Sunday, December 25, 2016

Simbang Gabi 3 (Fatima Centennial): Angelic visitation

Jesus, I trust in you!

The annunciation by an angel to St. Joseph is the first of the series of angelic visitations that we shall encounter during the Simbang Gabi. Angels have played prominent roles in the infancy narratives. Angels will announce the conception of John the Baptist and of our Lord. They will sing on Christmas night and proclaim the Lord’s birth to shepherds. They will warn the magi and St. Joseph of Herod’s evil plans. Angels are bearers of the Good News and that Good News is Jesus.
So the angel revealed in a dream to St. Joseph not only the wonderful plan the Lord had for Mary his wife but also the identity of her son: He is Emmanuel (God with us) who fulfills the prophecy of the Virgin giving birth. He is to be named Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. He is both God and Savior: God who saves people from sins.

The apparitions of Our Lady to the shepherd children of Fatima were preceded by angelic visitations. During springtime of 1916, an angel appeared to the children. He introduced himself to them as the Angel of Peace and he taught them a prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love you.” Then he said to them, “Pray like that. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”

During the summer of that same year, a second angelic visitation occurred. The angel introduced himself as the guardian angel of Portugal and he told them: “You must pray a great deal. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer up prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.” He taught the children: “Make everything you do a sacrifice and offer it to God in reparation for the countless sins by which he is offended (nasaktan) and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. In this way, you will bring peace to your country…above all, accept and bear with submission all the sufferings which the Lord may send you.”

After 3 months, the angel appeared to them a 3rd time. This time, the Holy Eucharist appeared suspended in mid-air. The angel prostrated in adoration on the ground and led the children in a prayer of reparation: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, really and truly present in every tabernacle of the world in reparation for the countless outrages (pang aalipusta), sacrileges (kalapastanganan) and indifferences (pagwawalang bahala) by which he is offended.  And through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg you to convert poor sinners.” Then, the angel gave Holy Communion to the children.

As the angel revealed to St. Joseph the identity of the Son of Mary as God the Savior, so also the angel revealed to the children the identity of the Blessed Sacrament, namely, it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity to the Lord Jesus. He made the children realize how holy the Blessed Sacrament is for it is God himself present among us. The angel taught them the value of prayer and sacrifice and also the necessity of reparation for sins and prayer for the conversion of sinners.

We should likewise learn these lessons from the angel. As St. Joseph was convinced to welcome Mary and her Son into his home, so also may we learn to welcome Christ into our lives. Welcome Christ by receiving him worthily in Holy Communion. Let us repent and confess our sins and make reparation for them. Let us make up to the Lord for those who do not believe, adore, hope, nor love him.

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

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