HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA
THEME: THE MARIAN APPARITION AT FATIMA
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
HOMILY: For six consecutive months in 1917, from May 13 to October 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three Portuguese children in Fatima, a town located 100 miles north of the capital city of Lisbon. Mary asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for the conversion of sinners and of Russia.
There are two things that we can say about the Marian Apparition at Fatima. It is eucharistic and prophetic. First, this apparition is profoundly eucharistic. A few months before the Blessed Mother’s appearance, an angel who introduced himself as the Angel of Peace first appeared to the children for three times, and taught them some prayers of reparation. The following is one of the prayers:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”
On the third appearance, the angel gave Holy Communion on the tongue to the children. He gave the host to Lucia, and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God”.
This clearly shows that our Marian devotion should always lead to Jesus in the Eucharist and must be aimed at making reparation for all the offenses against this august sacrament on the altar. It is, therefore, fitting that when praying the Rosary, we recite after every decade, not only the Fatima Prayer (“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from fires of Hell…”) but also the short eucharistic praise: “O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.”
And secondly, Fatima is the most prophetic among all Marian apparitions. In the first place, it reveals more clearly and definitively the role of Mary as the Woman in Battle (Gen 3:15), as the Woman-Mother (Jn 19:26-27), and as the Woman in Triumph (Rev 12:1). The Blessed Mother also revealed to the children the three secrets. The first secret was a message describing the vision of Hell, where, Our Lady told the children, many souls were falling and no one is praying and doing sacrifices for their salvation.
The second was Our Lady’s warning that there would be another war. If man did not convert, Russia would spread its errors of Communism throughout the world and the world would suffer a great chastisement.
And the third secret was formally revealed only in the year 2000, upon the instruction of Pope St. John Paul II. It referred to the most severe crisis in the Church, such as persecutions, mass apostasy, spread of errors, confusions and divisions of great proportions and other catastrophic events in the world: “The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated”.
However, the central message of Fatima is fully consistent with what the Church has always taught. Pope Benedict XVI says that the message of Fatima is “the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, “the summons to penance and conversion.”
After Fatima, the Blessed Mother has appeared so many times throughout the years and in so many parts of the world. Her messages, exhortation and appeals are consistently the same, but with more sense of urgency and gravity.
As our loving Mother, she calls on all her children to take the path of righteousness and holiness, for she does not want to see them fall into the hands of the Evil One. Hence, she urges them to consecrate their lives to her Immaculate Heart. As Pope Benedict XVI explains, “The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind.”
Mary, the all-powerful Queen of Heaven and Earth, is the ‘Woman Clothed with the Sun’, the victorious Woman of the Apocalypse. This she affirms in her solemn declaration at Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” May we always hold on to Mary, faithfully heed her call to prayer and conversion, and consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart. Then, we are assured that she will lead us to her Son, Jesus, to be with Him in His victory and eternal glory.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
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