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  • Marian Reflections

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Marian thought for February

«It was not enough for God to give us his Son on a Cross, but he also gave Mary to us. When we honor the Virgin Mary, we will love Jesus more. When we place ourselves under her mantle we will better understand divine mercy. How great is God, how sweet is Mary!» (St. Rafael Arnáiz)

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron was born on April 9, 1911 in Burgos, Spain. He studied in the Jesuit school, where he received his First Holy Communion in 1919. He showed a very great openness to the things that had to do with God from a very early age. The first signs of the illness that would mark the rest of his life appeared in 1922. His father, who believed that his recovery was due to the Virgin Mary’s special intervention, took Rafael to Zaragoza in thanksgiving and consecrated him to Our Lady of Pilar. As years went by, he developed many different traits, such as friendship. He also grew in his Christian life. God placed the desire in his heart to consecrate himself in monastic life. He met the Trappist monks of San Isidro de Dueñas and felt very attracted to that life, because he saw that it corresponded to his intimate desires. He entered there on January 15, 1934. He had to leave the convent three times due to the diabetes that God mysteriously used to test him. Each time he returned, he came back with more desires to be generous and faithful. These desires were fulfilled on April 26, 1938, when he left this world at only 27 years of age. He was declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and canonized on October 11, 2009.

Our Lady of Fatima to the Visionaries

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"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, 'O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

In 1917 the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Cova da Iria, Fatima. Their names were Lucia (10 years old), Francisco (9 years old), and Jacinta (7 years old). Preceding Our Lady's apparitions, the Angel of Peace had appeared to them three times throughout 1916, teaching them several Eucharistic prayers and encouraging them to offer sacrifices for sinners. The Virgin Mary appeared to the children six times between the months of May and October. She asked them to pray the Rosary and to offer sacrifices for poor sinners. She also asked that a chapel be built in her honor. In spite of their young age, the children happily offered sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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