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."

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Posted by Jacob

Today, December 12, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As we read on December 9, in 1531, a native Mexican, Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, rose before dawn to walk fifteen miles to daily Mass in what is now Mexico City. Juan lived a simple life as a weaver, farmer, and laborer. That morning would change his life, as Our Blessed Mother—Our Lady of Guadalupe-- would appear to him, bringing a maternal message of hope, love, compassion and grace.

On December 9, as Juan was climbing Tepeyac Hill, he heard beautiful, heavenly music, and saw a glowing cloud encircled by a rainbow. A woman’s voice called to him from the top of the hill, urging him upward. Upon arrival, he saw a beautiful young woman, dressed as an Aztec princess. From the first translation of the accounts of that day: “Approaching her presence, he marveled greatly at her superhuman grandeur; her garments were shining like the sun; the cliff where she rested her feet, pierced with glitter, resembling an anklet of precious stones, and the earth sparkled like the rainbow. The mezquites, nopales, and other different weeds, which grow there, appeared like emeralds, their foliage like turquoise, and their branches and thorns glistened like gold.”

Our Blessed Mother said to Saint Juan Diego: “Juanito, the most humble of my sons, where are you going?”

He replied: “My Lady and Child, I have to reach your church in Mexico, Tlatilolco, to pursue things divine, taught and given to us by our priests, delegates of Our Lord.”

She then spoke to him of her desires and purpose for appearing to him: “Know and understand well, you the most humble of my son, that I am the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

Juan Diego left her, reporting immediately to the bishop’s residence, where he informed Father Juan de Zumarraga, a recently arrived Franciscan religious, of the events of the morning. After a significant wait, he was allowed to speak to the bishop, who was kind (but skeptical), and sent him away.

Disheartened, Juan returned to the Tepeyac Hill, where the Blessed Virgin appeared to him again. Prostrate before her, he apologized for his inability to carry out her request. She smiled upon him, radiant like the sun, and gently said:

“Hark, my son the least, you must understand that I have many servants and messengers, to whom I must entrust the delivery of my message, and carry my wish, but it is of precise detail that you yourself solicit and assist and that through your mediation my wish be complied. I earnestly implore, my son the least, and with sternness I command that you again go tomorrow and see the bishop. You go in my name, and make known my wish in its entirety that he has to start the erection of a temple which I ask of him. And again tell him that I, in person, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, sent you.”

Again, Saint Juan Diego agreed to do as he was told, first going home to rest. The following day, he would again visit the bishop. Early the next morning, he returned to the city, seeking audience with the bishop. Again, he was made to wait, this time his sadness and anxiety at not being able to immediately carry out the request of Our Lady reducing him to tears. The bishop, upon seeing his reaction, agreed to meet with him, asking him questions, and remaining skeptical. At the conclusion of the meeting, the bishop requested a sign from the Lady, to prove her identity.

Saint Juan returned to the hill, and again was graced with an appearance from Our Blessed Mother. Upon recounting the bishop’s request, she said to him:

“Well and good, my little dear, you will return here tomorrow, so you may take to the bishop the sign he has requested. With this he will believe you, and in this regard he will not doubt you nor will he be suspicious of you; and know, my little dear, that I will reward your solicitude and effort and fatigue spent of my behalf. Lo! Go now. I will await you here tomorrow.”

Saint Juan Diego returned home, full of joy, as his moments with the Blessed Virgin always left him. Upon arriving home, he was informed that his uncle was ill, and unlikely to live. It was requested that he return to the city in the morning to bring a priest to the home to administer the last sacraments. In the morning, Juan hurried to do so, arriving at Tepeyac Hill, and attempting to skirt it, so as not to be detained by Our Blessed Mother (as time was of the essence). As he was taking an alternate route along the base of the hill, he witnessed Our Lady of Guadalupe descend from above, as if on a cloud, glancing upward to where they typically met. She approached him at the side of the hill and said to him: “What’s there, my son the least? Where are you going?”

Ashamed, Saint Juan explained the situation, and the reason why he had not kept his “appointment” with her that morning. Smiling, the Blessed Virgin answered: “Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.” Upon returning home later that day, Juan was overjoyed to discover that his uncle was, indeed, completely cured of his illness.

Hearing Our Lady’s response, Juan humbly requested the sign the bishop had asked for, so that he might take it to him and prove her identity. Our Blessed Mother requested that he climb to the top of the hill, where they had first met. She said: “Climb, my son the least, to the top of the hill; there where you saw me and I gave you orders, you will find different flowers. Cut them, gather them, assemble them, then come and bring them before my presence.”

Saint Juan Diego did as he was told, although given that it was winter, he was certain that there would be no flowers in bloom. Moreover, the top of Tepeyac Hill was exposed to the elements, and generally the only things that grew there were weeds and thorny plants. Nonetheless, obediently, he climbed to the top of the hill, amazed to find it covered with the most beautiful, glistening roses of every sort imaginable. Recognizing them as a gift of Our Mother, he carefully cut them, placing them in his tilma—a coarse cloak he wore for warmth—and returned to where Mary awaited him.

She said to him: “My son the least, this diversity of roses is the proof and the sign which you will take to the bishop. You will tell him in my name that he will see in them my wish and that he will have to comply to it. You are my ambassador, most worthy of all confidence. Rigorously I command you that only before the presence of the bishop will you unfold your mantle and disclose what you are carrying. You will relate all and well; you will tell that I ordered you to climb to the hilltop, to go and cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired, so you can induce the prelate to give his support, with the aim that a temple be built and erected as I have asked.”

Saint Juan hurried to the bishop’s residence, his tilma laden with the precious flowers of Our Blessed Mother. He was again made to wait, and finally the bishop’s attendants demanded that he reveal the contents he was carrying. Juan Diego slowly opened his tilma, and the fragrance and beauty of the flowers overwhelmed those present. Some tried to take the flowers, to show the bishop, but their every attempt was foiled, as upon reaching for them, the flowers would appear to be drawn on the cloth, but when their hands were removed, would again appear in three-dimensions. Realizing the miraculous nature of the flowers, they quickly ushered him into the bishop’s chamber.

Saint Juan recounted the story to the bishop, and opening his tilma, let the flowers (Castilian roses, which do not grown in Mexico) fall to the ground. Left on the cloak was a glowing image of Our Lady, as she had appeared to Juan. Soon after, a church was built on the site where our Lady appeared, and thousands converted to Christianity. Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared the patroness of the Americas.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which appeared on the tilma of Saint Juan Diego has been examined repeatedly by scientists, historians, and art experts. No plausible explanation—other than the supernatural blessings of Our Blessed Mother—has been offered to explain this remarkable image. After 450 years, the tilma shows no signs of deterioration, despite the fact that it is made from a coarse fabric of the cactus plant which normally disintegrates in 20-60 years. Artist historians have discovered that there is no sketch beneath the image, no protective coating, and microscopic examination proves there are no brush strokes. The image is smooth, like a photograph (despite pre-dating photography by 300 years), and appears to increase in size and color when examined. No accurate reproduction has been possible, either by brush or camera. When examined closely, several images are clearly visible in reflected in the eyes of the Virgin, including Saint Juan Diego. Moreover, miraculously, the stars depicted exactly match the configuration and placement of the constellations which would have been present in the sky on December 12, 1531!

Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed to the world her maternal love, her protection, her solace and comfort, and her grace and clemency. We turn to Our Blessed Mother today, placing our lives in her hands, begging her pity and protection, her grace, and her love. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Pope John Paul II’s Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church!, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church; hold us always with your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the Bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole people of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever.Amen.

Year 2: Day 346 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Reliance on Our Blessed Mother; Confidence in her love.
Requested Intentions: Financial security, successful employment (J); Obedience to God’s will (A); Conversion of souls (A); Success of business venture; faith of daughter (S); Safe return home (J); Recovery of mother and son; repose of the souls of the dearly departed (A); Blessings upon a relationship (M); Sobriety and recovery for a son (M); Employment and successful marriage (A); Employment, healing, freedom from anxiety (T); Financial security (C); Conversion (T); Peace in difficult times at work (E); Financial security and blessings for mother and children (T); Financial security for a mother (M); Health, finances, successful marriage (A); Successful resolution of court case for son (K); Continued sobriety (N); Healing of a chronic health condition (B); Successful employment (A): Peace in a family, recovery of a niece from substance use (L); Blessings on a marriage, healing of a husband (P); For the health and recovery of sisters (B); For a daughter and granddaughter (D); Blessings on overseas employment (M); Healing of mother (L).


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