MARY, MODEL OF FAITH, HOPE AND
CHARITY FOR THE THIRD MILLENNIUM
Mother Adela, SCTJM
For private use only -©
Blessed Mother promised us in Fatima that at the end of the great
spiritual battle we would have to live through, Her Immaculate Heart
would triumph (July 13th, 1917, Third Apparition). The
Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart is the victory of grace over sin,
holiness over corruption. But until this spiritual victory takes
place, we are still in the middle of the battle; we are still in the
decisive moments in which life or death is being chosen. This is why
we could say that we are in times of suffering, persecution and
tribulation: “The Church of the first millennium was born of the
blood of the martyrs…At the end of the second millennium, the Church
has once again become a Church of martyrs” (John Paul II, Tertio
Millennio Adveniente, 37). This martyrdom and suffering is being
experienced today in different forms: in the body or in the heart.
It is the perception of many that this is a time of Calvary and of
Passion for the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. No one can deny
the fact that suffering, sin, and a loss of faith and morals have
touched, in some way, their families or friends. This is the hour of
Blessed Mother was standing at the foot of the Cross, uniting Her
heart to the sufferings of the Heart of Jesus. It is because of this
union that Mary’s Heart was mystically pierced by the same sword
that pierced Jesus’ Heart. This was the most painful time for Our
Lady; yet the Scriptures say that Mary was standing by the Cross.
is a posture which represents the inner realities of Mary’s Heart.
By standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary revealed the strength and
integrity of Her Heart, the undivided love for God and for humanity,
and the faithfulness to Her mission. Standing at the foot of the
Cross, She showed us that Her Heart, being immaculate and never
touched by either darkness or sin, could not even be touched by evil
in the darkest and most painful hour: the Passion and death of Her
not allow the consequences of the great evil around Her to enter
into Her Heart, even though suffering did enter it through a
piercing by a sword. Mary kept Her interior freedom as a child of
God because She did not allow Herself to be overcome by fear,
despair or hatred. For as the second Letter of Peter says, “a person
is a slave of whatever overcomes him” (2:19). Mary was never
subjected to darkness; She was always – as She herself proclaimed –
a servant of the Lord and His plan (cf. Lk 1:38). In the encyclical
of Pope John Paul II, Mother of the Redeemer (Redemptoris
Mater, hereafter RM), we read, “at the side of Her Son,
she is the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of
humanity and of the universe” (no.37).
Mary’s Heart was untouched by despair, hatred, or doubt in the
darkest of hours, and because She in fact lived the opposite
virtues, She now can call us to imitate those virtues in our own
difficulties and sufferings. She not only calls us, but She also
imparts the graces that we need to be faithful and to respond with
holiness to all adversities and difficulties we may experience
personally, or as families and societies, in the world and in the
pillars sustained Mary's Heart at the foot of the Cross: Her
unshakeable faith, Her unfailing hope, and Her profound sacrificial
love. If throughout Mary’s life we see these three virtues acting
powerfully in Her because of Her unique privileges, it is on Calvary
that we contemplate how far these virtues can move our hearts to be
faithful to Christ in the most difficult moments. If we nourish
these virtues we will be capable of doing what our Mother did at
Calvary: stand at the foot of the Cross.
Mary we learn to live in faith, hope and love at the foot of our own
crosses. She not only teaches us to stand firm in the midst of the
storm by the power of these three virtues, but She comes to us to
defend us with Her maternal presence and lead us through the desert
of tribulation. Just as the column of cloud during the day and the
column of fire during the night preceded the Israelites in the
desert to show them the way and never left its place in front of the
people (cf. Ex 13, 21-22), Our Lady, as the “New Column” described
in the dream of St. John Bosco, goes before us in these times of
confusion and battle, leading us safely to the Heart of Her Son and
to His Church.
Father tells us in Tertio Millennio Adveniente (TMA),
“The greatest homage which all the Churches can give to Christ on
the threshold of the third millennium will be to manifest the
Redeemer’s all-powerful presence through the fruits of faith, hope
and charity” (no. 37).
these three virtues so crucial at the threshold of the third
millennium? Because the difficult times in which we live are the
result of three crises: a crisis of faith, a crisis of hope and a
crisis of love. These three crises were prophesied by Our Lady in
Fatima, and we know they come from the direct influence of Satan in
the world and in hearts. But in Fatima, Our Lady also gave us the
The Crisis of Faith
Fatima, Our Lady spoke of “errors” being spread all over the world.
In a particular way She spoke of the errors spread by Russia. What
is the greatest error spread by Russia? – Atheism, that is, the
denial of God and the denial of an absolute truth.
assenting to the Word of God, to his revelation: “To believe means
to abandon oneself to the truth of the word of the living God,
knowing and humbly recognizing how unsearchable are his judgments
and how inscrutable his ways” (RM, 14).
a crisis of faith, because there is a lack of obedience to God who
has revealed Himself and also to the Truth He has given to us.
Tertio Millennio Adveniente states, “It cannot be denied that,
for many Christians, the spiritual life is passing through a time of
uncertainty which affects not only their moral life but also their
life of prayer and the theological correctness of their faith.
Faith, already put to the test by the challenges of our times, is
sometimes disoriented by erroneous theological views, the spread of
which is increased by the crisis of obedience to the Church’s
Magisterium” (no. 36).
Father is telling us that our faith is being put to the test in
these times because error has entered into all the areas of our
lives: spirituality, morality and doctrine. Because of this crisis
of faith, minds have been darkened and consciences are disoriented
and confused. Sin is no longer called by its name, and that is why
we see much chaos, intellectual pride, rebelliousness, searching for
truth outside of God, and defining truth according to one’s own
personal interpretations. We also have a fascination with the occult
and the New Age movement. All of these confusions can be sometimes
observed, unfortunately, even in religious circles.
crisis of faith Our Lady is our sure refuge. For in Her Immaculate
Heart, so whole and pure, Revelation was never diluted or reduced to
accommodate to Her own will and pleasures. In Redemptoris Mater
we read, “Her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant
point of reference for the Church, for individuals and for
communities, for peoples and nations and, in a sense, for all
of Her faith, the Word – to whom She always listened, loved, obeyed
and reverently kept in Her Heart – was made flesh in Her, and
through Her was given to the world. She is calling us to listen to
and obey what Christ has said and continues to say through the
Church in a very unique way through the Holy Father and the
Her faith that Mary wants to share with Her children; for as
Mother of the Redeemer says, “Mary’s faith…ever remains in the
Church’s heart…All [those in the Church]…in a sense share in Mary’s
faith” (no.27). This is what Mary did at Cana; She believed in the
power of Her Son to change the water into wine, and She told the
servants to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Our Lady’s
interventions are always a call to grow in faith, to hear and to
obey what we have heard. The Scriptures say that because of this
miracle at Cana, the “disciples began to believe in Him” (Jn 2:11).
Her mission in our crisis of faith is, therefore, to lead us to the
true faith: faith in Jesus Her Son.
telling us today to believe in the truth of the Word of God and to
trust in the power behind each of His commandments and mandates.
Spokeswoman of Her Son’s will, She wants us to understand that the
narrow path is the one that leads us to life and brings true
happiness; the path of salvation is narrow for our flesh but true
life for our souls.
errors spreading in our time are darkness to our souls and our
lives, for what we believe or do not believe affects our behavior
and decisions. Faith in God’s revelation is light to our hearts and
minds. Our minds, enlightened by truth, move our wills to obey the
Word of God, and loving and obeying His will is the true fulfillment
of the human being. Our Lady says, “Do [act] whatever He
tells you.” This is a call to faith, which is assenting to and
crisis of faith has become the great flood which threatens the
spiritual survival of humanity. That is why we need to enter into
the Immaculate Heart, the “new Noah’s Ark,” in which our faith will
be preserved. Genesis says “that the swelling waters increased
greatly, but the ark floated on the surface of the waters…Only Noah
and those with him in the ark were left” (7:18, 23). Mary, as the
“New Ark,” is our refuge and those who are “in the ark” will be
preserved from the “swelling waters” of our modern times.
Crisis of Hope
the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and
eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s
promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the
grace of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church,
hereafter CCC, 1817).
Fatima, Our Lady spoke not only about the crisis of faith, but about
the consequent crisis of hope. If there is a denial of the existence
of God and His truth, there certainly will be a denial of His
promises of eternal life and the eternal consequences for those who
live in grace or live in sin. This is why She revealed to the
children, even in the first apparition, the realities of heaven and
its eternal rewards: joy, love and light. She also spoke of
purgatory and its sufferings. In the third apparition, She showed
them hell and the pains and despair experienced there – in other
words, its eternal punishments.
greatest manifestation of this crisis of hope is the minimizing or
even a forgetting of the realities of eternal life, leading many to
live only for the pleasures of this world; to develop a
materialistic way of life; to seek self-fulfillment only in the
things of this world; and to avoid at all cost any kind of suffering
since happiness here has become almost an idol and obsession. In
this excessive search for happiness in this world, and in the
avoidance of any kind of suffering, we encounter the greatest sins
of our times: abortion, euthanasia, sexual immorality, suicide,
selfishness, greed, gluttony, complacency and addictions.
teaches us in the Gospels that our true fulfillment is in loving,
which requires our self-denial and the taking up of our cross and
following the Lord – in other words, the emptying of ourselves of
all that is passing and the seeking of the things of the Kingdom
before anything else. In the Beatitudes (a word that means the
source of happiness), the Lord showed us that those who those
who suffer persecution and deny themselves to suffer for truth,
justice, purity, peace, humility, poverty, mercy are the ones that
will enter the Kingdom of heaven and have a great reward.
Beatitudes are exhortations totally opposed to the invitations of
this world. The world invites us to seek self-pleasure, to think
only of our own interests, and to find self-realization in doing
what we please regardless of the harm it may bring to our souls and
to the lives of others. The Beatitudes invite us and teach us the
way to obtain abundant life now and in eternity.
throughout Her apparitions is calling us to pay attention to eternal
realities. She often has taken visionaries to see or experience
heaven, purgatory and hell. She suffers because of the many souls
that are in mortal sin and losing their souls. But She is also
concerned for those of us that may not be in mortal sin but that are
not putting forth the effort and mortification necessary to reach
the holiness required for heaven; for nothing impure can be in the
presence of God (cf. Rev 21:27). She is calling us to take Her
messages seriously, and Her most serious message is conversion,
prayer and penance. Only through a life of prayer and penance will
we die to all our sins and imperfections and acquire virtue and
not be afraid to suffer what is needed for our purification, for St.
Paul says, “So we do not lose heart... for this slight momentary
affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all
comparison, because we look not to the things that are visible but
to the things that are invisible; for what is seen is transitory,
but what is unseen is eternal” (cf. 2 Cor 4:16-18).
Crisis of love
in Fatima called us to love and sacrifice for God and others. She
warned us of a great crisis of love that was coming to humanity.
This crisis can be observed in the world today by an extreme and
almost diabolical selfishness. All the structures of society are
teaching humanity to think only of themselves and their own
interests, creating what I consider to be the greatest idol of our
who lived only to love God and others – and in Her perfect
association of love with Her Son, offered Her life as a living
sacrifice for the redemption of humanity – is calling us to return
to love, sacrifice and self-giving. For “in her heart there is no
shade of selfishness: she desires nothing for herself except God’s
glory and human salvation” (John Paul II, Angelus, Dec. 8th, 1997,
asked the children in Fatima, “Are you willing to offer yourselves
to God and to bear the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of
reparation for the sins by which He is offended and for the
conversion of sinners?” (May 13th, 1917). She called them
to offer their lives as a sacrifice of reparation to God and also
for the conversion of sinners – a call they generously embraced by
making many sacrifices and accepting joyfully all kinds of
Mother is calling us to do any and all the sacrifices required to
bring about our conversion and the conversion of others. She is
calling us to pray and sacrifice in reparation to the Heart of Jesus
to bring His Mercy into the world. She is also inviting us, just as
She did, to cooperate, through our sufferings, in the redemption of
humanity and to cooperate in bringing about the plan of God in this
historic moment. The great drama of our lives is whether or not we
are open to having our hearts pierced in union with Christ, like
Mary. Are we open to the purifying grace of God that comes many
times through suffering?...Or do we close the door and run away from
pain, sacrifice, renunciation, allowing ourselves to be overcome by
resentment, selfishness, comfort, self-interest and the frivolity of
our culture? In our culture, suffering is viewed as something that
needs to be avoided at all costs. However, our faith teaches us the
power of our sufferings and penances united to the Cross of Christ:
a power that brings about salvation and redemption (Col 1:24: “Now I
rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling
up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his
body, which is the church.”).
said, “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices; for many souls go
to Hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray
for them” (Aug 13th, 1917). This is a call to true
charity – to suffer, to sacrifice and to pray out of love for
sinners, until they are brought back as prodigal sons and daughters
into the House of the Father.
the word “love” has been very much distorted. Many teach that love
is the acceptance of sin as an expression of mercy and compassion.
True compassion is suffering and sacrificing for sinners until they
renounce their sins. True love is not to abandon others in their
sins, but to respectfully show them the truth, the truth that will
set them free. True love is not to tell them it is “OK” to be in sin
or that it is part of their nature and personality. True love and
compassion is to be convinced of their dignity as children of God;
therefore, their greatest dignity is to be free of sin.
Fatima, Our Lady also called us to offer our lives in reparation to
the Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the sins which offend them. It is a
calling of love for the Two Hearts. The Angel told the children,
“Pray, pray very much! The most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have
designs of Mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to
the Most High. Make everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to
God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended,
and in supplication for the conversion of sinners” (Spring of 1916,
the Angel taught them the great prayer of reparation: “My God, I
believe, I adore, I hope, and I love thee. I ask pardon of you for
those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love
you” (ibid). Reparation is to offer our lives in love and holiness
to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to repair with our love
and self-giving the sins of the whole world. “Love covers a
multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8). In these messages we are called to
love God above all, and to love others with a sacrificial love.
Lady, after speaking of the three crises of faith, hope and love
gave us three remedies: FIDELITY TO THE HOLY FATHER, THE HOLY
ROSARY, AND CONSECRATION TO HER IMMACULATE HEART.
Fidelity to the Holy Father
Father, as successor of Peter, is the visible head of the Church and
the Vicar of Christ. To him, the keys of the kingdom have been given
(cf. Mt 16:19). Of Peter, Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build
my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will
give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on
earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth
shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:18-19). What power has been given
to the Vicar of Christ!
Father is the voice of Christ to us – not only to the Church but
also to the world. He who listens to him, listens to Christ. He who
rejects his teachings, rejects the teaching of Christ (Lk 10:16).
Why should we look for the truth in any other place but the voice of
the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church? We read in the
Gospel of Luke that the Lord was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret
while the crowds were listening to the word of God. Jesus saw two
boats there alongside the lake. He got into the boat belonging to
Simon and from there he taught the crowds (5:1-4). The Lord will
only teach from the boat of Peter. In the dream of St. John Bosco,
the Holy Father was the one that led the Church, symbolized by a
boat, in the midst of a great storm and battle; he steered the boat
between two pillars, the Eucharist and Our Lady. When he tied the
boat of the Church to the pillars, suddenly, the storm ceased.
Why the Rosary
Holy Father in Fatima on May 13th, 1982 was asked about
the third secret, he replied, “Would you like me to tell you a
secret? It is simple, and after all, it is not a secret. Pray, pray,
pray. Say the Rosary every day.”
said three times to pray, just as our Lady has been saying in other
We can conclude that maybe the third secret of Fatima
described these three crises in a more specific way and that the
Holy Father has called us to pray the Rosary every day.
praying and meditating on the Joyful Mysteries, we repair for the
crisis of faith and for atheism by meditating upon Mary’s faith. But
we are also called – and we receive the graces to do so – to grow in
the virtue of faith, which is an assent to God’s revelation; in this
way we cooperate, with our obedience and total dedication, to His
plan for our lives and for humanity.
praying and meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, we repair for the
crisis of love and for the pervading selfishness in the hearts of
men. By contemplating the sufferings of our Lord and the unique
participation of Mary in those sufferings for our salvation, we are
called – and receive the graces to do so – to grow in heroic
charity, which is the giving of ourselves unconditionally, whatever
the cost, for the glory of God and for the good of others.
praying and meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, we repair for the
crisis of hope and for the materialistic attitude of contemporary
men. By contemplating the eternal rewards promised for our fidelity
to the will of God, even in the midst of suffering, we are called –
and receive the graces to do so – to grow in “hope against all
hope,” which is a trusting in the love and power of God that acts in
all our present situations with the view of our eternal salvation
always in mind.
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart
in the beginning that Mary’s Heart is the “New Ark” where we are
safe from the present flood of atheism, materialism and egotism. We
are called to enter into the Ark by consecrating ourselves to Her
Immaculate Heart. Once we are totally given to Her, we allow Her to
be our Mother, teacher and guide and allow Her virtues of faith,
hope and charity to mold and transform our hearts.
Father John Paul II said in Fatima in 1982, “My heart is oppressed
when I see the sin of the world and the whole range of dangers that
gather like dark clouds over mankind; but it also rejoices with hope
because I am consecrating the world to the Heart of the Mother.
Doing this means consecrating the world to Him who is infinite
holiness. This holiness means redemption. It means a love more
powerful than evil. No ‘sin of the world’ can ever overcome this
love” (cf. Homily, May 13th, no.8).
Father has placed his confidence in the power given by God to Mary
to bring about the victories needed by the Church and the world: “If
victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer
through her, because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the
future to be linked to her” (John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold
of Hope, p. 221).
ask Our Lady to intervene and enter into our hearts and those of all
humanity, giving us Her virtues of faith, hope and charity. For as
the Holy Father John Paul II exhorted us in Tertio Millennio
Adveniente, “The Jubilee celebration should confirm the
Christians of today in their faith in God who has revealed himself
in Christ, sustain their hope which reaches out in expectation of
eternal life, and rekindle their charity in active service to their
brothers and sisters” (no.31).
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