Let us Pray to Our Lady of Fatima

Let us pray to Our Lady of Fatima who, in inviting us to do penance, to pray and to convert, teaches us the logic of the Cross, the logic of the One who offered himself for others.

Let us pray to Her that the simple and wholesome truths of the Catechism, with its taste of home-made bread, may find an echo in our hearts and in our lives;

Let us pray that the meaning of the words of the Angel, who appeared in 1916, and the singular words of the Blessed Virgin, and likewise the example of Saints Francisco and Jacinta, and of Lúcia, may find a welcome within us and renew our everyday Christian life.

Into your hands Most Blessed Virgin, living Tabernacle of the Divinity, we entrust the renewed vows of our Baptism, forever renouncing Satan, his vanities and his works, and giving ourselves completely to Jesus Christ, Wisdom Incarnate, ready to carry our cross behind Him every day of our lives.

To You, O Blessed Virgin Mary, we abandon and consecrate ourselves:

  • our bodies and our souls,
  • our spiritual and material possessions and even
  • the value of all our good deeds, past, present and future,

entrusting to You the total and complete right to dispose of us and all that belongs to us, for the greater glory of God, through time and for all eternity.

We look forward to the triumph of your Immaculate Heart.

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 14 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Cardinal Mauro Piacenza - The Church and the Cross

A Christianity without the Cross, fearful of contemplating the Cross, of preaching it, or which in practice marginalises it, would fall into the absurdity of a Christianity without Christ. And in so doing we would fall into the very dangerous confusion of idealism.

The same is true for the Church, which has been called for two thousand years not only to contemplate the Crucified, but also – as we do today – to celebrate Him, to exalt the Holy Cross – obviously not as an instrument of torture or out of an insane devotion to pain, but rather as a historical place for the recapitulation of all things in Christ and as a necessary way to arrive at the victory of the Resurrection and the fullness of love, peace and joy, won for us by Christ and given as a gift to man.

Only a Church that is fully aware of the centrality of the mystery of the Cross will have the necessary vitality to recognise all the crucified ones of our own time and, with the help of Grace, to become like Simon of Cyrene for them. The Church is not called to solve all the problems of humanity, it is not called to eliminate the Cross from the lives of men, and still less to erase its memory from human history.

  • The Church is the inn where the Good Samaritan accompanies the wounded pilgrim!
  • The Church is like Simon of Cyrene, who helps Christ carry the Cross but does not prevent him from dying crucified!
  • The Church is to be found in the apostle He loved, who at the foot of the Cross contemplates the Master, without understanding everything but continuing to love passionately.
  • The Church is above all represented by the Sorrowful Virgin whom, God willing, we shall celebrate tomorrow and who, full of compassion, takes into her arms the Body of the Crucified One, surrounds Him with her overflowing maternal love, and venerates Him with loving trepidation in expectation of the Resurrection.
  • The Church is fully contained in the passionate devotion of the women, who in the morning hasten to the sepulchre, expecting to find a body and instead becoming proclaimers of the Resurrection.
  • The Church is in the running of Peter and John, a running that never stops and which enables us even today, in contemplating the Crucifixion and the empty Sepulchre, to tell the world that we have seen and have believed: ‘And he saw and believed’ (Jn 20:8).

For all these reasons, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we implore that the Church may always be permeated by the dimension of the Cross of Christ, whose expiatory value shines especially brightly in the messages of Fatima, which see a struggling Church, besieged and seemingly crushed by evil, but all enveloped in the salvific Love of Christ and the beating maternal heart of Mary, who is the perfect Icon of the Church.

Let us remember that it is never possible 

  • to separate the Church from the Cross, 
  • to separate Christ from the Cross, 
  • to separate Man from the Cross.

The Church will be faithful to God and faithful to men only by proclaiming the historical fact of a salvation that passes through the Cross, learning always and again to express the logic of the Cross in all the fabric of her own being and doing. All the great topics, from family to ecology, from evangelisation to faith, can be seen in no other way than in the logic of the Cross, a logic of offering and sacrifice, of atonement and death, to reach the glory of the Resurrection, the total fulfilment of the Cross. ‘Per Crucem ad lucem!’ 11

Hence this centrality of the Cross, and of the Crucified one, also becomes the light and standard whereby we must evaluate, increase, and enliven our life as Christians. We cannot delude ourselves that we can be Christians without contemplating the Crucified One. On the contrary, a Christianity without the Cross would be reduced to a generic collection of moral rules, devoid of attraction and meaning, and thus uselessly proclaimed and never realised.

  • There is no reason to love all our brothers and sisters, except in the Crucified one!
  • There is no reason to love ourselves, except in the Crucified one!
  • There is no reason to pray for sinners, as Fatima invites us to do, except in the Crucified one!
  • There is no reason to continue to hope, again and always, except that God became Man and died for us, for everyone, with no one excluded!

The Cross is thus the foundation and the reason for our own Christian existence.

We look upon the Crucifix with the wondering gaze of the Apostle John, knowing that we too are the disciples whom Jesus loved. With tearful eyes, but firm and full of faith, we look towards the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whose grieving and Immaculate Heart we feel gently protected.

Every time life crucifies us, every time our brothers crucify us, every time illness, misunderstanding, loneliness, marginalisation, and betrayal crucify us, we are in Mary’s Heart, because that is where the Cross of her Son always finds room, because within her maternal Heart even her Son found the support he needed to climb Calvary.

Only in this awareness can there be a new flourishing of humanity and a radical renewal of our way of thinking, and hence of doing. Christian morality can be described, quite simply, as fidelity to the Cross!

It means living while bearing constantly before our eyes the Crucified Christ, imploring the wisdom always

  • to choose to suffer rather than cause suffering,
  • to die rather than kill,
  • to accept rather than reject,
  • to love, love and love again.

Christ’s promise to draw all men to Himself when he is lifted up from the earth is certainly not the vague raving of someone sentenced to death. It is the sure promise of the new logic that the Cross carries within itself.

It is the promise of the fascination that the Cross exercises over the hearts and minds of men, over their very existence, because the Cross is the only possible response to the mystery of human suffering.

In fact, human suffering cannot be eliminated, and any attempt to eliminate it without the Cross would not be Christian, but simply a form of utopian philanthropy that would end up by destroying freedom.

Thus the Cross becomes a fascinating mystery, capable of attracting, capable almost of seducing men by virtue of the new logic that it introduces and the life it enables us to experience.

We all need Someone to die for love of us, Someone who loves us so radically as to be willing to give his life for us. Jesus Christ has done this for you, for me, for each one of us, and it is this Love, this act of total giving which, lifted up from the earth and thus made visible to all men, draws them, draws them to Christ, becoming a tremendous and fascinating mystery.

The task of the Church and of each of us, powerfully outlined and sustained here in Fatima, is to show the Crucified One to the world, to continue to raise up the Cross of Christ over the world.

The Church, in this Centenary Year of the Apparitions of Fatima, is called to raise up the Cross of Christ, as the only banner in which humanity can find peace, can find salvation. ‘Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis!’  15

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 14 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need.
11 ‘Through the Cross to the Light’.
15 ‘The Cross stands firm as the World turns’.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Sharing the Joy of the Redemption

The charity of works lends unmistakable efficacy to the charity of words, wrote Pope Saint John Paul II. Both these things, words and works, are the essence of mission. And it is particularly in the area of works that we can help.

Sometimes these works consist in enabling the presence of priests. The indigenous peoples of the diocese of Jinotega, in Nicaragua, have been waiting a whole year for a priest to come. But they can only be reached by water.

The priests of the diocese would be only too happy to undertake the boat journey, three or four times a year and bring the strength of the sacraments – and especially the Eucharist – to the waiting faithful of the Miskito and Mayangna peoples in their 31 villages. Indeed, as one of the missionaries, Father Cristobal Gadea observes, ‘Our mission is by no means a one-way street. We can learn a great deal from their deep, natural faith.’

But the old motor on their boat is getting increasingly unreliable, and maintaining it is becoming too expensive. They don’t have the money for a new motor, they barely have enough to afford to hire a boat. Bishop Carlos Enrique Gutierrez told us: 

‘We have sold the still usable parts of the old motor. We have two boats without motors, a small one and a large one, to suit the size of the team. Two new motors – a small one and a powerful one are needed as is financial help for fuel and spare parts…’

The bishop has a fervent devotion to the Mother of God. His letters have a printed motto at the foot of each page:

¡Quien Causa tanta alegría! …
¡La Inmaculada Concepción de María! (‘What causes such deep affection – Mary’s Immaculate Conception!’). 

We are only too happy to help, so that his priests can more often share the joy of the redemption with the Miskito and Mayangna peoples.

Sometimes the work of charity involves going out to the people and living alongside them. In Kajokeji, in South Sudan, three Comboni Sisters have spent several years carrying out missionary work, even in time of war, when it was particularly needed.

Their closeness to the people gave them comfort and showed the truth of their words. But the continuing warfare has forced the people to flee and destroyed the small mission outpost. So the Sisters have followed the refugees to Uganda. Here they have found temporary refuge with their fellow Comboni Sisters – but they are over 100 miles (170 km) from the refugee camps – too far away to be able to continue their work.

A modest house nearby with a water tank, solar panels and a gas cooker would cost more then they can afford. Such a  little house would help nurture the refugees’ faith. The Comboni Sisters have asked our help, so that they can be close to the people and – despite the circumstances – share the Joy of the Redemption with them. We have promised them the help they need, so that they can live closer to the refugees and bring the loving charity of God to them.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Christianity is Joy, Peace and Love

Dear friends, the Lord’s proclamation is unequivocal. It explicitly tells us that it is not enough to believe in Him in order to claim to be authentically Christian, but rather that all of us are called upon to see, embrace and enter into a new logic: the logic of the Cross.

It is a logic that is based on the freedom of God, who gives His Only Son to humanity in the only way that makes it possible to free us from the grip of the evil one. As Pope Francis so often reminds us, the evil one is no mere allegory of evil but rather a real personal presence who acts in the world, causing grave harm to every individual and to society generally. 11

To a humanity enslaved by sin, crushed by the bite of a Satan thirsting for human blood, God sent His Son, who freely offered Himself in the place of men, who spilt His precious blood in exchange for that of men. In this admirable exchange, in this vicarious replacement, we find the heart of the history of salvation, capable of truly freeing man and definitively destroying the evil one.

The historical fact of the bloody sacrifice that Christ made of Himself on the altar of the Cross demands our acceptance, not only in the doctrinal and ecclesial domain, but also in the sphere of our own moral and human existence.

In the doctrinal and ecclesial domain it is more urgent than ever to keep before our eyes the Mysterium Crucis12 whenever we attempt to understand, present and re-present the essence of our faith. Christianity is Joy, Peace and Love – only because Christ was lifted from the earth, only because the Blood of Eternal Life and the Water of Salvation gushed out from His pierced side.

  • There is no Love that does not gush forth from Christ’s pierced side!
  • There is no Joy that does not gush forth from Christ’s pierced side!
  • There is no Peace that is not conquered for man by the Cross of Christ.

‘Christus Pax nostra!’13   proclaims the Apostle, who well understood the centrality of the Cross.

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 14 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need
11 cf. CCC 395
12 ‘The Mystery of the Cross’
13 ‘Christ is our Peace’ Eph 2:14


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Like a Rosary in the hands of the Church

This year ACN is celebrating its 70th anniversary. At the promptings of various Popes our founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten expanded our apostolate of prayer and actions for the suffering Church.

And over the years these prayers and actions have, so to speak, formed themselves into the beads which make up an enormous Rosary of Love for Christians throughout the world. Today ACN is a pontifical foundation, working in 150 different countries. But its goal is still the same as it has always been – to relieve suffering and lead people to God.

To this end, Father Werenfried appealed to you, our benefactors, on innumerable occasions. At the turn of the new millennium he wrote:

‘Werenfried – a warrior for peace. I will readily admit to you that I have not always brought honour on this beautiful name, which I received as a novice, and that I have often failed in my programme of life. But as Pope John Paul II has said, God also gives us ‘the strength to fulfil what he asks of us’.

As is clear from the many annual reports we have sent you we have, with God’s help, all of us achieved much together. Yet the heathens still mock us, and Satan is still the prince of this world. Peace is further away than we had hoped, following the collapse of communism. This is a reproach, and it concerns you and me. It means that we have not fought enough, not prayed enough, not sacrificed enough.

It means that we must commit ourselves still more generously for peace, which is irreconcilable with injustice, oppression and our own sinfulness. It means that we – poor weak sinners that we are, who have so often betrayed our Lord – must step forward once more to do battle in this time. And we must do so as though it were the decisive battle.’

For over half a century Father Werenfried appealed to his benefactors in words like these. Only thanks to their help was he able to build up our charity.

We now have national offices in 23 countries – but it is never enough to meet all the growing needs. We are receiving more and more requests and pleas for help. Often we are able to help, but more often than we like to we have to say no, with a heavy heart, because we have ‘not fought enough, not prayed enough, not sacrificed enough’.

Today, in our 70th year, peace is still far away and the persecution of Christians is fiercer than ever. But our benefactors are spiritual warriors, offering their prayers and sacrifices, participating in God’s plan of salvation, just as we all do when we take the Rosary in our hands. Right from the start Father Werenfried put his trust in the intercession of Our Lady.

In Fatima Father Werenfried consecrated our charity to the Mother of God. Let us stand as witnesses to hope with the ‘woman clothed with the sun’ and pray for peace – ‘as though it were the decisive battle’.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Defending Life, the Family and Civilisation Itself

Dearest brothers and sisters, let us free ourselves from all ties to sin, so that our lives, as deeply united with Christ, may reflect His presence in the world and that in this way, our kindness as ‘known to all’ may be the guiding principle and the driving force of our apostolate.

Also let us as Christ’s Church respond with unity and purpose to the terrible attack on marriage and the family which has been unleashed worldwide as the final assault by the Evil One.

As a letter from Sister Lúcia do Santos of Fatima clearly indicates, the Devil’s final attack will be directed towards the family, at that natural institution which was willed by the Creator, who created ‘male and female’ and ordered them to ‘be fertile and multiply’.9

From both a cultural and a juridical perspective this violent attack upon the family has no precedent and in it, the dragon of Revelation (i.e. the devil) is seeking the realisation of anti-creation.

The Devil wants to be the anti-Creator by convincing mankind that anti-creation can be more beautiful, more enjoyable, and ultimately better than what God has created.


What is anti-creation?

God created man in his image and likeness and placed him in that unmistakable two-as-one relationship between man and woman, which is the essential basis of life.

The devil, for his part in his anti-creation, wants to destroy man by drowning him in the culture of death. Not content only with this, Satan wants to destroy the ‘place’ where this life vibrates, is transmitted and is formed: the family.

The anti-creation that is taking place in the suppression of life is being echoed in the anti-creation that is being realised in the cultural destruction of the family.

Here today at Fatima, fulfilling God’s Will, discerning the Signs of the Times, means for us to resist! Resist with the strength of Faith and Charity!

We are convinced that nothing is more prophetic, more modern, more counter-cultural than defending life, family, education, in the knowledge that today these are the real emergencies.

Dear friends, the day will come when the world will thank the Church for fearlessly and uncompromisingly defending Life, the Family and Civilisation itself.

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need
9 Gen 1:27-28,


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


What really counts in God’s eyes

At Fatima, Our Blessed Lady sought to urge men and women

  • to pray,
  • to do penance,
  • to convert and
  • to prepare them for the future…

…prophesying and pointing to the struggles and hardships, the crosses and battles that all souls, and with them the Church that lives in souls, are called to endure.

As authoritatively taught by an unbroken Magisterium in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Faith tells us that the end of history will occur at a time of suffering for the Church, at a time of kenosis and poverty of faith.5

So it is that at Fatima Our Lady repeats to the Church and to the world ‘Do whatever He tells you,’ so that no one will find themselves afflicted by the misfortune of being unprepared when the Lord returns.

And here we should recall that although our lives are full of limitations and sinfulness, what really counts in God’s eyes are our constant exertions to be faithful, our unending efforts to ‘remain in Him’ in order to live and be fruitful.6 It is then that we discover an ocean of Divine Mercy. But we must not forget what Holy Scripture teaches: ‘The start of wisdom is fear of the Lord,’ always noting that the fear of God is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.7

Thank you, Our Lady of Fatima, because, while you were taken up into the glory of Heaven, you did not abandon humanity; rather you continue to sustain and guide us on this pilgrimage which has as its objective the embracing of your Son and our remaining forever under your mantle.

Thank you again for repeating ‘do whatever He tells you’ in this gathering of love, which is Fatima.

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70 anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need
5 cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)  677
6 Cf. Jn 15:4-7
7 Cf. Isa 11:2; CCC 1831


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Mass offerings for a suffering people

‘Oh, how great is the priest! If he understood himself, he would die… God obeys him. He utters two sentences, and at his word the Lord descends from heaven and encloses Himself in a tiny host.’

Jean Marie Vianney, the holy Curé of Ars, lived out the priestly mystery to the point of physical exhaustion. He spent countless hours in the confessional, often up to 16 hours a day. Right up to the end he sought to bring heaven and earth together through forgiveness and the Blessed Eucharist. He is the patron saint and pattern of all priests.

Ramón Moya also wants to offer up his life for others. He has spinal cancer, and following surgery is now undergoing chemotherapy. But he continues to celebrate the Holy Mass. And thanks to your Mass stipends, he is able to pay for his medication. This is exceptionally difficult in Venezuela today. The country is in chaos. Until now ACN has not been asked for too much help. But now there are food shortages, and medicine is practically unobtainable. Sometimes they don’t even have a chapel to celebrate in.

Father Milton Correa celebrates Holy Mass in the street, in a small town on Margarita Island, and the faithful kneel reverently in the dust when he elevates the Host. A sharp contrast to the violence in the country. He also thanks you for your Mass stipends, which help him to survive and continue his ministry.

Your offerings are a source of hope for the 14 priests in Margarita, once a tourist paradise but now utterly impoverished. You are helping these priests with your stipends and they in turn are using them to help the poorest in their parishes.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


The only reason for the Church to exist

Dearest Brothers and Sisters, let us be vigilant in order that the ‘good wine’ of our faith does not run out and that the ‘good wine’ of our faith is not watered down by excessive worldliness, by its yielding to the seductions of the world and the dictatorship of ‘political correctness’ which is being widely promoted and which relentlessly seeks to underline our sense of the mystical.

Let us never permit our Eucharistic celebrations to become ‘weddings without the Bridegroom’:  that is, nondescript banquets of some commonplace celebration at which Christ the protagonist, the only Bridegroom of the Church, is absent. Dear friends, were this to be so, were the Bridegroom to be absent, the Bride would no longer be a bride. Were Christ not to be central in our Eucharistic celebrations, then the Church would lose her identity and as Pope Francis has warned, it would be reduced to being merely a non-governmental organisation.

Thank you, Our Lady of Fatima, because in this Eucharistic celebration we repeat again: ‘Do whatever He tells you’ and we obey the Lord’s command: ‘Do this in memory of me.’

To point to Christ and to invite men to fulfil His Will is precisely the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, there is no one who believes in Christ and loves Him more than she does, just as there is no one who loves the Blessed Virgin Mary more than her Son Jesus Christ.

‘Mary’s mission’ is expressed and is historically realised in this unique and unrepeatable relationship between Mother and Son, it is expressed and fulfilled in doing the Father’s Will, which began with the ‘Here I am’ of the Annunciation and has never ceased.

In fact, the Blessed One among women is the Woman of the ‘Here I am,’ the one who pronounces her ‘Here I am’ for eternity, even in the glory of Heaven.

In summary, we can almost say that the ‘Here I Am’ belongs to Marian Ontology: The Blessed Virgin was created to pronounce in love and freedom ‘Here I am.’

For this reason, for her total submission to the Divine Will, the ‘Ever Virgin’ has the authority and the power to say, ‘Do whatever He tells you’. She herself is the full expression of the Divine Will.

For this reason, we ourselves are sure that by obeying Mary’s invitation, Christ will also transform the water of our amphorae into excellent wine.

So it is that we are confident that offering to the Lord, the ‘amphorae’ of our lives, filled with the water of our freedom, He will refill them with ‘good wine’, with the wine of salvation, the wine of celebration and of joy, with that real sacramental presence that sees in the Eucharist the Lord’s greatest fulfilment.

In fact, there is no more complete or significant manifestation of God’s presence on earth than that of the Eucharist. In it, again and again, Christ gives Himself to the world; Christ gives Himself to each one of us. In it, again and again, He becomes the sole support of the life of the Church, the only food of the people walking in the desert, the only reason for which the Church exists and journeys as a pilgrim through time.

If in the Eucharist, Christ gives himself, again and again to humanity, then the One who once and for all gave Christ to the world cannot be absent from any Eucharistic celebration.

 

Adapted and Edited from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70 anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.


Cardinal Mauro Piacenza - Do whatever He tells you

Today the Blessed Virgin’s words continue to echo and remind us of the certainty of Christian Truth as a constant and reliable point of reference for all of our lives.  She who is ‘full of grace’ repeats to us ‘Do whatever He tells you’ and invites us to use our intelligence, informed by our conscience, to discern the signs of the times and do the right things.

Again and again she repeats ‘Do whatever He tells you’. Again and again she invites us to acknowledge her Son and to recognise that the fullness of God, the fullness of the Divinity, is alive in the flesh and blood of the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth.

Yes, we know that whoever recognises that Jesus is God made Man, is someone who comes from God and the Holy Spirit lives in him. (cf.1 John 2:22). Conversely whoever denies or hides the singular mystery of the Incarnation is not of God. The first thing then that the Madonna asks us to do is to accept this precise act of faith from which everything else follows.

We thank you, Our Lady of Fatima, for you always remind us of how the core of our faith is the recognition that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord and Christ, the centre of the universe and of history (cf. Acts 4:12).

Faced with passing fashions, with all the corruption of the true faith, all the world’s monotonously repetitive attempts to ‘reduce’ the mystery of Christ, we acknowledge that there is no other God but the One and Triune God, and only in Jesus Christ is there salvation.

Today, in the current cultural context and occasionally even in the ecclesial context, acknowledging this is truly prophetic.

So it is that in repeating ‘do whatever He tells you’, Mary is in fact inviting us to be prophets.

Not only is she is inviting us to repeat her words at Cana in an attitude of humble obedience to Divine Revelation, but she is asking us to allow the Holy Spirit to shape our hearts and our minds so that this sanctification may sustain our efforts that our entire existence may become ‘prophetic,’ and just as in Cana, a proclamation of Christ, of His presence, and of the salvation that He brings.

Certainly today, in an old and tired Europe, we have to acknowledge that being a true believer and one who accepts Divine Revelation in its entirety is to be counter cultural – and as a result we will be mocked from certain quarters.

In which regard, the words of the Sermon on the Mount come to mind ‘Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me’ (Mt 5:11).

Precisely for this reason it is a prophetic act to proclaim the truth of the Lamb of God, that sacrificed itself to carry the sins of the world without uttering a word.

Such prophetic acts are a gift of the Holy Spirit and require the gift of fortitude.

Ultimately, such behaviour is one of the most obvious expressions of the ‘vicarious atonement’ which Fatima reminds us that Christians must learn to undertake in relation to Humanity: the prayer and penance which through charity flows through the veins of the Mystical Body.

Thank you, Our Lady of Fatima, you support us as you did your Son as we ascend Calvary, you help us in the difficult challenge of bearing witness, thank you for with us and for us, you continue to ‘crush the snake’s head’ which is always undermining the truth of faith with lies, and the purity of life with temptations and compromises.

For two thousand years, through the action of the Church and in particular through the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, knowledge of the singularity of Christ has reverberated in the world in which the Church affirms and sees accomplished ‘all that she herself is and all that she herself believes’.1

So it is then that ‘Do whatever He tells you’ anticipates the Last Supper when Jesus commanded the Apostles to ‘Do this in memory of me.’

 

Edited and adapted from Cardinal Piacenza’s homily given on Wednesday 13 September 2017 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during ACN’s international pilgrimage to mark the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima and to commemorate the 70 anniversary of the founding of Aid to the Church in Need.
1Dei Verbum, No. 8.


This article can be found in Mirror 0717.