2016: Reparation is the key.
“Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Canticles, 6, 9)
R. Thanks be to God.
V. Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thine enemies.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
The prayer above is from the hour of Prime in the traditional Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Those who say it often are familiar with the frequent references to battle and enemies that run through the Little Office. This is because the Little Office, as a liturgical prayer of the Church, reflects the intense battle being waged against the Bride of Christ by the powers of darkness and deceit. The prayers of the Little Office are a daily reminder of the “enmity between (satan’s) seed and her seed”.
For centuries, this simple Office has been the earnest prayer of those who are called to embrace Mary, the Immaculate Mother of our Savior as their own Mother. We are not called to merely enjoy the comforts of her love in pious prayer, but to serve our Queen actively in this intense and ongoing battle.
We maintain our spiritual mettle by frequent acts of sacrifice and penance. Indeed, a penitential heart is as essential as prayer for our salvation and for our success in converting sinners. The Immaculata heads an army “in vast array” as the Little Office reminds us, and she leads us to triumph as her Son did, through the Cross, through reparation made in humility and obedience to the Eternal Father.
As prophesied, apostasy has spread even to the summit of the Church. Lest this be disputed, on October 13, 1977, the 60th anniversary of Our Lady’s last appearance at Fatima, Pope Paul VI (who surely knew!) said:
“The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church.” (Robert Siscoe)
To combat this, Our Lady of the Rosary has given us a plan and a promise.
“I shall never abandon you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.” June 13, 1917.
At Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary gave us an armory for this battle. It consists of her Rosary, the Holy Eucharist, her brown scapular and reparation by the Five First Saturdays of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The devotion of the Five First Saturdays contains within itself all the beauties of Catholic devotion, uniting the Eucharistic Sacrifice with our sacrifices and with both the Rosary and meditative prayer. It has the potential to strengthen us powerfully in our Faith, so that we can truly be the warriors Our Blessed Mother intends us to be in the anti-Catholic storm that is now breaking upon us.
In her Five First Saturdays, Our Lady of Fatima asks that we:
- Receive Holy Communion
- Pray 5 decades of her Rosary
- Spend 15 minutes with her in meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary.
- All this must be done with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart.
Reparation is the key to it all.
When Jesus first began to preach, His message was, “Do penance, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. (Matthew 4, 17) Throughout history the Church has strengthened herself with programs of penance and prayer during challenging times. But today’s emasculated modernists offer lukewarm non-denominational cliches as prayer and neglect penance and reparation entirely. When was the last time you heard a priest give a sermon on making reparation for sin? It’s high time we pick up this fallen pennant of reparation and hold it high once more — let’s spread the devotion of First Saturdays of Reparation with renewed vigor!
How ingenious the simple program of the First Saturdays is! By obligating ourselves to offer Our Blessed Mother these Five First Saturdays, we soon notice that it is a real sacrifice. For most of us, Saturdays are the busiest days of the week and the first Saturday of the month is even busier yet. Add to this the commitment for an entire sequence of them, without missing one! So the element of sacrifice, of penance is nicely supported.
This penitential attitude is the most overlooked element of Catholic spirituality today. Devout Catholics have been praying their rosaries in increasing numbers as they watch with dismay the dismantling of the bastions of our Faith and our culture. But perhaps we have grown a bit lax in the penance department. In these last few years of my life, it is clear that I have failed to offer God enough penance for my loved ones who have suffered the loss of their Faith. Prayers, yes, many; but penances, not so much, sadly. At Fatima, Our Lady did not just ask for prayer, she asked for prayer and reparation.
2016 bids well to be a challenging year — we can’t afford to get bogged down in bitterness over the Bergoglio/Kasper/Danneels faction. There is no point in endlessly scrolling through blog posts of outrage porn detailing the latest assaults of the Mercy Brigade®; it’s disheartening and an utter waste of time. Although time is short, we can make the best use of it by making of everything a sweet and loving sacrifice to our thorn-crowned King and our Blessed Mother.
“Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon (your Church). I am its Angel Guardian … Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.”
Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Queen and our Mother, pray for us and for our priests.
St. Joseph, chaste guardian of Jesus and Mary, protect our family, protect the faith.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Holy Innocents pray for us and for our murdered innocents.
~ by evensong, for love of the Immaculata.