The Children and the Message of Fatima
First Beatification of Children Who Are
VATICAN CITY, MAY 9 (ZENIT.org).- For the first
time in the history of the Church, John Paul
II will beatify two children who are not martyrs this
Sunday. The Holy Father is travelling to Fatima to honor Jacinta and Francisco, two of the children who saw the
Blessed Virgin in 1917.
The third child, Lucia, is still living, a
cloistered nun. The two children were very
different in character. Francisco was reflective,
reserved, good, flexible, conciliatory, and always ready to give
in to avoid conflicts. Jacinta, on the other hand, was vivacious and sensible but also, as Lucia herself describes,
touchy and temperamental; she very easily
withdrew into herself upset whenever there
was a quarrel. According to Lucia, who is a cousin of Francisco and
Jacinta, except for their appearance, her
cousins did not seem to be brother and
However, given their spiritual growth, so
important in connection with the
beatification, they both have something very important to say to their contemporaries. They spoke as children, and
remained child-like, as they grew in
maturity and depth of the Christian spirit. Fr. Paolo Molinari,
Postulator of their cause for beatification, explained to Vatican
Radio that their "example tells us that children have their heart open to God, they can and must grow
constantly in real personal love for Jesus
Christ, with sincere and active love for other people."
The Fatima children loved to play and graze the
flock entrusted to them.
In keeping with a family tradition, they prayed
the Rosary. With the spontaneity and
simplicity of children, in order to have more time to play,
they found an easy and quick way to recite the Rosary, by simply saying "Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary."
They would get through the beads in no time
and go off to play.
"This reflects all the authenticity of
childhood: they remained real children
although, after the apparitions and resulting docility to the movements
of grace from God, they intensified their way of praying and, consequently,
not only prayed the Rosary correctly, but even found time to
dedicate to meditation on the Lord's mysteries," explained Fr.
This was especially true of Francisco, who was
very affected by Jesus' sorrow in Gethsemani
for human sins. Francisco developed a personal love for
the Lord, feeling intensely the need to keep him company and console him in his sorrow, and to make sacrifices in
reparation, and work for the conversion of
Jacinta, with her heartfelt delicacy, felt
compassion for people and offered sacrifices
and prayers, intensifying her entire Christian life to
enable those who were offending the Lord to change their lives, and to have the punishment due to sin reduced. Both
prayed and offered their own lives
especially for peace: their lives in fact included the last years
of the First World War.
"The children's message seems decisive: the
intensification of the spiritual life and,
therefore, of real prayer, directed, however, to others:
it is not about spiritual privacy, which, of course, is not real Christianity. Everything they did, including their
prayer and sacrifices, was for the good of
others and to change the world, to transform
society, so that people would not give in to their evil instincts
and egotism, but think more of living according to God's will,"
Fr. Molinari explained.