10-16-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Charlie Goraieb

Dear Friends,

The month of October (like May) is dedicated to our Blessed Mother. Last Thursday we honored Mary on the occasion of the 105th anniversary of her apparitions at Fatima. After more than a century, Our Blessed Mother’s appearance in that small Portuguese town continues to deeply impact Catholics worldwide. Why is that?

In part, the universally acclaimed signs and wonders that took place still reverberate in the Catholic imagination. The miracle of the sun, which has been retold and dramatized countless times, was witnessed by over 70,000 people (many of whom were skeptics). But perhaps the most enduring aspect of Fatima are the messages our Blessed Mother related to the three visionaries: Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia.

These young and poorly educated children were the recipients of the most widely embraced Marian messages ever revealed. The messages, often referred to as the secrets, were as follows:

  1. The children were given a vision of the horrors of hell and the unbearable suffering of those condemned. The children said that, thankfully, the vision lasted but an instant because they could not have withstood it any longer.
  2. The second secret was a statement that World War I would end, along with a prediction of another war during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With 20/20 hindsight we all attest to the horrors of WWII. And thanks to Pope St John Paul II, who did as Mary instructed, the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.
  3. The final message, revealed to the world in the year 2000, is a call to Penance and a depiction of the failed attempt to assassinate Pope St John Paul II.

Perhaps the most enduring and present-day relevance of these secrets is the call to prayer, penance and the recitation of the Rosary. As Catholics rooted in a “sacramental mindset,” we understand that great victories are not won by force or violence. The important moments in history pivot on seemingly inconsequential events that, in fact, are visible depictions of great invisible realities. First and foremost is the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. What looked like utter defeat became the most momentous event in human history. To cite only a couple of more examples, the Battle of Lepanto (1571) and the power of the Rosary and the dissolution of the Soviet Empire without a shot being fired. There are countless more examples, but the point is that our victory in this world will come not through the means of power wielded by the worldly, but by the Spiritual realities provided to us by God.

Here is one man’s testimony about his holy hour at his parish that has perpetual adoration:

“When I go through the door and approach the Blessed Sacrament I am immediately overcome by a sense of awe. I realize I am in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Then, I am humbled because Jesus is actually in the same room as I am…. He wants me to be with him; and he especially wants to be with me….I just sit there in his presence, waiting to hear what He might have to say. Before I know it, my hour is up. (The time) goes by in the wink of an eye. No matter what else, I always leave knowing I am a child of God, and that Jesus loves me so.” 

May God bless you and your family,
Fr Charlie Goraieb