May the peace and love of Christ be with you always. Amen. Dearly beloved in Christ, the month of May, as we know is often referred to as the month of Mary. This is the month in which, in churches and individual homes, the most affections and fervent homage from the hearts of Christians are raised to Mary. It is a special period in which God’s graciousness and mercy descend upon his children through the intercession of Mary. As St. Bernard would tell us, “God wills that his entire gift should come to us through Mary.” The month of May 2017 is unique in the life of the Church because it marks the centenary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima (1917). With this centenary celebration, we hope and pray that the messages and promises of the Fatima apparition would be rejuvenated and come alive again in the lives of God’s faithful. Amen.
The Fatima Apparition And Message
Leading their flock out from Aljustrel on the 13th of May 1917, the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, the three children (Lucia, Jacinta & Francisco) passed Fatima where the Parish church and cemetery were and proceeded to the scope of Cova. Here they allowed their sheep to graze, while they watched, shortly, they were startled by what they later described as “Lightening in a clear Sky” Thinking that a storm might be approaching they debated whether they should take the sheep and go home, preparing to do so, they were again surprised by a strange Light which happened to be Our Blessed Mother Mary. The children were afraid but the Blessed Mother said to them “please do not be afraid of me, I am not going to harm you” And when they inquired where she came from she told them “I come from heaven”. After a few moments of conversation, the Blessed Virgin Mary said to the children “I want you to return here on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months and at the very same hour. Later I shall tell you who I am, and what it is that I most desire.” The messages of the six apparitions are as follows:
1st Apparition: Recite the Rosary everyday to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.
2nd Apparition: Don’t be discouraged; I will not abandon you ever, my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and through it will conduct you to God.
3rd Apparition: Pray for the conversion of sinners.
4th Apparition: Pray, pray a lot and offer sacrifices for the sinners. You know that many souls go to hell because there is no one who prays for them.
5th Apparition: Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of war. God is pleased with your efforts and sacrifices.
6th Apparition: I am the Lady of the Holy Rosary, I desire that a chapel be built in my honour and the Rosary be said every day. People should cease from offending God as the offense to God is much and every one should ask for God’s pardon and Mercy.
Living The Fatima Message Now
Looking at the messages from the six apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, one can convincingly state that the relevance of this apparition cannot be outlived or overemphasized. The Blessed Mother brought these messages at a point in time when the world was experiencing trials as we are experiencing in our own time now. I therefore recommend that all Christians should embrace these beautiful messages of our Lady of Fatima.
Dearly beloved in Christ, the most important dimension of the Fatima event was not the supernatural phenomenon but the content and meaning of the messages communicated to the children. By following these messages their spiritual lives were elevated to the heights of sanctity, to which the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco testifies and the hope and possibility of the conversion of the world from its ruinous course was offered to mankind. We see in the Fatima apparition, the role of the Immaculate one in the economy of salvation and devotions channeled to her are justly given by God.
And so one hundred years after, we are called to increase and strengthen our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by constantly praying our Rosary. Our Blessed Mother by requesting that we pray the Rosary daily, would cast our minds to the words of Scripture that Says “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonian 5:17.
Converting The World Through The Rosary
According to St. Padre Pio “The Rosary is the weapon for these times”. Furthermore, the words of our Lady to the Children are “... the Rosary is my power... it is the weapon which you must make use of in these times of great battle...” every Rosary which you recite with me has the effect of restricting the actions of the evil one, of drawing souls away from his pernicious influence and or expending goodness in my children.
Hundred years after, the prayer and devotion to the Rosary is of great importance, in fact there is no better time than now for us to pray the Rosary so as to put an end to the evils in the world – wars, racism, xenophobia, terrorism, domestic violence, to mention but a few. Our Lady has shown us that even in our own time, the Rosary can stop wars.
We can achieve the conversion of the world by daily praying of the Holy Rosary. I commend the efforts of Marian societies like Legion of Mary, Blue Army, Block Rosary, Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary in praying the Rosary. However, the Rosary is not exclusively reserved for those who belong to these groups, we are all called to pray the Rosary for the conversion of the world.
The month of May offers us once more an opportunity to tap from the plenitude of grace of our Blessed Mother Mary, with special reference to the Fatima experience. God’s love for the world is unequaled and unfathomable, we are therefore called not to be afraid for God is with us. Our Blessed Mother plays a very vital role in the economy of salvation and that is why she is offering the world, ways of reconciling with the Father. Jesus offers his Mother to us to intercede on our behalf and on behalf of the whole world. May the efforts of our Lady of Fatima towards our salvation yield its fruits in our lives. Amen.
+ Alfred Adewale Martins
Archbishop of Lagos.
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