I've done a lot of reading and writing about Mary over the last few years, and of course I've learned about Our Lady of Fatima.

When I was researching Our Lady of Fatima a couple of years ago, I discovered the EWTN mini-site on her and was enchanted. I read many articles, wrote some of my own, and pretty much left it at that.

In other words, the message of Fatima was lost on me.

I realize that now. I thought she was beautiful, found the tale enchanting and riveting, and had a dearth of material to write and write and write. But did she inspire real change in me?

Maybe she did. I've been praying a daily rosary for some time (though not always because I want to, mind you, but because I have to), and maybe it's the influence of all my reading and studying about Mary.

I can now say, though, thanks to the help of Fr. Andrew Apostoli's new book Fatima for Today: The Urgent Marian Message of Hope that I have taken the Fatima message to heart.

It's hard not to. Not only does Fr. Apostoli share the facts, but he delves into background that makes the facts relevant to me today, now, here. He transforms the three visionaries--Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco--from saintly figures in a holy card into real people who struggled and yet courageously gave as Mary asked them to.

Though I consider myself overdue for a good novel (I try to pepper my nonfiction reading with fiction in at least a 2-to-1 ratio), I found reading Fatima for Today to be invigorating and a page-turner.

Good storytelling  will do that to me, I guess, whether in the pages of a novel or in a well-written account of a Marian apparition.

The other night, one of the ones where I was up countless times and feeling bleary about five minutes into the first sleep interruption, I found myself praying for the reparation of sinners and for the triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart. In the midst of praying it, I had a moment of wonder. Where did THAT come from? I wondered. And then I remembered: Fr. Apostoli covers in depth just what it means and why it should be something we all do in a knee-jerk, devoted, all-the-time way.

The messages of Fatima aren't restrained to a time and place. In fact, they're more applicable to us today than they've ever been!

Do you find yourself wondering (or even worrying) about conflicts with Muslims and Christians? Are you interested (or even anxious) about the growing secularization of our formerly Christian culture? Is there an intention (or 17) that have you floored and desperate?

This book outlines, brilliantly, the message of Fatima and how it matters to YOU, to ME, to each of us. It gives purpose to our prayers, explains the first Saturday devotion so clearly I can probably teach it to others now, and, in general, is a handbook we should all read and reference as we dive into the most important praying we can do.

Incidentally, there's also fabulous new website, FatimaforToday.com, that highlights more about the book and the message of Fatima.

Purchase Fatima for Today through our links here and support the work we do here at CatholicMom.com (without spending any extra!).

Copyright 2011 Sarah Reinhard