By Natalia Kononenko, Editor of Living with Christ

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Much can be said of the event that began in 1917, but continued for months and years later, touching upon major events in human history.

What is it that the Virgin Mary wanted to convey through the apparitions? Essentially it was a message of peace. A message of peace that was badly needed by a world exhausted by violence, war, societal injustice, loss and suffering.

Mary calls people to repentance, to a conversion of heart. Her call is urgent, direct, prophetic, and at times scary. The effects of sin are destructive; they steal some of the most precious things we have: peace, a sense of wholeness, and a sense of unity with God and each other. Without peace, our world and our inner selves can quickly fall apart.

Mary asks the shepherd children to pray and make sacrifices for the sake of peace in the world. But her message is not only for them, it is for all of us—all of her children here on earth, even today.

St. Teresa of Calcutta once famously said “if you want peace in the world, go home and love your family.” Peace in the world begins with peace at home, or rather, peace in our own hearts. The conversion that Mary calls us to is not something that happens overnight; it is a continual process—essentially, it is our ongoing spiritual journey here on earth.

Mary gives us the tools that we need for our journey. She calls us to prayer, especially daily Rosary, First Saturdays devotion, to making acts of penance and personal sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

Mary calls us to pursue holiness in our personal lives, and in turn the world around us will also be changed. We can aim higher, to defeat sin and evil, to safeguard peace—and essentially to safeguard our life—while growing more intimately united with God himself in the process.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for each one of us to adopt and live your messages faithfully, to be renewed and to renew the world around us. Amen.

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