The ‘Urgency of the Hour’ during the Jubilee Year of Mercy
Last month’s article in the Catholic Voice sparked a chain of support from members of the Legion of Mary, Alliance of the Two Hearts and many others wanting to help to spread more intensely the Fatima message during 2016 / 2017. One lady from Northern Ireland sponsored our Five First Saturday ad in the Fermanagh Herald. Other newspapers contacted us seeking to put the Five First Saturday ad in seven leading local newspapers around the country. At times like this, we wish we knew somebody who won the lotto. On the 13th February 2016, we received an email from Sr Lucia’s private doctor, Dr Branca Paul from Coimbra in Portugal and she says: “Please keep going with all your hearts doing your best, working in “GOD´S FARM”. We have to be patient and persevere in our lives”. With this encouragement, we wish to share some more insight into the writings left behind by Servant of God Sr Lucia.
13th February 2005
On this date 11 years ago, Sr Lucia passed away to her eternal reward. Dr Branca Paul and the Carmel sisters in Coimbra Portugal asked us after her death to double the efforts to spread the Five First Saturday and daily Rosary devotions. Servant of God Sr Lucia stated, “Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.”.
Six years ago, we both personally witnessed Pope Benedict XVI on the 13th May 2010 in Fatima praying before the statue of Our Lady and making the following request “May the seven years which separate us from the Centenary of the Apparitions hasten the expected Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity”. Are we witnessing the fruits of the Holy Father’s prayer unfolding before us, when on the 12th February 2016, after 1000 years, Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church met for the first time in Cuba to open the way for unity and world peace?
No matter what happens in the future, Our Lady still requires our corporation and is ready to assist us in this great battle for souls. Our Lady is inviting each one of us to enter with joy and immense hope into the secure refuge of Her Immaculate Heart and promising us that in the end Her Immaculate Heart of Mary will Triumph. The Rosary and the Five First Saturday devotions are all interlinked to help expediate the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Five First Saturday Devotion
Why did Our Lady ask for the Five First Saturday devotion? Our Blessed Lord answered that question when He appeared to Sr. Lucia. He explained that it was because of the five offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, namely:
(1) blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception,
(2) against her perpetual virginity,
(3) against the divine and spiritual maternity of Mary,
(4) blasphemies involving the rejection and dishonouring of her images, and
(5) the neglect of implanting in the hearts of children a knowledge and love of this Immaculate Mother.
Our Lady of Fatima requested the daily Rosary and Five First Saturday devotion. “If what I ask is done, many souls will be saved.” Since Her request is largely ignored, we continue to witness many wars and persecutions of the Church, including the Holy Father. The good are being martyred and various nations are annihilated. (The daily Rosary and the Five First Saturday devotion bring graces for the individuals, families, Bishops and Priests, religious and for each nation).
The role of the Priest and the Laity
The key elements of the Five First Saturday devotion are captured with the story of the child Jesus appearing to Sr Lucia only emphasises the urgency of the Five First Saturday devotion for our time. What makes this devotion so beautiful is that Our Lady invites her beloved priests to promote it in the parish. Without the priests, three components of this devotion cannot take place namely: Confession, Mass and Holy Communion. Our Lady wisely incorporated the priests in this grace filled devotion to protect Her flock, just like Our Lady did over 2000 years ago for the first apostles.
Five First Saturday Devotion role of the priest is to:
- Hear Confession: The confession can be made eight days before or after the First Saturday, provided that Holy Communion is received in the state of grace and that it should be offered in reparation.
- Offer Mass and Holy Communion: Before receiving Holy Communion, it is likewise necessary to offer the Mass in reparation to Our Lady.
Five First Saturday Devotion role of the laity is to:
- Go to confession, attend Mass, receive Holy Communion and recite the Holy Rosary and to do 15-minute meditation:-To comply with the request of Our Blessed Mother, it must be offered in reparation and said properly while meditating. Also offered in reparation, the meditation may embrace one or more mysteries; it may include all, taken together or separately. This meditation should be the richest of any meditation, because Our Lady promised to be present when she said “…those who keep me company….”.
To those who faithfully follow Our Lady’s requests for the Five First Saturdays, she has made a wonderful promise: “I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation.”.
After completing the Five First Saturdays, one may continue the devotion simply to console the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. A tender love of Our Blessed Mother will lead one to do all he/she can to make reparation for the sins which pierce Her Immaculate Heart.
The Daily Rosary
For six months from May to October, on the 13th day in 1917, the Virgin Mary invited us to recite the daily Rosary, in which the three children would be made humble witnesses to the heart of God in a long-suffering World War I at that time.
The life of Sr Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, the little shepherds of Fatima, is a love story of grace and mercy from Heaven to all of humanity. The heavenly peace plan for the world was given to three children to spread the power and beauty of the Most Holy Rosary.
The Carmel Nuns in Coimbra recently shared the following insight with us.“The spontaneous reply by Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in 1917, which ‘the Lady welcomed as the first fruits of Her Message, that is confirmed by the Virgin with an immense light that penetrated the innermost parts of the three children, making them see themselves in this light that was God. This light, in which they receive in June 1917 will also prepared them to receive the secret that was revealed in July 1917: in a succession of images unveiled by the Lady, the children understood that God is not indifferent to our human history; that sin is indifferent to the heart of God; that God’s heart is still merciful and is always in search of humanity entangled in their terrible events.”
One hundred years later pilgrims come to Fatima in hope and turn their gaze to Our Lady of the Rosary. This is, and should be the refuge of millions of human suffering. Today the world continues to rage wars and there is the gigantic struggle of good against evil. This is how the 20th century came to be known.
Those of us who are open to receive the light from the heart of God are invited by Our Lady to join in the daily Rosary, the Five First Saturday devotion and by offering their sacrifice in reparation of sin. What each nation needs in the 21st century is God’s Grace and Mercy.
Pope Francis and the ‘Urgency of the Hour’
We recall in the Holy Scriptures how Jonah was sent to Nineveh to preach a warning and a message of repentance to the very sinful people of that city, boldly preaching “Forty days and the great city of Nineveh will be destroyed”. To their great credit, together the Ninevites fasted and repented of their sins and “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not carry it out”. [Jonah 3: 1-10]
For our time, Pope Francis has issued from (8th December 2015 to 20th November 2016) the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the whole world. This special occasion is normally celebrated every 25 years in order to allow each generation to experience at least one during their lifetime. This time the special year was called nine years earlier than required indicating ‘the urgency of the hour’ for the Mercy of God. After being elected Pope, Francis said “Mercy is the best thing we can feel; it changes the world.” In this regard, Pope Francis is following the path of Jonah, asking us all to repent, repair our lives and do penance. One of the central messages of Fatima according to Servant of God Sr Lucia is summarised in the last words of Our Lady in Fatima on 13th October 1917, “Do not offend the Lord our God anymore, because He is already so much offended”.
Like the Ninevites, all nations need to contemplate the mystery of mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. Pope Francis suggests for the Jubilee Year to invocate Jesus with a short prayer “Merciful Jesus, I trust in You.” or “Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner”.
Pope Francis has also granted the Jubilee Indulgence for those who do corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisioned, bury the dead, and also those who do spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill and pray for the living and the dead.
Taken from her diary, Saint Faustina reminds us what God wants for our time. To Saint Faustina Kowalska Jesus told her: “In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My Mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish suffering mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy”. (#1588)…..“I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation” [Diary of St. Faustina, # 1160]
An open invitation
We encourage Irish Bishops, Priests and various religious groups like the Legion of Mary, Alliance of The Two Hearts, World Fatima Apostolate and Marian Movement of Priests to double their efforts to spread the Five First Saturdays and daily rosary devotions during the Jubilee Year of Mercy / 100th anniversary of Fatima in 2016 / 2017. We invite the laity to promote and display the Five First Saturday devotion in their community, so that God’s graces and mercy is more widely known and loved.
In answer to the call by Pope Francis, The Call to Fatima team is available to give parish presentation on Fatima in 2016. Sr Lucia’s books / DVD’s are also available firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone + 353-87-2229135 Blog www.thecalltofatima.wordpress.com