Mothers’ Day A blessed Mother’s Day to all dear women who give themselves in love to their husbands and their children. I am flying home tonight to see my mother and father—she’s 85 and he’s 91 and they’ve been married 63 years. We wish we could love our mothers as much as they love us!
Fatima in 1917 One hundred years ago yesterday, on May 13, 1917, a beautiful Lady came from heaven with a message for earth. She appeared to three simple children in Portugal as they watched over a flock of sheep, and they were afraid. Three flashes of light seared a cloudless sky before she appeared, frightening the children. She said: “Do not be afraid.” It is the first thing almost every visitor from heaven tells a visionary, not only in the Bible but in almost every vision since. This Lady told the children there was no reason to be afraid, because she had come from heaven, where they had a place prepared for them.
All of Europe was paralyzed with fear the day that beautiful Lady appeared. The First World War had been raging for three years, unleashing a carnage history had never believed possible. Entire cities were blown apart. Whole populations were forced to leave their homelands. 16 million human lives were destroyed. The new mechanized warfare poured death from the air, crushed farms and villages under massive tank treads, cut men down like weeds with machine gun fire, and burned the lungs of entire battalions with mustard gas. The beautiful Lady appeared to reassure a world at war: “This war will soon end, but we must pray. A worse war will come if we do not pray.” The war did end by November of the next year, but a worse war did come, and still men do not pray.
America in 2017 America in 2017 is not unlike Europe in 1917. The nation is in the grip of a culture war that has destroyed much of what America once held dear. Our respectful political discourse, our pleasant and safe neighborhoods, our Christian approach to social life have been largely destroyed. Many more than 16 million human beings have been killed, not by enemy fire, but by our own hands, sanctioned by our own Supreme Court. Hitler horrified the world by practicing eugenic population control, but our laws now provide for the sterilization and abortion of the poorer classes. The middle class, in fact, is disappearing as cultural elites consolidate their wealth and power. Fear and outrage dominate the newsroom and the classroom. Corrupt leaders have weakened our faith in government and in the Church herself. We are afraid of looming terrorism, economic collapse, and climate change.
Who is stoking these fears? Certainly not God nor His Holy Mother. They bring us nothing but peace and joy. In his canonization homily yesterday, Pope Francis called on the 500,000 pilgrims to follow the example of heroic virtue lived by St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, particularly their insistent prayer for sinners and their adoration of "the hidden Jesus" in the tabernacle. We too must pray. It is here, together at Mass, and at home, praying the rosary with our kids after dinner, and in our weekly holy hour before the “hidden Jesus” that we will find our peace. So many have committed themselves to a deeper, more consistent life of prayer here at Star of the Sea. Let us continue what we have begun, in obedience to our dear Mother at Fatima: Pray the rosary, my dear children. Pray, pray, pray.