The following article is by the secretary of the St. Bernardine of Siena Fraternity, Pat Cetera, OFS.
A hundred years ago on May 13, 1917, as three poor shepherd children (Jacinta, Francisco, Lucia) worked the fields, Our Lady of the Rosary appeared the first time in Fatima, Portugal. During the sixth and final apparition on October 13, 1917, the “Messenger” and the message was authenticated when the sun danced across the sky, and seemed to plummet to earth before returning to its natural home. Unbelievers became believers.
The message was similar to all other messages reaching the world from Our Lord and Our Mother: pray for the conversion of sinners and world peace, perform acts of sacrifice and reparation, be repentant and change our lives.This time, secrets were entrusted and promises were made. Those who embrace the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (as requested by Jesus) in reparation for all the outrages and blasphemies wounding her deeply, were promised salvation. The daily recitation of the rosary for peace and the conversion of sinners, the Consecration of Russia, and the Five First Saturdays were requested. Unless people honored these requests, there would be punishment because Our Lady could “no longer hold back the arm of her Beloved Son”.
As with our own children, we choose not to hear or obey. Conflicts are still present in distant lands as well as in our own, and extend into our lives and communities. Sin runs rampant everywhere. Morality is difficult to find, or “adjusted” by what we think it should be. Many do pray the rosary daily for peace and the conversion of sinners, yet for the rest of us, “more important things” often keep us from doing what we need to do.
When we participate in the many celebrations to honor Our Blessed Mother during the next few months, let us open our hearts and lives to her, and the message she has given. Pray that all her children obey and heed the warnings. After all, a Mother speaks out of love to teach and protect the children entrusted to her. Our Lady, the Perfect Mother, out of love, is constantly leading us directly to her Son.