Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, the thirteenth day of May we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, in commemoration of the very first Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the place known as Fatima in the countryside and remote place of Portugal near the city of Leiria. At that time, in the year of Our Lord 1917 was the third year of the First World War, or what was then known as the Great War. At that time, the War has raged on for three long years and many millions had perished in the battlefield, while many millions more were suffering from poverty, unemployment, hunger and famines, diseases among many others.
Then, on that one fine day, the thirteenth of May of that year, as three young shepherd children were walking in the fields, they saw the Apparition of a beautiful Lady which seemed to be a truly supernatural experience for them. Prior to this, they had also received three apparitions from the Angels of God, who had taught them several prayers and revealed some things to them. But beginning from the thirteenth of May, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God herself appeared to the three children.
Mary, later to be known as Our Lady of Fatima in honour of her apparition spoke to the three children and revealed to them the urging for everyone to pray the Holy Rosary and also devotion in order to bring an end of the Great War and also restore peace to the whole world. There had been too many conflicts and bitterness among men, and there had been way too many deaths. There had been too many tragedies and enmities among men. And there would be even more in the years and decades to come after that moment.
That was perhaps why Mary chose to appear to the three children of Fatima, St. Jacinta Marto and St. Francisco Marto, and Servant of God Lucia dos Santos. She appeared to them at that most difficult of moments to remind us all mankind that God would not abandon us all in our time of greatest need. And she herself appeared as a reassuring and loving Mother to calm us all down, and to help show us the way out of the darkness and into the salvation and liberation through her Son.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared every month, on the thirteenth of the month with the message calling on all people to be devoted once again to God and to turn away from their sinful ways, and in particular to pray the Holy Rosary devotion to help to bring peace and to seek God’s loving intervention and grace to turn away our misfortunes and to drive away all the darkness and destruction from the world. Our Lady of Fatima called the faithful to repent from their sins and to be devoted once again to God.
Many people came to believe in the words of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin, and many would come to see the Apparition every month, led by the three children of Fatima. Soon, a crowd of hundreds and then thousands of people flocked to the Leiria and Fatima region, and the devotion quickly spread and became known. Eventually this would culminate in the great ‘Miracle of the Sun’ which happened at the last Apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, and was witnessed by tens of thousands of people.
Among the messages and revelations of Our Lady of Fatima was the renowned ‘Secrets of Fatima’, one of which involved the Consecration of Russia to the Blessed Virgin, as well as the prophetic revelation of how Pope St. John Paul II was almost assassinated over six decades later on the exact date of the first Fatima Apparitions, namely the thirteenth day of May. Through all these, the Blessed Mother of God wanted to reach out to all of us her children, out of her love and concern for us.
Through these revelations, Our Lady of Fatima revealed the bitter sorrow that we the faithful and the world had to face, just as the great scourge of Communism would rise in Russia in that very year, and gripped the whole world many tragedies that lasted many decades as Communism spread all around the world and led to many persecutions of Christians under their care. Many people suffered and had to practice their faith in hiding, evading the authorities and many were martyred as well.
Now that all these tragedies, challenges and difficulties encountered by many of our predecessors in the past century had become part of history, we are called then to turn towards the Lord once again through the guidance of His Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima. During the first five months in this year alone, we have encountered so many troubles and difficulties from all directions, particularly the still terrible coronavirus pandemic that is still raging all around the world.
At the time of the Great War, just not long after the Apparition of Fatima, one of the most deadly pandemics in the history of the world struck, caused by the influenza virus and known as the ‘Spanish Flu’, which ended up causing tens of millions of deaths during its more than two years of spread worldwide. Although comparatively the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic seemed to be much milder due to our vastly improved medical facilities and technologies, but people still died from the current pandemic and many more are suffering.
And this is coupled with all the other troubles, natural disasters like floods, volcanic eruptions among others, as well as other forms of difficulties that had come all around many communities. We certainly have heard how there are many people out there who are struggling to keep themselves, their families and their loved ones supported and afloat. Many of them had even lost their jobs or received temporary suspension of their work and pay, or being given significant pay cuts that made it difficult for them to take care of their families sufficiently.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is now that we are called to remember again the words of Our Lady of Fatima, calling on all of us to pray more fervently and be more devoted at all times. Amidst the difficulties and challenges we are probably facing and enduring right now, let us all have more faith in God, trust in Him more and worry less about many things in our lives that are beyond our control. Let us entrust ourselves to the Lord through His Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray the Holy Rosary especially during this blessed month of May, the month of the Holy Rosary, following what Our Lady of Fatima herself had told us through the three children of Fatima. Let us all pray fervently and inspire one another to pray, that God, in His mercy, may be moved to help us and deliver us from our troubles. Let us all be hopeful in Him that as long as we have faith in Him, we have no need to fear anything, be it the terrible pandemic or anything. Instead, let us all live our lives to the fullest and exercise Christian virtues and charity wherever and whenever we can.
May the Lord be with us always, and may He, through the intercession of His Mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, deliver us all from our darkness and troubles, and lead us into a new light and a new existence in His love. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.