-By John C. Preiss
--- "Pray, pray a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell, because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them." ---- The Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: August 19, 1917
On July 13, 1917 the Blessed Virgin unveiled a terrifying reality before the three Fatima children's eyes. Lucia recounts: "Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire, which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls, in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in this conflagration in clouds of smoke, lifted by flames coming out of their bodies. They rose and fell on all sides, like sparks in roaring fires, without weight or direction, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair that terrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. This vision lasted but a moment, thanks to our good Mother from Heaven who had warned us beforehand, and promised to take us to Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of horror and fear. Then we raised our eyes to Our Lady, who said with kindness and sadness: 'You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.'"
In our present times it is not difficult to find sacrifices to make or penance to do. Suffering is abundant and we must not let it go to waste. We can offer up our sacrifices for many things, Our Lady asks us to offer up our sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. This is a very important task as Christians, sometimes we forget or lack the energy to do so. I want to encourage you to make this effort for the Body of Christ and the fulfillment of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Saint Jacinta was a perfect example of sacrifice and living out this Christian approach to suffering. Let us ask for her intercession.
Penance is powerful! Doing penance for others and for the conversion of sinners is another way to bring souls to Christ, especially your own. What would this world be like if we all would offer up our sacrifices and do penance for one another? It would be a loving society modeled after the one and only true love, Jesus Christ. Imagine the souls saved of those who are lost through this act of love: Sacrifice and Penance. Through the beautiful messages from Our Lady at Fatima we are taught how to live our Christian life as members of the Body of Christ. Saints Jacinta and Francisco, pray for us!