Christmas and Fatima — bridging the old and the new year

Advent is a time of renewal, with the hope of a new beginning at Christmas. The humility of God, Creator of heaven and earth, as a helpless Child lying in the crib, instils humility in us. This humility is useful for looking back on the year which is ending and renewing our good intentions for the next.

Naturally, we review of our activities over the last twelve months. At Voice of the Family, we are grateful to have been able to launch Calx Mariae Publishing this year, for the provision of good Catholic books, in addition to our magazine of the same name. We are also grateful that our new online learning platform, the Family and Life Academy, has come to fruition and begun to provide authentic Catholic formation through courses and webinars relating to the defence of life and the family in today’s world. And of course, we are grateful to have been able to continue our weekly Digest, offering commentary and insights into the changing landscape of our times. Every one of these initiatives is a cause for thanksgiving and an opportunity to connect with our brothers and sisters in the faith who are also dedicated to defending life and the family.

And yet, all these things are only means to an end — an end of which each Christmas gives us a glimpse in the flesh — illuminated by the great star, in the arms of His Immaculate Mother. This is a sight which moves us, weary and dusty travellers, to come and offer our renewed hearts to the Mother and Child, like the Magi bearing their gifts. 

A year ago, in the Voice of the Family Digest, we shared our intention to make 2022 a turning point in fulfilling Our Lady’s requests for the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.

We recalled that, just over a hundred years ago in Fatima, an angel appeared with a flaming sword flashing in his left hand: 

“It gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’” 

There in Fatima, on the eve of the Communist Revolution of 1917, Our Lady predicted that the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world, causing great suffering, unless Russia were consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. 

Little did we know that this year would be marked by the war between Russia and Ukraine, their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the overturning of the US supreme court decision, Roe vs Wade

The message of Fatima is the crystal-clear lens through which to see the events of our times for what they are. War, disease and natural disasters will not cease to accompany mankind as long as we persist in offending God and resisting His call to conversion. When people break His laws, God, who is infinitely just, intervenes. He did so explicitly by sending His Holy Mother to correct the children whom she adopted at the foot of the Cross. Our Lady’s apparition in Fatima remains one of the most spectacular instances of divine intervention since Christ’s own coming at Christmas over 2,000 year ago. In order to avert the catastrophes foreseen from Heaven, the Queen of Heaven asked for the consecration of Russia from all the world’s bishops, in communion with the pope, and penance from the whole Church — with the offering of the five First Saturdays in reparation for offences against her Immaculate Heart. As Mother of Christians and of the whole human race, Our Lady wishes her children to obey with filial confidence in her desire to free us from the errors of Russia.

In 1917, the great error of Russia was Communism, which has now spread throughout the world, leaving its foul fruits everywhere: the rejection of God, of the family and of human life itself as created by Him. The material and spiritual destructiveness of this error is unparalleled in history. Abortion alone, first legalised in Communist Russia in 1920, has killed more people than all wars in the whole of human history and denied God’s plan for them. Roe vs Wade which has claimed over 60 million of these innocent victims over 49 years in the US was a terrible monument to that error. Whether its overturning was a result of the consecration performed at St Peter’s on 25 March this year we cannot know with certainty; but we do know that, even now, when we obey — perhaps imperfectly and certainly late — our heavenly Mother can win us time to save our own souls and many others. Sr Lucy gave the following account, speaking of herself in the third person:

“On 10 December 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and, by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. At the same time, the Child said: ‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’

“Then the Most Holy Virgin said, ‘Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console me, and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months, confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep Me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to Me.’”

In 1939, Sr Lucy further explained the importance of this devotion: 

“Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.”

We may say that we already know all these things. But the truth is that as long as we know and do not practice the first Saturdays’ devotion, we may know but we still do not understand — like those who hold the key, and admire it, but neglect to use it.

Let us take the opportunity this Christmas to renew our commitment to this devotion, by the  crib of Our Newborn Lord, and to make the coming year a total offering of obedience to Mary, and finally, to do our part so that Her Immaculate Heart may soon triumph. 

We hope that you will continue to benefit from all aspects of our apostolate in the coming year, and to recommend them to others. And above all, we wish you all a very holy Christmas!