Saturday, 13 May 2017

Reflections On Fatima

Those who know me well know that I am very attached to the shrine of Lourdes, having been called to love the Blessed Virgin in her love for humanity ever since seeing “The Song of Bernadette” when I was an 8 year old nominal Anglican. Its message is much the same as Fatima: “Penance, Penance, Penance. Pray to God for the conversion of sinners”. I grew frustrated with those who would not travel to Lourdes because Fatima seemed so much more exciting with its ‘Miracle of the Sun’; I felt they sought the miraculous more than hearing the message, and sought earthly peace more than peace with God. But today we celebrate Fatima, and it is right that we note that while Lourdes is known as “Land of the Gospel”, this applies equally to Fatima, and on the say that Jacinta and Francisco are canonised, it is right that we recall Fatima in a blog posting.

Fatima is a call to trust in the mercy of God by returning to Him via penance, for Our Lady said, "Men must amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins. . . . They must no longer offend Our Lord, Who is already so much offended." As Sr. Lucia is said, "The good Lord is allowing Himself to be appeased."  The message of Fatima is indeed one of peace for the world, but peace in grace of God and not merely the absence of war, and that peace is obtained by the amending of our lives by the grace of God. What strikes me today about the message of Fatima is the symbolic place of Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

Lucia was to stay on earth and promote the message of Our Lady, which has as a central core the recitation of the daily Rosary. This prayer, so reviled by many Protestants, is entirely scriptural and Gospel-centred. Its prayers (the Our father and the Hail Mary) are taken from the texts of the Gospel; its mysteries are the Person and the Mysteries of Christ our saviour, from the Incarnation to the Ascension. To learn to love Our Lord one need do no more than contemplate Him and his Life in the company of His Blessed Mother by the reciting of the Holy Rosary. Thus, Lucia shows us the necessity to meet Christ in the scriptures and live in the company of His Holy Mother, whom all generations are to call Blessed.

Jacinta is known for her prayer and sacrifices for the Holy Father, to whom the vision was given of the Holy Father in prayer with all the people. She reminds us of the need to maintain out union with the Vicar of Christ on earth, and of the need to pray for the conversion of sinners, something with which she was said to be obsessed.

Francisco, who once, when missing, was found praying, said, “I was thinking of God who is so sad because of all the sins: if only I could comfort him!”, is known for his desire to console the Heart of Jesus, which is supremely found in this world in the Most Blessed Sacrament. As Francisco said after having received his first (and last) Holy Communion, “When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?” He is said to have exclaimed, “Soon Jesus will come and take me to heaven with Him and then I shall always be able to comfort Him.”

Thus we can see in the Fatima the whole of the Gospel message: first of all, modelling our lives upon that of the Good Lord whom we meet in scripture (and which we pray by/in the holy Rosary) with the living out of the Gospel by a life of prayer and penance; second, devotion to the Lord’s most Holy Mother who accompanies us in meeting Her Divine Son when we recite the Rosary; third, loyalty to the Vicar of Christ, and of course, adoration and worship of the Heart of Jesus in the Most Holy and Blessed Sacrament.

May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for the Holy Church of Her Divine Son, that we may remain faithful to His teaching and the living out of His Commands by the grace of the Holy Ghost who is given to us.

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