Newsletter n°58 (28 August 2017)
On the 19th of August 1917, Our Lady did not simply ask that we pray for the conversion of sinners (see previous newsletter), she said: “Pray. Pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners.” If we want to save sinners from hell, we should not therefore only pray, but we should also make sacrifices for them.
This was the fourth time in the history of Fatima that we had been asked to make sacrifices for sinners. During the apparition in the summer of 1916 the Angel had already said: “You must offer your prayers and sacrifices to God, the Most High.” Lucia then asked him: “How are we to sacrifice?” And the Angel replied: “In every way you can, offer a 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 God will send you.”
On the 13th of May 1917, Our Lady asked the little seers: “Will you bear all the sufferings God sends you, in atonement for all the sins that offend Him, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners”, an almost identical expression to that of the Angel.
And on the 13th of July She told them: “Make sacrifices for sinners”, then She asked them to say a prayer: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Both the Angel and Our Lady therefore asked that prayer be associated with sacrifice.
This request to make sacrifices is an essential point of the message (see newsletter°6). Unfortunately, the expression “make sacrifices” often scares us. Many imagine that we have to subject ourselves to severe penance. The little seers certainly did so; but this is not what the message of Fatima asks for, at least not in the first place. The Angel and Our Lady ask, in almost identical terms, that we accept and support with meekness all the sufferings God sends us.
Imposing little sacrifices on ourselves, such as little restrictions on how much we eat or drink, or in other of life’s little pleasures, is very useful. But these sacrifices, all voluntary, are above all necessary to discipline our willpower. Fatima’s demand concerns first and foremost all the sacrifices that we do not choose. This is what Sister Lucia explained in a letter which she addressed on the 28th of February 1943 to Monseigneur Feirrera, one of her confessors:
Here is the penance for which the good Lord asks today: it is the penance that each must impose on himself to lead a just life in the observance of His law. And He wants that we make this way clearly known to souls, because many understand the word “penance” as meaning “severe austerity”, and as they feel neither the force nor the generosity for it, they lose heart and they give themselves over to a life of tepidity and sin. From Thursday to Friday, finding myself in the chapel with the permission of my superiors, at midnight, Our Lord tells me: “The sacrifice which requires that everyone accomplish his own duty and observe my law, that is the penance I ask and for, and which I now demand."
A little later, in a letter of the 4th of May 1943, she confided to Father Gonçalvès, another of her confessors:
He [Jesus] wishes that we make souls understand that the real penance which He asks for and demands now consists above all in the sacrifice that everyone has to impose on himself to fulfil his own spiritual and material duties.
This is in perfect conformity with Tradition as well as the teaching of the saints. For true penance is the eradication of one’s own will. Saint Francis of Sales taught: “It doesn’t matter to the devil if you tear yourself apart as long as you do it of your own will. He’s not afraid of austerity, he’s only afraid of your sacrificing your will. ( … ) The miserable Pharisee fasted twice a week and perished. The Publican had not and was justified.” And again: “You’re not asked to sacrifice your life, just to keep your patience with little impediments.”
Our Lord Himself taught Saint Margaret Mary:
You are mistaken, my daughter, in thinking that you please me with mortifications whereby your own will overrides that of your superiors … I deplore all this as fruits corrupted by your own will, which I loathe. I prefer rather that you progress through obedience, rather than by heaping austerities on yourself by your own will.
And to Saint Catherine of Siena Our Lord taught:
I pay little importance to those who wish to mortify their body by penance, without overcoming and obliterating their own will. What I prefer are acts of patient courage and interior virtues. I desire that works of penance and other practices be the means and not the aim of the soul.
Here also is what Sister Lucia declared to a Brazilian bishop, Monseigneur Palha:
The perfect accomplishment of the penance of the duties of one’s state of life, that is what Our Lady asks for. There are souls who think of great, extraordinary mortifications, of macerations, something they don’t feel capable of, so much so that they lose courage. When Our Lady demands penance, She is speaking of the exact accomplishment of the duty of our state of life: that is holiness.
And so, Heaven does not ask great penance, hard mortifications or long prayers from us. 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. And God does not ask of us pilgrimages, painful mortifications, long prayer vigils, etc., all things otherwise thoroughly commendable (subject to their being chosen with discernment and with preference on the advice of one’s confessor). No! What He asks for is the humble offering of the difficulties of everyday life: our failures, our weaknesses; for some, solitude (a particularly difficult suffering); the multiple little annoyances of daily life; for fathers and mothers, the accomplishment of their parental duties: running a home, the children’s education, sacrifices so that they can go to good schools, etc.
Another example: among the seven spiritual works of mercy (see the catechism of Saint Pius X), is: to bear patiently with persons who are difficult. Whether it be at school, in the office, in the street, at home, on public transport, etc., is there a single day when we don’t come across someone difficult, either our boss, our departmental head, a colleague, a neighbour, … ? We thereby have so many occasions to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners!
And if possible, offer all these sacrifices while saying a prayer, particularly that taught by Our Lady on the 13th of July 1917: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.”
The Consecration of Russia and the first Saturday of the month
The letter of support to Cardinal Burke has up to now gathered more than a thousand signatures (see newsletter n°52). It has not been possible to deliver it to him by hand, as initially planned, so it has been sent by post today, and should reach him before the end of the week.
As indicated in the letter, we should recite our Rosary every day and offer the communion of reparation of the next first Saturday with this intention: that the Holy Father consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in respecting the requests made by Our Lady, in particularly by ordering a solemn and public act of reparation and that he approve and recommend the devotion of reparation of the first Saturdays of the month.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Yves de Lassus,
Cap Fatima 2017.