The lives of Sts. Francisco and Blessed Jacinta are like that of St. Francis of Assisi, who roused the people of Umbria with his cries: “My God and my all! Love is not loved!”
Why are souls not ﬁlled with the fervor of love like these children of the Serra de Aire? Why are we so half-hearted and calculating in our giving of ourselves? Why do we remain aloof in our living the radical demands of the Gospel? For if we do not do as they did, we shall not become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We can see that the spirituality of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta is profoundly Trinitarian, rooted in the mystery of all mysteries — the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, reafﬁrmed by the angel in 1916. It is, at the same time Christocentric. For them as for Christians of any age, Mary is the way that leads to Jesus in the most direct and efﬁcacious manner. In their love for Our Lady they learned to love Christ, in the Mystery of his redemption and in the mystery of his Eucharistic presence. The Christ of the Cross, the Christ of the Host, polarized their hearts, the whole capacity of loving.
Their spirituality is also ecclesiastical. The seers prayed and mortiﬁed themselves for the Holy Father. Jacinta never forgot that vision of the Vicar of Christ, in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, weeping. Outside the house there were many people, throwing stones, cursing him and using bad language.
I remember the day I met Pope Paul VI, in an hour of great suffering, and he, clasping my hands in his, begged me with tears: “Yes, yes, pray much for me.” Then I understood that the prophetic vision of Jacinta was being fulﬁlled to the letter in the person of that supreme pontiff who one day came as a Fatima pilgrim, just as little Jacinta so much desired. I understood, too, her loving and generous response to the call from heaven: “Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him!” “O Jesus, it is for the love of You ... and for the Holy Father.”
It is hardly necessary to say that the spirituality of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta is ardently Marian. It was the vision of the Lady brighter than the sun—“Oh, what a beautiful Lady!”—that gave to the lives of the little shepherds the impulse toward the great transformations carried out in their simple and candid souls, and launched them deﬁnitively on the ways of self-giving, which denounce and condemn our tepidity and mediocrity.
The spirituality of the seers, Sts. Francisco and Jacinta, bears the mark and signs of authenticity—it is Trinitarian, Christocentric, contemplative and apostolic. In it are admirably expressed the Mystery of Christ, the Mystery of the Church, the Mystery of Mary — all illuminated by the Mystery of the Trinity, the source of all mysteries. It carries out, in favor of humanity, the trajectory of the Church, the community of salvation, from God to God, bearing with it the universe redeemed by the Blood of the Lord. Let us thank the Blessed Trinity for the treasure granted to the Church and to humanity in the persons of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta.
Let us ask God that they may be gloriﬁed with the glory of these saints, in the midst of a society that is corrupt and corrupting, which makes no effort in safeguarding its best treasure the candor and the smile of the child. The sainthood of Francisco and Jacinta would raise the standard of Redemption and the beacon of hope for humanity, which has lost faith in itself because it has lost faith in God.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary be our Mediatrix in this cause — she who revealed herself before the delighted eyes of the three children. And may she help us also to become like the innocent and little ones of the Gospel, to whom the Lord gives wisdom to understand the hidden mysteries of the kingdom.
John C. Preiss is president of Fatima Family Apostolate International.