Mary's Little Office

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Our Lady of Fatima - The Shepherds Three

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The time came for Lucy to take charge of her family's small flock of sheep. This meant that she must pasture them out in the hills all day long. Francis and Jacinta were quite melancholy about it - no more pleasant days with her. They waited wistfully for her return in the evening, and they cried with delight when the sheep with their pretty shepherdess came trotting into view. The Marto family also had some sheep. And the two youngsters pleaded with their mother to have charge of them. Signora Marto could not long resist the entreaty of their upturned faces. The morning after, the three friends joined their flocks together and off they went, tripping gaily after the thirty odd sheep. What joy! They had recited the usual little prayers to God, to Our Lady and to their Guardian Angels before setting out, and now they were on their way to the beckoning hills.

Sheep and children went leisurely along for an hour or so until they came to a suitable place. There they stopped for the day. As the sheep began to graze contentedly, their young guardians sought a shady spot to rest. The morning went peacefully by and at noon, the eager hands plunged into the lunch basket.

No sooner was their hunger quieted than they quickly knelt down, for they had been taught to recite the rosary after dinner. But their dark eyes were dancing with anticipated fun, and once refreshed they were eager for games and the blackberries in the bushes nearby. Jacinta especially longed with her impetuous little heart to run about. So, the Our Fathers and the Hail Marys were sadly garbled, and the instant the last bead was finished, off they scattered, shrilling in this or that jolly pursuit. In this way the afternoons were joyously passed until the time would come to return home.

After supper the grown-ups relaxed from the toil of the day and listened fondly to the children's tales of their adventures. Sometimes their own tongues would loosen, old tales go round, songs strike up, with now and then a whirl of dancing. When dust fell, the children said their prayers and were soon abed, deep in slumber and in the dreams of childhood. But little did they dream of the great and merciful designs that God had upon their lives; little did they dream of the things that they would be called upon to suffer for the love of Our Lord, and of the Virgin, His Queen-Mother; little did they dream of Portugal and of the peoples of the earth to be saved from ruin through their innocence and sacrifices! They were to see, not fleeting fantasies in sleep, but eternal realities in broad daylight, realities of that world compared to which our earth, for all its hardness and self-confidence, is but a shadow. They were to receive the visit of the Queen of that eternal land, of which this universe of time and space is only the vestibule. They were to hear from her things potent enough to cause a revolution in Portugal, and in every nation disposed to listen.

And the revolution that was to take seed in the hearts of three little shepherds was to be one not springing from desperation and hatred, but a revolution unleashing the forces of faith, hope and love. For that reason, it was a revolution that must ultimately succeed.

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