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Canonisation at Fatima Centennial Celebrations

posted May 11, 2017, 11:22 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 11, 2017, 11:22 PM ]
Fr Anthony Charanghat

The Holy Father in a preambulatory reflection on the forthcoming centennial celebrations of the Fatima Apparitions on May 13 invites us to focus our attention to ‘Our Lady’. It is at this shrine of Fatima, where a hundred years ago the Madonna appeared to the three little shepherds, Christians from all over the world will congregate to relive the encounter of these young visionaries with Our Lady and experience the grace that inspired their love for Jesus.

Pope Francis said, “Mary introduced the little seers to the intimate knowledge of Trinitarian love and led them to savour God as the most beautiful reality of human existence. Beyond every other goal may there always be this: knowing and loving Christ – as the apostle Paul would say – trying to conform increasingly to Him unto the total gift of self.”

In a concrete sense, He called upon priests, to progress without tiring, in their Christian, priestly, pastoral, and cultural formation. He continued, “whatever your academic specialization, your first concern always remains that of growing on the path of priestly consecration, through the loving experience of God: an intimate and faithful God, as Blessed Francisco and Jacinta and the Servant of God Lucia felt Him to be.”

He exhorted pilgrims who would be visiting Fatima to contemplate the humble yet glorious lives of these children, and feel drawn to entrust themselves, to the care of the same Master. We always pray for this in the most ancient Latin antiphon to Our Lady: ‘Subtuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genitrix’. It invites us to seek shelter under the mantle of a mother who takes us by the hand and teaches us to grow in the love of Christ and in fraternal communion.

He say's the gaze of the Mother of God has accompanied the supplications of those who approach the altar and urges us, "to Look to her and let her look upon you, because she is your Mother and loves you greatly; let her look upon you, to learn how to be more humble and also more courageous in following the Word of God; to welcome the embrace of her Son Jesus and, strengthened by this friendship, to love every person following the example and the measure of the Heart of Christ, to which Our Lady of Fatima commits us to find love, hope and peace in her."

On the occasion of our pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatima, we must look at our Mother, who is in God’s heart. The mystery of this girl from Nazareth is not extraneous to us. "It is not a question of “She is there and we are here”. No, we are connected. In effect, God turns His loving gaze (Lk, 1:48) also to every man and every woman, calling them by name and surname! His gaze of love rests upon each one of us," he elaborates.

The relationship with Our Lady helps us to have a good relationship with the Church: both of them are Mothers. We must therefore cultivate the filial relationship with Our Lady because, if this is missing, there is something of the orphan in the heart. But in moments of difficulty a child always goes to his mother. And the Word of God teaches us to be like children, weaned in the arms of the mother.

The Holy Father prays that the centennial celebration of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, may teach us to believe, worship, hope and love like Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lucia the canonisation of the former two will be the crowing glory of this joyous occasion.

(A synopsis of Pope Francis reflections of the Fatima Apparitions)