REAL LIFE CONNECTION
Message of Fatima
Jesus Christ said, “By their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16)
Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta have all been canonized. Hundreds of physical and spiritual healings have been credited to the intercession of these saints, visitations to the pilgrimage sites, and living the message of Fatima.
On the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 1981, Pope St. John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt. He attributed his survival to Our Lady of Fatima's intercession. He gave the extracted bullet to the museum which holds the crown of Our Lady of Fatima. To people’s amazement, it fit perfectly inside the little hollow at the top of the crown with- out any kind of reconstruction.
In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart, and ten years later consecrated Russia. There were subsequent consecrations, but for various reasons they were all considered incomplete, until Pope St. John Paul II fulfilled all the requirements in 1984. Many attribute the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall to the consecration. One of the only material possessions Sr. Lucia kept was a rosary made from pieces of the Berlin Wall.
Despite the Berlin Wall falling, and the consecrations taking place, the errors of Russia have spread throughout the world. The errors of Russia are not confined to imitations of their formal Communist government - which was responsible for the democide of over 61,000,000 people - but also the atheistic revolution that has swept the world.
Formal atheism is easy to recognize, but another variety is harder to see: practical atheism. This is the atheism that seeps into the hearts of the baptized. It is when a Christian believes in God but lives as if he does not exist. This leads to God no longer being the center of our world. It can be hard to realize how bad this is until the negative effects of a godless world manifest. Without God at the center, people make their own haphazard rules, the human person is not intrinsically valued, and functional families are not formed. This is why the message of Fatima is so crucial for our time.
We can actively help the world’s situation by daily application of the message of Fati- ma. It is twofold, and very simple:
1) Our Lady told the children (and therefore the world) 6 separate times to PRAY THE ROSARY. 2) Sacrifice. This means offering all our daily work and sufferings to God in reparation for the sins of the world.
What is reparation?
Reparation comes from the French word for “repair.” Imagine a fence that has pickets missing, the gate is unhinged, and the paint worn off. To repair it would be to restore it to its rightful state. When we make reparation for the sins of the world, we are helping to "repair" the relationship between God and mankind. We can never make reparations by our own merit - that is why we have to unite our sacrifices to the power of the ultimate reparation made by Jesus Christ in his Passion and Resurrection.
Our sacrifice opportunities could be categorized as follows:
1) The kind that happen upon us e.g. I stubbed my toe, someone hurt my feelings, I have a sore throat, I have to move, I lost my job, I lost a loved one, I have a blister on my heel, I sit next to a coworker who constantly coughs, my car broke down, they are out of what I need at the store...on and on. I'm sure you have something from your own day to add to this list right now!
2) The kind we intentionally create e.g. I will give my husband the better slice of my favorite cake, I will let someone with fewer items go ahead of me in the grocery line, I will smile and respond cheerfully to my child when I would rather snap, I will go out of my way to help an older neighbor even though I am busy, I will give blood, I will take dinner to a friend who just had a baby, I will give up sugar in my coffee, I will give up a favorite food for a time, I will take care of a sick family member....
When we sacrifice anything, we should try to pray the prayer Our Lady gave the children to attach to their sacrifices: "O Jesus, this is for love of you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary." Further testimony to the power of the rosary joined with prayer and sacrifice come from four Jesuit priests who were living in Hiroshima, Japan on Aug 6, 1945. When the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, 80,000 people were killed instantly and ultimately totaled 130,000 deaths. The four Jesuit priests, Hugo Lassalle, Hubert Schiffer, Wilhelm Kleinsorge, and Hubert Cieslik, were at their rectory of Our Lady of the Assumption. This happened to be at ground zero. It was one of the only buildings to remain standing after the atomic bomb blast, sustaining damage of broken windows. Physicians told the priests that they would suffer from radiation poisoning that would lead to premature death.
Amazingly, the priests remained in good health. Collectively they underwent over 200 examinations through the years, and no trace of radiation was ever found in their bod- ies.
With no medical explanation possible, the priests declared they believed they were protected by God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, saying, “We were living the message of Fatima and we prayed the Rosary every day.”
REFLECTION When Our Lady Appeared to Lucia during the apparitions, Lucia always began: "What do you want of me?"
Ask that of Our Lady.
The message of Fatima gives us a window into what Our Lady wants from each of us generally regardless of our situation in life: Pray the rosary and sacrifice for poor sinners.
When my husband and I went to Fatima, we visited the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary. Their charism was to have an unbroken chain of praying the rosary 24/7. The sisters would take turns to make this happen. In their heyday they had many sisters, but now the order has dwindled to 9 sisters, most of whom are older so there are not enough to keep the unbroken rosary chain going. This made me feel some Catholic guilt for all the days I didn't pray the rosary when I could have! Now, whenever I don’t feel like praying I remember the sisters who are praying for all of us, and feel like I’m joining in their cause to keep an unbroken prayer chain going. We can all do so much to help the world when we pray the rosary!