FATIMA CELL PROGRAM FOR JANUARY
THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS. Holy Mother Church, having made known to us the Incarnation of the Son of God in the glorious Feast of His Nativity, now unfolds to us, during this month, the glories of His Most Holy Name. The origin of the Feast of the Holy Name goes back to the sixteenth century. Among the Israelites a child received his name at the Rite of Circumcision. On the day that the Divine Infant was circumcised, He received the Name of Jesus, which signifies "Savior," and which had been given to Him by the Angel before He was conceived. That Name, so beautiful, so glorious, the Divine Child did not wish to bear for one moment without fulfilling its meaning. Already at the moment of His circumcision He showed Himself a Savior, by shedding for us that Precious Blood, of which a single drop is more than sufficient for the ransom and salvation of the whole world. The Church begins the year with the Name of Jesus, because She wishes that it should be imprinted upon us each day of the year. May the adorable Name of Jesus be impressed, above all, upon our whole being, upon all our actions; may it ever be on our lips, and in our hearts! "Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17)
THE HOLY FAMILY. In order to understand what makes marriage and family life truly pleasing to God, we need only consider the example of the Holy Family. Concerning Our Lord’s hidden life at Nazareth with Our Lady and St. Joseph, the Gospels sums it up in that "He was subject to them," and that He "advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men." Having stooped so low as to take a nature like to ours, sin excepted, He wished also to be "obedient unto death." Jesus could say of His Mother and Foster-Father what He said of His Heavenly Father, I do always the things that please Them. Out of a life of thirty-three years, Jesus, Who is Eternal Wisdom, chose to pass thirty years in silence and obscurity, obedience and labor. In a word, He gave us the perfect example of universal and heroic humility. Truly, He is a hidden God! Moreover, the Holy Family is a model for all Christian families. In the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are exemplified the proper relations that should exist between husband and wife, parents and children. There was filial devotion to God in that family circle of the three holiest Persons Who ever lived. While Saint Joseph supported the Holy Family by his labor, Mary managed the household, and Jesus assisted both of Them. They were united in Their daily tasks, and sanctified them by prayer and meditation. By practicing the domestic virtues of charity, obedience, and mutual help, They sanctified family life. We should often implore Them to sanctify our own family lives – that ours may worthily reflect Theirs. Our Lady lamented at Fatima, "Many marriages are not pleasing to God." They are not pleasing to God because they are not centered in Christ. Humility, docility and obedience are essential for family life to be centered in Christ. Daily family prayer and spiritual reading are a necessity, as well as proper parental supervision and discipline of the children, lest they be ruined by their weak, irregulated wills and the wanton spirit of our times. Reflect seriously upon the tragic warning of Our Lady of Good Success concerning the destruction of frivolous souls, and the value and importance of Fatima "family cells."
THE CHAIR OF UNITY OCTAVE. The Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome is celebrated on January 18th. The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is observed on January 25th. Holy Mother Church has always united her praises for the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter, with Her veneration for the zeal and holiness of St. Paul, a "vessel of election" for the spread of the infant Church. Thus, She has reserved eight days of solemn prayer—from the Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome until the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul—for the observance of "The Chair of Unity Octave"; eight days of solemn prayer for the One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church. The only unity for which the Church and Her faithful children can pray, as countless Pontiffs and Holy Councils have decreed, is that which results from the conversion of those who are outside the One, True Fold of the Church. Thus, each of the days of the Chair of Unity Octave is dedicated to prayers for the conversion of some poor segment of mankind which is still "walking in darkness," imploring that they may open their hearts to God's grace, and be converted to the true Shepherd of their souls. This is the exercise of true charity. To imagine, as do the heretical liberal ecumenists of our day, that we can achieve "unity" by pretending that those outside the Church do not stand in desperate need of conversion, is to deny the foundation of Christ's One True Church, and to renounce the very reason for the heroic apostolic labors and martyrdom of the Holy Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul.
OPENING PRAYERS: * Come Holy Ghost * The Rosary with meditation on each mystery
* The Litany of Our Lady of Loreto * Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
* Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary * Hymn to Our Lady
* Prayer to the Divine Infant Jesus
MEDITATION: * from "My Imitation of Christ"; or The Glories of Mary on the Immaculate Conception.
STUDY & DISCUSS: * Officer's reports; Cell Memos; reading of the Salve Maria Regina Bulletin.
CLOSING PRAYERS: Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus and Hymn
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s Prayer to Jesus
The Fatima Prayers
LEAFLETS OF THE MONTH: Peace be to You; And His Own Received Him Not
CELL PLAN OF APOSTOLIC ACTION FOR JANUARY
* Adoration, reparation, total consecration
* Make an act of love and reparation to Our Immaculate Queen and Her Infant Son at every hour.
* To promote the Message of Fatima * Sanctification of self, family, neighbor
* Conversion of sinners, salvation of souls
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort's Prayer to Jesus
O most loving Jesus, deign to let me pour forth my gratitude before Thee, for the grace Thou hast bestowed upon me in giving me to Thy holy Mother through the devotion of Holy Bondage, that she may be my advocate in the presence of Thy majesty and my support in my extreme misery. Alas, O Lord! I am so wretched that without this dear Mother I should be certainly lost. Yes, Mary is necessary for me at Thy side and everywhere: that she may appease Thy just wrath, because I have so often offended Thee; that she may save me from the eternal punishment of Thy justice, which I deserve; that she may contemplate Thee, speak to Thee, pray to Thee, approach Thee and please Thee; that she may help me to save my soul and the souls of others; in short, Mary is necessary for me that I may always do Thy holy will and seek Thy greater glory in all things. Ah, would that I could proclaim throughout the whole world the mercy that Thou hast shown to me! Would that everyone might know I should be already damned, were it not for Mary! Would that I might offer worthy thanksgiving for so great a blessing! Mary is in me. Oh, what a treasure! Oh, what a consolation! And shall I not be entirely hers? Oh, what ingratitude! My dear Savior, send me death rather than such a calamity, for I would rather die than live without belonging entirely to Mary. With St. John the Evangelist at the foot of the Cross, I have taken her a thousand times for my own and as many times have given myself to her; but if I have not yet done it as Thou, dear Jesus, dost wish, I now renew this offering a dost desire me to renew it. And if Thou seest in my soul or my body anything that does not belong to this august Princess, I pray Thee to take it and cast it far from me, for whatever in me does not belong to Mary is unworthy of Thee.
O Holy Ghost, grant me all these graces. Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance. O Holy Ghost, give me great devotion to Mary, Thy faithful spouse; give me great confidence in her maternal heart and an abiding refuge in her mercy, so that by her Thou mayest truly form in me Jesus Christ, great and mighty, unto the fullness of His perfect age. Amen.
THE PRESENTATION, THE IMMOLATION, THE LIFE..
THE OFFERING, THE SACRIFICE, THE GIFT
The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple brings vividly before our eyes the great mystery of Redemption. The Divine Victim is presented by the Immaculate Heart and hands of Mary, the one and only High Priestess to God the Father, to be immolated by His own Will at every moment of His life until that holocaust is consummated on the Cross. Truly the Divine Lamb willed to become man to glorify His Father by the perfect accomplishment of His Holy Will. From the first instant of His Incarnation, He offered Himself as the propitiatory sacrifice which alone is worthy of the Holiness of God. Who could not easily picture the Heart of Mary offering the same sacrifice with Her Son, since Their Hearts and Wills were as one?
For the space of thirty three years Jesus Christ our Great High Priest offers Himself in sacrifice to the glory of His Father and for the salvation of poor sinners. For His thirty three years, as well as for the rest of Her lifetime, Mary offers Herself and Her Son; offers Herself in Her Son; offers Herself with Her Son, in the same manner -- in sacrifice to the glory of God the Father and for the salvation of poor sinners. How can the mind fathom the generosity of these Two Hearts as They endured throughout Their lifetimes, what would feel like an eternity, the ingratitude and contempt of callous men?
Yes, the Presentation is the external act of the sacrifice that encompasses the whole lives of Jesus and Mary. The Presentation leads us in so fitting a manner to the grand spectacle of the Lenten Sacrifice. The Presentation gently focuses our minds and hearts on what it means to know, love and serve the Victim of our sins. In the company of Mary, we have an assured confidence that our tears of sorrow will lead to a new life, worthy of His compassion. In the Heart of Mary, we know that real holiness is something that is attainable. With the help of Mary, we have an unshakeable hope that all obstacles are surmountable.
The great Mystery of the Presentation should naturally lead us not only to contemplate the lives of sacrifice offered by the God-Man and His Ever-Virgin Mother, but also to increase the sacrifices which we offer to God each day. How appropriate it is that Lent follows so soon upon this Mystery. Lent -- the season of sacrifice and prayer, the season of reflection and meditation, the season of resolution and amendment; the season of gratitude and generosity for the gift of God's mercy.
If we reflect seriously upon our sacrifices, we are forced by truth to acknowledge that what we offer is so small, so poor; and even that, so infrequently. Would not this then be the perfect moment to resolve to offer a special gift, an infinite gift, the only Gift wholly worthy of God? We have at our disposal, by the infinite mercy of God and His Tender Mother, the Most Holy and August Sacrifice of the Mass. We have the privilege of attending this great Act of Atonement every day. Several times each day we may unite at least in spirit with the unbloody renewal of this Supreme Sacrifice of the Cross. In addition, anyone can ask that the Holy Sacrifice be offered for a particular intention. What purer sacrifice -- there is no purer. What better gift -- there is no better. What holier prayer -- there is no holier. What greater reparation -- there is no greater. What quicker means -- there is no quicker.
Why are your worries not allayed, your prayers not answered? May not this be the principle reason? Have you had any Masses offered for these intentions -- even one? With a means so readily available, is it anything less than a sad omission not to avail yourself of it? And for others, yes, all too many are totally indifferent, as Our Lady lamented. They have no desire, no care for the things of God and eternal life. They care not to know or love, much less serve their Creator, Redeemer and Judge. But, what more efficacious means has God given to spark that desire than to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for them?
It is periodically asked, "What is a proper stipend to have a Mass offered?" That all depends on the one asking. The guideline is simple: the stipend should be a sacrificial offering according to the ability of the one requesting it. A sacrifice for a small child is far different from a working adult. When parish priests had scarcely any other income -- the norm was a day's wage, or in other countries, half a day's wage. The norm for these times was set years ago at fifty dollars. At the rate our currency is being devalued, who knows what the future will bring? But again, the spirit of the offering should be that of a sacrifice, and that sacrifice varies with the individual. Thanks be to God, every priest worthy of the name would happily offer Mass simply upon request if someone was destitute. Or, for five cents if that was the child's sacrifice. As one matures and has more resources, what is a sacrifice changes. Keep to the spirit of the offering -- a sacrificial gift to God, and an aid to His minister. If you still aren't quite sure what to do, simply ask.
In closing, let us all remember the words of Our Lady of Good Success predicting these disastrous times. She warned of the loss of faith, hope and charity. She lamented the absence of the spirit of sacrifice, reparation and penance. She wept over the loss of morals, vocations and souls. Is it any wonder why Her Son wanted Her to be known now, in this critical hour, as 'Mary of Good Success of the Purification'? She it is who now offers the supreme sacrifice of Her Divine Infant Babe. She it is who brought forth the Light to enkindle the spirit of faith in this darkness. She it is who has been given power to encourage hope in languishing souls. She it is by whose undying love makes charity blossom in withering hearts. She it is by whose sacrifice all may follow the path of salvation. She it is by whose holocaust the world's sin was repaired. She it is who imparts the spirit of penance unto life everlasting. She it is who without compare embodies purity, virtue and holiness. She it is who alone has been chosen to, "in a marvelous way, dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trample him under Her feet and chain him in the infernal abyss." Mary, Our Lady of Good Success of the Purification shines forth as the only beacon by which mankind may know, love and serve the All-Holy God Who created them, bled for them, died for them, and now gives Her as a bright and glorious hope for them.