Fatima (AsiaNews) - "We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete " while the human family is still "ready to sacrifice all that is most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, "the Virgin continues to offer herself " to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart".
It is May 13th, the 93rd anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition, the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, the fifth anniversary of the death of Sister Lucia and 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacinta. Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at Fatima, where he says, " I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation," to pray "for our humanity afflicted by misery and suffering, "" to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church and priests “love” him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach "
In the immense esplanade at the heart of the sanctuary perhaps 500 thousand people (see photo) gathered to participate in the mass , raising lags from nations across the world. There was also the President of the Republic, Anibal Cavaco Silva. Before the beginning of the celebration the statue of the Blessed Virgin was carried in procession among them, followed by all the bishops of Portugal.
In his greeting to Benedict XVI, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, António Augusto dos Santos Marto, also expressed solidarity with the Pope "under attack", who, however , did not directly mentioning the issue.
Instead he entrusted “to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth. In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself.”.
“The resplendent daughter of this people – continued the Pope - is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:47, 50).”.
“This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).”.
“In listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see. To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk 12:24). The Scriptures invite us to believe: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) – has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses. For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf. Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show himself to the eyes of our heart. Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man.”
“May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions – concluded the Pope - hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”.