by Barb Ernster –
This question posed to Sister Lucia by the Child Jesus in the courtyard of her convent on Feb. 26, 1926, was because the First Saturday Devotion was not being spread as Our Lady had requested on Dec. 10, 1925. It is a question that Jesus could ask each of us today, as we ponder the news from Russia/Ukraine and the many other threatening situations happening in the world.
The question always arises about the validity of the March 25, 1984, consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. But we must ask if we have done our part in the requests that Our Lady made at Fatima. Lucia once said the consecration was intended to help Russia convert, meaning to “turn away” from its atheistic direction, but the First Saturday Devotion would help make that conversion more perfect.
On Oct. 11, 1993, several years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Sister Lucia delineated three phases of Fatima: the first was the apparitions; the second was to obtain the change in Russia; the third phase is to obtain the era of peace, while at the same time avoiding further use of atomic weapons. (Too Late? p15, J. Haffert)
She said the first phase, the fulfillment of the basic requests would have prevented all the wars which took place in that time. In the second phase, adding the First Saturday devotion to the basic requests can prevent the annihilation of several entire nations. Then there is the unbelievable promise, “Finally my immaculate Heart will triumph. Russia will be converted and an era of peace will be granted to mankind.”
The late Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR (d. Dec. 13, 2017), wrote in 2005: “Today it is essential for the peace of the world that we respond to Our Lady’s requests as fully as we can…Sister Lucia Dos Santos declared that Heaven accepted (the 1984) consecration. What remains for us now more than ever, is to carry out Our Lady’s request for the special First Saturday Devotion…Our Lady herself assures us that this devotion plays a significant part in her promise of the ultimate triumph of her Immaculate Heart.” (Treasures of First Saturday Devotion, pp iii-iv)
We live in a time of decreased devotion to the Eucharist and few people go to confession. Is this not a time when our Communions of Reparation are needed?
It’s how we can answer the call of Jesus to spread the devotion to the Immaculate Heart, and perhaps save a few nations as well.
75 Years of Spreading Fatima
The World Apostolate of Fatima, founded as Our Lady’s Blue Army in 1947, has been responding to the call to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for 75 years. It is a difficult challenge for the Church and all of her apostolates and spiritual movements to get the attention of a shrinking Catholic population today. Which means that God and Our Lady are counting on YOU more than ever.
In 1917, the three shepherd children stood alone against government authorities and Church leaders, friends, neighbors and even family members who opposed them vehemently to the point of threatening their lives. Yet, they continued to follow what Our Lady wanted of them – their daily sufferings, their earnest prayers, their full rosaries, their love and adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist. Driven by their experience of souls lost in hell and the sorrowful Mother, they changed their lives forever and set their sights on heaven.
It’s easy to say that these saintly children were given extraordinary graces, but Lucia’s long years on earth should be our model for what growth in holiness looks like in the mundane circumstances of life. She, like us, had to fight for her faith by keeping up her daily prayer life, seeking God’s will and living a Sacramental life. She wondered often when her mission would be done, but God perhaps permitted her to live so long for the sake of souls, yes, but also for us. She is one to pray to for patience and perseverance now, when the world seems to be heading rapidly in the wrong direction. She shows us that our continued faithfulness is pleasing to God.
This is a time to renew our commitment to our Catholic faith, to God’s will and Our Lady. Fatima is always examined again whenever Russia is in the news, but the message was about the spread of atheism and the loss of souls to hell due to the world’s indifference toward God. It saddens me that Our Lady’s profound message of love and conversion is boiled down to whether the word “Russia” was said during the 1984 consecration, as if that’s all that is needed to magically clean up the world.
No, we are needed! And Our Lady calls us personally to respond, just as our Lord invited all to reform their lives and seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. His gospel message was not just for the religious leaders of the time. And He never sought to change the world through Caesar. He sought to change it through His followers, through you and me.
Therefore, this Saturday, embrace the devotion that the Child Jesus wanted spread throughout the world. Go to confession, receive Holy Communion, pray the Rosary and spend 15 minutes in meditation with Our Lady to repair for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart.
And renew your “yes” to Our Lady by living what she requested of you. Become a holy person in line with God’s laws and His will. The Rosary and devotions that Mary asked for are the aids to help us get there. If you have not yet joined the World Apostolate of Fatima, please consider becoming part of this spiritual movement to spread the devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
Mary promises to never forsake us and to be the way that will lead us to heaven. We also look forward to the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. If we are united with her, our hope will not fail us.
Barb Ernster is the Communications Manager/Editor of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.