Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fatima: To Know, Love and Serve God

Today is the 91st anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance at Fatima. As Catholics and as homeschooling parents, May is such a beautiful month to which we may look forward. Like October, it is "Our Lady's month" - and isn't it more than a coincidence that her apparitions at Fatima began and ended with two months especially dedicated to Her?

From the earthly viewpoint, May is also the time at which we are, hopefully, drawing the current school year to its closing, even as we are already thinking about the next year.

When we think about it, Catholic homeschooling centers on the purpose for our lives, as stated in the Baltimore Catechism, "To know, love and serve God in this world in order to be happy with Him in the next life." That is, with each school year, both we and our children continue in the school of life - we are teaching (but so are the children!), they are learning (and so are we), and hopefully, all of us praying and advancing, bit by bit, in our spiritual lives. We pray and study and work through one year and, before we know it, we're planning about the next.

But how can any of us know for certain what the next year will bring? We can 'only' pray and practice virtues to advance in them but we can't do that alone. St. Louis de Montfort, who was so persecuted in his own day, was right when he said that the Virgin Mary is the path to God. She said the same thing of herself at Fatima, "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that will lead you to God."

What do we and our children truly know of the Virgin Mother of God? Do we understand that she was prophesied in Genesis 3:15? Do we grasp Her figure types throughout the Old Testament? Are we familiar with what the saints have said of her? Do we recognize Her figure type in The Apocalypse? "A woman clothed with the sun..."(Apoc. 12:1) Do we take the time to study the details of the Marian apparitions declared by the Church as worthy of belief? Do we truly love Her, as Her Son wills we do?

Most of all, do we know the true and complete story of Fatima, which is the message of hope and of motherly warning for our own times? Do our children understand by what is meant in regard to daily duty as a sacrifice? For that matter, do we?

Finally, what might we do to spread devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, first starting in our own minds, hearts and homes? For faith, as we are taught, first comes through the mind, where it is [hopefully] accepted by the intellect, and that is how we first begin to "know" God. For it is through the mind that we know.

May God bless all of you on this day of mercy, when the Mother of God first came to Fatima! May we all pray and work to fully obey this loving Mother, by praying the Rosary every day, offering all we do in sacrifice for the conversion of sinners, partaking of the grace of the Five First Saturdays, and 'praying much' - as did the children of Fatima and as did Sr. Lucia, the sole surviving visionary, during the entire course of her long life - always remembering the Holy Father. Let us pray and sacrifice for Pope Benedict XVI, so that he will command the bishops to join him in the collegial consecration of Russia to the one and only Immaculate Heart.

As Our Lord said, "If you love Me, keep My Commandments."

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