Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto
Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.
At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary "to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary's final apparition on October 13, 1917.
Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.
The Church is always very cautious about endorsing alleged apparitions, but it has seen benefits from people changing their lives because of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Prayer for sinners, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and praying the rosary—all these reinforce the Good News Jesus came to preach.
In his homily at their beatification, Pope John Paul II recalled that shortly before Francisco died, Jacinta said to him, "Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Lord, you created me to live in freedom.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
The Word of God
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person Lord. I think I might say "Thank You Lord" for always being there for me. I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
6th Week in Ordinary Time
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom? (James 2:5)
Many years ago, a husband and wife felt called by the Lord to adopt needy children into their family. They wanted to care for children who had no other recourse, children who were facing a grim future. They decided against the first child offered to them: a healthy baby from a good home. "He's not needy enough," the mother said. "Plenty of other couples will take him." Instead, they chose a daughter from a very poor country and a son with physical handicaps.
By making such a generous decision, this couple showed that they were uniting their hearts with the heart of God, who has a "preferential option" for the poor.
We can easily identify with the behavior James describes in today's first reading: warmly greeting the rich while dismissing or ignoring the poor. We all know what it's like to shy away from the needy, whether their need manifests itself in physical handicaps, tattered clothing, or uncouth speech. We are tempted to be suspicious of strangers and outsiders. We find ourselves drawn to people who resemble us or who look like the kind of people we want to be.
And yet the truth is, we are all needy before God. We are all poor and dependent on God's mercy. We have nothing we have not received at his hand. Every one of our talents and gifts comes from his storehouse of grace and blessing.
James tells us that those who are poor are "rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom" (James 2:5). The point is not that God wants us to suffer grinding poverty and go without our basic needs. It's that he wants us to see how much we depend on him and on each other, so that we can begin to build a kingdom of justice and kindness on this earth. Only the needy, only the "poor" in this sense, have room in their hearts for the Lord and his people. Only they will band together to build the kingdom.
So how poor do you feel today?
"Jesus, you chose to come among us as a poor man. Open my eyes to my poverty so that I can receive the riches of your love and share them with others."
Psalm 34:2-7; Mark 8:27-33
Allow me to translate today's 5minutos:
"A father of a rich family that was well off, took his son on a trip to the fields, with a firm proposition for the son to appreciate how fortunate he was to be able to enjoy his position, and to feel proud of it. They were out all week, and took to a field with peasant people who were very humble. When the trip was over, on returning home, the dad asked the son, "what did you think about the experience?", -"Good" said the son, "Did you see how poor people can get?" asked the dad. "Yes" answered the son. -"And so what did you learn, then?" asked the dad. "Many things dad...that we have a dog and they have four...we have a pool with stagnant water that goes to half the garden...they have an unending river, with crystal clean water, where they have little fishes and other beauties...that we have imported lamps to light up our garden, while they are lit up by the stars and the moon...that our patio goes to the fence, and theirs goes to the horizon...you and mom have to work so much that I hardly ever see you...they have time to talk and live together day to day with the family...". Upon finishing his answer, the father was muted. Then, his son added "Thank you dad, for having showed me how poor we are, and how rich we could be!". And us, are we poor or rich, and would do we hold dear in our heart?"
"The Lord Hears the cry of the poor" we prayed today in the Holy Psalms. What comes to mind when you hear these beautiful words? Does it come to mind when you are down or have been feeling down? Or do you think of the people that don't have much in other parts of the world? Look no further. When I hear these words, I think of the unborn children that cry and are not heard. I hear of those marginalized in society, the "unfit" to live. Death panels will be set with government to kill all those they decide are not "fit to live". If you have down syndrome, you should die, they say, or at least offer death as a "viable" option. If you have any disease or deformity then you qualify...for death. Think about this. How far has our inhumane thoughts twisted to the point that we believe "mercy killings" are good for people? Since when is death good for people? Since when is suffering evil? I'll tell you when all this came to be...when the devil entered the world. "You shouldn't have to suffer" says the devil. "You don't need to fast". "You don't need to mortify yourself". "You don't need to pray". "You don't need a church". "You don't need to deny yourself what makes you feel good". Someone shared with me a proverb this morning "whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich." So the question is, who is really rich and who is really poor? It is not about how much money all the time, it is about what or who has conquered your soul! Because I have met some really stingy mean rich folks, and I have met some really nice and generous rich folks. I have met some really mean and stingy poor people, and I have met some really nice and generous poor people. You see? What God wants is much more than the dirt we live in, He wants our love above all. He wants to be first. He asked you today, "who do you say that I am?". Am I your #1 ? Am I the apple of your eye? Am I the center of your world? Just who do you say that I AM? And He practically answers the question in the question "I AM who you say". We had a hermit Priest do our Mass since our priest is back in Africa. He said he met some ex-nuns who are trying to re-write the bible, changing the letter of the law. But don't we all try to tell God who He is? Why don't we let God tell us who He is? WE try to be the boss, like little spoiled kids. That's really what I see, in spanish there is a word "malcriados", which means spoiled but if you split the word it is two words "badly-raised". And so what I see in some old people and young people are "malcriados", not raised fully to maturity in the faith. That's where we need each other. Last night, I felt like I was a kid with a bunch of other kids in our co-worker bible study. I bought the study program from Ascension press "A Quick Journey through The BIble". We were all leaned over the table looking at a bible timeline figuring it out like a puzzle with wonder and amazement. I didn't think I would like it that much since I am a "know it all" attitude person, but being open to God means being open to wonders and amazements. Forget all the pleasures in the world. I'll tell you what is amazing, and it is not what, but who...God. He is more than awesome and powerful, He is all in all. Who I say He is, well that shows by the way I live. I read a quote by Edgar Cayce "It is not what one says that counts, but what one is!". So what are you? Thankful? Do you just say it alot? Because I've met people that say it alot but I get a feeling they could care less. Are you blessed? Because I've met some that say they are blessed and seem to truly live unhappy lives. And this all relates to the very question of the day that Jesus our Master asks "Who do you say that I am?" Because whatever your answer is, it shows without you saying a word. If He is everything in your life then there is no way you can hide it, you will have to share it, this comes naturally. Because there is nothing more natural than having a God you live for. If you don't, you live unhappy. What's sad is what becomes your gods. Who do you say that He is? Who is He? Can you tell me who He is? I need to know. The whole world needs to know. But not just who you THINK He is, but to find out for reals, opening your heart to allow Him to tell you who He is. What happens when He tells you, well, St. Peter experienced it firsthand, life wouldn't be the same. Notice what was said to you today. God was speaking for reals already. Suffering is part of God's plan, but the major plan, this bible timeline is extraordinary. The rise and fall is the heartbeat of our Love. We will fall and we will rise...God's children are strong and alive....