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 27: Saint Vincent de Paul

Posted by Jacob

Today, September 27, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), founder of the Congregation of the Mission, and servant to his fellow man. Saint Vincent is a model of Christian charity, caring for all, and revolutionizing the mission work of the Church. Truly modeling his life on that of Christ, Saint Vincent placed himself at the feet of the poor, assisting in their need, but more importantly, recognizing the sanctity and dignity of every human life.

Saint Vincent was born into a peasant farming family in Pouy, France. A highly intelligent youth, he excelled at academics, and sought the priesthood primarily for social advancement and monetary gain. At that time, escaping the peasant life was difficult, and entering a religious order was one of the only manners in which to change one’s station in life.

Vincent spent four years with the Franciscan friars in Acq, France, and excelled at his education. He supported himself through tutoring the children of the wealthy, and was ordained a priest at the young age of 19. Shortly thereafter, he was captured by Turkish pirates, and sold into slavery, where he remained for several years. He eventually converted one of his owners to Christianity, and later escaped.

Returning to France, Vincent was assigned to a small parish. Having begun his ministry with less than pure intentions and motives, the Lord sought to change Vincent’s heart. Spending time with those who lived in poverty, with little education, Vincent was shocked to discover how his fellow man was being forced to live. He was able to empathize with them, given his own imprisonment. Moreover, he learned how little that his congregation knew of their faith, and began preaching the importance of confession and repentance.

He could have never predicted the response of his parishioners. Lines for confession stretched out the doors of the parish chapel, and the faithful waited for hours to pour out their hearts to Saint Vincent. More than anything, they hungered for the Gospel, and for priests to minister to their basic needs (as well as their spiritual needs). In 1626, Vincent and three priests pledged to, in his own words, "Aggregate and associate to ourselves and to the aforesaid work to live together as a Congregation…and to devote ourselves to the salvation of the poor country folk.” With that, The Congregation of Priests of the Mission (the Lazarists) was established. With Saint Louise de Marillac, he similarly founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity.

The congregations Saint Vincent established spread quickly throughout France, largely due to he and his fellow founders’ travel and preaching efforts. Membership grew, and the congregations started social and community justice organizations committed to helping the poor, sick, unemployed, imprisoned, and uneducated. Saint Vincent worked tirelessly to bring dignity and justice to the destitute, enslaved, abandoned, forgotten, and ignored. The more society looked down upon an individual, the more Saint Vincent became his servant. His basic vision was simply that the Good News of Jesus Christ should be announced to the poor through word and service.

Within his lifetime, the Congregation of the Mission had spread throughout the world, and chapters remain active today in all corners of the globe. At his funeral, it was declared that Saint Vincent had “transformed the face of the Church.”

Saint Vincent de Paul knew how to make his work responsive to all kinds of misery, whether physical or moral, determined to remedy it and finding an appropriate solution for every situation. He was the initiator of assistance to abandoned children, to prisoners, victims of catastrophe, refugees, and housebound invalid. Bending himself to the pattern of his model, Jesus Christ, he place himself at the service of the poor, “who are our lords and our masters.” He taught that true charity does not consist only of distributing alms, but of helping the abject to regain their dignity and independence.

He believed in the virtue of action and he loved to use this succinct motto: “Action is our entire task.” He would then add that “Perfection does not come from ecstasy but rather from doing the will of God.” However, he recommended long prayer and meditation before action so that one could come to recognize the divine will. Above all, this man of action was a man of prayer and deep spirituality: “You must have an inner life, everything must tend in that direction. If you lack this, you lack everything.”

Selected Quotations of Saint Vincent de Paul:

However great the work that God may achieve by an individual, he must not indulge in self-satisfaction. He ought rather to be all the more humbled, seeing himself merely as a tool which God has made use of.

We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.

The Church teaches us that mercy belongs to God. Let us implore Him to bestow on us the spirit of mercy and compassion, so that we are filled with it and may never lose it. Only consider how much we ourselves are in need of mercy.

Extend your mercy towards others, so that there can be no one in need whom you meet without helping. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His Mercy from us?

The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.

Free your mind from all that troubles you; God will take care of things. You will be unable to make haste in this (choice) without, so to speak, grieving the heart of God, because he sees that you do not honor him sufficiently with holy trust. Trust in him, I beg you, and you will have the fulfillment of what your heart desires.

It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer…. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.

Human nature grows tired of always doing the same thing, and it is God’s will that this because of the opportunity of practicing two great virtues. The first is perseverance, which will bring us to our goal. The other is steadfastness, which overcomes the difficulties on the way.

We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.

Humility and charity are the two master-chords: one, the lowest; the other, the highest; all the others are dependent on them. Therefore it is necessary, above all, to maintain ourselves in these two virtues; for observe well that the preservation of the whole edifice depends on the foundation and the roof.

As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive, if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live according to it, and not to the maxims of the world, which are all deceitful. This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection.

We have never so much cause for consolation, as when we find ourselves oppressed by sufferings and trials; for these make us like Christ our Lord, and this resemblance is the true mark of our predestination.

Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.

He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man

Whoever wishes to make progress in perfection should use particular diligence in not allowing himself to be led away by his passions, which destroy with one hand the spiritual edifice which is rising by the labors of the other. But to succeed well in this, resistance should be begun while the passions are yet weak; for after they are thoroughly rooted and grown up, there is scarcely any remedy.

The first step to be taken by one who wishes to follow Christ is, according to Our Lord’s own words, that of renouncing himself - that is, his own senses, his own passions, his own will, his own judgment, and all the movements of nature, making to God a sacrifice of all these things, and of all their acts, which are surely sacrifices very acceptable to the Lord. And we must never grow weary of this; for if anyone having, so to speak, one foot already in Heaven, should abandon this exercise, when the time should come for him to put the other there, he would run much risk of being lost.

We ought to deal kindly with all, and to manifest those qualities which spring naturally from a heart tender and full of Christian charity; such as affability, love and humility. These virtues serve wonderfully to gain the hearts of men, and to encourage them to embrace things that are more repugnant to nature.

It ought to be considered a great misfortune, not only for individuals, but also for Houses and Congregations, to have everything in conformity with their wishes; to go on quietly, and to suffer nothing for the love of God. Yes, consider it certain that a person or a Congregation that does not suffer and is applauded by all the world is near a fall.

Even though the poor are often rough and unrefined, we must not judge them from external appearances nor from the mental gifts they seem to have received. On the contrary, if you consider the poor in the light of faith, then you will observe that they are taking the place of the Son of God who chose to be poor. Although in his passion he almost lost the appearance of a man and was considered a fool by the Gentiles and a stumbling block by the Jews, he showed them that his mission was to preach to the poor: “He sent me to preach the good news to the poor.” We also ought to have this same spirit and imitate Christ’s actions, that is, we must take care of the poor, console them, help them, support their cause. Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also love whose who love the poor. For when on person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons.

Read more written by Saint Vincent de Paul: "To Serve the Poor is to Serve Jesus"

Dear Saint Vincent de Paul, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues: humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations: Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies. And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood. Inspire all Charitable Workers, especially those who minister to the poor - both the spiritually and the materially poor. Amen.


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