O my Jesus, forgive us our sins

On the 13th of July Our Lady taught the children of Fatima the marvelous prayer to be inserted into the Rosary at the end of each mystery: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins...”

Forgive us our sins: The thought of our sins, which threatens to cause our ruin, is present everywhere in the message of Fatima. There is not one of the nine apparitions of the Angel and Our Lady that does not make some allusion to it. It echoes the invocation in the Pater Noster, “forgive us our trespasses”, as well as in the Ave Maria “pray for us sinners”.

Deliver us from the fires of hell: This supplication, the most urgent, refers of course to the vision of hell, where the children saw an “ocean of fire”. Hell is not an imaginary and far off danger from which we ourselves could escape. Hell is the just punishment for our rebellions against God and the hardening of our heart, where we would go without the pardon of Jesus. Without Him, without His Passion and His redeeming blood, we would be lost. This invocation is also an echo of the Holy Liturgy where the Church, just before the consecration, implores God: “Deliver us from eternal damnation, and number us in the flock of Thine elect”.

Lead all souls to Heaven: The ardent desire we have both for ourselves and for our dear ones to be saved is necessarily extended to all souls. Christ offered His life for all men, without exception, and God the Father “wishes all men to be saved”. The Portuguese original is “Levai para o Ceu” which actually means: take them, carry them, lift them, or better, draw them. It reminds us of the words of Jesus: “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself”.

Especially those in most need of Thy mercy: These words are surprising: how can we ask Jesus to lead all souls to Heaven, and thus all without exception, and yet immediately add a formula which on the contrary is partial and restrictive? The words “all… especially” seem to defy simple logic.

The answer: it is the logic of love, which would like to obtain from the Divine Mercy the salvation of all souls. But it knows that its request cannot be heard in all its extension. In this case, the loving soul immediately clarifies its request, and says to God: “I ask you to have mercy at least on some souls, and most especially on the souls of the greatest sinners, who most surely risk being lost”. This is how the three children understood this prayer, which was constantly on the lips of Jacinta: “Jacinta often sat thoughtfully on the ground and exclaimed: ‘Oh hell! Hell! How sorry I am for the souls who go to hell! And the people down there, burning alive, like wood in the fire!’ Then, shuddering, she knelt down with her hands joined, and recited the prayer Our Lady had taught us: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins...’”

We also should ask, in reality, what is “in most need”? It is certainly most agonizing for those who approach the “hour of death” and are not prepared. Was not Saint Therese of the Child Jesus “devoured by a thirst for souls, burned with the desire to snatch from the eternal flames the souls of the greatest sinners”? Hence her decision “to prevent (the horrible criminal Pranzini) at any price from going to hell”.

As a conclusion, this prayer is a brief summary of the most important and forgotten truths of our Holy Faith. It positions us to the right view of the world, life, and men:

1/ Jesus Christ Our Lord is the only Saviour, He is the center of the world;

2/ “My Jesus” is the infinite love of Jesus to my soul, that He wants to be fully mine. “My Jesus” is also the expression of my love to Jesus and thus the fulfillment of the greatest commandment “Love of God above all things”;

3/ The eternal fire is a striking reality and the unique necessary thing in my life is to be freed from it;

4/ Heaven is the unique goal of our life;

5/ “Lead all souls...” reminds us of the second goal of our life, the second part of the great commandment: to love our neighbor as Jesus loved him – to love as a contribution to help our neighbor to obtain eternal happiness;

6/ “Lead, draw, carry...” The salvation is possible only if Jesus draws and carry us; without Him we cannot do anything. This thought makes us really humble;

7/ “... in most need” gives us the understanding of the supreme hour of death, while praying especially for those dying who are not prepared.

8/ “… of Thy Mercy”: The infinite mercy of God wants us so much to be saved, and it is never too late to change and convert. Therefore, we should trust Him without limit.

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