Fatima: Mystical Confidences

VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today, liturgical memory of Our Lady of Fatima and the tenth anniversary of the beatification of the shepherd children Francisco and Jacinta, the Pope celebrated the Eucharist on the esplanade of the shrine of Fatima in the presence of 500,000 people.

In his homily the Holy Father made it clear that he had "come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary's presence and maternal protection; ... to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings; ... to entrust to Mary's maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who [who do] good works".

Referring then to "mystical confidences of the shepherd children", the Holy Father noted how "one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see".

But "the Scriptures invite us to believe", he explained. "God can come to us, and show Himself to the eyes of our heart. Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. ... Henceforth our hope has a real foundation: ... Jesus of Nazareth".
"Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one's life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world", he said.
The shepherd children "offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God", said the Holy Father, highlighting how "we would be mistaken to think that Fatima's prophetic mission is complete. ... Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end. In Sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and He does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: 'Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which He will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?'.
"At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart", he added.

Benedict concluded his homily by expressing the hope that "the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions" may "hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Blessed Trinity".

At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father addressed some words to the sick people present, and to those following the event by radio and television.

"In all human suffering", he said, "we are joined by One Who experiences and carries that suffering with us". In other words, it is possible to "overcome the feeling of the uselessness of suffering which consumes a person from within and makes him feel a burden to those around him when, in reality, suffering which is lived with Jesus assists in the salvation of your brethren".

"The divine Master, instead of explaining the reasons for suffering, preferred to call everyone to follow Him, saying: 'Take up your cross and follow me'. Come with me. With your suffering, take part in the work of salvation which is realised through my suffering, by means of my cross. As you gradually embrace your own cross, uniting yourself spiritually to my cross, the salvific meaning of suffering will be revealed to you. In suffering, you will discover an interior peace and even spiritual joy".

The Holy Father invited the sick to welcome the call of Jesus "and entrust to Him every setback and pain that you face, so that they become - according to His design; a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son. At the cross stands the Mother of Jesus, our Mother".

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