Ninety Nine years ago today, in 1917, Our Lady of Fatima first appeared to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria. “Fear not! I will not harm you,” she said. She asked them to return to that spot on the thirteenth day of each month, for five consecutive months. Her messages to Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia were calls to prayer and penance, in reparation for sins and offenses against God. She asked them to pray and sacrifice for souls, many of whom were falling into hell.
But in 1916, the children had been visited three times by an angel, who was preparing them for the apparitions of the Mother of God. The angel came to them in spring, summer and autumn, and taught them two prayers. His very first words to the children were, “Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me!”
He also urged them, “Pray! Pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices continually to the Most High.” When the children asked,”How must we sacrifice ourselves?” he answered, “Make everything you do a sacrifice, and offer it as an act of reparation for the sins by which God is offended, and as a petition for the conversion of sinners. By this you will bring peace to your country. I’m its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission all the suffering the Lord will send you.”
The two prayers which the angel taught the children have been part of our own community’s morning prayers for many, many years. When we gather for Office of Readings and Morning Prayer at 6am each day, we begin with the Angelus (or Regina Caeli, if it’s the Easter Season) and then pray the two Fatima prayers, as well as the Guardian Angel prayer.
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He, Himself is offended. And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that You might convert poor sinners.
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard to rule and to guide. Amen.