The family of Louis and Zelie – Letter #11
February 13, 2018
« I must finish my letter, for it is already late, and I get up early, at five-thirty every morning. It is difficult for me, but with the fast of Lent, I aspire to Easter.« Saint Zélie, CF 156, to her daughter Pauline, March 12, 1876
Dear Friends of “The Family of Louis and Zelie,”
We are entering Lent, the sacred time that allows us to prepare for Easter. It is the opportune time to make some small renunciations out of love for God. That is what Saints Louis and Zelie did and that is what they taught their children.
This example of the shepherd children of Fatima can also help us offer little sacrifices for Jesus:
« I would like to console Jesus. »
In 1916, a year before the Queen of the Holy Rosary appeared to the little shepherds Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, the Angel of Fatima appeared to them three times to prepare them for their universal mission. He taught them to pray and to offer sacrifices in expiation of sins and for the conversion of sinners. On the third apparition, the Angel gave Holy Communion to the children as he told them: “Eat the Body and drink the Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly offended by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” Francisco, who was 8 years old, was able to see the Angel and later Our Lady, but he did not hear them speak; he waited impatiently for his little sister Jacinta who was two years younger than him, or his cousin Lucia, for them to recount what they had heard. The words of the Angel, “Console your God” deeply struck the soul of Francisco who from then on desired only to think of ways to console Our Lord and the Virgin Mary. He would often hide behind a pile of pebbles to secretly pray while the sheep were grazing.
When one called out for him, he responded: “I prefer to stay alone to pray and console Jesus who is very sad for so many sins.” In his ‘mission,’ Francisco felt strengthened by the words of Our Lady. Lucia asked him once, “What do you prefer the most: to console Our Lord, or the conversion of sinners so that they do not go to hell?” He responded, “I prefer to console the Lord. Did you not see how sad Our Lady was last month when She said to us that men should no longer offend the Lord, who is so much offended? I would like to console the Lord….”
The child fasted for days, sometimes even giving up drinking, only out of love for God, with the deep desire to convert sinners by his prayers and sacrifices, and to please Jesus. Francisco showed above all his heroic love during the six months he was bedridden with great pain. Lucia often visited him and said that he never complained. All that was given to him, he accepted without objections. One time she asked him: “Francisco, do you suffer much?” He answered peacefully: “I have very strong headaches! But I bear them to console Jesus! I love God so much.”
We also have to console Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary with our little acts of love. For this, we do not need to do great things: a smile, an effort of patience, helping our neighbor, giving up a second glass of wine… from everything, if we do it out of love for Jesus, we too can console Him. And to do it out of love of God, it is enough to will it and to tell Him during our prayer! We do not need to feel something, but just tell Jesus. We will be able to offer each of these little acts each night to Jesus in our personal prayer.
I wish you a Holy Lent! Let us together accompany Jesus in the desert. I assure you of our prayers for your intentions. May the Lord bless you!
Father Jean-Marie Simar,
Rector of the Shrine of Alençon