BECAUSE BY MAKING REPARATION, WE SHARE IN CHRIST’S REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING!
By: Father Robert Altier
Children of Fatima
What Is Reparation?
In the summer of 1916, in the second apparition of the Angel to the children, he asked them to offer every
suffering as an act of reparation to God. On three occasions, in May, July, and October of 1917, our Lady instructed the children to make reparation for the sins against God and the sins against our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. However, nothing made as much impact on the children as the July vision of hell which caused all three, but especially Francisco, to take on many penances and offer them as acts of reparation.
Reparation is the repairing or making up for the offenses against God. This covers a wide variety of areas from the fact of Original Sin to our own personal sins and even to the sins of others no matter how large or small the offense might be. God is the author of justice, but He is also the norm of justice. This means that He can determine what, if any, atonement needs to be made for sin. In other words, He can simply write off our sins without requiring any reparation, but normally He will not do this because reparation is actually something that is good for us.
God’s Justice Is Not Just A Concept
We can see just how grievous our sins are to God by the fact that He did not just write them off, but sent His own Son to suffer and die, i.e., to make reparation for our sins. In this we see how important justice is to God. Justice is not just a concept, it is a truth that must be upheld and He did not back away from what justice requires even though, if we think in terms of human relationships, sending His Son to die would be much more difficult than just writing off the sins. Through His suffering and death, Jesus made atonement and reparation for our sins, but in His mercy He saved a little bit for us to do. This is not only so that we could make up, to some degree, for our own sins, but that we can actually have a share in the work of redemption and salvation. St. Paul tells us in his Letter to the Colossians that he makes up in his body for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church. It is not that Jesus did not do enough, but that the members of His Mystical Body would also share in this work.
How Can We Make Reparation For Our And The Worlds Sins?
By uniting our prayers, works and sufferings to those of Jesus, we can actually make some reparation for our offenses against the justice of God. Because we are members of Christ, our offerings become part of the work of our Lord which was to make reparation for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, our offering not only makes reparation for our sins, but for the sins of others as well. I said earlier that God did not just wipe out our sins because the need to make reparation is better for us than to just have our sins forgiven. Making reparation helps us to understand the gravity of sin, but it also helps us to avoid sin so that we do not offend God any more. If our sins were just overlooked, we would think we could do anything and have no consequences. More than this, God allows us to love Him by making reparation. When we love someone we do not want to offend that person and, if we do commit an offense, we want to make it up to that person rather than just sweeping it under the rug. Love of God will drive us to want to make reparation.
As a child of God and as a member of Christ, strive to satisfy the justice of God by making reparation for your sins and those of others.