THE BOOK "CALLS", Part 2

The Message of Fatima by Sister Lucia


Index
10. Call to share the Eucharist. 11. The Call to intimacy with the Most Holy Trinity. 12. The Call to the Daily Recitation of the Rosary. 13. The Call to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 14. The Call to Reflect on Eternal Life. 15. The Call to the Apostolate. 16. The Call to Persevere in Virtue. 17. The Call to stop Offending God. 18. The Call to the Sanctification of the Family.



Call to share the Eucharist

The eighth Call of the Message “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 call which the Message addresses to us is very explicit in the Gospel but very many people misunderstand it, have forgotten it, ignore it, turn their backs on it and, saddest of all, revile it.

When Jesus Christ revealed His intention of remaining with us in the Eucharist in order to be our spiritual food, our strength and our life, the Pharisees were scandalized and did not believe. But Our Lord insisted: “I am the bread of life. (...) if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. (...) Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (Jn 6, 48-51. 53-54)

It is clear from these words that if we do not receive the food of Holy Communion, we shall not have within us the life of grace, the supernatural life that depends on our union with Christ through receiving His Body and Blood in Holy Communion. It was for this that He remained in the Eucharist, in order to be our spiritual food, our daily bread which sustains the supernatural life within us.

But in order to be able to receive this Bread, we have to be in he grace of God, as ST. Paul warns us: “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night that He was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said: “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me“ in the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of Our Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Cor 11, 23-29)

The Apostle’s warning is for all of us. Before approaching the table of the Eucharist, we must examine our conscience and if we find that we have committed some serious fault, we must first purify ourselves by confessing our sins by the Sacrament of Penance, with a true repentance and a firm resolve not to sin again. Without these two conditions, our confessions will not produce its full effect, even if the priest gives us an absolution in the name of God. God sees our confessions and confirms the pardon granted to us in His name by the priest, to the extent which He sees in our heart our repentance for having offended him and the resolution we have made not to offend him again.

Jesus entrusted the power to forgive sins to his Apostles when, after the resurrection, He appeared to them in the Upper Room and said: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn 20, 21-23)

On another occasion, Jesus said to Peter, whom he had chosen for his Head of his church: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.“ (Mt 16,19)

Thus the supreme Head of the Church founded by Jesus Christ was given the authority to decide how our sins were to be forgiven. And since the Head of the Church has decreed that this is to be by means of a humble and sincere confession, made with contrition and amendment, this is the means which we must use in order to obtain pardon for our sins.

Only after we have prepared ourselves in this way may we receive the Body and blood of Jesus Christ, confident that this sacrament is for us a source of life, strength and grace, which makes us pleasing in the eyes of God, who sees in us his only-begotten Son, united with us through this complete union and abandonment of his very Self to us out of love.

This is how St Matthew describes the way which Jesus entrusted Himself to us with his own hands: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat, this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26, 26-28)

When we see that Jesus Christ assures us of his real Presence, body and soul, living as He is in Heaven, wherever the consecrated bread and wine are preserved. He says: “This is” He did not say “This was”, nor “This may be”, nor yet, “This will be.” What he said was “This is”. In every moment, everywhere, the consecrated bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and continue to be so far as long as this bread and this wine are preserved. The words of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, make this clear; and the word of God accomplishes what it signifies.

The Living Jesus is present in the Eucharist. I say the living Jesus because he rose from the dead by his divine power never to die again, and he remains forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In truth, the Son of God has power over death and life: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again; this charge I take from my Father.” (Jn 10, 7-18)

Thus, Jesus Christ rose from the dead is our life and our resurrection: those who are to live with Him will be raised by Christ as He had promised: “I am the bread of life, he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall not thirst.(...) For this is the will of My Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and i shall raise him up on the last day.” (Jn 6, 35. 40)

It is by faith that we will see Jesus Christ: We know that He is the world of God; we believe in His word, in His church; we want to follow the path He has mapped out for us so that through Him we can come to the Father; and, through Him, we shall be raised up on the last day. Yes, if we are nourished with the bread from His Table and drink from His chalice, we shall have His life in us. We become one with Him by participation in His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

But Christ present on the altar is not the only food of life, He is also the expiatory victim offering Himself there to the father for our sins. In fact, the mass is in un-bloody renewal of the sacrifice of the cross, it is Christ offered as a victim for our sins, under the species of the bread and wine. The cross, on which he gave his life for us, is the greatest proof of his love; and he chose to give us with his own hands the living memorial of this manifestation of his love, by instituting the Eucharist during the last super that he had shared with his Apostles: Now as they was eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples and said, “take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Mt 26, 26-28)

Jesus gives us his body than his blood which, he says, is poured out for many. The word many as used here dose not exclude some as if Jesus had not died for all; but, as I have heard many commentators saying, that the word is to be understood in the sense in which it was used in the language of that people: many being the opposite of one, that is that is , one who dies instead many It was in this sense that the high priest, Caiphas, justified the necessity of the death of Jesus: You do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish. (Jn 11, 50 ).

Christ truly shed his blood for the whole of humanity, for all, without excluding anyone. But it is also true that not everyone is interested, or makes the effort to welcome into their lives of Jesus Christ, the price of their ransom, thereby excluding themselves from the Redemption. How can we not think of the very many who do not know, or who do not wish to be nourished by His Body and Blood? What will happen to them? “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you.” (Jn 6, 53). This is the reply that Jesus gave us in connection with those who do not wish to avail themselves worthily of the gift that He offers us, namely the gift of his Body and Blood, really and truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Enclosed within our tabernacles, offered on our altars, our Saviour continues of offer Himself to the Father as a victim for the remission of the sins of all human beings, in the hope that many generous people will wish to be united to Him, to become one with Him by sharing in the same sacrifice, so that with Him they can offer themselves to the Father as victim, in Himself but also in the members of His Mystical Body which is the Church. It is the Call of the Message: offer to the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer you the precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the insults, 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 you the conversion of poor sinners’ (Message of the Angel).

And what are these sins? They are the insults and sacrileges, the indifference and ingratitude of those who receive Him unworthily, of those who insult Him, of those who persecute Him, of those who do not know Him, and of those who knowing Him, turn their backs on Him and do not love Him. It is the coldness and hardness of other Judases who place their hand with Him in the dish, after which they go off and betray Him in exchange for their own condemnation, thus rendering fruitless in relation to themselves the fruits of the Redemption which Christ achieved and offered to the Father.

In prayerful silence in the solitude of our churches, He continually offers Himself unceasingly to the Father as a Victim on our behalf; forgotten, despised, ill-treated, humble and poor, He remains a prisoner in our Tabernacles. And the Message continues to call on us to offer to the Most Holy Trinity the Victim on our altars in reparation for all the sins by which He is offended.

And our own contribution? It is our humble prayer, our poor little acts of self-denial which we must unite with the prayer and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation, and for the salvation of our brothers and sisters who have wandered away from the one true path that leads to Life. At this point, I ask myself: Why is that, since the merits and prayer of Jesus Christ are sufficient to make reparation for and to save the world, the Message invokes the merits of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and calls on us, too, to pray, to make sacrifices, to offer reparation?

I have to say that I do not know! Nor do I know what explanation the theologians of the Church would give me if I were ask them. But I have meditated on, and thought about this question. I open the Gospel and I see that from the very beginning Jesus Christ united to his redemptive work the Immaculate Heart of Her whom He chose to be His Mother.

The work of our redemption began at the moment when the Word descended from Heaven in order to assume a human body in the womb of Mary. From that moment, and for the next nine months, the Blood of Christ was the Blood of Mary, taken from Her Immaculate Heart; the Heart of Christ was beating in unison with the Heart of Mary.

And we can think that the aspirations of the Heart of Mary were completely identified with the aspirations of the Heart of Christ. Mary’s ideal had become the same as Christ Himself, and the love in the Heart of Mary was the love in the Heart of Christ for the Father and for all human beings; to begin with, the entire work of redemption passed through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through the bond of her close intimate union with the Divine Word.

Since the Father entrusted his Son to Mary, enclosing Him for nine months within her chaste virginal womb - and ‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Which means, God with us).’ (Mt 1, 22-23; Is 7, 14) - and since Mary of her own free will opened herself entirely to what God willed to accomplish in her - “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1, 38) is what she said to the Angel - in view of all this and by God’s disposition, Mary became, with Christ, the co-Redemptrix of the human race.

It is the body received from Mary, that in Christ becomes a victim offered up for the salvation of mankind; it is the blood received from Mary that circulates in Christ’s veins and which pours out from His Divine Heart; it is the same body and this same blood, received from Mary, that are given to us, under the appearances of bread and wine, as our daily food, to strengthen within us the life of grace, and so continue in us, members of the Mystical Body of Christ, his redemptive work for the salvation of each and all to the extent to which each one clings to Christ and co-operates with Christ.

Thus, having led us to offer to the Most Holy Trinity the merits of Jesus Christ and those of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is the Mother of Christ and his Mystical Body, the Message then goes on to ask us to contribute also the prayers and sacrifices of all of us who are members of that one same Body of Christ received from Mary, made divine in the Word, offered on the Cross, present in the Eucharist, constantly growing in the members of the Church.

Since she is the Mother Christ and of his Mystical Body, the Immaculate of Mary is in some sense the Heart of the Church; and it is here in the heart of the Church that She, always united with Christ, watches over the members of the Church, granting them her maternal protection. Better than anyone, Mary fulfils Christ’s injunction: ‘Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full’ (Jn 16, 24). It is in the name of Christ, her Son, that Mary intercedes for us with the Father. And it is in the name of Christ, present in the Eucharist and united with us in Holy Communion, that we unite our humble prayers with those of Mary so that She can address them to the Father in Jesus Christ, her Son.

Hence it is that over and over again we beseech Her: ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.



The Call to intimacy with the Most Holy Trinity

The ninth call of the message.
‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly’.

Here the message presents to our faith and our adoration the mystery of the one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit: it presents to us the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, one God and three distinct Persons.

We are dealing here with a mystery that has been revealed to us and which only in Heaven will be able to comprehend perfectly. We believe in it because God revealed it to us, and we know that our limited understanding is very far removed indeed from the power and the wisdom of God.

In the work of creation, which issued from the creative power of God, we see so many marvelous things concerning which we also do not understand how they came about, so we can look upon them as a figure of the Mystery that is placed before us by God for our consideration.

Thus, for example, each individual is a single person, but in this person there are so many separate things: some of a natural order, others of a supernatural order. We are a body, matter formed by God from the slime of the earth, and this body is kept in being from the products of that same earth from which the body was made and to which it will return.

Already the life of our body is the soul, a spiritual being, created by God in his image and likeness, as we are told in Sacred Scripture: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them, (Gen 1, 27), after which it explains that: ‘The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils, the breathe of life, and man became a living being.’ (Gen 2,7). Hence, our soul is a spiritual being created by the breath of God: it is immortal. For as long as it remains united to our body, we are a living being, but when the body completely ceases to be able to co-operate with the action of the soul, the soul leaves it and flies back to the Being which, being its breath, had created it; it flies back to God who, being its centre of gravity, attracts it. The body, abandoned by the soul, remains lifeless and descends into the earth from which it has been taken.

The soul takes with it the gifts it has received from God: understanding, memory, will ect. And even if the body continues to possess all its natural organs in good condition, it can no longer see, speak, move, understand or work things out. Before it was a being which thought, had life; now it is inert, motionless, liable to decompose and disappear in the dust of the tomb.

If we ask ourselves how it is that all these things come together in a single person - a material body that dies; a spiritual soul possessing immoral life, because it shares in the life of God; understanding, the ability to think, memory and will - we have to confess that we do not know, we do not know how this is at all possible. We do not understand what happens in ourselves, what there is within us, nor what we are; and we are what others do not see, what we ourselves are unaware of, in brief we are what God knows very well: Hence we are accustomed to say, and to say truly: only God knows what we are.

I once heard a specialist, who had just finished examining a patient, saying ‘We doctors have studied a great deal, and medicine has made great progress. Nevertheless, there are many mysteries in the human body which we have not yet managed to unveil’. What the doctor said about the human body we can apply to the whole of creation: in everything God has placed a mystery which is not within the range of our limited understanding. And the reason for this is that human understanding constitutes only a fraction of the Divine Intelligence.

For us, the whole of nature presents itself to us as if wrapped in mystery, and it also appears to be a revelation of the mystery of God in three Persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit-and one true God.

If we pick a piece of fruit, an orange for example, we remove the skin which is thrown away, we take out the seeds, which can be sown and grow into other trees, and we are left with the individual sections, which we eat. Thus in a single whole-an orange- we have three separate purposes. And we find the same thing in other types of fruit.

If we look at a rose tree, we see the stock which links it to the ground and from which it draws the nourishment that sustains it; it has green leaves which wither and die in the autumn, and it is covered with lovely roses which we cut and which delight our eyes and our sense of smell. The fact is that the whole of nature was created to speak to us of God, and to reveal to us the greatness of the mystery of one God in three Persons. If throughout nature, we find little groups of separate things within the one whole, things which we separate and call by different names, then why should we be astonished to find three distinct Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - in the one God? If we choose to listen, all created things speak to us of God the Creator.

But it is above all sacred Scripture that speaks to us of, and reveals to us in different places, this mystery of the Most Holy Trinity as, for instance, when St Luke describes to us the mystery of the incarnation of the Word: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’ (Lk 1, 35). All three Divine Persons are mentioned in this passage: the Holy Spirit who comes down upon the Virgin; the Most High, (Whom Jesus Christ, the Son of the most High called Father) who begets the Word and the Son to be born and as the Angel said: ‘will be called the Son of God’.

Begotten by the Father from all eternity, Jesus Christ is conceived and born, in time, of the Virgin Mary. As man, He began to exist at the moment He became flesh in the womb of his Virgin Mother; as God He was always in existence together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. St John tells us ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (...) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1, 1-2: 14).

On various occasions, in the Gospel, Jesus Christ speaks of all three, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit -and He refers to Himself as the Son: ‘Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (..) But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you’ (Jn 14, 13: 26). In another place, He says: The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand’ (Jn 3, 35), and a little further on ‘For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will’ (Jn 5, 21).

So we have only one God, but in three distinct Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes to us as Teacher, to teach us and remind us of all that Jesus revealed ‘He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all I have said to you’. The Spirit does this either directly by means of the gifts which He Himself communicates to the soul, or indirectly, by making use of human means, chief among which are the Church, our Mother and Mistress which, among the principle missions entrusted to it to accomplish on earth, has that of reminding us authoritatively and faithfully of all that Jesus Christ said and did.

In addition to this, as we are told in the Gospel, it will also be given to us to know and dwell with the Holy Spirit, who has come to dwell with us and to be in us: ‘I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him or knows Him; you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you’. (Jn 14, 16-17). The reference here is to a knowledge by faith which the world, of course does not possess. The possibility of knowing the Holy Spirit is a marvelous grace which he gives to us; ‘Whom you know, for He dwells with you and is in you’.

Yes! It is an immense grace to be able to know God by means of our faith; to know the revelation of God and about the love He has shown us in all his works; to know Him in the human sciences, in the arts, in the various forces of nature or in the things that surround us; all these things are a manifestation of God, because He reveals Himself in his works. Here we could apply in some sense the invitation that Jesus addressed to his disciples to see in the works accomplished the One who had accomplished them in Him: “Or else believe for the sake of the works themselves.” (Jn 14,11). To be able to know God, even in the limited manner which is proper to our capacity, is a great grace of inestimable value! To be able to know God, as the Father who created us, as Man and God who redeemed us, as the Spirit who guides us in the ways of truth and love: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (Jn 16, 13).

Now, in a certain sense, the whole truth is love, because, as St John tells us, God is Love. Thus to love is to possess the greatest gift of God, because it is to possess God Himself: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him”. (Jn 14, 23). It is to possess God and be ourselves immersed in God; it is the love of God in us, communicated by the presence of the three Divine Persons, which will transport us to live immersed in the ocean of supernatural life, always following the path pointed out for us by the light of the word of God. And it is thus that the love of God is manifested in us, transforming us and identifying us with the three Divine Persons through our complete union with Jesus Christ: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (Jn 14, 20-21).

Hence, it is love that transforms us into living temples of the Most Holy Trinity, because God is love and communicates to us the life of his love, which is the life of God in us -”I will reveal Myself to him” - it is the life of Christ in us, as He prayed to the Father: “O righteous Father, the world has not known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which that thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17, 25-26).

The materialistic world does not know God, does not understand the spiritual life of the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity in us. And not only does it not understand it; it actually despises it and even persecutes it; but it persecutes it because it does not know it, and is unaware of the countless treasures and intimate riches which are contained in it. Knowing this, Jesus Christ wished to put us on our guard, saying “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you ‘A servant is not greater than his master’”. (Jn 15, 18-20).

The world seduces and deceives, and Christ cannot reveal Himself to those who allow themselves to be caught in the deceitful illusions of the world. Hence, those who abandon themselves to materialism do not understand the language used by Jesus Christ who is the Word of God; they have been called, since we were all called to follow the divine Law, but they have not been chosen, because they did not wish to hear the voice of God, that is, the teaching of Christ who is the Word of God, the only One “who has words of eternal life”. (Jn 6, 68). They have blocked off their own entrance to eternal life. Hence, in the prayer that He addressed to the Father during the Last Supper, Jesus said: “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. And this is eternal life, that they know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (..) I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.” (Jn 17, 1-6)

In the first place, we see that Jesus Christ tells us quite clearly that eternal life consists in knowing the God and the Son sent by the Father. And that is how it is; knowledge of God leads us to love Him, love creates union and union transmits to us the supernatural life of God. Next, let us look at how our Saviour prays to the Father for those whom he has chosen from the world, because they were his; and they are his because they listened to his Word; ‘thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept your word.’

It is true that keeping the word of God involves self-denial and renunciation, but it is also that it is precisely in this self denial and renunciation, that we prove our love to God: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mk 8, 34).

The world on the other hand, promises an easy life and pleasure, and surrounds us with many enticing temptations, but they are false and are born of ignorance because the world, or rather those who follow the maxims of the world, do not know the value of the good thing they are rejecting and losing when they turn their backs on God. They are all in search of happiness, but they do not find it, because they are looking for it where it is not to be found, and so, since they are on the wrong road, the further they go along it the further they go from happiness.

God is the only Being where happiness is to be found, for which moreover, we were created. But God is not to be found in the satisfaction of the sensual pleasures of the flesh and of the senses, nor of the passions of pride, self- esteem, covetousness, ect. God is to be found in pure souls, in humble hearts and upright consciences, free from attachment to the things of the earth, such as honours, pleasures, riches, ect. People of this kind identify themselves with God, and the life of God in them; and He communicates to them an ever increasing share in his gifts.

It was for this that Christ prayed to the Father: “Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, (...) that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves (...) Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth (...) And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they may also be consecrated in truth. I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.” (Jn 17, 11-23).

We see that Jesus asks the Father that we may be united with the Most Holy Trinity: ‘As thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us’. It is this which is our supernatural life, because to be in God is to live the life of God; God present in us, and ourselves immersed in God. This life of intimate union with God has at times been presented as something difficult and sad, whereas in fact it is simple, joyful and happy as Jesus Christ himself tells us: ‘So that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves’. The joy of doing God’s will, of being pleasing to God, keeping and observing his Word: ‘They have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them’ (Jn 17, 6-8). We believe in God, we receive his word and we have within us the fullness of divine joy. We are, as St Paul says, temples of God: ‘Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?’ (1 Cor 3, 16).

In the Gospel, we are told that we have been specially chosen by Christ: “You do not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (Jn 15, 16). Now, to be chosen by Christ is unquestionably to be chosen by God for the life that never fades, for the love that never dies, for happiness that never comes to an end. Whatever God takes for Himself and identifies with Himself becomes one with God through its intimate union with Christ: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me and I in you” (Jn 14, 20). We see the same thing stated in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1, 13-14).

Thus it is through our union with Christ that the life of God in us grows and develops, transforming us into living temples of God, as Jesus has told us: ‘I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live you will live also’ (Jn 14, 18-19). Yes, we live because the life of God in us makes us immortal.

In the Apocalypse, St John tells us that he saw no temple in the City of God: ‘For its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb’ (Rev 21, 22-23). The Lamb is Christ; the light of Christ is our life, and we live immersed in this light, and thus we are praise for the glory of God, we walk in the light of his glory and through it we are transformed into a temple of God. ‘In whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit’ (Eph 2, 21-22).

We are temples of God, and God is our dwelling place; we walk in the light of the glory of God, we were chosen by God, and God calls us and knows us by our name: ‘The shepherd (..) calls his own sheep by name (...) and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice (...) I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jn 10, 2-4; 14-15). It was for this that he came into the world: ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (...) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one’ (Jn 10, 10b; 11, 28-29) (And where the Father is, there is the Son and the Holy Spirit). I and the Father are one’.

Our greatness is immense: we were chosen by God, we are kept by God, we are sanctified by the presence of God for the praise of his glory, we are living tabernacles where the Most Holy Trinity dwells, we are the House of God and the Gate of Heaven!

O Holy Trinity, whom I adore, whom I love, whose eternal praises I am to sing! In me you are light, you are grace, you are love! Plunge me into Yourself and I plunge deeply into the love of your Being.
Ave Maria.



The Call to the Daily Recitation of the Rosary

“The tenth Call of the Message”.
This call was made for the first time on 13th May, 1917, when the three little children from Aljusrel were pasturing their sheep in the field known as the Cova da Iria.

As was there custom, the three children ate their lunch shortly after noon, and then prayed. The, to amuse themselves, they began to build a small wall of loose stones around a bush known as a moita from which people were accustomed to making sweeping brushes, hence the children’s desire to protect it so that the animals would not gnaw at it. They did this because, when they found such bushes in good condition, they liked to let them grow in order to make brushes from them later on, and these they would bring to their mother when they returned home at night.

When they did this, it was a joy to see their parents delight with their gift and with their caresses, so that each one did their best to find whatever would give them the greatest joy and pleasure. Poor, yes! But happy, because happiness comes not from riches nor from what can often be dangerous entertainments but from love. In truth, to love and deny oneself for the sake of love is what brings happiness, joy, peace and well-being to families.

Well, as I was saying, the children were playing and amusing themselves when they were suddenly surprised to see a flash of light, which they thought must be lightening. it was a fine clear spring day, and the sun was shining, but the children were so small that they did not know how to interpret the look of the sky. Accustomed as they were to seeing flashes of lightening immediately after it had thundered, their only thought was to urge on the flock in order to return home before they got caught in a storm.

When they had gone a few steps down the slope they saw another flash of light, which they took to be a second flash of lightening, and this made them hurry even faster and urge the flock on even more. A few steps further on, about halfway down the slope, they stopped in surprise when they saw a lovely Lady of light on a small holm oak. They were not afraid, because the supernatural does not arouse fear; causing instead a pleasant surprise of absorbing fascination.

The lovely Lady opened her lips as if about to speak and said to the children “ Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm”.

I think that these words of Our Lady-- Do no be afraid--did not refer to the any actual fear we might have had of her. The words must have referred to the fear that had made us hurry away from the proposed thunder storm in which we thought we were going to get caught.

It has also been said that Francisco picked up a few stones to throw at the Apparition. I don’t think this can be true. There must have been some confusion or misunderstanding about the stones that the shepherds often throw around the flock when they want to get the sheep to come together and move faster.

Once the silence had been broken, and encouraged by the trust that the lovely Lady inspired in us: I asked: “Where are you from?” “I am from Heaven” she replied. “And what do want of me?” I asked. She replied: “I have come here to ask you to come here on the 13th day of the month for six months in succession, at this hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time”.

When I heard this reply, the thought that I was talking to someone who had come from Heaven gave me courage and I asked whether I, too, would have the good fortune to go to Heaven, whereupon the Lady replied” Yes, you will.” “And Jacinta?” I asked. “She will go too.” She replied. “And Francisco?” I persisted. She replied “He will go too, but He must say many Rosaries”.

I think that this special injunction to Francisco is for all of us. It is not that saying many Rosaries, as such, is an indispensable condition for going to Heaven, but that we must pray much. Naturally, to say the Rosary every day was the most accessible form of prayer for those children, as it is today for the great majority of people, and there is no doubt that it will be difficult for someone to be saved if they never pray.

We know how weak we are, that we slip back and fall. Without the help of grace, we shall not be able to pick ourselves up or overcome temptations. We can only acquire the strength we need, the strength that comes to us from grace when our soul meets with God in prayer. It was Jesus Christ Himself who told us this and urged it on His Apostles shortly before He gave Himself up to death for us: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mt 26, 41). And He gave us an example, preparing Himself by His prayer in Gethsemane for His Sacrifice and His death. In addition to this, among other things in the Our Father, He taught us to pray: ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’. (Mt. 6, 13).

Now to return to the Apparition of Our Lady. I remember that I then asked about a girl I knew who died shortly before that: the reply Our Lady gave confirms that there is a Purgatory, and this is at the same time yet another proof of the need we have to pray.

Sacred Scripture tells us that St Peter went up to Jesus one day and asked Him: “Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven”.

He then went on: “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything”. And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

“But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denari; and seizing him by the throat he said ‘Pay what you owe’. So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you’. He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him up to the jailers, till he should pay his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”’ (Mt 18, 21-35).

This servant who was in danger of condemnation on account of the debt that he had incurred, threw himself at his master’s feet begging for mercy and to be given time to pay his debts: ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you everything’. Now, in this possibility of being given more time in which to pay what is lacking, we can see an image of Purgatory: a time of waiting to purify ourselves and from minor faults that we have not confessed, and of making any reparation we still owe for our sins because while we were still living in this world, we had not done enough penance for them.

To begin with, the servant in the parable begged for complete forgiveness for everything, and this he was granted. But he then sinned again by his cruelty to his fellow servant, with the result that he ended up having to do penance and to pay all he owed to his master. This is what will happen to us if, in addition to the forgiveness for our sins which we ask for and receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we have not also made suitable reparation for them, including always to be merciful to others, as the Lord has been merciful to us.

Jesus taught us to ask for this too, in the Our Father: ‘Our Father (...) forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (Mt 6, 12 ). Here it is clear, that in order to obtain forgiveness for our sins, we must ask for it from God, and that the extent to which forgiveness will be granted to us will be the same as the extent to which we have forgiven others for any wrongs they may have dome to us. “Forgive and you shall be forgiven” as Jesus explains after teaching us the Lord’s prayer: ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not want to forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Mt 6, 14-15).

The belief in the possibility of making expiation for sin after death also underlies an event described in the second Book of Maccabees: ‘As Esdris and his men had been fighting for a long time and were weary, Judas called upon the Lord to show himself their ally and leader in the battle cry, with hymns; then he charged against Georgias’ men when they were not expecting it, then put them to flight’. Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the seventh day was coming on, they kept the Sabbath there. ‘On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. Then under the tunic of everyone of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear.

And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honourably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that it laid up for those who fall a sleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.’ (2Mac 12, 36-46).

This passage from Sacred Scripture helps us to understand better this truth of our faith concerning Purgatory as a place of expiation where the souls of those who die in grace are purified of all stain of sin before being admitted to eternal happiness with God.

Hence, Our Lady’s reply to the question I asked her about that girl- Amelia - was as follows: “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world”. This may seem a lot to us, but the mercy of God is always great. By our sins we have gravely offended Him and have deserved Hell! In spite of this, he forgives us and grants us time to pay for them and, by means of reparation and purification, to be saved. Moreover, He accepts the prayers and sacrifices that others offer to Him for the benefit of those who are in this place of expiation.

Our Lady then asked the three children the following question: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He will send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” To which I replied in the name of all three: ‘Yes, we are willing’.

At the time this reply was given spontaneously and in ignorance, because I had not the remotest idea what it really meant nor what its full implications were. But I never regretted it; on the contrary I renew it every day, asking God for the grace and strength that I need to keep it faithfully until the end.

The question of Our Lady’s reminds me of the one Jesus put to the two sons of Zebedee, when they asked Him to grant them the two first seats in the Kingdom of Heaven: ‘But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink of the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” (Mt 20, 22).

In order to attain salvation, we all have to drink of the Chalice of self-sacrifice, renouncing our own illicit desires, our evil inclinations, our own exaggerated desire for comfort; while at the same time we must embrace whatever sacrifices life asks of us, whether material and physical, or moral social and spiritual.

This kind of self-denial comes to everyone, even to those who do not have the happiness of possessing the gift of faith. They, too, are confronted by the need to make sacrifices, because the whole of humanity is marked by the sign of the redeeming cross of Christ, even when they are not aware of it, or do not wish to take advantage of it. We all have to carry that part of the cross of Christ which falls on the work of Redemption, because of the cross weighs on account of sin, or rather, sin brings with it the weight of the cross.

In fact, it was in order to cleanse us from the stain of sin that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the weight of the Cross. But if this act of Christ is to be of benefit to us, each of us must take up his or her own cross with faith, and love and carry it after Christ and in union with Christ; in other words, there is a need for sacrifice, accepted and offered to God with Christ, for our own sins and for those of our brothers and sisters. It is in this sense that the Message asks us all, because it is addressed to all: ‘Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He will to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?’

But, for a fragile nature, weakened by sin as ours is, the constant, generous and meritorious bearing of self-sacrifice is not possible without the special help of the grace of God, who upholds and strengthens us. This is why Our Lady replied to the children’s humble little ‘yes’ with a promise of the help of grace: “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort”.

What a beacon of light these words of Our Lady are for us! In fact, we know our own weakness and we know that, of ourselves, we are not capable of producing the fruits of eternal life but only when united to Christ, as He tells us in the Gospel: “He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15, 5). This is why our Mother in Heaven promises the consolation, in the sense of strength to assist our weakness; consolation in the sense of grace which comes to console us, animate, help and support us. And it is this certainty that generates the confidence which we must have in God.

Putting up with any sacrifices that are asked of us in our day to day lives becomes a slow martyrdom which purifies us and raises us up to the level of the supernatural, through the encounter of our soul with God, in the atmosphere of the presence of the Most Holy Trinity within us. We have here an incomparable spiritual richness! Anyone who has understood this lives in Light; in this Light, which is not from the sun nor from the stars, but comes to us from the source which every other light springs and receives its being. It is a living Light, which both sees and penetrates as it enlightens and causes us to see what it wishes to show us. It is the living Light of God.

Hence, when the three little children saw themselves bathed in this Light, without understanding quite what they were saying, they were led to repeat: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!” It was a supernatural impulse that accomplished in them what of themselves they were incapable of doing. It led them to believe in the real Presence of God in the Eucharist. It is the gift of faith that God grants to our soul with the Sacrament of Baptism.

And Our Lady ended Her Message on that 13th May 1917 with the words: “Pray the Rosary everyday, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war”.

Why should Our Lady have told us to say the Rosary every day rather than go to Mass every day?

This is a question I have been asked many times, and it is one which I should like to reply to here. I cannot be absolutely certain of the answer, as Our Lady did not explain and it never occurred to me to ask. Hence I say only what I think, and what I have come to understand about it all. In fact, I willingly leave all interpretation of the meaning of the Message to Holy Church, because it pertains to the Church to do so; hence I humbly and willingly submit myself to whatever It may wish to say or to correct, amend or declare.

As regards the question referred to above, I think God is Father; and as Father He adapts Himself to the needs and possibilities of his children. Now if God, through Our Lady, had asked us to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion every day, there would be undoubtedly have been a great many people who would have said, quite rightly, that this was not possible. Some, on account of the distance separating them from the nearest Church where Mass was celebrated; others on account of the circumstances of their lives, their state in life, their job, the state of their health, ect. On the other hand to pray the Rosary is something everybody can do, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, great and small.

All people of good will can, and must say the Rosary every day. Why? In order to put ourselves in contact with God, to thank Him for His benefits and ask for the graces we need. It is the prayer which places us in familiar contact with God, like the son who goes to his father to thank him for the gifts he has received, to talk to him about special concerns, to receive his guidance, his help, his support and his blessing.

Since we all need to pray, God asks of us, as a kind of daily installment, a prayer which is within our reach: the Rosary, which can be recited either in common or in private, either in Church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or at home, either when traveling or while walking quietly in the fields. A mother of a family can say the Rosary while she rocks her baby’s cradle or does the house work. Our day has twenty four hours in it. It is not asking a great deal to set a side a quarter of an hour for the spiritual life, for our intimate and familiar converse with God.

On the other hand, I believe that, after the liturgical prayer of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the praying of the Rosary, in view of the origin and the sublime nature of the prayers used in it, of the mysteries of the Redemption which we call and on which we meditate during each decade, is the most pleasing prayer we can offer to God and one which is most advantageous to our own souls. If such were not the case, Our Lady would not have asked for it so insistently.

When I speak of saying the five or fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, I do not want to give the impression that God requires us to count the number of times that we address our supplications, our praise or our thanksgiving to Him. God certainly does not expect this of us: in Him everything is present! But we need to count, in order to have a clear and vivid idea of what we are doing, and to know positively whether or not we have completed what we had planned to offer to God each day, in order to preserve and enhance our relationship of intimacy with God and, by this means, preserve and enhance in ourselves our faith, hope and charity.

I would add that even those people who are able to assist at Mass every day should not, for this reason, neglect to say their daily Rosary. Obviously, the time they devote to saying the Rosary is not the same as that during which they are assisting at Mass. For such people, praying the Rosary can be looked upon as a way of preparing themselves to participate better in the Eucharist, or as a thanksgiving after it.

I don’t know, but from the little knowledge that I have from my contact with people in general, I see that there are very few truly contemplative souls who preserve and maintain within themselves a relationship of intimate familiarity with God which prepares them for the worthy reception of Christ in the Eucharist. Thus, vocal prayer is necessary for them too, meditated, pondered and reflected upon as much as possible, as the Rosary should be.

There are many fine prayers that can be used as a means of preparing to receive Christ in the Eucharist, and of maintaining our intimate relationship with God. But I do not think that we shall find one more suited to people in general than the praying of the five or fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. For example, the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours is marvelous, but I do not think it is accessible to all, nor that some of the psalms that one recites will be readily understood by all. It requires a certain degree of instruction and preparation which cannot be expected of all.

Perhaps for al these reasons, and others that we are unaware of, God, who is our Father and understands better than we do the needs of His children, chose to stoop to the simple ordinary level of all of us in asking for the daily recitation of the Rosary, in order to smooth for us the way to Him.

Finally, bearing in mind all that the Magisterium of the Church has said to us over the years about the praying of the Rosary -I shall remind you of some of these things further on - and what God through the Message, has asked us for so insistently, we can conclude that the Rosary is the form of vocal prayer which is most suited to people in general, which we must appreciate, and which we must make every effort never to abandon. God and Our Lady knows better than anyone else what is more appropriate for us and what we most need. Moreover, it will be a powerful means of helping us to preserve our faith, hope and charity.

Even for those people who do not know how, or who are not able to recollect themselves sufficiently to meditate, the simple act of taking the Rosary in their hands in order to pray is already to become mindful of God, and a mention in each decade of a mystery of the life of Christ recalls Him to their minds; this in turn will light in their souls a gentle light of faith which supports the still smoldering wick, preventing it from extinguishing itself altogether.

On the other hand, those who give up saying the Rosary and who do not go to daily Mass, have nothing to sustain them, and so end up by losing themselves in the materialism of earthly life.

Thus the Rosary is the prayer which God, through his Church and Our Lady, has recommended most insistently to us all, as a road to and a gate way of salvation: “Pray the Rosary every day”. (Our Lady, 13th May 1917).
Ave Maria.



The Call to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“The eleventh call of the Message: Jesus wants.. to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart”.

To establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means to bring people to a full consecration through conversion, self - dedication, intimate esteem, veneration and love. Thus,, it is in this spirit of consecration that conversion that God wishes to establish in the world, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We all know that a mother’s heart represents love in the bosom of a family. In fact, it is love which makes the mother bend over her baby’s cradle, sacrifices herself for it, give herself, rush to the defense of her child. All children trust in the heart of their mother, and we all know that we have in her place a special affection. The same applies tot he Virgin Mary. Thus this message says: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” Hence, the Heart of Mary is a refuge and the way to God for all his children.

This refuge and this way were proclaimed to all humanity immediately after the fall of our first parents. To the devil, who had tempted the first human beings, and had induced them to disobey the divine order they had been given, the Lord said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen 3, 15). The new generation that God foretold would be born of this woman, will triumph in the battle against the progeny of Satan, to the point of crushing its head. Mary is the Mother of this new generation, as if she were a new tree of life, planted by God in the garden of the world so that all her children can partake of her fruit.

It is from the heart of their mother that children receive their natural life, their first breath, their life giving blood, the beating of their heart, as if the mother were the spring of a clock impelling movement to two pendulums. When we see how dependent the child is on its mother in those early months of its formation in the womb, we could almost say that the heart of the mother is the heart of the child. And we can say the same of Mary when she carried the Son of the eternal Father in her womb. Hence, it follows that the Heart of Mary is, in some sense, the heart of all that other generation, the first fruit of which is Christ.

And it is from this fruit that other generations of this Immaculate Heart is to be fed, as Jesus said: “I am the bread of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As (...) I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.” (Jn 6, 48; 56-57). And to live thus because of Christ is also to live because of Mary, since Jesus had received His body and blood from Mary.

It was in this Heart that the Father placed His Son, as if in the first Tabernacle. Mary was the first Person that held Him, and it was the Blood of Her Immaculate Heart which communicated to the Son of God His Life and His human nature, from which we all, in turn receive “grace upon grace” (Jn 1, 16)

This is that new generation born from this wonderful Mother: Christ in Himself and in His Mystical Body. And Mary is the Mother of this progeny chosen to crush the head of the infernal serpent.

Thus we see that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must be established in the world by means of a true consecration, through conversion and self-giving. In the same way, through the consecration, the bread and wine are converted in to the Body and Blood of Christ, which were drawn from His very life from the Heart of Mary.

Hence it is that this Immaculate Heart must be for us a refuge and the way that leads to God.

We thus constitute the retinue of the new generation created by god, drawing our supernatural life from this same life-giving source, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is the Mother of Christ and of His Mystical Body. Thus we are truly brothers and sisters of Christ, as He Himself said: “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk. 8, 21).

This word of God is the bond which links all the children in the Heart of the Mother; there we hear the echo of the word of the Father, because God enclosed His eternal Word in the Heart of Mary; and it is from this Word that life comes to us: “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ (Jn 7, 37-38). in fact, we read in the Book of Isaiah: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring” (Is 44,3).

This blessed and watered land is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and God wants our devotion to take root there, because it was for this very purpose that God placed so much love within the Heart of the Mother of all human beings, who consecrates and converts her progeny into the Body and Blood of Christ, her First -born Son of God, the Word of the Father: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men (...)And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (Jn 1, 4. 14).

God began the work of our redemption in the Heart of Mary, given that it was through Her ‘fiat’ that the redemption began to come about: And Mary said: “Behold I am the Handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1, 38). “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1, 14).

Thus in the closest union possible between two human beings, Christ began, with Mary, the work of our salvation. The Christ Heart beats are those of the Heart of Mary, the prayer of Christ is the prayer of Mary, the joy of Christ are the joys of Mary; it was from Mary that Christ received the Body and Blood that are to be poured out and offered up for the salvation of the world. Hence, Mary, made one with Christ, is the co-Redemptrix of the human race. With Christ in her womb, with Jesus Christ in her arms, with Christ at Nazareth and in His public life; with Jesus Christ She climbed the Hill of Calvary, she suffered and agonized with Him, receiving into Her Immaculate Heart the last sufferings of Christ, his last words, his last agony and the last drops of His Blood, in order to offer them to the Father.

And Mary remained on earth in order to help her other children to complete the redeeming work of Christ, preserving it in Her Heart as a wellspring of grace- Ave gratia plena - in order to pass on to us the fruits of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, Her Son.
Ave Maria!



The Call to Reflect on Eternal Life

“The Twelfth Call of the Message”.
We all have a desire to preserve our temporal life, which passes with the days, the years, work, joys, sorrows and suffering. But how little we concern ourselves with eternal life! And yet, this is the only life that is truly decisive and that lasts forever.

When God created human beings, He destined them for eternal life by sharing in His Divine life. Hence, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1, 27), and then went on to explain that “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen 2, 7). We see here that the human body was taken from the dust of the earth, but human beings received life itself from the very Being of God, from the creative breath of His Lips. Hence, our soul is a spiritual being which participates in the life of God and is immortal. When the body becomes totally of co-operating with the action of the soul, the soul leaves it and flies to its centre of attraction, which is God.

But our participation in eternal life must be decided between two very difficult realities: Heaven or Hell.

In the Call to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we saw how there are two distinct progenies which are at loggerheads with each other: the progeny of Satan, which leads people into the way of sin, and the progeny of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who as the Mother of the children of God, leads them in the way of truth, justice and love, since God is Love, and all His children are known by the way they love. And whereas the children of God climb by the way of love to the possession of eternal happiness in the Kingdom of God, the children of Satan are dragged down by the vileness of sin into the abyss of eternal punishment.

There are unbelievers in the world who deny these realities, but this does not make them any the less real; nor does these people’s incredulity deliver them from the pains of hell if their lives of sin should lead them to it.

There are many passages in Sacred Scripture that speak to us about hell and its torments, and about those who go there. Thus, at the Last Judgment, those who have not performed the works of mercy will be told: “Depart from me, you cursed, into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels(..)” ‘And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life’ (Mt 25, 41, 46).

When his disciples against the temptation to pride because of the success of the mission they had accomplished, Jesus said: “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven”. (Lk 10, 18). And when He was giving them his instructions for the conduct of their apostolate, He said: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10, 28). Speaking of the final resurrection, Jesus ended the parable of the net that was cast into the sea and enclosed all kinds of fish, which the fishermen had to sort out, by saying: “So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Mt 13, 49-50).

And the following words of Jesus, too, leave no room for doubt; “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands and go to hell, to unquenchable fire (...) And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mt 9, 43-48). In these passages, Jesus speaks of the fire of hell and of eternal condemnation; and He says the same thing in other parts of the Gospel which it would take too long to copy out here.

The last passage quoted does not mean that God really intends us to tear out our eyes or cut off our hands and feet, but we are to tear out, or cut off, the temptations, evil inclinations, passions and vices which drag us along the path of sin and might, for this reason, be the cause of our eternal damnation.

In the Old Testament, we find texts that, when read today in the light of faith of the Church, constitute the first dawning of divine revelation concerning the truths that they teach, as, for example, this question of the existence of hell. This is true of the following passage from Isaiah, describing the fate of those who refused to obey the Law of God: “The hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies. (...) And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (Is 66, 14, 24).

And the Book of Wisdom, the Holy Spirit describes as follows the lamentations of those who have condemned themselves on seeing the salvation of the just: “Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence in the presence of those who have inflicted him, and those who make light of his labours. When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear, and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation. They will speak to one another in repentance, and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say, “This is the man whom we once had in derision and made a by word of reproach - we fools! We thought that his life was madness and that his end was without honour. Why has he been numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot is among the saints? So it was we who strayed from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not shine on us, and the sun did not rise upon us. We took our fill on the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we journeyed through trackless deserts, but the way of the Lord we have not known. What has our arrogance profited us? And what good is our boasted wealth brought us?

“All those things have vanished like a shadow, and like a rumour that passes by; like a ship that sails through the billowy water, and when it has passed no trace can be found, nor track of its keel in the waves; (..) So we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be, and we had no sign of virtue to show, but were consumed in our wickedness.”

(...)”But the righteous live forever, and their reward is with the Lord; the Most High takes care of them. Therefore they will receive a glorious crown and a beautiful diadem from the hand of the Lord, because with his right hand he will cover them, and with his arm he will shield them, (....) He will take holiness as an invincible shield (..) Lawlessness will lat waste the whole earth, and evil doing will overturn the thrones of rulers” (Ws 5, 1-23).

And we could go one transcribing similar passages from sacred Scripture where God speaks to us of the existence of an eternal life, either of bliss or condemnation, according as our deeds deserve. The word of God affirming this truth is sufficient for us who have faith, because we know that his word is true.

In Fatima He sent us his Message as further proof of these truths, bringing them to our minds so that we do not allow ourselves to be deceived by the false teaching of unbelievers who deny them, and of those who have left the true path, who distort them. With this end in view, the Message assures us that hell does truly exist and that the souls of poor sinners do in fact go there: “You have seen hell (the Message said to the three little shepherds from Aljustrel) where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace”. (Our Lady. 13th July 1917)

Moreover, after showing the children the horrible vision of hell, the message once again pointed to the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the way of salvation: “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace”. Peace with ones own conscience, peace with God, peace in our homes, peace with one’s neighbours and peace between the nations.

This is the peace that the world ardently longs for, and from which it is so far removed because it does not listen to, or follow, the word of God! Hence the words of the Message: “If what I say to you is done”...And what is that Our Lady says to us? We shall continue to see what it is She says in the description of the Calls of the Message. For the moment, let me remind you of a passage from the Gospel of St John, in which we find what we might call “Mary’s commandment”.

There was a marriage being celebrated in Cana in Galilee, at which Jesus Christ, His Mother and His disciples were present. At a certain moment, Mary noticed that the wine was running short and she told her Son about the awkwardness of the situation which would cause embarrassment to the young couple. She then said to the waiters: “Do whatever He tells you”. Follow the word of God, which is Jesus Christ, His Word!

This commandment comes from a Mother who is ever anxious to lead Her children into the arms of their Father, because only there will they be able to find the way of Truth that leads to Life. She Herself is a Mother because She followed this way, that the Word of the Father: “Be it done to me according to your word” was her reply to the Angel when he conveyed to Her the word of God (Lk 1, 38). And this faith of hers in the word of God was praised by Her cousin Elizabeth: “Blessed is she whom believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (lk 1 45). And all this is confirmed by the following words of Jesus: “For whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother, and sister and mother” (Mt 12, 50).

It was thus that the servants deserved to see the miracle of the changing of the water into wine; they did what Mary told them to do and they obeyed the word of Jesus. This is the way of salvation: to hear the word of God and keep it.
Ave Maria!



The Call to the Apostolate

The Thirteenth Call of the Message.
“Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them” (Our Lady’s message 19th August, 1917)

In this passage, the Message asks us to undertake an apostolate on behalf of our brothers and sisters. The apostolate is a continuation of the mission of Christ on earth; we must be co-workers with Christ in His work of Redemption, in the salvation of souls. There is an apostolate of prayer which must be the basis of every other apostolate, if it is to be effective and fruitful; there is the apostolate of charity, which is the life of Christ reproduced in us by our dedication of ourselves to God in the service of others.

Thus, to begin with, we have the apostolate of prayer, praying in union with Christ for the salvation of our brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ continues to pray on earth in the Sacrament of the altar, where He offers Himself continuously to the Father in propitiation for the salvation of all. It is by our union with Christ in the Eucharist that our prayer is raised to God for the salvation of our brothers and sisters.

Shortly before He gave Himself up to death, Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “Abide in me, and I in you (...) for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15, 4; 5). These words mean that is by our prayer that our apostolate is to bear fruit. Without prayer, we can do nothing! In his prayer to the Father, Jesus said: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they all maybe one; even as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (Jn 17, 20-21).

The Lord insists on our union with Him, so that our apostolate may bear fruit and the world may believe that He was sent by the Father. This insistence is the expression of the yearning for our salvation that wells up from his divine heart: a yearning for us to remain united amongst ourselves and with Him so that his redemptive work may bear fruit for all: “I pray(...) for those who, through their word, will believe in me” And Jesus concluded His priestly prayer by asking the Father that we might share in His own life: Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me, where I am, (...) I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn, 17, 24; 26). Love is the link binding us to Christ; it is love that gives value to our prayer and makes it fruitful for the salvation of our brothers and sisters.

The first step in our apostolate, and the necessary condition for it to bear fruit, is thus our union with Christ through prayer. Both vocal prayer, which places us in the presence of Christ, and the prayer of sacrifice when we unite ourselves with Christ, and also the prayer of love whereby we abandon ourselves with Christ to the Father for the conversion of all.

Jesus Christ has given us the example. Before beginning His own apostolate in His public life, He withdrew to the desert in order to pray and do penance there, and fast for forty days: ‘And Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordon and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness (...)And he ate nothing I those days’ (Lk 4, 1-2). Moreover, the Evangelists frequently record that He would escape from the bustle of the crowds who were following Him and withdrew to pray in solitude.

On one of these occasions, when He re-joined His disciples, He found them unable to cast a devil out of a boy, who was possessed. When, later on, they wanted to know why they had been unable to expel that demon, the Lord replied: “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mk 9, 29). This kind of persistent demon makes me think of temptation to pride, which are the most serious and difficult to overcome, both in ourselves and in others, because they blind us and prevent us from seeing the precipice down which we are slipping. As the Lord said, in such circumstances both prayer and penance are needed, because only through them can we rediscover the virtue of humility which prompts us to ask God for strength and grace.

When the sentence of extermination was hanging over the People of Israel for having offended God by the sin of idolatry, Moses went up the mountain to meet God and implore Him to pardon his people. God heard Moses’ prayer and spared His people, punishing only those who had been guilty: “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my behold, my angel shall go before you” (Ex 32, 33-34). Here we see the Lord, who is ever good and merciful, co-operating with those who work together with Him; it is a model of the apostolate which is based on prayer, and which springs from direct contact with God.

Moses is the apostle of the People of Israel, but before giving instructions to the people, he speaks with God and receives from God what he is to communicate to the people. Hence, God helps him, promising to send an angel before him.

Without this life of prayer and contact with God, every apostolate is fruitless, because it is God who makes effective what we do, what we say and the efforts we make. Hence, the Message tells us: “Pray and make sacrifices” so that through your prayers, your words, your example, your acts of self denial, your work and your charity, you will be able to help your brothers and sisters to get up again if they have fallen, to return to the right path if they have strayed away from it, and to draw close to God if they are estranged from Him. You will also be able to help them to overcome the difficulties, dangers and temptations that surround, seduce and pull them down. Very often, people are overcome and fall because they have no one at their side willing to pray and to make sacrifices for them, stretching out a hand to them, and helping them to follow a better path.

In this field of the apostolate, we all have a mission to accomplish which has been entrusted to us by God. We are all responsible for our neighbour. By Baptism we share in the priesthood of Christ our Saviour, and we are also incorporated into His Mystical Body, with a specific place and specific duties to perform. Human beings were not created to be strangers to one another, to ignore one another eternally, but rather to be companions to one another, brothers and sisters who love and help one another and gather together around their Father who provides for their daily needs for food and clothing; from Him each one receives the same blessing and all are heading for the same destination, their Father’s House.

The true apostolate consists in this union of the children with their Father in Heaven; it is this union which is the grace and the gate of salvation; if not, let us see what Christ’s priestly prayer says to us: “Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition.” (Jn 17, 11-12). These words of Jesus should help us not to grow discouraged when we encounter in our path those ‘sons of perdition’ who resists grace, the tenacity of our charity, of our efforts and sacrifices and prayers. They are the children of that other progeny whom Satan turns aside into the ways of perdition.

This is in accordance with what God said to Moses: “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. But now you go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you”. (Ex 32, 33-34). Because some persist in their evil ways, the Lord who is ever merciful, does not cause the rest to perish, but orders Moses to continue his apostolate and to lead his people in the ways of the Lord. Each one is responsible for his own acts, so that the one who sinned and persists in his or her sin, is to be blotted out from the Book of Life, but not the brother or sister who repented and chose to be led by the Lord.

Yes, our God is truly merciful! And we, too, must be merciful, created as we have been in his image and likeness. This is why Jesus Christ said: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”. (Mt 12, 7), quoting the words of the prophet Hosea, who describes the feelings of the heart of God as follows: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings” (Hos 6, 6). Here we have the apostolate of forgiveness, whereby we are to bring our brothers and sisters to the knowledge of God. Let them find in us sentiments of forgiveness which will be for them a reflection of the mercy of God.

Let us reflect that God has made the granting of his pardon to us dependent on the degree to which we ourselves forgive those who have wronged us in some way: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mt 6, 14-15). This obligation on us to forgive others requires us to overcome temptations of pride which lead to revenge. This law had already been proclaimed by God in the Old Testament: “You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord” (Lev 19, 18). As God here ordains, we have to resist the temptation to revenge, contempt or indifference, by the apostolate of charity which will lead us to forgive, to pay back evil with good, and to pray for those who persecute us. We have to imitate Jesus Christ who, on the cross, asked his Father to forgive, to pay back evil with good, and to pray for those who persecute us. We have to imitate Jesus Christ who, on the Cross, asked His Father to forgive those who had insulted, maltreated and crucified Him: “Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do” (Lk 23, 34).

And the Lord’s own words leave no room for doubt: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mk 11, 25-26). In another place the Lord says to us: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Lk 6 27-28). This pardon is the fruit of the charity which burns in the heart of Christ and which must animate our apostolate to our brothers and sisters: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! (Lk 12, 49).

However, this call of the Message includes another characteristic which should also mark our apostolate. When Our Lady was asked what was to be done with the offerings that the people had begun to leave at the place of the Apparitions in fulfillment of their promises, She replied: “Have two litters made. One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three others. The money from the litters is for the festa of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here” (Our Lady, 19th August 1917).

The litters that the Message refers to here are not litters for carrying images but those used for carrying in procession the offerings made by the people to the Lord. In fact, the people were accustomed to thank God for His gifts by offering Him some of the fruits of their harvest, in accordance with each ones means. These offerings were collected by stewards who placed them in litters which were carried in procession and offered to God in thanksgiving for the grace received and as a contribution to church expenses.

Our Lady clearly revealed, by her answer, how pleasing to God this simple act of thanksgiving was, since we must show our gratitude to God and we also have a duty to take part in, and contribute to, the cost of the public honour that is paid to Him.

A word, now, about the gesture that the Message asks us to make, that of joining with our brothers and sisters in bringing to Him our offerings, our thanksgiving, our prayers and our sacrifices: this constitutes an act of collaboration which animates and gives life to the apostolate, making us apostles of one another.

Some of the customs that the people of Fatima had at that time were reminiscent of those described in the Bible. I think that the people of that time, most of whom could neither read nor write, knew little or nothing about Bible history, apart from a few facts which a few people in the area, who did know how to read, were able to read about in summaries of Sacred History. At least, that is how it was with me. Only many years later was I able to read the Holy Bible, and only then did I discover the most intimate meaning of the Message and its connection with the Word of God.

Continuing our examination of this particular aspect of the apostolate, and making use of the similarities between incidents in bible history and the customs of the people of Fatima at that time, let us recall the following instructions given by the Lord to his people: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time for holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whoever is not afflicted on this same day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings”’ (Lv 23, 26-31).

It is not difficult to see in this tenth day of the seventh month, Sundays and Holy Days which the Church requires us to consecrate to the Lord. On these days we are obliged to observe that law of the Lord; they are days on which we are to worship God, offering Him our prayers and our sacrifices.

On another occasion, God said to Moses: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the people of Israel: ‘(...)An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to bless you”’ (Ex 20, 22; 24). I do not know what interpretation the Church’s theologians give to this passage of Sacred Scripture. I myself find it enchanting because it shows us the tenderness of the fatherly love of God. And since we ourselves are in Christ, descended from the Chosen People, to us too, today, these words of the Lord are addressed: “Where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to bless you”. God seems to deal with us like a father who listens to the prattling of his baby son and, as soon as the baby pronounces his name, he runs towards him, picks him up in his arms, fondling and caressing him.

In this passage, God also shows us how pleasing to Him are our offerings and sacrifices, when they are offered in thanksgiving for his benefits and in reparation for our own sins and those of others. God is the same today as then, hence what He asked of his people, then He asks of us today, even though the object and the form of the offering may have changed with the passage of time.

A few years ago, the Archbishop of Cizico said to me in conversation: “Do you know Sister, the meaning of those litters which Our Lady told you to have made with the gifts that the people used to leave in the Cova da Iria? They were a prophecy of the litters used for the Pilgrim Virgin as she goes around the world, and the litter for the statue in the Chapel of the Apparitions. I entirely agree with this interpretation because, in the mind of God, the same fact can have various meanings, and these journeys of Our Lady’s image are yet another facet of the apostolate of the Message which She came to earth to bring, and which is traveling all over the world in search of people to bring them to God.

Thus is fulfilled her prophecy: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1, 48-50).
Ave Maria!



The Call to Persevere in Virtue

The Fourteenth Call of the Message:
“Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war” (Our Lady, 13th September, 1917)

The message asks us to continue to pray the Rosary, which is the form of prayer most accessible to everyone, great and small, rich and poor, wise and ignorant. Every one of good will can say the Rosary every day.

But why does the message ask us to continue to pray the Rosary? Because prayer is the basis of spiritual life. If we give up praying, we deprive ourselves of that supernatural life which comes to us from the meeting of our soul with God, a meeting which comes about in prayer. Look at what Jesus says to us: “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds and to he who knocks, it will be opened” (Mt 7, 7-8). Prayer is to seek and meet with God. We need to seek God in order to meet Him, and we have His promise “Whoever seeks, finds.” It is not that God is far from us; we are the ones who distance ourselves from God and lose the sense of His Presence. it is for this reason that the Message urges us to persevere in prayer, or, in the words of the Message, “to continue to pray to obtain the end of the war”.

Clearly, at the time, the Message was referring to the First World War which was afflicting so many people just then. But the word war, also stands for many other wars going on all around us and which we must help to bring an end by our prayer and self- sacrifice. I think, too, of the wars waged against us by the enemies of our eternal salvation: the devil, the world and our own carnal nature.

There are people, nowadays, who actually deny that devils exist; but they most certainly do. Devils are angels who were created by God to serve and praise Him. The chief of these Angels, known as Lucifer got puffed up with pride, and wanted to be equal to God. He dragged down with him a multitude of other angels who followed his example. St John tells us in the Book of the Apocalypse: ‘Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and satan, the deceiver of the whole-world - he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him’ (Rev 12, 7-9).

Later in the same Book we read: ‘I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendour and he called out in a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every fowl and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness’” (Rv 18, 1-3) And later, he writes: ‘Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding in his hand they key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and satan, and bound him (...)and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, and he should deceive the nations no more.’ (Rv 20, 1-3).

The prophet Isaiah composed a satire against the king of Babylon in terms that recall the fall of the angels; ‘How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high, I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High, But you were brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit.’ *Is 14, 12-15).

And in one of the visions in his book, the prophet Zechariah describes the devil as the accuser before God of the High Priest: ‘Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to satan “The Lord rebuke you, O satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not this a brand plucked from the fire?”’ (Zech 3, 1-2) The Book of Apocalypse, too, after describing the defeat of Satan and his expulsion from heaven goes on: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb’ (Rev 12, 10-11).

In the course of His public life, Jesus drove out many demons. One day in reply to the Pharisees, who were saying maliciously that He was driving out demons by the power of Beelezebub, Jesus said: “And if satan is also divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzelbub, by whom do your sons cast them out? (..)But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God is upon you” (Lk 11, 18-20). Later, when He was both warning and forearming St Peter against the assaults, and temptations of the devil, the Lord said to him: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you turned again, strengthen your brethren. (Lk 22, 31-32)

In one of his letters, St. Peter himself writes: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood through out the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. To Him be the domination for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5, 8-11).

All these passages of Sacred Scripture, and many others that it would take too long to transcribe here, prove to us that devils exist. We cannot doubt this truth revealed by God. The Message came to remind us of this truth and to restate it for us so that we would not let ourselves be deceived or taken in by false assertions. It asks us to continue to pray, and to be on our guard against being taken in by the suggestions of this enemy who by every means in his power, endeavours to secure our eternal damnation. Jesus Christ said: “Every one who commits sin is slave to sin” (Jn 8, 34). The devil tries to drag us off into the path of sin, in order to make slaves of us, in time and in eternity.

But why did the devil turn into such a great enemy of both God and human beings? He became an enemy of God because he had been defeated by Him - this was a humiliation which is pride could not accept so, in his fury, he tries to avenge himself in every possible way. Driven by this pride, when he saw that God had created human beings with a nature inferior to his, but destined one day to go to Heaven and enjoy the happiness that he himself had lost, the devil was filled with envy and decided to do everything in his power to cause human beings to be lost by inducing them to disobey God, disregard his orders and cease to believe in His word. That was how he deceived the first human beings.

Assuming the form of a serpent, he went to meet Eve, the first woman God had created, who was walking in the Garden of Eden and asked her: “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it lest you die’. But the serpent said to the woman ‘ You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that is what a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said: “I heard the sound of thee in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen 3, 1-10)

In the Sacred Text, we see that the devil deceived the first two human beings. He told them that if they ate that fruit, that they would become like God: ‘You will be like God’! - The truth is that not only did they not become like God but they became much less than they had been before and, having become afraid of God -’ I was afraid because I was naked and I hid-’ they wished to hide from His Presence.

Why are they naked? Because, through their disobedience to God, they had lost the garment of grace that had covered them; they saw themselves with no clothes on, stripped of the garment of grace that had covered them. This is what they achieved by allowing themselves to be seduced and tricked by the devil. This is how he works! It is for this reason that Jesus Christ warns us against him: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and he has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8, 44). But I believe that the devil’s envy must have become even greater when he saw God promising a Redeemer to the human beings that he had seduced, whereas there was no Redemption for him. And why would God have been so merciful to human beings? I am not absolutely sure, but I think the reason was that they fell through having been seduced and deceived by another, whereas the devil sinned out of his own malice.

God must have seen in human beings the possibility that they would repent and humbly ask pardon, but the devils pride is so great that it admits of no repentance nor of humility that might lead him to ask for forgiveness. Thus he saw himself defeated and condemned for ever, when God said to him ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal’ (Gen 3 15).

In addition to the temptation of the devil, we also have the temptations of the world which surrounds us, enticing and deceiving us. Many times we are both deluded and deceived by the voices of the world.

These are the temptations of the world which blind and darken the understanding. Hence when Jesus Christ prayed to His Father: “I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those who thou hast given me, for they are thine (...) I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil one” (Jn 17, 9. 14-15). He had in mind those who with hearts faithful to his word and grace, struggle to overcome these temptations.

They are not of this world because they follow the Word of God who is truth, not allowing themselves to be deceived by the lying and deceitful maxims of the world. They belong to God, since the Father has entrusted them to Jesus Christ, who in turn entrusts Himself to His Father for them, to consecrate them in truth: “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. (Jn 17, 16-19).

To be consecrated in truth is to dedicate oneself entirely to God, and to souls for the love of God; it is to persevere in the service and in the love of God and of ones neighbour. It is to keep going in the way mapped out for us by God - in truth- because the maxims of the world are lies and illusions. And that is why the world hates us, persecutes us and speaks calumny about us.

Like the devil, and instigated by the devils, the world surrounds us with envy, jealously and hatred: “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If we were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I choose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15, 18-19).

Let me repeat for you, in my own words, what the Message says: Continue to Pray, in order to achieve peace, to gain victory over temptation and persecutions.

Within ourselves, too, there is another source of temptations; in order to overcome them we must continue to pray and to struggle, because only thus shall we be able to persevere in the good path. Listen to what Jesus Christ says to us: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by its way are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets who will come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7, 13 -16).

The Lord says that there are many who follow the wide road that leads to perdition: and that only few find the narrow road that leads to life. So let us be doubly watchful over our own tendencies towards an exaggerated freedom that sets aside the authority of those who represent God for us, thus setting us unwittingly, and foolishly, on the slippery downward path.

We want to be free, but we do not know how to use our freedom well. Hence God has placed over us those who can point out to us the right path that we may, and must, freely follow. But our pride deceives us and does not allow us to see the good which we despise, nor the evil that we are doing. In such circumstances, the temptation is within ourselves, setting a trap for us without our realizing it. It is what we call the concupiscence of the heart and of the feelings, which cause us to long for the things that are not good for us. In order to recognize and overcome these temptations, we must do what the Message tells us: ‘Continue to pray’, so that God will give us light, strength and grace.

Jesus also said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7, 15). These false prophets are all those people surrounding us, trying to induce us to follow the wide road, to give free rein to our evil tendencies, caprices, vices and disordered passions, all of which are contrary to God’s Law. They are the bad company that turns us aside from the right path of truth, justice and charity. They are all those false prophets who deny the truths revealed by God, endeavouring to introduce new and erroneous doctrines in support of the disordered lives that they themselves wish to lead.

The Lord gives us a rule by which to identify such people: “You will know them by their fruits. (...) Every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit (..) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits” (Mt 7, 16-20).

These warnings must put us on our guard against ourselves and the maxims of the world around us. How many times does one hear people say: “I do such and such because everybody else does it?” “I dress like this because it is the fashion and everyone is dressed like this” “I live like this because that’s how people live nowadays;” Are we to allow ourselves to be condemned just because other people live like that? “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire”. God tells us that He does not wish the death of the sinner but rather he be converted and live (Ezek 18, 23). However, we should note the condition: that he be converted.

“Continue to pray in order to achieve peace” which is the fruit of the victory achieved over all temptations which drag us towards the paths opposed to the Law of God. Jesus Christ says quite clearly: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord Lord’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven” (Mt 7, 21).

Thus it is that the Message tells us: Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war.
Ave Maria!



The Call to stop Offending God

The fifteenth Call of the Message.
“Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended” (Our Lady, 13th October, 1917).

The Call that the Message is making to us here reminds us once again of the need to observe the first of all the commandments of God’s Law, in other words, the love of God. The precept to love God is the first of the commandments, not only on account of the unique greatness of the Object it contemplates, but also because it is this love which would lead us to fulfill faithfully all the other commandments.

Speaking to his people through Moses, God said: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut 6, 4-9).

God’s insistence that we should engrave the law of his love in our hearts, that we should use it as a symbol on our arm and a frontlet before our eyes, that we should have it written on the doors and door posts of our houses, is in order to ensure that it should always be present to us, that we should meditate on it night and day, and that we should teach it to our children, to our brothers and sisters and to all those around us. This love is to be a guide for our footsteps, a light for our aspirations and the object of our desire. It is to be a guide of our foot steps, that is we must walk in the path of love.

One day, the Pharisees came to Jesus and one of them, who was a doctor of the law, asked him “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You should love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depends all the law and the prophets. “(Mt 22. 34-40), This second commandment to which Jesus refers had been given to hid people in these words: “You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the son of your own people, but you shall love thy neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. You shall keep my statutes” (Lev 19, 18-19).

The essence of the message- Do not offend the Lord our God any more-is contained in the observance of these two commandments. We all know that it is by sin that we offend God, when we fail to observe this commandment of love which we owe to Him, to our neighbour and to ourselves; yes, to ourselves, because we do serious harm to ourselves also, at times without thinking or feeling that we do.

We offend God because we transgress his precepts, all of which are a manifestation of his love for us. As in the case of the love of a father, who takes his son by the hand and points out to him the path he is to follow in order to attain happiness and inherit his fathers property, if the son becomes unruly and rebellious, if he despises the things his father has taught him, obviously he hurts and offends his father in the most sensitive part of his heart, his love.

In the same way, when we despise or violate the commandments of God, we cause hurt and offence to that which is most magnificent in God, God, in the fatherly love with which He created us, enfolded us with loving care in all that surrounds us for our own good and which He created for our good, the love with which He redeemed us from sin and opened to us the gates of Heaven, with which He will grant us to us our inheritance in His Kingdom. Hence, every sin is an offence against God Our Father and a rejection of His love, since we are preferring our sin to the love we owe to God and to possession of His Kingdom, knowing that by our sin we lose the right to it.

In this connection, read the stern words of the Apostle St Paul: “For you were called to freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But, I say walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are plain: sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Ga 5, 13-25).

These words that the Apostle has just addressed to us tell us what we must do in order to respond to the Call of the Message urging us: “Do not offend God anymore!” Let us not offend against the love of God anymore! And this love that we owe Him must lead us to love others. No one can say that they love someone if they despise and maltreat his or her children, because parents naturally take as done to themselves what is done to their children. We can say the same of God’s reaction to the love which we bestow on, or deny to, those around us: they are His children!

In the case of God and His children, there is another reason that obliges us to love them: they are our brothers and sisters! But, ‘brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God’ (1Cor 6, 6-10).

We must avoid sin in order not to offend God or lose the right to eternal life. Sin servers our relationship with God and poisons the place in our heart which we owe to others; it makes us unworthy of God’s friendship and of sharing in His glory. That is why St Paul urges us: “But let each other one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone (if his works are good) and not in his neighbour. For each man will have to bear hos own load. Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6, 4-10).

Here we have clearly marked out for us the way we are to follow in order to love in accordance with the commandment of the love of God, and of our neighbour for the love of God. It is the way outlined, taught and lived by Jesus Christ; as St. Paul says Let us not pay attention to any other teachers; “As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one makes prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority”. (Col 2, 6-10). This whole teaching of the Apostle is wonderful, casting beams of light ahead of us to guide our feet, strengthen our weakness and enlighten our faith and our understanding.

But we must not think that, in order to respond fully to the implications of the Message and the precept of love, it is sufficient to avoid sin, in order not to offend God. This is undoubtedly the first step, but it is not enough. If we were to be cold, indifferent or neglectful in our attitude to our father, our mother or anyone to whom we are beholden in some way, it goes without saying that we are being unjust and ungrateful to this person, and so offending them. The same is true of God, who is more than a Father to us: we offend Him by our coldness, our forgetfulness, our indifference and our carelessness; we are behaving in an ungrateful way towards Him, like someone who does not recognize his or her principle Benefactor, the One to whom we owe most.

Let us look at Jesus Christ in the Gospel! The one great concern of his heart was to reveal to human beings the love of the Father, to the love of Him and to make Him loved, observing his precepts and his word. For this, He offers Himself to us as a model: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just have I kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (...) This I command you, to love one another” (Jn 15, 9-17). Jesus Christ’s joy consists in the fact of having the Father’s love within Him and of responding to it, and it is this joy that He wishes to share with us, allowing knowledge of the Father to overflow from his heart: “I shall tall you plainly of the Father (..) for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (Jn 16, 25-28).

In His Priestly prayer to His Father, Jesus was able to say that He had fulfilled the mission entrusted to Him: “I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do (...) I have manifested thy name to men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. I am praying for them (...) for they are thine; all mine are thine, and thine are mine, (...) Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (Jn 17, 4-11).

Love is the bond which must bind us close to God and to our neighbour, identifying us with the Heart of Christ, plunging us into the Heart of God, so that our will is His, and our one yearning is to be in full possession of His love.
Ave Maria!



The Call to the Sanctification of the Family

The Sixteenth Call of the Message.
God chose to conclude the Message in Fatima, in October 1917, with three further apparitions which I regard as three more calls placed before us for our consideration, so that we may keep them in mind during our earthly pilgrimage. While the people were gazing in astonishment at the sun which had gone pale in the light of the presence of God, the three children saw, beside the sun, three distinct and, to us, significant apparitions.

I do not know whether or not the Church’s theologians and thinkers have attached any special significance or interpretation to these apparitions. They would certainly be able to do so in more precise language based on Sacred Doctrine. I am only speaking about them here in order to do what I have been asked to do, and within the limits imposed by my humble ignorance and poverty. Thus I propose to say quite simply what I think God wished to say to us with these apparitions.

The first was the apparition of the Holy Family: Our Lady, and the Child Jesus in the arms of St Joseph, blessing the people.

In times such as the present, when the family often seems misunderstood in the form in which it was established by God, and is assailed by doctrines that are erroneous and contrary to the purposes for which the Divine Creator instituted it, surely God wished to address to us a reminder of the purpose for which He established the family in the world?

God entrusted to the family the sacred mission of co- operating with Him in the work of creation. This decision to associate His poor creatures with His creative work is a great demonstration of the fatherly goodness of God. It is as if He were making them shares in His creative power; making use of His children in order to bring forth new lives, which will flower on earth but be destined for Heaven.

Thus the Divine Creator wished to entrust to the family a sacred mission, that makes two beings become one in union so close that it does not admit of separation. It is from this union that God wishes to produce other beings, as He generates flowers and fruit from the plants.

God established Matrimony as an indissoluble union. Once a couple have received the sacrament of Matrimony, the union between the two is definitive and cannot be broken; it is indissoluble as long as the couple remain alive. It was thus that God ordained it to be.

We read in the Book of Genesis: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Gen 1, 27); two, yes, but these two are one: ‘Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Gen 2, 24). This is a law of God, which Jesus Christ confirmed and endorsed, in the face of human efforts, at that time, to pull in the opposite direction: “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder”’ (Mt 19, 4-6).

This is the law of Matrimony: from the time they had been joined together by the blessing of God, the two become one, and this union does not allow separation - What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. They become one by the bond of love that led them to commit themselves to each other in the ideal of co-operation with God in the work of creation, and this involves the sacrifice and immolation that the giving of oneself always implies; it involves, too, mutual understanding, forgiveness and pardon. It is thus that a home is built up, made holy and gives glory to God.

A home must be like a garden, where fresh rosebuds are opening, bringing to the world the freshness of innocence, a pure and trusting out look on life, and the smile of innocent happy children. Only thus does God take pleasure in his creative work, blessing it and turning his fatherly gaze upon it. Any other way of behaving is to divert the work of God from its end, to alter the plans of God, failing to fulfill and carry out the mission that God has entrusted to the married couple.

Hence, in the Message of Fatima, God calls on us to turn our eyes to the Holy Family of Nazareth, into which He chose to be born, and to grow in grace and stature, in order to present to us a model to imitate, as our footsteps tread the path of our pilgrimage to Heaven.

The Evangelist St Luke, after describing for us how Jesus Christ, as a young boy, went up to the temple in Jerusalem where He got separated from His parents and there they found Him three days later, adds: ‘And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man’ (Lk 2, 51-52).

Parents who do not instill a knowledge of God and of His commandments into their children at an early age, teaching them to keep them in mind and to observe them, are failing to fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God. It is a law that God prescribed for His people: “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6, 6-7). Parents who disregard this law of God make themselves responsible for the ignorance that is responsible for the disordered lives of the children who torment the declining years of their parents, and are themselves lost.

What has been said applies even when the children are entrusted to the care of competent teachers, because what remains most engraved in the hearts of children is what they have received in their father’s arms and on their mother’s lap. Nothing can dispense parents from this sublime mission: God has entrusted it to them and they are answerable to God for it.

Parents are the ones who must guide their children’s first steps to the altar of God, teaching them to raise their innocent hands and to pray helping them to discover how to find God on their way and to follow the echo of his voice. This is the most serious and important mission that has been entrusted to God to parents; and they must fulfill it so well that throughout their lives, the memory of their parents will always arouse in their children the memory of God and of His teaching.

This is how St Paul encourages us to behave: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honour your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise) “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth” ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”’ (Eph 6, 1-4). And in the second letter of St John, which was undoubtedly addressed to an ecclesial community, but which he sees personified in the person of a mother - the elect lady and her children- we find from the pen of the Apostle, a eulogy that we wish could be applied to all fathers and mothers: “I rejoice greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. And now I beg you, lady, not as thought I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another” (2Jn 4-5).

In families composed of parents and children, there are duties which the parents have to fulfill in relation to their children, and vice versa, the children in relation to their parents. The Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), after listing the many duties of children, concludes with this appeal tot heir submission and gentleness: “My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those who God accepts. The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favour in the sight of the Lord. For great is the might of the Lord; he is glorified by the humble” (Sir 3, 17-20). And the Apostle St Peter presses home the same idea: “Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful.” (1 Pet 5, 5-8).

These words are addressed to us all, but especially to the young people who have as yet no experience of life, which is why the Apostle urges them to be submissive, sober and vigilant, in order not to be taken in by the illusions of life, by the disordered appetites of nature, and the diabolical seductions of the world. Because - St Peter goes on - “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. (1 Pet 5, 8-10).

Yes firm in faith, in hope and in charity, we must all struggle to achieve victory over evil, and attain the peace, joy and blessedness of the house of Our Father who is God; and we altogether form his family.

The children must never forget or set to one side the respect, gratitude and help which they owe to their parents, who are for them the image of God. In fact, just as the parents sacrificed themselves in order to bring the children up, educate and establish their children in life, so the children, in turn have a duty to sacrifice themselves in order to give pleasure, joy and serenity to their parents, aiding and assisting them, if necessary, in such away that everything is done out of true love and with one’s eyes fixed on God: “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.” (Col 3, 23). And we shall enjoy his friendship, as He has told us: “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (Jn 15, 14) And what has He commanded us? “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15, 12).

This is how a family sanctifies itself, grows and prospers in that unity, fidelity, mutual understanding and forgiveness which generate peace, joy, mutual trust and love.
Ave Maria!

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