Those who were convinced by the grace of Peter’s preaching on Pentecost day responded by asking: “What must we do?” (Acts 2:37). Lucia, a child of ten years, while in the presence of the Lady of the Apparitions was inspired to ask: “What do you want of me?” The Message of Fatima, echoing the Gospel itself, calls us to personal conversion and to a deeper realization in our everyday life of our Christian vocation in the Catholic Church. In honour of this Month of the Rosary we present these reflections on three themes from the Message of Fatima.
Pope John Paul II stated in Fatima on 13 May 1982 that: “If the Church has accepted the Message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk1:15). These are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity.”
Sr. Lucia begins her book “Calls” From the Message of Fatima with this very theme. She says: “I address this to all those who have faith and also to all who have not the happiness of possessing this gift of God, because we are all pilgrims on our way to eternity, whether we know it or not…” Then, she recalls the very first words of the prayer the Angel taught the children: “My God I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.” and she says: “The first call which God addresses to us through his Messenger is thus a call to Faith… Faith is the basis of the entire spiritual life.
It is by faith that we believe in the existence of God, in his power, his wisdom, his mercy, his work of redemption, his pardon and his fatherly love. It is by faith that we believe in God’s Church, founded by Jesus Christ, and in the doctrine the Church transmits to us and by which we shall be saved. It is the light of faith that guides our steps, leading us by the narrow way that leads to Heaven. It is by faith that we see Christ in others, loving, serving and helping them when they re in need of our assistance. And it is also our faith that assures us that God is present within us and that his eyes are always upon us….”
Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonization of Bl. Francisco and Jacinta wrote the following in the Preface to the book Teologia de Fatima: “…Fatima is a light which illumines and manifests the different truths, in the spectrum of the Catholic Faith. It is like the beacon of a lighthouse, which upon focusing, distinguishes various objects in the shadows and places them in view. It is in this sense that Fatima represents true enrichment towards the deepening of the Faith… Fatima advocates one of the most urgent intentions of the Church: catechesis. Faith, which comes from hearing… does not consist of documents on paper or in the books of scientists. It is transmitted by living, animated messengers and received and practiced by convinced men. It requires new impulses and inspirations continually. It is revitalized in images, comparisons and analogies. Where the riches of life in their multiple variations are lacking, Faith is easily weakened… The language of the Faith in its images, in perfect harmony with the language of Sacred Scripture and the Doctrine of the Church, is one of the most characteristic marks of the Message of Fatima. For this reason, Fatima offers an enormous enrichment to Catechesis, to Theology and to the Christian faith in general.”
Some years ago, at the International Congress of Dominican Rosary Promoters held in Toulouse (France), his Excellency Msgr. Gabriel Garrone, Archbishop of Toulouse preached about the Rosary and the Faith. He said: “…Truly it is difficult to image a more compelling and sure means of educating and reeducating in the Faith than the Rosary, when it is recited habitually. The Creed then becomes what it really is, a prayer. The Faith is there, all whole, all living and it is the true Faith, which begins in humility and is completed in praise. At a time when the Faith is threatened on all sides, in its very substance, which our age rends to its very depths, and in its soul, for humility is ever more difficult, what a treasure is the Rosary. The Rosary is the true Catechism! The Rosary also holds all the rich promise of the Faith necessary for a mission age. The Rosary is “missionary”, in surrendering the heart to Mary, it frees the simple, humble Faith, one particle of which, be it no larger than a grain, moves mountains.”
2. PRAYER AND PENANCE
Fatima is said to be a school of prayer. The Angel invited the children to pray: “Pray with me.” And later “Pray, pray very much!…Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.” He taught them very beautiful Trinitarian and Eucharistic prayers of reparation while showing them gestures to accompany their prayer, such as bowing prostrate to the ground. Our Lady then came and, above all, asked them to “Pray the Rosary everyday to obtain peace for the world.” The Blessed Virgin also renewed the Angel’s plea to offer sacrifices in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners because “God is already so much offended”. The children were allowed to see a most vivid image of hell where, as Our Lady said, “…the souls of poor sinners go”. In this same Apparition, which included the Secret of Fatima, the need for penance is made strikingly clear when the Angel, holding a flaming sword, calls out: “Penance! Penance! Penance!”
At the end of his treatise on Voluntary Mortification Today, Bishop Alberto Cosme do Amaral former Bishop of Fatima wrote: “…more than ever, penance is necessary to expiate and make reparation for the sins of the world. Through the ages humanity has always been sinful. But it recognized this fact and did penance. Today mankind doesn’t. We are drowning nowadays in an ocean of sins and are proud of our sin. Mankind rejects all ethical and moral values. Thus, man loses his interior liberty and becomes victim of the worst of all tyrannies: the tyranny, which is himself. The disciple of Christ must feel in his body and soul the weight of this mountain of sins, which crushes his contemporaries and also affects himself. He must suffer the agony of Jesus through the centuries… the Message of Fatima is the call of God to all men and women. May all Christians who are the children of God reach out for the divine message, which comes to us through the Heart of Mary.”
Do not be afraid. I am the Angel of Peace… Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country.
In the words of Our Lady: “Pray the Rosary everyday, in order to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war.” (May 1917) “…Continue to pray the Rosary everyday in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and an end to the war, because only she can help you.” (July 1917)
In the words of Bl. Jacinta to Lucia: “Tell everyone that they are to ask for peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary because God has entrusted this to her.”
Sr. Lucia in her book Calls of the Message of Fatima states that: “To say ‘pilgrims of Fatima’ is the same as saying pilgrims of peace; …we are all pilgrims of peace. We all desire and long for peaceful days, to be able to live in peace. But this peace will not be achieved until we use the Law of God as the norm and guide of our steps. Now the entire Message of Fatima is a call to pay attention to this divine Law.”
Pope Paul VI made an historic visit to Fatima on the 50th Anniversary of the Apparitions 13th May 1967. He came, he said, to implore Mary’s help for two intentions: peace in the Church and peace in the world. He said: “We have come to the feet of the Queen of Peace to ask for the gift, which only God can give, of peace. Yes, peace, a gift of God, which supposes His intervention, Divine, good, merciful and mysterious. But it is not always a miraculous gift; it is a gift, which works its wonders in the hearts of men; a gift therefore which has need of free acceptance and of free collaboration. Our prayer then, after having been turned towards heaven, is turned towards the men of the world. I call upon all men to strive to be worthy of the divine gift of peace! Be true to yourselves; be good, wise, open to the common good of the world. Be magnanimous! Try to see your dignity and your interests, not as contrary to but as conforming to the dignity and the interests of others. Do not contemplate projects of destruction and of death, of revolution and of suppression; but think rather of projects of mutual strengthening and of solid collaboration. Think of the gravity and the grandeur of this hour, which can be decisive for the history of the present and of future generations, and begin to approach each other with thoughts of building a new world, yes, the world of true men, a world which can never be without the light of God on its horizons… Behold, my brothers and children, who listen to us here, behold the immense and dramatic picture which the world and its destinies presents to us. It is the picture which Our Lady opens up before us, the picture which we contemplate with frightened eyes, but ever trusting knowledge; the picture to which we ever draw near and to which we pledge ourselves, following the counsel which Our Lady gave us, that of prayer and penance and which God desires, that this picture of the world shall never again have to face wars, tragedies, and catastrophes, but the conquest of love and the victory of peace.”
If you live in or near Herefordshire, the following is a day with Our Blessed Lady at Belmont Abbey to celebrate this month of the Most Holy Rosary:
Mysteries of Redemption
Saturday 15th October 10.00am-4.00pm.
(cost £14 including morning coffee, two course lunch and afternoon tea)
October is traditionally the month of the Holy Rosary. We offer a day reflecting on and praying the mysteries of our redemption.
Booking is Essential: Tel 01432 374735
Dom Bernard Wassall