October 7-8, 2017
Next Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the miracle of the sun near Fátima, Portugal. It was given by Our Lady as proof of the veracity of the prophetic visions given to three shepherd children about hell, World War II and the persecution of the Church under atheism. But, she said, what the children saw was not fated, but could be avoided if Russia was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and communion of reparation on five first Saturdays was received. This communion of reparation includes confession within eight days before a first Saturday, recitation of the Rosary, and fifteen additional minutes while meditating on any of the mysteries of the Rosary. The five Saturdays make reparation for offenses against Mary: denial of her Immaculate Conception and perpetual virginity, dishonoring her image, the neglect of fostering devotion to her in our children, and the denial of Mary as Mother of God and the Mother of us all as a consequence of Jesus’ gift of his mother to the Beloved Disciple as he hung on the cross.
Pope Benedict XVI, when he was still head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a beautiful theological commentary on the Fátima secret. In it, he points out that “the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction.” In other words, our prayer and conversion change the course of history! He also explains what “devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary” means. “In biblical language, the ‘heart’ indicates the center of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8, the “immaculate heart” is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore ‘sees God’. To be ‘devoted’ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat – ‘your will be done’ – the defining center of one’s whole life.”
The third part of the secret reveals the Church’s path as a Via Crucis - a difficult journey through the violence and destruction caused by sin all the way to the cross of Jesus which conquers sin. This is your journey, too, and mine. Mary, Our Mother, calls for penance and conversion, of conforming our heart to God’s will in imitation of her. It is Jesus’ call to “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15) and the heart of St. John Paul II’s New Evangelization.