The 20th February is the feast day of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto. So what is so special about these two children, why are they called Blessed in the Catholic Church?
When Francisco was 9 and Jacinta was 7, Our Lady appeared to them while they were tending their sheep with their cousin Lucia. Our Lady, Mother Mary asked them to ‘learn how to read and write and pray the Rosary.’ Our Lady of Fatima, as we now know her, appeared many times to these three young children.
So are they called Blessed in the Catholic Church because they were lucky enough to see the Blessed Virgin? No! This is not the reason. So, what makes them so special? Well, it was their ordinariness. Yes, they were just like you and I. They didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, what they did was live their lives well, praying for the peace of the world. Any time that they were upset over something or someone hurt them, they would offer this to Jesus for the conversion of the world. Well, guess what? We can all do this too.
When I was younger and something happened that I didn’t like. Say, a boy pulled my hair or my cousin teased me, instead of getting angry I would think to myself ‘Jesus knows my pain’ and I would say ‘offer it up for the souls in purgatory!’ I knew that all these things I was suffering would help souls go to heaven.
Well Jacinta and Francisco offered up all their hurts, for the peace of the world. So they didn’t do anything that we can’t do, did they? Couldn’t you be just like Jacinta and Francisco? We all have the chance to be like them and win for ourselves the crown of Blessedness in heaven. We do it by living each day well, doing what we are asked to do and offering up our hurts and sorrows to Jesus for the peace of the world. This is all we have to do to become like these two Blessed.
When Francisco was on his way to heaven Jacinta joyfully said to him “give my love to our Lord and our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of hearts.”
So today let us be joyful like the Blesseds, knowing holiness and heaven are very near to us. We all have a chance to win a crown in heaven, let's make steps towards it today.
Lent starts on the 18th February, Ash Wednesday. Let’s give Jesus our hurts and our pains as well as our sweets and goodies. Let this time of Lent be a time of joyful peace, and remember, we are praying for you. Sr Anežka.