It is sometimes hard to understand how much Our Heavenly Mother loves us and continues to try to get the attention of all her wayward children. Such was a time when she appeared to three shepherd children in 1917. In our digital world of special effects, the special events of that time are not fully realized. Yet this happened for messages for our time. Sister Lucia of Fatima as Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart died on February 13, 2005 at 97 years of age. To help us better understand and honor the importance of the events of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, I am including excerpts from FATIMA IN LUCIA’S OWN WORDS, SISTER LUCIA’S MEMOIRS.
10 year old Lucia dos Santos, and cousins 9 year old Francisco, and 7 year old Jacinta Marto were tending sheep at family property around a kilometer to the north of Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. Lucia described their journey, “we chose to pasture our flock on some land belonging to my parents, called Cova da Iria. We chose the pasture as we usually did, at the Barreiro I have already mentioned. This meant we had to cross a barren stretch of moorland to get there, which made the journey doubly long. We had to go slowly to give the sheep a chance to graze along the way, so it was almost noon when we arrived. “1
After having lunch around noon and they began praying the first words of each prayer of the rosary, as described in Lucia’s own words, “We had been told to say the Rosary after our lunch, but as the whole day seemed too short for our play, we worked out a fine way of getting through it quickly. We simply passed the beads through our fingers, saying nothing but ‘Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary’... At the end of each mystery, we paused awhile, then simply said ‘Our Father’ and so, in the twinkling of an eye, as they say, we had our Rosary finished!”1
Lucia further described the miraculous events that followed:
“I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco at building a little stone wall around a clump of furze. Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning. 'We’d better go home,' I said to my cousins, 'that’s lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.' We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less half-way down the slope, and almost level with a large holmoak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning. We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it. We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her.
Then Our Lady spoke to us: “Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.”
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Heaven.”
“What do you want of me?”
“I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet a seventh time.”
“Shall I go to Heaven too?”
“Yes, you will”
“She will go also.”
“He will go there too, but he must say many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister. “Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?” (I think she was about 16 years old).
“Yes, she is.”
“And Amélia?” (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age).
“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”
“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
“Yes, we are willing.”
“Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
As she pronounced these last words “...the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: ‘O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!’
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” Then she began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded her seemed to open up a path before her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw heaven opening.”1 (p. 174-176).
In further apparitions, Our Lady had asked for the Pope and all the Bishops to consecrate the world to her Immaculate Heart. We remember the words prayed by Pope John Paul II and we plead again for Our Lord and Our Heavenly Mother’s intercession:
“On 25 March 1984 in Saint Peter’s Square, while recalling the fiat uttered by Mary at the Annunciation, the Holy Father, in spiritual union with the Bishops of the world, who had been “convoked” beforehand, entrusted all men and women and all peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in terms which recalled the heartfelt words spoken in 1981:
‘O Mother of all men and women, and of all peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.
‘We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God!’ Despise not our petitions in our necessities’.
The Pope then continued more forcefully and with more specific references, as though commenting on the Message of Fatima in its sorrowful fulfilment:
‘Behold, as we stand before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, together with the whole Church, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father: ‘For their sake’, he said, ‘I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth’ (Jn 17:19). We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for the human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation. The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.
How deeply we feel the need for the consecration of humanity and the world—our modern world—in union with Christ himself! For the redeeming work of Christ must be shared in by the world through the Church.
The present Year of the Redemption shows this: the special Jubilee of the whole Church.
Above all creatures, may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call! Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!
Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, hope, and love! Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us you are awaiting. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.
In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you this very consecration of the world, placing it in your motherly Heart.
Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”. (p. 202-204)
Signs of the Times
Among the many messages given to these children, many comments have been written about the Third Secret of Fatima. When Sr. Lucia was asked about the third secret of Fatima, she gave the following response:
“ ’The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated’ (13-VII-1917). The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: ‘If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.’. Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence, etc. And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible”. (p. 205)
Fr. Robert J. Fox wrote of the signs of our times, “ Heaven in 1917 was well aware of the growing crisis of faith and the crisis of the family which was gradually developing into the sad situation found at the end of the 20th century. After years of meditating the events of Fatima more and more is it being realized the strong call for holiness in the family to be found in the Fatima events.” 2
The good are being martyred around the world. Sins are multiplying at a faster pace than ever in accepting evil for good and calling good evil. The assult against the family, holy matrimony is pressing down upon us.
Please everyone who reads this pray a rosary today in reparation for the many sins offending Our Lord and Our Lady!
Sr. Lucia, Sts. Jacinto and Francisco, St. John Paul II and Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Pray for us!
1 http://www.proecclesia.com/third_secret_of_fatima_MemoriasI_en.pdf FATIMA IN LUCIA’S OWN WORDS, SISTER LUCIA’S MEMOIRS, p 174-176. Editor, FR. LOUIS KONDOR, SVD. Published by SECRETARIADO DOS PASTORINHOS, FATIMA, PORTUGAL