The Most Amazing Facts about Fatima and Family Holiness
In 1917, Our Lady appeared at Fatima to three shepherds with a message of warning and hope for humanity. Two of the shepherds (Francisco and Jacinta) were siblings. Lucia, the third shepherd was their cousin. Mary appeared a total of six times to the children between May and October 1917. At that time, the world was in the midst of World War I.
The Blessed Mother warned the children if the world did not convert, there would be much suffering, famines and wars. To avert such disasters, Our Lady asked for prayer and penance. She also promised that her immaculate heart would finally triumph.
During the first apparition, Mary asked the children to come back the next month. During the second apparition, the children saw a vision of hell. This encouraged the children to heed Mary’s request for them to pray to save souls from the fires of hell. As the apparitions continued, the word spread to other people. The children were told three secrets they were not supposed to reveal to others.
During the final apparition in October 1917, over 70,000 people were present. St. Joseph appeared to the crowd holding the baby Jesus. Additionally, the sun danced in the sky. The Lisbon paper O Dia reported, “The silver sun … was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and the people fell on their knees on the muddy ground. … The light turned a beautiful blue as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. … People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they.” (www.catholicherald.co.uk)
“What did I see at Fatima that was even stranger?” asked Avelino de Almeida, Editor in Chief of O Seculo newspaper. “The rain, at an hour announced in advance, ceased falling; the thick mass of clouds dissolved; and the sun – a dull silver disc – came into view at its zenith, and began to dance in a violent and convulsive movement, which a great number of witnesses compared to a serpentine dance, because the colours taken on by the surface of the sun were so beautiful and gleaming.” (miraclesoflourdes.blogspot.com) Later, Mary asked Sister Lucia Santos, one of the three children who witnessed the apparitions, for the devotion of the Five First Saturdays.
On the First Saturday during 5 Consecutive Months, the Devotion consists of:
1. Going to Confession,
2. Receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion,
3. Saying five decades of the Rosary,
4. Meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary.
This is to be offered in reparation for the sins of blasphemy and ingratitude committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are five Saturdays because there are five blasphemies and attacks against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These include:
1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2. Blasphemies against her virginity
3. Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
4. Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
5. Direct insults against Her sacred images
Before her death in 2005, Sister Lucia predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be over marriage and the family. Throughout her lifetime, Sister Lucia was very vocal about the need to pray the Rosary in addition to the Five First Saturdays devotion to help us on our path to holiness.
“Since we all need to pray, God asks of us, as a kind of daily installment, a prayer which is within our reach: the Rosary, which can be recited either in common or in private, either in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or at home, either with the rest of the family or alone, either when traveling or while walking quietly in the fields,” stated Sister Lucia Santos. “A mother of a family can say the Rosary while she rocks her baby’s cradle or does the housework. Our day has 24 hours in it. It is not asking a great deal to set aside a quarter of an hour for the spiritual life, for our intimate and familiar converse with God.”(aleteia.org).
During the final apparition, the entire Holy Family appeared at Fatima to remind us all that we are called to holiness through our families.
It is especially good to pray the rosary together as a family. Praying the rosary together daily is an amazing practice that will create family bonds that will last a lifetime. Additionally, it will teach our children how to pray and how to love Mary from a young age. Ultimately, the message of Fatima is for families to live the faith in imitation of the Holy Family. We can do this in how we sacrifice for our families on a daily basis by simply cleaning the dishes, scrubbing the toilets, or going to work to provide for our family even when we do not wish to do so. As Sister Lucia noted, “Putting up with any sacrifices that are asked of us in our day-to-day lives becomes a slow martyrdom which purifies us and raises us up to the level of the supernatural, through the encounter of our soul with God, in the atmosphere of the presence of the Most Holy Trinity within us. We have here an incomparable spiritual richness!” (aleteia.org).
The Blessed Virgin Mary gave fifteen promises to those who pray the rosary. Additionally, we can create peace in our world by creating peace in our families. We create peace by resisting the urge to yell, by being gentle, and by loving each other. When our families are weak, our society becomes weak. So by strengthening our families through prayer and peace, we can also strengthen our society.
“In our families, we lack devotion; Fatima promotes devotion. In our families, we lack purity; and in the Fatima message, we practice penance, and penance helps one to adhere to purity,” explained John Preiss, President of Fatima Family Apostolate International. “Today our families are lacking in prayer; Fatima promotes prayer through the request of Our Lady to say the Rosary daily. If you are part of a family, then you realize that it is a sacrifice, and the message of Fatima promotes sacrifice.”
“In order to help change our society, we must incorporate the Fatima message within our homes,” explained John. “If we want true peace and protection, we must submit to the will of Our Lady. If we submit, then we must learn the message, live the message and spread the message to the world — one family at a time.” < http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/fatima-is-for-the-holiness-of-families>