that time the feast day has been celebrated during the octave of the Nativity of Our Lady.

We might ask ourselves, however, “what are we really celebrating?” The Breviary describes the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary as follows:

“It is said: And the Virgin's name was Mary. Let us speak a few words upon this name, which signifieth, being interpreted, Star of the Sea, and suiteth very well the Maiden Mother, who may very meetly be likened unto a star. A star giveth forth her rays without any harm to herself, and the Virgin brought forth her Son without any hurt to her virginity. The light of a star taketh nothing away from the Virginity of Mary. She is that noble star which was to come out of Jacob, whose brightness still sheddeth lustre upon all the earth, whose rays are most brilliant in heaven, and shine even unto hell, lighting up earth midway, and warming souls rather than bodies, fostering good and scaring away evil. She, I say, is a clear and shining star, twinkling with excellencies, and resplendent with example, needfully set to look down upon the surface of this great and wide sea.

O thou, whosoever thou art, that knowest thyself to be here not so much walking upon firm ground, as battered to and fro by the gales and storms of this life's ocean, if thou wouldest not be overwhelmed by the tempest, keep thine eyes fixed upon this star's clear shining. If the hurricanes of temptation rise against thee, or thou art running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star, call on Mary. If the waves of pride, or ambition, or slander, or envy toss thee, look to the star, call on Mary. If the billows of anger or avarice, or the enticements of the flesh beat against thy soul's bark, look to Mary. If the enormity of thy sins trouble thee, if the foulness of thy conscience confound thee, if the dread of judgment appall thee, if thou begin to slip into the deep of despondency, into the pit of despair, think of Mary.

In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart, and that thou mayest not lack the succor of her prayers, turn not aside from the example of her conversation. If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray. If thou pray to her, thou wilt never have need to despair. If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never fall. If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary. If she help thee, thou wilt reach home safe at the last - and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said: And the Virgin's name was Mary.”

Pope Benedict XVI said the following about Mary's holy name, “modernizing” that which is contained in the Breviary:

“Let us say a few words about this Name which means "Star of the Sea" and is so appropriate to the Virgin Mother. She -- I tell you -- is that splendid and wondrous star

suspended as if by necessity over this great wide sea, radiant with merit and brilliant in example. O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land: if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star. When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of tribulation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.

Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition, or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary. When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary. When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary. In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary. Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life, and you will obtain the favor of her prayer. Following her, you will never go astray.

Asking her help, you will never despair. Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away. With your hand in hers, you will never stumble. With her protecting you, you will not be afraid. With her leading you, you will never tire. Her kindness will see you through to the end. Then you will know by your own experience how true it is that the Virgin's Name was Mary.”

Our salvation began when the Archangel Gabriel spoke the name of Mary. Gabriel greeted Mary with the words Ave, gratia plena, Hail, full of grace, as though 'Full of Grace' were Her name. And indeed it is. It is the name God gave to Mary. She is the one who is already filled with God’s grace, even before the presence of Jesus in Her womb. In a real sense Mary becomes the Mother of Jesus, precisely because She is full of grace. To be Christian is to carry on that grace-filled Annunciation unceasingly. Saint Louis de Montfort wrote that “the salvation of each individual is bound up with the Hail Mary.” This prayer that names the holy name of the Mother of God will cause the Word of God to take root in the soul and bring forth Jesus—a power created through the profound union of Mother and Son. As Romanus Cessario said, “When God sent his Son born of a woman, he instituted a once and for all order of salvation in which the union of Mother and Child stands at the center.” To accept the divine privilege of speaking the name of Mary is to participate in that saving union.

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe reminded us how the name of Mary reveals her union with Her Son, and how invoking her Holy Name banishes the darkness of sin and welcomes the light of life:

“Try to take refuge with Mary as a little child with its best-beloved Mother. ‘Invoke’ her Holy Name with the heart in the difficulties of life, in darkness and weakness of spirit and you will soon be convinced what Mary can do – and Who her Son Jesus Christ is.”

Lord our God, when your Son was dying on the altar of the cross, he gave us as our mother the one he had chosen to be his own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant that we who call upon the holy name of Mary, our mother, with confidence in her protection may receive strength and comfort in all our needs. Amen.

Additional Writings about the Most Holy Name of Mary:

Saint Alphonsus de Liguiori: "The Power of Her Name"

The Most Holy Name of Mary: Marian Titles and Devotions

Litany to the Most Holy Name of Mary


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