Our Lady of Fatima and Sacrificing for Poor Sinners
May 13th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter and the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. In the year 1917, Our Lady appeared to three Portuguese shepherd children on the thirteenth of each month from May through October (with the exception of August; since the children were in prison on August 13, she appeared on August 19 instead). In each apparition, Mary begged the children to pray often and sacrifice for poor sinners. She also prophesied about future sufferings the Church and the world would endure, including many persecutions against the Church. Fittingly, Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel remind us that His disciples must expect the same persecutions and hatred that He received. All those who follow Christ are His disciples, and the modern world shows the truth of Jesus’ warning by its many attacks on Christianity and its beliefs.
Our Lady of Fatima showed the three children a vision of Hell, telling them that many poor sinners are damned “because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them.” This is a truly sobering thought. We know that Hell is the place of eternal punishment and suffering, just as Heaven is the place of eternal blessing and joy. Unlike Purgatory, which is a place of temporary suffering and purification so that the soul can enter Heaven, the souls in Hell must remain there for all eternity; they will never go to Heaven.
We only have the duration of our earthly lives in which to repent, and Our Lady of Fatima’s sobering warning reminds us how important it is to pray and offer sacrifices not only for ourselves but also for poor sinners. Our Lady gave us a beautiful prayer with which to do this. Whenever we experience any sort of suffering—be it some kind of trial or inconvenience, hatred or some form of persecution for our Faith, or a voluntary penance that we perform—Our Lady instructed the children at Fatima, and by extension the whole Church, to offer the sacrifice to her Son with the following prayer:
O my Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the wrongs done to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Lady of Fatima, Saints Jacinta and Francisco, and Venerable Lucia, pray for us!