13th May – Our Lady of Fatima


Lucia, Francesco, Jacinta

Today on the centenary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima, Pope Francis canonized Blessed Jacinta and Francesco Marto. Here is a summary of his homily from the National Catholic Register.

“Today the Virgin Mary asks all of us the same question that, 100 years ago, she asked the shepherd children: ‘Do you want to offer yourselves to God?’ Their answer — ‘Yes, we do!’ — makes us able to understand and imitate their lives.”

“They lived life, with its share of joy and suffering, as an offering to the Lord. I invite those of you who are sick to live your lives as a gift. Like the shepherd children, tell Our Lady that you want to offer yourselves to God with all your heart,” Pope Francis said May 13.

Francis presided over the Mass with around 500,000 pilgrims during his two-day pilgrimage May 12-13 for the 100th anniversary of her appearance to the two shepherd children along with their cousin, Lucia.

Speaking to all of the sick and suffering present, he said they should not think of themselves just as recipients of charitable solidarity, but know that they are full participants in the Church’s life and mission.

“Your silent presence, which is more eloquent than a flood of words, your prayers, the daily offering of your sufferings in union with those of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world, the patient and even joyful acceptance of your condition — all these are a spiritual resource, an asset to every Christian community,” he said. “Do not be ashamed of being a precious treasure of the Church.”

Entrust your sorrows, sufferings and weariness to Jesus, he went on, who is hidden but still present in the Eucharist, just as he is also hidden in the wounds of the sick and suffering. “On the altar, we worship the flesh of Jesus; in these our brothers and sisters, we encounter the wounds of Jesus.”

“Jesus will pass close to you in the Blessed Sacrament as a sign of his closeness and love for you,” he continued. “Count on the prayers of the Church, which from every corner of the world rises up to heaven for you and with you. God is our Father, and he will never forget you.”

Jesus knows the meaning of sorrow and pain, he said, because in his passion and death, Christ took all of our suffering upon himself. He will comfort us and give us strength, just like he did for St. Francisco and St. Jacinta and for every saint, he said.

Before giving his message to the sick, the Pope said in his homily for the canonization Mass that we don’t climb the cross to find Jesus. Jesus comes down to us “to dispel the darkness of evil within us, and to bring us back to the light.”

In Lucia’s account of the apparitions, he noted, the three children found themselves “surrounded by God’s light as it radiated from Our Lady. She enveloped them in the mantle of light that God had given her.”

“According to the belief and experience of many pilgrims, if not of all,” he continued, “Fatima is more than anything this mantle of light that protects us, here as in almost no other place on earth.”

All we need to do, he explained, is to “take refuge” in the protection of the Virgin Mary, asking her, as it says in the Salve Regina prayer, to ‘show unto us … Jesus.’”

The full article can be read at http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-like-sts.-francisco-and-jacinta-offer-yourselves-to-god