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 8, 2013: Saint Severinus

Posted by Jacob

Today, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Severinus (died 482), monk, hermit, prophet, and founder of monasteries.  Saint Severinus labored diligently for the Lord, focusing his attention on the region of Noricum (modern day Austria).  Through his efforts, the faith was spread to those regions, where he practiced charity and provided refuge to all trying to escape war and poverty.  Saint Severinus lived the Gospel, demonstrating through his actions and words the love and redemption made possible through Christ.

Severinus left home at an early age, and took great pains to hide his family origins.  Given what we know of him, including his well-developed Latin abilities, he was likely a Roman of noble birth.  However, he gave up this life of wealth and privilege, and spent his early years in the deserts of the East.  There, he lived the life of a hermit, growing closer to God, listening attentively to His will, and following where He might lead.  While there, he served as spiritual director and father to Saint Anthony of Egpyt.

Eventually, Saint Severinus felt called to a life of evangelization, and left the desert.  He traveled to Noricum, where he spent the next 30 years of his life evangelizing and ministering to the peoples living along the banks of the Danube River, near modern-day Vienna.  He labored to establish several monasteries, but found that the local citizens were none too keen to embrace Christianity.  Given the gift of prophecy, Severinus predicted the arrival of the Huns and the destruction that would occur, and prepared by creating shelters and refuges (in advance!) for those who would need them.  Having laid in food and provisions, he assisted many in surviving the deadly attacks.

Following this, Severinus’ reputation for holiness spread quickly throughout the region, and many were converted.  The monasteries were soon full, and more were constructed.  He was sought out for assistance in times of famine, natural disaster, and other calamities.  Always quiet and steady, Saint Severinus would preach penance and conversion to the people, and each time, crises were averted.  He lived to spread the Word of God, and focused solely on this noble mission throughout the end years of his life.

Saint Severinus also practiced what he preached.  He ate only once each day, fasting almost completely during Lent.  He always traveled barefoot, and dressed in thin robes regardless of the weather.  He slept on sackcloth on the ground, and urged the monks in his monasteries to do the same.  All this, considered penance, he offered for those in need.

Generally surrounded by people, Severinus occasionally took refuge in a hermitage, where he harkened back to his days in the desert, communing internally with the Lord.  It was there that he died, on January 8, 482, in his cell, singing Psalm 150.  Of course, always a prophet, Severinus had predicted the date and time of his own death accurately.  He was laid to rest, but during subsequent invasion, his relics were moved and interred in Naples, Italy at the Benedictine monastery of San Severino.

Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
                    praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
                    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
                    praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
                    praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
                    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

Paul the Deacon described the qualities of Saint Severinus in the 8th Century as: “In these territories of the Noricans at that time was the monastery of the blessed Severinus, who, endowed with the sanctity of every abstinence, was already renowned for his many virtues, and though he dwelt in these places up to the end of his life: now however, Neapolis keeps his remains.”

We pray today for the quiet determination and piety of Saint Severinus, and for all those who are in need, displaced by war or suffering from famine.  May the Lord bless each of us in our daily life, as He so blessed Saint Severinus.


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