FATIMA: The Five Sins
Guido Del Rose
Editor of FROM THE HOUSETOPS Magazine
The Fourth Sin: Those Who Cause Children to Hate
and Reject their Immaculate Mother
With all the power at his command, the Archfiend must deny the Virgin this ability to use her children as agents of grace, or at least, to reduce its effects. To gain this end, he would first render her maternal womb infertile, barren, robbing her of all future clients as conduits of grace, performing, in result, a spiritual abortion. The summit of all evil, he would completely deprive the Holy Ghost of any future means of sanctifying the Chosen. Now we can more readily comprehend the iniquity which is the fourth sin and the fourth stage in this latest chapter of the primordial conflict between Mary and Lucifer, I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed. [Gen. 3: 15]
This sin is essentially a denial of Mary's Sacred Office continuing in the future. Removing little ones from her side before they can be nurtured into fully-developed enlistees of her cause, he would strip her of her Motherhood and divest the Holy Ghost of this agency by which He manifests and consummates His will. By negation, this crime confirms the truth of our Faith whereby we believe that the Sanctifier does indeed save souls through the spiritual maternity of His Immaculate Spouse. Saint Maximillian Kolbe verified this belief in his typically concise manner. "Till the end of the world it will be the task of the Holy Ghost to form the new members predestined to glory in the mystical body of Christ." And as Saint Louis Marie de Montfort shows, "This task is carried to completion with Mary, in Mary and through Mary."
For the future, how many souls cast into Hell would this sin measure?
The Fifth Sin: Those Who Insult the Virgin Mary Directly in her Sacred Images
If the fourth stage of attack would abolish the future, the on-going performance of Our Blessed Mother's Sacred Office, the fifth sin would deprive her of that office today. She does have those loyal, devoted children who daily become her fit instruments, conscious and willing agents, entirely at her bidding. These, then, are the real targets, the ones he must destroy, using every weapon in his arsenal and any strategy which succeeds. They are the "seed" [of the woman] whose enmity Satan cannot tolerate or withstand, the "heel" [the lowest part of a body] by whom this Cursed One is to be forever humbled and trod upon: . . . and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. [Gen 3: 15]
Eliminate these special devotees, remove them as her agents dispossess the Holy Ghost of this means of sanctifying souls, and you ensure a monumental victory for Lucifer. It will certainly happen if the fifth sin is permitted to continue unbridled.
He would pry them away from the Virgin by a personal assault rather than an attack on her Office. Knowing that these devoted children of Mary firmly believe in her, he must shift his efforts away from the Office itself to the person in possession of it. A clever stratagem, he well understands that he must inject into their hearts doubt that she really qualifies to fill so exalted an office. Not being a direct denial of that Divine Commission, the belief in which they fully accept, this ploy would cause them to be at least uncertain about it, especially concerning this particular person's worthiness. The result would be identical with those of the direct attacks in that a disqualification of the only person who could possibly satisfy that position is in effect an elimination of that position. These stalwarts of Mary remain as the last obstacles barring him from a complete victory.
Openly destroying and desecrating holy images of Mary is Satan's old trick, a positive sign of his weakness concerning these faithful offspring of hers. When all else fails, he resorts to tactics of shock, fear, and intimidation, indirect attacks, proving his inability to make a successful frontal assault against them. Wise in his evil ways, he knows that he cannot besiege them directly, for they are specially protected by the Immaculate Heart and remain beyond his power to win them over to his camp. Not able to tempt or dissuade them from their loyal service to their Mother, he must, at the minimum, cause them to reduce their activity in her behalf and then, much later, further induce them to abandon the battle altogether. He would cow them, jolt them into a state of near-paralysis, and sow the seeds of doubt in their hearts. The lives of the great Saints reveal this strategy on his part. How often he has used blasphemies, loud cursing, hideous visions, false apparitions, physical violence, and other similar deceitful methods to weaken these "strong ones," Mary's true channels of grace! The fifth sin is meant to dislodge these stubborn and valiant workers of hers.
The archetype of all rebels, he will surely continue in his efforts to stop wholly or to scale down considerably their offering up of prayers, sufferings, and penances: sacrifices of all kinds in a daily "victimhood," comparatively modest by the standards of the great Saints, but nevertheless, a genuine identification with the Victim of Calvary. And, most especially is he desirous of vanquishing those persons who go even further: a formal and solemn consecration of their very beings to her Immaculate Heart. Oh, how profoundly they torment him! How he rages against them! They are, in truth, "extensions" of the Holy Virgin through their full union with her and her Divine Spouse. Once more we turn to the wisdom of Saint Kolbe.
"The Immaculata has left this earth; but her life has only grown deeper and richer; it grows and flourishes more and more in the lives of Christians . . he strives to shape them after the model, Jesus, her first-born, the archetype of all sanctity, the man-God.
"The ideal of our perfection is our consecration to the Immaculata, always by day and night, so that it may not be we who suffer and act, but she through us."
From the apostle of true devotion to Mary, Saint Louis De Montfort:
"When the Holy Ghost, her Spouse, has found Mary in a soul, He flies there. He enters there in His fullness; He communicates Himself to that soul abundantly, and to the full extent to which it makes room for His Spouse."
Irrevocably filled with hatred for the Mystical Body of Christ, Lucifer intends this sin to be the coup de grace, the final blow. Now the words of Our Lady [July, 1917] take on new meaning: You have just seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.
Emphasizing the role of Our Lady is in no way to be viewed as taking away from Christ what is His due. All of this concerning her would be impossible were it not for His Passion and Death. Rather, the intention of this article is to increase His honor and glory by focusing on the part of the Holy Ghost working in and through His Immaculate Spouse in applying the very graces which Christ won for us. Furthermore, it is the Redeemer Himself who came to promulgate and to insist upon the implementation of this special attention to His Mother. We can only promote His wishes if we examine more closely these events and messages.
The analysis of the five sins concluded, the reader may well experience a feeling of helplessness, an inability to correct the evil. This supposed impotency is easily overturned by the practice of the First Saturday's Devotion, a Heaven-sent prescription, it sure remedy for the Hell-devised affliction.
The five avenues of sin against the Immaculate Heart of Mary were enumerated as the following:
1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception,
2. Against her virginity,
3. Against the Divine Maternity,
4. Publicly implanting indifferences, contempt and hatred against Our Lady,
5. Direct insults against her sacred images.
Now we take up the requests of Our Lady in behalf of her Divine Son: A positive approach to reparation against the five sins is taken with the reassurance that in essence, "Fatima is the Hope of the World!"
There are four acts in this Devotion: Confession, Holy Communion, Rosary, and meditation. They correspond with and oppose the last four sins. The first blasphemy does not attack Mary's part in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception because she was totally passive, having no activity or response. She was entirely a recipient of this incomprehensible gift. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have an act in the Devotion which would defend her activity in this mystery. The other four sins, however, do concentrate on her participation and need four counterbalancing actions to cancel their effects. Her activities in all the mysterious stages constitute her Sacred Office. Each of the four steps in this Devotion is an affirmation of a stage or phase of that Office. By practicing this Devotion we not only affirm that Office, we also indicate our desire to be a willing part of it, thereby magnifying and expanding it, making its effects take place in the present.
The five sins would achieve negation, disavowal, and reduction of her role, destroying the right order which should exist between the Spiritual Mother and her children. The four acts of the Devotion would accomplish the opposite, namely, affirmation, union, and enlargement, repairing and constructing that right order to the level desired by Christ.
Sacramental Confession is a renouncing of Satan, removing any allegiance to him and demonstrating a desire to be united with Christ. We reject sin and its ability to separate us from unity with Him. In this act we assert Our Lady's own Perpetual Virginity, her pure response to the graces of the Immaculate Conception, and indicate our wish to be part of that response. It increases her ability to achieve more fully the desired effects of the mystery: the graces to be conferred. More than an endorsement of her activity, it is a full union with her by means of which her grace-meriting activity can be extended in time to the present day, imparting rich graces to her children.
The reception of Holy Communion establishes us firmly as members of the Mystical Body, intimately united with its Divine Head and entirely disposed to be her children, a resounding acceptance of both her Divine Maternity and Spiritual Motherhood. A straightforward rejection of the third sin, it is a magnification, a vivifying enrichment, of her Maternal Custody. In this acknowledgment of the twofold fruit of the first two mysteries, we again have the effects, graces, actuated in and through us in the here and now. Receiving Holy Communion on the First Saturdays becomes a powerful
verification of our acceptance of her as Spiritual Mother and all that it necessitates. We would build up and fortify that order which postulates her as Mother to us all by our willingness to be her "seed."
The Rosary is the prayer par excellence of Our Lady's Sacred Office, a delineation of that Divine Mandate, a spelling-out in greater detail. The Pope of the Rosary, Leo XIII wrote several inspiring letters in praise of this "Crown of Ave's." Especially in one, "Jucunda Semper," issued on September 8 of 1894, he revealed plainly the importance of this prayer.
"The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine Grace, being by worthiness and by merit more acceptable to Him, and for that reason surpassing in power all the Angels and Saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers appears perhaps in no other form of prayer as manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary the part that Mary took in our redemption is set before us, as though the facts were even then taking place. And this affords great profit to our piety, both in the contemplation of the successive sacred mysteries, and in the prayers which we enunciate." The fifteen mysteries involve grace-conferring activities which are the sum and substance of her Holy Commission. Set in a tri-partition of joyful, sorrowful, and glorious actions, these meditations recall the triunal responsibility incumbent upon the Office of Divine Maternity and Spiritual Motherhood:
preparation, redemption, and salvation. Although these mystical actions occurred centuries ago, their effects were intended to be realized in every age, in any day, until the end of human history. Consequently, the graces which this loving and merciful Mother had in mind for us to receive today she desired us to receive when she undertook these activities so many years ago in Palestine.
The Rosary depicts the Mother's role in fifteen activities which altogether feature the proper harmony which should endure between the children and their Spiritual Mother, a relationship rightfully conferring upon the Mother a threefold power or authority and obliging the offspring with a triple response. Motherhood even in the brute and rational animal kingdoms encompasses teaching, governing, and managing the young to maturity. With humans, children should willingly embrace the teachings, observe the rules, and become mature citizens under this obligation. How much more should this be the situation with respect to Mary's Motherhood!
We should eagerly accept the teaching that Mary is our Spiritual Mother and all that it embodies, then submit ourselves humbly to her governing authority and its demands, and finally, become sanctified with the nourishing graces by which she nurtures us and have those graces reach out to others in great need. The more perfectly this is done and the greater number doing it would mean an increase in the Virgin's Office, even an astonishing degree of expansion and extension through conversions, thus providing her with new offspring-----agents to make further conquests for her.
The Rosary magnificently reflects this threefold movement and response in the three sets of mysteries: the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious, wherein we can profess our belief with joy, accept the obligations which involve sorrow, and grow in the glory of personal holiness and conquest for the Kingdom of Christ on earth. The Angelic Salutation, recited again and again, is the theme or key for recalling and imploring the fruit of these grace-filled actions. The 150 "Hail Mary's", the prayerful praise and approval of her Sacred Office, are reminiscent of the 150 Psalms which the priests and religious pray each day in reciting the Divine Office of Jesus Christ, an activity that also effects graces.
Thus, the Rosary offers us an opportunity to actualize in the present the superabundant power inherent in the three phases of our Spiritual Mother's Sacred Appointment, enabling her to exercise her maternal solicitude more effectively, to strengthen her Office, and to secure its future consummation. The Holy Spirit stands behind this prayerful meditation as surety for its success since the Sacred Office of His holy Spouse is the agency by which He will sanctify the Elect. Daily, then, we should pick up our beads and recall the Divine Mysteries of which He is truly the Author.
The Fifteen Minute Meditation
Fifteen minutes of silent meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary make this Devotion unique, the identifying mark which reveals much about the First Saturday's observance. It is an unequaled opportunity for us to offer a personal commitment to our Mother, a counteraction to the vilification directed at her person. Whereas the fifth sin would disengage the devoted ones from dutiful service to her, this action is a demonstration of their continuing loyalty, an even greater union with her in sharing her sorrow. In the other three acts of this Devotion we are asked to concentrate upon the official aspects of Our Lady's Divine Commission. Here we are invited to engage in a rather private, individual, one-on-one approach in compassionating the great bereavement which she experiences through this sin. Her grief is not one of self-concern, an unhappiness over the attacks against her person, but one of mourning the loss of loved ones, the end result of that sin.
All five sins aim at destroying or damaging severely the proper order to be maintained between the Mother and her children so that they may not receive salvific graces and communicate them to others. The fifth sin attempts to stop this final process: the distributing of saving graces through these special children of hers to those who otherwise would be lost. A most diabolical maneuver, this crime robs the Mother of the just reward of her efforts, especially at a critical moment, the terminal point in the whole movement of grace.
In all four acts of this Devotion it is essential that we keep the intention of making reparation for the five sins. The Divine Child Jesus stated this requirement rather pointedly in the February, 1926, visit to Lucia, at which time He inquired about the progress of the Devotion. If we forget to make this intention at the time of performing one of the actions, we must do so at the next Confession. Moreover, He instructed us to take the earliest opportunity of going to Confession and making the intention. The stress, then, is upon the idea of reparation. We are to repair the damage inflicted upon this relationship of Spiritual Mother to her offspring, the impairment of her Sacred Office. Therefore, it is most imperative that we have more children of Mary engaged in repairing and erecting this correct harmony so as to achieve its intended results.
The grave injustice committed against the Virgin can be illustrated by a comparison with a farmer. A tiller of the soil must spend much time, money, and effort in plowing, sowing seed, cultivating, irrigating, fertilizing, warding off any enemies, and finally reaping the crops. A total or even a substantial loss of his crop at any point in the process would be most unjust but more especially if it occurs near the end. The greatest injustice then would be to have it happen right at harvest time. If we magnify or multiply that injustice many, many times over, we can have a notion of the enormity of the crime. The fifth sin being so abominable, the fifteen minute meditation becomes crucial to the destiny of countless poor souls. It is the finishing touch, the capstone of the Devotion, the "frosting on the cake," the blow which sends Satan and his hordes reeling into a complete rout.
These special children of Mary through this meditation express in a dramatic fashion their steadfastness and union, now become greater than before this Devotion was revealed to them. They withstand the tactics of shock, intimidation, obscenity, and whatever else Satan may attempt. They hold their ground; more than that, they strengthen it and extend it. They stand at her side in a posture of total surrender to her will and full commiseration with her in sorrow.
The Current Situation
Surely, if enough of her children would practice this Devotion on first Saturdays, the victory would be here. Obviously, we have not reached that point. Can we prevent the "scales of justice" in Heaven from tipping against mankind? Are there enough practicing this Devotion to ward off the punishments predicted? The persons who sin against the Immaculate Heart of Mary are the ones who do most to merit chastisement for the human race because they are responsible for most of the lost souls. These children of Mary, now become renegades in opposition to her, must be converted to her side as zealous and devoted servants of hers. We have it in our power to do something about it, through the mercy of Our Divine Savior. Let us recall Our Lady's words about them [June 1929], "There are so many souls whom the Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, . . . "
Even though the long-desired triumph eludes us, we have the sure knowledge and the consolation of complying with the will of Our Redeemer. Destruction brings construction; sin invites reparation; the five sins demand the Five First Saturdays. We are surely engaged in a most holy mission for Our Savior in working for the fulfillment of His wishes.
". . . and not too long ago I asked Him why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making that consecration. The reply: 'Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that this Devotion may subsequently be spread so as to place the Devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the Devotion to My Sacred
In addition to the First Saturdays Devotion, can we do more to forestall that dreadful judgment? Can we gain more time while we seek to add more devotees to our cause? The answer, again, comes from the Fatima Message. Each day we can attempt to save the souls who will die and possibly be consigned to Hell forever, irrevocably removed from their Redeemer. Through our prayers, especially a daily Rosary, and the sacrifices which our daily duty imposes upon us, we can offer up to Our Lady the means for her to grant powerful graces, even last-minute repentance, to the souls who are "most in need of Thy mercy." These are solemnly given to the Virgin by wearing her Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel, with which she appeared during the October 13 Miracle of the Sun, and which is an official consecration cloth in that the wearing of it demonstrates our intention of consecrating all to her. While this does not unlock the torrent of grace being withheld by the five sins, it does win for us much needed favor and mercy.
Persons who sin against the Immaculate Heart are the ones who do most to merit chastisement for the human race because they are responsible for most of the lost souls.
This daily practice to convert sinners and save souls is derived from Our Lady's Six Apparitions of 1917, during which she always pleaded for the Rosary each day and the offering of our sufferings, penances, and all sacrifices for conversion.
"For the Future?"
And yet how slowly it moves! When will we rejoice in the sweet victory of Our Lady? Part of the answer is found in a letter from Lucia to her confessor, a Fr. Goncalves, dated April 24, 1940.
"If He [Jesus] wants to, He can hasten that cause [Our Lord's wishes]. But to punish the world He will let it go slowly. His justice, provoked by our sins, wants it that way. Sometimes He becomes annoyed not only at grave sins, but also at our laxity and negligence in attending to His requests." This being sufficient reason for the long delay, Our Lord has yet a further motive: to achieve an even greater conquest, a fact also revealed in another letter of Lucia to the same Fr. Goncalves in August of 1940. ". . . but He takes this opportunity to punish the world with justice for so many crimes, and to prepare it for a more complete turn toward Him. The proof that He gives us is the special protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over Portugal due to its consecration to Her." That most blessed moment will arrive, but first a few hard lessons are in order. However, since we have the assurance that it will take place, we must work to have it occur sooner and before the punishments are inflicted, doing all that we can to make this Message known and living it each day.
Fatima is essentially an appeal from Heaven to convert sinners.
First and foremost among them are the renegade children of Mary, launching an assault of fivefold sin against her, having become cancerous cells in the Mystical Body of Christ. Next is Russia, the renegade nation, akin to a major organ fully malignant and spreading its virulence to all other organs and systems of the Mystical Body [Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, etc.]. The third kind of sinner to convert is the person who will die today in a state of mortal sin, full separation from Christ. The first two kinds of sinners are the real problem. The third kind needs to be converted and saved, but he does not attack the Mystical Body of Christ directly, whereas the other two aim at total extermination of Christ present in the world in His Members. The further along they proceed in their work of evil, the greater will be the ensuing chastisement to follow, "The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated." [Our Lady of Fatima, July 13, 1917] Our Lord reaffirmed that prediction in a rather disquieting communication to Lucia which she reported to her confessor in early February of 1938.
"Our Lord also said to me, 'Ask, insist again on the reparatory Communion in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturday being made public. The moment is approaching when the rigor of My justice will punish the crimes of several nations. Some will be annihilated. Finally the rigors of My justice will fall most heavily on those who want to destroy My reign in souls.' "
Notice how Our Savior connects the First Saturday's Devotion to the impending punishments? That direct tie between the two can only suggest that the five sins are, in reality, "blasphemies committed against the Holy Ghost," the sins which Jesus Christ so severely condemned.
Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. [Matt. 12: 31-32, Rheims Version]
Confident in the coming triumph, we cannot relax our efforts; rather, we must double them and more so.
About these sins, further insight is provided by the footnote to verse 31 in the Rheims Version.
Now this kind of sin is usually accompanied with so much obstinacy, and such willful opposing the Spirit of God, and the known truth, that men who are guilty of it, are seldom or never converted: and therefore are never forgiven, because they will not repent. Otherwise there is no sin, which God cannot or will not forgive to such as sincerely repent, and have recourse to the keys of the Church. [Matt. 12: 31, Rheims Version]
Judas-like in character, these blasphemers of Mary reveal their hard-heartedness by unmasking their perfidy in all its innate iniquity. And, still Our Lady longs to have them restored to her Heart, a desire which her Divine Son concedes to her by granting this Devotion to those children of hers who love her most fervently. This fact alone should inspire and encourage us with faith to move mountains.
A Sign of Victory
Oftentimes, those who yearn for a future event will look for signs or omens of assurance or comfort, a risky venture at best. Yet, it is in the nature of the human being to try anticipating the future. If we dare to search for a token or pledge of tomorrow's tidings, then let the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima and the dove which so often accompanies it be the blessed portent of the future and the solemn avowal that the Holy Spirit Dove and His Immaculate Spouse are at work now and will assuredly achieve that great conquest which she predicted, "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world." [Our Lady of Fatima, July 13, 1917]
A most heartening sign for us, the Pilgrim Virgin Statue is, in a real sense, the presence of Our Lady of Fatima, not coming a few times in 1917, and afterward, only to depart the arena of conflict, but a continuing appearance among us giving us the important Message from her Divine Son and bestowing graces, so frequently in the company of the dove, the almost constant companion of the Pilgrim Virgin. Her special presence is not one of body and soul but of grace whereby the effect is almost identical with a real presence, a fact expressed by no less an authority than Pope Pius XII in his Radio Message to the Fatima Pilgrims, on October 13, 1951. ". . . another vision, no less comforting, fills our spirit. Not only the Angel of the Lord, but the Queen of Angels herself goes forth in the form of her miraculous images . . . And as she goes along, God's blessings are pouring down, and the miracles of grace are so multiplying that we can hardly believe our eyes. Not only are the good and obedient children of the Church redoubling their fervor, but the prodigal sons also, overcome with a longing for maternal tenderness, are returning to their Father's House."
A true blessing from Heaven, this prodigy has now been extended throughout the world as official Pilgrim Virgin statues travel here and there "multiplying the miracles of grace." The Pilgrim Virgin Devotion, then, is the concrete sign of our hope for triumph, for that official replica of Our Lady of Fatima is the auspicious foretoken of the hallowed peace to come, the glorious vanquishment of Satan and his forces, the predicted triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The many, many miracles of grace which always attend the travels of the statues are the attestation of that claim. Fr. A. Martins, S.J. described this phenomenon so accurately with these thoughts:
"Experience shows that a visit of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the diocese results in a true shower of graces. Any priest who doubts this need only volunteer to sit in the confessional during one of the visits of Our Lady's statues. You cannot do better than to promote the diocesan and parish visits of Pilgrim Virgin statues as a way to draw all to the Devotion of the Rosary and the First Saturdays."We have powerful, convincing evidence that the long-awaited overthrow of evil may occur soon. These promising tokens of victory cannot be intended for a far-distant future. Confident in the coming triumph, we cannot relax our efforts; rather, we must double them and more so.
"A Flood of Graces"
The five sins primarily and Russia, too, are holding back the graces intended for us in these crucial times. If we can raise an army of souls willing to observe the requests given to us by Our Lady in behalf of her Divine Son, we can succeed in releasing a flood of graces from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sacred Repository of Graces, which will convert sinners by the thousands and millions, convert Russia and other apostate nations, and bring peace to war-torn earth. Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three Fatima visionaries, just before her death, gave Lucia this command:
"It will not be long now before I go to Heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don't go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her."