EVERYTHING You Do a Sacrifice"
by Michal Semin
This is an edited transcript of a talk given by Michal Semin
Rome Conference in May 2012. Michal explains that a central theme of
the Fatima Message - given by the Angel, as well as by Our Lady to the
three Fatima children - is the usefulness and necessity of sacrifice.
He explains that this message of sacrifice in the Fatima Message is
being undermined by modernists, liberals and progressivists in the
Church today. We need to remember this aspect of the Message now more
than ever. Read and apply this article to yourself and it could spur
you on to greater spiritual heights.
The Fatima apparitions and their message are, besides their primary
purpose, a great apologetic and catechetical tool. Last year at this
conference I talked about the doctrinal and spiritual content of the
Most Holy Rosary, with a special emphasis on the Fatima Decade Prayer,
in which the reality of Hell is pronounced.
Thanks to the Vision of Hell, we have been confirmed in what the Church
has always taught; that is, Hell is not empty, it is populated, that
the presently popular idea of universal salvation is simply false.
In a sense, the Fatima apparitions affirm particularly those truths of
the Faith which are under attack by the forces of modernism and
progressivism, unleashed long before Vatican II.
Fatima - The Call to Live a Life of Sacrifice
One of the great themes of the Fatima Message is the call to live
a life of sacrifice. As I will attempt to prove, it is the very concept
of sacrifice - so central to the Catholic Faith and life - that is
among those truths that are the main targets of modernism and
The Angel of Peace appeared to the children in the Summer of 1916 with
the following words:
"What are you doing? Pray, pray very much! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and
Mary have designs of mercy on you.
Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High. Make of
everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of
reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication
for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your
country. I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all,
accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send
Our Lady of Fatima Herself told the children: "Pray, pray very much,
and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell because
there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them."
Sister Lucia said to Fr. Feints in 1957: "Tell them also, Father, that
my cousins Francisco and Jacinta sacrificed themselves because in all
the apparitions of the Most Holy Virgin, they always saw Her very sad.
She never smiled at us. This sadness, this anguish which we noted in
Her penetrated our souls. This sadness is caused by the offenses
against God and the punishments which menace sinners. And so we
children did not know what to think except to invent various means of
praying and making sacrifices."
The Example of the Fatima Children
We see repeatedly the Fatima children offering sacrifices as acts of
reparation for the sins of the world, so that sinners may convert and
therefore save their souls.
Could they not have pleased God in a different way? Clearly, some of
the sacrifices offered by little Francisco and Jacinta, through
mortifications and physical pain, were rather extraordinary. There is
no reason to believe, however, these intense measures are mandatory for
all of us, and that we cannot attain Heaven unless we do exactly as
Nevertheless, the example of the Fatima children points to a difficult
reality of the Catholic Faith, that without voluntary sacrifices
offered to God, we cannot expect eternal beatitude.
The Example of Jesus Christ
Why is this true? To be saved, we must follow Our Lord, as He is the
Way, the path we need to follow; and the Way, the path taken by Our
Lord was the Way of the Cross, the voluntary sacrifice of His human
life for our salvation, exactly according to His words: "Greater love
than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
At Golgotha, He offered up His life to His Father as a propitiation for
our sins. He took our sins upon Himself and suffered in our place. We
need to understand that the whole life of Our Lord, not just the
Passion He endured in the last week of His earthly life, has a
sacrificial nature. His entire life was oriented towards the final
offering of Himself at Calvary.
We cannot look at His earthly life as somehow being separated into two
disconnected parts: one containing the events ranging from His birth to
early manhood, and the other from the Agony in the Garden to His being
beaten, scourged, and crucified. The life of Our Lord represents a
moral unity where everything He does is somehow related to the
sacrifice of the Cross, since for this act of atonement He was born.
'For the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give His life a redemption for many." (Mark 10:45)
We Need the Gospel Mentality
This Gospel passage is another proof that Our Lord understood His
mission in terms of sacrifice, selfless love, and self-giving. Thus we
cannot call ourselves disciples of Christ if we do not imitate Him also
in this respect.
There is such a thing as a sacrificial mentality - a readiness to give
up something for the love of God. Every dimension of human existence
can, and often does, require sacrifices. We as Catholics should get
into the habit of making small sacrifices for God. Sacrifices come in
thousands of different forms: fasting, penances of various kinds,
controlling vain curiosity to see and hear everything, giving up
smoking or drinking during Lent, denying oneself sweet desserts on
occasion, and so on. If you are familiar with the life of any Saint -
male or female, young or old - you know what I am talking about. For
there has never been a Saint who did not practice some kind of
Our Lord said: If you want to be My followers you must take up your
cross daily and. follow Me. Those who try to lead a Christian life
cannot expect to avoid what Jesus Himself did not avoid - the Cross.
According to Archbishop Lefebvre: "The
notion of sacrifice is a profoundly Christian and a profoundly Catholic
notion. Our life cannot be spent without sacrifice, since Our Lord
Jesus Christ, God Himself, willed to take a body like our own and say
to us: 'Follow Me, take up thy cross and follow Me if thou wilt be
Archbishop Lefebvre continued: "And He has given us the example of His
death upon the Cross; He has shed His Blood.
... There is the entire mystery of Christian civilization. There is
that which is the root of Christian civilization: the comprehension of
sacrifice in one's life, in daily life, the understanding of Christian
suffering, no longer considering suffering as an evil, as an unbearable
sorrow, but sharing one's sufferings and one's sickness with the
sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in assisting at the Holy Mass,
which is the continuation of the Passion of Our Lord upon Calvary."
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the sacrifice of Christ Himself on
Mount Calvary, made present whenever the priest utters the words of
consecration. From the Mass we learn Our Lord's example of giving
Himself in the most profound way for the sake of sinners.
It is because of the Holy Mass that the children of Fatima had any
notion of Our Lord's expiation for the sins of men. If the life of
sacrifice is the surest way to eternal salvation, is not the best
strategy for the devil to lessen our willingness to sacrifice
ourselves, or even eradicate the very sense of sacrifice at all? Is not
the Holy Mass the most precious target for him? He knows how much he
can achieve if he is able to weaken our notion of the Holy Mass as the
re-presentation of Our Lord's sacrifice on the Cross!
I quoted earlier from a sermon of Archbishop Lefebvre because he became
the symbol of the battle for the preservation of the traditional rite
in which the Holy Mass is offered. He and many others took issue with
the liturgical reform not mainly because of the language change (from
Latin to native tongues), or the introduction of three reading cycles,
or any other single change, but because the changes in toto represent a clear departure
from the notion of the Holy Mass as a sacrifice towards the notion of a
Anti-sacrifice Thinking of Bugnini and Luther
This fact is not contested by the architects of the liturgical
"reform". It was Archbishop Bugnini himself who, in March 1965, wrote
in "We must strip from
our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can
be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is
for the Protestants."
We all know that the greatest stumbling block for the Protestants is
the notion of the Holy Mass as a sacrifice. In the 16th Century, Martin
Luther and many other Protestant leaders denied that the Mass is a
sacrifice; they stressed the meal aspect exclusively.
The Truth of Catholic Dogma
The Council of Trent responded to the Protestant "Reformation" by
emphasizing what was under attack; namely, that the Mass is a sacrifice:
"CANON I. - If anyone saith, that in
the Mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or, that to
be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him
CANON III. - If anyone saith, that
the sacrifice of the Mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of
thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice
consummated on the Cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it
profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for
the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other
necessities; let him be anathema."
The ancient millennial Mass, Latin and Roman, expresses most clearly
the complete profundity of this doctrine, without detracting in the
slightest from the mystery, The Mass is therefore a sacrifice. It is
also a communion, but a communion resulting from the sacrifice
previously celebrated. It is a meal where the immolated Victim of the
sacrifice is eaten. The Mass is first and foremost, then, a sacrifice,
and secondly a communion or meal. But the whole structure of the New
Mass is geared to the meal aspect of the celebration, to the detriment
of the sacrifice.
To counter the continual attempts of the liberal, progressive
clergy before the Second Vatican Council, Pius XII issued what might be
called the "Magna Carta" of Catholic teaching on the liturgy, the
encyclical Mediator Dei. On
this particular matter the Pope writes in Paragraph 114:
"They, therefore, err from the path
of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful
communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it
is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive Holy Communion as
well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here
there is question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a
supper of brotherly union, and consider the general Communion of all
present as the culminating point of the whole celebration."
This understanding, warns Pope Pius XII, is a false doctrine which the
Council of Trent, "supported by the doctrine which the uninterrupted
tradition of the Church has preserved," thus condemns: "If anyone shall
say that Masses in which the priest only receives Communion, are
unlawful, and therefore should be abolished, let him be anathema"
(Paragraph 113 of Mediator Dei;
with reference to The Council of Trent, Session XXII, Canon 8).
If we follow the fundamental liturgical principle reiterated in the
Encyclical Mediator Dei, "Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi"
- "Let the law of belief determine the law of prayer", we should expect
from a Catholic liturgy that its content, the prayers and gestures, not
only corresponds with the truths of the Faith, but, in fact,
strengthens them, and makes us more receptive to them.
But if we compare the traditional Roman rite with the new rite of Paul
VI, can we say in good conscience that they both convey the same
attitude towards the meaning of sacrifice? Do they express identically
the Catholic teaching defined at the Council of Trent and reiterated by
Pius XII in Mediator Dei?
Cardinal Ottaviani did not think so when he stated in 1969 (i.e., long
before the various experimental deviations, criticized even by the past
and present Popes, occurred in the daily life of the Church): "the Novus Ordo represents, both as a
whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic
theology of the Mass as it was definitively fixed" by the Council of
(To be continued - forward button)
Taken from Autumn 2012 Issue,
The Fatima Crusader