|A closeup of the statue Bill travels with.|
A long time ago, when I was a sixth grader in Catholic school, Sister had us study the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (aka St. Paul the apostle) and assigned us an essay "The Conversion of (insert student's name)" I remember describing as my Damascus road moment a time several years before when I'd read a book about the Fatima apparitions, and the incredible miracle witnessed there by tens of thousands. I went on to declare that if the visionaries--kids my age--could take on the daily rosary and "offering up" their daily crosses, so could I.
So you could say that Fatima was a formative part of my spiritual journey. And wouldn't you know it, I ended up marrying a man who has worked for many Catholic organizations and today promotes the message of Fatima.
A friend recently remarked that the work my husband and I do adds up to a perfect blend of liturgy and devotion.
Bill, my husband, travels the country with the National Pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima. He speaks about the Fatima message, particularly a part of the message that is least noticed but most practical. This would be the part that we can play daily in answering Our Lady's requests: that we accept, bear with submission, and "offer up" every big and small pain, inconvenience, frustration, suffering, etc., for the love of God, in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of sinners. This facet of the Fatima message gets a warm welcome from everyone who hears it. Many people who come to Bill's talks don't feel up to a commitment to the daily rosary or making the five first Saturdays, but are relieved to learn the core of the message is something that they can do. After all, daily suffering comes to everyone regardless of their degree of piety and devotion to prayer. Traffic jams, stubbed toes, overdue bills. So much daily straw that can be spun into gold. A brief prayer of offering that makes suffering meaningful is within everyone's grasp. So Bill goes around telling people about this valuable and easy spiritual practice.
Instant penance, joining our little problems to the sufferings of Christ. No hair shirt required.
And I write about the Liturgy of the Hours. So today my work intersects with my husband's a bit: tomorrow we have optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. This memorial was only put on the calendar a few years back, so the second reading and the concluding prayer will not appear in your printed breviary. But you will find them at ibreviary.com. Scroll down to the end of each hours to find the Our Lady of Fatima elements.
Here is a Fatima Morning Offering from the World Apostolate of Fatima.
O my God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you. O God I accept and bear with submission whatever suffering You permit in my life, for the love of you, in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the conversion of sinners.