Tag: Fatima

Remain Faithful in Small Things

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This article originally appeared in the July 2019 Renewal Ministries’ newsletter, which you can access here.

Dear Fellow Sons and Daughter of GOD!

Isn’t it amazing? We are  truly sons and daughters of God!

With all the “big stuff” going on in the world and in the Church, it sometimes is easy to forget that our mission is to get up every day and faithfully carry out the responsibilities of our state of life with love and sacrifice. And I must admit, I’m pretty excited to have discovered how each of us can do some small but significant things every day that actually can have eternal consequences. You may be getting tired of hearing me speak or write about those amazing words of Mary at Fatima: “Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners. For many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them.”

But this is not getting old for me at all! And I hope it’s the same for you. How meaningful it is to be able to pray and offer small (or big) sacrifices and know that they can make a difference in saving souls from hell! It’s pretty amazing.

At our recent Gathering, I shared how my wife, Anne, when she wakes up at night, prays a chaplet of Divine Mercy for those who are dying. I started doing it myself, adding the intentions of the souls in purgatory, those tempted to suicide or unchastity, and those suffering from depression. I added these intentions because I’ve recently become aware of some people who are dealing with these strong temptations and afflictions. You can add your own intentions or simply pray for the dying, as my wife does.

This idea was encouraging for those who were at the Gathering and for those who heard the talk online who tell me that they’re beginning to do the same thing when they wake up at night! (You can access my talks and other Gathering talks on Renewal Ministries’ free app, or by ordering a Gathering DVD at our online store.

Here are some of the responses we have received:

“Your talk was great. Thanks again for making it available to us who weren’t able to be there.”

“Your dedication to the message of Fatima is important.  Here is how Dostoevsky saw it in Brothers Karamazov through the character of Fr Zossima: ‘Every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows whether they have lived or not. And behold, from the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you.’”

“Your response and Anne’s to use times of restlessness to pray for those dying is a habit I hope to adopt.”

“I listened to your talk given at the Gathering—your mention of Anne reciting the Chaplet when she wakes during the night has encouraged me to start doing the same. Thanks, Anne!”

I’m willing to keep traveling to the far corners of the world to help inspire more people to start doing things like this that can contribute to the salvation of souls!

If you don’t know what the Chaplet of Mercy is or how to say it, see the link here. Incidentally it only take about five minutes or so, and it actually can help you fall back to sleep, although that is not the primary motivation for saying it!

So, in the midst of the “big things,” let’s keep doing the “small things” that can actually contribute to the salvation of souls!

And speaking of “big things,” I recommend reading a remarkable “Manifesto” from Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As confusion has grown about how to interpret things that are happening in Rome and elsewhere, Cardinal Muller has been a voice of great clarity and truth, a voice that needs to be heard more widely. You will be encouraged and strengthened as you read it.  Pass it on!

Your brother in Christ,

Ralph

The Importance of Sacrifice at Any Age

Ralph at SSA 11

Ralph Martin has been speaking at local area Catholic grade schools about Fatima and the importance of making sacrifices, not matter one’s age. We came across this article written by Sr. Mary Martha Becnel, OP who mentions the impact one of these talks had on some of her students.



This weekend, Fr. Solanus Casey will be beatified, a great grace for the entire Church, but in a particular way for the Archdiocese of Detroit. As I was recently reflecting on the life of Fr. Solanus, I remembered one of the extraordinary penances he used to perform for love of God and of souls: in the mornings, Fr. Solanus would put everything — cereal, orange juice, and coffee — into one bowl for his breakfast.  Such a unique penance could cause us today to scratch our heads in confusion, if not even disapproval.

Yet I was reminded of this penitential sacrifice of Fr. Solanus recently after my fifth-grade students heard a talk about the sacrifices that St. Jacinta and St. Francisco of Fatima had made. Later in the day, one of my students chose, voluntarily and discreetly, to sacrifice a special treat for the salvation of souls. And, I learned the next day, he also led his teammates in making a sacrifice during their basketball practice that afternoon. Read more…

Fatima Story Impacts Youth Today

SSA Visit 2017 Ralph

Ralph Martin recently spoke on the subject of Fatima to a group of junior high students at Spiritus Sanctus Academy (SSA) in Plymouth, MI. Anilu Seromik, a Renewal Ministries’ staff member and teacher at SSA, shares a glimpse of this talk and the unexpected response the students had to the message.

I had the most inspiring week when Ralph came to talk to my students recently. I have been teaching at a small, private Catholic school for many years and I love the junior high students. They are fun, engaging, not too sophisticated yet, and they make me smile and laugh often.

If you have ever seen a group of 71 kids between the ages of 11 and 14 right after lunch and recess, you know they can be quite a squirmy bunch. That afternoon, the students were mesmerized by Ralph’s talk. It was amazing. You could hear a pin drop!

Ralph started his talk by telling the kids that he had prayed the rosary for them that morning. He talked for about 30 to 40 minutes, asking the students along the way if they knew what this or that word meant and making sure they were understanding by asking them questions every so often. Some of us teachers were there and we were just as riveted by his sharing as the kids were.

When Ralph finished, we had time for questions and answers. The kids had some really good questions…

“Why do you think Mary appears to kids?”

“Could we offer a plenary indulgence for Maria, the girl that Mary said would stay in purgatory till the end of times?”

“Why couldn’t Francisco hear Our Lady speak?”

The students could have gone on longer with their questions, but we had to end.

Since it was the Feast of All Dominican Saints and our school is run by Dominican sisters, at the end of the day our principal went from classroom to classroom offering each student a couple of Oreo cookies to celebrate the feast day. One of the boys went to grab a cookie and then pulled his hand away. The principal asked,

“Is there something wrong? Don’t you like Oreos?” He hesitantly responded, “No, I do, I just want to do a little sacrifice in reparation for sins.”

The next day, one of the teachers told me that all of the boys had decided to give up water during basketball practice as a sacrifice, prompted by the same student who had given up his Oreos!

After the talk, I asked the students to write thank you notes to Ralph. The notes started piling up a couple of days later. Here is a sampling of those notes:

“I hope you can tell other kids about Fatima.”

“I realized that, even though I am young, I can start making sacrifices now.”

“I feel inspired to make sacrifices now and to pray more.”

“Your talk helped me realize that sins, even one, can lead into Purgatory or Hell. I will strive to be more like the children of Fatima.”

“Your talk encouraged me to look for ways I can offer up things for reparation of sins and your talk has led me to have a closer relationship with Jesus and the Virgin Mary.”

“I was really struck by the sacrifices the children made…It makes me want to do more sacrifices for the world.”

One of the boys said that the talk inspired him to “make right choices” when temptation comes to his mind and that he tries to think of the children of Fatima and remind himself to “make good choices.”

As Ralph was speaking to the students, he quoted the passage from Matthew 18:3: “Unless you become like little children…” I was struck by the fact that all along I kept thinking about how good this was for my students to hear, yet here God was speaking to me directly: He wants me to have the openness and simplicity of my students, to remain little!

One girl’s letter was particularly moving. She wrote, “When you said that Our Lady looked at Francisco with compassion and sadness and (you) said she might have been suffering, that made me realize that everyone, not just myself, has suffering in their lives and that we need to offer up our suffering to God and pray for others to be healed.”

Ralph’s talk had a profound effect on the kids, judging by their notes and their actions. They were moved immediately to respond to Our Lady’s message with love and generosity.

Ralph mentioned that we often try to shield kids by not telling them about Hell.  Nevertheless, here Our Blessed Mother showed these little children a vision of Hell which moved them to sacrifice, prayer and repentance. I am so excited that I got to see first-hand how this message was received by my students and it was no coincidence that I was there, Our Lady wanted me to hear it again and know that it is just as “new and urgent” today as it was a hundred years ago.

The Fatima Children’s Wholehearted ‘Yes’

bergers-fatima

Today, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the final Fatima apparition, I want to share with you about my recent time in Fatima, where I spoke to a capacity audience of 2,300 people. Thankfully, Anne was able to join me, as the organizers invited her and paid her way, which is quite rare. I think Mary wanted us both there and inspired them to do so. It was good to share this special grace together. The conference celebrated fifty years of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the one-hundredth anniversary of Mary’s messages there.

Like many of you, I have been familiar with the events and message of Fatima for many years. I was even there, many years ago. I wasn’t expecting anything special to happen during this visit, but something did. Once again, a surprise of the Holy Spirit! Before I share that story, let me recount what happened at Fatima a century ago, for the sake of those who haven’t heard or have forgotten.

In 1917, an angel appeared three different times to three small children—ages seven, nine, and ten—who lived in a small rural village. There was a brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta, and their slightly older cousin, Lucia. The angel, which identified itself as the Angel of Portugal and the Angel of Peace, taught the children two prayers. The angel prayed with his forehead touching the ground and taught the children the profound reverence owed to God. They forever after often prayed like that themselves.

Mary then appeared to the children once a month for six consecutive months. She revealed to them three secrets, which they could only reveal at a later time. During her last appearance in October of 1917, she manifested the “miracle of the sun,” which was viewed by perhaps 70,000 people and reported on in Portugal’s secular newspapers. A very important part of what she communicated to them was the reality and horror of hell, where “many sinners go.” She very briefly gave them a vision of hell, where they saw the suffering of the lost souls and the horror of the demons. Mary told them that many souls go there, because there is no one to pray and offer sacrifices for them, and she asked the children to do so. She also asked them to pray the rosary every day for peace.

This vision and Mary’s words both deeply impacted their souls, and they fervently responded to her request. Little Jacinta would often ask her brother and cousin: “Have you sacrificed for the conversion of sinners today?” They would often give their lunches to poor children, go without drinking water for long periods of time, and do other sacrifices. Mary also asked the children to offer the suffering that would come their way, as well as their voluntary prayers and sacrifices, for reparation for the sins that are so offending God and Mary. She told them that the present war, World War I, would end soon, but unless there was repentance from sin, there would come a greater and worse war, and that war was a punishment for sin.

Mary said a sign would be given before the beginning of the next war, if there was not sufficient repentance. Indeed, that sign was given in 1938—one month before Hitler annexed Austria—and was seen throughout Europe as an aurora borealis. She also warned that if there wasn’t repentance, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world, whole nations would be annihilated, and the Church would suffer much.

Mary also told the children that she would take Jacinta and Francisco to heaven soon, but that Lucia would need to learn to read and write, as she needed to stay on earth longer, in order to witness to this message. Lucia died in 2005, at the age of 97, in a Carmelite monastery. Francisco died in 1919, not yet ten, of the flu epidemic that swept the world at that time, and Jacinta in 1920, at the age of ten. Mary told Jacinta that if she was willing, she would suffer much and die alone in a hospital, but Mary would be with her. In a brutal operation, the doctors removed two of her ribs. Jacinta was so weak, she couldn’t have general anesthesia, the local anesthesia was ineffective, and she died alone in a Lisbon hospital.

Jacinta and Francisco were officially proclaimed saints this year, by Pope Francis at Fatima, and the cause for Lucia has begun.

So what struck me so deeply? The children—their totally fervent, wholehearted focus on the salvation of souls, and how they focused their whole way of life and each and every day on prayer and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. It would take me more space than we have to tell you all about this, but suffice it to say I was deeply inspired and challenged to do more myself. As I visited each of their graves in the Basilica of Fatima, as as I read Lucia’s Memoirs, I felt like I was being given new friends, new models, by the Lord, to help me in my own spiritual journey and our work for souls.

Pray, fast, and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, for peace in the world, and for mercy. As Jesus said as He began preaching: Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand.

……

These prayers were taught by the angel to the children:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”

These prayers were taught by Mary to the children:

“O my Jesus! Forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”

“Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The children were moved by an interior impulse to pray this prayer:

“Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Mary, Prophet and Star of the New Evangelization

We are sharing Bishop Scott McCaig’s talk from the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Ontario, in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima today! Bishop Scott McCaig discussed how, “just as dawn reveals exactly where the sun will rise, Mary points us perfectly to Jesus.” His entire talk can be viewed in the above video.

“Mary is the white dawn who leads us to Jesus, the Everlasting Day,” he said.

Bishop Scott clarified that devotions to Mary and the Holy Spirit are not separate: “When the Holy Spirit and Mary come together, you get Jesus. . . . St. Louis deMontfort said, ‘When the Holy Spirit recognizes Mary in a soul, He flies to that soul.”

“Being fully Catholic means being Marian and being filled with the Holy Spirit—just like she is,” he added. “At Christ’s passion, we see her unite her suffering to His for the good of souls. How completely she abandons herself to God, without reserve! At Christ’s death, she is magnanimous, giving up her only treasure, for love of us.”

Bishop Scott also discussed Marian apparitions in modern times—like Fatima. He concluded, “Do you get the impression that someone is trying to get our attention? This whisper from heaven has become a shout!”

“To believers: Sacrifice yourself for sinners. Pray for healing, but if that cup of suffering does not pass you by, use it, don’t waste it,” he added. “We’re the mystical body—it’s through us that the message of beauty, joy and salvation can be communicated to the world.”