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Profound young saint can help you honor the Eucharist in April

Franisco Marto

Public Domain

Annabelle Moseley - published on 04/01/24

This little boy with a huge heart is a saint not just to follow, but to learn from.

April finds us in the beautiful season of Eastertide, and liturgically lingering in the glorious full bloom of the Resurrection. Whatever challenges we are encountering in our personal lives, we are reminded that April is the month dedicated to the Most Holy Eucharist. This should give us a boost. After all, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.”

Let us see April, then, as a summit of our year, in the height of Easter gladness. Whatever we are going through, whether joyous, challenging, or dry … this month of the Most Holy Eucharist will be the one that re-charges us in the ways we need, if we bring our intentions to Our Eucharistic Lord and dedicate our month to Him.

St. Francisco Marto is a saint who can surely teach us a thing or two about turning to Our Eucharistic Lord with ever more trust and love. While his liturgical feast is recognized on February 20 with his sister Jacinta, his death date, and thus his personal celebration is April 4.

Although he died very young, at the age of 10, his impact continues. This little boy of the three Fatima children had a profound devotion to Our Lord for one so young. He teaches that no matter the age or state in life, one is never too small to lead souls closer to God.

Beautiful Heart

St. Francisco was a shepherd boy from a large family. A handsome little boy, he had soulful eyes and a strong, earnest disposition. Since the Fatima children are notably serious in their photos, it has been jokingly suggested by some that the three Fatima children are patrons of kids who refuse to smile in photographs, and that is a cute thought.

But if we consider that these three young children had been literally shown hell (this vision changed them inexorably and necessarily aged them beyond their years), and they felt a heavy weight of responsibility to honor and console Jesus and Mary and to save souls, their expressions become more symbolic. Their innocent childhoods were transfigured into the missions of great saints. Their faces reflect not grumpiness but rather the weight of responsibility, gravity, and purpose. They can teach us so much about how to live for God and for Our Blessed Mother.

Little Francisco could be mischievous at times, but had a noble heart. He once gave all the money he had, a penny, to purchase a bird from the boy who had captured it. Instead of keeping the creature, he set it free. Francisco played a little reed pipe, and his favorite possession was a handkerchief with the image of Our Lady upon it. At one point when confronted with one who would have fought him to take the handkerchief, he simply gave it away. What a beautiful heart he had.

Consoling Jesus

Although Francisco never heard Our Lady’s words as the Fatima girls did, he did see her. Our Lady told Lucia that Francisco would go to heaven if he prayed many rosaries. That should be a motivation for us all to pray many rosaries! Francisco took this guidance very seriously and indeed prayed many, many rosaries. He also often skipped school in order to go to church and pray to the “Hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle. By earthly standards, he was not ambitious, but by heavenly ones, it could certainly be said he had his priorities in order! 

Francisco had a great devotion to Our Eucharistic Lord and would spend hours consoling Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

This holy little boy died the day after he first received Communion, while on his sickbed with influenza. He was eager to go to heaven as soon as possible. He showed great courage and even joy in the face of death. His sister, Jacinta, would die only a year after him. 

Lucia asked Francisco to bring many intentions with him to heaven. He answered, “You better ask Jacinta, because I’m afraid of forgetting. When I see Jesus, I’m just going to want to comfort him.” 

Francisco, even in death, wanted to console Our Lord. 

A little child leads us

His words of wisdom all provide motivation to honor Our Eucharistic Lord more this April. Here are three quotes from St. Francisco Marto, the little boy who lived a holier life in 10 years than many live in one hundred. 

1) “Oh, Our Lady, I will say all the Rosaries you wish!”

In April, the month of the Eucharist, we are called to spend more time going to daily Mass, (therefore also going to Confession so that we may receive Holy Communion in a state of grace) and going to Eucharistic Adoration. Praying the rosary is a wonderful use of time during Eucharistic Adoration. But to follow St. Francsico’s example to pray many Rosaries … we can also find new ways to pray more Rosaries … perhaps more than once a day! Many saints prayed multiple Rosaries a day.

Ways to do this? We can get other Rosaries in in creative ways, such as in the car while we drive, while going for a walk, or even in bed as we fall asleep.

2) “Courage! Didn’t Our Lady say that we would have much to suffer in reparation for the numerous sins committed against Our Lord and her Immaculate Heart which hurt so much? And you are going about so sad, when you could offer up this suffering in reparation. We should be pleased.”

This is a wonderful reminder this month to offer up all our sufferings and pains for the consolation of Our Lady and for Our Eucharistic Lord. 

3) “More than anything else, I want to console Our Lord.”

St. Francisco explained his greatest heart’s desire. It was the reason he skipped school to spend time in church! He understood something even adults forget: that Our Lord, source of all our consolation, should also be consoled by us.

When we pray for the souls in Purgatory; those souls on earth in danger of being lost, and those who are in most need of Christ’s mercy … when we offer our compassion to Our Lord in His Passion, or console Our Lady, we in turn bring consolation to Christ’s Sacred Heart. What a critically important and beautiful venture! “A little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

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