Week 5 – Lent with Jacinta: 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.”
St. Jacinta Marto –

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

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?

We are all subject to the greatest of sins, but for the grace of God. Weariness can overcome all of us. Indifference can trap us. Worldly possessions can ensnare us. Apathy can set in. Disobedience to God’s commandments and our vocation – our own daily duty – can cause us to spiral downward.  But the everlasting priesthood of Christ is faithful to the end. He is the high priest who is not unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. His is the throne of grace from which we receive mercy and timely help when we need it.  We must pray to the High Priest for the holy priesthood on earth, of which we are a part.

Jacinta only began to understand the need for holy priests by under-standing the great gift of the Holy Eucharist that can only come from the hands of a priest. Unable to receive our Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion because she was too young, she received him spiritually through the mystical bond she shared with the Savior in her heart.  She would say to Lucia after she had received Holy Communion: “Come close to me, because you have in your heart the Hidden Jesus.”  Another time she said, “I don’t know how it is. I feel Our Lord inside of me, I understand what He tells me, but I do not see or hear Him. But it is good to be with Him.” 

While in the orphanage during her illness, Mother Maria Godinho who cared for her, testified: “When she prayed from the balcony which looked into the Chapel of Our Lady of Miracles, she liked to be in a place where she could see the tabernacle. As she prayed thus, her attitude and the expression on her face, with her eyes fervently fixed on the tabernacle, made an impressive sight.”

It is thus that she understood the need for purity in priests and her prayers and sacrifices for them and the Holy Father were so great that St. John Paul II thanked her publicly on the day of her beatification.

From Lucia’s writings and interviews, authors have been able to look into the heart of Jacinta and give insights. In one of the earliest books on her, Jacinta, the Flower of Fatima, Cardinal Humberto Sousa Medeiros who was from Portugal, writes: 

“Let it not be supposed that Jacinta stayed in the background in so important a matter as the Catholic priesthood. On the contrary, Jacinta was one of those privileged souls who anticipated the recommendations of the Pope in the Encyclical, “Ad Catholici Sacerdotii” (On the Catholic Priesthood), of prayers for the sanctification of the clergy. She had a deep understanding of the urgent necessity of prayers for priests.

“It was especially toward the end of her life that Jacinta understood better the bond which knitted together her more cherished devotions: the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, the work of conversion of sinners, the Holy Father, and prayer for priests in general. Without holy priests it is impossible to work efficiently for the salvation of sinners.

“One time she heard that a priest had been forbidden to celebrate Mass. She wept for sorrow, saying that people should not talk about the priests but that rather they should pray for them. For that reason even on her death-bed she asked that prayers be said for that intention. Would that the piety of today were permeated with such a respect and love for the ministers of the altars! May the example of Jacinta bear fruit!”

“… Hell and its clients know very well that an exemplary, zealous and holy clergy is the strongest barrier against the depravity of morals and the undermining of Christian living … To this end we must all pray and sacrifice ourselves.”

St. Jacinta, in this time of great confusion and disorder in the Church, help us to pray and sacrifice for priests as you did, in order to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, which will be a triumph of our Eucharistic Lord.

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1 Comment
  1. This and last week’s topics have something in common. Original sin attacked both the institution of marriage in the persons of Adam and Eve, and also obedience to God’s word and authority. We have been forewarned. This is the plan from hell from the beginning. Divide family life and disobey God. Why? Because hell will always attack any Covenant that God establishes, whether that Covenant is marriage between a man and his wife, or the Covenant of everlasting life between God and man.

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