Fatima and the Holy Souls

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By Chris Sparks (May 11, 2017)
It may be one of the most disconcerting moments in the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

On May 13, 1917, during the first apparition to the three shepherd children, the eldest visionary, Lucia dos Santos, asked the Blessed Mother about two of her friends who had died. The Lady responded that one was in Heaven, but the other, Amelia, would be in Purgatory until the end of the world.

How can this be?

Keep in mind that prophecy and private revelation often speak in terms of things that will be — unless. For instance, in the biblical Book of Jonah, the Prophet Jonah goes to the people of Nineveh and tells them that in 40 days, their city will be destroyed. And so Nineveh would have been destroyed — except that the people of Nineveh heard Jonah's words, were struck to the heart, and responded by doing penance in sackcloth and ashes. So God, in His infinite love and mercy, forbore to smite the people.

Another example of prophecy mitigated by prayer and sacrifice is the repeated proclamation throughout Christian history that the end is near, the Second Coming at hand, and for people to repent and prepare themselves for the final coming of Christ. Great saints at times, such as St. Vincent Ferrer, have proclaimed that theirs was the time of the end. And yet here we are today. What happened? Probably, people responded with penance for their sins as the Lord God wished, or else He in His mercy withheld the time of the end so as to give us time to repent and be saved.

So when Our Lady told Lucia that Amelia will be in Purgatory until the end of the world, perhaps that information was intended to help spur on Lucia and those whom she would tell about Our Lady's apparitions to pray, fast, and offer suffrages on behalf of Amelia and all those who, like her, owe a great debt of temporal punishment due to sin.

After all, one of the key elements of the message of Fatima is the summons to make reparation for our sins and the sins of others, to become conduits of the mercy of God so that, if we can help it, no soul will be lost. Our Lady showed the visionaries the fires of hell in order to help spur them and all true children of Mary to pray and offer penance for the conversion of sinners.

You see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.

So let us offer our sufferings and prayers to the Lord Jesus through the hands of Our Lady of Fatima for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and poor sinners on earth. As St. Stanislaus Papczynski taught, "It is the greatest charity to pray earnestly to God for the freedom of the souls remaining in Purgatory" because they cannot pray for themselves. But how many poor sinners are in danger of Purgatory — or even worse, of hell — who will not raise a prayer for themselves?

So let us pray for the living as well as the dead, for the poor sinners on earth and the Holy Souls in Purgatory, in obedience to Our Lady of Fatima's call for reparation and prayer. She asked especially for the daily Rosary for peace in the world, a peace that can only come through our conversion and sanctification by the grace of God.

Our Lady also asked for the Five First Saturdays of Reparation, which she explained to then-Sr. Lucia Santos on Dec. 10, 1925, in the following way:

See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the ... mysteries of the Rosary.

The practice of the First Saturdays consists of doing the following elements, performed with the intention of reparation, for five consecutive months:

· Confession (shortly before or after the First Saturday — so long as the person receives Holy Communion in a state of grace);
· Holy Communion received on the First Saturday;
· the Holy Rosary, five decades recited sometime during the day; and
· meditating for 15 minutes on the Mysteries of the Rosary (one or more).

Our Lady and the Angel of Peace also gave the child visionaries several prayers that we can use to great effect.

We can pray the "Pardon Prayer" for poor sinners who are still living:

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love Thee.

We can offer the "Angel's Prayer" in reparation for sins and the conversion of poor sinners:

O most Holy Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ — present in all the tabernacles of the world — in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

We can offer the "Eucharistic Prayer" as an act of love for God and a way of gaining graces for the suffering souls in Purgatory:

Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

We can offer the "Sacrifice Prayer" when we offer some form of mortification or suffering for the conversion of poor sinners or for graces for the Holy Souls:

O my Jesus, it is for love of You, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.

Our Lady asked for the "Fatima Prayer" to be included at the end of each decade of the Rosary:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.

Let us pray for Amelia and all those who languish in the pains of Purgatory, for they cannot pray for themselves. Let us do penance for our sins and the sins of the whole world, for the many souls who are in bondage to sin and blinded to their own condition, and so will not make a move to take the Lord's offered salvation unless we help them.

I hope you have been inspired to pray the Five First Saturdays for the Holy Souls.

To learn more about the message of Fatima, visit marian.org/fatima.

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