It is now one hundred years since the Angel of Peace spoke for the first time to the little shepherds of Fatima in order to teach them a short prayer : « My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You. »
It is very interesting to observe the parallel between this first teaching from the Angel and that of the Holy Virgin the following year during her first apparition. The two dialogues begin in almost the same way. The Angel says : « Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. » And Our Lady says : « Fear not. I won’t harm you. »
Our Lady then asks Lucia : « Will you offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He sends you, in atonement for all the sins that offend Him, and for the conversion of sinners ? »
The wording is different from that used by the Angel, but the meaning is the same : to ask for pardon for sinners and to make reparation for the sins they have committed. The Angel expresses himself in the imperative by preceding and following the prayer he’s teaching with two commands : « Pray with me. » and « Pray in this way. »
Our Lady does it using the interrogative : « Will you offer yourselves to God … » The Angel asks for an act of obedience, Our Lady, for an act of self-will, which is logical, as since the spring of the preceding year, the little seers have had the time to reflect on the Angel’s words. Our Lady can therefore ask them to commit themselves.
This necessity for praying and making sacrifices for sinners is one of the oldest teachings of the Church, which regularly reminds us of it, as was the case just a few days ago, on the Vigil of the Ascension. In the Epistle of Saint James, read during the Mass of Rogations (in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite), it says : « Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him ; let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. »
The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary asks us precisely to pray and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Understandably, the Holy Virgin was able to affirm to the little seers : « I promise salvation to whoever embraces this devotion. » This is a very good example of the conformity of Fatima’s message with the Gospel.
So, two heavenly figures come to Fatima, and what do they begin by asking ? To pray for sinners. At Lourdes, at Pontmain, Our Lady had already asked for prayer. But here, She is more precise : She asks for prayers for the conversion of sinners. And to be sure that Her request be completely understood, She, who is Queen of Angels and Queen of Peace, sends the Angel of Peace a year before, to prepare Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to receive this message. What a marvellous teaching method. How could uneducated children, aged between six and ten, have invented all that ?
But how to pray ? How to make sacrifices ? During the appartition of summer 1916, the Angel replied to Lucia who had asked him this question : « You can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. ( … ) Above all, bear and accept with patience the sufferings which God will send you. » Our Lady does not wait for Lucia’s question. On the 13th of May 1917, she directly specifies exactly what should be done : « Bear all the sufferings that God sends you, in atonement for all the sins that offend Him, and for the conversion of sinners. »
She doesn’t ask for the greatest penitence or long prayers. No ! Our Lady and the Angel simply ask us to bear the sufferings we encounter every day and to offer them for the conversion of sinners ! So, no pilgrimage, no mortifications, no long prayer vigils, no vow in particular, even though all these things are highly commendable. No ! What Heaven is asking for, is the humble offering of the difficulties of everyday life : our failures, our infirmities, solitude for some (a suffering which can be very hard to bear), upsets, etc.
For example, among the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy (see the catechism of Pope Saint Pius X) there is : « To bear patiently with persons who are difficult ». Whether it be in school, in the office, in the street, at home, on public transport, etc., is there ever a single day when we do not encounter a difficult person, be it our boss, our department head, a fellow worker, a neighbour … ? So many opportunities for us to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners !
If possible, offer them whilst reciting either the Angel’s prayer, or that taught by Our Lady on the 13th of July 1917 : « Oh Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the Holy Father. »
It is urgent to respond to this request from Heaven. All over the world peace depends on it. The Angel said so ! « In this way, you will bring peace to your country. » Can it not be said that, since Fatima, peace in the world is not highly valued ? What are we waiting for to put this means into action and thereby bring peace to our country ?
If only on this occasion of the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima we could acquire, little by little, the habit of offering for sinners all the difficulties of our daily lives, we will have made a real and very beautiful Work of Mercy ! May the Holy Spirit send us this grace on this Feast of Pentecost.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Yves de Lassus
President, Cap Fatima 2017. (www.fatima100.fr)
Several people have asked us if we were going to organise a pilgrimage to Fatima for the centenary. The answer is no. Since the beginning, the object of this project has been to make known Fatima’s message and not to organise events. In any case, the small team which manages the project does not have the means to organise such a pilgrimage. Moreover, this would only serve to double the number of pilgrimages which are, or will be, organised for the occasion.
Whilst on the subject, perhaps it would not be superfluous to recall briefly the objectives of Cap Fatima 2017 such as they were set out a year ago :
- To take advantage of the centenary of the apparitions to make Fatima’s message better known.
- To put this message into pratice ; in particular, to work towards establishing the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary throughout the world.
- To recall that this centres around five practices :
- the daily recital of the Rosary,
- the offering of sacrifices in everyday life and prayers for the conversion of sinners,
- the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month,
- consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the consecration of individuals or communities of any kind : families, schools, parishes, dioceses, or country, …),
- wearing the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
- All this for four precise reasons :
- because it is the will of God Himself,
- to gain our salvation,
- for the conversion of sinners,
- for peace in the world.