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."

March 13, 2013: Saint Leander of Seville

Posted by Jacob

Today, March 13, we celebrate the feast of Saint Leander of Seville (534-600), bishop and confessor of the faith, apostle of Spain, and Doctor of the Church. Saint Leander, as bishop, instituted the practice of praying the Nicene Creed during Mass—a practice which continues today. He viewed the Creed as a manner in which to proclaim the divinity of Christ at a time when the Church suffered attack from various heresies, as well as an opportunity to reinforce the faith of the people. Through his diligent work, Saint Leander saw Catholicism flourish in Spain at a time of great political and religious uncertainty.

Leander was born in Cartagena, Spain to pious parents, Severianus and Theodora. He was the eldest of four children, his younger brothers and sisters being Saint Isidore of Seville (who would succeed him as Bishop of Seville), Saint Fulgentius of Ecija (who became bishop of Cartagena), and Saint Florentina of Cartagena. (who would become an Abbess). The children spent their youth in pious and humble pursuits, and upon reaching the age of consent, Saint Leander entered a Benedictine monastery in Seville. There, he became a model of learning and piety, and as a monk earned the respect of both the religious and lay communities alike. In 579 he was elected Bishop of Seville, which he accepted, although continued to practice his life of austerity and penance, rather than adopt the more comfortable lifestyle of a bishop.

Spain, at that time in history, was experiencing considerable political upheaval, with the Visogoths dominating part of the territory. Not only had this invading force captured much of the land, their rulers had also spread the Arian heresy amongst the people, with many of the congregations and bishops accepting this affront to the divinity of Christ. Upon his election as bishop, Saint Leander immediately began to combat this heresy with all his strength, relying on the Lord, and seeing almost immediately the fruits of his labor. The heresy began to lose hold over the people, including the two sons of the Visogothic King Leovigild, Hermenegild and Reccared. These conversions angered the king considerably, and Leander was exiled to Constantinople.

In Constantinople, Leander met and became close friends with the Papal Legate stationed there, the future Pope Saint Gregory the Great. This action earned him the king's wrath and exile to Constantinople, where he met and became close friends of the Papal Legate, the future Pope Gregory the Great. Saint Leander served as a contemporary and advisor to Saint Gregory, encouraging him to write his famous commentary on the Book of Job entitled the “Moralia.”

After some time, King Leovigild summoned Leander back to Seville. Having experienced a change of heart, he wished for Leander to instruct his son Reccared—who would inherit the throne—in the ways of the faith. Through Leander’s instruction and model, the people of Spain were converted. He presided over the third Council of Toledo, which upheld the consubstantiality of the Trinity, and brought about many moral reforms in the Church. Saint Leader further wrote an influential Rule for Spanish nuns and introduced the practice of praying the Nicene Creed at Mass. A prolific writer, unfortunately most of his works have been lost to history, although much of the correspondence written by Gregory the Great to his attention remains extant.

King Leovigild rejects Arianism and embraces the true faith in front of Saint Leander

After a long life of fighting heresies and preaching the truth, Saint Leander died around the year 600. He was succeeded by his brother, Isidore, who said of him: "This man of suave eloquence and eminent talent shone as brightly by his virtues as by his doctrine. By his faith and zeal the Gothic people have been converted from Arianism to the Catholic faith"

Saint Leander held to the truth of the faith, despite overwhelming opposition and exile. Not only did he believe the truth, he sought to bring others to the light of the faith through tireless work. As modern Christians, we rarely consider the work of these early defenders of the faith, who lived their lives in constant proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven. We might, during this Lenten season, take a lesson from these holy men and women, not only believing our faith, but living it visibly as witness to others!

Saint Leander, pray for us that we will always seek truth, and never shy away from defending it. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen


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