One hundred and two years and counting . . .
“You are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
Our Lady’s words to Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta echo down the long years of this tragic century. Although Francisco and Jacinta saw a quick end to their trials, Lúcia’s suffering was protracted and seems especially poignant to us today. For Lúcia was to experience disobedience to the message of Our Lady and the tragic betrayal of the Church by Popes and Bishops, the sly derision of theologians, the crass opportunism of some of the laity and the bovine indifference of most of the rest. Thus, she accompanied Our Lord and His Blessed Mother in their suffering.
Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta were declared saints by the Immaculate Mother of God from the very start of the Fatima message. Francisco and Jacinta exemplified in their brief lives truly heroic sanctity while Lúcia’s hidden life and silent suffering still has much to teach us in this dark time of the Passion of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. .
May 13, 1917, the day the world changed and no one noticed … An offer made, an offer ignored … such a small thing … as they say, “the devil’s in the details” …
May 13, 1917 was a bright sunshiny Sunday and the rocky hillsides were sprinkled with wildflowers when Lúcia , Francisco and Jacinta saw the Mother of God, “more brilliant than the sun”, in Lúcia’s words. From Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité:
“There before us on a small holm oak, 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 that surrounded Her, or rather, which radiated from Her. Then Our Lady spoke to us: – ‘Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm.’
To Lúcia’s questions, the Lady answered, “I am of Heaven”.
To Lúcia’s question, “What does your Grace want of me?”, the Lady replied,
“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.”
Lúcia then, “Shall I go to heaven too?” “Yes, you will.”
“And Jacinta?” “She will go also.”
“And Francisco?” “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?” – ‘Yes, she is.’ (I think she was about 16 years old.) –
“And Amelia?” – ‘She will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.’ (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age.)
And then, the Virgin Mary made them an offer no true Catholic could refuse:
“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?”
Lúcia promptly answered for the three of them, “Yes! We want to!”
“Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
The concept of reparative suffering is as old as Catholicism itself. It is at the heart of true Christianity, “take up thy cross and come, follow Me.” Contrast the children’s prompt acceptance with our modern reluctance to budge from our comfort zone and you will see why so few today are open to the message of Fatima.
Returning to Lúcia’s narrative: “As she spoke, the Lady spread her hands, shedding intense rays of light.” … “this light penetrated us to the heart and allowed us to see ourselves in God, who was the light”. Lúcia related that they then fell to their knees as if moved by an interior impulse and began praying, “O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee; my God, my God, I love Thee 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.’ –
“Can you tell me if the war will go on a long time, or will it end soon?” –
‘I cannot tell you that yet, because I have not yet said what I want.’
The beautiful Lady then told them,
‘Say the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.’ Lúcia then described the Lady gradually ascending into Heaven towards the east, “surrounded by a most brilliant light”.
From Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, Vol 1:
Our Lady appeared on the little holm oak for about ten minutes: ‘I do not believe that She ever remained long enough to recite a Rosary’, said Lúcia. What is astonishing, but quite well at attested, is that Francisco saw the Blessed Virgin perfectly, but did not hear Her words. He only understood the questions of Lúcia. As for Jacinta, who saw and heard everything, she never brought herself to speak to the apparition. Thus Lúcia was the only one to have the privilege of speaking with Her.” … “Young and quite small, the Queen of Heaven also came very close to (the) three children. For a pedestal She had chosen a little holm oak, about a metre high. ‘We were so close’, writes Lúcia , ‘that we found ourselves in the light surrounding Her, or rather emanating from Her, about a metre and a half away, more or less.’
The Lady was ‘All of Light’
Later, on October 11, when Canon Formigao asked about the appearance of the Lady from Heaven, Lúcia and Francisco explained,
Lúcia: “The light that surrounds Her is more beautiful than the light of the sun, and more brilliant.” “What was brighter, the sun or the countenance of Our Lady?” the Canon asked. And Francisco answered: “The countenance of Our Lady was brighter, and Our Lady was all white.” To the Canon’s question, “Why do you often lower your eyes and stop looking at Our Lady?” Lúcia responded, “Because sometimes She blinds me.”
When describing the phenomenon to Father McGlynn, who was entrusted with sculpting the statue of Our Lady destined for the facade of the basilica at Fatima, Lúcia explained further,
She described Our Lady as being “all of light”. The dress and the mantle could be distinguished from each other like two “undulations of light”, one over the other. Lúcia was so insistent that the poor sculptor had to make folds which had nothing “realistic” about them; they were to give the idea of light in vibration… “Thus the gold bordering the mantle was simply a line of more intense light; thus also the chain suspended from the neck and held together by a “ball of light”.
Father McGlynn asked if the Lady’s hands were the color of flesh, and she answered: “a flesh-colored light (carnea luz).” … “She was all light, this light had different tones, yellow, white and other nuances. By these different tones and intensities, one could distinguish the hands from the dress.”
Thus, we note that this first vision of Our Lady of Fatima, “All of Light” reveals a fundamental truth, essential to the understanding of the Fatima Message. It was Her risen body in all the splendour of its glory in which She manifested Herself at the Cova da Iria. Once again, there is perfect agreement between the testimony of the three shepherds and that of Holy Scripture. The evangelist writes of the transfigured Jesus: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light.” (Mt. 17: 2) In the great vision of the glorious Christ which opens the Apocalypse, Jesus appears to the Disciple “as a Son of man», whose face was ‘like the sun shining at full strength”. (Apoc. 1: 16) When He throws Saul down to the ground on the road to Damascus, it is once again in the same light. “At midday”, the Apostle relates, “I saw on my way a light from Heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me.” (Acts 26: 13) The light was so bright that he lost his sight: “And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.” (Acts 22: 11)
The sun is only the image of the divine light with which the risen Bodies of Jesus and Mary shine. It was thus that the Virgin appeared at Fatima, like the Spouse in the Canticle of Canticles, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun” (Cant. 6: 10), and also like the Woman of the Apocalypse, “a woman clothed with the sun”. (Apoc. 12: 1) By Her apparitions at the Cova da Iria, the Blessed Virgin confirms for us, that as Mother of the “Sun of Justice”, She has been clothed with the divine Light since Her Assumption. While remaining a creature and fully human, She has penetrated, so to speak, into the sphere of the divinity. (Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, Vol 1)
Clothed with the Robe of Justice
Although “all shining with light”, the Apparition nevertheless seemed to be, in the eyes of the seer, a real human person, of ineffable beauty: “The face, with infinitely pure and delicate lines, shines in an aureole of the sun… The eyes are black. The hands are joined on top of the breast. From the right hand there hangs a beautiful Rosary with white beads, brilliant as pearls, ending in a little cross of silver, which also sparkles.”
Frère Michel remarking on the vision notes,
Does not this description remind us of the beautiful verses of Isaiah which the liturgy, with lyrical joy, attributes to the Blessed Virgin on the morning of Her Immaculate Conception? “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,” She chants, “and My soul shall be joyful in My God: for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He has covered Me, as a bride adorned with her jewels.” Is it not in this way that She appeared at the Cova da Iria? Clothed with a robe of light, “induit me vestimentis salutis”, a symbol of the singular privilege by which She would benefit more than any other from the grace of salvation, since in view of the future merits of Her Son She was preserved from every stain of sin. Draped in a sparkling white mantle, resplendent in the golden flashes of light, She is the image of original justice rediscovered and restored in greater splendor: “He has covered Me with the robe of justice…”
Such is indeed the spirit of the liturgy of December 8, as it pursues its joyful chant… “As a bride adorned with her jewels …” These last words attributed by the Church to the Immaculate One, do they not also apply to the Virgin of Fatima, who appeared all clothed in light and adorned with ornaments even more sparkling? For the Rosary “with beads as brilliant as pearls”, and the border of golden light on the great veil She wore, as a virgin consecrated to God, were not Her only ornaments. “At the neck she had a necklace with a ball that went down to her waist.” This ball suspended from the necklace was even more brilliant than the rest of her body, notes Frère Michel, concluding that it recalls the Canticle of Isaiah, “Sicut sponsam ornatam monilibus suis – As a bride adorned with her jewels”, This identification of the Blessed Virgin with the Spouse in the Canticle of Canticles is one of the most constantly recurring themes in the liturgy.
Thus, we note of this initial vision of Our Lady: She presents herself to us in the splendor of her risen body, more brilliant than the Sun, adorned with ornaments, among them, a globe of light even more brilliant than she is. Indeed, in Canticles, 1,10, we read, “We will make thee chains of gold, inlaid with silver.” This verse alludes both to the love of God for His beautiful Bride the Church, and to the love of the Most Holy Trinity for the Blessed Virgin.
This duality is intended to point us to the Virgin of the Apocalypse as we shall see in the coming months. The Holy Roman Catholic Church rightfully asserts the duality of meaning in the vision of the Woman Clothed with the Sun of Chapter 12 in the Apocalypse.
“In this we can see a delicate sign of the care of the Mother of God, wishing to signify to Her children that She is indeed the “Catholic” Virgin, of whom they sing with love when they offer praises in Her honour: She is the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Spouse of the Word of God, the living Sanctuary of the Spirit of Love and of Light. She is the perfect figure and personification of the Church, the Virgin who has risen up to Heaven in glory, in body and soul. She is the Queen of Heaven and earth, who has already been introduced into the great Light of God.” (Frère Michel, op. cit.)
In our review of this first vision of Our Lady of Fatima, we take care to note how the Blessed Virgin prepares us to receive Heaven’s Message. Let us consider:
† The very first message, which prepares for all the others is that she is, “All of Light.” Thus we see her splendor, adorned with with the tokens of the fullness of Divine Love and Justice, because as we see, she is the Woman, “Conceived Without Sin”. She is truly “All of Light” and thus, represents she who is, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array”, which is to say that she represents the justice of God confronting and casting out the enemy within the Church, which will be seen more fully in the conclusion of the series of apparitions, October 13.
† The Blessed Virgin states that she is “Of heaven” – again, because there is no stain of sin in her, thus affirming the she is the Immaculate Conception, echoing Lourdes.
† The Blessed Virgin promises the children Heaven once their sufferings are over. This message clearly is for all of us, her children and we must hold fast to this promise in the coming trials.
† By her assertion that Francisco will go to heaven but “must say many Rosaries”, we are made to understand this essential aspect of God’s justice, the need for Rosaries of reparation.
† This message of justice is further revealed in the Blessed Virgin’s response to Lúcia’s question about Amelia: She will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.” Thus, Our Lady teaches us the reality of Purgatory and the need for reparation, anticipating the conciliar church’s implicit denial of the existence of purgatory or the need for reparation.
† The next essential point made by the Blessed Virgin is contained in her question: “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?”
Thus, from the very outset we see the urgent need for offering our sufferings in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners. Of course, this presupposes the concepts of sin, eternal damnation and reparation, all of which concepts are minimized or denied by the conciliar church.
† The next affirmation is Our Lady of Fatima’s offering of the grace of God as our comfort. This, too, is an essential point, one we must hold fast to in our times of trial. We shall have more on this in a subsequent post.
† And then, Our Lady spread her hands, allowing intense rays of light to penetrate the children. Lúcia remarked that the Light was God, a point which is too little noted. This Light caused them to immediately prostrate themselves and pray, “O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee; my God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Thus, we note that the Immaculata demonstrates that she is Mediatrix of Grace, and affirms the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. This deserves a post of its own, but for now, we simply assert that those who deceive the faithful by rushing around making a luxurious living off of proclaiming the need for a “Fifth Marian Dogma” are betraying Our Lady who never asked for such a thing, but only for Devotion to her Immaculate Heart, and for us to pray her Rosary. She called herself “Our Lady of the Rosary”, thus expressing her desire that we pray her prayers, i.e., Hail Marys, on the Rosary, and not other prayers. She did not ask for other things. The people who hawk these unasked for devotions serve her ancient enemy and betray her yet again. Please, do not betray her any more!
† The final point, “Pray the Rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war”, is one that the world still has not learned. And there is no peace. Nor will there be, without reparation, without justice.
Think on these things.
Ed. Note: For a very informative article on Fatima, you may want to check out “Fatima: The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary“.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come, Viva Cristo Rey!
† St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families, protect our priests!
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!