Apostolic prayer consists in asking for graces for one’s neighbor, such as his conversion, his sanctification, or for anything else profitable to his soul. Our Lady had this second prayer in mind when she asked the children to pray for the conversion of sinners.
The work of the apostolate consists in the turning of the will, which is prone to evil, towards what is good, so that a person who might be far from God or even openly be His enemy, might draw near to God and become His friend.
The conversion of a soul and its salvation one of the greatest graces that God wants to give us. How can we draw this grace down from heaven? Our Lady teaches us that the principal means are prayers and sacrifices. Fr. Kolbe writes: “Through prayer and suffering, we can obtain many graces. External activity only prepares the way for grace, but of itself it cannot provide these graces. There is one prayer that surely corresponds to God’s will, namely the request for one’s own sanctification and that of one’s neighbor. … Once Napoleon was asked what was needed to win a battle. He answered: ‘Three things are needed: Money, money, and still more money!’ Just so, when it is a matter of sanctifying souls, one needs prayer, prayer, and still more prayer… Prayer is the most misunderstood and yet the most powerful means of restoring peace to souls, of making them happy, and of bringing them close to God’s love. Prayer renews the world!”
The example of the youngest of the children of Fatima is a wonderful manifestation of this truth. What were the prayers of seven year old Jacinta? Of course, she offered those prayers which she had received from the angel and from Our Lady Herself: the prayer of the Angel, the Rosary, and beloved ejaculatory prayers. The best devotion to the Immaculate Heart is not the recitation of many prayers, but rather the simple, intimate relationship of a child to its Mother, which is best expressed through short but very fervent and frequent ejaculatory prayers. A child who loves his mother does not say many words; often a glance or a single word is enough. When he is in danger, he calls almost unconsciously: Mother!
Especially in today’s hectic world, the apostolate of ejaculatory prayer, in which Our Lady of Fatima encourages us, is the best way of remaining in union with God and elevating one’s activities to the supernatural and of doing much for the salvation of souls. If towards Mary our ejaculatory prayers are like loving sighs of a child to his mother, towards the enemy of our salvation they are like bullets from a machine gun, with which we strafe him destruction.
Jacinta’s own preferred ejaculatory prayer was: “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!” Especially in the last months when it became difficult for her to say longer prayers, Jacinta repeated these short sighs of her heart to Our Lady’s Heart, so everything became a constant offering of sacrifice and prayer for the conversion of sinners. Certainly Jacinta prayed much more for others than for herself in her short life. Our Lady’s reward should always remind us of the old rule: what you do for the others, you do it twice for yourself! By sacrificing herself for the sanctification of others, Jacinta herself became a saint.