The other night Peter stomped up the stairs and told me, “Johnny doesn’t even know how to spell my name!” To Pete this was a serious offense. I then asked him how to spell John, which he did perfectly.
Pete has really taken to his reading lessons. He can’t wait to get the book out and insists on doing multiple lessons until I tell him we have done enough. (Mom does have other students!). Sometimes he just grabs the book out and says he is going to do some lessons on his own.
Although it is not always easy, Peter has fixed his eyes on the ability to read. Simply having this desire has made what some would consider “work” seem joyful. As he applies himself, you can see the world of reading opening up before him. It is a joy as a teacher and mother to witness.
It is a simple truth, when you apply yourself with joy, all tasks become more bearable and even sweet.
October 13th we remember the 100th anniversary of the great Miracle of the Sun. This was the final apparition of Mary to the three Fatima children; Lucia (10), Jacinta (7), and Francesco (8). Over 70,000 faithful and sceptics witnessed the Sun appear to “dance,” many colors like a rainbow were seen, and then it seemed to fall to the earth. Although it was pouring rain the days before and that morning, after this event everyone was dry. Even the anti-Catholic news reported on this momentous event.
Since the previous May, Mary had appeared each month to these simple shepherd children. They were uneducated and poor, but had the simple faith of a child. What was the point, what was Mary’s message?
Her message was simple and resonates as much today as in 1917. She asked for three things.
Sacrifices and Penance. Mary said: "Men must amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins. . . . They must no longer offend Our Lord, Who is already so much offended.” Not only are we to amend our lives, but she asks for us to make sacrifices and penances for sinners so they may accept the grace of conversion.
Prayer. Mary refers to herself as the “Lady of the Rosary.” This powerful prayer is second only to the Mass. It is a way to contemplate each day the life of Christ and walk with him. She says, “You must recite the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war for only she can obtain this."
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Why is it that we honor Mary? Simply because her Divine Son honored her. If we are to imitate Christ in all things, we imitate him in honoring his Blessed Mother. This is not worship. Shortly before Jacinta died just a couple years later she told Lucia, “In a short time now I am going to heaven. You are to stay here and say that God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands. Oh that I could put into the heart of everybody the flame that I feel burning within my breast and which makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary."
This message is simple. Turn away from sin, make penance for sinners, pray the Rosary, and honor the Immaculate Heart. Her heart burns only with love for her Son and has so much to teach us.
Do we have the desire and the will to follow these simple instructions? I can tell you from personal experience that living this message has had a profound effects on my own family. Our family struggles like any other, but we also take time each day to pray a Rosary together. We speak the language of offering up sufferings to our children. We imitate Jesus by honoring our Blessed Mother and having images of her in our home as we would of anyone we love.
As much as we struggle, I cannot imagine where we would be without this medicine for our fallen nature. It is a healing balm for our souls.
If we approach these requests as Peter approaches his reading, with joy, even the penances can become sweet. When we fix our eyes on Christ, and turn away from sin that only brings sadness and discord, we are able to receive an outpouring of grace that changes lives.
Yes, let us imitate Peter and approach these requests with joy and fervor. What God has planned for our life awaits when we trust and follow where He is leading us.
Celebrate this day with your family! Share the story of Fatima with your family and friend.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Hilgefort Fatima Video
This is our very novice attempt at movie making!