By Fr. Richard Heilman
We have now entered the 100th year since Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal. The anniversary is May 13, 2017. Many people are wondering if God may do (or allow) something soon to “shake us up” (I wrote about it HERE – this is the most “shared” article I have ever written).
As we watch terrorism rising up everywhere around the world, relations between nations in steep decline, a false economy ready to collapse, morality at an all-time low, pre-born babies murdered by the millions, marriage redefined for the first time in all of civilization, adult men allowed to share a bathroom with little girls, religious freedom under assault, corruption and collusion rampant within our government, and confusion in our Church … people are asking, especially as we enter this centennial year of Fatima, “WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!?!”
The answer may lie more in “God’s style.” What is “God’s style?” Throughout salvation history, we know that no matter how far we stray from God, He always wants to give us every opportunity to return.
In our time, we see God’s offer given to us in the Third Secret of Fatima. What is the third part of the secret or “Third Secret”?
Here is what Sr. Lucia wrote:
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ (You can read about the rest of the message at Vatican – The Message of Fatima, “Third Part of the ‘Secret’” )
When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord gave a “key” for what intensifies or increases the power of our prayers: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting“ (Matthew 17:21). So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer *and* penance. As the Fatima anniversary approaches, and we see evil moving unabated in our world, the call of the angel at Fatima in 1917 is ours today: “Penance, Penance, Penance!”
This is particularly challenging for most people in our modern times, which is all the more reason why it is so necessary. Most of us living in America have been swimming in a veritable ocean of comforts and forms of pleasure. While many forms of pleasure are not sinful, in and of themselves, some are, or can be. Some forms of pleasure are objectively evil … e.g., viewing pornography. An over-indulgence of something can be sinful … e.g., excessive alcohol consumption. The things that give them pleasure, which leads to over-consumption or even addiction, can control many. In other words, they find themselves in a place where they are not happy unless they continue their pursuit of the “things” that make them happy.
Spiritually speaking, this over-indulgence or the use of objectively evil things causes a spiritual death (mortal sin).According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him” (CCC 1855). Furthermore, being in a state of mortal sin further inclines us to do evil. It leaves us with very little defenses against the Devil and our own weaknesses. If we are not God’s possession (in a state of grace), we are BY DEFINITION the devil’s possession (mortal sin), as he easily manipulates us.
When we are diminished by separation from God to this sloth, we lose our “drive to strive.” We take the easiest route. We are, quite literally, imprisoned or “stuck” in this lower, animalistic way of living. Having moved away from the Divine Life, we are now choosing the world over God’s love and protection. We are now “devil fodder” for every whim Satan sends our way.
The famous Nike slogan – JUST DO IT! – was, essentially, a call to physical fitness. Yet, it became the motto of our modern culture. Basically, it seemed to morph into, “If it feels good, do it” … don’t deny yourself any comfort or form of pleasure, even if it rises to the level of sin. In fact, the motto of satanists is, “Do What Thou Wilt.”
Penance, strictly speaking, is a choice for some superior good at the expense of denying oneself an inferior good. It’s a choice to disconnect from some worldly pleasure (leisure, junk food, etc.) in a desire to connect more to God and His will. The choice to offer extra prayer time, for example, means that it might take away from someone’s TV time. This is what it means to “Carry your cross.” Jesus could have chosen to flee and go vacation on the shores of the sea of Galilee, but instead He chose something more challenging … Christ made that “sacrifice.” We do that when we choose things of God over things of the world.
So, while satanists ascribe to “Do what thou wilt,” we follow the lead of Mary who, with her very last words ever recorded, gave us the prescription for a life filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). So, in essence, we are saying, “Just Stop It!” Just stop serving our carnal passions and free ourselves to serve the “higher goals” God wants us to focus upon in our lives.
THE NINEVEH 90 CHALLENGE
Nineveh 90 – the 90 days from February 13 to May 13 – is inspired by the excellent program – Exodus 90 – designed exclusively for men by Fr. Brian Doerr and others. I strongly encourage men to sign-up for Exodus 90 (sign-up HERE ), and use it for our 90-day journey.
For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration.
Why Nineveh 90? Recall the story of Nineveh in the Book of Jonah …
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:3-10)
THE NINEVEH 90 CHALLENGE BEGINS FEBRUARY 13 Note: You do not have to do all 10.
“Consecration Day” will be on May 13, the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
Nineveh 90 – Ten Elements
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[*]For these 90 days, resolve to let go of repetitive sin you struggle with (e.g., masturbation, over-eating, alcohol, etc.)
[*]Wear Brown Scapular (Scapular Medal allowed) – Akin to Sackcloth
[*]Daily Mass (This is more of an encouragement, as many cannot do this)
[*]Confession (at least once a month … immediately following grave sin)
[*]Support System: Create or join a “Nineveh 90 Squad” of 3-8 people. Meet 1-3 times per week (in person or online). Join together with an “Accountability Buddy.” Meet daily or, at least, 3 times a week.
- Morning Offering
- Angelus (6,Noon,6)
- Holy Hour (or at least 20 minutes)
- Bedtime Prayers
[*]For 90 Days, Commit to …
- Regular and intense exercise (this may be one of the greater challenges for many)
- Seven hours of sleep is essential
- No alcohol
- No desserts & sweets
- No eating between meals
- No soda or sweetened drinks
- No television or movies (news allowed)
- Only music that lifts the soul to God
- No televised sports (one per week allowed)
- Limit recreational computer time (only use for personal needs and fulfillment. May be needed for Nineveh 90 too)
[*]54 Day Rosary Novena (Basic Training in Holiness) – February 13 to April 7
[*]33 Day Preparation for Consecration – April 10 (Monday of Holy Week) to May 12
[*]Marian Consecration – May 13, 2017. 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima
Prayer Intention for 54 Day Rosary Novena: Personal Holiness and for the Roman Catholic Church.
Sundays and Solemnities: may be a day of relaxed discipline, but not abandoned. (Sleep in an extra hour, cream in your coffee, a dessert, a beer, etc.)
Fasting: Wednesdays and Fridays (Water/Juice and bread only, if medically allowed, otherwise as is outlined by the USCCB )
You are encouraged (not required) to join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity (We have found that the requirements for joining are not very accessible to many, so we are not requiring this)
NOW, is a wonderful time to, in essence, “warm up” for Nineveh 90. For example, maybe take this time to ease into your exercise program that will begin on February 13.
Please join our “Special Forces Training” FB group to receive instructions and form Nineveh 90 squads and buddies: SPECIAL FORCES TRAINING
UPDATE: From Michelle Linn Fallon: “I want to encourage everyone thinking about this to do it. I did this in a way without calling it this beginning in September when we did the first novena for our nation. I got up before 6am and worked up to 11 workouts a week. I’ve lost 40 pounds. I look great. I feel great. I’ve lost my taste for sweets. Broken my addiction to soft drinks from childhood. I have little sugar, little dairy and don’t want it. I am no longer considered obese and only slightly overweight according to my doctor. In 10 pounds my BMI will be normal again. My prayer life is more consistent. I hardly miss a day on this second novena so I rarely have days to make up prayers. I’ve joined a lay apostolate. Amazing things happen when you offer the discipline to God. Amazing prayers have been answered for me and I’ve witnessed miracles in my life. I can’t fast on bread because I can’t eat bread. But I can deny myself other things. I have health issues that keep me from some of the fasting things. But I can deny myself sleeping in when I want to and pray instead. It’s all habits. Do what you can do and focus on that. Let God do the rest. He will!”
Last edited by Our-Lady-Of-Victory on Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:38 pm; edited 2 times in total