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05/14/17 Fifth Sunday of Easter - Fr. Damian

The Beautiful Woman, that is the Blessed Virgin Mary, said to the child Lucia: “Recite the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world.” She also said to the three children: “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.” – From the writings of St. Lucia, a child of Fatima

 

On May 13th, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary started a project that was very very big, and that would take many years to come to fulfillment. On that day, she began the process which would lead to the three things:

First, our Lady wanted to convert the whole world. Second, Mary desired to convert the nation of Russia – you see, the Russians were about to fall to the evil communist government which would make it illegal to believe in God; so Mary decided that it was time to act to combat this evil and to convert the whole nation. And finally, the Mother of God wanted to save the Pope – because she knew that someone was going to try to kill him in the future.

 

These were three big tasks, three extremely important projects: Save the world, save Russia, and save the Pope. And I suppose you are wondering, “To whom would Mary entrust this great work? To whom would Mary turn for the accomplishment of such an important project?”

Well, I put this question to you: Do you think she would give this great work to adults or to children? Of course, she would entrust it to children! God loves to answer the prayers of children. And when a young person prays, his prayers are especially powerful because God is always ready to hear and answer a child. And, of course, if anyone knows how powerful the prayers of children are, it would be Mary – because she is a Mother to us all, and we are her children.

 

When it is time for real work to be done, when our Lady has a project that is too important to fail, something that simply must be successful – Mary knows that she has to turn to children! She leaves the unimportant things to adults; you know, things like politics and economics. These things don’t make hardly any difference in the big picture. But saving souls and saving the world? That is just too important to entrust it to adults immediately; first it is given to children and then, through the children, to adults.

 

So, when Mary decided to save the world, Russia, and the Pope; she didn’t appear to adults, but instead she appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal. She appeared to these three young children who were named: Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta. And these three children were very young indeed: Lucia was ten years old, Francesco was nine, and Jacinta was only seven! They were very young children and most people probably wouldn’t have thought that they could do very much – but you and I know better, don’t we? We know that God loves to answer the prayers of children. We know that, if anything can save the world, it will be the prayers of children!

 

Mary appeared to these three children and told them that they needed to save the world, to save Russia, and to save the Pope – and she said that they would only be able to do this through prayer. Mary gave them three things that they had to do: First, they had to pray the Rosary every day. Second, they had to love the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Third, they had to pray to Mary in a special way on Saturdays. Through these simple prayers, the children would overcome every obstacle, indeed they would overcome the world!

 

And what do you think happened? Of course, what Mary had promised came true!

 

First, thirty six years ago (May 13th, 1981), when John Paul II had not even been pope for three years, an assassin went to St. Peter’s Square with a mission: He had been hired to shoot and kill Pope John Paul II! It was the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, but it was before the feast was spread throughout the world or even very well known – and John Paul was riding in the square outside the church in his “Pope Mobile”.

Well, John Paul II was going through the square in the midst of a great crowd of people, when something caught his eye … he saw a picture of Our Lady of Fatima! The car was stopped and he bent down to look at the picture more closely. Now, as the Pope bent down, right at that very moment, this assassin shot him … and if the Pope had not just then bent over, the bullet would have killed him! Still, as it was the bullet caused terrible damage and nearly did kill him … and it was no minor miracle that he survived that day.

And, you won’t be surprised to learn why it was that the Holy Father had to bend down so low to look at that picture of Our Lady of Fatima – he had to bend low because it was a child who was holding the image! Once again, we see that Mary does her greatest works through children!

 

Here is what John Paul II said about that day: “Could I forget that the event in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for many years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.”

 

Thus, through the prayers of those three children, Pope John Paul II was saved; and what a great pope he became! This happened sixty-four years after the first apparition in Fatima; and the only one still alive was Lucia (Francesco and Jacinta had already gone to heaven and they were canonized by Pope Francis in Fatima, Portugal yesterday) – but the prayers of these children all those years ago, together with the special protection of Our Lady, saved Pope John Paul II on that day.

 

The second part of the project also was fulfilled – because, only a few months after Mary first appeared to the children, Russia became communist and many many people were killed. It became illegal to be Catholic or even to believe in God! But the children had prayed and, through the influence also of Pope John Paul II, many people throughout the world were following the example the children had given – so many Catholics were praying the Rosary for the conversion of Russia!

And what do you think happened? Did the prayers work? Well, is Russia communist today? See how powerful the prayers of children can be! The whole country of Russia, a super-power, one of the strongest and most terrible nations the world has ever seen – and it was destroyed not by guns or armies, but by prayers! And especially by the prayers of children.

 

Finally, we have the third part of the project – to save the world, to get everybody to heaven. This part hasn’t been finished yet, but we are all working for it. Now it is your turn to pray, and it’s your turn to save the world – just like the three children of Fatima!

Think of it, those three children (Lucia, Francesco, and Jacinta), think of all they accomplished! And there was only three of them! There are many more of you.

So, Pray! Pray, pray, pray! And, through your prayers and sacrifices, God will one day bring us all to the great joy of life everlasting.

 

We are so blessed that our Parish is named and protected by Our Lady of Fatima. It is our feast. Remember be grateful for it not only today, but every day.

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