One of the central messages of Our Lady of Fatima was a personal conversion of heart, a conversion which can lead to worldwide peace.
Sometimes when we see the many challenges facing humanity, we can become discouraged, think-ing that we can do nothing. Yet, Our Lady of Fatima reminds us that one of the central keys to re-solving any worldwide challenge is personal conversion.
According to Sr. Lucia, the three children at Fatima heard the words of angel cry out, “Penance, Penance, Penance!“
Cardinal Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) reflected on this aspect of the message of Our Lady of Fatima in a commentary on the private apparitions and revealed a personal conversation he had with the visionary Sr. Lucia.
“To save souls” has emerged as the key word of the first and second parts of the “secret,” and the key word of this third part is the threefold cry: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” The beginning of the Gospel comes to mind: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk 1:15). To understand the signs of the times means to accept the urgency of penance — of conversion — of faith. This is the correct response to this moment of history, characterized by the grave perils outlined in the images that follow. Allow me to add here a personal recollection: in a conversation with me Sister Lucia said that it appeared ever more clearly to her that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more and more in faith, hope and love — everything else was intended to lead to this.
If we truly want the world to change, or for certain challenges facing humanity to be resolved, we must not only pray for distant lands or faraway people, but look inside our own hearts.
World wars will continue, as Our Lady of Fatima said, until each one of us repents of our wrongdoings, recognizes our own personal weaknesses and relies on God for all of our needs.
As members of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, we must listen closely to this message and remember that our prayers for the Pope’s intentions are good and praiseworthy, but they must be matched with an interior conversion of the heart.
Philip Kosloski is the Digital Content Manager for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (USA) and is also a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and has been featured on such places as The Huffington Post, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Herald, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register and EWTN Radio.