By Prof. Michael Ogunu
Meaning of Reparation
Reparation can be defined as making amends for damage done to another. To make reparation, according to the common meaning of the word, is to compensate for a wrong, an injustice, or suffering caused to someone, whether through one’s own fault or through the fault of another; or even through the fault of no one at all.
Reparation is a theological concept closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. It is the teaching of that Faith that man is a creature who has fallen from an original state of justice in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion and Death of the Son of God, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition. Although God might have condoned men’s offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this; He judged it better to demand satisfaction for the injuries which man had done Him. It is better for man’s education that wrong doing on his part should entail the necessity of making satisfaction. This satisfaction was made adequately to Godby the sufferings, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, made Man for us. By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ’s Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord “and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ” (Col. 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.
Why Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a major theme in the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Why reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? What have we done against Her? How do our sins have any connection with Mary?
Reparation is made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because of her participation in the mystery of redemption. She participated in the act of buying the world back for God because she is the mother of the Redeemer; she prepared the Redeemer for His mission, and she united herself spiritually with the Redeemer in His act of expiation. Consequently whatever affected her son affected her. All that Christ suffered Mary felt in her heart. Starting from the day of His birth, when He felt the chill of the cave on his tender skin, until the day that the same skin was stretched out on the cross, Mary endured with her son the cost of redemption. Mary shared in her son’s dolorous passion. The words of the famous Lenten Hymn TheStabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping) sung during the Stations of the Cross are a poignant reminder of our Lady’s share in her son’s passion.
|At the Cross Her Station Keeping (Stabat Mater)|
|At the Cross her station keeping Stood the mournful Mother weeping Close to Jesus to the last/||Through her Heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword has passed/|
|Oh how sad and sore distress’d Was that Mother highly blest Of the sole-begotten One/.||Christ above in torment hangs: She beneath beholds the pangs Of her dying glorious Son/.|
|Is there one who would not weep, Whelm’d in miseries so deep Christ’s dear Mother to behold?|
Every sin, mortal or venial, hampers the effects of the redemptive merits of Christ. In other words, it frustrates the divine plan of redemption in so far as those acts of sin are concerned. And just as the Heart of Jesus is injured by such offenses of man, so, too, is the heart of Mary.
Besides suffering from every offence against God, of whatever kind (wilful murder, abortion, sexual immorality of all kinds, homosexuality, lesbianism, cultism, devil worship, oppression of the poor and other forms of grave social injustice), Mary is the object of certain offences: committed directly against herself. Among the horrendous offences committed against her are: blasphemy against her Immaculate Conception (some deny that she was conceived without original sin and say that there is nothing special about her), blasphemy against her virginity and refusal to acknowledge her divine maternity. Other sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary include instilling into the hearts of children indifference, scorn and even hatred against Mary, and profaning her revered images.
How to Make Reparation for Sins Committed Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary
We can make reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary by doing the following things, among others, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
- Offer Holy Mass in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Daily recitation of the Rosary for the intention of making reparation tothe Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- Saying the Prayers (Acts) of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary contained in Catholic prayer books, especially those on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary such as the one by the writer of this article titled “Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Practices and Prayers”.
- Performing acts of penance and mortification; that is, denying ourselves of some lawful pleasures.
- Fasting and abstinence, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays (some do so on bread and water).
- Practicing the Five First Saturdays Devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This consists of going to Confession, receiving Holy Communion (in a state of grace), praying the five decades of the Rosary and keeping Our Lady company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, all with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays of five consecutive months. The confession can be made either on the First Saturday itself or within 8 days before or after the First Saturday provided that one is in a state of grace at the moment of receiving Holy Communion on the First Saturday.
- Faithful fulfilment of our daily duties as required by our state of life.
- Imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary by practicing her virtues which include humility, purity, obedience (submission to God’s will in all things), charity and prayerfulness.
- Placing a picture or statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a special place of honour in our homes or community and consecrating ourselves and our families/community to her Immaculate Heart.
In the Second Apparition to the three shepherd children of Fatima (Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta), the Mother of God herself told Lucia:
Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To those who embrace it, I promise salvation. And these souls will be beloved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.
Like Venerable Sr. Lucia, let us practise and promote devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through Acts of Reparation and Consecration to the Immaculate Heart.
Prof. Michael Ogunu is the President of the Executive Board of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Africa & Coordinator of the Fatima Apostolate in Africa.
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