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Our Lady Of Fatima… The Close Of The Fatima Centenary

January 13, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY

(Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth and final article in a series on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The staff and readers of The Wanderer wish to thank Fr. Connolly for his scholarly and inspiring series on this most important centenary.)

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With the close of the year of our salvation 2017 also comes the close of the commemoration of the centenary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions at Fatima. In 1917 God took pity upon our fallen world, which has so self-confidently spurned His presence, by sending His own Mother to call us back to Him by means of prayer and penance. Even more, she imparted a dire warning of what would come if her motherly call went unheeded. This ardent appeal of Mary that resounded at Fatima one hundred years ago remains relevant. In fact, it is more relevant now than it was then. It is also more urgent.
The past one hundred years have seen what was left of Western Christian Civilization after World War I move even further against what the Mother of God called us to at Fatima. In the face of society’s almost wholesale denial of God and its acceptance and even celebration of sin, we must recommit ourselves and our families to our Lady’s urgent call.
Her message at Fatima is in no way different from that proclaimed by her Son in the Gospel: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3); “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). In all of the Fatima apparitions, in those of the Angel and in those of our Lady, there is a reference to prayer and penance. The Blessed Virgin calls us to a prayerful union with God especially by means of the daily rosary and the Five First Saturdays Devotion with its Communion of Reparation. She calls us to penance by means of accepting the sacrifices of daily life, as well as the performance of other works such as fasting. Every moment of suffering is an opportunity not to be wasted. It should be offered to God in reparation and for the conversion of sinners.
In living out this call to prayer and penance we will be united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is the ultimate purpose of the message of Fatima. During the apparitions the Immaculate Heart was shown several times to the little seers. After the apparitions, Lucia, who survived her cousins precisely to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, received other revelations regarding this devotion.
The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary are united. Our Lady came to Fatima in the name of her divine Son, the sole mediator between God and men. She is intimately associated with Him in the mystery of salvation for she was the chosen vessel by which He entered into our world to redeem us. Devotion to Mary is the surest means to grow in love and fidelity to Jesus. One hundred years ago Heaven gave Mary’s Immaculate Heart as the sure refuge of humanity which has been torn asunder by sin, war, and Godless Communism. And, with the gift of this ultimate refuge for us also came the promise: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Let us pray the Church’s renewed focus on the Fatima event during the centenary year will have a lasting impact in committing Catholics to its message. In our efforts to fulfill our Lady’s request by means of prayer, penance and devotion to her Immaculate Heart, we ought to implore the heavenly intercession of the three little visionaries, Saints Francisco and Jacinta, and their cousin Lucia, who, we should also pray, may be beatified.
May we embrace our Lady’s message as they did, and thus, follow them into heavenly glory.
The message of Fatima:
Return to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

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