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 17: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Posted by Jacob

“Often recall that you are the work of the hands of God and act accordingly, in such a way as to be eternally with Him.”

Today, November 17, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (also known as Elizabeth of Thuringia, 1207-1231), widow, Secular Franciscan, and caregiver to the poor and needy. Saint Elizabeth lived just 24 years, but in that time, managed to provide a lifetime of charity and love to those who needed it. She is the patron saint of Catholic charities.

Elizabeth was born into Hungarian royalty, the daughter of the pious King Andrew II. Afforded all the choices that life could offer, Elizabeth chose a life of penance, asceticism, and austerity. She lived like her father’s subjects, wearing humble clothes and eating humble foods, all of which earned her the love and respect of the people.

Elizabeth could not abide by the ways of the royal court, forsaking her crowns and jewels, and finding joy and solace only in prayer. Even as a child, when the family would attend Mass, she would remove her crown upon entering the church, proclaiming that she was in the presence of her Savior, who wore a crown of thorns for her.

In infancy, Elizabeth had been betrothed to Louis of Thuringia, a royal from Germany. While some of her relatives demanded that she be sent to cloister, due to her piety and charitable heart, Elizabeth obediently married Louis, whom she grew to deeply love. She was married, as was the custom at the time, at approximately 14 years of age. Together, they bore three children.

Now married, Elizabeth was not content to remain at home. Rather, she used her luxurious gifts and jewels, as well as her privileged status, to benefit the poor and needy. When the stream of poor, sick, and desperate processing to the castle became too great for her to assist, she built hospitals and orphanages, herself working to feed, clothe, nurse, and minister to the sick. At that time, she sought the spiritual direction of the Franciscans under Conrad of Marburgh, and undertook a life of prayer, penance, and charity.

Sadly, after only 6 years of marriage, Louis died in the Crusades. Heartbroken, her difficulties were just beginning. Her brother-in-law, concerned that she was spending all the royals’ money, threw her from the palace and onto the street. With her children, she took to the streets, living in some of the same shelters and hospitals that she had helped build, and begging for her daily sustenance. The bishop of Bamberg, her maternal uncle, finally forced her cruel brother-in-law to invite her back to the palace, but Elizabeth would not return. She voluntarily renounced the royal life, and went to live in a small house she had prepared in the city of Marburgh. There, she joined the Secular Order of the Franciscans, spending her remaining years practicing penances and austerities, and continuing her good works to the poor.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary died just before her 24th birthday, and was canonized only four years later due to the people’s love for her. Soon after the death of Elizabeth, miracles were reported to occur at her grave in the church associated with the hospital, especially miracles of healing. Her relics, including her skull wearing a gold crown she had worn in life, are preserved at the convent of Saint Elizabeth in Vienna, Austria.

Saint Elizabeth’s life reminds us that in service, we must make ourselves humble. Despite all that she had, Elizabeth willingly gave up her riches, title, and prestige to better provide love, charity, and encouragement to those in need. Her love, like that of Christ, was evident in her charitable works and willingness to suffer for others. We are reminded today, on her feast, of the union between love and sacrifice, suffering and joy.

From a letter by Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary:

“Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castle should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities, and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.

Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, Elizabeth went to visit the sick. She personally cared for those who were particularly repulsive; to some she gave good, to others clothing; some she carried on her own shoulders, and performed many other kindly services. Her husband, of happy memory, gladly approved of these charitable works. Finally, when her husband died, she sought the highest perfection; filled with tears, she implored me to let her beg for alms from door to door.

On Good Friday of that year, when the altars had been stripped, she laid her hands on the altar in a chapel in her own town, where she had established the Friars Minor, and before witnesses she voluntarily renounced all worldly display and everything that our Savior in the gospel advises us to abandon. Even then she saw that she could still be distracted by the cares and worldly glory which had surrounded her while her husband was alive. Against my will she followed me to Marburg. Here in the town she built a hospice where she gathered together the weak and the feeble. There she attended the most wretched and contemptible at her own table.

Apart from those active good works, I declare before God that I have seldom seen a more contemplative woman.

Before her death I heard her confession. When I asked what should be done about her goods and possessions, she replied that anything which seemed to be hers belonged to the poor. She asked me to distribute everything except one worn-out dress in which she wished to be buried. When all this had been decided, she received the body of our Lord. Afterward, until vespers, she spoke often of the holiest things she had heard in sermons. Then, she devoutly commended to God all who were sitting near her, and as if falling into a gentle sleep, she died.”

Almighty God, by whose grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble. In the name and for the sake of and through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Year 2: Day 321 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives of Charity; For all those in need
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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