“Each of us must come to the evening of life. Each of us must enter on eternity. Each of us must come to that quiet, awful time, when we will appear before the Lord of the vineyard and answer for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad. That, my dear brethren, you will have to undergo. … It will be the dread moment of expectation when your fate for eternity is in the balance and when you are about to be sent forth as the companion of either saints or devils, without possibility of change. There can be no change; there can be no reversal. As that judgment decides it, so it will be for ever and ever. Such is the particular judgment. … when we find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in His presence and have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words and deeds of this past life. Who will be able to bear the sight of himself? And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophecy smooth things to us and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But on that day, not one fault only but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him! …………………….We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”– (Blessed Card. John Henry Newman)
Lenten Preparation Novena
Lord, during this Lenten Season,
nourish me with Your Word of life
and make me one
with You in love and prayer.
Fill my heart with Your love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness.
Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
Father, our source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle mercy,
for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.
Father of love, source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace.
Help me to repent of my sins now and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
(Mention your special intention)
Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom.
I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
HOW TO AVOID PURGATORY By Fr. Paul O’Sullivan O.P.
For those who have not read this little book and to refresh myself, I will be posting the entire book in daily doses. (To read later find in the Purgatory Category).
THE FIRST MEANS: REMOVING THE CAUSE
The First Means of avoiding Purgatory is manifestly to remove the cause
which sends us there, which is sin.
It may not be easy to refrain from all sin, even the smaller sins but
every ordinary Christian can, by the frequent use of the Sacraments, easily
abstain from mortal sin.
Secondly, we can all avoid deliberate and grave venial sin. It is an awful
thing to offend the good God deliberately. Deliberation intensifies
enormously the malice of sin and offends God much more than faults of
weakness, or sins committed when we are off our guard.
Lastly, we must use our best endeavours to break off bad habits. Habits,
like deliberation, add seriously to the malice of sin
A deliberate falsehood is very much worse than a hasty lie of excuse and a
lie resulting from the inveterate habit of lying is very much worse than a
A lady once told us how she had, when younger, the habit of constantly
speaking ill of her neighbours.
Having heard a sermon on the subject, she made a strong resolution never to
do so again and kept it.
That simple, strong resolution changed the whole trend of her life and
saved her from thousands of sins, and most surely from a long and painful
Who cannot make a like resolution and keep it?
If a Christian avoids, as he easily can, these three classes of sin, viz.,
mortal sins, deliberate and grave venial sins and habits of sin, it will
be relatively easy for him to atone for faults of frailty, as we shall
We would be well advised to pronounce with special emphasis and fervour,
every time we say the Our Father, the words:
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
These are the very words of God Himself and repeated frequently and
fervently will certainly obtain for us pardon of our sins.
You might think that if the Blessed Mother of God appears to you and speaks to you, you are a saint. But that is not necessarily true. What is true is that Mary chose to come to children who the year before had been visited by the Angel of Peace, children who had listened to the angel’s message and prayed the prayer the angel taught them. They responded to Mary in the same way and prayed the Rosary and offered sacrifices for sinners and for the conversion of the world. They were children who wanted to please God and that is why the Church has declared them Blessed.
Francisco and Jacinta died within a short time, as the Lady had said they would. They were beatified on May 13, 2000. At that time Lucia los Santos was a Carmelite nun in Portugal. Sister Lucia died February 13, 2005 at age 97. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year and is the source of many conversions and miracles.
“Father, … to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children” ………….Mt 11: 25
REFLECTION – “Francisco bore without complaining the great sufferings caused by the illness from which he died. It all seemed to him so little to console Jesus: he died with a smile on his lips. Little Francisco had a great desire to atone for the offences of sinners by striving to be good and by offering his sacrifices and prayers.
The life of Jacinta, his younger sister by almost two years, was motivated by these same sentiments……………….In her motherly concern, the Blessed Virgin came here to Fátima to ask men and women “to stop offending God, Our Lord, who is already very offended”. It is a mother’s sorrow that compels her to speak; the destiny of her children is at stake. For this reason she asks the little shepherds: “Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them”. …St Pope John Paul on the Beatification of the siblings, 13 May 2000
PRAYER – “Father, to You I offer praise, for what You have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children”.
Father, to you I offer praise for all Your children, from the Virgin Mary, Your humble Servant, to the little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta.
May the message of their lives live on for ever to light humanity’s way! Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, pray for us! Amen. (Prayer by St Pope John Paul)
O Most Holy Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I adore Thee profoundly.
I offer Thee
the most precious Body, Blood, Soul
and Divinity of Jesus Christ
present in all the tabernacles of the world,
in reparation for the outrages,
sacrileges and indifferences
by which He is offended.
By the infinite merits of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
Saint/s of the Day – 20 February – Blessed Francisco (11 June 1908 – 4 April 1919 died aged 10), his sister Jacinta Marto (11 March 1910 – 20 February 1920 died aged 9) and their cousin Lúcia Santos (1907–2005) were children from Aljustrel near Fátima, Portugal, who said they witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Mary was given the title Our Lady of Fátima as a result and Fátima became a major centre of world Christian pilgrimage. Patrons of Bodily ills, captives, people ridiculed for their piety, prisoners, sick people, against sickness.
The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto, Francisco and Jacinta were typical of Portuguese village children of that time. They were illiterate but had a rich oral tradition. According to Lúcia’s memoirs, Francisco had a placid disposition, was somewhat musically inclined, and liked to be by himself to think. Jacinta was affectionate if a bit spoiled. She had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing. Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same. Francisco preferred to pray alone, saying that this would “console Jesus for the sins of the world”. Jacinta said she was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell shown to the children at the third apparition and deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had told the children to do. All three children but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practised stringent self-mortifications to this end.
The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, are said to have witnessed several apparitions of an angel in 1916. Lucia later recorded the words of several prayers she said they learned from this angel. Lucia wrote in her memoirs that she and her cousins saw the first apparition of Mary on May 13, 1917. At the time of the apparition, Francisco was 9 years old and Jacinta was 7. During the first apparition, Mary is said to have asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. She also asked them to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months.
Illness and death
The siblings were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe that year. In October 1918, Mary appeared and said she would take them to heaven soon. Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as they said the angel had instructed them to do. Francisco declined hospital treatment on April 3, 1919 and died at home the next day. Jacinta was moved from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be fully anesthetized only local and later suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 19, 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and administer Extreme Unction because she was going to die “the next night”. He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day. The next day Jacinta was dead; she had died, as she had often said she would, alone. In 1920, shortly before her death at age nine, Jacinta Marto reportedly discussed the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with a then 12-year-old Lúcia Santos and said:
“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 her 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 entrusted it to her.”
Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica.
The cause for the siblings’ canonisation began in 1946. Exhumed in 1935 and again in 1951, Jacinta’s face was found incorrupt; Francisco’s had decomposed.
In 1937 Pope Pius XI decided that causes for minors should not be accepted as they could not fully understand heroic virtue or practice it repeatedly, both of which are essential for canonisation. For the next four decades, no sainthood processes for children were pursued. In 1979 the bishop of Leiria-Fatima asked all the world’s bishops to write to the Pope, petitioning him to make an exception for Francisco, who had died at age 10 and Jacinta, who had died at age 9. More than 300 bishops sent letters to the Pope, writing that “the children were known, admired and attracted people to the way of sanctity. Favours were received through their intercession.” The bishops also said that the children’s canonization was a pastoral necessity for the children and teenagers of the day. In 1979 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints convened a general assembly. Cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts debated whether it was possible for children to display heroic virtue. Eventually, they decided that, like the very few children who have a genius for music or mathematics, “in some supernatural way, some children could be spiritual prodigies.” They were declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1989. On May 13, 2000, they were declared “blessed” in a decree from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Jacinta is the youngest non-martyred child ever to be beatified.
In her biography of Jacinta, Lúcia said that Jacinta had told her of having had many personal visions outside of the Marian visitations; one involved a pope who prayed alone in a room while people outside shouted ugly things and threw rocks through the window. At another time, Jacinta said she saw a pope who had gathered a huge number of people together to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
When Pope John Paul II arrived in Fatima for the first time, in 1982, he said that he had come “because, on this exact date last year in St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, there was an attempt on the life of your Pope, which mysteriously coincided with the anniversary of the first vision at Fatima, that of 13 May 1917. The coincidence of these dates was so great that it seemed to be a special invitation for me to come here.”
Sister Lúcia, when questioned about the Third Secret, said that the three of them had been very sad about the suffering of a Pope and that Jacinta kept saying: Coitadinho do Santo Padre, tenho muita pena dos pecadores! (“Poor Holy Father, I feel a lot of pity for the sinners!”) Another miracle was found to have been attributed to their intercession and the process that investigated the miracle was validated on 8 February 2013. Reports indicate the canonisation could occur on the centenary of the apparitions in 2017, together with Lúcia.
St Amata of Assisi
St Bolcan of Derken
St Eleutherius of Tournai
St Eucherius of Orleans
St Falco of Maastricht
Bl Francisco Marto
Bl Jacinta Marto
St Leo of Catania
St Nemesius of Cyprus
St Pothamius of Cyprus
St Serapion of Alexandria
St Silvanus of Emesa
St Stanislawa Rodzinska
St Valerius of Courserans
St Wulfric of Haselbury
St Zenobius of Antioch
Martyrs of Tyre