33 Days to Morning Glory

From Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, author of the popular book "Consoling the... Read more


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'We've Got the Goods'

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By Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC (Jun 14, 2017)
This article first appeared in the Summer issue of Marian Helper magazine. Receive a free copy.

Our Lady told the three shepherd children in Fatima that unless people prayed, especially the Rosary, and did penance, fearsome events would unfold.

Clearly, enough people did not heed the call because, of course, fearsome events did unfold. Today, 100 years after her appearances, crisis continues to follow upon crisis, and history continues to leave much blood in its tracks. We live in an ever more damaged world, morally and spiritually.

But I'm optimistic, and I'll tell you why.

It's because we've got the goods — the spiritual goods — to save ourselves and to save the world. We have the makings of a new Pentecost. We — you and I — by virtue of being Marian Fathers and Marian Helpers, have embraced a spirituality whereby we strive to model ourselves on the virtues of Our Lady. And we have embraced the message of Divine Mercy, answering St. John Paul II's rhetorical question from 1997 at the tomb of St. Faustina: "Where, if not in the Divine Mercy, can the world find refuge and the light of hope?"

Indeed, as St. John Paul II perceived, and as Pope Francis reiterates, through the message of Divine Mercy, God is providing a time of unprecedented grace in response to the unprecedented evil in the world. This message is a gift for our times, and thanks in no small part to the work of Marians and Marian Helpers, countless numbers of people are coming to know this.

I meet them every day. As a Marian priest who travels the country giving parish retreats, I see firsthand what happens when people turn their lives over to Mary. I see what happens when people take Jesus at His word when He said to St. Faustina, "The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 723).

Consistently, I'm moved to tears in the confessional. This didn't use to be the case. People are feeling encouraged to leave so much sin and ugliness behind and to surrender it all to God. People in torment want to be healed, and they are feeling emboldened to step forward in trust, thanks to this gift of the Divine Mercy message.

Moreover, I meet people who recognize the optimism inherent in the message of Fatima — that Fatima is not so much a threat of annihilation as an invitation to consecration. It is not merely a warning of disaster, but far more an appeal of Divine Mercy to repentance and healing.

Thanks to the work of my Marian brother Fr. Michael Gaitley, a new generation is consecrating itself to Mary — two million (and counting) people — using his book 33 Days to Morning Glory. And what happens when we consecrate ourselves to Mary? Our Blessed Mother sets hearts afire with the flame of divine love, a flame that dispels the darkness and indifference of our age, and consumes selfishness.

She answers our prayers, as she did for Faustina when the Polish nun prayed to be relieved of temptations against purity. She puts our hearts at ease, knowing we can trust in her Son as she did at the wedding feast in Cana when she said to the servants, "Do whatever He tells you" (Jn 2:5).

And look what happened as a result of such trust. Jesus easily could have satisfied her by transforming water into wine similar to the wine they were drinking, but He instead transformed it into excellent wine, showing that He doesn't just fulfill our hope; He exceeds our hope. He doesn't just love us; He loves us perfectly. He doesn't just forgive us; He reestablishes us in baptismal innocence.

One hundred years after Fatima, a new generation is learning that Our Lady does not stand idly by. She uses these fruits of our devotion to deepen our holiness and to win souls for God.

And let's remember, Fatima isn't the only place where God has sent the Blessed Mother in modern times. What some call the "age of Mary" dawned with the apparitions of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris in 1830. Since that time, we've had many Church-approved Marian apparitions. God is sending His Blessed Mother on a mission to earth. He did so in La Salette, Lourdes, Pontmain, Quito, Banneaux, and Kibeho, to name just a few.

In Fatima and elsewhere, Mary presents the solution to what ails us. We are to place ourselves under her direction and daily ask her to help us to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that, like her, we can say, "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).

While it's true that I see fewer people in the pews than there were 25 years ago, it's equally true that the people who are there are far more educated in the faith, far more prayerful, far more devoted to the Sacraments, and far more engaged in doing works of mercy than people were 25 years ago. They are far more inclined to make choices that have a positive and grace-filled impact on others. They are far more inclined to heed Our Lady of Fatima's call to "pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice."

When you have Divine Mercy and Mary, you have the order of God returning to people's lives. You have lines to the confessional. You have parishioners organizing into prayer cenacles and consecrating themselves to Mary and to the Divine Mercy.

They pray knowing that each Hail Mary is like taking a hammer and whacking the devil on the head. They pray with confidence in the saving power of God's merciful love, knowing — through Fatima, through Faustina — that such prayer pierces the Heart of God and can help save the world.

Jesus told St. Faustina, "For your sake I will withhold the hand which punishes; for your sake I bless the earth" (Diary, 431).

In my travels, I meet people who understand there is a great deal of suffering in this world, and it well might get worse before it gets better.

This 100th anniversary year of Our Lady's appearances in Fatima provides us with an opportunity to recall the reality that God is very much at work in the world today, and He is giving us an enormous role to play in the salvation of souls.

This news is good.

I'll see you in the pews.

Father Dan Cambra, MIC, is director of the Marian Evangelization Team. Encourage your pastor to book a parish retreat. Email parishmissions@marian.org or call (413) 298-1349.

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