Week of 5/21/2017
100 years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to now St. Jacinta, St. Francisco, and Sr. Lucia (whose cause for beatification is well underway). Central to these messages are three incredible revelations she gave to the children. Let’s talk of the first two. They are about communism taking over in Russia and spreading many errors across the world, and the vision of hell. Why did she pick these subjects as warnings? And since the Church fully approved the revelations at Fatima, what is the significance for today? Let’s briefly reflect.
First, Russia. At this point in history, (May 1917) Czar Nicholas II had abdicated authority. The Russian government was being run by a democratic assembly which sought to continue the war against Germany while trying to bring relief to the people. Nicolai Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, was working furiously to bring down this government and install the communist government. How remarkable it is that the BVM spoke of Russia and communism a few months before they took power. The key is her warning of the errors that would spread because of institutionalized communism in a major world power.
We know what happened; the unfortunate carving up of Post War Eastern Europe that initiated tremendous persecution of the Church by the Soviet Empire, and the spread of communism to China, Vietnam, Korea, etc., all resulting in mass persecutions of the Catholic Church. Then comes the incredible fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989; a bloodless revolution that led to the freeing of hundreds of millions of people to worship as they wished. Without a doubt, this goes back to the millions upon millions of rosaries prayed at the behest of the Virgin at Fatima!
The second secret dealt with the vision of hell. It is very sobering: the Blessed Virgin Mary showed the horrors of eternal damnation to a 10, 9 and seven year old. Lucia said it lasted but a moment; they almost died of fright. Perhaps, if the Virgin Mary did that today in America, someone would file a class action suit against her for emotional duress. The point: hell is real. The children said they saw many souls falling in; the Virgin Mary confirmed that “many souls” indeed had gone to hell. In a later statement to Jacinta, the BVM said that more souls go to hell for the sins of the flesh than for any other reason. That is a very unnerving, if not fright- ening, thought. In today’s culture, carnal pleasure is worshipped, much like fertility cults in the ancient world. Such immorality is highly destructive.
The answer: turning towards Christ and repenting our sins. Confession is such an incredible gift; we make a concrete admission of sins in repentance, and we receive an absolute cleansing of the soul. We have the consolation and promise of God that in a concrete place at a set time, we can be assured that God has washed our souls clean! It manifests the great generosity of God, as well as the incredible truth that God died a torturous death for us so that we could have a chance at eternal glory and true happiness.
The above revelations at Fatima, many times referred to as secrets, are not meant as wrath filled warnings to the world, but instead a cry of love from God that sin wounds us, our families and nations. God’s love seeks to protect us. Turning back to God is a constant daily battle. But God gives us the most magnificent “weapons”. The Holy Mass, which explodes grace into our souls if we are open to it. Confession, which washes souls clean of deep wounds. The Rosary, which brings the presence of the Blessed Mother into our homes and children’s lives; which then brings them protection and strength against evil. Immerse yourself and your children in these three “weapons” and we can then see more clearly the path to glory!!
Many thanks to our great Pro life committee for the beautiful May crowning last Sunday, and our great K of C who cooked up yet another fabulous breakfast on Mother’s Day after Mass; great fellowship, food and fun! Special prayers for a hundred first communicants, may each future Holy Communion bring them countless graces!!! And our great CCD teachers led by Joanne Durkin for their great service in preparing our children!
God love you, Fr. Brian Gannon