Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal. Tomorrow, in our Church and in our home, we will remember and commemorate the miracle and we will turn our minds and hearts to Our Lady of Fatima. I don’t usually share about our family’s celebrations of feast days for 2 reasons. First of all, I am not great about keeping up with them all. Usually, I will remember that it is a special feast day at about 3 in the afternoon (if at all) and then I will casually mention it to the kids without any special celebrating. Second of all, when we do remember to acknowledge the special feasts of our faith, our celebrations hardly seem worth mentioning to others. They are not very significant, not very creative. Yesterday, for example, to commemorate the Feast of Our Lady of La Leche, we drank milkshakes together before bed. Will milkshakes encourage my children to be better Catholics or increase in them a devotion to our Blessed Mother? Would other families be inspired by our idea of celebration? You see why I do not share more often…..
The story of Our Lady of Fatima is one of my favorites though. I love the simplicity and innocence of the three little shepherd children. I love that they never wavered in their insistence of proclaiming Mary’s message to the world. I love the accounts of the Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by thousands in a little sheep pasture in Portugal. It was an amazing event that changed hearts and brought about the conversion of many.
Earlier this week, I heard about a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima, that was going to be traveling to different parishes in our diocese this week to celebrate the miracle and, hopefully, inspire greater devotion to Mary. The statue would be at a parish very near to our home on Wednesday, but just for the morning and early afternoon. I made the decision to take my children to see the statue, hear the stories, and pray before Our Blessed Mother. But then yesterday, Tuesday, we had a very long and exhausting day. Before bed last night (and before our nighttime snack of milkshakes) :) I told the kids I had changed my mind. We would not attempt to get up early and out the door to attend the Mass and presentation. It would just be too much.
This morning, (by the grace of God?) I had another change of heart. Despite our busy, overwhelming week so far (or rather, because of our overwhelming week, so far), I really thought we should be there. So, I woke the children early, practically having to drag them out of bed, and we made it to the 8:30am Mass, where Our Lady’s statue sat in silent peacefulness up front. After Mass, we moved a little closer and listened as a woman spoke of the miracles that had followed the beautiful statue of Our Lady as "she" had traveled the world. The parish priest joined us and added his own spiritual miracle to the list, sharing his own devotion and attributing his vocation, at least in part, to his connection to Our Lady of Fatima. Then, the children and I got a few moments to pray before the statue while holding 1st class relics from Jacinta and Francisco, two of the young shepherd children Mary had appeared to for the last time almost exactly 94 years ago.
It has been one of those weeks. A week, not only of busyness and chaos, but also of questioning myself and doubting myself and looking for God but not feeling like I was finding Him. But, today, as my children and I knelt in prayer before that amazing replica of Mary, the Mother of God, I was at peace. Through the beautiful example of His mother, Jesus gave me just the renewal I was so in need of. And He reminded me, once again, how important it is to trust, to let go of my perfectionism, and to believe in miracles, even little miracles like peaceful home schooling and a calm, relaxed mommy.