Hello dear readers and sharers. Early autumn greetings; early thoughts for your faith journey. And speaking of journey — we’re soon out the door to head to Fatima. To Lourdes. To two Eucharistic miracle sites. And to Rome. We’ve been to Rome twice before and have found it so awesome, so faith-renewing. One of the visits to Rome gave me the opportunity to be a deacon at an ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica. As I processed out in alb and stole, I looked at the magnificent center of Vatican liturgies and historic events and I almost voiced these words, “Beam me up; I don’t need to achieve any other blessing in my life.”
But we’ve never been to Fatima and Lourdes. And by now, I guess you’ve heard that this is the one hundredth anniversary of Blessed Mother Mary’s appearances at Fatima. Mary didn’t come to share secrets and messages with a pope or a bishop or a priest or deacon. No. She came to speak with innocent young shepherd children. “My ways are not your ways” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
While we may not remember the details — there were three secrets given to the children. Visions of hell, a prophecy of the end of World War 1, but the further prophecy that another war would happen if people didn’t repent. The rosary needed to be said for the cause of peace. The third secret has been described as an exhortation to prayer and an ongoing summons to penance and conversion. How do you think the world is doing in these areas?
My diaconate ordination was over thirteen years ago. And after perhaps more than a thousand Masses and the delivery of many sermons – I realize how much in need I am — even more aware than when I became a deacon — how much I need penance and conversion.
And so, we leave for Fatima. We are taking sealed petitions for dozens and dozens of people with their many requests and desires and hopes. My own sealed petition to Blessed Mary is for a conversion that only she and God’s Actual Grace can help to achieve in me. (Actual Grace? See Catholic Catechism Section One, Chapter Three – God’s Salvation: Law and Grace)
I am reminded of my powerlessness in this and just yesterday was listening to a song by singer/attorney Billie Tarascio: Lay It Down. It goes something like this: “I lay it down at your feet … every hope and dream I seek … Lord I give it all to you.” I acknowledge there are some sins and struggles that I just haven’t been able to do on my own. And so as a person who has consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I head to one of the places where she has asked for penance and change. I know she’s heard me already – she’s let me know that.
But what else is interesting is that Mary has given permission to take so many petitions of others to Fatima … and I’d like to add yours. You don’t have to email me. You needn’t scour for my cell phone number. We are connected in a special way. I will just be given to ‘know’ that I am to pray for you. For you. Your personal situation. For a marriage. A relationship. For children — some who have gone along the path of the Prodigal Son.
I’m not clairvoyant. I’m not a ‘seer.’ I’ve already admitted I have failings (i.e. sin) I need to work on. But somehow it’s come to me, dear family member, you can come with me to Fatima. My rosary will accompany your needs to the grotto.
Copyright 2017 Deacon Tom Fox