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."

November 14: Saint Laurence O'Toole

Posted by Jacob

He was a hostage to Dermot Mac Murrough,
Mac Murrough na gall.
A brave, fearless boy he was taken
Out from his father's hall

Into the tyrant's keeping
The little hostage went.
So early he knew sorrow
And all that sorrow meant.

Rescued from Mac Murrough
To Glendalough he came.
And, as the years passed slowly
All Ireland learned his name.

Now a great man in Dublin,
Archbishop Laurence saw
The people he loved turned outcast
with neither land nor law.

King Rory in his castle,
The nobles in their forts
had little care for Ireland,
Nor honour in their thoughts.

But Laurence rode throughout the land-
"Unite! Unite!" he cried.
"For Church and Country arm and fight!"
He would not be denied.

A hostage in his boyhood:
A patriot to the end:
A saint who struggled all his days
His country to defend.
(from Knights of God by Patrick Lynch)

Today, November 14, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Laurence O’Toole (Lorcán Ua Tuathail, 1128-1180), Confessor, Archbishop of Dublin, reformer, and peacekeeper.

Laurence, born Lorcán Ua Tuathail, was born in Castledermot, in Kildare County (Ireland). The son of the chieftain of Leinster, his birth caused such great joy to his father, that in thanksgiving, to honor Christ, he pardoned a vassal who was an enemy and even chose him to sponsor the young child. As the family processed to Church for baptism, they were stopped by a man who was regarded as a prophet, and who told them in verse that the child would be magnificent on earth and glorious in heaven, and that his name must be Laurence. Despite plans to name him otherwise, the chieftain bestowed upon his son the name Laurence.

Over the first ten years of Laurence’s life, he was raised in the faith tradition by his mother and father. During that time, his father’s role as chieftain was gradually usurped by a rival family, the MacMurroughs, and eventually, they seized power in the region. To guarantee his loyalty, the former chieftain was forced to deliver young Laurence (just 10 years old) to the MacMurroughs as hostage.

Thus, when only ten years old, Laurence was taken from his home to live as a captive and slave to another family. The MacMurroughs treated the child with great inhumanity, leaving him to suffer hunger and cold and other incommodities until his health was nearly ruined. As this situation was arranged to ensure loyalty and peace, his father, upon hearing of the treatment of Laurence, threatened the opposite, and the MacMurroughs were obliged to place Lawrence under the care of the Bishop of Glendenoch (in County Wicklow). His health restored, the already pious youth continued to grow in the grace of the Lord under the spiritual direction of the good bishop. Reunited with his father, Laurence declared his intent to remain with the bishop, and to commit himself to the Lord, entering the religious life to serve the Church and others. "It is my desire," said Lawrence, "to have for my inheritance the service of God in the Church." His father joyfully gave his permission.

When Laurence was approximately 22, the bishop—who was also the abbot of the monastery in the city—died, and Lawrence was selected to replace him. While young, and doubtful of his own abilities, Laurence soon proved (to others and himself) that he was a capable leader and administrator, spiritual director, and father to the young men in the monastery. With the monies earned by the monastery, he cared for the hungry, poor, and needy—virtually providing food for the entire region during a great famine. Revenue was always directed back to the community, in establishing housing, founding hospitals, providing basic necessities, and repairing ruined or decrepit churches. In ten short years, he transformed the area, and when the see of Glendenoch became vacant, it was Saint Laurence who was chosen to fill it. Not long thereafter, although out of humility he attempted to avoid the honor, he was obliged to become Archbishop of Dublin. Playing to his obedience, he was told that to refuse the honor would be to resist the Will of God. Naturally, Laurence acquiesced and took upon him the care of the city, becoming the first native-born Irishman to hold the position.

As archbishop, Laurence immediately undertook reform of the clergy, instituting the rules of Saint Augustine. He, himself, followed the rules to exacting standards, sharing their table, their prayer and their silence. He also embarked on a spiritual retreat each year, finding a cave (known as Saint Kevin’s Cave) a few miles from the city, and spending forty days there, praying, meditating, and fasting on only bread, water, and vegetables. Upon his return, each year, his sermons were filled with such vigor and zeal against the disorders of the province, many—even the most opposed—were converted! Saint Laurence lived a life of austerity. He constantly wore a hair shirt under his ecclesiastical robes, never ate meat, fasted every Friday, and never drank wine - although he would color his water to make it look like wine and not bring attention to himself at table.

When Laurence was approximately 43 (around the year 1171), it was required of him to go to England to see the king, Henry II, who was then at Canterbury. He was received by the Benedictine monks of Christ Church with the greatest honor and respect, and the following day, performed a miracle before the eyes of many. During Mass, as Laurence was processing to the alter to celebrate, he was struck on the head by a religious zealot, hoping to make a martyr of him. To the consternation of all present, he appeared to be mortally wounded. However, Laurence calmly asked for some water, which he blessed, and then requested that his head be washed with it. As soon as the blessed water touched his wound, the blood stopped flowing, he rose, and celebrated the Mass. Not only did he publicly forgive his attacker, but also obtained pardon from the king for his crime. Word spread of his deeds, and through his model and his prayers, many alienated faithful were returned to the Church.

Saint Laurence returned to Ireland, after stopping in Rome to have audience with the Pope. There he was made legate of the Irish provinces—all of which he then visited to institute reform and discipline throughout the country. Not long thereafter, Laurence died in France while on a peacekeeping mission to King Henry II of England. His body was buried, and so many miracles were recorded in the first five years at his intercession, that it was encased in a crystal coffin and placed beneath the main alter at the Church of the Abby at Eu. Saint Laurence O’Toole was canonized only 45 years after his death.

Saint Laurence O’Toole was drawn to the Lord at an early age. Not even imprisonment and ill-treatment could turn him from his calling. Despite his great humility, he was destined for great things—each of which he accomplished with discipline, obedience, steadfastness, and courage. Saint Laurence realized that the Lord was his strength, instituting austerities and penances to remind himself of his weaknesses, but the power of the Lord. He was a contemplative, a peacekeeper, a confessor, and a miracle-worker—all through the power of God. We pray today that we might embody the trust and courage of Saint Laurence in our daily lives, that we might turn to the Lord in our times of weakness, that we might recognize that God is our rock, our strength.

Prayer of Trust in God's Heavenly Promise

My God, let me know and love you, so that I may find my happiness in you. Since I cannot fully achieve this on earth, help me to improve daily until I may do so to the full Enable me to know you ever more on earth, so that I may know you perfectly in heaven. Enable me to love you ever more on earth, so that I may love you perfectly in heave. In that way my joy may be great on earth, and perfect with you in heaven.

O God of truth, grant me the happiness of heaven so that my joy may be full in accord with your promise. In the meantime let my mind dwell on that happiness, my tongue speak of it, my heart pine for it, my mouth pronounce it, my soul hunger for it, my flesh thirst for it, and my entire being desire it until I enter through death in the joy of my Lord forever. Amen. Saint Augustine of Hippo

Year 2: Day 318 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Discipline; Obedience; Steadfastness; Courage
Requested Intentions: Blessings on overseas employment (M); Healing of mother (L); Successful employment for husband (G); Successful employment, personal fulfillment (C); Health and recovery of ill sister (A);  Resolution of legal issues; Grace and protection (E); Successful and meaningful employment (S); Restoration of a marriage (A); Peace and tolerance in a family, support for those with Parkinson’s Disease (M); For the restoration of a daughter’s marriage, end to debt (S); Employment and continued strength (K); Successful examinations for a son (J); Employment and blessings of a child (S); Employment and financial security (F); Successful work placement, continued health (A); Grace and healing for a family (P); Healing of a father (M); Academic success for son, employment for husband and brother (B); Freedom from anxiety and panic attacks (R); Health and healing in preparation for surgery (C); Healing of a chronic illness (P); Safety of a family during storms (A); Successful home ownership (P); Healing of a marriage (M); Employment for a husband, blessings for a marriage (E); Successful examinations for a daughter, healing of a relationships (V).


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