Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Lady of Fatima, Saturday, 13-05-17

Isaiah 61:9-11 / Luke 11:27-28

If we were to check up on what happened on the 13th May in history, we would get many events like who was born, who did what, as well as significant events, political events, etc.

For the Church in recent times, the 13th May has a special significance with regards to her faith and her mission in the world.

In the year 1917, on the 13th May, at a village in Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady appeared to three peasant children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

Her message to them was to pray the Rosary everyday and to do penance for the conversion of sinners, and among other things, there were also the "Three Secrets", which had generated much interest as well as anxiety and questions

At that time WW I was raging on Europe and she said that the war would end soon. But if her message for prayer and penance was not heeded, another more large-scale and devastating war will arise.

It seems that the call to prayer and penance was not heeded, or maybe the response was slow, and hence another war did arise in the form of WW II.

And then in the year 1981, on the 13th May, Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter's Square, Vatican City.

Death had appeared certain to bystanders when four bullets fired by the assassin  tore through the pope's flesh on May 13, 1981, staining the pope's white cassock with deathly scarlet.

But somehow, the bullets missed lethal targets, one grazing the pope's right elbow, and another deflecting off his left index finger before passing through his abdomen, a fraction of an inch from a major artery.

By Pope John Paul II's assessment, "It was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path," and permitted that "the dying Pope. stopped on the threshold of death."  The assassination attempt had taken place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the Pope had no doubt that his survival was due to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In gratitude, the Pope gave one of the deadly bullets to the bishop in charge of the shrine at Fatima, Portugal.  To this day, that bullet remains in the crown of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary housed at that shrine.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. During this time, many events have happened in the Church and in the world.

Without doubt, there was one crisis after another, and bad news seem to overwhelm the good news. But where crises and turmoils abound, God's grace and blessings abound all the more.

But that can only be realised when we heed the call to prayer and penance for our sins and the sins of the world.

We have already seen what had happened during the past 100 years. Let us not wait any longer to pray fervently and do penance for the conversion and the salvation of the world.