Ninety-eight years ago today, the Mother of Our Lord appeared for the first time to the three shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, near a town called Fatima in Portugal. Since then, the entire Catholic world, and many other elements of the human family, have come to a knowledge of, and devotion to, Our Lady of Fatima. As has been pointed out before, it is very significant that the Mother of Jesus chose to associate herself with the name of Fatima, since that name is very prominent in the world of Islam. The girl Fatima was one of the daughters of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. When the Muslims occupied the Iberian peninsula for some 800 years, they left Islamic culture scattered all over that area which would become Spain and Portugal once the Muslims had been expelled by the Christians from the territory which the Muslims had invaded and occupied. The name Fatima is a remnant of that Muslim culture and history, and now is one of the most prominent titles of the Mother of Christ, who is mentioned more than once in the Koran, or holy book of the Islamic faith. At this very moment, our Holy Father is a pilgrim among the Islamic and Jewish peoples in the Middle East. No doubt he is meeting women whose name is Fatima, and he is reflecting upon the fact that Our Lady of Fatima, by her very title, shows her concern for the Islamic world, that it may come one day to recognize Our Lord Jesus Christ as being the REAL Prophet, who is in fact the Son of God, Son of Man, and Redeemer of Humanity.
Let us review that prayer used by the Church on Good Friday for those who do not believe in Christ, which includes the Muslims who do not believe that Christ is God: Almighty and Eternal God, enable those who do not acknowledge Christ to find the truth as they walk before you in sincerity of heart. Help us to grow in love for one another, to grasp more fully the mystery of your godhead, and to become more perfect witnesses of your love in the sight of men. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.