During my retreat at Silverstream I was always reminded of home every time I stepped into the oratory, as the first thing I would see was an image of Our Lady of Fátima. It is to the topic of Fátima that I will return again today, but perhaps in a way unexpected (but, hopefully, not fanciful). Today I wish to share some thoughts on Silverstream’s connection (in my opinion at least) with Fátima.
It was while at Adoration, under the gaze of the Queen of Portugal, that I had an epiphany. While offering my time of adoration in reparation for priests I suddenly remembered the apparitions of the Angel of Portugal to the three young shepherd children.
While perhaps less well-known, the apparition of the Angel is an important part of the Fátima story. I don’t profess to be an expert on things Fátima, but I don’t think it is wrong to say that his appearance to the children in 1916 was a preparation of sorts, to ready them for what was to come one year later. For those unfamiliar with the story, the angel appeared three times to the children. The first time, after they had finished their rosary and were playing in the pasture, teaching them the prayer
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
The second time, he found the children playing and admonished them to pray and make sacrifices. On his third and final appearance, after the children had been continuously praying the prayer that he had taught them, the angel appeared with a host hovering over a chalice, into which blood dripped from the host. He then taught the children a new prayer
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
and then communicated them (Lúcia receiving the Body; Jacinta and Francisco, the blood).
What came to my mind over and over during those hours of Adoration, besides the prayers, was something the Angel said to the children on his final appearance: “Console your God.” That command – console – echoed what we have been reading at home in In Sinu Jesu (the journal, fruit of interior locutions during Adoration, of an anonymous monk from Silverstream). In the book Our Lord speaks to the monk about a renewal of the priesthood, a renewal which is to be brought about through Adoration, by coming before His Eucharistic Face. Over and over Our Lord asks the monk to make reparation and to console Him for those priests who reject/ignore Him. Here are some excerpts:
“Your part is to pray close to My wounded Heart, and to abide in the radiance of my Eucharistic Face. Thus you will be sons of the Host for the Host, and the seed of a new generation of adorers in spirit and truth. Only remain with Me. Keep watch before My Face and listen to all that My Heart will say to you. I am here for you. Be here for Me, and so console My Heart, which so many of My own have forsaken.”
“Console Me, console Me, for my own have rejected Me. Console Me, for I am forsaken by those whom I chose for Myself, expecting that they would respond to My love with love, and to My tenderness with a like tenderness. You, at least, give Me all the tenderness of your heart,and know that My Heart is open to you to receive you and to be the sanctuary of your priesthood here and in the world to come.”
I see in Silverstream, in its charism, the embodiment of the message of Fátima, as introduced by the Angel and applied to a very particular case – that of priests. There was a Eucharistic element to the Angel’s apparitions and the prayers that he taught the children, in Portugal at least, have always been used within the context of Eucharistic Adoration. The prayers speak of love – of God’s for us, and of ours in response to His; they also speak of offering one’s self (one could almost say of becoming an hostia) on behalf of others, as well as making reparation for their sins, something that the monks at Silverstream live out. I’ve often wondered if my monastic brothers have ever noticed how similar the wording of their Act of Reparation is with the above-mentioned prayers (curiously, the Angel taught the children to say the prayers prostrate; the monks prostrate themselves during Reparation):
[…]I adore Thee present in the divine Sacrament of the Altar, with all my heart, desiring to make reparation for the indifference, irreverence, and profanations wrought against Thee in this ineffable Mystery. […]
[…] I adore Thee for those who have never adored Thee, and for those who will never know the happiness of praising Thee. And to sanctify this adoration of mine and make it more pleasing to Thee, O my Saviour, I unite it to the sacrifice of praise offered by Thy Holy Catholic Church, from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same. […]
Looking back, I think it was quite providential that my wife and I should have started our path to oblation in Fátima, even if at the time we knew next to nothing of the story of the apparitions. May Our Lady and the Angel of Peace pray for us, strengthening us as we come closer to making our oblation in the near future.