This year marks 100 years since amazing supernatural events took place in the small village of Fatima, Portugal. Three peasant children, Lucia Santos, Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto were prepared in 1916 by an Angel, to experience six apparitions of the Virgin Mary on the 13th of the month from May through October, 1917. During those apparitions, Mary basically called us to return to God through repentance, prayer and sacrifice and thus obtain peace for the world. As we approach the 100th Anniversaries of these apparitions I invite you to prepare for them by responding to Mary’s call. Below are ten ways to ready our hearts for grace. Saint John Paul II said that we are experiencing a time of extraordinary evil but, because of that, God is pouring out extraordinary grace upon those who turn to Him. I believe this year can be a time of great grace for all of us.
1. Make the Pardon Prayer your constant companion and open yourself to be led by GOD’S LIGHT TO KNOW HIM AND YOURSELF. In the first apparition of the angel the children were taught a prayer that they began to use constantly and in doing so received a deep awareness of God.
“MY GOD, I believe in You, I adore You, I trust in You, and I love You! I ask pardon for those who do not believe in You, do not adore You, do not trust You and do not love You.
2. Accept the daily sufferings of your life with the Sacrifice Prayer. In the second apparition the angel instructed the children to accept their daily sufferings and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Our Lady of Fatima later said “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some 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 of Mary."
She said to them and to us, “Are you willing to accept any sufferings that the good Lord will send you for the conversion of sinners?”
3. Pray the rosary. Our Lady repeated this request at each apparition. Ask for the grace to pray it daily or as often as possible. Mary gave us this as Her peace plan for the world. Pray it together with others, especially your family. The rosary is a vocal prayer but more importantly meditating on the Mysteries of Jesus, Mary and our salvation forms our hearts and minds according to the mind of Christ. Mary also gave us a special prayer to say after each decade:
“O MY JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy.”
4. Submit yourself to our Lady’s formation program by making the devotion of the Five First Saturdays to Her Immaculate Heart. Mary personally requested this devotion, which already existed in the church, as a way to draw us back to God and a way for us to cooperate in her desire to convert “Russia” (an instrument of evil, we could probably insert ISIS). She calls us to repentance in confession, to the Love of the Eucharist and to deep prayer. She in turn is generous with her grace to those who respond to her request promising to assist them at the hour of death.
On the First Saturday of five consecutive months: 1) Go to Mass and receive Holy Communion: 2. Go to confession before that day if you need to or within the month; 3) Pray the rosary: 4) Meditate for at least 15 minutes on one of the a Mysteries of the rosary; 5. Do all in the Spirit of Reparation for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The angel taught a Prayer of Reparation to the children at the third apparition which they prayed before the Host and chalice he had brought from heaven, use it as part of your prayer that day:
“O MOST HOLY TRINITY, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity 0f Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
Mary later taught them this short Eucharistic Prayer;
"MOST HOLY TRINITY, I adore you! My God, My God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament."
5. Honor Mary’s Feasts, in some way, throughout the year and on the six days of Apparition: the 13th of May, June, July, August, September and October. Make a good old fashioned “May Altar” in your home.
6. Make a Total Consecration of yourself to Jesus through Mary on one of Her Feast Days, spending some time in prayerful preparation for that by using one of these books:
* True Devotion to Mary - De Montfort
* 33 Days to Morning Glory- Michael Gaitley
* Consecration to Jesus through Mary – www.Myconsecration.org.
* Total Consecration to Mary – Anselm Romb
Saint Louis de Montfort said that this (Total Consecration) is the surest and easiest way to become a saint. Besides Saint Louis many popes and great saints have followed this way, among them are Saint John Paul II, Saint Maximillian Kolbe, Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
7. Attend devotions to Mary or programs scheduled at your parish.
8. Read a book about your Mother! Search for books on Fatima or on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
9. Watch a film about Fatima! Purchase or loan from your library one of these films:
THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN (1952) award winning Hollywood feature film
THE 13th DAY (2008) full length feature film based on Sister Lucia’s Memoirs
FINDING FATIMA (2010) Docudrama by the producers of The 13th Day.
10. Use your computer for good and research the apparitions of Fatima.
Jesus wants us to grow in devotion to His Mother, to Her Immaculate Heart, so that He can unleash great graces, especially the flame of Love which burned in Her Heart, upon all of humanity. Maxmillian Kolbe said, “Don’t be afraid of loving Mary too much. We can never love her more than Jesus does.”