Opinion3 141023

On a Beautiful Summer Day

The amazing story of Fatima continues to inspire millions of people around the world, even today, 100 years after the apparitions.

It begins on a summer day in 1916. Three small children, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, were playing in the fields near the village of Fatima, Portugal, when they saw an extraordinarily handsome young man coming towards them.

He was as bright as the sun and announced that he was the Angel of Peace. He besought them to pray, saying: “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”

Later that summer, a second angel, equally magnificent, who identified himself as the Angel of Portugal, visited them. Like the first angel, he also urged them to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and for peace (World War I was raging across Europe at the time).

One year later, on a beautiful Sunday in May 1917, Lucia and her two cousins were again out in the fields. They noticed the air suddenly cooling and the sun dimming so that stars could be seen. They saw a globe of light travelling towards them from the east with majestic gracefulness. It settled over a small tree nearby, and in the midst of that globe of light there stood, as Lucia recounts, “A lady dressed in white, more brilliant than the sun.”

The lady requested them to return to that very spot on the same thirteenth day of the month, for the next five months. She asked them: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings that He may be pleased to send you, as both an act of reparation for sin with which He is offended and an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

True to their promise, the children were there again one month later, on 13 June. A small crowd of curious onlookers stood by. When ‘the lady’ came she said: “I want you to pray the Rosary every day”. And she added, “Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. To those who embrace it, I promise salvation; and these souls will be beloved of God like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.”

The third apparition, on 13 July 1917, was the occasion Our Lady used to tell the children about certain events that would take place in the coming hundred years. These were in fact prophecies about the apostacy of mankind, coming wars and social upheavals, revolutions, bloodshed, the persecution of the good people, martyrdoms, and the final conversion of mankind and a coming time of peace.

All told, this is a coherent sequence that explains many things happening in the world today. It has come to be known as the Message of Fatima.

The Blessed Virgin bade the three children to keep it a secret for the time being, which is why it came to be known as the ‘Secret of Fatima’. It is still sometimes called the Secret of Fatima, although it has already been made public. It consists of three separate parts. I’ll talk about these in upcoming posts.

Opinion piece written by Paul Folley.

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