October 14, 2010
St. Callistus IDear Family of Mary!"I invite you to renunciation for nine days so that, with your help, everything I wanted to realize through the secrets I began in Fatima may be fulfilled. I call you, dear children, to grasp the importance of my coming and the seriousness of the situation. I want to save all souls and present them to God." (August 25, 1991) Our Lady has affirmed that her presence in Medjugorje is a continuation and fulfillment of what she began at Fatima in 1917 - the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart! I believe that what we saw yesterday in Chile is another sign of Our Lady's maternal love and power. On October 13, 1917, a sign was given to the people of Portugal and to the whole world. The sun danced in the sky and plummeted to earth, drying the sodden ground and terrifying those present. Our Lady had promised this sign to the three children of Fatima. And it happened. Now, 93 years later, on that very same day, 33 miners have been rescued from the depths of the earth, in what the news media has said is a miraculous event. Those 33 miners were entombed in the mine, 650 meters below the surface of the earth. For 17 days they waited, hoping beyond hope that they would found by the rescue teams. We can imagine how their hope was challenged during those black days. But then the rescue probe found their bunker and they received a shot of hope. It took 53 more days before the dramatic rescue operation commenced. During that time the miners received food and water and support through the communication tubes. I heard that the experts felt there was only a 2% chance of actually saving the miners. But the people of Chile did not give up hope, and the rescuers worked day and night to drill a narrow escape passage down to the miners. But it was on October 13, the day of the miracle of Fatima that the rescue happened. Every one of the miners was pulled up to the surface of the earth on that day! Our Lady was guiding the rescue team and her intercession made it a success! As the news coverage continued throughout the day, we were told little snippets about the trapped miners. Each little story carried with it the sense of how grace was at work in that black hole below the earth. One miner realized during those days of captivity that he had to change his life by marrying the mother of his children and living a committed married life. Another miner, who was trapped with his brother, realized that family is most important and decided he would live more for his family. Another miner renamed his little child, born while he was underground, Esperanza (Hope). Another man said he met the devil down there, but God took his hand and he now was going to live for his family, for the first time. Truly, the Holy Spirit was at work in that mine, charting a new path for the miners. The psychologist who counseled them during their captivity said that the men had had 70 days of staring death in the face, and that experience would change them forever. I see this event as a living parable for all of us. The men were living in complete darkness, with little hope. We live in a world that is very dark, filled with hopelessness and fear. The men faced death. We all face death, and though it seems far away to us, it is very near. The men had 17 days of isolation from the outside world. Many of us live in isolation from God and no nothing of eternal realitites. When the communication shaft reached them they began to have new hope and a whole new reality opened up to them from above. When we meet God and begin to pray, a whole new reality opens up for us. We receive from God words of hope, and direction for our lives. We begin to believe in the life above, in heaven. The communication tubes delivered food and water, which kept the men alive in their captivity. Through prayer, through the sacraments, we receive the Bread of Life (Jesus in the Eucharist) and the Waters of Life (the Holy Spirit), by which we can survive and live in our captivity on earth. The miners lived a disciplined and selfless life in the mine, as they waited. They pulled together and served one another in an exemplary way. We the Church on earth must do the same, supporting and encouraging oneanother as we await eternity. Finally, when the rescue shaft was finished, the capsule was sent down, and in it was a rescue worker who risked his life to descend to the men in the mine, and help them. Jesus came to us as one of us, descending from heaven to earth to help us, and actually die for us so that we could ascend to the Father in heaven. And watching each miner ascend in the shaft was like watching souls as they enter heaven. Each was greeted by the president of Chile, very much like the Father will greet us when we arrive in heaven, with a huge smile and a big hug. Really, this event was a living parable.
It is reported that Pope Benedict sent the miners each a rosary that he had blessed himself. The miners set up a chapel in one corner of the mine and organized the Rosary every day during their captivity! We can imagine it was the Rosary that kept them sane. Truly, it was Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima, who is among us still in Medjugorje, who sustained the miners through the Rosary, and arranged their rescue and guided the hand of the drillers and engineers as they devised this stunning rescue. This event is a sign of hope for all of us. It is a gift of hope for the whole world. Our Lady is with us, and God is blessing us with the gift of faith for the days ahead. Thank you, dear Mother, for saving the miners and for coming to save each one of us!
In Jesus and Mary! Cathy Nolan
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