Today, May 13, 2017, we celebrate the one hundredth 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 during 1917. Later that year, on October 13, the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by up to one hundred thousand people.
The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age 10), Saint Francisco Marto (age 9) and Saint Jacinta Marto (age 7). Francisco and Jacinto died within a few years of the apparitions and were beatified in 1983 and Pope Francis canonized them today. Lucia (Sr. Maria Lucia) died in 2005 and the cause for her beatification is in progress. Together, the three children witnessed 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. And find opportunities to pray the other four Fatima Prayers as well.