Fatima Really is For Today
Updated: May 3, 2020
Friday Book Pick : Fatima For Today
by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR
Analogies to wartime have been replete over the course of the pandemic. Our President has been referred to as a wartime president, industrious citizens are helping the “war effort” by making masks and other personal protective equipment, distilleries that once made beer are mass- producing hand sanitizer: all of this is reminiscent of the home-front war efforts of the 1940’s.
There is also life-threatening danger as in wartime, and there is death itself in numbers reminiscent of battle. All of this is accompanied, of course, by tremendous fear and anxiety. The analogy is apt—we are in a nonmilitary global war. Our present war, in some ways, might be worse than military conflicts. There are no strategic military targets at which the coronavirus is being skillfully aimed. Every Main Street in every Pleasantville is a war front. All the casualties are civilian. There is much fear, much uncertainty, and for many, there is no peace.
Our Lady’s visit to the children in Fatima occurred in the midst of a world raging with war, and her message was peace.
When your mother comes into the room to make an announcement, she captures the attention of her devoted family. When Our Lady entered the scene in 1917 with a message for the children, she got the attention of the whole human family. Her message was about peace and how to attain it. Her message was imminently important for the World War I context of its time, but Our Lady also predicted the Second World War and prescribed a plan for peace which was meant to be applied for as long as the world stands in need of peace.
What our world needs now, even more than a vaccine for the virus, is precisely that—peace. The fear and anxiety that is plaguing our people (and the anxiety that had a grip on our world even before the discovery of the virus) are a worse ailment than physical sickness. We lack peace because we are afraid of the wrong things.
Jesus told us this Himself. He instructed His disciples not to fear the death of the body but to fear the damnation of the soul.
We are afraid and anxious about the wrong things. Sickness and death, grief and separation are painful—but temporary. However, sin and all the ways we dishonor, betray, and offend God are what should really scare us. The effects can be eternal. Yet we are not afraid of offending God—we are used to it.
The message of Our Lady, the reason she came to Fatima in 1917, was to teach, form and protect her beloved children—us. She wanted to show us the way to peace in the world and peace in our souls.
She came to teach prayer: a trusting relationship with the Father in Heaven Who is good and Who loves us. A relationship with our Mother in Heaven who wants to help us get there. She gave special importance to the Rosary. She said more than once (in fact, it is the only thing she repeated at every one of her six visits to the children), “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” It’s worth a try, don’t you think?
She came to teach penance: Penance is about less of me, more of God. Less of my likes, wants, pleasures, to make more room for God—more room for God’s will and God’s ways and God’s Kingdom.
She came to teach reparation: reparation is about caring for one another, about no longer being indifferent. We pray easily for ourselves, our families, our close circle, but Our Lady came to remind us that our family is the vast expanse of humanity, and she wants us to deeply care about other people, even strangers. And while we do feel a greater solidarity with all of mankind suffering under the threat of the virus, can we extend our concern to the spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters worldwide? Why else would she show the children an image of people falling into the fires of Hell? Our Lady wants us to care. She wants it to matter to us. Not because she is playing emotional games with us or is trying to drum up mere sympathy, but because we can truly help others with our prayers and our penance.
In Fr. Andrew’s thorough book on the message of Fatima, you will get the full story about what happened in 1917 when Our Lady came. You’ll feel like you know the children personally and heard the story from them!
Not only will you get a clear explanation of all the historical facts in detail, you will get a valid explanation as to what it all means and how it applies to your life. He also takes on the critics of Fatima while relying on primary sources.
Fatima for Today really is for today. We are a world at war, not only at war with a virus, but at war within ourselves in our quest for peace. Our Lady has a plan for peace: let Fr. Andrew explain it to you.
Mother Clare, CFR