On 13 October 2017, the Holy Father, Pope Francis posted on YouTube a message to the people of Portugal for the closing of the centennial of Marian Apparitions at Fatima: that every Christian who stays close to the Virgin Mary is “like a child near his mother.” He advised the people in Portugal and all Christians to never abandon praying the Rosary as per request by the Virgin Mary during her Apparitions at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
The month of October is a month dedicated to the Rosary and a month that invites every Catholic to focus on the importance of Marian devotion in the life of the Church and in the life of every individual. This weekend I would like to share my thoughts on the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her continuous invitation to pray for the conversion of sinners. In six apparitions in Fatima, the Virgin Mary requested the peasant children to pray the Rosary especially for peace in the world. In this month of the Rosary, we are encouraged to light up candles and pray for peace in the world.
As we come to the close of the centenary jubilee commemoration of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparition in Fatima, it is an appropriate month for us Catholics to reflect further on the message of Fatima today and always. It is very important for Christians to revisit the messages received by Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta during the months of May to October 1917 because they offer for us a way of life and a way to live Fatima’s message. There are few simple ways we can live the message of Fatima.
On 13 October 1917, it was the 6th and final apparition of our Lady of Fatima to three peasant children and to them she said, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended.” Therefore, we should examine our conscience and identify every area of our lives in which we need His mercy and compassion. The Sacrament of reconciliation is available for us to confess our mortal and habitual sins. We too should approach someone to help us or counsel us to overcome our sins. These will help us continue to journey towards conversion of life and guide us back to Her Son, Jesus Christ.
It is important for us to make reparation for our sins and repair the offenses against God and with our fellow brothers and sisters. Our sins harm our relationship with God and it affects human solidarity and harmony in its entirety. We should communicate to God often in prayer and seek forgiveness for the sins we have committed and do penitential acts and penance as a form of reparation. We can also make small acts of self-denial, like fasting, with the intention of offering it for the conversion of sinners.
The Church always speaks of the importance of the Rosary in one’s prayer life. By praying the Rosary daily we can ask Mary to have a heart like Hers. Each time we pray and meditate/reflect on the mysteries of the Rosary we enter Christ’s life and Mary as well. She will always bring us into union with Her Son, Jesus Christ. It is through Her that we come to know Jesus Christ better and to have a profound knowledge of His mystery.
As we are coming closer to the end of the Month of the Rosary, let’s thank God for the gift of the Virgin Mary in our lives as she is a powerful intercessor for our cause. We shall continue to foster Marian devotion and live her message in very simple ways.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Fr. George Packiasamy