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Article Title - Fire in My Chest, From Shepherdess to Saint

 

Visiting Fatima years back, preparing to work on my children’s book Jacinta’s Story, the tiny town of Aljustrel gave me a glimpse into the personalities of the three small seers, Lucia dos Santos, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

I will never forget emerging from the tiny, white-washed cottage that had been Francisco and Jacinta’s home and seeing the last of their living brothers leaning against a wall, available for souvenir photos. He was a man out of modern time, unsophisticated, direct and simple, a man “of the earth”, still untouched by the complications of industrialized civilization.

This is how Jacinta, her brother and cousin, must have been–even more so. There was nothing remarkable about this man, peering at me shyly from under his brow, just as there must have been nothing extraordinary about the little shepherd girl who Pope John Paul II declared Blessed in May of 2000 and was canonized a Saint in May of 2017, and who looks at us just as shyly from under her brow in her photos.

Pictures and descriptions of little Jacinta show us a pretty, spritely, charming girl who at times, according to Lucia, was a bit sulky, and “the sweetest of his children” in the words of her father, “Ti”  Marto.

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We get a glimpse of a sensitive, affectionate child when, at age five, she cried bitterly on hearing about the sufferings of Christ,  and promised not to make Him suffer anymore.

We sense her contemplative nature when we read of her calling the moon, “Our Lady’s lamp.".

And we meet the little Portuguese “hostess” when, at age seven, at the first apparition, on May 13, 1917, she shyly asks Lucia if they should share their lunch with their heavenly visitor.

We also glimpse the pristine innocence in the small oval face of the pictures, coupled with an almost disconcerting directness and strength in the brown eyes–eyes that seem to see “beyond”,  for indeed they had had a glimpse of Heaven–and Hell.

In the second apparition of June 13, the Blessed Virgin said that she would soon take Francisco and Jacinta to Heaven. In the  vision of July 13, they were shown a terrifying scene of Hell, in which they saw, immersed in a huge fire, innumerable souls like  “burning ambers”.

 

This vision coupled with Our Lady’s pathetic plea “Pray for sinners, many go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them,” lit in the innocent girl’s heart a fire of love for God and souls.

Between the great graces of Our Lady, the knowledge that she was not long for this earth and the thirst to save as many “poor  sinners” as she could, Jacinta forgot the earth, and for four short years lived only to please God, her “Lady” and to help souls  make it to that Heaven she had been promised for herself.

Jacinta’s natural sensitivity and affectionate disposition were sublimated into that burning charity that renders all sacrifice small and all effort easy. Lucia writes in her memoirs how Jacinta never tired of telling Our Lord and Our Lady how much she loved them. She once said, “ I have a fire in my chest but it doesn’t burn me."

This inward “fire” fueled her on until her death of tuberculosis just shy of her eleventh birthday, alone in a hospital in Lisbon, which last sacrifice she embraced for her beloved “sinners”

Despite her youth, in the words of Pope John Paul II at her beatification on May 13, 2000, “She could well exclaim with St. Paul: ‘I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church’” (Col 1: 24).

In four short years the little Portuguese girl had gone from carefree shepherdess to heroic saint.

 

On the Anniversary of Saint Jacinta’s birth:

America Needs Fatima invites you to take the children you love on a wonderful pilgrimage to feel Our Lady’s maternal love and to learn about her beautiful Fatima apparitions through Jacinta’s Story. Children will follow Jacinta’s footsteps to the Cova da Iria—the famous spot where the Mother of God appeared. They will see Jacinta kneel in awe as Our Lady approaches the holm-oak tree in a radiant sphere of light. They will feel Jacinta’s sadness as people spread a rumor that it was the devil instead of the Virgin Mary who had appeared.

Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Saint Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.

Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.

 


Jacinta's Story Book

 

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Jacinta’s Story:
 
                             

Hardbound, full color illustrations, 61 pgs.       

B23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15  

 

  


References:  
America Needs Fatima online, Mystics of the Church online
Speech of Pope John Paul II at Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto-Vatican Website

 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for March 25, 2019

Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. P...

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March 25

 

Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger.
Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Ghost,
and raises man to Heaven.

St. Ephrem the Syrian


SATAN V. the Immaculate Conception  SIGN!

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Lucy Filippini

Orphaned early in life, she was raised by her aristocratic a...

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St. Lucy Filippini

Lucy was born in 1672 in Tarquinia in Tuscany. Orphaned early in life, she was raised by her aristocratic aunt and uncle.

Her early inclination to piety was strengthened by a great seriousness of purpose and her remarkable gifts attracted the attention of the Cardinal-Bishop of the diocese, Marcantonio Barbarigo, who persuaded the young lady to take advantage of an institute for training teachers in Montefiasconi. Lucy excelled in the institute and won all hearts by her modesty and charity, her intense conviction of spiritual things, her common sense and her courage.

At the teachers' institute, Lucy met Blessed Rose Venerini, whose educational experience Cardinal Barbarigo had likewise recruited. In Montefiascone the two holy women trained schoolmistresses and co-founded the Maestre Pie or the Pious Matrons. Together they trained girls in the art of running a good home, weaving, embroidery, reading and Christian doctrine. Their work prospered. Both shared a tremendous gift for effective communication.

In 1707, at the express desire of Pope Clement XI, Lucy went to Rome and founded the first school of the Maestre Pie. The school flourished and children flocked to it from all over the region. Though only able to remain in Rome for six months, when Lucy left the Eternal City she was known as the “Maestra Santa”, the Holy School Mistress.

Unfortunately, the task sapped Lucy’s strength and she became seriously ill in 1726. Though she had good medical care, she never quite regained her health and died a most holy death on March 25, 1732, the day she had predicted.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is...

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Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

Question:  I pray and pray, but I feel as if God is not listening. We always had a good, peaceful family life, but these last years have been tough. We don’t seem to be getting along and our finances have taken a turn for the worse.

I am so anxious about this situation that, not having anyone to turn to, I turned to God.

But God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists, who laugh at prayer, saying it is nonsensical and only a figment of the imagination with no real value?

Answer:  God is faithful to His promises, and God promised to answer our prayers. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

If God promises to answer our prayers, He will do so infallibly. But in prayer there are two sides: he who asks and He Who gives.

Our part is to ask. How must we ask?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, teaches in his book Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation that prayer must be persevering and humble.

So many times we hear people saying: “Oh, I used to ask God for this and that and the other, but He never gave it to me. Now, ten years later, how glad I am that He didn’t!”

One thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverance prayer. Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good. What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will. Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.


Answering Atheists and Agnostics
As for atheists and agnostics, their skepticism proceeds from the fact that they, respectively, deny God’s existence or deny men’s capacity to know God.

In this case, we can only express our regret over their ignorance of this Supreme Being, our omnipotent Creator and loving Savior.

We may direct them to a few sources that may help in their search for the truth of His existence. Atheism and agnosticism can only be sustained in ignorance or ill will because the evidence of God’s existence is overwhelming.

Moreover, God will not hide Himself from those who seek Him sincerely and unconditionally.

Another consideration pertaining to non-believers is this: If God were to grant us absolutely everything we ask at a moment’s notice, such people might start believing purely out of self-interest.

They would look at God as a wand-wielding wizard. And God Our Lord is infinitely more than that. He wants us to know, love, and serve Him for Himself so that He can treat us as children and heirs and grant us unending happiness in Heaven.

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady of Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."  Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima.

 

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I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists,

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