In a society which is barely conscious of the ills which assail it, which conceals its miseries and injustices beneath a prosperous, glittering, and trouble-free exterior, the Immaculate Virgin, whom sin has never touched, manifests herself to an innocent child. With a mother’s compassion she looks upon this world redeemed by her Son’s blood, where sin accomplishes so much ruin daily, and three times makes her urgent appeal: “Penance, penance, penance!” She even appeals for outward expressions: “Go kiss the earth in penance for sinners.” And to this gesture must be added a prayer: “Pray to God for sinners.”

As in the days of John the Baptist, as at the start of Jesus’ ministry, this command, strong and rigorous, shows men the way which leads back to God: “Repent!” Who would dare to say that this appeal for the conversion of hearts is untimely today?
Pius XII
Le pèlerinage de Lourdes
July 2, 1957

I had the good fortune to accompany a year-group from my school on a pilgrimage to Walsingham a few weeks ago. We parked the coaches at the beginning of the holy mile, and many of us, myself included, walked the mile to the shrine barefoot. On the way we prayed, and brought the intentions of others with us.

Uncomfortable though it was, the barefoot walk was invigorating, and it made me wonder just how spiritually deadened we have become with all the comforts available to us. As we speak, Russia seems to be preparing itself for war, and 99 years ago on this day the great Miracle of the Sun occurred at Fatima. Can we stay awake and pray that we do not fall into temptation? Can we offer up small sacrifices to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus?

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion

Have mercy on us and

On the whole world