• SUNDAY READ

    How to save a world without sin

    3

    Ricardo Saludo

    Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.
    — The Angel on his second appearance at Fatima, Summer 1916

    Even in Lent, many faithful may turn to another article upon reading “sacrifice” or “sins” in the Fatima Angel’s words above. Those not tuning out may well do so upon reading: “accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send.”

    Yes, we live in a world without sin. Not a sinless one, but rather a planet where most people, even the baptized, don’t believe in sin.

    Today, one shouldn’t break ordinances, hurt feelings, show cruetly to animals, contribute to global warming, and discriminate against social class, skin color, sexual orientatlon, height, weight, or some other self attribute.

    But offend God? No problem: He doesn’t have rights or lawyers (the Christian God, that is, but don’t cross Allah). What was punishable with burning at the stake centuries ago is just free expression now.

    That’s why in Fatima 100 summers ago, after teaching the three child-visionaries in spring a prayer about adoring and loving God, the Angel of Peace spoke about sin, sacrifice, and the conversion of sinners.

    Even then, sin was vanishing from polite, erudite conversation. People and nations fretted far more about transgressing the sovereign will of the people, the immutable laws of science, the rights of man (and beast, too), the rules of sport and etiquette, and other dos and don’ts of this world, than heaven’s laws.

    Indeed, the whole Enlightenment was about breaking the fetters of morality and tradition, from the Ten Commandments to Victorian sexual mores, from the divine right of kings to the established forms of art and culture.

    In short, do your thing, and let others do theirs.

    That’s all fine, if one sought only the things of this world. But if one had the gall to seek heavenly eternity with God, then it stands to reason that one must follow His rules, His laws, His will.

    After all, how can one end up with Him without seeking Him, right? Plus: We need His Spirit to make our hearts like unto His, for being God, He cannot accept anyone unless he or she has been raised to His divinity.

    Many don’t bother with all that anymore. They accept that humanity can only rise so high and live so long. Better be happy now than holy (hopefully) later.

    So people content themselves with all this world offers, then face inevitable debilitation, darkness, and death, sans light at the tunnel’s end. That one-way trip is deemed preferable to a lifetime of striving for impossible perfection, hoping to be saved in the end (maybe).

    The sacrificial path to holiness
    Thus, the “sinless” world actually wallows in the original sin of setting aside God and His will and following one’s own, while submitting to the world’s strictures.

    That makes the Angel’s message even harder to take for anyone who’s not a peasant boy or girl of nine or younger.

    If people know or care little, if at all, about offending God, why sacrifice for the reparation of sins and the conversion of sinners?

    Which may be partly why the Angel asked Lucia Dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacintha Marto to sacrifice for other people’s sins. Those who believe must make reparations for those who don’t.

    That, of course, is what Jesus did, and His followers are asked to share in His work of salvation by their own sacrifices. And when Lucia asked, “How are we to make sacrifices?” the Angel spoke the words quoted at the beginning of this article: “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God. … Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.”

    Now, in offering all to God, we invite Him to make of our every thought and wish, joy and anguish, word and deed a perfect offering, since by ourselves, we have nothing good to give the Lord.

    After all, Jesus admonished in Luke 18:19: “No one is good but God alone.” Or as this writer’s former Ateneo theology professor Fr. Joseph Roche said: “The only thing we own is sin.”

    Ironically, that is the best part about the Angel’s call to offer sacrifices for sin and sinners: It opens the door for God to bless our every sacrificial moment with His grace, lifting our fallen beings and lives to His perfection and sanctity, as He does to bread and wine in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

    By our sacrifices we open the floodgates of God’s saving grace and mercy to transform us and our lives into His sanctifying vessels and actions.

    And the world will see this holiness imbuing the faithful and their lives offered to God. People may scoff at first, or even decry and destroy it, as they did to the Son of God two millennia ago. But what the world sees and seeks to snuff out will be the spark kindling the divine flame hidden in every soul.

    “The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you,” the Angel told the children. “Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”

    And by praying and offering our lives, we become channels of grace and holiness for all the world, awakening souls to the love and power of the Almighty, even those who refuse to believe in Him or accept His eternal offer of love.

    So it was when lions devoured Christians in ancient Rome; so it is when the godless scorn the devout in the public arenas of today.

    By sacrifice let us open the world to God’s saving grace. Amen.

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    3 Comments

    1. How can anyone give credence to this story about an angel appearing with whatever message for humankind?? 2 Peter 1: 3-4 (AMPLIFIED Bible ) We have been been given… ” ( absolutely) everything necessary for (a dynamic spiritual ) life and godliness…through the TRUE and personal knowledge ( caps are mine ) of Him who called us by his own glory and excellence.” v. 4 “…and become sharers of the divine nature.”

      In Luke 11: 29-30. Jesus called “wicked,” the generation that seeks a sign. When you have all these so-called signs, then what would be the point of faith and relying on the written Word of God? It would be easier to just go from sign to sign…forget about cultivating a relationship with your Lord and Savior, right? That would be deception.

      I don’t get that we would rather get our direction from signs…not questioning their source. It would behoove us to remember that the devil comes “masquerading as an angel of light.” Don’t be so easily misled. We are so quick to give such weight to this “angel” without even testing it against the Word. We are to test every spirit…1 John 4: 1-3.
      Additionally, in 1Thess. 5: 21…we are to ” test and prove all things..”

      “By our sacrifices we open the floodgates of God’s saving grace and mercy to transform us and our lives into His sanctifying vessels and actions.” I beg to differ…according to the eternal Word of God, our sacrifices won’t be worth anything because no one should be able to boast…Eph. 2: 8-9. This kind of thinking is works-based, not faith-based. Jesus Himself said, Repent and believe…so salvation comes with repentance and faith. Can’t skip those and just jump to good intentions and good works….otherwise Jesus would have died for nothing. IN OTHER WORDS, you need to get saved FIRST, and then the good works are a sign of your faith not the other way around.

      And putting the Lord Jesus and Mary on equal footing is heresy. God said He will not give His glory to another…in the 10 Commandments, Deuteronomy 5: 7-9 AMP…and twice in Isaiah. Isaiah 48:11 and Isaiah 42:8. When God says something once, we should pay attention. When He repeats anything, all the more we should take heed.

      The authority of anyone’s word is based on the his nature, character, reliability, etc. The authority of the Word of God is based on the nature, the Person of God. Now, between believing the Word ( which is the Bible ) and a supposed angel…who, do you think would be more reliable?? The creature or Creator?

      I would rather have the Word of my Creator as my foundation…

    2. At this time, the world is damned to perdition without any hope of salvation. There are 2 laws by which man must oblige: 1) The law of God (or moral code for non-believers) and 2) The law of man. Many of man’s law invoke the law of God as enshrined in some constitutions (e.g. Phil. and US). The difference between the 2 is that you need a lawyer to interpret the law of man and the second requires divine wisdom to understand.

      Man’s emancipation from religion has led to more freedom of thought and expression. Free thinkers and atheists feel “liberated” from the closed practice and interpretation of religious doctrines. Man is no longer afraid of the “burning hell” model as he realizes that life in this world can be cruel as hell itself. The reward of “eternal bliss and happiness” does not seem so attractive anymore and losses the appeal to be “good all your life” for an indeterminate promise. Some people even think that they could bribe their way to heaven by donating large sums of money to the Church, visit 13 churches during Holy Week, and do confession from time to time to unload their sins.

      This is 2017, and many religions fight for their membership and relevance. We don’t have to wait for God’s ire to punish us all. The warning from the angel of Fatima was hidden and forgotten. It must be bad. Really bad.

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