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​THE FATIMA STORY AND THE ROSARY, Part II: WHY PAY ATTENTION NOW?

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THE FATIMA STORY AND THE ROSARY,

Part II: WHY PAY ATTENTION NOW?


WHAT TIME ARE WE LIVING IN?

In the 20th century—and ongoing into the 21st century— our omniscient God surely saw that it would be a time unsurpassed in many ways. 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” (things that we count higher than and consider more important than God; other “gods”) 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… even religious systems—and in other societal structures—we find increasingly deep-rooted and fundamental injustice… and/or foundational unbelief… and/or assumed or consistent rebellion against His revealed truth.

Some harmful things are becoming deeply imbedded foundations and systematic injustices in our cultural patterns and institutions. This goes even deeper than examples of corruption and greed and other evils that periodically make the news regarding some social or governing institution or another.

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 enables the dough to rise and puff up. It is kneaded throughout a whole batch of 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 other hidden and 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. However, we tend to see ourselves as a more refined and progressive society, It then can be very easy to assume a blind and arrogant stance where we fail to see our own depravity.

But... what about our own? We can easily ignore and allow our own patterns of wrongdoing… because these misdeeds are clever and sophisticated things we do—as patterns—and they become more and more “socially acceptable”.


WHY PAY ATTENTION NOW? IS FATIMA 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 (at the first Fatima apparition). 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… towards 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 uncle, rushing down the street, holding the hand of his 3 year-old nephew. The little boy is trying to hurry along—unable to keep up—but this is hardly noticed by his hustling relative, who doesn’t have time to stop and pick him up, or even consider what is actually happening... that he is almost dragging the child.

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?


APPARITIONS AND MESSAGES

Are we expecting more messengers and visionaries? If we just take a moment to consider, God has spoken and spoken through many voices over the centuries. Are we paying much attention to what He has already generously and repeatedly said?

God’s message of mercy is seen from beginning to end in Scripture. God speaks of it often through His written word and demonstrates it frequently—throughout the Old and New Testaments. Then we see it in the writings of the Church Fathers.

Warnings have been part of our loving “Abba” Father’s communication throughout God’s history with mankind (as we presented in recent blog articles). He cares so much for us that, like the father who warns his children to stay away from the street or the mother who warns a child not to touch a hot stove, He warns us of dangers. This is evident from Genesis through the New Testament… in the Garden of Eden… the books for the Prophets… Psalms, Gospels and Epistles. And it does not stop there.

In modern times, God continues to speak to His people—to both canonized saints, everyday saints and to His followers. He does so in order to repeat, emphasize and apply what the Bible has already said…through messages, apparitions and visions… and even through new waves of the Holy Spirit.

Modern day messages and visions include the Marian apparitions at Lourdes and at La Salette—both in France in the mid-19th century. There are many present-day voices throughout the Christian world who are speaking prophetic messages that dovetail with both Biblical messages and Marian messages. We are living in a time when it seems apparent that God wants to get through to us—whatever way He can.


OTHER MESSENGERS

Another prophetic messenger and visionary (that it has been said has earned the respect of popes throughout 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 … 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 too often forget to take things to the Lord and go 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. A year and a half ago, we celebrated 100 years since three unsuspecting children were visited by a most beautiful Lady in white, with golden light surrounding her. How lovely and appealing! And it was the mother of God … 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 that were given through her? … 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 and choices. 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 often miss His patient love, and easily judge 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 some things (for He is under the constraints of love, of continually giving freedom, of “not extinguishing a flickering wick” or “breaking a bruised reed”, [Isa 42:3 and Mt 12:20] etc., etc. He is continually considering us AND those around us in the process.) But… we too often expect what works like “magic” when we feel a need—usually assumed by us to be “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 seemingly or “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 earlier in this series) 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]

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… 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. We can read and hear about that in countless Bible passages. And we can be reminded through private revelations like Our Lady’s visitations at Fatima.

A hundred years have passed. 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 and) in other apparitions. (see DIVINE MERCY IN THE MODERN WORLD: WARNINGS MARK HIS MERCY, posted April 24th, 2019, on this blog site, trinitychurchsupply.com/blog)


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.

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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