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Liturgy of the Hours

20th February

 

Saint Francisco and Jacinta Marto

 

Francisco Marto was born in Aljustrel, Fatima, on the 11th June 1908 and his sister Jacinta Marto was born in the same locality, on the 11th March 1910. In their humble family they learnt to know God and the Blessed Virgin and to praise them. In 1916 they saw an Angel three times and in 1917 six times the Blessed Virgin who exhorted them to pray and do penance for the remission of sins, to obtain the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. Both were immediately willing to respond with all their strength to these exhortations. Increasingly burning in the love for God and the souls, they had but one wish: to pray and suffer according to the request of the Angel and the Virgin Mary. Francisco died on the 4th of April 1919 and Jacinta on the 20th February 1920. Pope Francis canonised the first two non-martyr children on the 13th May 2017. 

 

Common of Saints

Office of Readings

SECOND READING

 

Homily of John Paul II, pope

 

(Homily for the Mass of Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto on the 13th May 2000, Fatima) (20th Century)

 

The little children privileged of the Father.

 

"Father, ... to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children" (Mt 11: 25).

With these words Jesus praises the heavenly Father for his designs:  "Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will" (Mt 11: 26). You were pleased to reveal the kingdom to the merest children.

According to the divine plan, "a woman clothed with the sun" (Rv 12: 1) came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a mother's voice and heart:  she asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that she was ready to lead them safely to God. And behold, they see a light shining from her maternal hands which penetrates them inwardly, so that they feel immersed in God just as - they explain - a person sees himself in a mirror.

Later Francisco, one of the three privileged children, exclaimed:  "We were burning in that light which is God and we were not consumed. What is God like? It is impossible to say. In fact we will never be able to tell people". God:  a light that burns without consuming. Moses had the same experience when he saw God in the burning bush.

What most impressed and entirely absorbed Bl. Francisco was God in that immense light which penetrated the inmost depths of the three children. A transformation takes place in his life, one we could call radical:  a transformation certainly uncommon for children of his age. He devotes himself to an intense spiritual life, expressed in assiduous and fervent prayer, and attains a true form of mystical union with the Lord. This spurs him to a progressive purification of the spirit through the renunciation of his own pleasures and even of innocent childhood games. Francisco bore without complaining the great sufferings caused by the illness from which he died. Little Francisco had a great desire to atone for the offences of sinners by striving to be good and by offering his sacrifices and prayers. The life of Jacinta, his younger sister by almost two years, was motivated by these same sentiments.

In her motherly concern, the Blessed Virgin came here to Fátima to ask men and women to stop offending God, Our Lord, who is already very offended. For this reason she asks the little shepherds:  "Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them".
Little Jacinta felt and personally experienced Our Lady's anguish, offering herself heroically as a victim for sinners. One day, when she and Francisco had already contracted the illness that forced them to bed, the Virgin Mary came to visit them at home, as the little one recounts:  Our Lady came to see us and said that soon she would come and take Francisco to heaven. And she asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I told her yes. And when the time came for Francisco to leave, the little girl tells him:  Give my greetings to Our Lord and to Our Lady and tell them that I am enduring everything they want for the conversion of sinners. Jacinta had been so deeply moved by the vision of hell during the apparition of 13 July that no mortification or penance seemed too great to save sinners.

 

 

 

Reponsory Col 1:24; 2Cor 4:10

 

R. In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ,*

     On behalf of his body, which is the Church.

V. Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus,*

    On behalf of his body, which is the Church.

 

 

Prayer

God of infinite goodness,
You love the innocent and exalt the humble;
Please grant that, in imitation of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta,
We may serve You in simplicity of heart
And thus may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Morning Prayer (Laudes)

Ant. Bened. A great sign appeared in the sky, a Woman clothed with the sun.

 

Prayer

 

God of infinite goodness,
You love the innocent and exalt the humble;
Please grant that, in imitation of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta,
We may serve You in simplicity of heart
And thus may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Evening Prayer (Vespers)

Ant. Magn.  I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have revealed to the childlike the mysteries of your kingdom.

 

 

Prayer

 

God of infinite goodness,
You love the innocent and exalt the humble;
Please grant that, in imitation of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta,
We may serve You in simplicity of heart
And thus may enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Amen