I can’t help it sometimes… I read something about Jesus and how He has done so much for us and loves us, and then I get excited and enter a season of religious enthusiasm! Unfortunately, I usually get discouraged by my inability to actually be a good person.
Lately, I’ve been inspired by reading about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Marian apparitions have long interested me (maybe fascinated is a better term), and these are no exception. In fact, I learned about them when I was a very little girl, so they’re probably my favorite.
The Catholic Church does not officially recognize all apparitions as authentic, and no Catholic is actually required to believe in them. But honestly, if the Blessed Mother appeared to me, and asked me to pray more, would I turn her down? No. Of course not. And I certainly do believe that she appeared to these three children, and there is nothing about her message that is weird or impossible to do. Her requests:
- Stop offending Jesus,
- Pray, especially the Rosary, daily,
- Offer sacrifices and suffering to Jesus,
- Devote oneself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
- Make the Five First Saturdays, and
- Wear the Brown Scapular.
If you’re not Catholic, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about for the last three items. It could be that you don’t know about this, even if you are Catholic. For more information on these requests, you might try a place called The World Apostolate of Fatima, U.S.A., which is a clearing house for all things Fatima. (There are many web sites about Fatima, from the orthodox to the nonsensical. I will not make any other recommendations.)
Six little requests. So easy to do! So why don’t I? Is it unrealistic? No. Too hard for ordinary people? No. Peculiar to the time and place? No. Am I just too lazy? Probably. And I feel guilty about that.
Fortunately, God is very merciful. He loves it when we brush ourselves off and try again. And so does His mother!