Feb 20th - Jacinta Marto
What is it like to, from an early age, understand that the universe is larger that anyone imagines?
Jacinta was seven years old when Our Lady appeared to her and her older kin at Fatima, and not quite ten years old when she died during the Spanish Flu pandemic .
By all accounts she was a delightful child (I love her hand on her hip stance in the photo with her brother and cousin), and her death arising from complications of the Flu was painful and agonizing. And she died alone, as Our Lady said she would. So much life for one so small.
I am not quite sure what to add. As a parent I feel the agony her parents must have felt losing several children during the pandemic but especially one so young, so special, and so full of life.
I always say that we get the years we are supposed to get and, short or long, that life is life and living it for God is its only purpose. There are those that live long lives and share much grace and those that live short lives but share just as much grace. Jacinta live a short life, but what a life it was.
At seven she had visions and conversations with Mary; not quite ten, she sought the sacraments before she died. How many of us can say that we committed ourselves to God and His message even in adulthood?
Jacinta pray that we too will hear the voice of God, wherever it comes from and respond with joy.
UPDATE (20/02/21): Jacinta, also pray for us in times of pandemic.
In her Memoirs (III, 6), Sister Lucia quotes Jacinta who had just been granted a vision: “Do you not see all those streets, all those paths and fields full of people crying out for food, yet have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church, praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And all those people praying with him?” Thank you, brothers and sisters, for being here with me! I could not fail to come here to venerate the Virgin Mary and to entrust to her all her sons and daughters. Under her mantle they are not lost; from her embrace will come the hope and the peace that they require, and that I implore for all my brothers and sisters in baptism and in our human family, especially the sick and the disabled, prisoners and the unemployed, the poor and the abandoned. Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray to God with the hope that others will hear us; and let us speak to others with the certainty that God will help us. Indeed, God created us to be a source of hope for others, a true and attainable hope, in accordance with each person’s state of life. In “asking” and “demanding” of each of us the fulfillment of the duties of our proper state (Letters of Sister Lucia, 28 February 1943), God effects a general mobilization against the indifference that chills the heart and worsens our myopia. We do not want to be a stillborn hope! Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). The Lord, who always goes before us, said this and did this. Whenever we experience the cross, he has already experienced it before us. We do not mount the cross to find Jesus. Instead it was he who, in his self-abasement, descended even to the cross, in order to find us, to dispel the darkness of evil within us, and to bring us back to the light. With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true face of Jesus the Savior, resplendent at Easter. Thus may we rediscover the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.
-- Homily of Pope Francis at Canonization Mass of Jacinta and Francisco
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