Damien F. Mackey
“What always surprises me about this great miracle, perhaps the greatest miracle since the Resurrection, is how little it is known in the world at large. It should shake the very world itself. It should shake our governments; it should shake our media; it should shake our own souls”.
It befell the prophets of Israel to continue to remind the people of the great things that God the Almighty had done in the past on behalf of their ancestors, such as their miraculous deliverance from Egyptian bondage (the Exodus) – wonders that had become obscure, and even completely forgotten, with the passing of time. And so to praise God for them and to pass on that knowledge to their children.
Therefore we read in Psalm 77:3-8:
How great things have we heard and known, and our fathers have told us. They have not been hidden from their children, in another generation. Declaring the praises of the Lord, and his powers, and his wonders which he hath done. And he set up a testimony in Jacob: and made a law in Israel. How great things he commanded our fathers, that they should make the same known to their children. That another generation might know them. The children that should be born and should rise up, and declare them to their children. That they may put their hope in God and may not forget the works of God: and may seek his commandments. That they may not become like their fathers, a perverse and exasperating generation. A generation that set not their heart aright: and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Undoubtedly, the ‘Exodus’ event of our own modern era – about which we, too, risk becoming blasé and forgetful – was Fatima, whose centenary we celebrate this year. Thankfully, however, we also have prophets to keep before our minds the wondrous works of the Lord – they are the popes, with Francis being no exception. He intends to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary this May of 2017, to commemorate the Fatima anniversary.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Portugal in 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima.
The pope, who accepted the invitation made by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the bishops of Portugal, “will go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from May 12-13,” the Vatican announced Dec. 17.
The pilgrimage will mark the anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which first began on May 13, 1917, when three shepherd children reported seeing the Virgin Mary.
The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
Following the announcement, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, rector of the Fatima shrine told Agencia Ecclesia, the news agency of the Portuguese bishops’ conference, that the visit was a “cause for joy” for the shrine.
“For the shrine of Fatima, it is a great joy to receive this confirmation of Pope Francis’ visit,” he said. “We know that those days will be a pilgrimage marked by this festivity that, on the one hand is for the centennial of the apparitions and, on the other hand, marks the presence of the pope in our midst and a pope as beloved as Pope Francis,” Father Cabecinhas said.
While the Vatican confirmed the dates of the visit, the pope had already said that he intended to go.
“Certainly, as things presently stand, I will go to Portugal, and only to Fatima,” he told journalists during his return flight to Rome from Azerbaijan Oct. 2.
Pope Francis will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Marian shrine, following the footsteps of Blessed Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who each paid homage different years to Mary on the anniversary of the first apparition May 13.
“Now is the time of God’s favour”
Sadly, despite many notable exceptions, the vast majority of the world’s Catholics have – just like the ungrateful Israelites of old – failed to embed into their memories this unprecedented visitation from Heaven. Dr. Peter Chojnowski, in his August speech at the “Fatima: Only Way to World Peace” conference in Brazil, in 2007, thus marvelled regarding the October 13 Miracle of the Sun:
What always surprises me about this great miracle, perhaps the greatest miracle since the Resurrection, is how little it is known in the world at large. It should shake the very world itself. It should shake our governments; it should shake our media; it should shake our own souls.
And, yet, for how many does it have this profound effect? To quote the famous French rationalist and skeptic Renan, “Miracles do not take place where they ought to. A miracle in Paris before so many of the learned would put an end to so many doubts. But, alas, that never happens. No miracle ever took place before those who could discuss and make critical judgments on it.” To this challenge and doubt, we can offer the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on October 13, 1917.
[End of quote]
This auspicious centenary year of 2017 affords us the perfect opportunity to make a new start.
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We must begin to, as in the words of Dr. Chojnowski, “shake our governments … shake our media … shake our own souls”. This last one ought, at least, to be within range of possibility. What do we intend to do personally in 2017 so as the better to imbibe the Fatima message? We yet have plenty of months left to do what Our Lady of the Rosary actually requested – sufficient enough motivation – the Communion of Reparation (Five First Saturdays), first announced in the July 13th apparition immediately following the horrific vision of Hell, of which the Exodus deliverance from the iron-smelting furnace (Deut. 4:20) was a metaphor.
Then Our Lady opened Her hands, as during the previous apparitions, and the light that was God streamed forth. In this light they were given, on this occasion, a vision of Hell so horrible and gruesome that the children shrieked aloud with fear. After showing them Hell Our Lady said to the children: “You have seen Hell 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. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will beak out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
That promise (Her coming) was realised less than a decade later, in 1925
The promise made by Our Lady to Lucia on July 13th, 1917, that there would be a future manifestation concerning the practice of the Five First Saturdays, was fulfilled on December 10th, 1925. Lucia was then a Postulant Sister in the Dorothean Convent at Tuy, Spain. On this occasion Our Lady appeared together with the Child Jesus, Who spoke first to Lucia:
“Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment, while there is no one who does an act of reparation to withdraw them for her”.
Our Lady then addressed Lucia as follows:
”Behold, my daughter, my Heart encircled with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Give me consolation, you, at least; and make known on my behalf that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all who on the First Saturday of five consecutive months confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart”.
Also, to honour Fatima, one might like to join a sound Marian organisation or prayer crusade of reparation, such as this one whose purpose is to gather “one million” rosaries this year http://www.fatima2017.world/
Our Lady said at Fatima:
“Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”