Relevance of the Message of Fatima Today

Today is the feast of the first apparition of our Lady at Fatima. Thus, I would like to focus my meditation on this event that has greatly contributed to shaping the life of Christians all over the world.  It all started in a small village of Fatima, Portugal, where three shepherd children—Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta—witnessed extraordinary events. From May 13th to October 13th, they received apparitions of the Blessed Mother Mary. These ordinary children, raised in a simple Catholic family, were accustomed to prayer. Reflecting on their story, I would like to highlight some key points that capture my attention and draw attention to the relevance of the message of Fatima.

Divine Manifestations and a Call to Renewal

Just as Moses encountered the burning bush (Exodus 3: 1 – 15), and Bernadette witnessed a miraculous vision in Lourdes on February 11th, 1858, these children had their own encounter with the divine. Lucia describes a flash of light, followed by the appearance of a beautiful lady on an oak tree.

Lucia recounts: “We saw a flash of lightning towards the East, and fearing that thunder was coming, although the weather was fine, I told Francisco that we had better go home and collect the cattle.” 

She further reports: “When we reached the middle of the farm, there was another flash of lightning, and two steps ahead, we saw a lady on top of a holm oak tree, approximately one meter high.”

Why the message of Fatima continues to be relevant today

This experience highlights God’s subtle ways of revealing Himself, often through unexpected encounters. “The flash of light” seen by the children could represent a new creation – God’s desire to renew the world with His love, pushing back darkness and sin.

It might also symbolize the Holy Spirit, as prayed: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle the fire of your love within us. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.” Like the children of Fatima, with open hearts, humility, and simple faith, we too can learn to recognize God’s manifestations in our daily lives.

Holm Oak Tree:  A Symbol of Hope

The choice of the holm oak tree by Our Lady is quite intriguing. In ancient Greece, the holm oak tree leaves were used for divination and honoring individuals. Here, “Lady on top of the holm oak,” seen as our Mother Mary, reveals humanity’s future. Appearing amidst the turmoil of World War 1 (1914-1918), she offered a message of hope, assuring us that solutions exist even for global conflicts and disasters. Looking at today’s events, countries in conflicts, war, various disasters in the world, we see how actual the message of Fatima is.

The message of Fatima aligns closely with the message of Lourdes. Both call us to prayer, especially praying the Rosary, for peace and an end to wars. They emphasize offering ourselves to God, enduring suffering for our faith, making reparations for sins, and praying for sinners’ conversion.

The Fatima prayer beautifully captures this spirit: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love you. I ask for forgiveness for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love….”

A Call to Action

Mary spoke to the children reassuringly, revealing their mission: “You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” 

Mother Mary’s message is the actualization of today’s Gospel (John 16:29-33). Jesus said to his disciples: “In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

It is very heart-warming to know that God always grants us strength and grace that is proportionate to the suffering we may be called to endure for the Gospel. Therefore, let us welcome this message of Fatima in our lives, praying for peace, conversion of sinners, and bringing hope to those who feel hopeless. Amen.

[Readings: Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33]

Fr. Alex Igbozuruike

Fr Alexius. C. IGBOZURIKE, is a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He is a chaplain at our Lady of Lourdes’ Sanctuary in France. To contact him, Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Lourdes, Maison des Chapelains, 1 Avenue Mgr. Théas, 65108, Lourdes Cedex, France. Email : [email protected]

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