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 22: Blessed Jacopone daTodi

Posted by Jacob

"I weep because Love is not loved!"

Today, December 22, we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306), Franciscan friar, poet and dramatist, and author of the Stabat Mater. Blessed Jacopone arrived at his spirituality later in life, reminding us that the Lord has a plan for each of us, and that it is never too late to repent and truly convert. Today’s holy man’s focus on love as that which underscores our every action—our every breath—even our every suffering—calls us to a quiet and contemplative place as we await our greatest joy, our greatest love—the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior.

Jacomo, or James, was born into a noble Italian family in the city of Todi. Possessing a keen mind, he studied law in Bologna, became a successful lawyer, and married a pious and generous woman. Unknown to Jacomo, his young wife took it upon herself to enact harsh penances for his sins, excesses, and worldly manner of living. She wore a rough girdle of coarse hair beneath her clothing to mortify her flesh, in atonement for his sins. It was not until her premature death, caused by an accident, that Jacomo realized the errors of his ways. He was forty years old, and undertook to radically convert his life.

Without hesitation, Jacomo liquidated his worldly possessions, dividing them amongst the poor. He entered the Third Order of the Franciscans, a secular order, and sought to live a life worthy of the Lord. His acquaintances, however, were none too kind to him. As he had given away his wealth, Jacomo dressed in penitential rags, and was mercilessly mocked by those he had considered friends. They called him “Jacopone,” which literally translated means, “Crazy Jim.” Over time, throughout ten years of humiliation, Jacopone maintained his penitential practices. He eventually grew to love the nickname, as a reminder of his former life, and his newfound humility.

After ten years, he petitioned to become a member of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor (the First Order). He was, however, denied due to his reputation. Rather than give up, Jacopone composed the first of many beautiful poems, this one focusing on the vanities of the world. Following their reading of his work, the hearts of the Order were changed, and he was admitted at the age of 48. Not considering himself worthy of the priesthood, Jacopone declined ordination, instead living as a brother. He continued to embrace strict penances, and spent his days writing poems, lauds, and hymns of praise to the Lord. Jacopone was also one of the first to dramatize Biblical stories for performance.

At that time, division had grown within the Franciscan community, with two factions at opposition to each other. The first, which Jacopone joined, sought to renew the strict poverty and mysticism of Saint Francis. Opposed by Pope Boniface VIII, Jacopone was excommunicated and imprisoned following signing a covenant to have the pope deposed. Although he promptly acknowledged his error in judgment, Jacopone spent five years in prison, until released and absolved by Pope Benedict XI.

Never one to complain, Jacopone had accepted his imprisonment as a penance for his wrongdoing. He embraced Franciscan spiritual mysticism, writing poetry and praying all day, every day. More often than not he could be found weeping due to the lack of regard for the Love of the Lord in the world. During his imprisonment, he also wrote the Latin hymn, Stabat Mater, joining the love and suffering of Our Blessed Mother beneath the Cross.

His years in prison had taken their toll, and Blessed Jacopone died only three years following his release. His body is buried in the crypt of Saint Fortunate Church in Todi, Italy. Upon his tomb, it is written: “Here lie the bones of Blessed Jacopone dei Benedetti da Todi, Friar Minor, who, having gone mad with love of Christ, by a new artifice deceived the world and took Heaven by violence.”

When we think of saints and blessed, we don’t necessarily think of someone like Blessed Jacopone… but maybe we should. He did not live a blameless life. In fact, the first 40 years of his life were filled with transgressions and worldly passions—like most of our own lives. Even following his commitment to the Lord, Jacopone still found himself caught up in scandal and landed in prison. Throughout this ordeal, he turned to God, deepening his faith, finding love in suffering, and leaving a poetic legacy to inspire countless faithful. We are reminded that the Lord does not expect us to be perfect, nor does He expect us to never make mistakes. It is what we do after our mistakes--in penance and repentance—in love—that matters.

Year 2: Day 356 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Lives of pure, true Love.
Requested Intentions: Healing (M); Safety, security, and sanctity for a family (A); Healing (N); Successful relationship (N); Healing of a friend; growth in the Lord (M); To hear and answer the Lord’s call (M); Healing of a friend undergoing chemotherapy (L); For the peace, safety, and holiness of a sister (J); Financial security (C); Conversion of a newly married couple (M); Peace in a family (S); Peaceful repose of departed mother (J); Blessings on a relationship (J); 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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