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."

July 15, 2013: Saint Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 15, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Bonaventure (1225-1274), Cardinal, and Doctor of the Church. Saint Bonaventure’s life of humility and service to others, as well as his prolific writings on Mary, the Mother of God, Scriptures, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, inspire us to lives of deeper faith and connection to Our Lord. Today, on his feast day, we reflect on the Christian philosophy and tenets of our faith as put forth by Saint Bonaventure. He said, "The fear of God," said St. Bonaventure, "forbids a man to give his heart to transitory things, which are the true seeds of sin."

Saint Bonaventure was born in Bagnorea (Tuscany), Italy. Baptised as John, he was frail and sick as a child. His mother sought out Saint Francis of Assisi—recognized as a saint throughout Italy even while alive-- to heal him, promising to entrust him to the Franciscan Order if cured. A few months before the death of Saint Francis, he visited the family, and the child was cured. Saint Francis himself gave John his new name-- in reference to the miraculous cure, and in knowledge of the piety of the child before him-- he prophetically exclaimed of the infant, “O buona ventura!” (That is, “O good fortune!”). From then on, John became Bonaventure.

The young life of Saint Bonaventure was that of piety and study. He entered the Franciscan Order, excelling at studies and philosophy, and earning the respect of the academic community. Among his contemporaries was Saint Thomas Aquinas. Despite his achievements, he remained at heart a poor Franciscan friar, who exhibited and modeled to others humility and mortification. After Bonaventure and Saint Thomas received their doctorates in Paris, Thomas asked him from what source he drew his great learning, Bonaventure replied by pointing to his crucifix. Another time Saint Thomas found him in ecstasy while writing about the life of Saint Francis. He said, while retiring quietly, “Let us leave a Saint in peace, to write of a Saint!”

Saint Bonaventure served his community as a brother until the age of thirty-six, at which time he was elected General of the Order. Always humble, he attempted to avoid this honor, stating himself to be unworthy, but after pressure from the community, reluctantly agreed. As General, he continued to preach humility: “Let Ministers always receive the religious with gentleness and charity, so that each one can approach them and express his sentiments... The Ministers must be the servants of all the Brothers. This is the mandate of Christ: ‘Let the one who would be first among you be your slave.’”

Pope Greogory X resolved to make him a Cardinal, dispatching messengers to bring him to Rome. On his reluctant way, he stopped at a convent of his Order, and there the messengers found him washing the dishes in service to his brothers. Only when he had finished his menial tasks would he accompany the Papal messengers to the Holy Father. He was promptly appointed as the Cardinal of Albano, one of the six holy Sees of Rome. As the right hand of Pope Gregory X, Saint Bonaventure presided over all sessions at the Council of Lyons, reforming the morals of the Church, assessing the needs of the Holy Land, and cementing the union of the Greeks with the Roman Church. The piety and eloquence of Saint Bonaventure won over the Greeks to Catholic union. He died the day after the closure of the council, and was buried in Lyons. From Pope Benedict’s General Audience: “An anonymous papal notary composed a eulogy to Bonaventure which gives us a conclusive portrait of this great Saint and excellent theologian. ‘A good, affable, devout and compassionate man, full of virtue, beloved of God and human beings alike.... God in fact had bestowed upon him such grace that all who saw him were pervaded by a love that their hearts could not conceal.’”

Saint Bonaventure’s reflections on Holy Scripture:

"The source of sacred Scripture was not human research but divine revelation. This revelation comes from the Father of Light from whom the whole concept of fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives. From him, through Jesus Christ his Son, the Holy Spirit enters into us. Then, through the Holy Spirit who allots and apportions his gifts to each person as he wishes, we receive the gift of faith, and through faith Christ lives in our hearts. So we come to know Christ and this knowledge becomes the main source of a firm understanding of the truth of all sacred Scripture. It is impossible, therefore, for anyone to achieve this understanding unless he first receives the gift of faith in Christ. This faith is the foundation of the whole Bible, a lamp and a key to its understanding. As long as our earthly state keeps us from seeing the Lord, this same faith is the firm basis of all supernatural enlightenment, the light guiding us to it, and the doorway through which we enter upon it. What is more, the extent of our faith is the measure of the wisdom which God has given us. Thus, no one should overestimate his wisdom; instead, he should soberly make his assessment according to the extent of the faith which God has given him.

The outcome or the fruit of reading holy Scripture is by no means negligible: it is the fullness of eternal happiness. For these are the books which tell us of eternal life, which were written not only that we might believe but also that we might have everlasting life. When we do live that life we shall understand fully, we shall love completely, and our desires will be totally satisfied Then, with all our needs fulfilled, we shall truly know the love that surpasses understanding and so be filled with the fullness of God. The purpose of the Scriptures, which come to us from God, is to lead us to this fullness according to the truths contained in those sayings of the apostles to which I have referred. In order to achieve this, we must study holy Scripture carefully, and teach it and listen to it in the same way.

If we are to attain the ultimate goal of eternal happiness by the path of virtue described in the Scriptures, we have to begin at the very beginning. We must come with a pure faith to the Father of Light and acknowledge him in our hearts. We must ask him to give us, through his Son and in the Holy Spirit, a true knowledge of Jesus Christ, and along with that knowledge a love of him. Knowing and loving him in this way, confirmed in our faith and grounded in our love, we can know the length and breadth and height and depth of his sacred Scripture. Through that knowledge we can come at last to know perfectly and love completely the most blessed Trinity, whom the saints desire to know and love and in whom all that is good and true finds its meaning and fulfillment.”

The life and writings of Saint Bonaventure inspire us in our own lives to grow closer to the Lord—through devotion, simple service to others, humility and obedience, prayer, and study of the Holy Scripture. We beg the intercession of Saint Bonaventure today, on his feast day, that we may live the tenets of our faith, and flourish in the divine love of Our Lord.

Prayer of Saint Bonaventure recommended by the Church for Thanksgiving after Communion

Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus, my inmost soul with the most joyous and healthful wound of Thy love, and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity, that my soul may ever languish and melt with entire love and longing for Thee, may yearn for Thee and for thy courts, may long to be dissolved and to be with Thee. Grant that my soul may hunger after Thee, the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls, our daily and supersubstantial bread, having all sweetness and savor and every delightful taste.

May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon Thee, Whom the angels desire to look upon, and may my inmost soul be filled with the sweetness of Thy savor; may it ever thirst for Thee, the fountain of life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the fountain of eternal light, the torrent of pleasure, the fullness of the house of God; may it ever compass Thee, seek Thee, find Thee, run to Thee, come up to Thee, meditate on Thee, speak of Thee, and do all for the praise and glory of Thy name, with humility and discretion, with love and delight, with ease and affection, with perseverance to the end; and be Thou alone ever my hope, my entire confidence, my riches, my delight, my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility, my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment, my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion, my possession, my treasure; in Whom may my mind and my heart be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably. Amen.


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