Fatima 100 (August)

This time around there were some complications the visitation didn’t take place until the nineteenth. As the children were sort of kidnapped and taken out of the area. On the morning of the 13th the Mayor came to offer them a ride so they could travel safely through the crowds, however they ended up at the district headquarters in Vila Nova de Ourem. The children were put on”trial” for what they saw. This lasted two day and they were returned on the Feast of the Assumption. On the 13 in Cova de Iria the external signs of the Apparition appeared for the benefit of the largest crowd to come and witness the event. So on the 19th of August the Lady appeared to Lucia, her brother John, and Francisco, who were grazing sheep in Valinhos so Lucia gave her brother some pennies to get Jacinta. When Jacinta arrived the Lady appeared. The Lady told them to pray the rosary and come again to Cova de Iria next month. They asked what to do with the money that the crowds have been bringing, it was to make two ardors (used for carrying statues during processions) for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary with Jacinta, Lucia and two friends carry one and Francisco and three friends carry the other. They were told to wear white and the leftover funds were to be used for the construction of a chapel there.

 

Dormition and Assumption

Today is the Feast of the Assumption and the Dormition of Mary in the Western and Eastern Churches respectively. They are technically the same event but there are nuances between the two. At the Assumption Mary is brought up to heaven at the end of her life body and soul, while during the Dormition Mary falls asleep (dies) and is bodily resurrected before going to heaven. I don’t see that big of a difference between the two. In the Orthodox Church today marks the end of the Dormition (Theotokos) Fast which began on the first of August. This is a Holy Day of Obligation in most of the world. If you have some time perhaps take out and pray a rosary today.

Institution of the Eucharist

The final Luminous Mystery is the Institution of the Eucharist. This takes place at the Last Supper and is featured in all the Gospels. The fruit of the mystery is Adoration. This is one of the high points of our faith that we remember at each and every mass, “Take Eat, Take Drink, Do this in memory of me.” That’s the Last Supper in a nutshell and all to often we forget to show reverence to this idea. Let us all remember that this is the seed of our faith. Without this event we’d all be some other religion now and sure numbers of the faithful are falling across the world but we can bring out awe and wonder out into it. Sharing our joy in the Eucharistic banquet table we all we sit at one day.

The Transfiguration

The fourth decade of the luminous mysteries is the Transformation. If you remember this was the Gospel reading this past Sunday. Now the story is in all the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) and is referenced in the second letter of Peter (2 Peter 1:16–18). Jesus took Peter and “The Sons of Thunder” James and John up to a mountain where Jesus turned radiant and there appeared Moses and Elijah who conversed with Jesus. The fruit of this mystery is a Desire for holiness. At the Transfiguration Peter wanted to build tents for Moses/Elijah/Jesus but you can’t stay up on top of the mountain in your mountaintop experience. We need to go out for there and hope to one day glimpse the pureness of holiness when we need it.  Even Jesus told Peter, James and John not to tell anyone of what had happened before the Son of Man had risen. All to often the faithful dwell in the mountain top and look down on those who have sinned or live a different lifestyle than they approve of, look at all the talk about Fr. James Martin’s new book about building a bridge between the LGBT community and the church. As Jesus say let whomever is without sin cast the first stone.

Proclamation of the Kingdom

The third luminous mystery is a bit harder to exactly pin point in the Bible since it is in all the Gospels several time, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” is the general message from Jesus about the Kingdom. The fruit of this mystery is Trust in God. The beatitudes give us a nice set of guidelines blessed are the poor in spirit or the poor for their is the kingdom of God. This is a radical thing to think of being “poor” when everyone else in society only wants to get rich.  However I find that you learn more from things that cost you less and you get more from these experiences that earn you little. Let us all try to trust more in God this upcoming week and try to bring about the Kingdom here on earth.

Wedding at Cana

The second Luminous mystery is the wedding feast at Cana, the place where the first miracle took place. It is found in John’s Gospel (2:1-11) the story goes that Jesus and Mary were invited to a wedding and the party ran out of wine. Mary told Jesus to do something about this and he said “My hour has not yet come”, so Mary goes to the servants and tells them to do what he tells you. The servants fill up containers with water and then give it to the chief steward. The steward after tasting it goes to the bridegroom remarks that usually the best wine is usually served first. The fruit of this mystery is to Jesus through Mary. The whole Mary thing is a tough part for Christians to understand about Catholics but Mary is a conduit between mankind and to Jesus. As these words of Mary are the last time we hear from her in the Bible “Do whatever he tells you.” This is something that we need to remember we need to listen to what Jesus says.

Fatima 100 (July)

On 13 July 1917, the children shepherds yet again were visited by the beautiful lady. This time around the children had a vision in which they saw three things, the Fatima Secrets and these weren’t nice things. The first two secrets were first written by Sister Lucia in 1941 in her third memior, the final one was kept a secret until 1944 when she wrote it down and it was eventually sent to the Vatican, which finally revealed it in 2000. The lady told them to continue praying the Rosary adding the Fatima prayer, to come back next month and the next until October when the Lady said she will tell them who she it.

The first secret that they saw was a vision of Hell “…we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now following back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me do). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals….”

The second secret comes from the first the Lady continued “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 what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. When you see a night (28 January 1938) illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.” To prevent this, she asks for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If these suggestions are heeded Russia will be converted and there will be peace if not Russia will spread “her errors throughout the world” yet in the end “My Immaculate Heart will triumph. Now this secret has some problems with it as there is the mention of Pius XI who wasn’t Pope until 1922.

The final secret is different as it starts with an Angel with a flaming sword, it cried out “Penance, Penance, Penance!” while pointing toward the earth. “Then they saw a bishop dressed in white (the Holy Father) along with a crowd of other bishops, priest, as well as men and women religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks…before reaching the cross the Holy Father went through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.” Now the Vatican has implied that this is about the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981, however added to this reveal was a commentary by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) which he says “the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.”

Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan

We have made our way through one of the mysteries and now it is on to the newest one introduced by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 2002). These are the Luminious mysteries or mysteries of Light. The first Luminious mystery is the Baptism of Jesus. It can be found in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) where we hear from the sky “This is/You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” and in John’s Gospel while it doesn’t have the baptism story it does have John the Baptist testifying about Jesus saying that “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” The fruit of the mystery is openness to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is something that we all should be praying for to come into our lives and inspire all our actions.

The Finding in the Temple

The Fifth and final Joyful Mystery is the finding of Jesus in the Temple. As with many of the other mysteries this can be found in Luke’s Gospel (2:41-52). The story of the finding is the only event from the adolescence of Jesus that is in the Gospel and Bible. This event is when Jesus, Mary and Joseph all head to the Temple with some relatives for Passover. Jesus is about 12 year old. It goes that on the day they were returning Jesus lingers in the Temple, Mary and Joseph both assumed that Jesus was in the group. So after a day Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was missing and they turned back to find him. When they found Jesus, Mary asked “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” Jesus said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” but his parents didn’t understand what he meant. Yet Jesus went with them back to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents.

The fruit of this mystery is True Conversion (Piety, Joy of Finding Jesus) and/or Obedience. It would be nice if more people could live a pious life, this is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In a world that is starving for humility if we could all try to live a more pious and humble life that would be a godsend.

The Presentation at the Temple

The fourth Joyful Mystery is The Presentation, the feast is on 2 February and it can be found in Luke’s Gospel 2:22-40. This event is a common Jewish tradition where the mother purifies herself and the first-born son is “redeemed” by use of silver coins from his birth-state of sanctity. This is one of the twelve Great Feasts in the Orthodox Church and is also known as Candlemas as candles can be blessed at this mass. The fruit of the mystery is Purity and Obedience. As a reminder to us of Simeon and Anna who were at the Temple and greeted Jesus, Mary and Joseph. These are great qualities that don’t seem to exist much in the world, let us make it our goal to try and make these things purity and obedience a part of our lives.