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 17: Saint Olympias of Constantinople

Posted by Jacob

Today, December 17, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Olympias of Constantinople (360-408), widow and Deaconess, model of charity and Christian virtue. Despite hardship throughout her life, the love of the Lord was never extinguished in Olympias' heart-- and she shared that love with all through profound works of charity.

Olympias was born the daughter of senator Anicius Secundus, and a descendant (on her mother’s side) of noted rulers. While still very young, Olympias was betrothed to a noted nobleman, whom she grew to love. The wedding, scheduled for when Olympias reached the age of maturity never took place, however, as her groom to be died. Rather than enter into another marriage, Olympias committed herself to the Lord, preferring a life of virgin purity. When pressured by the Emperor, Olympias replied: “If God had destined me to live in the married state, He would not have taken my first spouse. The event which has broken my bonds shows me the way Providence has traced for me.”

Upon the death of her parents, Olympias inherited their great wealth, which she promptly began distributing to the poor and needy, specifically the orphaned and widowed. She generously endowed churches, monasteries, hospitals, and shelters for those without homes or money. The reach of Olympias’ benevolence reached far and wide—to the most distant and remote—in fact, the poorest—portions of the kingdom. Not only did she distribute her money—which she viewed as belonging to the Lord, not herself—to those determined to be “good people,” but also to their enemies. No one was exempt from her charity. Due to her great faith and charitable works, Olympias was appointed deaconess by Nectarius, and served as a model for all religious in her devout pursuit to live a life above reproach. Her days were spent in prayer and penance, contemplating the beauty and goodness of the Lord.

Saint Olympias was held in high regard by Saint John Chrysostom, who enjoyed a longtime correspondence with her. When Saint John was banished, Olympias and the other deaconesses of Constantinople were deeply upset, and vocal in their protests. Saint John for his part, encouraged them to continue serving the Church with obedience and fidelity. This Olympias did. However, many had been angered by the banishment of Saint John, and an unknown arsonist set fire to a large church, leading to the destruction of a great portion of the city. Those known to be faithful to Saint John were summoned and accused of the crime, including Saint Olympias.

She underwent a long and biased trial, during which she was mercilessly mocked and questioned. While there was no evidence against her, and she maintained her innocence, Olympias was found guilty and fined a large sum of money, which she obediently paid. However, soon afterwards, she left the city and moved to Kyzikos on the Sea of Marmara. There, her enemies continued to persecute her, arresting her and imprisoning her for false accusations. While suffering grief and deprivation in prison, Olympias received letters of encouragement from Saint John. However, even with his consolation, her body slowly failed and she perished in exile, going to the Lord for her eternal rest.

After her death, no one was quite sure what to do with the body of this holy woman. Saint Olympias appeared in a dream to the Bishop of Nicomedia and commanded that her body be placed in a wooden coffin and cast into the sea. "Wherever the waves carry the coffin, there let my body be buried," said the saint. The coffin was brought by the waves to a place named Brokthoi near Constantinople. The inhabitants, informed of this by God, took the holy relics of Saint Olympias and placed them in the church of the Saint Thomas. Years later, during wartime, her relics were miraculously saved from the burning church and translated to the woman’s monastery she had founded in Constantinople. Numerous miracles and healings have been reported by her intercession there.

Like many others before her and since, Saint Olympias suffered greatly for her beliefs and for her insistence on the truth. Not to be dissuaded by popular opinion, she maintained her belief in the Lord, and her belief in His servants, and suffered ridicule, imprisonment, and grief as a result. Throughout all of this, the charitable heart of Saint Olympias was never broken. She continued her good works until the day of her death, bequeathing monies from her prison cell, and later from exile. Despite her bleak surroundings, the love that swelled within her heart could not be quenched!

Year 2: Day 351 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Charitable hearts on fire for the Lord.
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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