The Actuality of Fatima

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

It is precisely a hundred years since the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared at Fatima. Nevertheless, her message is not history, but an on-going actually. For as long as there is a soul to be saved, her most important message remains valid, namely – “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart is our refuge and we enter it through prayer and sacrifice. Prayer is the lifting-up of our souls to eternal realities, towards God – heaven, hell and purgatory. It is asking Him the things necessary for our eternal salvation which is the conformity of our lives to that of Jesus and Mary outlined in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Sacrifice, on the other hand, is the compliment of prayer. While prayer obtains graces from God, sacrifice disposes us to receive them.

All of us know that sacrifice is something difficult because it is the offering of all that we are, and all that we have, to show God’s absolute dominion and our loving subjection. It is the narrow path the leads to heaven. And here, Mary’s Immaculate Heart is both our model and our mother. She is our model in her immaculate purity the essential characteristic of a sacrificial victim. But most of all, she is our mother who sympathizes and empathizes in all our daily struggles and efforts in order to convert ourselves and make reparations for our sins and those of others.

Therefore, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can be summarized into four words – prayer and sacrifice, conversion and reparation. If we live by them, then our consecration is not just empty words, but a living reality and a loving service to God and to our neighbors.

What a Week

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

Holy Week…what a week! For some, Holy Week is a long weekend holiday. But for those who take their Catholic faith seriously, it is the privileged time to recall the last week of Our Lord’s life here on earth. His love is neither a joke, nor a child’s play. He sealed it with His blood, He gave up His life for us! So, during this week, let us try to suffer in our souls what Jesus once suffered in His soul and body.

The heat, the fatigue and even the opposition of the local Catholic hierarchy are only splinters of Our Lord’s holy cross. Each of us must be ready to accept all of them if our pilgrimage should not be in vain. For whoever suffers for Christ will be glorified with Him as well. Besides, we are never alone in carrying the cross. Our Lord is always carrying it, ours is just a portion of it. And, Our Lady always follow it. She will give us encouragement and a helping hand whenever we fall by its heavy weight.

So, as we continue our pilgrimage, let us remember to ask ourselves three very important questions – what have I done for Christ; what am I doing for Christ and what must I do for Him? Often, what we can do is really nothing much. However, like the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross, we can always and everywhere offer Him our love and our compassion; tears of sympathy and true contrition. These are all that He expects from us. May we be generous in giving them and may the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary share to us her courage and strength to carry our daily crosses after Jesus and to transform each suffering into an act of pure love and perfect reparation.

During Lent, go faster

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

The forty days preparation for Easter has just begun. In old English, “lencten” means springtime; daylight gradually lengthens. In modern English, however, lento means slow music. So, etymologically, Lent is the springtime of virtues, the slowing down of vices and the lengthening of prayer and penance. If we observe these generously, we can hope for some real spiritual transformation by Eastertime.

Unfortunately, like most opportunities, we often take Lent for granted. In this centenary year, let us heed Our Lady of Fatima’s urgent request by sincerely amending our lives. For that, we must slow down and focus our efforts in one particular vice or bad inclination. But, that is impossible without God’s grace. So, we need to beg them by lengthening our prayers – intensifying rather than multiplying them.

Yet, even with our best efforts, we cannot always win our spiritual battle. Shall we just give up? God forbid! Virtue is perfected in weakness. If ever we shall fall again during Lent, let us not be discouraged easily, but stand up and begin again – redoubling our voluntary penances. Like fasting, our pilgrimage is already a penance in itself.

However, we cannot leave our minds and hearts empty. We need to plant the opposite virtue of the particular vice that we are fighting. Thank God, all supernatural virtues are connected by charity! So, if we practice one of them, we are, in fact, practicing all of them. Therefore, let us be slow to vice but fast to virtue!

Back-to-back Feasts

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

Two big feasts in one day, yet one great mystery they portray. Our Lady’s Purification and Our Lord’s Presentation outline the whole mystery of our redemption – Mary’s compassion complements her Son’s Passion. This is very relevant because they indicate the necessary condition as well as the proper intention by which we must continue our pilgrimage in the Visayas region.

Although the Blessed Virgin Mary has no need of Purification, since she did not conceived from a man but by the Holy Ghost; nevertheless, she submitted herself to this Mosaic Law giving us an example of obedience and humility. At the same time, she also teaches us that to be acceptable to God, to be able to make reparation for sins; we must be of ourselves sinless – pure in mind and in heart, or at least, not attached to any sin.

This first visit of Our Lord to the Temple of Jerusalem was like the Offertory of His Mass whose Immolation will be on His cross at Calvary. Today, the prophet Simeon declared Him – Light of the Gentiles and Glory of the Jews. Today, the prophetess Anna praised Him profusely. Like them, we also carry our blessed candles representing Christ and His true light – our Catholic Faith. So, as we continue our journey, let us be zealous missionaries, not promoters of False Ecumenism! Let us stay united to Jesus, Mary and Joseph so that by us, they may dissipate the darkness of the minds and hearts of our countrymen.

Santo Niño and Fatima

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

In this month of January, the Philippines honor its Principal Patron, the Santo Niño of Cebu. Our country’s Christianization is inseparable from this little statue of the Child Jesus. Originally, it was given by Ferdinand Magellan as Baptismal gift to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521. Unfortunately, when Magellan was killed in the Battle of Mactan, that same year, the first Cebuano converts were disillusioned and returned to their pagan beliefs and practices. Nevertheless, some of them, after their Queen, continued to honor the Santo Niño. So, when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi came in 1565, the re-discovery of this miraculous statue led to the rapid conversion of the Cebuanos and, eventually, of our whole country.

But, what is its relevance to the message of Fatima? Well, in the Dorothean Convent of Pontevedra, Spain, on December 10, 1925, the Child Jesus together with His holy Mother appeared to Sis. Lucia. He asked her to have pity on His Mother’s heart pierced with so many thorns, and no one is removing them by acts of reparation. The following year, on February 15, 1926, the Child Jesus appeared again, asking if she had spread already this devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart. In other words, we cannot separate our devotion to Jesus from Mary. It is the Santo Niño’s expressed will that we should console our Mother’s Immaculate Heart. Therefore, let us be generous and continue our pilgrimage with the same love and sentiments as the Santo Niño!

At the centenary’s threshold

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

The centenary year of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima begins. Yet at the same time, our pilgrimage continues. In fact, Our Lady’s statue is now on its way to Surigao, about to cross the Visayas region. What should be our first thoughts as we begin Our Lady’s jubilee? Well, let us go straight to her very important message: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” At this moment of confusion, both within and outside the Church, Mary’s Immaculate Heart is our infallible point of reference. It is there that we can find enshrined the authentic words and sentiments of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Another important message is: “People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord anymore for He is already too much offended.” What a plea of a mother’s heart! Yet, have we done something about it? Let us not let this centenary pass without putting this into practice: “To save souls from Hell, God wishes to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart…I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.” So, as we move along our pilgrimage, let us encourage everyone to heed Our Lady’s urgent request – Confession, Communion, rosary and 15 minute meditation on 5 consecutive First Saturdays. Thus, our love is proven by our actions.

Off to Bethlehem

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

Our pilgrimage continues. Let us follow Mary and Joseph in spirit to Bethlehem. They walked 3 – 4 days with little provision and comfort. They had planned for Jesus’ birth at Nazareth. But, Divine Providence thwarted their preparations. How did they react? How would we react? Man proposes; God disposes. So, let us receive God’s intervention in our lives. He destroys, to make improvements. He allows sins to become our Savior. But, are we willing to be saved? “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Jn. 1:11) We would have thought that He spared His own family from the troubles and perils of a long journey. Yet, the closer we are to Jesus, the heavier our part of His cross – for He is born to be our sacrifice; the ransom for our sins.

Despite its difficulties, like Mary and Joseph, let us be grateful for the year 2016. However, let us not forget that a pilgrim who carries a heavy knapsack is obliged to walk slowly, or to make many stop-overs. In either case, he would arrive late, or would give up his journey completely. As we contemplate the Baby Jesus in the manger, let us detach our minds and hearts from the riches and pleasures of this world, in order to attach them to Him alone. For “as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God.” (Jn. 1:12)

Wishing you all a holy and happy Christmas!

An exception that confirms the rule

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

When a source is infected, everything that comes from it is corrupted. Adam was the source of human nature; when he sinned, our human nature was corrupted in him. Such was our pitiable state until a Savior was promised to us. Yet, that Savior would not come as a grown-up man. No, he will come as a baby, a son of Adam. So, a worthy mother is needed for him. Therefore, in the one and same eternal decree of the Incarnation was contained the Immaculate Conception.

All the children of Adam inherited his corrupted nature. Yet between God and sin there is a complete and total contradiction. Foreseeing the merits of her Son, God the Father prevented her from inheriting Adam’s guilt. Although conceived like the rest of us, God the Son applied to her first, the fruits of His redemption. God the Holy Ghost made her His purest temple and fruitful spouse. All of that is implied in the very first prophecy of the Bible: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Gen 3:15)

The angel Gabriel who commanded Zachary, has to bow down and greet Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” (Lk 1:28) Meaning, before she conceived Christ in her womb, she already conceived Him in her Immaculate Heart. Truly, her Immaculate Conception is greater than the Original Justice lost by Adam. So, whenever God thinks of a pure and perfect creature, He thinks of Mary!

He comes through Her

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

Since September, the houses and shops in the Philippines were already filled with Christmas decors and music. Unfortunately, that’s more of a commercialization, rather than a preparation; jumping over the various seasons of our Liturgical Year! So, before any celebration, we need some serious preparation. And, Advent is precisely that. As its name signifies, it prepares us for the Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Its four Sundays commemorates those four thousand years from the Fall of Adam until the Birth of Christ. Yet at the same time, it challenges us to be always ready for His Second Coming.

In His First Coming, Our Lord did not come as a grown-up man, like Adam. Instead, He came as a Baby – the only Son, the First Born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, just as He was born without a human mother in heaven; so He was born without a human father here on earth. He took our human nature, so that He may share to us His divine nature. Still, all these can only happen if she consented. God’s plan depended on Mary’s consent. What about us, how dependent are we to her?

During Advent, let us learn from her how to consent to God’s particular plan for us. May our lives be a living echo of her loving consent; may our pilgrimage follow her in spirit from Nazareth to Bethlehem, so that on Christmas Day, Our Lord may be born once again in our hearts!

Keep on walking, Johnny!

Editor’s Corner
by Fr. Carlo Magno Saa, FSSPX

Keep on walking, Johnny!

It is one thing to begin the journey, another thing to finish the pilgrimage. But, like any heroic endeavor, three elements must concur towards its successful completion – conviction, commitment and coherence.

Conviction is not just the knowledge of truth, but also of its relevance. God confirmed the message of Fatima by the miracle of the sun and the fulfillment of its prophecies, especially of the Second World War. Its relevance implied in “the dogma of faith will be preserved in Portugal… “ is happening daily before our eyes – the silent apostasy of nations and even, of churchmen.

However, conviction must not remain theoretical; it must translate itself into practical resolution, into generous action. That is commitment. Walking with Our Lady is both a preaching and a penance. It reminds bystanders that they have a Spiritual Mother who wants to save them from Hell. The fact that, rain or shine, the pilgrims must continue to walk is already a great penance in itself.

Still, a continuous walk is not enough. Each step of this journey must animated by a great love of God, of Our Lady, and of our neighbors. What is the use of carrying around the Pilgrim Virgin, if our attitude and way of life is in conflict to her message? So, we need coherence. We don’t precede Our Lady – we only follow her, and that, even to the foot of the cross.