By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.
The launching of Sputnik I in October, 1957, introduced a new and unnerving word in our press releases. That word was “Survival”. Americans suddenly realized that the “Cold War” had now become a Race for Survival!
This scientific achievement did more than shock our complacency; it sparked a renewed study of the Peace Plan given at Fatima in 1917. The urgent requests of Our Lady of Fatima were now seen as the Blue-Print for Survival.
Fatima made it clear that it is sin, far more than Communism, that is sabotaging peace. Equally stressed was a warning that wars and temporal disasters are often God’s punishment upon a sinning world. Each individual, therefore, is playing a part in
bringing about war or peace.
Is it really surprising then that Our Lady’s first request was for Penance? Penance means a “change of heart” – a turning away from sin and a returning to God. At Fatima God wished to reawaken a healthy sense of the horror of sin. “Men must amend their lives
and ask pardon for their sins. They must cease offending God who is already so deeply offended, ” Our Lady pleaded.
In the terrifying vision of hell the children of Fatima were shown the eternity of souls who died in mortal sin. They never forgot the frightening spectacle. On her deathbed Jacinta said: “If men only knew what eternity is like, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives…Men must do penance. If they amend their lives, Our Lord will still pardon the world; but, if not, the chastisement will come.”
Years later, Our Blessed Lord appeared to Sister Lucy in her cell in a Spanish convent. She asked Him exactly what kind of penance He required. He demanded the sacrifices involved in keeping the Commandments – in being faithful to the duties of one’s state of life – and in avoiding the occasions of sin. This was called the “Penance of Daily Duty.”
What does all this mean? It means that every one of us bears a partial blame for the world situation today. Anyone can blast the Communist betrayals of human freedom, but do we blame ourselves for betrayals of God’s love by sin? We all want to eradicate the disease of Communism, but are we equally zealous in uprooting sin from our hearts?
Each of us, therefore, is playing an important part in the struggle against godless Communism. Every time you bring God into your daily life another battle is won. Your prayers may win the conversion of a Communist leader and thus change the destiny of a
nation. An unknown person can be doing much more for victory than the most skilled diplomat at the United Nations.
Be sure of this – when enough of us fervently fulfill the requests of Our Lady of Fatima – “Russia will be converted and there shall be peace.” Make sure that you do your part!
With special thanks to www.cukierski.net