We have spent much of the past year (May 13th- October 13th) celebrating the 100th year Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to the children of Fatima, Portugal in 1917. One of the things that struck me in studying the story, is the apparent contradiction in tone between the way we talk about faith, especially sin, today and how Our Lady emphasized it then.
Currently, we often focus on “meeting people where they are” and helping them move (often very slowly) from sin to repentance and holiness. However, Our Lady was unafraid to show three young children the consequences of sin, by allowing them to experience visions of hell! What then is the message for us? Do we discuss the real possibility of hell or do we like to assume that everyone goes to heaven, regardless of their life choices, faith or lack thereof?
Perhaps we should return to an honest discussion of how our choices can lead us away from Christ and the need we have for the sacrament of Confession. Rather than just assume that God’s love covers a multitude of sins ( of course it does as His Mercy is endless), we should think about why we would rather offend the Lord we love, rather than amend our lives to try and please him. For more information on Fatima consider Jean Heimann’s new book, Fatima the Apparition that Changed the World, see review here.