“Pray my Psalter and teach it to your people. That prayer will never fail.” With these words, Our Lady entrusted St. Dominic (in the 13th century) to spread the devotion of praying the Rosary among the faithful. Indeed since then, the devout praying of the Rosary has proven to be most efficacious and nowhere is this more dramatically illustrated than during the events leading up to the Battle of Lepanto(1) in 1571.
In 1917, during the course of her six appearances to three shepherd children at Fatima, (the first of which occurred on May 13th), Our Lady conveyed messages of prayer, repentance, self-sacrifice, reparation and peace. She also encouraged them to pray the Rosary, even calling herself the “Lady of the Rosary”. Her messages then were timely for a weary, war-ravaged world, but they are just as relevant today, perhaps more so than ever.
At the time of the Fatima apparitions and well into the late 20th century, the world was under the assault of communism, which attempted to eradicate religion from public and even private life. Today, that assault comes from secularism – undermining the sanctity of life and embracing a culture of death, forcing God out of the public square by eliminating all religious influences, by attacks on Christian morality and the family…the list goes on.
At the time of the Fatima apparitions, mankind had largely turned away from God, living not only in the world but of the world. Thus, Our Lady repeatedly called for prayer and offering sacrifices in reparation for sin. And so it is today, by subscribing to the false promises of secularism, people embrace the things of this world, becoming indifferent and rejecting prayer and penance and sacrifice, leaving no room for Jesus in their lives. The chaos, strife and division in the world today is as St. John Paul called it, “the greatest spiritual batttle in the Church’s 2,000 year history.”
However, at Fatima, Our Lady promised peace if we do as she asks, it will bring us closer to Jesus the Source of the peace the world cannot give. Mary also indicated the means by which we can achieve this – by praying the Rosary for peace, offering those prayers and sacrifices in reparation for the sins and indifference that offend our Eucharistic Lord and in promoting the First Five Saturdays(2) devotion. Aside from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Rosary is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal. Our Lady told the shepherd children, “The Rosary can stop wars, bring world peace and convert sinners.”
If we comply with Our Lady’s request to pray the Rosary in sufficient numbers, she told the children (and all of us today): “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Let us heed Our Lady of Fatima’s words so that she will hasten her promise of peace through the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
1. Catholic Answers Magazine.
2. “During her July apparition at Fatima, Our Lady said to Lucia, ‘I shall come to ask… that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world….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 fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.’” (The Most Holy Rosary)