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 7: Blessed Antonio Baldinucci

Posted by Jacob

Today, November 7, we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Antonio Baldinucci (1665-1717), a Jesuit missionary who, despite failing health, served the Lord with every ounce of strength and love he possessed. While his heart lay in overseas missions, Antonio obediently remained in Italy, giving great missions, reaching many through his preaching and example, and working tirelessly for the conversion of souls. His simple faith, and acceptance of the will of the Lord, inspire us today to examine our lives and hopes… and then measure how those relate to what the Lord would have us do.

Antonio Baldinucci was born in Florence (Tuscany, Italy), the son of a writer and artist and his wife. The fifth of five sons, Antonio’s parents had promised the Lord prior to his birth that if they produced a son, they would devote his life to Saint Anthony of Padua (whose intercession had cured a family member of serious illness). When Antonio was born, he was raised in the faith, with the intention of his becoming a priest and serving God as promised by his parents.

Antonio embraced his parents’ wishes with the zeal of one on fire for the Lord. Rather than rebel, as we might expect from a teenage boy, Antonio instead gravitated to the holy, threw himself into his studies, and lived a pious life. At age eleven, he began his studies with the Jesuits at San Giovannino, but following his eldest brother’s entrance into the Dominican Order, expressed his wish to follow. The Dominicans, however, refused Antonio’s admission, due to his poor health. Instead, his father recommended that he embark on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, to attempt to discern God’s plan for his life. Under the spiritual direction of a Jesuit, Antonio was led to seek admission to the Society of Jesus, and at the age of 16, began his novitiate in Rome.

Antonio, often ill, was assigned to serve the local Rome community. He first taught the young men at the college, despite his young age. Antonio was not content to remain in Rome, however, expressing his greatest wish to be sent out as a missionary among the Gentiles, and to suffer martyrdom for the Lord. He applied, during his tenure with the Jesuits for three overseas missions trips—to India, China, and Japan—and was each time refused, on account of his fragile health. As his health worsened, he experienced debilitating headaches and body fatigue, and was sent around the country to various Jesuit houses, seeking advice and cure. Apparently, getting out of Rome was helpful for him, and he regained his strength. Allowed to preach, his brothers were amazed by his vigor and success in converting those who heard him!

Returning to Rome, Antonio would spend his afternoons in public places, preaching, and drawing many to the Church. He was ordained at age 30, and immediately applied to be sent overseas as a missionary, but again was refused. Instead, Antonio was sent to Frascati, south of Rome, where part of his duties was to provide missions to the poor surrounding towns and villages in the area. Antonio embraced this task with zeal, working among the poor and uneducated for the remainder of his life. Looking to Saint Peter Claver as a model, Antonio traveled barefoot to the towns and villages, regardless of weather. He carried all he needed in a bag on his back, and walked with a pilgrim staff. When asked why he walked barefoot, he replied: “That God may be moved by my sufferings to touch the hearts of my hearers.”

Each of Antonio’s missions lasted between eight and fourteen days, depending on the needs of the parish, and for his preaching he generally drew from the Spiritual Exercises. At the start of each mission, Blessed Antonio would lead a procession of penitents, during which he wore a crown of thorns, carried a heavy cross, and whipped or flagellated himself. This he did as penance for the sins of those he served. Once he had instilled a bit of fear into his mission attendees, Blessed Antonio softened his approach. He spent little time in the pulpit, instead interacting on a personal level with his congregation, writing letters, teaching catechism, visiting and assisting children and the ill. All were welcome, including the ruffians or thugs of the villages. Antonio often began his missions by seeking out the roughest characters of the region, and asking them to accompany him, offering him “protection.” By the conclusion of each mission, many of these dissolute characters had come to the faith. Each of Blessed Antonio’s missions ended in the same manner, with a large exhibition where everyone could receive Holy Eucharist. Following Communion, a public burning of cards, dice, obscene pictures, books, and secular songs would commence. After one mission, 240 daggers and small guns and 21 pistols were laid at his feet.

Blessed Antonio participated in missions for over 20 years, during that time giving 448 missions in 30 dioceses (an average of 22 each year). Despite this schedule, he found the time to write down many of his sermons, as well as maintain correspondence with those who needed spiritual direction and support. To do so, he maintained a rigorous schedule of work, prayer, and penance, sleeping little (about three hours each night on a bed of planks), and fasting constantly. While he had received a special dispensation from Pope Clement XI to not offer daily Mass due to his schedule, he refused to accept it, reading the Liturgy daily.

Gradually, Antonio’s reputation grew, and he was summoned to larger and larger cities, drawing great crowds at each mission. Father Baldinucci was deeply devoted to the Eucharist, the Passion of Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He highly revered an image of the Blessed Virgin with the title, “Refuge of Sinners,” attributing numerous conversions and miraculous cures to its veneration. Beginning a new mission in Frosinone, his health failed him, and he was confined to his bed. Although he appeared to others to be recovering, Antonio knew his death was approaching and requested that the image of Mary be placed before him. Repeatedly, he prayed to Our Blessed Mother, “Show yourself to be a Mother.” After asking for the Last Sacraments, and despite the fact that he was barely able to speak, Antonio continued to recite the prayer, “Jesus and Mary, my hope,” until his death. Blessed Antonio was buried in the chapel of San Giovanni in Florence.

O Lord,

I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither cross nor consolation;
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy's sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently I adore your holy will
and your inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray
and pray in me, yourself.

Year 2: Day 311 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Faith and obedience to discern the Will of the Lord; Courage to follow it.

Requested Intentions: 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); Blessing for a family (V); Healing of baby girl M and all children suffering (M); Special intentions (R); 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).


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