Momentous: What Will Happen at Our Lady of Fatima’s 100th Anniversary?

May 13th of this year will mark the 100th anniversary of our Lady’s first appearance to the shepherd children in Fatima.

Many are expecting something momentous to occur on that day.

All are called to pray in a special way on that day.

What Happened in Fatima in 1917?

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on 1917 to three Portuguese children: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. From May 13th to October 13th she appeared six times in the little village of Fatima, Portugal.

World War I or The Great War as it was known at the time, was ongoing, leaving devastation across Europe. Our Lady of Fatima came at this pivotal time telling the children that peace was possible if people would heed her warnings.

Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were reared in faithful Catholic homes, in a town that remained faithful to the Church amidst persecution from the government. Lucia de Jesus Santos was the youngest of seven children. Her first cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, likewise were devout children from a large family. Through the apparitions of our Lady, the children grew in holiness and wisdom that belied their young age.

Francisco and Jacinta both died a few years later, as our Lady had informed them, while Lucia lived to be 97 years old. Pope Francis will canonize Jacinta and Francisco on May 13th, 2017, in Fatima on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

The Miracle of the Sun occurred on October 13th, 1917, witnessed by 70,000 people. Our Lady of Fatima had told the children of the date and place it would occur.

All could look directly at the sun without any injury to their eyes. The sun grew in size, shrunk, rotated and spun, looking as if it were dancing. Even non-Catholics and unbelievers witnessed their miracles, and many immediately were converted to God and asked for forgiveness for their sins.

The Church through the local bishop declared the apparitions worthy of belief in October of 1930.

Fatima at 100 Years

Our Lady called for the consecration of Russia, with the hope that Russia would not spread her errors around the world. Note that the (Communist) Russian Revolution occurred also in 1917 around the same time period as the Marian apparitions.

The decades after 1917 in the twentieth century witnessed unspeakable evils: atheistic Communism, World War I, Nazism, World War II, nuclear bombs, the Cold War, the sexual revolution, and along with it the widespread loss of faith to secularism and the weakening of the Church.

Now, the one hundred year period is ending. Could this also mean, at long last, a renewal and restoration in the Church, and through her, in the world at large?

We see signs of such life here and there, but from a human, natural perspective we don’t seem on the precipice of such a pivot. It will take a supernatural event or movement.

What Can We Do?

Fortunately, our Lord had made it simple for us: we are called to pray.

In particular, we can pray the Novena to Our Lady of Fatima beginning May 4. This novena is even more powerful on this anniversary as millions will be praying it together.

Join your heart with theirs, lifted up to God for the great need the world is in of conversion and salvation in Christ.

Will we see a miraculous event? I can’t say. Our Lord alone knows. But I will pray that His will be done!

What I Learned by Meditating During Lent

During Lent I practiced meditating for 10 minutes per day.

Here’s what I did and what I learned from it.

Meditation: What Is It?

Quite simply, meditation is a form of prayer where you focus your mind for a period of time on some attribute of God, Christ, His Church, etc.

For instance, you could spend 10 minutes meditating in silence on God’s goodness, or His omnipotence, or His omniscience, or Christ’s life on earth, His Passion, the marks of the Church, and so on.

It will be hard at first. You may only make it through five minutes. You may have to go into a completely quiet room or church to block out distractions. Your mind may jump around everywhere to worries, tasks you need to do, or fears, but you simply train it back to your topic of meditation.

This is not Eastern Mysticism, Buddhist meditation, centering prayer, or anything like that. It is an ancient Catholic practice of prayer.

Meditation: A Key to Growing in Holiness

Why meditate? One cannot become as holy as God wills without meditation. The saints all meditated (and ascended to higher levels of prayer). One cannot conquer venial sin without meditation, a claim I had never heard before!

Meditation is the gateway to deeper forms of prayer, but you can’t bypass it. Years ago I read books by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila–two saints considered geniuses on prayer–but it was too deep for me. I couldn’t understand, practically, how to meditate and begin to penetrate into the inner levels of the Interior Castle.

How to meditate

Sit or kneel in silence for as long as you are able meditating on some truth of the Catholic Faith. Your goal should be 15 minutes of meditation. For me that means about 7 minutes in the morning and 8 in the evening, but I’m working up to more.

  1. Prepare: Place yourself in God’s presence and pray for the grace to pray.
  2. Begin the meditation:
    1. Reflect on particular subject, some truth of God or the Faith (more on this later).
    2. Affections like sorrow for sin, hope in God, and love arise in your heart from considering the subject of your meditation.
    3. Offer petitions in your heart to God: for people in your life, for yourself, your family, your enemies, for the Church, and so on.
    4. Resolve to conquer your main vice or grow in a needed virtue.
  3. Conclusion: Thank God for the graces He gave you

For beginners like me, ten to fifteen minutes of meditation per day is all I can handle. Some of the saints were known to meditate for hours at a time—a feat I don’t suggest you attempt immediately.

What I Learned From Meditating During Lent

Meditating was hard. 

I got distracted every time. Sometimes I did a good job quickly bringing my mind and heart back to the meditation, othertimes I got wrapped up in worries about my family, work, children, and so on.

But God also sent bursts of grace: moments of deep peace, quietness, His gentle presence.

The main learning was: by showing up each day to meditate, I show God I want to be a saint. 

I want to spend time with Him. Just showing up and trying is a big part of the battle of prayer. And I trust He will bless the effort with grace. Without grace, it is impossible to meditate or grow in holiness. But God promises His grace to us, so we can have child-like confidence and simply ask Him for this grace to meditate.

I didn’t stop meditating once Lent ended. Instead, I’ve continued meditating each day (well, most days), and plan to keep it going.

My recommendation: begin meditating today!