Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima

IN FATIMA’S COVE

Our Lady of Fatima, sent from above,
appeared to three children to tell of God’s love:

Refrain: Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!

1. In Fatima’s cove on the thirteenth of May;
the Virgin Maria appeared at mid-day.

2. The Virgin Maria surrounded by light;
God’s Mother is ours for she gives us this sight.

3. The world was then suffering from war, plague, and strife,
and Portugal mourned for her great loss of life.

4. To three shepherd children the Virgin then spoke
a message so hopeful, with peace for all folk.

5. With sweet Mother’s pleading, she asked us to pray,
do penance, be modest, the Rosary each day.

6. All Portugal heard what God’s Mother did say,
converted it sings of that Queen to this day.

7. We all must remember Our Lady’s request,
do all that she asks for, obey her bequests.

8. She warned of behavior from which we must turn,
of thoughts, words, and actions which Christians must spurn.

9. To her sad, sweet pleading our promise is made,
that God’s Law in all things be strongly obeyed.

10. From nation to nation her fair name is praised,
as souls from sin’s bondage are contritely raised.

11. Our thanks to the Godhead, whose ways are so sure,
for giving us Mary, our Mother Most Pure.

12. Our hearts, overflowing with kindness and love,
thank her for God’s graces bestowed from above.

13. Hail, Refuge of sinners! Hail, Star of the Sea!
Hail, Queen of Creation! Our hope is in thee.

14. All hail, Virgin Mary! This Star guides our way,
our country’s Protectress, America’s Way!

Mary, the whole world’s Way, to Jesus.

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Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Every time in the past when I have read Sirach 39:1-11, I have thought of Pope John Paul II, so I share it with you in his honour on this wonderful day:

How different the man who devotes
himself
to the study of the law of the Most
High!
He explores the wisdom of the men of
old
and occupies himself with the
prophecies;
He treasures the discourses of famous
men,
and goes to the heart of involved sayings;
He studies obscure parables,
and is busied with the hidden meanings
of the sages.
He is in attendance on the great,
and has entrance to the ruler.
He travels among the peoples of foreign
lands
to learn what is good and evil among
men.
His care is to seek the Lord, his
Maker,
to petition the Most High,
To open his lips in prayer,
to ask pardon for his sins.
Then, if it pleases the Lord Almighty,
he will be filled with the spirit of
understanding;
He will pour forth his words of wisdom
and in prayer give thanks to the
Lord,
Who will direct his knowledge and his
counsel,
as he meditates upon his mysteries.
He will show the wisdom of what he has
learned
and glory in the law of the Lord’s
covenant.
Many will praise his understanding;
his fame can never be effaced;
Unfading will be his memory,
through all generations his name will
live;
Peoples will speak of his wisdom,
and in assembly sing his praises.
While he lives he is one out of a
thousand,
and when he dies his renown will not
cease.

(My post for Divine Mercy Sunday can be found at Contemplative Haven.)

JPII – We Love You!

The Risen Christ Appears to His Mother

In the comment section of the post for Day 25, Pia has done much research and left fascinating links regarding the way Catholics over the centuries have expressed their belief that Jesus appeared firstly to His Mother after His Resurrection.

In the space of a few short days, Pia has found this in the revelations of the mystics, the saints, in art and in contemplative reflections on the life of Christ and the Rosary.  I cannot help but think this is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, in terms of examples.

The image above is entitled “Resurrection of Christ and Apparition to His Mother”, by Roger van der Weyden (circa 1440). I am thrilled to see this work of art, for in it we see Jesus just stepping out of the sepulchre yet simultaneously appearing to His Mother in her room, just as we read in the revelations of Venerable Mary of Agreda, which I entered in the comment section of Day 25.

On the link that Pia left for us regarding this artwork, I was not able to save the image, but I am grateful to have also found it at this Pauline site, so that I could show it to you here. But what I am even more grateful for is that at that same site, we are guided to ponder a sentence from Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, from #23:

Contemplating the Risen One, Christians rediscover the reasons for their own faith (cf. 1Cor 15:14) and relive the joy not only of those to whom Christ appeared – the Apostles, Mary Magdalene and the disciples on the road to Emmaus – but also the joy of Mary, who must have had an equally intense experience of the new life of her glorified Son.

So while I am excited and avid to learn more about the Blessed Virgin’s mystical encounter with Jesus after His Resurrection, as it has evolved through our Catholic tradition in so many diverse mediums, what is far more important is that Mary will help us to experience what she experienced. Just as Mary helps to birth Jesus in us each day, so too will she help us to experience the intense joy of knowing a new life in the risen Christ, every day. The more we open our hearts, the more Mary can help us approach the level of intensity she experienced; she will lead us to Jesus, her risen and glorified Son.

See You Soon

I have to close the comments here for at least a little while (please see explanation at Contemplative Haven).  🙂  When I get up and running again I hope to be posting on a more regular basis.

For today, I would like to share a homily from Pope John Paul II recorded in 1990 in Malta, on the subject of the Blessed Mother and the family:

Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima

It was ten years ago today that Pope John Paul II beatified little Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three seers at Fatima in 1917 (Lucia still being alive in the year 2000.)  There is to be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of these beatifications in Fatima, and many will be attending, including Pope Benedict XVI.

It is also the tenth anniversary year of Pope John Paul II having released the third secret of Fatima (which he did in April 2000), and today is the tenth anniversary of Cardinal Angelo Sodano’s public statement and interpretation of the third secret.  All the information relating to this can be found here, on the Vatican’s website.

At the same link can be found Pope Benedict XVI’s (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) interpretation and commentary on the third secret as well, part of which I would like to share here:

Let us now examine more closely the single images. The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgement which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.  

“… the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance.” 

Our Lady of Fatima, help all of those who are consecrated to you to stand with you, opposed to the force of destruction, eager to do penance, and to help “steer freedom in a positive direction”.   Help us never to despair or indulge in fatalistic mindsets, but to use our free will to aid you in bringing Christ’s light and love to the world.   Amen.

Presentation of Mary

 The Memorial of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated on November 21st.  The theme of this Memorial is:  total consecration to the Lord through Mary.

Although not mentioned in the Bible, this ancient feast is based on information taken from one of the apocryphal Gospels, the Protevangelium of James.  In it we are told that at the age of three, Mary was taken by her parents to the Temple of Jerusalem, where she was presented and would remain until the age of marriage, in the company of other young girls in the charge of holy women.

 

The Dictionary of Mary [Catholic Book Publishing Co.] gives us some informaiton about the actual history of the Memorial:

This event was already commemorated in the 6th century in the East.  Gregory XI in 1372 heard of the feast, kept in Greece on November 21, and instituted it at Avignon.  In 1585, Sixtus V extended it to the Universal Church. 

If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered how Mary’s parents could possibly have given up their baby girl at the age of three to complete strangers; you may have felt very badly for Mary, assuming she would have felt very abandoned, lonely and frightened – traumatized, in fact. We have a tendency to forget that Mary’s human life was like no other, that she was imbued with mystical knowledge from the time she was within the womb of her mother, and from that very time within her mother’s womb she had no desire other than to serve God and be in complete union with His Will. Venerable Mary of Agreda shares her mystical visions of this time in Mary’s life [The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin, from the Mystical City of God]:

When the time arrived for the accomplishment of the vow which her parents had made, of consecrating her to the service of the Temple, she herself was the first to beg them, with all humility, to fulfill their promise without delay, and she most fervently entreated God to inspire them to do it promptly.  The Lord granted the humble prayer of His beloved, and her parents, obedient to the heavenly inspiration, parted with their amiable child, though not without the deepest sorrow.

The grief of St. Ann, in particular, exceeded even that of Abraham when commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac.  At the expiration of the three years St. Joachim and St. Ann, accompanied by many of their relations and by a great number of angelic spirits, who, during the journey, sang hymns of praise to the Most High, left Nazareth and journeyed to Jerusalem, bearing in their arms their young and happy child.

{I found the image at the Australian EJournal of Theology, which has some lovely artwork, as well as very interesting subject-matter.}

Feastday of Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima 4[Excerpt from the homily preached by Pope John XXIII (then Patriarch of Venice) at Fatima on May 13, 1956, for the twenty-fifth aniversary of the consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary]:

Salute means safety from the evils of this world, and Nicopeja means Queen of Victories (note: here he is referring to two icons, the Madonna della Salute and the Madonna Nicopeja). But I am not thinking of military victories, which always mean violence, the ferocity of men, and blood. I am thinking of spiritual conquests for the truth, for the Gospel, for the Holy Catholic Church and her august head, for justice, liberty of souls and nations, and of the whole world.

I wish to say once more in my name and in the name of this enormous throng, gathered here from every land: O, Our Lady of Fatima, through the virtue of your Immaculate Heart, obtain for us from blessed Jesus, the fountain of every grace, justice, charity and peace! Amen.

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Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for Peace

O Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Peace, you appeared to the children of Fatima at a time of great unrest and turmoil in the world. You asked then that the world pray for peace, so that the Reign of God may be known in every land.
Our world today continues to be mired in the vicious and fruitless cycle of hatred, violence and war. Your message of peace to the children of Fatima is needed as urgently today as it was when you first delivered it.
Grant us, Mary, that peace which is so much more than the mere absence of war. Grant us God’s peace, so that we might see every man and woman as a brother or a sister, as fellow creatures of the one God. Help us to build a world of justice, which is the only sure foundation of peace. And bring us all one day into the fulness of union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternity. This we ask through Christ, your Son and our Lord, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

[Taken from the booklet: Our Lady of Fatima with Prayers and Devotions, in the “Florentine Lives of the Saints” collection]