Venerable Jacinta of Fatima:
"I Want to Suffer...
to Save Souls from Hell!"
Continued from Issue No. 29
"Jacinta Never Forgot Her Sinners"
<<We were playing one day at the well I have already mentioned. Close to it, there was a grape vine belonging to Jacinta's mother. She cut a few clusters and brought them to us to eat. But Jacinta never forgot her sinners.
"We won't eat them," she said, "we'll offer this sacrifice for sinners."
Then she ran out with the grapes and gave them to the other children playing on the road. She returned radiant with joy, for she had found our poor children, and given them grapes.
Another time, my aunt called us to come and eat some figs which she had brought home, and indeed they would have given anybody an appetite. Jacinta sat down happily next to the basket, with the rest of us, and picked up the first fig. She was just about to eat it, when she suddenly remembered, and said:
"It's true! Today we haven't yet made a single sacrifice for sinners! We'll have to make this one."
She put the fig back in the basket, and made the offering; and we, too, left our figs in the basket for the conversion of sinners.
"I'm Not Going to Dance Any More!"
Jacinta dearly loved dancing, and had a special aptitude for it. I remember how she was crying one day about one of her brothers who had gone to the war and was reported killed in action. To distract her, I arranged a little dance with two of her brothers. There was the poor child dancing away as she dried the tears that ran down her cheeks. Her fondness for dancing was such that the sound of some shepherd playing his instrument was enough to set her dancing all by herself. In spite of this, when St. John's Day festivities or carnival time came around, she announced:
"I'm not going to dance any more."
"And why not?"
"Because I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord."
Since we were the ones who organized the games for the children, the dances which used to take place on these occasions stopped.>>
|Jacinta and her brother Francisco are depicted here with their cousin, Lucia, visiting with Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 1917.|
"I Am So Thirsty, Yet I Do Not Want
to Take a Drink!"
Occasionally, also, we were in the habit of offering to God the sacrifice of spending nine days or a month without taking a drink. Once, we made this sacrifice even in the month of August, when the heat was suffocating.
At other times, Jacinta would say:
"Our Lord must be pleased with our sacrifices, because I am so thirsty, so thirsty! Yet, I do not want to take a drink. I want to suffer for love of Him."
Jacinta's thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable, Lucy remarked. She always made her sacrifices with this thought, a thought which was habitual with her: to suffer for sinners, to make acts of reparation in their place, to substitute herself for them, to obtain for them pardon and the grace of conversion. This untiring zeal for the salvation of souls, pushed even to the point of heroic charity, appears in many subsequent episodes found in the Memoirs:
When, in a spirit of mortification, she did not want to eat, I said to her:
"Listen, Jacinta! Come and eat now."
"No! I'm offering this sacrifice for sinners who eat too much."
When she was ill, and yet went to Mass on a week day, I urged her:
"Jacinta, don't come! You're not able. Besides, today is not a Sunday!"
"That doesn't matter. I'm going for sinners who don't go on a Sunday."
If she happened to hear any of those expressions which some people make a show of uttering, she covered her face with her hands and said:
"O, my God, don't those people realize that they can go to hell for saying those things? My Jesus, forgive them and convert them. They certainly don't know that they are offending God by all this! What a pity, my Jesus! I'll pray for them."
Then and there, she repeated the prayer that Our Lady had taught us: "O my Jesus, forgive us, deliver us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need." >>