Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta, Fatima at the Heart of the Church. God’s vision of history and oblative spirituality, CreateSpace Publishing 2018, pp. 232.
“We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.” With these words, spoken by Pope Benedict XVI at Fatima on 13th May 2010, this great Marian prophecy came back to the centre of the Church. The third part of the Secret was to be read not only in reference to the martyrs of the twentieth century, but as a vision of the world and of the Church at Her very core. Can that “Portugal” – where the dogma of faith would be preserved – be also every nation and every person who, welcoming Our Lady’s requests to consecrate oneself to Her Immaculate Heart and practise the devotion of the Five First Saturdays, would escape material and spiritual ruin? The city set on the hill – in the vision presented to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta – was in fact half in ruin. The true Faith is beset on all sides and is fading. Truths revealed by God and defined by the Church are no longer seen as infallible and definitive. However, what stuns us all the more is that there is the widespread complacency in this regard. This new but very unfortunate Christian scenario would easily be categorized as a “sign of the times”, even if it is hard to know precisely what this means. Dismay and self-satisfaction war against each other in the one Mystical Body of Christ. All of this was foretold at Fatima more than a 100 years ago with great lucidity and with the offer of a remedy.
In this new book, two pillars of the Fatima Message are presented: a great vision of history in the light of God’s Divine Providence and the spirituality – often neglected – of self-giving as an oblation in Christ through Mary for the salvation of mankind.
Reflecting on the prodigious events which took place at Fatima in the distant year of 1917, from May to October, and prepared two years previously by the apparitions of the Angel, we notice a very interesting prior element that we do well to consider: God is the Lord of history, He guides it. Events unfold with His permission towards a salvific goal and are not immutably pre-determined events, prisoners of anonymous forces of evil. So, if God is the Lord of history, then love and freedom guide us, not fate and destiny. This also means that history is not already written to the detriment of the freedom of God and humanity; it can, instead, change, it can return to the source of truth if the human person changes inside drawing closer to God, if the human person leaves sin behind and converts.
Fatima tells us that history can change if we change, if we pray. If we listen to Our Lady and do what She asked, then the course of our history can change, changing our being. Fatima tells us there are two weapons for bringing about a true revolution of history and in history: prayer and penance. With these the revolution is long- lasting, it inserts itself into the lowliest labyrinths of social structures, it innervates in secret where everything moves, everything works, where the most destructive as well as the greatest and most beneficial ideas are planned, in the secret where no ideologist can enter but only God and the human person: conscience and freedom. If we pray our hearts change and we place our history, the history of humanity, into the lap of divine Providence. For its part, Providence enters into our world, enters us, and changes us. Prayer is an opening to God and God opens Himself to us, enters into us. Only if we speak with God can we speak with humankind and say things that are true.
The other great antidote to evil and to the damnation of history and humanity is penance. Through penance we make up for the evil done to God and to humanity, we purify ourselves and history from the snares and filth of evil. Interiorly renewed, we prepare ourselves to welcome the future as God’s time for us, as a favourable time for humankind. Yes, penance does ensure Justice reconciles the world with God, the world with good, purifying evil, crushing its strength. Evil is not wiped out with a clean slate. It remains in the furrows carved out in our lives and in our history. It is utopian to think that evil is self-redeeming, that sooner or later it disappears, without a serious commitment to eradicate it through penance. God-less ideologies think that evil is only an error of history, when an implacable force looms over us and crushes us. Fatima, instead, invites us to act, to do something to destroy evil and make human the face of humanity and of the world. It is necessary to fight sin, the root of all evil. It is necessary to redeem sin as offence against God and disdain for the things which God has created.
Foretelling the rise of evil, materialism and doctrinal confusion, the Fatima Message is, above all, a great hope that shines and gives us peace: the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that pure place where God abides. Our Lady revealed to Sister Lucia that “God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart”. Why this devotion and why in the (whole) world? The Immaculate Heart is the heart of faith, hope and charity. It sees God and loves Him with no imperfection, no egoism. If this Heart without any stain conquers all hearts, i.e., if all men and women consecrate themselves to this Immaculate Heart, then God abides again with us, He comes back into our world. And only then the world will live. We will live.
There is much more to discover in Fatima at the Heart of the Church, available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Also available in Kindle Edition.