Loading... Please wait...

item(s) in cart | checkout


Part III of the series PRAYER, the ROSARY and FATIMA: DOES FATIMA STILL HAVE MEANING?

Posted by

PART III of the OCTOBER series:

PRAYER, the ROSARY and FATIMA

DOES FATIMA STILL HAVE MEANING?


In October of 2017, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to the three children at Fatima, Portugal. Much happened over that century that relate to some of the requests for prayer that she so vividly expressed to the children. 

What now? Does Fatima still have meaning? How do prayer, the rosary and Fatima affect our modern culture?


WHERE ARE WE NOW?

In the 20th century—and into the 21stcentury— 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.

(For a more detailed and thorough study of the apparitions at Fatima— the message, the “secrets” and their significance—please refer to the four-part series that was posted mid-October, 2017, on this website: “trinitychurchsupply.com/blog”. It also included descriptions of prayer and the rosary. Earlier, we had written the overview article: THE ROSARY: ORIGINS, HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT, posted by Kathy Boh on October 20, 2016.)

The 20th 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. How does that connect with Mary’s urgent messages at Fatima? How does that impact our need to keep praying? What are some prayer needs?

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 God’s revealed truth. Even in (once known as) apparently “good” realms, networks of evil are being recognized and uncovered.

We hate to hear these things, or even believe that such things exist around us—as they have quietly grown and multiplied before our blinded eyes. Much can fool our hearts that have been too often naïve to evil. God has spoken so much of these things in His word, the sacred scriptures, but we modern men and women too often think that we have outgrown such talk about sin and evil. Meanwhile, our most attentive and loving heavenly Father grieves as He sees where our blindness leads us. And He waits for us to call out to Him--for His greater wisdom and insight--and be healed.

Some of these things are becoming deeply imbedded--established as un-biblical, un-Christian foundations and systematic injustices in our cultural patterns and institutions. These ways of thinking, acting and believing become assumed foundational and deceptive (faux) “truths”—while remaining destructively false. 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. Unfortunately —as much as we do not like to imagine it—this can also happen in religious bodies in their corporate leadership and 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”.

To clarify His analogy: 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 all but impossible to disentangle it from the whole. The leaven makes both the dough and the bread "puffed up".   

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] A revealing and detailed article was posted on this blog by this author on January 25th, 2019 called “THE KINGDOM’S BLIND GUIDES”. It helps us to understand Jesus' view of the Pharisees’ influence on the people Jesus was teaching and healing.  The Pharisees were discouraging or blocking the people from listening to or following Jesus, and from welcoming Him into their lives. More understanding can be gained from our article on St. Paul’s conversion, called, “FROM PHARISEE TO FOLLOWER”, published on January 24th, on this website.

Our modern (and sometimes 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 misconduct and unholy patterns because many of our wrongdoings are clever and sophisticated things we do—as patterns—and they become more and more “socially acceptable”. 

As we draw further and further away from a group/ a community/ or a true cultural sense of right, wrong, and scriptural truth, we let our society fill in the space with mankind’s fallen thoughts and lower ways. As sophisticated and clever “moderns”, we are careful to see that we package it all in attractive and socially and culturally appealing (and approved) “packaging”. They may come in: a bright, technicolor, appealing form… or “necessary” technical advances… or more “practical” and “acceptable” moral answers… etc.


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”.

Racing into the 21st century we find that we are exponentially surpassing the 20th century 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 cast aside? being trampled? being dragged to death in our endless racing?

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. Advances and technology and growth can be good when they don’t sacrifice higher priorities and greater goods… or truth and life, love and righteousness as God has revealed it and the church teaches.

Are the underpinnings and foundations of goodness (and truth and God) rising up in all these “advancements” to surround and undergird our racing paces? Or are these (right and true and good) things being lost (individually and collectively), and even trampled-- left in the dust-- in the “race” as we hustle and speed our way forward? We could ask: Toward what are we racing? How easily can we even hear God’s voice now? Do we recognize it when we hear it? Are we too locked into our complex worldly priorities and patterns to respond to His generous invitations and help?

Are we expecting more messengers and visionaries? Just how many more saints and messengers do we need before we pay attention? Haven"t there been enough already to cause us to pause and take notice? St. (Pope) John Paul II beatified/ canonized hundreds of great examples of our faith. As we have said, God has spoken and acted through many voices and lives—even in modern times.

Jesus made it clear that God the Father had sent many prophets to speak for God through Bible history. They were rejected and oppressed and ignored in many ways. Then finally God sent His Son--the Prophet, the Savior, the Lamb of God-- to be rejected by the religious leaders and to die. Jesus died once… for all. He made a way for any who would receive His saving grace. When He comes again, it will be a glorious coming in victory, gathering all who have drawn close to Him and to His kingdom.

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: Most people choose to wait until something has enough support and popularity… then jump on the bandwagon. We forget to take things to the Lord and before Him in prayer, early on, from the beginning. We often neglect to seek Him in what to do, what to see, what to believe…

Everyone loves a celebration, and is glad to join in. Two years ago we celebrated 100 years since three unsuspecting children were visited by a most beautiful Lady in white, with golden light surrounding her. How beautiful and appealing! It was 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 humbly 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, or at the historical path (i.e., choice-by-choice “off the Godly path”) that brought us to this point.


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 profound 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 of attention for what we accuse Him of failing to do, but not nearly as much attention (praise, thanks, etc.) for His patient, forbearing, intricate and personal love. Nor do we often involve Him in day-to-day, hour-by-hour living, attending to Him in listening, hearing, following, obeying, honoring, etc. 

We are accustomed to vending machines, drive-thrus 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 simply to go very much by what we see and feel.

We see (and sometimes go through) 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. We expect Him to act ASAP-- yes, quickly. We don’t realize other factors.

For instance, when we fail to acknowledge Him and neglect to 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 miss the bigger picture. We can remain very unmindful of His concerns—for us, for others, for future consequences or outcomes.

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.—considering us AND those around us in the process.) 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. He can do immeasurably more—for us (and those around us) and against evil in our lives when we seek Him early and choose to follow Him as Lord.

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 automatically? 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 He is willing to share that love and goodness with us as we seek and ask. He knows that we need to continually seek and ask for clarity and help and grace in this increasingly un-Christian world.


MESSAGE CONVEYED/ LUCY CONTEMPLATIVE

Lucy has been one voice added to warnings that God has given throughout Bible history, and throughout the subsequent centuries through those who had an ear to (not only hear but) recognize His voice.

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, 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 (that we have not acknowledged nor even often recognized).


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—so that more receive all the blessings and help that God wants to give us through the salvation brought and bought by Jesus Christ.

Mary called for prayer.

Lucy told Fr. McGlynn (in regard to praying the rosary): “My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people who might not know how to pray this simple method of getting closer to God.” 

The four rosary prayers speak volumes: The Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be and the Apostles' Creed. All four prayers cover many types of prayer and intercession. They are scripture based traditional. They are a fitting way for those who want a methodical and easier way to pray—in a group, while busy and working, or when personal choice calls for it. (Please see the heading, “PRAYER” under Part II (posted this week) of this series and THE ROSARY: ORIGINS, HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT, posted by Kathy Boh on October 20, 2016.)

A hundred and two 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 (in much Biblical writing; in things like the above mentioned Malachy prophesy), in apparitions (including Fatima) and through current Holy Spirit gifted words and prophetic utterances.

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 and especially in failure and confusion and wrongdoing.

Let us intercede for the many others God leads us to pray for. And 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

Core information in this blog here is based on the blog posted by Kathy Boh on 11th Oct 2018 on trinitychurchsupply.com/blog


Our Newsletter

Get exclusive deals, news, and more when you sign up for our newsletter.