Newsletter Nº 93 – December 2012

Friends of FATIMA

From the Land of Holy Mary, we send our loving greetings of peace, joy and gratitude to all of our Friends of Fatima. We are deeply grateful for your faithful support both spiritual and material to- wards our Community. It is the Lord’s work in which you assist in so many ways. A Solemn Christmas Novena of Masses and prayers will be offered for all of your needs and intentions from December 16 - 24.

May God bless you and may
Our Lady guide and protect
you and all your dear ones at
Christmas and everyday of the
New Year 2013!

“I believe in
 one God…”

On October 11 we began the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict X V I . T h i s d a t e marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Why a Year of Faith?

The Pope explains: “The mission of the Church, like that of Christ, is essentially to speak of God, to remember his sov- ereignty, to remind all, especially Chris- tians who have lost their own identity, of the right of God to what belongs to him, that is, our life. Precisely in order to give a fresh impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead human beings out of the wilderness in which they of- ten find themselves to the place of life, friendship with Christ that gives us life in fullness” (Jn10:10).
And in his homily for the opening Mass of this special year the Holy Father said: “If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is because there is more need of it,more than there was fifty years ago!... Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertifica- tion”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women.
In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path.

…This, then, is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor two tunics as the Lord said to those he was sending out on mission (cf. Lk 9:3), but the Gospel and the faith of the Church…”
“…belief means casting the net where we have caught nothing the whole night long, if, at dawn the Lord bids us do so [Jn 21: 3-11]. It is to play our part, commit our whole life, on Christ’s word. It is to say “yes” to God, to accept His conditions, to entrust Him with the direction of our life, to hand Him the key of our soul “ I have taken Christ as my Master forever”. It is to embrace the views of God, to judge things as He judges them, from a divine and Christian standpoint…
…Prayer, the exercise of faith, is, obviously, where we steep ourselves most thoroughly in God’s view; it is in prayer that we can best adjust our view to that of our Father in Heaven, by imitating the model, fraternal to us and filial to God, given by the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.” (The Mystery of the Church by Fr. Yves Congar, OP.)
“Do not have Jesus on your lips and the world in your heart.” said St. Ignatius of Antioch. To be true followers of Christ: “The first instruction concerns the spirit of detachment: the Apostles must not be attached to money and comforts. Jesus warns the disciples that they will not always receive a favourable welcome: at times they will be rejected, and may also be persecuted. But that should not affect them: they must speak in the name of Jesus and preach the Kingdom of God, without worrying about success. They must leave the outcome in the hands of God…But, whether accepted or rejected, continue preaching what God says and not what people want to hear. This remains the mandate of the Church: she does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power...Finally, the apostolic mission must always include two aspects: preaching the word of God and manifesting His goodness with acts of charity, service and dedication.” (Pope Benedict XVI, July 15, 2012)

Baptism: Sacrament of Faith

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we read: “Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!” For all the baptized, children or adults, faithmust grow after Baptism…Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life..Baptism is the source

Baptismal Promises

To be renewed daily
or as often as possible

- Do you reject Satan? I do.
- And all his works? I do.
- And all of his empty promises? I do.
- Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and earth? I do.
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
- Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting? I do.

of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.” (CCC)
Recently, Cardinal Georges Cottier, OP who at 90 years of age has witnessed many events in the Church, was asked what was the most important event of his life. The Cardinal replied: “I think that, before God, the most important event is my Baptism…” In this special year prayerfully and frequently renew your Baptismal Promises and give thanks to God for Baptism - the greatest event in our life!

Our first response to this Year of Faith ought to be a renewed commitment to daily prayer: personal and family or communal prayer. Here in Fatima Our Lady repeated six times Her plea for the daily Rosary. And the Holy Father has said: “I would like to suggest to everyone to renew the prayer of the Rosary in the Year of Faith. With the Rosary, we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, model of faith, in meditating on the mysteries of Christ, and day after day we are helped to assimilate the Gospel, so that it shapes all our lives. Therefore, in the wake of my predecessors, especially the Blessed John Paul II, who ten years ago gave us the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I invite you to pray the Rosary personally, in the family and in the community, learning at the school of Mary, which leads us to Christ, the living centre of our faith.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus 7 Oct. 2012) 

Jesus said: “If you knew the gift of God!” (Jn 4:10) The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” In the “deserts” of the world today…God is there thirsting for every man, woman and child…thirsting for their love. But He says through  he Prophet Jeremiah: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!” (Jer 2:13) Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2559-2561) 

The Holy Rosary is a spiritual ‘well’ from which we can draw streams of living water -grace to be true witnesses of Christ in the ‘deserts of the world’ today where so many are thirsting for God, Who is Love. Our Merciful Lord knows every one of our needs at every moment and will provide what is best no matter the danger, deprivation or difficulty.

My Treasures are my hands and my pure heart
A Reflection from the Cloister

Each of us is called to work with our Merciful Lord. In His Mercy, God enriched man with many gifts – unique gifts to be used for the daily mission to which He has called us. How will I know that I have   gift? When you ask yourself this question pondering in your heart all your weaknesses, daily difficulties and faults you may well give yourself a simple answer: I cannot see your gift, my Lord. But then you look very attentively through the eyes of faith you may discover that you are a gift from the merciful Father to enrich somebody’s life, bringing your little treasures with you: your hands to give a glass of water to your sick neighbour, your smile to put a smile on the face of a mother in grief, your pure heart to bring Jesus’ love to others. O Lord! You called my name today to use your gifts so I myself could become a gift to someone in need.

Faith and the Value of Suffering

We imagine instinctively that our faith would be greatly helped in its growth by the familiar sight of Christ which the apostles knew so well. But the laws governing the growth of supernatural faith are quite different. “It is good for you that I go away”, Jesus told His disciples. When Jesus ‘goes away’ our faith deepens. Tested it becomes stronger. The trials of life and the seeming contradictions form us and educate us in faith.
Our Lady herself experienced this growth in faith. We read in the Gospels these words of Jesus addressed either to or about His Mother: “Why do you search for me?” (Lk 2:49): “Woman, what have you to do with me?” (Jn 2: 4); “Who are my mother and my brothers?” (Mk 3:33)
With these questions, these deep interrogative moments in the life of Mary, which She ‘pondered in Her Heart’, Jesus forms or educates the faith of His Mother “by calling on her to surpass herself, to leave the plane of a simple human love in order to rise to that of a love inspired by God, so that She may become capable of embracing a multitude of children.” (Growth in the Holy Spirit Msgr. Gerard Huyghe, Bishop of Arras)
In the first letter of St Peter…we read… “by his wounds you are healed…” that is by His sufferings, Passion and death on the Cross in total and loving submission to the will of the Father. In a mysterious way we can say that by our ‘wounds’, immersed in the Precious Blood of Christ our Savior and enfolded in the light of His Resurrection glory, we also can find healing. On the human level alone - without God that is , we tend to reject suffering, to try to push it away or even deny it. Yet, in faith with God we accept and, though we may struggle, we endure them as Christ did. As our union with Christ deepens, we not only endure suffering but we begin to find the deeper meaning of it in our lives. We look to the Cross and we see the One who went before us on the path of suffering…we see there the Love which bound Christ to the Cross of suffering…Love for us and for every other person.

Through suffering Jesus teaches us and forms us in faith so that our love begins to leave the simple human plane and rise to a level inspired by God. As He formed Mary in faith, God forms us also, rendering us more capable of embracing our neighbors near and far as we offer our personal “passions” in reparation for the sins by which “He is already so much offended” (Fatima, 13 Oct. 1917).
In His unbounded and unconditional love God accepts our offering made with faith and love and returns a hundredfold of grace, love and mercy to us and to a multitude of souls in need.

Fatima: A call to Faith

Pope John Paul II stated in Fatima on 13 May 1982 that: “If the Church has accepted the Message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk1:15). These are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity.”
Sr. Lucia begins her book “Calls” From the Message of Fatima in this way:: “I address this to all those who have faith and also to all who have not the happiness of possessing this gift of God, because we are all pilgrims on our way to eternity, whether we know it or not…” Then, she recalls the very first words of the prayer the Angel taught the children: “My God I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.” and she says: “The first call which God addresses to us through his Messenger is thus a call to Faith… Faith is the basis of the entire spiritual life. It is by faith that we believe in the existence of God, in his power, his wisdom, his mercy, his work of redemption, his pardon and his fatherly love. It is by faith that we believe in God’s Church, founded by Jesus Christ, and in the doctrine the Church transmits to us and by which we shall be saved. It is the light of faith that guides our steps, leading us by the narrow way that leads to Heaven. It is by faith that we see Christ in others, loving, serving and helping them when they are in need of our assistance. And it is also our faith that assures us that God is present within us and that his eyes are always upon us….”

“The new-evangelization is directed principally at those who, though baptized, have drifted away from the Church and live without reference to the Christian life.” Over the past 50 years many of our Catholic brothers and sisters across the world have abandoned their faith and trust in the Church and left an empty place in the pew. The reasons for this vast emptying of some of our churches are many and complex. Yet, the reality is that almost every Catholic family has experienced one or other of its members drifting away because they have ‘lost the faith’, rejected Church teaching or been disheartened by the scandalous behavior of some members, "there are bad fish in Peter’s net”, the Holy Father said recently (Oct. 12, 2012). Every Catholic, by his or her Baptism is called to announce Christ to contemporary man with joy and confidence, first, by the example of their lives and then by their words. The Pope reminds us that the work of the new evangelization is one of “personal witness and not of elaborate programs.” To win souls back to Christ they must be able to meet the poor, chaste and obedient Christ in all who profess to believe in Him. This authentic witness of love for Christ becomes an ‘invitation’ for our brothers and sisters to come home!

Already in 1917 Our Lady was preparing us for the new-evangelization. The Message of Fatima contains a profound catechesis of the faith and countless persons have renewed or returned to the practice of their faith through their encounter with Fatima.

 

Fatima Centenary

In this 3rd year of preparation for the centenary of the Apparitions, the Sanctuary of Fatima asks us to reflect on these words of the Blessed Virgin: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” Our Lady speaks of Her Heart as a refuge and way. A refuge is a place of shelter that we can enter in times of distress or need. It is a place of welcome and safety when danger threatens. The Heart of Mary is all of God and so She can also say that by this way – Her Immaculate Heart – we will find HIM!

Mary asks for nothing less than our whole heart placed within Her Immaculate Heart to purify it, sanctify it and consecrate it to Jesus and thereby conform our will to His and to the Father’s. In this way we can offer the most pleasing act of reparation for sins. This mystical union of hearts is reparation. She asks this of all of us regardless of vocation lay single or married, religious or priests. She will guide and protect each one so that their vocation will be made fruitful; their precious gift of life will be realized to the full. In and through Mary, the words of Jesus will be fulfilled for each one: “I came that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (Jn 10:10) When we say: “Yes! Oh Mother, take my heart, my intellect and my will and form them to Jesus” then we will begin to experience a deeper union, a personal relationship with Christ in faith and our whole life will breathe forth his Love, His Mercy and His gentle healing power to those near to us and even those unknown or far away. This is the path Our Lady of Fatima asks us to follow because “God wants it” (July 13, 1917). This is true devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This Year of Faith calls us to go to Mary the first and most faithful disciple of Christ. Pope Paul VI wrote in 1969: “To whom shall we turn? We turn to Mary in order to reach Jesus.”

Dominican 8th Centenary

In this 5th year of the novena 2013 - in preparation for the 8th centenary of the founding of the Dominican Order we contemplate Mary’s response to the Angel: Do unto me according to your Word (Lk 1:38). Thus this Year of Faith is also a Marian Year for the Dominican Order. In reflecting on Mary: Contemplation and Preaching of the Word, the Dominican motto Contemplata aliis tradere (to share the fruits of contemplation), expresses this theme quite well. “Since of its very nature God’s love fills us with joy (ST I-II, 23, 3, ad 2), the Spirit’s joy with us eventually must overflow to our lips. Our inner joy in the Holy Spirit cannot help erupting into exultant preaching about God’s greatness (In Ps 34:18). The Spirit’s love so permeates our hearts that this same Spirit’s joy spills out upon our lips. The Spirit who fills the earth, and our hearts, thus makes us both ardent and eloquent (In Ps 38:1).” (from an article by Sr. Mary Ann Fatula,OP Contemplata Aliis Tradere: Spirituality and Thomas Aquinas, The Preacher, in Spirituality Today, Spring 1991) These words seem to perfectly express the Song of Praise that Mary sang upon meeting her cousin Elizabeth. In the Magnificat, Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit and overflowing with His joy poured forth for ages to come, the fruit of her contemplation.

Fr. Paul Philippe, OP once wrote: “St. Dominic did not write any books. The task of elaborating a theology was left to St. Thomas. But Dominic gave us the Blessed Virgin. He himself did not experience the fullness of contemplation; no saint except the Blessed Virgin ever did. But St. Dominic gave and entrusted us to Her, and it is the superabundance of Her contemplation that will give the Dominican the audacity to preach. If his word arises out of contemplation, it is only normal that it should lead people into contemplation, producing not only believers but contemplatives.”
“O most Blessed and sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God... I entrust to your merciful heart... my entire life.... Obtain for me as well, O most sweet Lady, true charity with which from the depths of my heart I may love your most Holy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and, after him, love you above all other things... and my neighbour, in God and for God”. (Prayer attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas)

A Christmas Sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great
O Christian, be aware of your nobility

“This is the day our Saviour was born: what a joy for us, my beloved! This is no season for sadness, this, the birthday of Life - the Life which
annihilates the fear of death, and engenders joy, promising, as it does, immortality.

Nobody is an outsider to this happiness. The same cause for joy is common to all, for as our Lord found nobody free from guilt when he came to bring an end to death and to sin, so he came with redemption for all. Let the saint rejoice, for he hastens to his crown; let the sinner be filled with joy, for pardon is offered him; let the Gentile be emboldened, for he is called to life. 

When the designated time had come, which God, In His deep and impenetrable plan had fixed upon, God’s Son took the nature of man upon himself in order to reconcile man to his Creator. Thus would the devil, the father of death, be himself overcome by that self-same human nature which he had overcome. The angels therefore exult at the birth of the Lord: they sing ‘Glory to God in high heaven’; they announce ‘Peace on earth for men on whom His favour rests´. For they behold the heavenly Jerusalem being constructed from out of all the peoples on earth. How greatly ought mere men rejoice at this mysterious undertaking of divine love, when the angels on high thrill so much at it! 

My beloved, let us offer thanksgiving to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, In the great mercy with which he loved us, he had pity on us, and in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too, when we were dead through sin, so that in him we might be a new creation, a new work of his hands. Let us then be quit of the old self and the habits that went with it. Sharers now in the birth of Christ, let us break with the deeds of the flesh.

O Christian, be aware of your nobility - it is God’s own nature that you share: do not then, by an ignoble life, fall back into your former baseness. Think of the Head, think of the Body of which you are a member. Recall that you have been rescued from the power of darkness, and have been transferred to the light of God, the kingdom of God. Through the sacrament of Baptism you have been made a temple of the Holy Spirit; do not, by evil deeds, drive so great an indweller away from you, submitting yourself once more to the slavery of the devil. For you were bought at the price of Christ’s blood.”

"It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and making declaration with your lips that you are saved. May the Year of Faith lead all believers to learn by heart the Creed and to say it everyday as a prayer.”

Profession of Faith
The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.



“…a powerful weapon…
capable of winning all battles…”

Five Portuguese and one Ukrainian fishermen visited the Shrine of Fatima in order to fulfill a promise they had made to thank Our Lady for saving their lives. Their boat had left the fishing port of Caxinas, north of Porto, and sometime later took in water and sank on November 30, 2011. Sixty hours later, on December 2, the six fishermen were found inside a lifeboat about 150 kilometers south of Porto, and rescued by a Portuguese Air Force helicopter, which was on routine patrol.

The fishermen were in Fatima during the morning of January 7, 2012. They were accompanied by family members and friends, civil authorities of their region, their pastor and the two young Air Force pilots that rescued them. The large group of more than 500 people took part in the recitation of the Rosary and in the Mass at the Little Chapel of Apparitions.
At the end of the Rosary, the skipper of the boat “Virgem do Sameiro” (Virgin of Sameiro), Mr. Jose Coentrão, climbed the steps to the altar and handed over to the presiding priest, Fr. Manuel Santos José, the simple plastic rosary used by the fishermen to recite the Rosary during the approximately 60 hours they spent lost at sea. The rosary was inside a wooden box and was accompanied by a flower arrangement.

The pastor of Caxinas, Msgr. Domingos de Araújo, recalled that the fishermen “prayed to Our Lady holding onto a rosary a crewman had hanging from his neck”. And he added: “We are here to show to the rescued fishermen our joy and to the Virgin Mother our thanks”.
During Mass, Fr. Manuel Santos José, who presided over the celebration, stressed the power of prayer, the sense of responsibility of the fishermen and their attachment to life.
During the homily, Fr. José spoke of the rosary donated to Our Lady: “ ... you took with you a powerful weapon, a weapon capable of winning all battles; you held on to it and in it found strength to stay united and to be able to live through those sorrowful hours in an admirable spirit of solidarity and fraternity: one for all and all for one”. And he went on: “You acted with a sense of responsibility. You did all you could do and hoped that God would do the rest. And so it happened. I repeat: to a Christian nothing happens by chance, but a Christian can’t either fail to do what he can. ( ... ) I praise God for your faith. Mankind was enriched by your gesture” ( ... ) “Let our country do what these brave fishermen did and it won’t sink either”. (Fatima Luz e Paz 13 Feb 2012, p. 3)

Fatima Cloister News

Meeting in Krakow

From September 5 - 10 our Prioress, Mother Mary Diane accompanied by Sister Angela Marie took part in the meeting of Dominican Nuns in Krakow (Poland). The group of 19 monasteries that comprise our region extends from Portugal to Lithuania.
Enriched by the guidance of our Dominican brethren, Fr. Bruno, Master of the Order, Fr. Victor and Fr. Brian, the theme of the meeting was: “ Obedience and Freedom.” Along with the study of this theme there were also meetings to share issues of concern among the Nuns. The experience of meeting our Sisters from so many different cultures was truly inspiring and filled with joy. One of the highlights of the meeting was a visit to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow.

Postulants

In August we had the great joy of welcoming two new postulants to our Community. Sr. Marzena, originally from Poland was living in England where she came to know the Dominicans in Leicester. Sr. Lucia, a native of England has been a member of our Perpetual Rosary for some years and gradually discerned a deeper call to religious life.
We thank all of our Friends of Fatima for their persevering prayers for new vocations and beg you to please continue!

Opening of Year of Faith

On October 11 we were very happy to open the Year of Faith with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated in our Rosary Chapel by Fr. Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, OP, General Promoter of the Rosary for the Dominican Order. Father shared with us his experiences visiting Dominicans in various countries in his work as Promoter of the Rosary. We were especially grateful to hear that wherever he goes he tries to visit the monasteries of our Nuns. The Rosary website for the Dominican Order www.rosarium.op.org receives thousands of visitors each year.

 

CHRISTMAS 2012 | Printed in: TIPOGRAFIA DE FÁTIMA, LDA.

Dir. & Prop.: M. PRIORESS
MONASTERY PIUS XII
Rua do Rosário, 1 - 2495-444 Fátima - Portugal
www.fatima-dominicans.com

 

 

 


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