Friday, December 3, 2010

First Saturday of Advent

Promise of Peace

ur Lady of Fatima, appearing to three little shepherd children, Jacinta, aged seven, Francisco, aged nine, and Lucia, aged ten, on a plateau outside the village of Cova da Iria (in Fatima, a Portuguese town about sixty miles north of Lisbon), made some promises regarding the peace of the world that are particularly pertinent at this time.

With a smile of maternal tenderness, yet somewhat sad, she beckoned gently to the children to approach, saying:  "Have no fear; I will do you no harm.  I come from heaven.  I want you children to come here on the thirteenth of each month, until October.  Then I will tell you who I am."

On July13th, 1917, after the children had seen the apparition of our Lady again, as promised, they were permitted to behold the fires of hell, after which the following prophecy was delivered:

"You have seen the inferno where the souls of sinners end.  To save souls Our Lord desires that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world.

"If what I tell you is done, many wouls will be saved and there will be peace.  the war will end; but if they do not cease to offend the Lord, not much time will elapse, and precisely during the next Pontificate, another and more terrible war will commence.  When a night illumination by an unknown light is seen, know that is the signal that God gives you that the castigation of the world for its many transgressions is at hand, through war, famine, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.  To prevent this I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart, and Communion in reparation on the first Saturday of each month."
August 13th found more than 15,000 people at the Cova da Iria.  More than 30, 000 people gathered there on September 13; and again on October 13, despite incessant rain, an enormous crowd of more than 70,000 assenbled from all corners of Portugal and far distant places in Europe.

On this latter occasion the beautiful Lady appeared to the children for the last time, more radiant than ever before.  "Her face was brighter than the sun,"  said Francisico, who was dazzled, but yet unable to withdraw his gaze.  To the question, "Who are you and what do you wish?"  placed by Lucia, the answer came:

"I am the Lady of the Rosary and I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.  They must not continue to offend Our Lord, already so deeply offended.  They must say the Rosary."
Our Blessed Mother also declared that she wished a Church built at the Cova da Iria in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that if the people amended their lives the war would soon end.

The apparitions of Our Lady have received the seal of approval of the Church as worthy of our belief, and the devotion was authorized under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Millions of pilgrims have visited Fatima; and in a five-year period 215 miraculous cures were claimed.  Fatima is fast becoming a world center of Mary's wonders and intercession.

Pope Pius XII asks all to pray to Ou Lady of Fatima.  He has dedicated the world to her Immaculate Heart.  During Advent, and, indeed, every first Saturday of the month, pray for peace.


Queen of the Most Holy rosary, Refuge of the human race, Victress in all God's battles, we humbly prostrate ourselves before your throne, confident that we shall receive mercy, grace, and bountiful assistance and protection in the present calamity, not through our own inadequate merits, but solely through the great goodness of your maternal heart.  Amen.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary
~ C.B. Chambers

Msgr. Coogan's words ring as true today as they must have in the early 1950s, in the wake of WWII and in the midst of the Korean War.  Though it's true the calamities du jour may be different than the ones when the book Spiritual Steps to Christmas was published, our world has sunk to new lows in many respects and threats crowd around us from every direction.  The rosary, therefore, is more importnt now than ever, and the devotion of the Five First Saturdays is an antidote most desperately needed in our troubled times.  Though this seems a somber subject to discuss during Advent, it's a necessary one if we truly wish to honor the Babe of the Manger.  His Mother wishes to save us; she only asks that we do our part.  ~ Lisa

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