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 3: Pope Saint Gregory the Great

Posted by Jacob

“As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.”

Today, September 3, we celebrate the feast day of Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604), one of the most prominent figures in Church history, and along with Saints Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome, one of the four key Doctors of the Western Church. Pope Saint Gregory enacted significant Church reforms, and wrote prolifically from a theological and spiritual position (as opposed to a doctrinal position) about the Holy Spirit, the Gospels, and the faith of the Church. Referred to as “Great” due to his sanctity and his works, Pope Saint Gregory I inspires us to live moral, righteous lives, balanced in thought, word, and deed.

Pope Benedict said in his 2008 General Audience on Saint Gregory:

"[Saint Gregory the Great] proposes his thought through some significant binomials -- know how/do, speak/live, know something/act -- in which he evokes the two aspects of human life which should be complementary, but which often end up by being antithetical. The moral ideal, he comments, consists in achieving always a harmonious integration between word and action, thought and commitment, prayer and dedication to the duties of one's state: This is the road to attain that synthesis thanks to which the divine descends into man and man is raised to identification with God.

The inspirational principle, which links together the various addresses [of this great Pope], is summarized in the word "praedicator": Not only the minister of God, but also every Christian, has the duty to make himself a "preacher" of what he has experienced in his own interior, following the example of Christ who became man to take to all the proclamation of salvation. The horizon of this commitment is eschatological: The expectation of fulfillment in Christ of all things is a constant thought of the great Pontiff and ends by being the inspirational motive of his every thought and activity. From here flow his incessant calls to vigilance and commitment to good works.”

Writings of Pope Saint Gregory the Great:

"True Simplicity"

"Seeking to Pray Amidst Distractions"

"Make Known the Mysteries of Mercy"

"The Green Pastures of Heaven"

Saint Gregory the Great was born at Rome in 540. The son of a Roman senator, Gregory studied law, and was appointed Prefect (Chief Magistrate) of Rome when he was in his early thirties by Emperor Justin the Younger. After holding the position for five years, he resigned, founded six monasteries on his estate, and became a Benedictine monk. After several years, he was ordained a priest, and eventually became one of the Pope’s seven deacons of Rome. Obedient to the Holy Father, he was dispatched as a papal legate to Constantinople, where he served for six years prior to returning to his monastery to live in peace and contemplation. Elected abbot of the monastery, the people of Rome subsequently elevated him to pope, the first monk to hold this divine office.

Pope Saint Gregory’s papacy was marked by discipline and clergy reform. He was direct and firm with those who led congregations, removing the unworthy from office. He enacted reforms regarding payment to clergy, forbidding the acceptance of money for most services and Sacraments. He further looked to extend the charity and reach of the church, emptying the treasury to ransom captives, care for Jews who were being persecuted, and provide aid to the many victims of plague and famine.

Especially concerned with the conversion of England, he sent countless missionaries—including 40 monks from his monastery—to Great Britain. As holy legend tells us, Saint Gregory’s interest in the English was prompted by seeing young Anglo-Saxon captives for sale in a Roman slave market. According to the story, the pope asked who these fair-haired slaves were, and was told they were Angles. Gregory exclaimed in response, "They are not 'Angles' -- they are angels!" He subsequently doubled his efforts.

Pope Gregory is known for his reform of the liturgy, and his strengthening and deep respect of doctrine. He is credited with revising the Church's traditional chant tones, known as “plain chant,” or Gregorian Chant. While he was responsible for doctrinal and liturgical reform, his writing and preaching style was down-to-earth and easy to understand. Saint Gregory’s skills lie in applying the daily gospel to the needs of his listeners.

Several legendary stories exist in regards to Pope Saint Gregory the Great. For example, while saying Mass one day, Pope Gregory became aware of a disbeliever and began to pray for a sign that would leave no doubt about the real presence of Christ in the Mass. Showing his stigmata and surrounded by instruments of his Passion, Christ materialized before the Pope and the congregation. Similarly, Pope Gregory was visited by Saint Michael the Archangel to announce the end of the plague in Rome.

Most famously, Pope Gregory’s homilies and writings are attributed directly to the Holy Spirit. As legend tells us, when he was dictating his homilies on Ezekiel, a curtain was drawn between his secretary and himself. As, the pope remained silent for long periods at a time, the servant secretly cut a small hole in the curtain and, looking through, saw a dove seated upon Gregory's head with its beak between his lips. When the dove withdrew its beak the holy pontiff would speak and the secretary took down his words; but when he became silent the servant again applied his eye to the hole and saw the dove had replaced its beak between his lips.

The last years of Saint Gregory's life were filled with every kind of suffering. His mind, naturally serious, was filled with despondency and foreboding, and his bodily pains—which he had quietly suffered through for most of his life-- were increased and intensified. His "sole consolation was the hope that death would come quickly.” He died quietly in 604, and on the same day his body was laid to rest in front of the sacristy of Saint Peter’s Basilica. He was considered a saint immediately following his death, by popular acclamation.

The first pope to refer to himself as “the servant of the servants of God,” Pope Saint Gregory the Great remains one of the most pivotal figures in the expansion and reformation of the Church. His writings, as well as his humility, endurance, and faith, continue to inspire us today.

Selected Quotations of Pope Saint Gregory the Great:

"Perhaps it is not after all so difficult for a man to part with his possessions, but it is certainly most difficult for him to part with himself. To renounce what one has is a minor thing; but to renounce what one is, that is asking a lot."

“The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.”

"When one is pleased about having attained many virtues it is good to reflect on one's own insufficiencies and humble oneself. Instead of considering the good accomplished, it is necessary to consider what one has failed to accomplish."

“If we knew at what time we were to depart from this world, we would be able to select a season for pleasure and another for repentance. But God, who has promised pardon to every repentant sinner, has not promised us tomorrow. Therefore we must always dread the final day, which we can never foresee. This very day is a day of truce, a day for conversion. And yet we refuse to cry over the evil we have done! Not only do we not weep for the sins we have committed, we even add to them…. If we are, in fact, now occupied in good deeds, we should not attribute the strength with which we are doing them to ourselves. We must not count on ourselves, because even if we know what kind of person we are today, we do not know what we will be tomorrow. Nobody must rejoice in the security of their own good deeds. As long as we are still experiencing the uncertainties of this life, we do not know what end may follow…we must not trust in our own virtues.”

Father, you guide your people with kindness and govern us with love.
By the prayers of Saint Gregory give the spirit of wisdom to those you have called to lead your Church.
May the growth of your people in holiness be the eternal joy of our shepherds.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Year 2: Day 246 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Balance in thought, word, and deed; Eyes focused on the Lord.
Requested Intentions: 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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