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 21, 2013: Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church

Posted by Jacob

Today, July 21, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619), Doctor of the Church. One of the most famous Capuchin preachers and theologians of the sixteenth century, Saint Lawrence is renowned for his complete and thorough refutation of the doctrines of Martin Luther. Like his spiritual father, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Lawrence embodied a deep devotion to the Our Blessed Mother, Mary, and was among the first to write on all aspects of theology that concerns the Blessed Virgin. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1959 by Pope John XXIII, the writings of Saint Lawrence remain a treasure of the faith today, particularly those expounding upon the majesty and importance of the Virgin Mother of Christ (for examples, see here and here).

Born Julius Caesar at Brindisi in Naples, Lawrence received his saint’s name upon entering the Capuchins at age 16, following his education by Franciscans at the Venice College of Saint Mark. A gifted scholar, Saint Lawrence learned and mastered Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French, as well as his native Italian. Able to read Scriptures in the languages they were originally written in, he further excelled at theological studies, and during his education was recognized for his piety and abilities to interpret and explain both Scripture and Church doctrine.

As a member of the Capuchins, following his ordaining, he became known for his extraordinary sermons, specifically on the Mother of God. He was dispatched by the pope to establish Capuchin houses throughout Germany and northern Europe, founding friaries at Prague, Vienna, and Gorizia (modern provinces of Bohemia, Austria, and Styria). Lawrence further served as chaplain to the Christian soldiers defending Hungary against the invading Muslims, organizing the troops, and leading them into battle. Despite being greatly outnumbered, Saint Lawrence—through his ardent faith—convinced the generals to lead the troops into battle. He is largely regarded as being responsible for the Christian victory, and the repulsion of the Muslim invaders. Further, as founder of the Catholic League, he rallied Christian leaders from Germany, Hungary, and Spain to defend Christians on the European continent.

Saint Lawrence is also remembered for his compassion for the poor, sick, and needy. At age 33 he was elected minister-general of the Capuchins, after which he visited every friary in the thirty-four provinces of the order across Europe, directing the work of over nine thousand brothers. His combination of brilliance, human compassion and administrative skill allowed him to carry out his duties with great success. Instrumental in the Catholic Restoration, he attended and facilitated the Council of Trent, described by Pope Benedict XV as having earned "a truly distinguished place among the most outstanding men ever raised up by Divine Providence to assist the Church in time of distress."

Saint Lawrence is also remembered for his sanctity and miracle working. While he was Provincial Superior of his order he cured a blind man in front of many witnesses. At the court of Philip III of Spain he cured a woman who was paralyzed. Once while stopping with some companions at an inn a rowdy customer began to ridicule the friars. Getting no reaction he resorted to blasphemy and even mocked the crucifix that the saint was wearing. “To vindicate the honor of this cross which you have blasphemed, may God punish you!” Immediately the man dropped dead to the floor before the stunned diners. Finally, at Milan, there was a young boy covered with sores and so deformed that he could not remove his head from his left shoulder while his right arm was held fast to his chest. After receiving a blessing from Father Lawrence the boy’s wounds dried up and his head and limbs were set free in the sight of family and neighbors. His Masses often lasted six to ten hours, the longest taking sixteen hours. One witness observed him levitate three feet above the floor for an hour and a half while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Saint Lawrence fell ill while traveling between Italy and Spain on a mission of mercy, and passed away in Lisbon exactly 60 years to the date of his birth. His body was buried in the church of the Poor Clares at Villafranca del Bierzo in Spain. As a Doctor of the Church, his legacy in prolific writing remains, as well as his ardent faith and courage in defense of the Lord.

Selected Quotations from Saint Lawrence of Brindisi:

"For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God through grace, it is bread and water…For the soul is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Against the hardness of heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin."
"God is love, and all his operations proceed from love. Once he wills to manifest that goodness by sharing his love outside himself, then the Incarnation becomes the supreme manifestation of his goodness and love and glory. So, Christ was intended before all other creatures and for his own sake. For him all things were created and to him all things must be subject, and God loves all creatures in and because of Christ. Christ is the first-born of every creature, and the whole of humanity as well as the created world finds its foundation and meaning in him. Moreover, this would have been the case even if Adam had not sinned.”

for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls
you gave Lawrence of Brindisi
courage and right judgment.

By prayers
Help us to know what we should do
and give us the courage to do it.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you ad the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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