Week of 5/13/2018
Yesterday, May 12, our many second graders received their first Holy Communion. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. What makes this timing so beautiful are several profound connections. First, theologically, we can say that Mary is the Mother of the Eucharist. As the mother of the Godman Jesus Christ, Mary is therefore the Mother of Jesus forever in heaven. Therefore, we honor her as the Queen of Heaven and the greatest of the saints. Hence, Mary’s profound connection to the Eucharist is inseparable and eternal.
In 1916, the Angel of Portugal appeared to the three children one year before the Blessed Mother did. The Angel taught the children several beautiful prayers that we introduced last year to all the religious education students from 2nd grade on up. In the third and final apparition, the Angel suspended a chalice in the air with a Host, and knelt to adore Our Lord in the Eucharist. He then proceeded to give Lucia a Host (she had already received her first Holy Communion) and a sip of the Precious Blood to Jacinta and Francisco. Hence, we see Heaven placing great emphasis on adoring Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, and the need for a worthy reception of Holy Communion. To kneel, to adore, to express love in prayer and repentance of sins, are all a part of the enduring Fatima message, and are essential components of properly receiving the Holy Eucharist. As we celebrate the 101st anniversary of Fatima, it is crucial that we give our children constant catechesis and good example regarding the great treasures to be found in Eucharistic adoration.
Receiving the Holy Eucharist has essential norms precisely because Eucharist is God in the Flesh. Thus, God’s “rights” surpass ours. This means that God has right, or is owed, our worship because we owe Him everything: life, and the hope of eternal life. This means first, we are confident that we are free from mortal sin. If not, we must go to confession before. Why? Because the person must be reunited to God in the Body of Christ via absolution of the Church, in order to then gain the treasures of the Eucharist. Secondly, we need to fast for one hour at least; though if someone is seriously ill this fast can be readily dispensed by the priest. Thirdly, we need to be disposed towards focus on God’s love while approaching Communion; avoiding negative or distracting thoughts.
We now have the incredible gift, from Jesus and Mary (and hundreds of great volunteers!), of our new perpetual adoration chapel here dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. Thus, we must realize just how much the Virgin Mary loves each of us and sees us as her beloved children; everyone without exception. Thus, her message at Fatima is a loving challenge to holiness, embedded in the eternal love of the greatest mother of all time. If we can make the commitment to adore Jesus Christ once a week in our adoration chapel, we will be giving gratitude to His Mother for her love as well. The treasures to be received will be countless.
St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, who died at ages 11 and 10, are now the youngest canonized saints in the Church. When parents aspire for their children to “succeed in life,” what could be better than having them deeply in love with and dedicated to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary?
I implore, even challenge every family to choose an hour each week to adore Jesus in the Fatima Chapel; you will never regret time spent in prayer before Jesus!! And, the children you love will grow up with a greater Presence of God in their souls. So when they reach adolescence, break free for college, move away and marry, your children will have deeper penetration of grace and God’s love embedded in their souls. Please call the parish office or sign up on our website online. Time spent with Christ will only be greater spiritual armor in this world, and powerful hope for the next. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “every hour we spend with Jesus will be remembered by Him for all eternity.”
God love you, Fr. Brian Gannon