Our Lady of Fatima
Today, the Church celebrates the devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. It was on this day in 1917 that Mary first appeared, and would continue to appear five more times to three shepherd children. The children’s names were Lucia Santos, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Lucia was special among the three because she lived the longest out of the three, and she shared recollections of her experience of the apparitions. In her recollections, she has two conversations that grasp the heart of today’s readings.
On May 13, 1917, Lucia and Jacinta were the first to see Mary. Lucia and Jacinta promised each other not to say anything to anyone about the promises Mary made to lead all souls to heaven. Lucia was surprised when Jacinta’s brother, Francisco, told Lucia the next day that Jacinta told him everything. Lucia confronted Jacinta, worried about what the reactions of others might be. Jacinta said with tears in her eyes, “There was something within me that wouldn’t let me keep quiet.” Like Jacinta, the Church has the joy of the Resurrection within its soul that cannot be contained. We are meant to share the promise of salvation that flows from the wood of the Cross.
Like Jesus, we do not preach the Gospel without personal cost. The second conversation in Lucia’s memoir touches on this point. During the May 13th apparition, Mary asked, “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings [God] wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” The children responded that they were willing. Mary replied, “Then, you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” God knows what discipleship will mean for us. Discipleship will lead us to encounter the pain and confusion that are the effects of sin in the world. Through embracing suffering for the sake of others, we feel the effects of the Spirit that guided Jesus to do likewise for us.
What is a part of my faith that brings me uncontainable joy? How am I invited to embrace suffering for the sake of others? How do I experience the comfort of Jesus in this act? (Quotations from Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words)