Sunday, December 25, 2016

Simbang Gabi 2 (Fatima Centennial): War and Peace

Jesus, I trust in you!

We will always remember the 2nd Simbang Gabi as the day of the Genealogy of our Lord, that long list of our Lord’s ancestors from Abraham to St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. We are given a glimpse of Old Testament history which shows us that the Lord was born in time and also to a family. It is the story of God’s promise being carried out to fulfillment. This promise was necessitated our need for redemption from sin. This promise of a Savior transcended even situations that would have erased all possibilities of its fulfillment.

As we look at the genealogy, we find a gap which we now call the “Babylonian exile”. The Jews were carried off into slavery for 70 years from 607 BC to 537 BC. The Holy City itself was taken captive, the Temple destroyed and the citizens were exiled. This was brought about by the sins of the people: idolatry and rebellion against God. It was a time of despair. People thought that God has forgotten his promise of salvation. But the Lord has not forgotten. The exile ended and so history led to the birth of the Messiah. The Christmas proclamation would declare: “the whole world, being at peace…Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”

Our Lady’s apparition at Fatima occurred also at a very trying time. It was the World War I. The world has not seen anything like it. Our Lady came with a promise of the end of the war. Soldiers will return home. She said: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.” (May 13, 1917)   She repeated this request on July 13: “Continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, for only she can help you…The war is going to end but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.” This worse war took place. The Spanish Civil War took place during the pontificate of Pius XI. It was essentially a war against God in which untold numbers of churches were destroyed, 14 bishops and 7,000 priests and religious were martyred. The number of martyrs produced by the Spanish Civil war was comparable to those of the Roman persecutions. The symbolic “firing squad” of the statue of the Sacred Heart in the geographical center of Spain was the manifestation of the anti-God nature of this war.

World War II began when the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. This invasion was preceded by the “unknown light”, the Aurora Borealis, which was seen all over the northern hemisphere on the night of January 25-26, 1938.

What Our Lady said is significant: war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father are God’s punishment for the crimes of the world. And as we speak, Syria and Iraq (Babylon) are in war. This only shows that we have not converted. The secular world is losing the sense of sin. Jurists call it “crime” and psychologists label it a “complex”. “The rejection of sin has resulted in the loss of guilt; much of today’s evil is perpetrated without thought to repentance. The philosopher Max Scheller said that while sin multiplies everywhere, the sense of guilt diminishes.” The Bishop of Fatima said in 1975: “In the light of the Fatima message, sin is not a phenomena of the sociological order, but is…an offense against God with necessary social consequences. Perhaps no other century as the century we live in has had a life so sinful. But there is something added to the sins of this century: the man of today, more sinful than those who came before him, has lost the sense of sin. He sins, but laughs and even boasts of his sin…Man of today has arrived at this stage because he has placed a division between himself and God…believing that when God is ignored, everything is possible. The man of this century wishes to realize himself as stronger than God and against God, and comes finally to the point of being man debased, anti-man, because man can only perfectly realize himself in God.” (F. Johnson, 34-35.)

Our way out of this predicament is the way proposed by Mary. Let us repent and convert to the Lord. Let us pray the Rosary to obtain peace because only Mary can help us. She can help us arrive at the era of true peace for it was when the whole world was at peace, it was then that she gave birth to the Savior, the Prince of Peace. Let us pray the Rosary to the Queen of Peace.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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