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DOES FATIMA STILL HAVE MEANING?

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DOES FATIMA STILL HAVE MEANING?

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

In the 20th century—and ongoing into the 21st century— our omniscient God surely saw that it would be a time unsurpassed in many things. There were two world wars—both of which Our Lady of Fatima made either direct or indirect reference to. The century was packed with international and national incidents, wars and uprisings, rapid and extreme growth of both knowledge and population; mind-boggling changes in culture and technology—affecting business and life-styles on a global level. The pace of life ramped up to a racing level.

Our rapidly advancing culture can find itself more and more at odds with God’s scriptural and/ or visionary messages. We have increased opportunities for more “idols” and false beliefs than can be numbered. And they are increasing.

As life becomes more and more complex and inter-related on local and international levels, sin also becomes more than just individual character flaws and one soul’s wrongdoing. It, too, becomes more complicated. We find increasingly more sin that is intrinsic and systematic in our society. For instance, in our cultural and business, legal and financial systems—and in other societal structures—we find increasingly deep-rooted and fundamental injustice… and/or foundational unbelief… and/or (either) assumed or insistent rebellion against His revealed truth.

These things are becoming deeply imbedded foundations and systematic injustices in our cultural patterns and institutions. This even goes deeper than examples of corruption and greed and other evils that periodically make the news regarding some social or governing institution or another. Unfortunately-- as much as we do not like to imagine it-- this can also happen in religious bodies and corporate management.

This would be similar to an intrinsically imbedded “religious” sin pattern that Jesus regularly pointed out in the gospels. It involved an attitude of heart and mind that Jesus described as “the leaven of the Pharisees”. (A leavening agent is kneaded throughout the whole dough—for instance, in a loaf of bread— and after it rises or is baked, it is hard to disentangle it from the whole…) There are many gospel references to “Pharisees” and their attitudes, along with descriptive behaviors of their phoniness, self-aggrandizement, unkind and hidden corrupt ways. [see Mk 8:15]

Our modern (and often blindly arrogant) minds are accustomed to recognizing those things in ancient, pagan and primitive cultures. But what about our own? We can easily ignore and allow our own… because these wrongdoings are clever and sophisticated things we do—as patterns—and they become more and more “socially acceptable”.


WHY PAY ATTENTION NOW? ARE FATIMA’S CALLS STILL RELEVANT?

Are prayer, the rosary, repentance, intercession… still relevant? This answer may well be a rhetorical question to many, with the answer of “Yes!” Many might say that the “yes” is even more emphatic now than in 1917. Perhaps we need to look at some “why’s” of this “yes”.

The 20th century—and now the 21st century—have been unsurpassed in rapidity of change… and not always for the better, as we have seen. We are programmed to assume that “progress and technology” are automatically “good”, because they promise advancement, but in what? And at what price? As we race along, what is being “lost in the shuffle”? being ignored? being destroyed? being forgotten? being dragged to death?

The picture comes to mind of an adult, for instance, a quick-stepping male, rushing down the street, holding the hand of his 3 year-old son. The little boy is being dragged along—unable to keep up—but it’s hardly noticed by his hustling dad, who doesn’t have time to stop and pick him up, or even consider what is actually happening.

The 21st century is still in the making but moving headlong at an even more rapid pace.

Are the underpinnings and foundations of goodness (and truth and God) rising up in all these “advancements” to surround our racing paces? Or are these things being lost (individually and collectively)… even trampled… left in the dust… in the “race” as we hustle and speed our way forward?

Are we expecting more messengers and visionaries? Just how many more saints and messengers do we need before we pay attention? Have there been enough already? St. (Pope) John Paul II beatified/ canonized hundreds of great examples of our faith. As we have said, God has spoken and and acted through many voices and lives through time.


OTHER MESSENGERS

Another prophetic messenger and visionary (that it has been said has earned the respect of popes through the ages) is St. Malachy, from the 12th century. He succinctly described the succession of popes since 1143 to the present. 1

According to the prophesies of St. Malachy, Pope Francis fits the timing and description of the last pope described and included in the prophesies. There are many opinions as to why they end with him…

As we digest this news… or reality… we need to literally rest in the Lord’s wisdom and care, and continually turn to Him.


BACK TO OUR CULTURE

This is the way our culture seems to go: We choose to wait until something has enough support and popularity… then we jump on the bandwagon. We forget to take things to the Lord and before Him in prayer, early on, from the beginning. We neglect to seek Him in what to do, what to see, what to believe…

Everyone loves a celebration, and is glad to join in. We are celebrating 100 (and one) years since three unsuspecting children were visited by a most beautiful Lady in white, with golden light surrounding her. How beautiful and appealing! And it’s the mother of God Himself! Mary, the mother of Jesus!

The question is: Are we equally ready to receive and act on the call to pray? …To heed the warnings? … To appreciate the kindness and consideration of a God who would persist in sending messengers, and continually call and warn and love and care? … To respond to this God in the way that Mary did, with a hopeful, obedient, trusting “Yes”?

Hope and trust and obedience are not always—nor often—easy. But when God goes out of His way to warn and bless and help and warn some more… the time comes (as we see in scripture in cycle after cycle in the history of God’s people, both within Bible times and throughout Christian history) … the time comes when we see the fruit and the benefits of hoping and trusting and obeying God. And we also see the fruit of the opposite tendencies. But then, that’s when some people choose to start blaming God. That’s always easier to do than to look at our own choices.


AN ALTERNATIVE: BLAMING GOD

The truth is that we human beings—even the most devoted ones—have barely scratched the surface in comprehending the depth of God’s love, mercy, kindness and grace. This depth is the deep character and extraordinary BE-ing of Who He is as Love Itself/Himself.

Frankly, we hear little about that because we are too bound up in our own pain, busy-ness, other religious issues, and our worldly affairs to pay much attention. Too often, we hardly recognize or believe it. God seems to get plenty attention for what we accuse Him of failing to do, but not nearly as much for His patient, forbearing, intricate and personal love.

We are accustomed to vending machines and overnight delivery… racing through life from ‘this’ quick activity to another… and we forget the scriptural admonition (with promised rewards and benefits) to “wait on the Lord” … to be “stouthearted” (courageously patient) and… wait on Him. God sees and knows a much vaster picture than we can envision.

He cares about far more people and issues impacted by our requests than we are aware of… continually working it all together to the best answer and best timing possible—shedding love through grace, peace, patience, comfort, etc. the whole time… as we seek and receive it, even in times of darkness. Our human tendency is to go so much by what we see and feel.

We see so much pain, trouble and suffering on this earth… and we blame God. We go our merry, self-directed and self-propelled way… until we reach an impasse or impossible obstacle… then we cry out in pain and pray for God to act… expecting Him to act ASAP… yes, quickly. We don’t realize some factors.

For instance, when we fail to acknowledge Him and choose Him as Lord of our lives—Manager, Director, Provider, Everyday Love—in our lives, and we go on our merry (however well-intentioned) way, we can remain very unmindful of His concerns.

We hardly consider that He may need some time untangling and re-arranging a few things (for He is under the constraints of love, of continually giving freedom, of “not extinguishing a flickering wick” or “breaking a bruised reed”, etc., etc.--considering us AND those around us in the process.) But… we expect too often what amounts to “magic” when we feel a need—usually labeled “urgent”.

As kind and merciful as God is, He amazingly answers some of those prayers, even as we then go on ignoring Him for long stretches of time.


WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

It is not “news” to many that our culture is failing to “walk in the light”. (“But if we walk in the light, as [H]e is in the lightthe blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” [I Jn 1:7]) Are we to be surprised, then, when deeds of darkness show themselves? Do we expect goodness and light to come from… what? The answer has already been given.

Every good and (every) perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” [James 1:17 NABRE]

Understanding this… changes everything. “Every” good and perfect gift… What’s truly good (not just ‘apparently’ good) is of God, and from God… the One Who is Love, itself/ Himself. He never ceases to be good, and is willing to share that love and goodness with us as we seek and ask.


MESSAGE CONVEYED/ LUCY CONTEMPLATIVE

The “Epilogue” to Fr. McGlynn’s book (mentioned in the footnotes below and in our previous blog on Fatima) included these words:

“Early in April 1948, Lucy of Fatima (Irma Dores) entered the cloister of the Carmelite Order in Coimbra… Lucy’s task of communicating the Fatima message to the world must now be finished. As long as she was needed for this work, she had to belong to an active community where she could reach and be reached by the world. Her mission fulfilled, she now becomes free to retire to the contemplative life in the seclusion of the cloister.

…It must have been painful for her to bear alone to an incredulous world the burden of the Fatima message and to know the vastness of human calamity that has resulted from the contempt for that message. [Blog writer’s note: This was written in 1947, 30 years after the apparitions at Fatima.]

Lucy of Fatima may not speak again to the world, but she will always speak more importantly of the world to God and our Lady from the heights of Carmel.”

“Lucy dos Santos died on February 13, 2005.—Ed.” 2


TODAY… IS THE ACCEPTABLE TIME

Seasons shift. Times change—historically, spiritually, and on the Lord’s calendar, as Bible history and Christian history shows.

What we do know is that we are called to live and act IN His love and FOR His glory. The rest of the details are for Him to arrange.

Whatever season… whatever changing time in which we find ourselves, these words remain solidly true:

“Today [now, this hour] is the day of salvation.” [2Cor 6:2]

The New American Bilble says:

“For He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you,

And on the day of salvation I helped you.’

Behold, now is the ‘acceptable time,’

Behold, now is the ‘day of salvation’…" [NASB]

And another translation says:

"Hear what God says:

When the time came for me to show you favor, I heard you.

When the day arrived for me to save you, I helped you.

Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favor! Today is the day to be saved!" [GNT]

“Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” [Ps 95:7, Hebr 3:7,8, 15; 4:7]

The rest of each verse listed above say this:

"For He is our God, and we the people of His pasture, the sheep of His hand." [Ps 95:7]

"Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested me, and saw my works for 40 years…

“It is said… Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me…” [Hebr 3:15]

"He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today’, saying through David after so long a time, just as it has been said before, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

We often expect and want His blessing—for ourselves and for those we pray for. If that is what we want, and that is what we seek for ourselves and for others… Let us choose—this hour, this day, and every day—to receive His saving help, and seek His gracious favor, and face days of trials remembering the multitudes of blessings He has given us.


CONCLUSION: WHAT NOW?

So where do we go from here? No matter how we responded to Fatima’s message in previous decades, there are still those who need to find the truth about the love and salvation of our Almighty God. “Those” people may be us— or they may be those we are called to pray for.

A hundred (and one) years have passed since 1917 when Mary appeared to those three small children at Fatima. The years ahead are unknown, except with the “hints” of signs that God has given us in His word, and the warnings we have heard in revelations (like the above mentioned Malachy prophesy), in apparitions (including Fatima) and through Holy Spirit prophetic, gifted words...

We do know this, however: It’s never too late to run into the arms of a loving Father… or to look humbly toward the Savior Son Who (while in indescribably horrific pain, hardly able to think or breathe, could unselfishly expend enough energy to speak encouragement, and) could forgive and gladly receive the thief on the cross next to Him with the words, "This day you will be with me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43]

And we can welcome the help of the Holy Spirit—the Comforter, the Spirit of Wisdom… the power of God…

Yes… we have some choices to make. We can determine to do some new things, by God’s grace. To turn our hearts toward Him doesn't mean we are perfect, nor does it mean we always act perfectly. It means we seek Him and His ways as continually as possible--even in failure and confusion and wrongdoing.

Let us keep our hearts open to Him. Always.


FOOTNOTES:

1 The Prophesies of Malachy, TAN Books, Rockford, IL 61105

2 Vision of Fatima, Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P., 1948, 2017 (currently by) Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, N.H., p.209-210


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