Pastor’s Note: Mary’s Message
As I write this column I am in Fatima, Portugal during the last days of our Marian pilgrimage. It has been a really wonderful time of renewal of faith for us all and we continue to hold all the parishioners and friends from Holy Spirit Parish in our prayers at each site especially those who asked for specific prayers of healing. Today and last night here at Fatima was a particular highlight for me as it opened my eyes to the simplicity of Mary’s message to the world: one of prayer, peace and good works.
Our pilgrimage guide here at Fatima explained that Mary appeared to the three children six times on the same day, the 13th, of each month from May to October, 1917 at the same site. However, prior to these apparitions there were three more apparitions but by an angel announcing Our Lady’s future appearance to them. The message of the angel was to teach them to pray each and every day. At that time Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta who were only 10, 9 and 7 years old, did not know how to even pray the Rosary as they were so uneducated. The angel appeared to them in 1916 right in the middle of the first world war and asked them to pray a simple and yet profound prayer daily. I heard my mother pray this prayer but I never knew its origin.
“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!”
Mary reinforces the same message of prayer each apparition and to follow that prayer with sacrifices for others. She emphasized how we are called to offer up some small sacrifice each day for others, in the simple way we do things for others. Maybe it is a small inconvenience of some sort that is uncomfortable: giving someone the best seat, allowing someone into the conversation in a group, offering to do the chores around the house, etc. Or maybe it is a larger sacrifice where we eat a little less and buy less and give to the homeless or needy, sacrifice our wants to give to someone whose needs are not met.
Yes! The message of Our Lady of Fatima needs to be heard by each one of us, including myself. We need to pray every day, and we need to sacrifice for others every day. We ought to pray for those who have nobody to pray for them, living and dead; to do acts of kindness for those who are our friends and those who are not friends. According to the gospel today, we cannot have two masters, God and mammon. May we allow the Lord to give us the grace to follow Christ to his Father and never chose mammon, or the ways of this world.