In the previous newsletter, we saw everything that the Angel had taught to the little shepherds during the course of his first apparition : not only a prayer, but also the attitude to adopt in real prayer, to whom it should be addressed so that it can be effective, and what will be the fruits thereof. Next, we come to the text itself of this short prayer.
« My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. » By this, the angel indicates that which is our first duty : adoration, and the exercise of the three theological virtues. These virtues incline us towards living in relation with the Holy Trinity. They have God as their origin, motive and objective. (Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X.) They are at the summit of all the virtues, because they specifically determine our union with God, particularly Charity.
The Angel continues : « I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You. » This request is one of the central points of the message of Fatima, perhaps even the most important. (See letters n°3 and n°7.) What is being said here? That there are people who are not pleasing to God because they don’t adore Him and ignore the theological virtues ? Is there any situation more unhappy than this ? The Angel teaches us that we can get people out of this situation by asking that they be pardoned.
The following year, Our Lady will say the same thing to the little seers, but in stronger terms : « Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls will go to hell because they have no-one to make sacrifices and pray for them. » (Apparition of the 19th of August, 1917, see newsletter n°9.) It is possible to give this sentence a positive meaning by saying : many souls will be saved if people pray and make sacrifices for them. This is the actual meaning of the Angel’s prayer. And this is also what Our Lord will teach a few years later, on the 25th of February 1922, to Sister Josepha Menendez : « Sinners arouse divine wrath. But the souls which love Me, sacrifice themselves, are consumed as victims of reparation, attract God’s Mercy, and it is that which saves the world. »
Make reparation for the faults committed by sinners through our prayers and sacrifices, « it is that which saves the world » ! Such an act of reparation is a very beautiful way of practising mercy toward those who are sinful. Even so, the notion of mercy should not be misunderstood. Christianity does not exalt just any kind of mercy. The mercy which the Gospel describes as a Beatitude (« Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy. » - Mt. V,7) is something else other than simply a generalised pity applied equally for someone else’s fault or their suffering. Evangelical mercy is aimed at misery and not at sin. It is fit and proper to make the distinction.
There are two kinds of evil in the world : wilfull evil and imposed evil. The former is sin and the latter is misery. Saint Thomas talks of evils of fault and evils of penalty. There is a major difference between these two ideas, which are diametrically opposite, because the same evil cannot be both voluntary and involuntary. Therefore, these two types of evil entail two different reactions :
- The first, wilfull evil, or sin, because it is voluntary, and as far as it is voluntary, calls for reprobation and indignation.
- The second, imposed evil, or misery, because it is involuntary, and only in so far as it is involuntary, calls for compassion and mercy.
Sin is a rebellion against God’s mercy. Rather than encouraging His mercy, it calls for His Justice. But as soon as the will to do evil withdraws, as soon as repentance sets in, and the sinner regrets his conduct, the sin becomes misery and therefore the object of mercy. The most beautiful illustration of this is given to us by Our Lord Himself in his parables, especially that of the Prodigal Son, and the Pharisee and the Publican.
In practice, evil can be both partly willed and partly imposed, because in mankind, weakness is much more frequent than malice. Accordingly, we should assume that the fault of the sinner is more probably due to weakness than to ill will and we should have compassion for the sinner, not as a sinner desiring evil, but as a wretch subject to evil, even if in the beginning evil is (or was) his will. It is in this sense that the Angel’s words should be understood : « I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You. »
Let us admire, then, the beauty of this prayer, let us take it to heart and enjoy sending it over and over again, all day long, to our Creator. May these months which bring us closer to the Centenary be for all of us the occasion to practise it.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Yves de Lassus,
President, Cap Fatima 2017. (www.fatima100.fr)
After the closing Mass for the exhibition of the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil, on the 10th of April, Cardinal Sarah ended his sermon by saying :
Dear Brothers and Sisters, we are invited to carefully consider the importance of the presence of Mary in the life of the Church and in our personal lives. Pray the Rosary, the Angelus, every day, in our families, or by ourselves, let us entrust ourselves to Her, consecrate ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart and consecrate our families to Her, in particular all the young people who are preparing for marriage : we are her beloved children ! May she help us to be courageous witnesses of her Son, intrepid missionaries of the New Evangelisation, so that the seamless Tunic of Christ may clothe every man who thirsts for the Truth. Amen.
Let us follow the Cardinal’s advice and continue to be apostles of this consecration : consecrate our families, our schools, suggest to our priest that he consecrate or renew the consecration of our parish, etc.
We are entering the month of May, the ‘’month of Mary’’. What a beautiful opportunity to consecrate themselves for those who have not yet done so. A consecration is scheduled for the 31st of May (feast of the Queenship of Mary in the Extraordinary Form of the Rite, feast of the Visitation in the Ordinary Form), with a preparation beginning on the 1st of May.
Mary is, at the same time, Queen of Angels and Queen of Peace. She is therefore doubly Queen of the Angel of Peace She sent to us a hundred years ago to prepare us for the message that she would deliver the following year : God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So, let’s not wait – consecrate ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart now.
This Saturday is the first Saturday of the month. Don’t forget the communion of reparation on this day. To help us with the 15 minute meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary as asked for by Our Lady, meditations written by Abbé Delagneau have been posted on the site with his kind permission.
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