April 2017: Do Your Part
This month's free reflection is taken from
Fatima at 100 / Fatima Today: Ten Steps to World Peace
By Mary K. Doyle
My sister Judy first met Una along the Camino Frances, one of the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela, a city in northwest Spain. Regardless of the point of departure, the journey is known as the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, since the final destination is the ancient cathedral with its tomb of Saint James, the Apostle.
Judy walked the 500 miles of the Camino Frances twice, and Una has been walking the other routes ever since. This May she will walk the Camino Portugués from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, but her journey will include a detour for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima and the canonization by Pope Francis of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the young visionaries chosen by the Blessed Virgin Mary to share her message with a troubled world.
Mary K. Doyle has made pilgrimages to Marian sites around the world, including Fatima, and has been sharing her insights on Mary and the Rosary for many years. Her latest book for ACTA publications is just in time for the Fatima Centenary: Fatima at 100 / Fatima Today: Ten Steps to World Peace. In the Introduction, she writes:
No one can deny that any pockets of peace our planet is currently experiencing are isolated and fragile. The extent of violence seen globally is shameful and against God’s will. Economic disparity, religious conflicts, racial and gender discrimination, sexual identity issues, substance abuse, greed, jealousy, and vengefulness are global flash points. At any moment, these issues can, and do, spark firestorms harming and claiming innocent lives.
The Virgin Mary says it doesn’t have to be this way. World peace is possible, and Mary explained how it could be achieved a century ago. She clearly spelled out a plan in 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, through a series of apparitions to three young shepherd children: ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos, nine-year-old Francisco Marto, and seven-year-old Jacinta Marto.
This concise guide can be used for personal study and reflection or in a faith-sharing group. It’s only $.99 and shipping is free when you use the code free ship.
As we move toward Holy Week and Easter and the May celebrations in Fatima, here is Mary Doyle’s presentation of Step One in the Blessed Mother’s ten-step plan.
Step One. Honor the Lord.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself — Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:23-24
God is the only one we worship. We are to love the Lord our God with our heart, mind, and soul.
We honor and praise God by being our best self and living in God-like ways. As creations in God’s image, we show respect for our blessings by always striving to respond to one another in the way we hope God will respond to us.
We also honor the Lord through personal prayer. This doesn’t have to be done in any particular way. God wants us as we are. We only need to pray from the heart and try to reach deep within, naked and stripped down to the essence of our being. In this way we praise the Lord from our very soul. Our prayer is raw, honest, and sincere.
Mary encourages and guides us in praying like this. The objective of her apparitions in Fatima, as all of her apparitions, is to bring us closer to God. She wants us to honor the Lord in all that we do. Jesus gave us his loving mother from the cross, so that she can coax, prompt, guide, and walk with us to the Father.
The Angel of Peace prepared the way for Mary’s apparitions in Fatima by teaching the shepherd children a quick, little prayer to honor God. We also can pray these words, “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you! I ask pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.”
The prayer is short and straightforward. Adoring God starts with words like this. Our prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or sophisticated. Speaking simply from within is how we open ourselves so that God’s light may shine through us and reflect that light on others. It’s how we allow God’s peace to fill our souls and those we touch.
- Meditate on the scripture passage above that honors God.
- Turn your complaints into praise. Find a blessing in every situation and give thanks to God for it.
- Speak honestly to God in your own words.
About the author
Books, blogs, or feature articles, Mary K. Doyle’s writings are rich in content, easy and enjoyable to read, and avenues for personal growth and compassion. Her powerful faith and decades of writing experience is evident in her story-telling style.
Mary has a Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management and Leadership with Highest Distinction from Judson University.
Her published books include: Hans Christian Andersen, Illuminated by The Message; Navigating Alzheimer’s; Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God; Young in the Spirit; Grieving with Mary; The Seven Principles of Sainthood; The Rosary Prayer by Prayer; and Mentoring Heroes.