The following talk is by Crusader Chris, in the city where he lives. I thought, being the 100th Anniversary of the first Apparition, that this would be appropriate to share today. The only changes are the subheadings which I added for ease of reading. In fact, he did his second talk in the series today in the pro-Cathedral at an all-day Fatima celebration.
(The picture is of my own personal statue of Our lady of Fatima)
FIRST OF A 4-PART SERIES OF TALKS
IN THIS CENTENARY YEAR OF FATIMA, 2017
DAY WITH MARY, 25 February 2017
Good morning, everyone. Now, before I begin I’d just like to stress that the following material is not purely my own personal opinion. While I’m a Fatima enthusiast, I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject. I’ve done a lot of research, and have drawn on a number of RELIABLE sources – some of these I’ll mention as we go.
Perhaps we could start by praying a HAIL MARY for the Holy Spirit’s presence?
FATIMA’S MESSAGE MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER: Heaven’s Request for reparation
FATIMA… it could well be the most important sign of visible Divine intervention since Jesus was raised from the dead.
The “Miracle of the Dancing Sun” at Fatima must rank as the most dramatic and significant supernatural event in the entire history of the Church.
Not since Biblical Times has there been a public miracle of this magnitude!
But WHY we may wonder? WHY?
Could it be that, on entering the modern age in 1917, the Church was on the brink of the most critical and decisive phase of its two thousand year existence?
Many would contest that. Pragmatists and rationalists, theologians and historians would say that the Church has always been upon stormy waters.
But the advent of secularism, atheism, materialism, modern psychology, science and evolution has created a whole new generation conditioned by this thinking who are now enemies of the faith unlike anything ever before: hedonists, scoffers, intellectual giants, revolutionaries, demagogues and social activists with power and ambition to take hold of the world and make their beliefs dominate. Forcefully and seductively they are steering our civilization away from its Christian mores, coercing us into a Brave New World of supposedly “enlightened” values which, in truth, are both anti-Christian and destructive.
Relevance of Private Revelation
It is frequently asserted that Fatima is ONLY private revelation. Many voices in the Church diminish its importance. In the last 50 years it has been dismissed by the Vatican hierarchy. Buried by others and consigned to a grave stone. “It’s only private revelation,” they say. “We don’t have to believe.”
But looking back over the entirety of faith history, some of the greatest landmark moments, even in Sacred Scripture itself, are made up of private revelation. The three angels who appear to Abraham and Sarah announcing the infinite generations of believers to come: private revelation. Moses’ encounter with God on Sinai and the giving of the Law: private revelation, although, of course, the Israeli camp did witness the accompanying spectacle from a distance. The calling of Samuel the prophet who anoints King David: private revelation. Isaiah, Jeremiah, all the prophets, the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary: all private revelation. And the New Testament abounds with similar phenomena: the conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus, his transporting into the heavenly realms, the apparitions to the disciples of the Risen Christ in His Glorified Body: all private revelation.
To those who insist that Fatima is merely private revelation, Our Lady in fact says the complete opposite. She told the three shepherds that she would perform a miracle so that “EVERYONE would believe”. It was intended for everyone, not just the young visionaries. And it did get the world’s attention, even the secular newspapers at the time. Over seventy thousand pilgrims were present. Hardened journalists who turned out to mock and belittle the so-called religious hysteria became believers.
Why did Our Lady appear?
So why would God permit the Blessed Mother of His Son to appear at the dawn of the twentieth century during the bloodiest war which was meant to “end all wars” and only months prior to the tumultuous Russian Revolution? Why would He give the handmaiden of Nazareth the power to overwhelm such a great multitude of people with a sight which brought them to their knees, convinced the world was about to end with the sun plunging toward the earth? It is interesting to note that this was 28 years before the first nuclear bombs were exploded, bringing an end to a far more devastating Second World War. Some commentators say Fatima’s solar phenomenon was like a prelude of that atomic power.
When Jesus came among us as the long-awaited Messiah He scolded those of His generation for not recognizing the signs of the times – Hugh Owen in his recent Fatima book, The Light Comes from the East, says “How much more will He scold us who have the gifts of the Holy Spirit if we fail to read the signs of the times.”
Pope Benedict’s XVI
Seven years ago our previous Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, while visiting Fatima, made a startling pronouncement, one which negated the official Vatican position and his own earlier opinion as Cardinal Ratzinger. No longer could he agree that Fatima’s message was relegated to the historical past, left behind with the 20th century. On May 13, 2010, before 500,000 pilgrims at the famous apparition site, Pope Benedict proclaimed in his papal address: “Whoever thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is over, is deceived. May these seven years that divide us from the centennial of the apparitions bring forth soon the foreseen triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!”
In the same address Pope Benedict pointed out an uncomfortable fact: “Today,” he said, “we see in the most horrifying way, that the greatest persecution against the Church does not come from its enemies outside, but from the sins within; and that the Church has therefore a great need to re-learn penance. . .”
His Holiness was simply echoing the words of Our Lady of Fatima:
On October 13 in 1917 she was reported saying, “People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already TOO MUCH offended.” She mentioned in particular immorality and immodesty, fashions which greatly offended God, and her admonition recalls the two prayers which the Angel had taught the shepherd children a year earlier. These prayers were “in reparation for the outrages, sacrilege, blasphemies and INDIFFERENCE toward God.”
The Relevance of Our Lady’s Words for Today
Now, remember, this was 1917. How much more-so have those sins multiplied and intensified one hundred years later!
Father Regis Scanlon, spiritual director for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, has authored articles on Fatima. Recently he wrote, “Without a doubt abortion has always existed,” – on a minor scale in the backstreets of cities – “but now it is glorified by societies and protected by governments as a legal right. In 1917 the idea of legalized homosexual marriage, especially on a worldwide scale, would have been inconceivable. And I doubt you could find a practicing Catholic, in those days, who would NOT have been horrified to hear a fellow Catholic was regularly receiving Holy Communion despite being divorced, co-habiting or committing fornication or homosexual acts.”
Our Lady told Jacinta that the sins that offended God most were sins of the flesh, and that many marriages were not good. More people fall into hell, she said, because of unrepented sins of the flesh. This and sacrilegious communions are the two great evils which afflict the world and the Church.
Heaven foresaw all of this coming. Like the prophets of old, Christ’s Mother was sent to forewarn the world, to alert believers to the signs of the times. Sadly, a hundred years later, we hardly ever hear about sin (especially mortal sin); nor do we hear about Hell, about Satan or demonic activity, and we definitely never hear about reparation and sacrifice, so badly needed, as Fatima highlighted. Any such reference has become unfashionable – almost politically incorrect.
The Sequence of Events – a refresher:
Now, for those who are unfamiliar with the Fatima story, here’s a brief recap – and a refresher for those of you who have heard it but long ago.
The extraordinary sequence of events actually began in the spring and autumn of 1916. Sister Lucy in her memoirs, however, does mention that there was a mysterious prefigurement even earlier in 1915. On three occasions that year, while she and her two younger cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were tending their flocks, a figure appeared in the air above the olive trees.
The following year this figure revealed to them that he was the Angel of Peace, the Guardian Angel of Portugal – also later identified as St Michael. “Do not be afraid,” he told the children. “Pray with me.” Sister Lucy wrote that he looked “like a young man of about 14 or 15 years old, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it and of great beauty.” He taught them a short prayer and showed them to kneel as they prayed and prostrate themselves with their foreheads almost touching the ground. When he returned in the autumn that year he rebuked them for wasting time playing. “What are you doing? Pray, pray very much! The most holy hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.” He explained to them, “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. You will thus draw down peace upon your country.”
Now remember, these instructions were given to three little children who, in 1916, were aged ten, eight and six years old. On this second visit the Angel gave Holy Communion to Lucy and the precious Blood from a Chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, saying, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He knelt prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, demonstrating again this lowly position of prayerful adoration, and recited with the young shepherds the now-famous prayer addressed to the Holy Trinity. In this way the little seers of Fatima were being primed up for the great encounter with heaven’s Queen a year ahead of her appearance.
The First Apparition
Meanwhile, the First World War was raging through Europe without let-up. Pope Benedict XV, tired and frail, weary of fruitless diplomatic entreaties with leaders, wrote a letter to all Christians. It was dated 5th May 1917. “In this terrible hour,” he pleaded, “may the faithful turn with lively confidence to the august Mother of God. Since all graces are dispensed through the hands of the Holy Virgin, beg her to obtain peace for the world, to end the dark tide of ruin and massacre.” He solemnly entrusted this task to her alone. Only eight days later she responded – on what was then known as the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, May 13th.
May 13th that year was a Sunday. After attending Mass and leading their sheep to pasture at a place called the Cova da Iria, the three children witnessed a flash of lightning in the blue sky after praying their Rosary. Another flash and there, just a few footsteps away, on the top of a holm oak, stood a Lady dressed in white, “more brilliant than the sun,” wrote Lucy, “radiating a light so clear and intense”. She encouraged them to pray the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and an end to the First World War, and requested that they come to the Cova da iria on the 13th day of each month for six successive months.
13th June: the second apparition.
This drew about fifty onlookers along with Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco. On this occasion the Blessed Mother spoke of devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. “Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved,” she said and opening her hands, she showed them a vision of her heart encircled by thorns.
The Third Apparition
13th July. This pivotal third apparition brought record crowds. Five thousand people assembled this time, and it was the day that the Mother of Christ delivered the prophecies and promises and visions now associated with Fatima.
Firstly she announced the miracle which would take place three months from that date: “I will do this so that all may believe,” she said. And then she gave the children a graphic glimpse into the frightening reality of hell. Sadly she continued, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. This war is going to end soon, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse war will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, stirring up revolutions, and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer; several nations will be annihilated.” Her final words were ones of hope: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be peace.”
All these revelations were known initially as “the Secret”. The secret was divided into three parts: first part was the terrifying sight of hell. The second was the prophetic words just quoted. And what became known as the Third Secret or the third part began with the promise “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved”. The contents of this secret were sealed in an envelope to be made public in 1960 when they would be better understood. Through papal diplomacy it took another forty years to learn of the apocalyptic vision we now know about: a slain bishop in white, surrounded by the corpses of bishops, cardinals and lay people in a city in ruins with soldiers present.
During this July apparition Our Lady also taught the children to pray in between decades of the Rosary: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy.” This is where that prayer originated.
The Fourth Apparition
13th August 1917. There was no apparition that day. The fourth appearance of Our Lady of Fatima was delayed until August 19th. This was because the three young seers were imprisoned by the Administrator of the local council. He threatened to boil them alive in hot oil if they did not renounce their visions and disclose the secret. After three days of brave and determined refusal they were released.
The Fifth Apparition:
September 13th. The fifth apparition occurred in the presence of 25 thousand observers with the Virgin Mary confirming the much-anticipated Miracle in one month’s time.
This resulted in pilgrims converging on Fatima from all directions across Europe during mid October. Tens of thousands of them flocked in great expectancy, singing and praying, making their way through a ferocious rainstorm the night before the Miracle was due.
The Sixth Apparition: Miracle of the sun
October 13th, their faith in Fatima was not disappointed. The sky which had been hidden by black clouds suddenly cleared and the sun shone through. To everyone’s amazement it began performing extraordinary feats in the sky for fifteen long minutes. It whirled like a giant fiery Catherine wheel, zigzagging and plunging toward the earth, flooding the countryside with a spectrum of glorious rays. The muddy ground and the sodden clothes of the spectators were bone dry by the time the awesome prodigy was over. The secular press gave wide coverage with photos, especially of the terrified onlookers who thought the world was coming to an end. Even skeptical journalists were instantly converted that day.
In recent times, there have been reports of the sun spinning at other apparition sites like Medjugorje but nothing has equaled the impressive light show and the solar gymnastics displayed at Fatima.
Of course that was not the completion of the Fatima story, only the beginning. Both Jacinta and Francisco were told by the Blessed Mother they would join her in heaven shortly. Both of them died of the post-war influenza epidemic in 1919 and 1920. Eighty years later they were beatified by Pope John Paul the Second and Blessed Jacinta’s body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt.
Lucy eventually became a Carmelite nun and was blessed with subsequent visions and heavenly communications throughout her long life. She died on 13th of February 2005 just seven weeks before Saint John Paul Two went to his heavenly reward.
There were three documented visitations to Lucy which served as a sequel to the 1917 events. On December 10th 1925 Our Lady appeared in Lucy’s convent cell to announce the Five First Saturday devotion of Reparation. Then on the 15th February the following year the Child Jesus appeared to Lucy, along with Our Lady to ensure the spreading of this devotion and to stress its importance..
Three years later, 13th June 1929, Our Lady of Fatima came to Lucy, as foretold, with her request for the consecration of Russia. This request was given while Lucy was praying late at night in the chapel, which became illuminated by the presence of a breathtaking image. Over the altar she saw the Divine Trinity: God the Father overseeing the Crucified Jesus with the Holy Spirit hovering above the cross. “The moment has come,” Our Lady announced, “for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. The Holy Father must do this in union with all the bishops of the world.”
Two years later, in 1931, Jesus spoke to Lucy and reminded her of the consequences of failing to consecrate Russia.
The Great Sign:
Seven years elapsed and, as predicted by the Blessed Mother, the Second World War erupted, preceded by the Great Sign she had spoken about. During the reign of Pope Pius XI, on the evening of January 25th, 1938, all of Europe was bathed in unearthly lights. People were in panic, running in the streets with fear once again that the world was ending. Scientists quickly labeled the phenomenon an Aurora Borealis. They have since admitted the lights were “of an unidentified source” with no further explanation.
Within weeks of that Great Warning Sign, Hitler had marched into Austria, followed by its annexation and the seizure of Poland. Right on cue, the vast conflict, involving much of the world, began to unfurl.
Fatima is one of the very few Marian apparitions to be fully approved by the Church and to be promoted by most popes ever since – John Paul Two especially after his assassination attempt on 13th May 1981. The current pope has dedicated his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima. But still heaven’s directive remains unimplemented. It is not the world which needs to be consecrated to the Heart of Mary but Russia, specifically named so that the conversion of Russia will be then attributed quite unmistakably to Our Lady’s intercessory power.
Sister Lucy recorded that Jacinta once told her, “Do not be afraid to tell everyone about devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. God has entrusted the peace of the world to her.” God has given the Blessed Virgin Mother a mission, to bring Christ back into the world, just as she brought Christ into the world the first time.
What Fatima requires of us.
The more we study the Fatima revelations the more we come to see that there is much more required than simply praying the Holy Rosary every day. The Rosary is certainly a vital element – but what is equally imperative is an attitude of sacrifice, the offering of all the penances that come from our state of life, all that’s demanded by our daily duty, in a spirit of reparation for so many outrages and sacrileges and blasphemy. Reparation is the key word. One hundred years later the world’s future is in a precarious balance. A visionary was recently told by Our Lady that humanity is hanging by a thread. “The Bear is about to awaken and take the world by surprise”.
If God was offended in 1917, what is He now?
The errors of Russia
The “errors of Russia” which our dear Mother mentioned are precisely this: systematized atheism, the rejection of God, indifference to His existence and providence, even outright hostility; abortion now institutionalized in what were once Christian nations; divorce, destruction of the family unit, the denigration of a woman’s role of motherhood; the substitution of Divine Creation with Darwinism and its claim of human life evolving from a soulless primeval void.
These were the errors about to emerge in Holy Mother Russia a century ago which brought about bloodshed, closure of Churches, the imprisonment and murder of clergy and religious, millions upon millions of citizens wantonly slaughtered. It took fifty years for these errors of belief to be absorbed into western culture. By the 1970s divorce and abortion had gained legal status, followed by prostitution, and now the current gender theology, same-sex marriage and so on…. I think we all understand the seriousness of the times.
What we have to do now
Returning to Father Regis Scanlon, he recently wrote, “God doesn’t want us to suffer the consequences of our disobedience, that’s why He sent Mary Immaculate to us in the early 20th century with these important signs – so we could repent and correct ourselves (…) there is still time left. Remember God’s Mercy. We must not despair. When enough of the entire Church makes an effort, including daily and worthy reception of Holy Communion, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in reparation – when the Pope, Bishops and priests lead the Church in these efforts, Satan’s power will end. And if our Church leaders refuse to do what Our Lady has been asking since 1917, then I believe that we must prepare for penance – a lot of it – and soon.”
In the end Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph and her promises will be fulfilled – but at what cost?
Please continue to pray that all of Our Lady’s conditions for world peace are soon met. Pray for the Church. Pray for the world. Pray for souls. And, in the words of the latest Fatima online newsletter, “Pray also for COURAGE for it may grow darker before the dawn of grace.”
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Monday 20 February 2017
Feast of Blessed Jacinta of Fatima
In the next two talks on Fatima we will look at the numerous events since 1960 which are directly related to Fatima, the significance of the 100 years ending in 2017; also the history of the many attempts at consecrating Russia, and why such a simple act has caused so much difficulty and confusion.