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 22: Saint Thomas of Villanueva

Posted by Jacob

"Charity is not just giving, rather removing the need of those who receive charity and liberating them from it when possible."

Today, September 22, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Thomas of Villanueva (1488-1555), Augustinian bishop of Valencia, educator, philanthropist, and confessor. Saint Thomas is referred to as “the almsgiver” and “the father of the poor” given his charity and mercy toward those in need.

Born Tomás García Martínez, this future saint grew up in Villanueva de los Infantes, in the province of Ciudad Real, Spain. His parent, who were the owners of a prosperous estate, were well known and well-connected in the area. Thomas, even as an infant, demonstrated great concern and care for the poor, using his family’s wealth to provide for others. Despite his parents repeatedly giving him the finest of clothes, he could often be found wearing rags, having given away his things to the poor children of the area. He further gave away the food from their storerooms and the animals from their farm.

Thomas received the finest education, studying Arts and Theology at the University of Alcala de Henares. He eventually became a professor, but was drawn to continue his charitable works in a closer communion with the Lord and entered the Augustinian monastery at Salamanca at the age of 28. Two years later, he was ordained a priest. Until his death, Thomas served the Order in a variety of capacities, including prior, General Visitor, and Provincial Prior for the region. He was called upon by Spanish kings, and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V for counsel, spiritual direction, and reconciliation.

Throughout his life, Saint Thomas was best known for his personal austerities, earning him his nicknames. He slept on the floor, having sold the straw from his mattresses to give the money to those in need. He worked tirelessly, collecting alms, and ministering to the poor, orphans, widows, and the ill. Despite his charitable works, and criticism by many, Thomas worked for social reform and change as well, attacking the problems of poverty at a government and administrative level, while maintaining personal contact and providing assistance to those who lined up outside his door each morning. He was somewhat of an embarrassment to Church officials at times, as he continued his practice from childhood, refusing to dress “appropriately,” instead giving his clothes and possessions away to those who needed them more desperately.

In the last decades of his life, Thomas entered into a mystical relationship with the Lord, frequently receiving ecstatic visions during Mass, and losing himself to his surroundings. Once, when preaching, he raised a crucifix and yelled to the congregation assembled before him to look upon the cross, presumably to make some point about it. He only managed to yell, “Christians! Look here – ” before his sentence stopped, for St. Thomas was caught up instantaneously in the beauty of the cross and could not continue. On another occasion, when in the midst of a ceremony for a novice who was receiving his habit, Saint Thomas simply dropped into ecstasy in contemplation of the Lord. He was speechless, in deep communion with for 15 minutes before he realized where he was. In humility, he said:

"Brethren, I beg your pardon. I have a weak heart and I feel ashamed of being so often overcome on these occasions. I will try to repair my faults."

In 1544, Saint Thomas was nominated as Archbishop of Valencia but actively refused the appointment until ordered to accept by his superior. There, aided by his assistant bishop, Juan Segriá, he put in order a diocese that for a century had not had direct pastoral government. He organized a special college for Moorish converts, and in particular an effective plan for social assistance, welfare, and charity.

As Archbishop, Thomas was not prone to using his office to scold or castigate. Rather, he was very cautious to punish in order to convert. When someone tried to press him to make a firm decision to punish, he is said to have responded about that someone:

“He is without doubt a good man, but one of those fervent ones mentioned by St. Paul as having zeal without knowledge….Let [the good man] enquire whether St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom used anathemas and excommunication to stop the drunkenness and blasphemy which were so common among the people under their care. No; for they were too wise and prudent. They did not think it right to exchange a little good for a great evil by inconsiderately using their authority and so exciting the aversion of those whose good will they wanted to gain in order to influence them for good.”

Saint Thomas composed beautiful sermons, among which stands out the Sermon on the Love of God, one of the great examples of sacred oratory of the 16th century. He enjoyed great fame as a preacher, bringing about multitudes of conversions with his plain and simple style. Emperor Charles V, upon hearing him preach, exclaimed, "This monsignor can move even the stones!” He also had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary, whose heart he compared to the burning bush that is never consumed.

Saint Thomas died at the age of 67, suffering from complications related to angina. It is said that when Thomas was about to breathe his last breath, he asked to be placed on the floor so that a poorer man might have his bed. He is remembered for saying:

“Wonderful beneficence! God promises us Heaven for the recompense of His love. Is not His love itself the greatest reward, the most desirable, the most lovely, and the most sweet blessing? Yet a further recompense, and so immense a recompense, waits upon it. Wonderful goodness! Thou givest thy love, and for this thy love thou bestowest on us Paradise.”

O God, who didst endue blessed Thomas, thy bishop, with wondrous gifts of mercy to the poor : we humbly beseech thee ; that, at his intercession, thou wouldest pour forth on all who call upon thee the abundant riches of thy mercy. We pray through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Year 2: Day 265 of 365
Prayer Intentions: True charity and concern for others.
Requested Intentions: Business success, peace, health (E); Conversion and deliverance of those who suffer, increase in vocations (M); Financial security and safe housing (M); For a daughter (K); Conversion of a family, deliverance of the souls in Purgatory (S); Successful marriage (A); Health, safety, grace, success of a building project (A); Successful treatment and recovery from cancer (D); Clear speech for a child (C); Conversion of a family (A); Successful employment (S); For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); 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).


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