by Deacon Michael Bickerstaff | October 13, 2017 10:00 am
Today, October 13, 2017 is the one hundredth anniversary of the last of six apparitions of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal during 1917. The Miracle of the Sun was witnessed there by up to one hundred thousand people on October 13, 1917. The first of these apparitions began earlier that year on May 13th.
The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age 10), Blessed Francisco Marto (age 9) and Blessed Jacinta Marto (age 7). Francisco and Jacinto died within a few years of the apparitions and were beatified in 1983. Lucia (Sr. Maria Lucia) died in 2005 and the cause for her beatification is in progress. Together, the three children witnessed a total of six apparitions of Our Lady in 1917. In 1916, they had witnessed three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal.
The message of Fatima is as relevant today as it was then.
“Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.” (The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith)
Among the messages they received, they were taught five prayers by the angel and Our Lady. Many of us who pray the Rosary are familiar with the prayer that ends each decade, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…” (the Decade Prayer), but we need to recall and offer the other prayers as well. Anyone who reads the following will readily agree.
A thread runs through these prayers that we need to recall in these days of sin and immorality: in mysterious ways that we can understand only partially, it is beneficial for us to pray and make acts of self-denial for the reparation of sin and the conversion of sinners. Not only do these good habits of mortification and prayer help us grow in holiness, the merits of these prayers become graces for the conversion of others.
As we pray the Rosary and recite the Decade Prayer, allow its words and import to cover your very soul with meaning and lead you to greater understanding of the importance of your own holiness in the spiritual battles of our time. And find opportunities to pray the other four Fatima Prayers as well.
Today’s celebration of this event will come to an end, but the message of Our Lady is not only still relevant, but is as urgent now as it was then. In coming weeks, we will look more deeply at her message and its application to our lives.
Into the deep…
Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff is a regular feature of the The Integrated Catholic Life™.
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