Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Fr. Paul Ward


Sat. & Sun., Jan. 14 & 15, 2017
2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A


Homily on Fatima (01):
Begins with the Apparition of an Angel


   Today is a day of great joy for our parish, but also for two young women who wish to enter the Catholic Church. As of today, by the rites of the Church, they are officially catechumens, giving them certain rights in the Church and even, should God call them before their baptism, in the Church triumphant in heaven. We encourage you to persevere in this good work God is doing in your hearts, and please count on our prayers and the good example of the members of this parish.

   Also, please keep in mind that this week we resume our Adult Catechism. We are discussing that part of the Creed that refers to Jesus and his Incarnation. I hope many attend.

   You may remember that this year is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima. I therefore wished to explore these apparitions, the people and words and events, to obtain great spiritual fruit. You may also remember that in early December past, just over a month ago, I gave a summary of the apparitions there, how there were three Children, it was in Portugal, an angel came three times in preparation, and then our Lady appeared on the 13th day for six months in a row, asking for penance and rosaries for peace and for the salvation of souls; and how the matter was confirmed with an extremely public miracle of the sun.

   Today we begin a more in-depth examination of these beautiful narrations, which will continue all throughout the year. And the first matter to explore is the first apparition of the angel, in the Spring of 1916, while World War I was being fought in Europe.

   There were three small children outside of Fatima tending sheep. The oldest was Lucia, age 9, and her two cousins, siblings named Francisco, age 8 and Jacinta, age 6. One day they went out to pasture the sheep. The day started out drizzly, but cleared up. They had gone up a hill and took shelter from the drizzle under a large boulder. They ate their lunch, and then prayed their rosary. How beautiful that children should know to pray their rosary, and do it together; may such good customs abound among the children of our parish. But these three little kids did a quick rosary! They wouldn’t say the whole of each prayer. They’d say, “Our Father,” on the big bead, but not recite the rest of the prayer, and then move on to the little beads and just say on each one, “Hail Mary,” without continuing, “Full of grace…” You see, they were devout children, but they were very conscious of time-efficiency, and had much playing to do! So the rosary went fast. But they prayed it, and I have no doubt Mary’s heart was touched with tender happiness on hearing their prayers.

   Suddenly, when the game had just begun, the calm day was interrupted with a strong wind blowing on some nearby trees. These are short, gnarly trees of the olive orchard owned by their uncle, where they remained while the sheep pastured.

   Above the trees, a figure came toward them, even to the ground before them. Lucia wrote, “It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said, ‘Do not be afraid! I am the angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and mad us repeat these words three times: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.’ Then, rising, he said: ‘Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’ His words engraved themselves so deeply on our minds that we could never forget them. From then on, we used to spend long periods of time, prostrate like the Angel, repeating his word, until sometimes we fell, exhausted.”

   This is how Lucia told what happened. Let us reflect for a moment on these words. First of all, he said nothing about upcoming visions of Mary, or that he himself would return. And so it is in the spiritual life, often we know what we must do now, but how things will be, and what God’s will for us in the future will be, is often not disclosed to us. Nor should we strive to know God’s mind for us in the future; planning prudently for the future as best we can, we really need to leave the future in God’s hands.

   See also how the words were impressed upon Lucia’s mind, and in a way that was both exact and indelible. God can do this. It may have happened to some of you in prayer, that God has communicated some thought to you in such a way that you will always remember it perfectly until the end of your days. This kind of supernatural imprint may also be what the prophets and apostles experienced, so that even if they wrote their various passages of the scriptures years after certain events, they could do so with a supernaturally-inspired precision. Indeed, we trust in the historicity of the Scriptures, most especially the four Gospels: they really do tell us what Christ said and did, and are not approximations or inventions. They are historically reliable.

   Also, the angel points to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. We, parishioners of the Sacred Heart, find special interest and joy in this. It is as if, by being members of this parish, the Lord wanted us to be especially close to his Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Hearts full of such love! And hearts that listen to the prayers of children, and to the prayers of each and every one of you who hear me today. Believe in God’s attention to your prayers!

   My last reflection are the words of the angel. I invite everyone today, during the moment of consecration, to pray silently in your hearts those words taught by the Angel of Peace: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.” What an excellent thought of the mind to entertain, and affection of the heart to proffer, to pray these words at the moment of the elevation, at the moment of communion.

   And so in this way, the Angel of Peace, as too his Queen Mary the Mother of God, teach us the way to grow closer to the one true God, who is in the Eucharist, and who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.


[1] Lucia, Fatima in Lucia’s own Words, Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, Fatima, Portugal, 17th ed. 2010, p. 78.









Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Librevia Editrice Vaticana


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