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."

January 11: John the Gardener, Servant of God

Posted by Jacob

Today, January 11, we celebrate the feast day of John the Gardener, Servant of God (died 1501).  We don’t know much about John, with the exception that he was gracious, self-sacrificing, and served others without reserve.  He truly labored in the garden of the Lord, converting many and leading them along the paths of love and Gospel truth.

John’s life was never easy.  He was born into an extremely poor family in Portugal.  While still a child, John was orphaned, and gathered enough food for himself to survive by begging from door to door.  He eventually found work as a shepherd, having walked and begged into neighboring Spain.  Even as a child, whatever he earned from his hard days in the fields, he shared with those more needy than himself. 

In his young adulthood, John encountered two Franciscans while on a journey.  Impressed by his simple kindness, charitable spirit, and joyous disposition (despite what had clearly been a hard life), the friars invited him to come and work at their friary in Salamanca.  John readily accepted and upon arrival was assigned to the garden.  There, he was instructed to assist the brother with gardening duties.  No task was too menial or difficult for John.  He never complained, and instead, found joy in each task.

Before long, John entered the Franciscan Order, committing himself to a rigorous schedule of prayer and meditation, near-constant fasting, and tireless service to the poor.   In addition, he continued to tend the garden, growing the most beautiful flowers for the alter of the Lord, and earning himself the nickname, “the Gardener.”

John was sought out for advice, guidance, and spiritual direction by many, including businessmen, princes, and other important persons.  He was gifted with the gift of prophecy and could read the hearts of men, and therefore offered loving and intimate guidance, leading all toward the goodness of the Lord.  His most frequent advice was for those who sought his help to forgive—even when it was difficult-- as this was a pleasing penance to the Lord.

John predicted his own death, January 11, 1501. His legacy in service and truth reminds us that to be great in the eyes of the Lord we need only love each other, simply and joyously.


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