St. Matthew Church | Glendale Heights, Illinois

After the Miracle of the Sun: Fatima for Today

Last Sunday, we consecrated our parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On Friday, we celebrated Mass in her honor, remembering her appearance at Fatima to three young children. It was one hundred years ago that her promise to them was fulfilled, that ‘a miracle was performed so that all may believe.’ On that day, a crowd of 70,000 people was gathered, some simply curious spectators, many others were skeptics and enemies of the faith. Not everyone saw our Lady. But everyone saw the sun dance! Those three little children, Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia, saw their prayers and sacrifices bear fruit as many people turned not just to the sun—but to the Son of God. The ‘conversion of sinners’, a whole crowd of them, happened on that day. We need it even more today.

Many people do not know of a later appearance of our Lady, after Lucia had become a nun. Eight years later, after the tragedies of World War I and just before the greater tragedies of World War II, Blessed Mary appeared on December 10, 1925. She showed her suffering Heart to Lucia, wounded by our lack of love and caused by our many and great sins by which we run from God. She said to Lucia,

 
“I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me.”

This was not meant to be some magic formula. It was a reminder that God wants us to live in his Heart, starting now and lasting forever. And he is giving us everything we need to get to heaven—if only we will do our part. It seems simple enough, this devotion of the five first Saturdays. Yet Jesus had to remind Lucia that many begin but few finish. And those who complete this devotion do it for the graces God promises—they forget to console the Heart of Mary and to make up for the many wounds our sins inflict upon her. If we live only for ourselves and forget our brothers and sisters, we don’t really have the Heart of Christ. His Sacred Heart can’t contain itself, it’s broken open and pouring out love and mercy for all those around him, especially those most in need of his mercy. Jesus, make our hearts like yours.

I hope everyone in the parish will begin this devotion of the five first Saturdays. We have the Masses and Confession times to help you complete it—the rest is up to you. Your Confession can be the week before or the week after the first Saturday; the important thing is that we live in God’s grace, in his friendship. It’s something we can all do. Let us do what God asks us personally, and our hearts will be the doorway to God’s heavenly peace into our world. People are still arguing about Fatima in our day; let’s avoid the arguing and do something useful.

You and I cannot consecrate Russia or the United States to Our Lady. But we can consecrate ourselves, our families and our parish. We can come each first Saturday and pray for peace in the world. Why? Because Mary asks you. At Fatima, she appealed to children; let us respond as her children. She told them—and she tells you—“Your prayers count. Your daily sacrifices count. They help change hearts and help convert the world.”

The peace of the world is in our hands because at Mass Christ places himself in your hands. What will you do with him? Let us live the first Saturday devotion so that our parish of St. Matthew can be a sign and an instrument of the peace of Christ in Glendale Heights. May Christ live in your heart always, so that you may live in his Heart forever.

With my prayers,

Fr. Jerome