13 May – Memorial for Our Lady of Fatimah
Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary that appeared before three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting May 13, the Fatima holiday. The three children were Lucia Santos, and her cousins, siblings Jacintha and Francisco Marto.
The title Our Lady of the Rosary is also sometimes used in reference to the same apparition, because the children related that the Lady in the apparition specifically identified herself as “the Lady of the Rosary”.
After a canonical enquiry, the visions of Fatima were officially declared “worthy of belief” in October 1930 by Bishop of Leiria-Fatima.
Acts of the Apostles 9:1-20
Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.
Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.
A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.
He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’
The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’
He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.
Spent only a few days
How much time is considered enough for one to believe in God and be converted? Should it be one year of initiation classes or an overnight realisation to be baptised? God certainly has no limits to the time He has on us, He continuously watches over us and the Holy Spirit prompting mankind to return to the Father.
Every individual has their own experience with God. Some of us are given the mission to spread the Good News since birth through infant baptism, however, as we became more knowledgeable and try to reason out every bit of our faith, some lose their believe in God and never returned to the Church. Some may not have gotten to know Christ until a colleague or good friend brought them to the church and they take the bold step in enrolling themselves into workshops and classes. I also came across elderly who had never believed, they criticised the church and the faith but only to convert into believing our Lord fearing death. Many however experienced God the way Saul did, and then began to search for God and ultimately the conversion to believe in our Father God. These experiences are soft promptings from our Lord, where a difficult situation had turned out good, or the work of a miracle in which they believed that God was the centre of it all. Like Saul, they realised that God is in control of everything. Our Father is able to put an obstacle in front of us, but always for a reason, and then to lift it up with ease.
If we look hard enough, God is working in us every moment of our lives. He never lifted His attention away from us. We will always require tangible reasons to keep our faith going, if we do not see God in our everyday lives, our faith is blind and we will find no joy in the deepening of the Christian faith. The way we treat the other on the street, the little joys and successes that we can celebrate everyday, the simple thought of waking up in the day to conquer what is ahead of us and to be home safely with our loved ones at night, these contribute a lot to the deepening of our faith , conversion of hearts, and that God walks with us forever.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Time does not matter; God will reveal Himself to us men of little faith. Do not let me stop searching for Him or do not need him because I thought life is good. No, we want to keep opening our hearts to the Lord Jesus so that we receive the infinite graces.
Thanksgiving: Almighty Father, thank you for the clear directions and the opportunities to know You in every little way.
Sat, 14 May – Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17.20-26; John 15:9-17; Feast of St Matthias, Apostle
Sun, 15 May – Acts of the Apostles 2:14.36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10; Fourth Sunday of Easter