Tomorrow, May 13, 2012, marks the 95th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age 10), Blessed Francisco Marto (age 9) and Blessed Jacinta Marto (age 7). Francisco and Jacinto died within a few years of the apparitions and were beatified in 1983. Lucia (Sr. Maria Lucia) died in 2005 and the cause for her beatification is in progress. Together, the three children were to witness a total of six apparitions of Our Lady in 1917. In 1916, they had witnessed three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal.
The message of Fatima is as relevant today as it was then.
“Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.” (The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith)
The Fatima Prayers
Among the messages they received, they were taught five prayers by the angel and Our Lady. Many of us who pray the Rosary are familiar with the prayer that ends each decade, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…” (the Decade Prayer), but we need to recall and offer the other prayers as well. Anyone who reads the following will readily agree.
- My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You. (First apparition of the Angel of Portugal)
- 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 is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners. (Third apparition of the Angel of Portugal)
- “Oh, Holy Trinity, we adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Blessed Sacrament.” (First apparition of Our Lady)
- O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. (Second and third apparitions of Our Lady)
- Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Third apparition of Our Lady)
A thread runs through these prayers that we need to recall in these days of sin and immorality: in mysterious ways that we can understand only partially, it is beneficial for us to pray and make acts of self-denial for the reparation of sin and the conversion of sinners. Not only do these good habits of mortification and prayer help us grow in holiness, the merits of these prayers become graces for the conversion of others. As we pray the Rosary and recite the Decade Prayer, allow its words and import to cover your very soul with meaning and lead you to greater understanding of the importance of your own holiness in the spiritual battles of our time.
The Five First Saturdays Devotion
In her July 13, 1917 apparition at Fatima, Mary said:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved… I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins-of the world.”
Then on December 10, 1925, Mary appeared to Lucia in Spain and instructed her on how to make the Five First Saturdays devotion:
“Look, My daughter, at My Heart surrounded by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console Me and announce in My Name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to Me.”
So here is what is necessary to receive the promise of Mary to assist you at the moment of your death… On the first Saturday of five consecutive months:
- Make a good sacramental confession (this can actually be done a reasonable number of days before the first Saturday, as long as the person is in a state of grace on the first Saturday).
- Receive Holy Communion.
- Pray a Rosary (5 decades or more) properly – attentively saying the vocal prayers while meditating on the mysteries.
- Spend 15 minutes or more in meditation on one or more of the mysteries of the rosary (this is in addition to praying the rosary in #3).
- All components of this devotion must be done with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for sin.
Into the deep…
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff, Editor-in-Chief for The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization at his parish and a deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
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Category: Into the Deep