What is the life of reparation?
Many souls go to hell because there is no one to offer prayers and sacrifices for them.
Lent is a time to reflect on sin and its consequences in our lives. But we as Christians do not stand alone as an island. We are part of a community—a communion of saints, the Body of Christ. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”1 This community implies a duty on our part to help repair the spiritual damage done not only by our sins but also by the sins of humanity. This is called reparation. Lent is a time to unite with the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus on the Cross and make reparation for sin.
Reparation means “the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury.”2 Our Lord tells us to make reparation for offenses to our brethren before offering our gifts at the altar: if “your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”3
Making reparation also means asking for forgiveness and mercy from God for the sins of others. “We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ’s Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labors, and trials to those of Our Lord ‘and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ’ (Col., i, 24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offenses against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.”4
“In order to become the Saviour of men, Jesus Christ willed to be a Victim. But since He has a Mystical Body, it follows that if the Head is immolated, all the members like wise must become living victims.”5 “I am the vine, you are the branches.”6
When the Mother of Jesus appeared in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 to three small children, part of her message was: “Pray, pray very much, make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to offer prayers and sacrifices for them.”
With that background, I offer this short reflection on “what is the life of reparation?” The material for this reflection was taken from The Three Ages of the Interior Life and Step Into The Flames and Rescue Souls.7 The text for the reflection is reprinted below the link to the recording if you prefer to read it.
God bless you this Lent. May Our Lord send His Holy Spirit to lead you into all Truth.
What does it mean to live the life of reparation?
Reparation is the heart of the message of Fatima and of devotion to the Immaculate Heart. The Blessed Mother asks us to make reparation through sacrifice for sinners. The angel of Fatima told the children, “Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication, for the conversion of sinners.”8
What is reparation? Jesus’ heroic love on the cross is THE act of reparation for sin.
Mary is the model of reparatory souls through her sufferings at the foot of the cross. And afterwards, she continued the sacrifice of her Son by suffering with the early church.
St. Paul teaches us “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”9
What is reparation? Souls are only saved by suffering and dying (to ourselves) for them.
It is through our suffering and darkness, united in love to Jesus and Mary, that light, sanctity and salvation is given to others. St. John of the Cross alludes to the interior trial endured by the saints for the salvation of souls.
This life of reparation is that of souls called to the intimate service of the Lord Jesus. Such is the sign of perfect love. It is participation in the state of Jesus as victim. St. Theresa of Avila tells us “We always find that those nearest to Christ our Lord bear the heaviest cross.” The servants of God are more particularly tried.
What is the life of reparation? It is the apostolate of spiritual suffering: desolation, abandonment, temptations to despair and sadness. St. Alphonsus Ligouri, in his 80s and already purified, underwent great sufferings and trials at the end of his life for the sanctification of sinners. “The old holy man had at this time such violent temptations that his servant wondered if they would not cause him to lose his mind.”
The life of reparation is the life of an intercessor. The intercessor is a person who has offered his life or self as a living sacrifice to God. To be an intercessor, “your pride, ignorance, selfishness, fear and security must be surrendered on the altar to God. Sins must be burnt at the altar of God. You are no longer living for yourself but God.”
When this type of suffering is chiefly reparatory “the suffering makes one think of that of a lifesaver who, in a storm, struggles heroically to save from death those who are on the point of drowning. Spiritual life-savers, like Saint Paul of the Cross, struggle not only for hours and months, but sometimes for years in order to snatch souls from eternal death; and in a way, these reparative souls must resist the temptations of the souls they seek to save that they may come efficaciously to their assistance.”
The life of reparation, the life of an intercessor, is to step into the flames and rescue souls. To be able to step into the flames you must have time for God and for people. You must have a life of prayer, and a life of charity.
St. Paul of the Cross encourages us: “We ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
What does the life of reparation mean to you?
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Definition of reparation, Merriam-Webster dictionary. The glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines reparation as the act of “making amends for a wrong done or for an offense, especially for sin, which is an offense against God.”
Rev. Bro. Augustine Momoh, O.P. (Newborne Publ. 1999).
The word reparation appears 130 times in the messages to Fr. Gobbi, Marian Movement of Priests.
Col. 1:24, RSV-CE. The footnote to this verse in the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, notes the following: “what is lacking: Christ’s sufferings were, of course, sufficient for our redemption, but all of us may add ours to his, in order that the fruits of his redemption be applied to the souls of men.”