by Barb Ernster –
St. Jacinta and St. Francisco, whose feast day is Feb. 20, were heroic in their ability to turn to God with great confidence in His love. It did not matter that a world war and a pandemic were raging about them; their only concern was that they were doing God’s will and seeking to please Him by embracing all their sufferings. We have much to learn from them, especially during this time of pandemic.
Before her death, St. Jacinta spent many months in and out of the hospital wards and orphanage where she convalesced. Suffering much from her emaciated condition and loneliness in not seeing her family, she spent much of her time observing those around her and contemplating the human and spiritual conditions that had earthly and eternal consequence. Some of these things she revealed to her caretaker Mother Godinho, such as the need to embrace modesty, to spurn luxury and riches and that confession is a sacrament of mercy that we must embrace with joy and trust.
Jacinta prophesied on several occasions as well. She told her attending doctor, who asked her to pray for him when she got to heaven, that he, too, would be in heaven soon. The good doctor died shortly thereafter, perhaps from the pandemic. She also predicted the imminent death of another doctor who cared for her, as well as the death of his daughter, which also came true. Surely she suffered and prayed for them.
She took pity and prayed for other doctors whom she observed as being arrogant in their knowledge of science while denying the existence of God. Jacinta noticed the effect this had on their suffering patients. “Doctors do not know how to cure people properly, because they have not the love of God in them.”
The pandemic of godlessness
It seems we are at a point in this current pandemic, when we must look deeper into the situation. COVID and all that surrounds it has been a perplexing thing. Doctors do not know how to adequately treat it and science has not found a sure path to ending it. Any and all information about it seems to lead to even more confusion. And it seems to have revealed the worst in us, exposing our lack of love. It has caused division, derision, suspicion, fear and anxiety. It has brought about self-righteousness, arrogance, judgement and downright ugliness to the point of not caring if certain people die from it.
Many people are looking to science to end the pandemic, but refuse to see God’s hand in allowing it in the first place. Plagues are generally a wake-up call from God that He is not happy with us. We need to change. Yes, many people are praying for the end of COVID, but if God simply answered our prayers and took it away, what will have changed in our culture? Are people turning back to God amidst all this suffering? New Jersey just recently enacted a law patterned after the State of New York that permits abortion up to the day of the baby’s birth. Not many people raised an eyebrow to this and there was no loud protest.
If we are only looking to science to solve this pandemic, we are sorely missing the point that God may be trying to make – that we amend our own lives and start to turn this culture back to God.
Jacinta lamented, “Do you know why Jesus is so sad, Lucia? Because Our Lady has explained how much He is offended and still nobody cares; they just go on with the same old sins.”
St. John of the Cross spoke of those without God or prayer, which could be applied to our culture as a whole, “All they do amounts to nothing more than noise and uproar; it is like a hammer banging on an anvil and echoing all over the neighborhood. They accomplish a little more than nothing, sometimes absolutely nothing at all, and sometimes downright evil. …no good work can be done without the power of God.” (Spiritual Canticle, St. 29)
Jesus healed, but He also warned people not to sin again or a worse affliction would befall them. He called them to conversion, to follow God’s commandments and remove the idols from their lives.
God help us if we do not recognize this time of our visitation. May we with humble and contrite hearts turn to our loving Father and pray for the grace of conversions everywhere. May we take seriously the call to love Him above all else and our neighbor as ourselves. Then and only then, can we expect our prayers to be answered and true healing to be delivered.
Please pray the Fatima Chaplet of Adoration and Reparation, for an end to the pandemic, utilizing the prayers of the Angel of Peace.
Barb Ernster is the Communications Manager for the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA. She wrote this for the First Saturday newsletter.