An Open Letter to San Francisco and Santa Jacinta of Fatima
DEAR San Francisco and Santa Jacinta,
I would have wanted to congratulate you for being officially recognized saints of the Church. But I know you have no need for it. You are so happy where you are that any human recognition would matter little. Yet you would also understand your canonization is really meant for us still on earth. We need to sit up and take notice of you, your message from the Lady in white and your more-than-mature Christian witness despite being so young. Yes, we need to summon you from the past so our present could be graced by your prayers and intercessions.
You now live in the eternal present; we still move in the passing web of past, present and future. In our mind’s eye we see you always as simple innocent children; but we also acknowledge that, even as such, you are our teachers of Christian maturity and heroism.
But let me go to why I have written this letter. In the first place, outside of prayer, my cellphone tells me both of you “cannot be reached” and are probably “out of the coverage area” (hope you don’t mind my uncalled-for attempt at sense of humor, of which I heard there is plenty in heaven). I belong to a country with so many children like you. Like you, a great number of them struggle with poverty and its inhuman consequences. Please be their special guardians and protectors from the ever-increasing dangers and challenges of our day and age: economic insecurities, domestic violence and abuse, indifference to moral and spiritual values, overexposure to the internet and other often addictive features of contemporary science and technology. Please constantly intercede for our children and our youth, that, like you, they may remain attuned to God and his ways through the help of Our Lady.
Second, like you, we also live in an age where our highest leaders ridicule and vilify the values of the faith as well as members of the hierarchy. Teach us your extraordinary patience and ability to suffer for what truly matters. Teach us the true path to penance by your own heroic examples of embracing suffering for sinners. Please pray that Lord may touch the hearts of our leaders. Bring us to conversion, together with those who govern us in government and in Church. Make us recognize that such conversion is a sine-qua-non, a component we cannot do without in any real change (“tunay na pagbabago”) or renewal that we hunger for. The message of the Lady in white made you turn your young lives completely around God’s orbit; please make sure we and all humankind also follow your lead before it is too late.
Third, you became Our Lady’s messengers of God’s program for peace. Please pray that it may be heeded by leaders and populations in real or potential conflict: within our country between government and other rebel or terror forces, and throughout the world in areas ruled by chaos, irrationality and hatred. But please pray that God’s program for peace rule first all families, particularly ours, all communities, particularly our parish, and all of world society, especially the Philippines.
Fourth, you teach us our urgent need to return to Jesus Christ the Savior of humankind but also the irreplaceable role of Our Lady in our quest for peace and salvation. May we always consecrate ourselves, our country and the whole world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that God’s saving ends may find their fulfillment in us.
Finally, in a world where the darkening shadows of evil keep blurring and frightening our vision, teach us hope. Teach us to follow the Holy Father’s lead in taking life as a journey “with Mary” as “pilgrims of hope” when and where we are tempted to despair. Remind us always how “so beautiful a Lady” you saw on May 14, 1917 has in her the secret of true hope and optimism, in her own sharing of the victory of her Son over evil and sin, our own path to the light at the end of the dark tunnel of deaths, lies, hatred and human errors our present history serves us.
San Francisco and Santa Jacinta of Fatima, with Our Lady, intercede for us.