Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis and Us
Fatima Is More Important Than Ever
■by Joseph Pronechen Monday, May 13, 2013 4:27 PM ….
As we honor Our Lady of Fatima today, the 96th anniversary of her first appearance to the three children in Portugal, one new and one little-known but major fact should give us a real boost to listen to her.
Pope Francis requested that Cardinal José Policarpo, the archbishop of Lisbon, consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, which the cardinal was going to do at the shrine along with the Portuguese bishops at the end of the Mass of the International Anniversary Pilgrimage.
This act of Pope Francis should make us take notice because he’s showing us how important to him the significance of Our Lady of Fatima and her message is in these dire times for peace in the world.
The little-known, major fact?
This first apparition on May 13 took place on a day celebrated liturgically back then as the feast of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
That title was given to Our Lady by St. Peter Julian Eymard, known as “The Priest of the Eucharist,” who founded the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament on May 13, 1856.
What does Franciscan Father Andrew Apostoli of the Friars of the Renewal have to say about this?
In his book Fatima for Today (Ignatius 2010), Father Apostoli tells us: “Since heaven’s choices are never made randomly, we must assume that Jesus was sending his mother with a message of his love and peace on a feast day that reminds us of the awesome gift he had already given us: his precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist.”
At that same first apparition on May 13, our Lady stressed to the children: Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.
It is the request — the directive — she gave to us through them in each of her six apparitions at Fatima. She even went on to identify herself, saying, I am the Lady of the Rosary.
Put Our Lady’s two titles together at Fatima and she puts together for us the Eucharist and Marian devotion as the answer to all the world’s woes.
“The Mother of God herself came from heaven with a message of hope and a plan for victory,” says Father Apostoli.
He reminds that even before our Lady appeared she sent a powerful lesson in Eucharistic devotion given by the Angel of Peace’s third apparition to the children to prepare them for our Lady and her messages.
“This apparition would instill in the young children a very ardent devotion to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament,” says Father Apostoli.
So what happened?
The Angel held a chalice with a host suspended in the air over it. Drops of blood fell from the host into the chalice. The Angel left the chalice and host suspended in the air, knelt, repeated three times:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.
Then the angel rose and gave the host to Lucia and the Precious Blood to Jacinta and Francisco as he said, Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ terribly outraged by the ingratitude of men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.
Father Apostoli explains that from this apparition we learn the importance of Catholic Eucharistic devotion. The angel was teaching the children how Eucharist adoration, receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “are the essential elements of our Catholic devotion to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Then at our Lady’s May 13 apparition, she opened her hands bathing the children in a heavenly light that the children knew was the light of God, and Lucia described that “By an interior impulse of grace we fell to our knees, repeating in our hearts: ‘Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament.’”
After that, our Lady gave that first of the repeated directives: Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.
Then in her July 13 apparition, our Lady puts both together by telling the children of the Communion of Reparation, which, as Father Apostoli explains, is “an essential part of her request for the Five First Saturdays devotion. Our Lady wants us to stay close to her Divine Son in the Eucharist.”
And look what Blessed John Paul II had to say in his encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia (On The Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church): “Mary is a ‘woman of the Eucharist’ in her whole life.”
And again, “If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist.”
And we know also how much John Paul II urged us to pray the Rosary, and how he credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life from the assassin’s bullet.
Seems like what John Paul said, and what Benedict would also say, and what Pope Francis is now doing at Fatima on May 13, 2013, is a fulfillment of St. John Bosco’s famous dream of the turbulent waters being calmed by the Holy Father firmly anchoring the ship of the Church to the pillars of the Eucharist and Marian devotion.
So, beginning on this feast of Our Lady of Fatima, also once celebrated liturgically as Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, we need to heed her message to have a profound reverence for the Body and Blood of her son in the Blessed Sacrament to make reparation for the outages and sacrileges committed against the Eucharist, and to pray the Rosary daily to bring that peace she promised.
As Father Apostoli affirms, “We, too, need to put into practice our Lady’s requests to pray the Rosary daily for peace in our times and an end to the culture of death so prevalent today.”
By the way, Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro said he intends during this pilgrimage to consecrate to Our Lady of Fatima the work of World Youth Day to be held at Rio de Janeiro on July 23-28.