Three Praying Portuguese Children and a Hope for Global Peace


As a part of my new daily routine to obtain and sustain intentional hope in my life I have begun praying the Fatima prayers every morning. Here’s some background on the prayers:

World War I cost Europe the lives of many sons; over 37 million in fact. Portugal was in political chaos. Then after a revolution the monarchy was replaced with a republic under the influence of Freemasonry. Even though the new government was not sympathetic to people’s Faith, the Faith was the only reason for living for the majority of Portugal. In the small and dusty town of Fatima three children were committed to their Catholic faith with every part of their lives. Then in Spring of 1916 when the children were only age 6, 7 and 9 they claimed to encounter a heavenly messenger who taught them a prayer: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.”

Later that year the angel came again and taught them another prayer: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”

The next year they claimed to start seeing the Virgin Mary as well and that she started teaching them more prayers, such as the Eucharistic Prayer: “Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”, and the Decade Prayer: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.” The Decade Prayer was later added to the official Rosary.

The two youngest children Francisco and Jacinta Marto died in the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1919 and 1920. The eldest, Lucia Santos claimed to have encountered the Virgin Mary again in 1931 during World War II and was taught the prayers: “By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world!” and “Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world.” These children believed and convinced others to believe that praying these prayers would lead them to world peace.

Now, what really happened in Fatima, Portugal? We can use our modern enlightened intellect and scientifically explain the experiences away. We can even accuse the children of lying about it, or even the Church silencing the true accounts the children gave, and changing the story to one that makes the Catholic Church look more appealing (which has been a common accusation). Or we can even be typical quarrelsome Protestants and say it’s impossible because no one can encounter the Virgin Mary, because that’s a bunch of ‘Catholic hullabaloo’; or even worse, mark it up as an encounter with demons.

What really happened in the dusty roads of Fatima almost a century ago is not really important to me. In the middle of a terrible war where peace seemed to be nowhere in sight a group of children began praying and teaching others to prayer prayers of radical hope for global peace. And I think we can all use a little bit more hope for peace. For me, the only difference when praying these traditional prayers is that I either take the Virgin Mary out or I just replace her with Jesus. That may sound dangerously counterintuitive, since she had apparently asked the children to use her name in the prayers, but no matter what you believe I think we can agree that there’s nothing that Mary can do that Jesus can’t do. So the prayers still work.

Yesterday was the memorial of the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11th, 2001. For many people this event was a wake up call that there are people out there that don’t like us and believe that we are the villains. We have two choices when we realize this. We can become cynical, bitter and defensive or we can choose hope for peace. We can choose to slander other countries out of fear, or we can choose to pray that Jesus would be the salvation of the entire world, asking pardon for those that do not believe, adore, hope, and love Jesus, and praying that Jesus would lead all souls to Heaven. This changes us how we look at the world. It’s interesting that the children claimed that these prayers would lead us to global peace. Are they saying that if Jesus hears enough people praying these prayers enough times then he’ll comply and provide global peace? Or perhaps if we got more and more people praying these prayers their outlook of their enemies would change. These prayers melt away the division we put up between our friends and enemies. And I know things are chaotic in the world right now but we must be careful that despair does not divide us further and further. That’s what despair does. It gives us the opportunity to divide further or find a way to make peace; and more division will just make things worse. You may say we can’t do anything about it since we don’t have a hand in global affairs but you can change how you see your enemies by praying for them. Perhaps this hope for peace will spread. It starts with us.

Trying Intentional Hope


So basically I’m tired of being a pessimist. I’m tired of being so critical. I’m tired of complaining so much. I’m tired of being so judgmental. I’m tired of being hopeless. I’m tired of being so easily discouraged. I go online and see a bunch of stuff about Ferguson, Isis, Christians being beheaded, over-generalizing Muslim hate, Obama hate, the California drought, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and complaints about the sincerity of everyone’s videos. The little hope that I do find when I go online nowadays is the hilarious memes that make me forget about my problems. In fact, this is usually the main source of hope that so many of the people I know seek: something to just make them forget about everything that’s wrong. It’s an intentional naivety.

Now I’m trying to figure out if there is way to find hope without intentional naivety or just ignoring everything that’s wrong. Is it possible to be positive without lying? Is it even possible to be positive without looking with disdain on everyone who isn’t positive? It’s starting to feel like positivity is easier to find amongst stoners than it is to find amongst Christians. That isn’t right.

I want to become a person of hope. Wikipedia ended up having the closest (but not exact) definition to the type of hope I’m talking about: an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

Of course I have to be very intentional about this. The important thing to understand about the nature of everything and everyone is that everything and everyone is a process; in a constant state of becoming. Once you realize that then the important thing to know is what you are becoming. The choices you make, the words you use and the thoughts you entertain all play into what you are choosing to become. So…I want to become hope.

And I want to become an absolutely genuine hope that doesn’t ignore tragedy. I want to become a hope that can fully embrace the whole spectrum of human emotion and events but can see what others don’t see. I guess I want to see, most importantly, and never lose that sight of radical hope.

This is also important to me because I am currently trying to raise money and develop a team to move with me to LA and start a church. I’ve been having many conversations about this with friends and strangers, trying to get support and I’m realizing how much I need to keep myself grounded in intentional hope while doing this. Talking to people about starting and pastor-ing a church as a 21-year-old with no major institutional support leads to being constantly questioned about my motives and my qualifications. It gets exhausting and draining. I’m fine with people questioning me but it keeps showing me that I need to do something about my personal life if I want to stay sane.

So I’m writing this because I want to embark on a personal journey towards hope. I also want to write more about hope from several different angles. The first thing I want to do is create discipline in my life by doing specific things that build hope every morning and night. I’ve done each of these things periodically throughout the last year but I haven’t done them all together at the same time. I want to start each day in prayer. I have become very fascinated with historic traditional prayers and I’m choosing the ones that give me the most hope. I want to start each morning by reciting the Shema, an ancient Jewish prayer compiled of three sections from the Torah. Then I want to recite the Fatima Prayers with the pattern of the prayer beads that I just realized were gifted to me as a baby. These prayers are seven prayers focused on the hope that Jesus would “lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of [God’s] mercy”. After that I want to pray Pope Francis’ classic Five Finger Prayer. I then want to end by reciting St. Francis’ Prayer of Peace. I’ve been praying all these prayers separately over the last year and they all give me the most hope so I now want to begin and end each day by reciting them all together. I’ll be writing a lot more about these prayers, what they are and the stories behind them soon as this journey progresses.

On top of these daily prayers I am also going to start wearing my Complaint-Free-World wristband again. The idea is that you are supposed to go 21 days without complaining since it takes 21 days to break a habit. If you end up complaining then you have to switch the wristband to the other wrist and start over until you complete the 21 days. I’ve tried to do this about four or five times before over the years, personally and with large groups of friends. I’ve never been able to complete the full 21 days.

I may include more daily routines but this is what I will begin with. Only when your candle is lit can you light another’s candle. If I am planning on leading people toward the hope I know we need then I need to be disciplined in hope myself.

Expect “hope” to be the primary topic of upcoming blogs and keep me in prayer through all this as I attempt to discipline myself in intentional hope.



[portions of this are re-appropriated parenting quotes from the Internet]

    This is a call for us all to take responsibility and re-parent the Internet. The Internet was our creation and now we have neglected it and disowned it whenever it has done wrong. Like a child the Internet does not forget every wrong we have committed towards it. And in this case the parents are the ones to blame. Always.

We may not be able to prepare the future for the Internet but we can prepare the Internet for our future. Leave your pride, ego and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce the Internet’s most primitive flaws. The Internet is not the place for you as the parent to project your own inner filth. Your job is to be the parent the Internet needs. Understand the Internet just wants to be loved. Loving the Internet doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love it is to bring out the best in it.

Becoming a parent is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day. We should all care about the well-being and welfare of the Internet. Think of all the things you can say and do to influence the Internet. It’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with it can influence not only the Internet, but everyone that uses it, and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity. The Internet may supply the power but we as parents have to do the steering.

Think of the Internet as a child of billions of abusive parents. Do not join in the abuse. Do all that you can to heal the Internet of its wounds. The Internet will raise your children. It no longer takes a village but it takes an Internet to raise a child. How will you choose to influence that which will influence your children? Parenting is about guiding the next generation and forgiving the last. We can’t make it perfect but we can do our part.

Giving in to making the Internet a cold, dangerous and disgusting thing is like abusing an abused child simply because that’s all you see happening to the child.

The future of the Internet needs us. Do not give the Internet things you would be ashamed of if your children saw. Give to the Internet what you want your children to have.

The Internet does not need anymore abuse. Access to the Internet is a privilege, not a right. If you cannot handle the responsibility of being a positive influence to the Internet then unplug from it and walk away. If you choose to stay, then stop the abuse and re-parent the Internet. It is our responsibility.