In an earlier essay on Catholic Exchange, I shared “Why We Need Fatima’s Message Today.” As we bring to a close the centenary jubilee commemorating Mary’s apparition in Fatima, Portugal spanning the months of May-October 1917, I believe it important to revisit the messages received by Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, because they propose for us a way of life.
This is the case with many apparitions of Mary–she makes requests of her children, and it is up to us to respond to our mother’s invitation. In 1859, Mary appeared in Wisconsin within the diocese of Green Bay and made a request of the seer, Adele Brise, to offer her Holy Communion for the conversion of sinners. Additionally, she asked Adele to gather the children and teach them. Adele responded to requests, and devoted her entire life this mission. Many examples of Mary’s requests through apparitions could be cited, I wish to propose simple ways we can live the message of Fatima.
Conversion of Life
In the final apparition of Our Lady on October 13th, 1917, she told the children, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.” Responding to this request and living this message of Our Lady means we must thoroughly examine our consciences and identify the areas of our life in which we need God’s mercy and are being invited to conversion. Our sin offends God. Our conversion pleases God and the Blessed Mother. Pray for your conversion, reach out to someone for help, make use of the sacraments, and continue your journey toward conversion of life.
Pray the Rosary
In the words Mary spoke during the six apparitions in Fatima, each time she requested the children to pray the rosary, especially for peace in the world. At present moment, we live in an exciting time for the rosary. In the past year and half, many authors have shared new books on the rosary, encouraging us to reclaim this devotion. A new book from Sophia Institute Press, focuses on praying the “contemplative rosary” with support from the Carmelite tradition. Another author suggests the marriage of the rosary and divine mercy chaplet. Dr. Sri recently gifted us with a new book on the rosary too! Fr. Calloway has shared with us 26 Champions of the Rosary. In A Rosary Litany, I sought to renew a pious French custom of focusing on the name of Jesus during the Hail Mary.
The rosary has seen a great uptick in momentum and a resurgence in recitation by the faithful. In Fatima, Mary encouraged the children to pray the rosary every day for peace in the world. Our world needs peace. You can have a part. Pray the rosary daily.
Observe the First Saturdays
During later apparitions, Mary asked for the keeping of the First Five Saturdays, in which a person makes a confession, receives the Eucharist, prays the rosary, and meditates on the mysteries of the rosary for 15 minutes. This request was to make reparation for sacrileges and outrages, especially against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Saturday’s have traditionally been honored as days for Marian devotion. Pull out your phone, and make an appointment for the next five months, on the First Saturday to attend Mass. I promise you will be a better person as you confess your sins, receive the Lord, and ask Mary to pray for you.
Make Reparation for Your Sin
With the exception of Mary, all human persons have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our words and actions inevitably have caused hurt to the people we love or people we know. Every now and again I am reminded of my sinfulness and the hurt I’ve caused others. When that surfaces, it is important for me to make reparation for my sin and repair the offense against God and my neighbor. There are many ways to make reparation by prayer and action. Tell God often that you are sorry for your sins. Do penitential acts and offer them as a form of reparation.
Take Up Small Sacrifices
Mary said some souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices for them. We should not only be concerned with our salvation but also the salvation of others. In our daily life can we offer some small sacrifice as a way to pray for those who live their life indifferent to God? A few months ago, as an adult, I had orthodontic braces installed on my teeth. There was a lot of pain and suffering, but I made sure it didn’t go to waste. I offered it up for a special intention. We can also make small acts of self-denial, like fasting, with the intention of offering it for the conversion of sinners. Mary even taught a prayer for this purpose to the children: “O my Jesus, it is out of love for you, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
In Fatima, Mary requested the consecration of Russia to her immaculate heart. While this request was for a corporate consecration of Russia, and by extension and in practice, the world, there is also the custom of consecrating oneself to Mary. This was very important to St. John Paul II. As a youth the writings of St. Louis de Monfort deeply touched his life, leading St. John Paul II to consecrate himself to Jesus through Mary. In addition to St. Louis de Monfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe proposed a method of Marian consecration, and Fr. Michael Gaitley authored a beginner’s guide to Marian Consecration in his work Thirty-Three Days to Morning Glory. Fr. Ed Broom, a popular Catholic Exchange contributor, recently authored a method of consecration using the rosary mysteries as a basis. Lastly, Fr. Hugh Gillespie, a De Montfortian Father, authored a new Preparation Guide in the spirit of St. Louis de Montfort. I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary many years ago, but it is suggested a person renew their consecration each year. Last year, I decided to do just that in anticipation of the new year using Fr. Gillespie’s book. It had a profound impact on me and renewed me spiritually. I shared about it on Catholic Exchange here.
Live with a Marian Heart
Mary told the Fatima children that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Yes, her heart will conquer the dragon and her foot will crush the head of the serpent, but as I prayed about the triumph of Mary’s heart, I came to realize that her heart could triumph through each one of us. When I was in the seminary my spiritual director one day challenged me, he told me “You love Mary so much, but where is your Marian heart?” After that exchange, I began to pray daily asking Mary what it meant to have a heart like hers. I slowly began to pray for certain attributes, and in time, I noticed I was living my life differently with a Marian heart. I believed her heart triumphed in my own heart. I share at length about this in my new book called A Heart Like Mary’s: 31 Daily Meditations.
How are you going to live the Fatima message? It’s not enough just to hear these words Mary spoke, they are meant to be lived. Let’s thank God for the past 100 years, and with Mary’s help, may we respond to her very important message for us and the world by living the message in very simple ways.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!