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Inspired by the Children of Fatima

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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Our Lady of Fatima (Week 5 of 8)

What a range of chapters this week! How can you not be inspired by the children of Fatima?

I was torn…the kidnapping of the three children is tantalizing and quite a tale, but I keep coming back, in my own heart, to the continuing development of the children's spiritual life.

Jacinta was too unselfish to be able to dwell long or complacently on her own good fortune when there were so many others who would never share it. To her the sight of gehennah was like a gate opening upon a steep road of asceticism. “I think I would like down a thousand lives to save one soul of the many I saw being lost,” wrote Saint Teresa of Jesus after a similar experience , and the little serrana of Aljustrel was so stricken with the same noble pity that she acquired a thirst for penance to which Lucia could apply only the word “insatiable.” Other Christians accepted hell on faith, because Christ had said repeatedly and with solemn emphasis that there is a hell, but Jacinta had seen it; and once she grasped the idea that God's justice is the counterpart of his mercy, and that there must be a hell if there is to be a heaven, nothing seemed important to her except to save as many souls as possible from the horrors she had glimpsed under the radiant hands of the Queen of Heaven. Nothing could be too hard, nothing too small or too great to give up.

Our Lady of Fatima (Chapter 9, Paragraph 31)

I have children who are close in age to the age of the three children of Fatima, and perhaps that's why, in this reading, I've been so struck by the children themselves.

In past reading and studying about the apparitions at Fatima, I've concentrated on the messages Mary brought, on the text of the secrets, on the interaction and setting of things.

This time, however, I'm profoundly moved by the children: by their devotion, by their commitment, by their courage.

Would my children have courage at that level?

Even more, have I prepared my children for the kind of courage they may need to have?

I struggle with Lent: this year, in particular, I found myself battling myself in ways that seemed both inexplicable and ridiculous in their minutia. Really? I asked myself. Can this be for real?

And then, I'd read about the children of Fatima giving up things like dinner and water and wearing a homemade hair shirt so that they could keep people from Hell.

My battles seem too silly to bring up in comparison. I'm just trying to get through Lent without killing a kid…

Which could stop me in my tracks and send me home, come to think of it.

Do I have anything in common with these saints?

Actually, yes.

I'm a mom. And they each had moms.

In fact, Lucia's mom might be striking me a little too familiarly, reminding me of the ways I treat my own children with disdain or assuming that they are wrong.

These children were (and are!) special, without a doubt. But…so were their families.

Or that's what I'd like to think.

I'd like to comfort myself that God can have a plan for someone like me, even when I feel like a horrible mom and make glaring mistakes. I'd like to smile at the hurdle of family life and see it as a path to sanctification.

And I'd like, most especially, to see that sanctification as right where and how I need it to be.

Reading Assignment:

Chapter 12-14

Discussion Questions:

1. Who are the children in your life who inspire you with their courage? Pray for them this week, and for those who help form and prepare them for their lives.

2. How is your family life helping you to heaven? Who might you bless today with your prayers?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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