By Diocesan John.
The little boy between his cousin Lucia on the left and his little sister Jacinta on the right is Francesco, whom we may now call St Francisco of Fatima.
Yes Francisco saw Our Lady at Fatima but he did not hear her speak and had to rely on his cousin and sister afterwards to tell him what Our Lady said. While Jacinta decided to pray for the conversion of sinners, Francesco thought deeply about the words of Our Lady that God is already too much offended by sins and his apostolate was to spend hours in prayer often before the Blessed Sacrament making reparation to God and the hearts of Jesus and Mary for the sadness that sin was causing in them. He too died of the terrible flu epidemic after the First World War. But there is so much we can learn for Francisco.
That God is feeling offended so much is a demonstration of just how deeply He loves us. He created us and only wanted us to serve him, yet look at the violence and the hateful place we have made of the world. Like Francisco we should be constantly praying before the Blessed Sacrament that the God and the hearts of Jesus and Mary will one day have no cause to be unhappy with the world. There are those who interpret Fatima as meaning that it is Mary herself who is staying the hand of God who is moved to punish us. I have two things to say. If anyone could stop the punishment of God it would be Mary. Mary is the bridge between God the Father and God the Son becoming man. Redemption was only possible through her act of humility in bearing Jesus, and as an ordinary mortal herself she is tied to the human race and pleads for the human race before the Father who is in a way thankful to her. So, yes, she could hold back the punishment of God. The second question is whether God would want to punish the world, and I mean those unrepentant sinners who destroy the bodies and souls of others. And those who sin because they have never heard of God and lose their souls because they have never heard of God. The first group does not listen to God and have no pity for those He created so if the message of God is indeed that they go to Hell, and Jesus himself has told us that Hell exists and there are souls suffering there, then how can God grant mercy to those who are evil. We cannot use the word Mercy in circumstances where there can be none. God may well punish those who are destroying others and it would be just that He did so. But the message of Fatima is not about such as these, it is about those who go to Hell because they have no one to show them the light of Faith, they have no one to pray for them. By our sacrifices and prayers Our Lady asked us to pray for them so that they would indeed find the mercy of God. That is the simple message of Fatima. The sins of so many are offending God and so many are going to Hell that we cannot just shrug our shoulders and say it is not our business. Yes, true Mercy is our business and so we must do as Our Lady asks and save the souls of those who would oherwise be lost. If a Church is not fighiting sin it is following another Christ.