By E. William Sockey III –
Recently a good pastor reminded his parishioners that Our Lady’s primary concern is that everyone come to know and love her Son Jesus. Her appearance at Fatima was no different. It was not primarily about stopping Russia from conquering the world, preventing nuclear war or obtaining world peace, but about converting those who do not know and love Jesus. She needs our help to do this, and the world situation today calls us to a sense of urgency.
The Angel of Peace provides the foundation of the message
The Angel of Peace sets a foundation for the Our Lady’s purpose in appearing. He conveyed a message to the children that peace is the fruit of converting “sinners” to love of God and neighbor. People who don’t love God and neighbor tend to love themselves above all things and have little regard for anyone who stands in their way, as exemplified by the wide acceptance of abortion and other ideologies that destroy life and the dignity of the person as made in the image of God. People who love God and their neighbor don’t kill others in order to get what they want.
In his first appearance, the angel asked the children to pray for those in need of conversion with this prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you! I ask pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you!” He added, “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”
In his second appearance he implored, “Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.” It seems the children had been chosen as special instruments to bring God’s mercy on the sinful world. Lucia asked the Angel, “How are we to make sacrifices?” The angel replied, “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.” He added, “You will thus draw down peace upon your country” and then he said, “Above all accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.”
Lucia said, “These words were indelibly impressed upon our minds. They were like a light that made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, He grants the grace of conversion of sinners.”
Not only prayer, but also sacrifice
Notice that Lucia did not say “the value of prayer” but “the value of sacrifice.” This is important to remember. At Fatima, we were asked for both prayer and sacrifice! Saint Augustine taught that everything offered to God is a sacrifice: prayers, works, joys and sufferings, as in the traditional Morning Offering. Lucia said that at this point the children made no special sacrifices except continually praying the Pardon Prayer that the angel taught. For the rest, they simply offered up whatever mortifications came their way in the course of each day. This is the “Little Way” of St. Therese the Little Flower for pleasing God and attaining holiness: to accept with submission and love the suffering that God permits in our daily lives! She pointed out that since God is all knowing, all loving and all powerful, He cannot permit good people to suffer except for a good reason. The salvation of souls is the most important thing in the universe, all that will matter when the world finally comes to an end! Jesus calls us to participate in His Passion in this way, sharing with us His power to do this. This is why St. John Paul II advised us to offer penance for our loved ones who are in need of conversion, not just to pray for them.
In the angel’s third appearance, he gave the children Holy Communion and taught what’s known as the Angel Prayer in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference against the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, by which He is offended. Offering our Holy Communion as reparation for sin is a powerful way to bring down God’s mercy on the world!
Our Lady appears at Fatima
Sister Lucia said that Our Lady’s most important request at Fatima was expressed in her first question to the three children: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He 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?” We are all called to participate in this work in the ordinary course of our lives as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, for the salvation of the world.
Our Lady also appealed for the daily Rosary on every visit from May to October. Unfortunately, many concluded that the Rosary was the most important request of Our Lady, and that the Rosary alone would bring peace to the world. Untold millions of Rosaries were prayed for peace; yet the spiritual, moral and temporal condition of the West continued to deteriorate! Without a doubt, all those Rosaries lessened or slowed down the rate of deterioration, and brought about many individual conversions. But we must admit that the current moral situation in our country and the world is much worse than it was in 1917. Therefore, what is needed is our sacrifices, and we cannot forget Our Lady’s request for the Communions of Reparation on First Saturdays in reparation for sins against her Immaculate Heart that cause many to go to hell. Our Lady stressed in the July apparition, after the vision of hell, “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.” Like the message of the angel, Our Lady spoke of peace as being a consequence of converting sinners, her primary concern.
The prophetic vision of the Third Secret in the July apparition was to show us the extreme danger that the world was in in 1917, and the power of her requests at Fatima to prevent this from happening. The vision began with an angel holding a flaming sword over the world, which Our Lady was holding back from striking the earth. The angel was crying “Penance, penance, penance!” emphasizing again the urgent need for those in the state of grace to offer penance – sacrifices – for the conversion of those not in the state of grace.
In August, Our Lady again urged the children, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” She doesn’t want a single one of her children to be lost, and she depends upon us to help save as many as possible.
The moral corruption of Western civilization that we are experiencing today is largely due to sin — our acceptance of the atheistic ideologies that have spread from Russia. In many cases, we have been complicit in spreading them – materialism, relativism, abortion, euthanasia, the destruction of marriage and family as God designed. But we can turn this around.
What do we need to do?
Catholics need to appreciate the fact that, because of Original Sin, a fundamental reality of this world is the spiritual warfare against Satan and his fallen angels for the salvation of souls. It is God’s will and plan that the children of Adam and Eve engage in this battle to restore to the world the love of God and neighbor that was lost by the sin of our first parents. God’s plan to save the world was not completed immediately by Our Lord’s death and Resurrection. That was only the beginning!
After His Ascension into heaven, Our Lord sent the Holy Spirit to unite the faithful to Him in such a manner that we receive through Baptism His power of saving souls by our own prayers and suffering. This was His most important work on earth, and it is also ours as members of His Mystical Body. This is how we engage most directly in the spiritual warfare. It isn’t enough to pray only, but we must join to our fervent prayers our sacrifices, especially the power of our daily crosses. It is a great gift of the faithful to be able to participate in Our Lord’s Passion by uniting our sufferings to His.
We should develop an “attitude” of sacrifice throughout the day, beginning with the Morning Offering as soon as we wake up. In accordance with Our Lady’s specific request, we should then continue to pray, whenever we make a sacrifice, “O Jesus, it is for love of you, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart.”
This is the work of Our Lady’s Blue Army, and by this, we will see many conversions and enjoy the blessing of peace in our nations.
William Sockey was the custodian of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, before his retirement.