This coming Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the final appearance of our Lady at Fatima on 13 October 1917.
When later, in 1925, Our Lady specified her intention to Sr Lucia that she would like her to promote the devotion of the five first Saturdays, she said “Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me.”
Our Lady suffered at the foot of the cross in union with Our Lord; the anguish she experienced on seeing His sufferings fulfilled, the prophecy of Simeon: “A sword shall pierce your own soul also.” (Lk 2.35) Her grief was greater than the martyrs since she was concerned not with her own sufferings but with those of the her son who was God made man, suffering not only physically but also psychologically and spiritually through the sins of all the world from the sin of Adam to the end of the world.
Our Lady asks us to console her by our prayers, our good works, and our penances, and especially by reverence for and adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament in which we offer to Our Lord the honour and love which He deserves from us in place of the indifference and contempt with which He is routinely treated.
Our reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not at all in “competition” with the reparation which we give to Our Lord. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are united. Our Lady herself offers reparation in the highest degree to God the Father through Christ His Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit who was poured out upon her along with the apostles at Pentecost.
We join with Our Lady when we listen to her and carry out what she asked us to do. The devotion of the first Saturdays is easily achievable, but requires of us an effort and commitment which reminds us of our duties of worship and reverence for God, placing this as a higher priority than our worldly concerns, and our desire for entertainment.
Our Lady told Sr Lucia that she was especially offended by blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity and her divine maternity, the blasphemies of those who seek openly to foster in the hearts of children indifference or contempt and even hatred for her, and the offenses of those who directly outrage Her in her holy images.
In our own time, we have seen these offences multiplied and worsened in ways that the children of Fatima could not have comprehended, by the destruction of the unborn, the attacks upon marriage and the family, and even by assaults against the innocence of children in the human nature that has been given to them by God.
Our Lady shows us that we are not helpless but that we can make a difference spiritually to the evils of our time, and in our own circle of influence, however small, also to those whom we know and love. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary triumph in our souls, in our families and in our country.