A few years ago I rediscovered one of the most beautiful and intimate Catholic prayers: the Memorare. It was one of the prayers my father taught to me as a very small child when he put me to bed, but over the years it had slipped off my prayer radar.
The intimacy in the prayer is in the way a child understands that a mother will not withhold anything she can provide to meet the needs of the child. Therefore the child can turn to the mother with any request and any need.
We didn’t have a lot of holy prayers or objects around our home when I was a child, but one picture we did have hanging in my parents bedroom was of Our Lady of Fatima. It was large and surrounded by a mirror border. I remember Our Lady standing on the rose bush, and the three children, and the sheep. But most of all the image convinced me that relationship and conversation with God was for all people, little children in Portugal, and even kids in New Zealand.
It is 100 years today since the first encounter between the Blessed Virgin and these young children. Pope Francis is in Fatima for the celebration and you can watch many of the events live at this link.
Here is a summary of the May 13 encounter:
On Sunday May 13th 1917 the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining. As they descended the hill. Another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holmoak, “a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun”. The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.” “Where are you from?” the children asked. “I am from heaven” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. “What do you want of me?”, Lucia asked. “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time.” Lucia said : “Do you come from heaven…and will I go to heaven ?” ” Yes, you’ll go“. “And Jacinta?” “As well” ” And Francisco?” “Him too , but he will have to say many rosaries“. In the end Our Lady asked : “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we do.” said the children. “You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort. “Then she opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them : “Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war.” And She disappeared.
Today, 100 years after that encounter, and as we celebrate Mothers’ Day, lets take a moment to pray a prayer through the intercession of the Mother of Jesus. You might like to use the Memorare, or the Rosary.