By Diocesan John
And a great sign appeared in heaven a woman clothed in the sun……………Revelatiions 12
When the Lady of Fatima appeared to the children at Fatima she wore a dazzling white dress and veil. She was indeed as bright as the sun. When we read Revelations 12 we see that Mary was a Great Sign. A Great Sign is something for others to point to at some period of time, but in Revelations there are two time frames presented to us, the birth of Jesus to Mary and in failing to destroy the chid the Red Dragon goes off to destroy her other children. This is the time now when we her children are being attacked by the Red Dragon and he is not interested in destroying our bodies but in destroying our souls. Perhaps then the Great Sign in Heaven refers to Our Lady appearing at Fatima. At Fatima our Mother has come to help us in the battle against sin and to ask us to pray for our other brothers and sisters, especially those without someone to pray for them and whose souls can be lost for this reason.
Yet so many are indifferent to the message of Fatima. Today many believe in some kind of political Christianity where all that is needed to show our love is to give to the poor. In this age of relative affluence compared to the past it is easy to give to the poor but it is why we give to the poor that is important. Is it because we have a feeling of being good when we do so. Is it because we can be admired by other Churches, (See our community gives more than yours), is it because on the other hand there is a natural goodness in our nature which causes us to give, especially when great disasters or famines occur, this is indeed commendable, and indeed many people give their whole lives to charities and will be judged well by God, but many of these would deny they are Christians. You see Christians are supposed to be different, they do not just give to the poor, giving to the poor is one of their ways of building the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of Love here on earth. And that Kingdom of love goes beyond feeding the bodies of the poor but demands the feeding their souls. And not just of the poor but of everyone, every soul in the world for the Kingdom of love excludes no one. But every Kingdom has its rules in order to survive. In the Kingdom of God we must turn to Jesus in Scripture to find out what those rules are that will sustain His Kingdom. A rich young man asked Jesus one time “What must I do to earn eternal life?” Jesus replied “You know the Commnandmensts, thou shalt not steal, honour your father and your mother, do not commit adultery………” The young man replied that he had kept these commandments from his youth, so Jesus said “Then give up everything and follow me” When sermons on this Gospel are given in many Churches many of them become rather fuzzy. The first part is ignored in favour of a sermon that we must give to the poor. But what Jesus was asking the young man to do was to leave his life behind and become one of his disciples, as indeed he had asked Peter and Andrew and the other followers. There is a rebellion against mentioning sin in any way or preaching what Christ said on sin. But the Kingdom of God has it rules and the commandments are essential in the building of that Kingdom. Giving to the poorwill not get you to heaven if you are a sinful man. When people rebel against a Kingdom;s rules then the Kingdom is destroyed.
So what we have today is a world full of violence and evil because in many parts of the Church there is no counterbalance of goodness. Men sin and excuse themselves in sin, and many souls are going to that Hell that Jesus of Scripture spoke about again and again. They contribute to the evil around them. The world will never know Peace while this continues and the Great Sign of Fatima is Our Lady desperate to save her children. Telling us that our Faith is not just about being good and nice, but committing ourselves to the salvation of our neighbours by prayers, amending our lives and making reparation of the sins of others. Reparation is about, and I will dare to say it, DEVOTION. An intellectual appreciation of Faith in our minds is not enough, we must bring back the devotions of the heart that helps us find real love.