“Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). These words of the Mother of God at the Wedding Feast of Cana are like a bright beacon pointing the way to our happiness and the way to the Heart of Christ.
The famous Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spent nearly 50 years studying the history of the bloody revolution that took the lives of some 60 million of his countrymen. In the process, he read hundreds of books, collected personal testimonies and wrote volumes on the Communist Revolution in Russia. He concluded, “men have forgotten God.”
When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta for the third time, July 13, 1917, she did two things of great importance: first, she showed them a terrifying vision of hell to reveal the horrific suffering that sin causes; and second, she gave them what has come to be known as the Fatima Prayer, which she told them to say at the end of each decade of the Rosary.
Throughout the history of salvation, God chooses to use what seems too small and insignificant to accomplish his purposes. Small realities, ordinary people: like the poor young children of Fatima, like the family.
God sent the Blessed Virgin Mary to little children in central Portugal with a plan that could convert hearts and thereby stop the bloodshed.
Can prayer change the direction of history? Are prayer and acts of penance capable of preventing nuclear annihilation? Can prayers and penance increase our freedom? “Yes, yes and yes.”
A hundred years ago, on the 13th day of every month from May through October of 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children near Fatima in Portugal, bringing them an urgent message, calling for repentance and prayer, a message that has no less urgency today.
On Dec. 30, 2016, the Feast of the Holy Family, a revised Rite for Marriage began to be used throughout the English-speaking Church. It is called The Order of Celebrating Matrimony. Though much of the Rite remains the same, the changes serve to deepen the beauty of the symbolic expression of marriage, as well as to radiate the unchanging truth of marriage in our culture.
My mother and father’s 73-year marriage came full circle several weeks ago as Mom and the rest of our family lovingly ushered my father to the goal of their union from the beginning: the merciful encounter with our heavenly Father when this earthly life is done. The little church where we celebrated the funeral Mass was filled to overflowing with those touched by the truth, goodness and beauty of my parents’ deeply loving and fruitful, even if not perfect, union.
Today I wish to consider the shepherding work of priests, who, in spiritual guidance and in confession, seek to help others to encounter the Amoris Laetitia, the “Joy of Love.” Earlier this year, Pope Francis, who has made Confession a constant theme of his pontificate, wrote in his recent book, “The Name of God is Mercy,” “It is important that I go to Confession, that I sit in front of a priest who embodies Jesus, that I kneel before Mother Church, called to dispense the mercy of Christ. There is objectivity in this gesture of genuflection before the priest; it becomes the vehicle through which grace reaches and heals me.”