Bible does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphalProtoevangelium of Jamesfills in the gap. It reflects the development of Christian piety. According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.
Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. He tells the earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.”(1)
Weeks before Mother’s Day (May 8, 2016), I began reading articles about Our Lady of Fatima. It’s the kind of pursuit that gives me hope, deeper sense of faith and rekindled adoration for Mama Mary. Growing up with nanay (grandmother), I was introduced to hearing weekly mass at Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, where the image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Succor) is housed. And for a devotee like me, this is my chance to write something for her which is also timely for her feast day on May 13. Our Lady of Fatima is another title of Mama Mary, here’s the summary of its beautiful tale which I dedicate to Our Lady. She is the best mother after all, She is the Mother of Jesus, our Savior…
Our Lady appeared six times to three shepherd children namely; Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta between May 13, 1917 to October 13, 1917 at Fatima, Portugal.
On 13th of May (month of Our Lady) 1917, a beautiful woman in all white, more brilliant than the sun shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun, appeared to the 3 children saying; “Please don’t be afraid of me, I came from heaven.” She wore a white mantle edged with gold and holding a rosary in her hand. She asked them to pray and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity, and pray the rosary daily to bring peace to the world and end war.
The last apparition on the 13th of October 1917 around 70,000 gathered and witnessed the “miracle of the sun” or “dancing sun”. It was a miracle promised by the Woman to show that these apparitions were true. This is quoted from the book – “A Woman clothed with the Sun” – gradually the sun grew pale, lost it’s normal color and appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly. Then, to the astonishment of all present, rays of multi-colored shot out in every direction; red, blue, yellow, every color of the spectrum. Meanwhile, the very heavens seemed to be revolving as the sun spun madly on its axis like a gigantic wheel of fire, painting the rocks, the trees, the faces of people with sunshine human eyes has never seen before. Three times it stopped and three times the mad dance resumed. Then, while the crowd went to its knees in abject terror, the sun suddenly seemed to be torn loose from its place in the heavens. Down it hurtled, closer and closer to the earth, staggering, “drunkenly” as it zigzagged through the skies while from all parts of the now terrified multitude arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. “Its the end of the world,” Shrieked one woman hysterically.” “Dear God, don’t let me die in my sins,” cried another.” “Holy Virgin, protect us,” implored a third.” Suddenly, as if arrested in its downward plunge by an invisible Heavenly hand, it poised from a moment and then, in the same series of swirling motions it began to climb upward till it resumed its accustomed place in the heavens. Gone was the silver disk with the brilliant rays. It was once more a ball of fire at which nobody could look directly with unshaded eyes.
There were visions that only the three children was able to see, they were given messages of warning and hope. Messages of the best mother in the world – Our Mother, Mary.
“Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne.”
“No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
“They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended.”
“If men knew what eternity is, they would do everything to change their lives.”
Our Lady of Fatima is a title of Our Lady. Year 1917, Mama Mary appeared to 3 shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal. Today, this sanctuary is visited by 4 million devotees every year and the feast of Our Lady of Fatima is celebrated on May 13th. And in preparation for this special day, here’s the 9 day novena that you can recite starting today (May 5) till May 13 the actual feast day.
Most Holy Virgin,
who deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three little shepherds
the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the rosary,
inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion,
so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it,
we may gather the fruits and obtain the conversion of sinners,
and this favor which I earnestly seek,
(mention your request)
which I ask of thee in this novena, for the greater glory of God,
for thine own honor, and for the good of all people.