Lent with Jacinta

Lent with St. Jacinta

St. Jacinta Marto had a very special relationship with the Blessed Mother and carried out her deep devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart by embracing a sacrificial life in reparation for the sins of mankind. After the apparitions and especially during her long bout of illness, Our Lady visited Jacinta on numerous occasions, especially when she was sick in the hospital. In fact, Jacinta had a chair next to her bed that she did not want removed because that was where the Blessed Mother sat when she visited her.

Mary gave her messages that had to do with the ways in which we fall into sin and offend God. Jacinta shared these with Mother Godhino, a Sister in the order of ? who cared for Jacinta.  Each Sunday in Lent we will post a new reflection on the six special messages given to St. Jacinta by the heavenly Mother.

WEEK 1:  The “Sins of Impurity”

“More sinners go to hell because of sins of impurity more than any other”

Could nine-year-old Jacinta Marto even imagine what was meant by “sins of impurity” (often stated as sins of the flesh), when she was given this serious message by the Blessed Mother at Fatima?

Jacinta could certainly imagine hell – because she had seen it.

But she had not seen what sins of impurity look like – things people do behind closed doors, or in their thoughts and actions that defile their minds and bodies, their dignity and the dignity of others. She was too young and innocent to know of these things.

Which makes this statement from the Blessed Mother all the more real to us. The only reason the Blessed Mother would have given this message to her is because Jacinta would make reparation for these sins – whatever they are – if they caused someone to go to hell.

And the Blessed Mother had also told the three Fatima children that many people go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.

So, Jacinta understood how serious this statement was.   Read more…

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WEEK 2: The “Sins of War”

“War is a punishment from God for sins.”

From the beginning of the fall, mankind has been at war with one another. Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Eve blamed the serpent; both now viewed each other suspiciously. Cain became jealous of Able. Ishmael was at odds with Isaac; Esau with Jacob; Jacob’s sons with Joseph; Saul with David.

All of these conflicts can be blamed on one thing – personal sin. Nothing else caused this.

Sin is social. When you sin, it afflicts someone else, who then afflicts another and the consequences extend beyond our knowledge.

During St. Jacinta’s time, the whole world was at war. Surely Jacinta heard the stories of the wounded and dying soldiers, of bombs blowing things up, of guns that fired constantly.  When these soldiers came home, their experiences came with them and the war perhaps continued into their own families.

The 20th century marked the first time in human history that man would develop the means to destroy itself and the entire planet.  It is no longer just about one person capable of murdering another.  Now it is about entire civilizations capable of mass destruction on a scale never seen before.  Read more…

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WEEK 3: The “Sins of Vanity”

“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very greatly and those who serve God should not follow them.” 

How difficult these days to find clothing designs that don’t draw the wrong attention, clothing that speaks to the beauty, truth and goodness of women and men. It is an upstream battle against a culture that is increasingly absorbed in things of the flesh.

Little Jacinta Marto, when she received this message from Our Lady, had no experience of going to a shopping mall or even a store to purchase clothing. The family made their clothing, or it was carefully preserved and handed down from older siblings. Clothing was designed to protect the body from the elements and to protect the virtue of the person. Jacinta had no exposure to media that would promote something otherwise.

But would Our Lady have just been speaking about clothing or about all that has become fashionable – things we do to our bodies? How quickly it became acceptable and even fashionable to get a tattoo; now it is about many tattoos all over the body, including one’s head and face to the point of distorting one’s image. Some have taken cosmetic surgery to such an extreme out of vanity that they have destroyed their natural beauty. We see how quickly it is becoming mainstream to change one’s bodily gender simply because of how one “feels”, with no concern for the underlying issues that are driving these feelings.  READ MORE

 

 

WEEK 4: The “Sins of Selfishness”

“Many marriages are not good; they are not pleasing to Our Lord and are not good.”

What would make a marriage “not good?”   How are they not pleasing to Our Lord?

Many of the problems of marriage stem from selfishness, an inability to live the sacrificial life that the marriage vocation calls for. Marriage calls one to greater love – a love that puts the other first.

From the beginning of creation, God ordained a covenant relationship between the man and the woman, designing for Adam a “suitable partner” whom he called Eve, his wife. The love between the two produced new life, imaging the Communion of Persons in the Holy Trinity.

Jesus directed the Pharisees to go back “to the beginning” in order to understand marriage as God instituted. “God made them male and female … and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mk 10:7-8).

Certainly if a marriage does not start from this premise, it would be one that is displeasing to God.  In the passage above, Jesus was specifically addressing the Pharisee’s question about divorce and the hardness of their hearts. But later, he explains to his apostles that if one divorces and marries another, he or she commits adultery. The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out a number of offenses against the dignity of the marriage covenant, including adultery, divorce, polygamy, free union, incest and other sins against chastity. (CCC 2380-2391)  READ MORE

WEEK 5: The “Sins of Disobedience”

“Priests must be very pure and concentrate on their mission to the Church and souls, and be obedient to the pope and their superiors.”

Lucia often mentioned in her memoirs how ardently Jacinta prayed for the Holy Father and for priests. Lucia, too, felt called to pray for priests while she was in the convent. Our Lady knows that the Holy Father, the bishops, priests and religious are targets of attacks by the evil one. She stood by the apostles after Christ’s Ascension and helped support the nascent Church. Surely she saw the difficulties they encountered along the way and prayed for their protection and perseverance in the spiritual battle. This, perhaps, is why she gave this message to Jacinta, to encourage the faithful to pray for priests in their journey.

How many priests, bishops and even popes since the time of the apostles have gone astray in their mission to bring souls to Christ? How many have been indifferent to God’s grace and buried their treasures? How many have sold their vocation for earthly pleasures, as Esau, and are not able to get it back? How many have lived in disobedience to their vows and the teachings of Christ and His Church, leading others to sin?

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WEEK 6: The “Sins of Covetousness”

“Run away from riches. Cherish silence and holy poverty.”

These words by Jacinta to her caretaker, Mother Maria Godhino, reflect what Our Lady had told her, that seeking the treasures and luxuries of the world are a detriment to one’s soul. In fact we are told to “run away.” She calls it “holy” poverty because it is in detaching from our material possessions and comforts of earthly life that we set our sights on heaven.

This is not to say that those living in poverty are holier than those better off, or that they should not want to be raised out of poverty. Jesus upheld the giving of alms to the needy as a moral duty. The corporal acts of mercy include feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

Jesus admonished the building up of treasure on earth while ignoring the building up of treasure in heaven – “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” … (Mt 6:21).

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