Earlier this week, the 102nd anniversary of the first Fatima message came to pass. Many Catholics never expected to see the end of the centenary year without some great miracle transpiring — some heavenly signal to bring about the end of the present chastisement.
And yet here we are, two years later, with no further answers.
Perhaps Our Lady has nothing new to say as she awaits the fulfillment of her original request: that Russia be properly consecrated and that more of us make the Five First Saturdays of Reparation.
But as we return to her words again and again, it is also worth considering that perhaps the message we so desperately need to hear has been right there in front of us all along. In her first apparition to the children of Fatima on May 13th, 1917, Our Lady asked:
Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?
When the children answered in the affirmative, she said:
Well then, you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort.
Is this not precisely what we are now experiencing? The sufferings which God is sending us now are something we cannot fix, but only endure, and it is a very hard thing indeed to bear what is happening to our beloved Church. Even so, Our Lady has told us we can make these sufferings efficacious by offering them to God as reparation for sin and the conversion of sinners.
Are we remembering to set aside our anger and bitterness to do this?
And truly, as we watch the madness of gender dysphoria, the LGBT agenda, the attacks on Christian marriage, and the diabolically insatiable lust for abortion play out in our society everywhere we look, can we help but wonder if the world has ever been in greater need of conversion? And when we look to Holy Mother Church, and we see the corruption, the scandal, the abuse, the disregard for sacred things, can we not see that the need for repentance and restoration is a matter of the greatest urgency?
We have the ability to do some real good, by uniting our sufferings with His. We need not allow the chastisement of this papacy and all of the evils it has loosed be for nothing. In his encyclical on the Social Kingship of Christ, Quas Primas, Pope Pius XI reminds us that
in the earliest days of the Christian era, when the people of Christ were suffering cruel persecution, the cult of the martyrs was begun in order, says St. Augustine, “that the feasts of the martyrs might incite men to martyrdom.” The liturgical honors paid to confessors, virgins and widows produced wonderful results in an increased zest for virtue, necessary even in times of peace. But more fruitful still were the feasts instituted in honor of the Blessed Virgin. As a result of these men grew not only in their devotion to the Mother of God as an ever-present advocate, but also in their love of her as a mother bequeathed to them by their Redeemer. Not least among the blessings which have resulted from the public and legitimate honor paid to the Blessed Virgin and the saints is the perfect and perpetual immunity of the Church from error and heresy. We may well admire in this the admirable wisdom of the Providence of God, who, ever bringing good out of evil, has from time to time suffered the faith and piety of men to grow weak, and allowed Catholic truth to be attacked by false doctrines, but always with the result that truth has afterwards shone out with greater splendor, and that men’s faith, aroused from its lethargy, has shown itself more vigorous than before. [emphasis added]
If there is a light at the end of our particular tunnel, it is the knowledge that all that is good will be strengthened, and what is evil will be crushed underfoot by Our Lady.
This too, shall pass.
Until then, we will carry out the fight, always remembering the admonishment of St. Peter in his first epistle:
Bow down, then, before the strong hand of God; he will raise you up, when his time comes to deliver you. Throw back on him the burden of all your anxiety; he is concerned for you. Be sober, and watch well; the devil, who is your enemy, goes about roaring like a lion, to find his prey, but you, grounded in the faith, must face him boldly; you know well enough that the brotherhood you belong to pays, all the world over, the same tribute of suffering. And God, the giver of all grace, who has called us to enjoy, after a little suffering, his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself give you mastery, and steadiness, and strength. To him be glory and power through endless ages, Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)
These are important words to remember. If the storm has lessened ever so slightly for a moment, we can see on the horizon that the Pan-Amazonian synod is coming. The Instrumentum Laboris that will guide that synod is, in fact, expected next month. We are assured by close papal friend and ally Cardinal Claudio Hummes that according to his conversations with the pope, there is a “great need for new paths, not to fear new things, not to obstruct them, not to oppose them. We have to avoid bringing along old things as though they were more important than new ones.” He also says that we must understand that the synod “will have universal repercussions.” (Thanks to his outspoken nature, we already know that a likely repercussion will be an attack on priestly celibacy under the guise of a shortage of priests to offer sacraments.) We have heard great expectations from other progressive prelates that the synod will tackle additional issues of sexual morality and the male priesthood, and that “nothing will be the same as it was.”
These are ominous words. And we are powerless by ourselves to stop their agenda.
But we do have recourse. I mentioned earlier this week our need to return to our mission: to rebuild Catholic culture and restore Catholic tradition. It was always my hope to use this platform to do exactly that: strengthen the brethren in the faith, so that they could better withstand the storm that was coming.
It was the first synod of this pontificate — the one on marriage and family — that knocked us off course. When we saw how little critical coverage of that synod was coming out of the Catholic media, we knew we had to make a stand. And we have been, for lack of a better term, on a war footing ever since. Reacting to stories more than proactively helping our audience strengthen their knowledge and practice of Catholicism.
This time, we will not allow that to happen. We will cover the Synod, to the extent that it makes sense to do so, but at the same time we will not let them distract us from what truly matters. We will continue working to offer not just a description of the poison, but the recipe for the antidote. We will remind ourselves of the beauty of the faith, a salve for the wounds inflicted by those who seek to remake or destroy it. They can take a great deal from us, but they cannot take our souls. Still, it is up to us to fortify them.
As you can see, we have very important work ahead of us this summer, and as I do each month at this time, I am asking you to join us in that effort. We are currently at only 40% of our fundraising goal for the month. Will you fight along side us?
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Publisher & Executive Director
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.