FATIMA CELL PROGRAM FOR FEBRUARY
THE HOLY CHILDHOOD OF JESUS. Jesus, having been found by His Parents in the Temple, answered their loving concern with the simple words: "Did you not know that I must be about the work of My Father?" Yet, Jesus then "went down to Nazareth and was subject to them." Rather than spending His Childhood and Adolescence in manifesting His Divine Power, He, Wisdom Incarnate, deigned to teach mankind, by His own example, the sublime virtues of humility, obedience, simplicity, and hiddenness, which so endear us to the Eternal Father. Later He said: "Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." This sublime lesson is reflected in the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, as She made the exclusive choice of three uneducated shepherd children, entrusting to them the crucial message of the twentieth century. As we meditate upon the profound humility of the Son of God-made-Man in His blessed Childhood, let us also be resolved to imitate the simplicity, humility, and faith of Francisco and Jacinta, as we strive to "be about the work of our Father," our own sanctification, by fervently living the message of Fatima!
THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS. As we make the transition from the joy of the Christmas-Epiphany season to the somber reflections of Septuagesima and Lent, the comeliness of the "most beautiful of the sons of men" gives way to the horrible disfigurement which He suffered in His bitter Passion. There are few devotions, which are as effective as looking upon the Face of Jesus in His sufferings, to make us realize, as did Francisco and Jacinta, the terrible price which He paid for our sins. We would understand, in looking upon His agony, that "He is already too much offended." Rather than turn away away (as hollow Christians do) with repugnance from the disfigured Countenance of our Crucified Master, let us learn to "make everything that we do a sacrifice", as the Angel of Portugal counseled the three Fatima children. Let us console Our Lord by making reparation to His Most Sacred and Tender, but sadly also, Pierced and Bleeding Heart.
OPENING PRAYERS: * Come Holy Ghost * The Rosary with meditation on each mystery
* The Litany of Our Lady of Loreto * Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
* Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary * The Lourdes Ave
* Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes
MEDITATION: * from "My Imitation of Christ"; or The Glories of Mary on the Immaculate Conception.
STUDY & DISCUSS: * Officer's reports; Cell Memos; reading of the Salve Maria Regina Bulletin.
CLOSING PRAYERS: Prayer in honor of the Holy Face of Jesus . . . The Fatima Prayers . . . Hymn, O Sanctissima
LEAFLETS OF THE MONTH: Living our Scapular Consecration
CELL PLAN OF APOSTOLIC ACTION FOR FEBRUARY
* Encourage veneration of the Miraculous Medal by example.
* Make an act of love and devtion to Our Immaculate Queen at every hour.
* To promote the Message of Fatima ... * Sanctification of self, family, neighbor
* Conversion of sinners, salvation of souls ... * Adoration, reparation, total consecration
THE PRESENTATION, THE IMMOLATION, THE LIFE..
THE OFFERING, THE SACRIFICE, THE GIFT
The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple brings vividly before our eyes the great mystery of Redemption. The Divine Victim is presented by the Immaculate Heart and hands of Mary, the one and only High Priestess to God the Father, to be immolated by His own Will at every moment of His life until that holocaust is consummated on the Cross. Truly the Divine Lamb willed to become man to glorify His Father by the perfect accomplishment of His Holy Will. From the first instant of His Incarnation, He offered Himself as the propitiatory sacrifice which alone is worthy of the Holiness of God. Who could not easily picture the Heart of Mary offering the same sacrifice with Her Son, since Their Hearts and Wills were as one?
For the space of thirty three years Jesus Christ our Great High Priest offers Himself in sacrifice to the glory of His Father and for the salvation of poor sinners. For His thirty three years, as well as for the rest of Her lifetime, Mary offers Herself and Her Son; offers Herself in Her Son; offers Herself with Her Son, in the same manner -- in sacrifice to the glory of God the Father and for the salvation of poor sinners. How can the mind fathom the generosity of these Two Hearts as They endured throughout Their lifetimes, what would feel like an eternity, the ingratitude and contempt of callous men?
Yes, the Presentation is the external act of the sacrifice that encompasses the whole lives of Jesus and Mary. The Presentation leads us in so fitting a manner to the grand spectacle of the Lenten Sacrifice. The Presentation gently focuses our minds and hearts on what it means to know, love and serve the Victim of our sins. In the company of Mary, we have an assured confidence that our tears of sorrow will lead to a new life, worthy of His compassion. In the Heart of Mary, we know that real holiness is something that is attainable. With the help of Mary, we have an unshakeable hope that all obstacles are surmountable.
The great Mystery of the Presentation should naturally lead us not only to contemplate the lives of sacrifice offered by the God-Man and His Ever-Virgin Mother, but also to increase the sacrifices which we offer to God each day. How appropriate it is that Lent follows so soon upon this Mystery. Lent -- the season of sacrifice and prayer, the season of reflection and meditation, the season of resolution and amendment.
If we reflect seriously upon our sacrifices, we are forced by truth to acknowledge that what we offer is so small, so poor; and even that, so infrequently. Would not this then be the perfect moment to resolve to offer a special gift, an infinite gift, the only Gift wholly worthy of God? We have at our disposal, by the infinite mercy of God and His Tender Mother, the Most Holy and August Sacrifice of the Mass. We have the privilege of attending this great Act of Atonement every day. Several times each day we may unite at least in spirit with the unbloody renewal of this Supreme Sacrifice of the Cross. In addition, anyone can ask that the Holy Sacrifice be offered for a particular intention. What purer sacrifice -- there is no purer. What better gift -- there is no better. What holier prayer -- there is no holier. What greater reparation -- there is no greater. What quicker means -- there is no quicker.
Why are your worries not allayed, your prayers not answered? May not this be the principle reason? Have you had any Masses offered for these intentions -- even one? With a means so readily available, is it anything less than a sad omission not to avail yourself of it? And for others, yes, all too many are totally indifferent, as Our Lady lamented. They have no desire, no care for the things of God and eternal life. They care not to know or love, much less serve their Creator, Redeemer and Judge. But, what more efficacious means has God given to spark that desire than to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for them?
It is periodically asked, "What is a proper stipend to have a Mass offered?" That all depends on the one asking. The guideline is simple: the stipend should be a sacrificial offering according to the ability of the one requesting it. A sacrifice for a small child is far different from a working adult. When parish priests had scarcely any other income -- the norm was a day's wage, or in other countries, half a day's wage. The norm for these times was set years ago at fifty dollars. At the rate our currency is being devalued, who knows what the future will bring? But again, the spirit of the offering should be that of a sacrifice, and that sacrifice varies with the individual. Thanks be to God, every priest worthy of the name would happily offer Mass simply upon request if someone was destitute. Or, for five cents if that was the child's sacrifice. As one matures and has more resources, what is a sacrifice changes. Keep to the spirit of the offering -- a sacrificial gift to God, and an aid to His minister. If you still aren't quite sure what to do, simply ask.
In closing, let us all remember the words of Our Lady of Good Success predicting these disastrous times. She warned of the loss of faith, hope and charity. She lamented the absence of the spirit of sacrifice, reparation and penance. She wept over the loss of morals, vocations and souls. Is it any wonder why Her Son wanted Her to be known now, in this critical hour, as 'Mary of Good Success of the Purification'? She it is who now offers the supreme sacrifice of Her Divine Infant Babe. She it is who brought forth the Light to enkindle the spirit of faith in this darkness. She it is who has been given power to encourage hope in languishing souls. She it is by whose undying love makes charity blossom in withering hearts. She it is by whose sacrifice all may follow the path of salvation. She it is by whose holocaust the world's sin was repaired. She it is who imparts the spirit of penance unto life everlasting. She it is who without compare embodies purity, virtue and holiness. She it is who alone has been chosen to, "in a marvelous way, dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trample him under Her feet and chain him in the infernal abyss." Mary, Our Lady of Good Success of the Purification shines forth as the only beacon by which mankind may know, love and serve the All-Holy God Who created them, bled for them, died for them, and now gives Her as a bright and glorious hope for them.