With the month of April comes the glory of Easter, and with it, a reminder of who we are: we are the Baptized! It is in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, that we enter a new life that is immersed in the Paschal Mystery of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During this Easter Season, as we acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fátima, we are reminded that at the center of the message of Fátima is the good news that God, the Holy Trinity, exists and we are invited to have a personal relationship with Him, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity's "messenger," Our Lady, reminds us that in order to enter into this "heart to heart" relationship with our God, we must repent of our sins and be reconciled with our Lord and with one another.
This was stressed in the life of one of the visionaries of Fátima, Sr. Lúcia. She was granted a vision of the Holy Trinity. In the vision, the Son of God was depicted as the Crucified One. Under the right arm of the cross of Jesus appeared Our Lady of Fátima. Under the left arm of the cross appeared two words that encompass the revelation of Fátima: Grace and Mercy.
During this holy Season of Easter, may we desire to have a greater love for the "indwelling" of the Holy Trinity in our lives. Let us never forget that we ARE the Baptized! May the Easter gift of "grace and mercy" be ours through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary; she who is "our life, our sweetness and our hope" - the Mother of the Risen Lord!
Our Lady of Fátima, pray for us.
With the month of March, we enter the Season of Lent and prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. As we welcome this Lenten Season, within the centenary anniversary of the revelations of Fátima, we are reminded of the message of Our Lady that calls us to "turn away from sin," to pray for the conversion of sinners and to be: "faithful to the Gospel" of her Son, Jesus. As a penitential season, Lent, along with the message of Fátima, contain the valuable teaching of prayer, penance and sacrifice.
In 1916, the Angel of Peace stressed the importance of prayer when he asked Lúcia, Jacinta and Francisco: "What are you doing? Pray, pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High." Their question in response to the Angel: "How are we to make sacrifices?" The Angel of Portugal responded to them: "In everything you can, offer a sacrifice as an act of reparation for sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners."
The following year, on May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the shepherd children a similar question: "Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to bear any suffering that He wishes to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?" The children responded: "Yes, we do."
During this Lent, Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima extends the invitation to us: "Are we willing and ready to offer our sufferings as acts of reparation for sins in this world and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?" If we are, then, Our Lady assures us, as she assured the three children: "The grace of God will be your comfort."
May the grace of God be our comfort as we offer our acts of prayer, penance and almsgiving throughout these forty days of Lent.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
As we acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions in Fátima, let us remember February 20th, the Feast Day of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, to whom Our Lady appeared.
On this special day, February 20, I invite all to offer the prayer taught to Bl. Francisco and Bl. Jacinta by the Angel of Peace in 1916: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I ask pardon of you, for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you." It was asked of them to recite this prayer three times.
This is a great prayer to recite often and to teach our children, especially those preparing for their First Holy Communion. It is there, within that sacramental experience, they will encounter for the first time what Bl. Francisco referred to as: "the Hidden Jesus."
May the Blessed Shepherd Children of Fátima, Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us and leads us to a greater love for "the Hidden Jesus."
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of GodAs we welcome the New Year, 2017, we acknowledge the first day of the New Year as a day of prayer for peace in our world. This year is the 50th celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Peace. Pope Francis's theme for January 1 is: "nonviolence". As we raise our prayers to God for peace and nonviolence, we ask the intercession of Our Lady, Mother of God, and Queen of Peace.