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 28, 2013: Seven Last Words: Perfectly Unfinished

Posted by Jacob

In the days leading up to Good Friday, I will be meditating on the Seven Last Words of Christ.

Lent is a time of solemn contemplation of the Passion of Christ. We may choose to meditate, contemplate, or pray on His suffering for us. One way in which me might do this is through devotion to His Seven Last Words—the seven final phrases uttered by Christ as recounted in the Gospels. These Seven Last Words of the Passion of Christ are understood only in light of the true one Word of Life and Resurrection—the phrases uttered by Jesus before His death take on new life and new meaning following the glory of His resurrection. We sit with the pain and loss of crucifixion during Lent, but look forward to the brightness of new life on Easter.

The Seven Last Words

1. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) (link)
2. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) (link)
3. “Woman, Behold your Son. Behold your mother.” (John 19:26-27) (link)
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mark 15:34) (link)
5. “I thirst.” (John 19:29) (link)
6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

It is finished.” (John 19:30)

The first four statements of Jesus on the cross fill us with a sense of the beginning of something, the becoming of the kingdom. We start with the fact that we are forgiven, continue to the experience of happiness, of paradise, even today, and recount the rebirth of the family of God, here on earth—all at the foot of the cross! We are left with a profound sense of hope, in spite of the pain and desolation of the crucifixion, and then reminded of the Lord’s unending longing for us.

And then Jesus speaks and says, “It is finished.”

Is this the moment of despair for us? Is this the moment of hopelessness?

The answer must be a resounding no! Jesus does not say, “I am finished.” He says, “It is finished,” and in doing so, completes His work on earth. It is not the whimper of failure or the agony of defeat. It is a cry of victory! In Jesus’ last words, He tells us that His work on earth is done, and ours is just beginning. He has, through his sacrifice on the cross, shown us a perfect, enduring love—a love unlike any other—and in the process granted us the eternity to experience that love.

21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus is finished. He has come into the world, preached, been tortured and humiliated, and now He is ready to die, knowing that He has saved us. As they nailed Our Savior to the cross, our sins were pounded into the wood as well. He carried those sins up the steep climb to Golgatha, and held them in His heart, suffering for all mankind. And in doing so, he redeemed us. He showed us perfect love—a love that we can never be separated from.

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Upon the cross, having fulfilled the prophesies, having died for our sins, Jesus is victorious. His work is finished. But we are unfinished. We are not perfect. We cannot even begin to approximate the perfection of God’s love for us. But we are called to keep trying. That is not to say that we can improve upon Jesus’ earthly work of salvation—there is no way we could. He exchanged our sinfulness for His life, and we are all the better for it. Because of what He finished, we will remain “unfinished”—perfectly unfinished—until we join the Lord in heaven and we are completed by His grace. At that time, we, too, can shout victoriously, “it is finished!” confident in the Lord’s love for us, acceptance of us, and His pleasure in our faith. Our time on earth may be finished, but we will have accomplished the Lord’s plan for us, and will have eternity to share in His perfect love in heaven.

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)


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