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 By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

Two of the three Fatima seers, Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco, died young because of the need for victim souls to give necessary fecundity to Our Lady’s plan. Their lives were proof that nothing great is done without suffering.

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Indeed, suffering helps those souls who are absorbed with themselves and unwilling to open up. We should see suffering as normal for man and we should practice it with courage and daring. The acceptance of sacrifice is necessary to combat the Hollywood myth of the “happy end.”

Jacinta and Francisco died as children by Our Lady’s design as she had foretold. The third seer, Lucia, lived for many more years. What was the reason why

Jacinta and Francisco died so early? This was obvious for they spoke openly about it.

The reason was that Fatima asked people to offer up their sufferings. It called for victim souls to associate themselves with the entire mystery of Fatima, and through their sufferings and pains help bring about all the supernatural fecundity Our Lady wanted to give to the events at Fatima. . This is exactly what happened to both children who died in extraordinarily difficult and arduous circumstances that caused them much suffering.

Such sufferings are needed because when it comes to the salvation of souls, all great works of God are done with the participation of men. In general, this is only accomplished with people willing to fight, suffer and pray for God’s work to be brought to its fruition.

In other words, sacrifice is necessary. Otherwise, nothing great is done.

The importance of this principle stood out especially at Fatima. Our Lady directly intervened there by performing stupendous miracles especially the “miracle of the sun.” She did this to underscore the fact that Fatima is one of the most important if not the most important message she has ever given in history.

On that occasion and in those circumstances, Our Lady wanted the sacrifice of two souls who would offer themselves up for the fulfillment of the plan of Divine Providence. This clearly shows how the apostolate of suffering is truly irreplaceable and how it opens up the way for the Church to act upon souls.

A German painter once painted Our Lord as the Good Shepherd knocking on the door of a simple house. Afterwards someone told him: “You made a mistake, for the door has no outside knob to get in.” He answered: “That’s true, but it is not a mistake. This door symbolizes the human heart. Our Lord knocks on it, but there is no knob outside, only inside. There are certain souls that open up only to themselves and to no one else, and in that case no one can intervene, they are really closed.”

Prayer and sacrifice are precisely the way to influence this type of person. They open up to the grace and find life when they suffer and carry the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ lovingly. They come to understand how normal it is to suffer. A person acquires greatness to the degree that he suffers. The great men in history are those who bear great sufferings for the love of God.

Clearly, this includes not only passive suffering like, for example, allowing another to strike us. It also means active suffering that is, taking the initiative in find suffering. This can be done by confronting bad public opinion or overcoming human respect. In short, it means accepting suffering entirely, embracing it fearlessly and daringly, and taking the initiative to look for ways to sacrifice for an ideal.  This is what it means to suffer par excellence and we should seek to do this.

The Hollywood myth of the “happy ending” is a great obstacle to accepting suffering and sacrifice. Not all things turn out well in the end as in the movies.

Not everything is joy and success. Thus, we should not look at suffering as a kind of seven-headed monster that invades people’s lives uninvited. To the contrary, we should realize that everyone suffers and a life without crosses is worthless. Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort goes so far as to say that when a person does not suffer, he should ask for crosses. For a person to whom God gives no sufferings should be wary of his eternal salvation.

All this comes across very clearly in the sacrifice made by Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco.

In this sense, we should frequently pray to them to ask Our Lady of Fatima to obtain for us this true sense of suffering that is indispensable for all those faithful who want to become generous and dedicated Catholics.

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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