By John C. Preiss
Did you know that Saints Jacinta and Francisco also died in a pandemic. They are perfect examples for showing us the way to live through this one. In February of 2020, exactly 100 years after Jacinta’s death in February of 1920 in the Spanish Flu pandemic, the coronavirus pandemic started to hit the news in the West with a vengeance, and would soon be too big to ignore. Yet still today, we continue to fight our way through the deadly virus and it’s implications. We can easily began to lose hope in something that has lasted for so long. Also, the conspiracy theories behind it are really starting to make since, evil is evil and we can see it showing its ugly head through the virus. We lose hope with the creation of vaccines that are contrary to church teaching whether a Priest or Bishop gives an exemption, we can not as Christians contradict the teachings of our faith by any means.
Our Lady asked the children to share with the world messages and this is just one example fitting for our society in this present time: “They must not offend the Lord any more, for he is already too much offended!” and she predicted a terrible war would follow if people did not repent. World War I was still raging, and World War II followed, but also the Spanish Flu pandemic that would take the lives of Francisco and Jacinta Marto. As a Christians we must ask ourselves what is God trying to show us in these difficult times? It has to be for us to live like the little shepherds at Fatima.
Prayer, Penance and Sacrifice Our Lady appeared to the three shepherds with this particular message of prayer, penance and sacrifice. At every apparition from May 13th to October 13 she asked them to pray the rosary everyday for peace. Later on in the life of Sister Lucia, shortly after her death she revealed that this was not only peace from war, but peace within our hearts and families. This is exactly what is needed in our present moment. Prayer is essential!
The next aspect is that we need to accept the suffering as penance. It always amazed me and still does the penance done by the little shepherds. Today, many of us are to comfortable with worldly things and this has enabled us to whimper at any difficulty that may come our way. I think of little Jacinta lying in that hospital bed alone dying and offering that up for the conversion of sinners. We need to accept and do penance for our sins and the sins of others.
As a Christian, sacrifice is a way of life. We make sacrifices for the greater good and no one person is exempt. Now, what we do with those sacrifice makes all the difference in the world. If we complain constantly about how terrible we have it everyday the sacrifice is not doing anyone, including yourself a bit of good. We must offer up our sacrifices for our conversion and the conversion of others. Our Lord is much offended and through our sacrifices we make reparation for the sins of mankind. It’s really a beautiful thing to do as a member of the body of Christ. It brings unity, peace and hope through Christ. We unite our sufferings to Him and realize that we are not alone in the fight.
I want to encourage you to live the message of Our Lady in your daily lives. Participate in the renewal. I know it is difficult in these times but we must have hope and realize that no matter how this ends we have Our Lord and Our Lady by our side at each moment to lead us to our final resting place in eternal happiness, peace and joy.