Sermon at Fatima: Mary's message

Rev. Franz Schmidberger

Preached on 19 August 2017 during the Solemn High Mass

Excellences, Confrères, Pilgrims,

With all our heart we thank you for being so numerous in response to the call of the authorities of the Society of St. Pius X. You have come from the four corners of the world to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima.

Mary pointing to Christ

How much must we thank her for her condescension, for her bounty and for her mercy; for having visited us upon this earth as a messenger from on high, for having indicated to us the supernatural means of salvation that her Son bequeathed to us in His gospel. She has given us her Immaculate Heart as a refuge and a pathway which leads us to God.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on a holm oak tree on 13 May 1917. This tree reminds us of a Christmas tree and hence the Redemptive Incarnation. God Himself took to Himself a human nature to reconcile earth with heaven, the creature with his Creator, man with his God to open to us again the door to eternal life that had been closed since the fall of our first parents. This tree signifies even more the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Golgotha about which the Church sings, Regnavit a ligno Deus—“God reigns by the wood of the Cross.”

We are, dear pilgrims of Fatima, the apostles of the reign of Our Lord over all society and in consequence, we are apostles of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated in a venerable and ancient rite which is so fruitful.

It is not by chance that Archbishop Lefebvre wrote in his Spiritual Journey:

in the designs of the infinite wisdom of God in the realisation of the redemption of the re-creation, of the renovation of humanity, the Cross of Jesus is the perfect, total, definitive and eternal solution by which all will be resolved.

One can well say that all the benefits of humanity come from Jesus Christ—Jesus Christ crucified! It is a resurrection of fallen humanity by virtue of the Blood of Jesus Christ. This is the first part of the message of Fatima.

Mary pointing to heaven

The first words of the Blessed Virgin Mary are these: “I come from heaven.” With these words she draws our attention to the fact that the eternal goal of every man is heaven. The seven-and-a-half billion men who live upon the earth, all that were and all that will come, without any exception, are all created by God for the Beatific Vision. The future of each man is in his own hands. He can, he must, arrive by an imitation of Jesus Christ to his eternal salvation. But he could fail even as a Christian, even as a religious, a priest or bishop. Each one of us dear pilgrims, will arrive in Heaven or Hell. He who saves his soul, saves it by the grace of God. He who damns himself, damns himself by his own evil and his own fault. We ask, therefore, during this pilgrimage the grace to be saved. We ask for the grace of final perseverance.

The message of Our Lady, therefore, is simple. It is like an echo of call of St. John Baptist to penance on the banks of the River Jordan. It is like the call of Christ Himself: conversion, penance, prayer and sacrifice. Without the help of God, there is no salvation. In consequence, we must pray. Without the immolation of the old man in us, there is no charity.

Message for individuals and nations

This message is for three audiences, according to the apparition of 13 July 1917. First of all, to the individual with a clear warning of possible eternal damnation.

The second audience is all peoples of the world. In this context, Russia plays a particular role with its propagation of atheistic materialism. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 the danger did not disappear. On the contrary, the cultural revolution of our days has reached every continent, every domain of life and, in particular, Christian institutions. Pope Benedict XVI said himself here at Fatima, “He is mistaken who thinks that the message of Fatima is not for today.” This is why a great intention of this pilgrimage is the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the pope in union with all the bishops of the world, as the Blessed Virgin Mary has asked.

Message for the Church

The third audience of the Fatima message is without doubt, the Church herself. The Third Secret as published by Rome, mentions a destroyed city with many dead. It is the City of God, the Church, and the dead bodies are the souls that are dead in the supernatural order. The assassination of the pope, the bishops and the priests indicates, without a doubt, the loss of the faith of a large number in the Church.

The Immaculate Heart is the last hope

The Blessed Virgin Mary, instructed by God, offers us a last means of salvation: devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Why to her heart? Because God is charity. Why to her Immaculate Heart? Because we live in a world that has fallen into a neo-paganism, into a moral decadence that the world has never seen before.

Dear pilgrims, we accept in imitation of the three seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, all the pains of this pilgrimage—the heat, the lack of sleep tonight [during the all night adoration] to save many souls—to obtain that the Church emerges from its present state of crisis and sees a new springtime. And we ask, as representatives of our respective nations, salvation and peace upon them all. Amen.

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