OUR LADY OF FATIMA
We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th. On this day
in 1917, Our Lady made her first appearance to three shepherd children,
Jacinta (age 7), Francisco (age 9) and Lucia (age 10), at Fatima in
Portugal. She appeared to them once a month from May through October. The
lives of the three children of Fatima were entirely transformed by the
heavenly apparitions. While fulfilling the duties of their state with the
greatest fidelity, those children seemed now to live only for prayer and
sacrifice, which they offered in a spirit of reparation to obtain peace and
the conversion of sinners. They deprived themselves of water during the
periods of great heat; they gave their lunch to poor children; they wore
around their waists thick cords that even drew blood; they abstained from
innocent pleasures and urged one another to the practice of prayer and
penance with an ardor comparable to that of the great saints.
A SURE MEANS OF SALVATION
Our Lady communicated with Lucia, the oldest of the three children, in
her six monthly appearances. She asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to take
them to Heaven. "Yes," Our Lady answered, "I will take Jacinta and
Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants
to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion
to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who
embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself
to adorn His throne".
There are three principal practices of devotion which Our Lady has
requested in honor of her Immaculate Heart: the First Saturday of the
month, the Five First Saturdays, and the Consecration of Russia. They bear
a marked similarity to the devotions in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The practice of the First Saturdays - It consists of the following
exercises, performed with the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart
of Mary, and making reparation to it for all the outrages and blasphemies
of which it is the object on the part of ungrateful Christians: 1. the
Rosary; 2. Communion of Reparation.
The practice of the Five First Saturdays - In addition to the two
exercises already mentioned, the following two are added on the first
Saturday of five consecutive months: 3. go to confession; 4. keep the
company of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by meditating for a quarter of an
hour on the mysteries of the Rosary. These two must be offered in
reparation to the Immaculate Heart . The meditation may be on one or
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Our Lady asked that
Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and Lucia, one of the seers,
has explained that Our Lady wants the Pope and all the bishops of the world
to do this on one special day. If this is done She will convert Russia and
there will be peace . . .
The Consecration has not been done as Our Lady requested. After a
lecture at St. Peter's Church in New York City on January 27, 1988, the
following request was made of Cardinal Ratzinger, (later Pope Benedict
XVI): "Your Eminence, I would like you to ask the Holy Father, Pope John
Paul II, to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, immediately
and in union with all the bishops in the world." He replied: "I know it has
to be done!"... This response is proof the Consecration has not been done*.
Cardinals Stickler, Gagnon, and Mayer have also conceded that Our Lady of
Fatima's requested consecration of Russia has never been fulfilled. So we
must appeal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain for Our Holy Father
the Pope and the bishops of the world the graces to make this consecration
of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, just as she has requested, so that
Russia will be converted, so that we will have true peace in the world, and
we will have the Reign of Mary and the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
[*View the online video "Heaven's Key to Peace" for more on the
Consecration of Russia]
Lucia relates that on June 13th, 1917, after speaking at length about
her Immaculate Heart, Our Lady of Fatima again stretched forth her hands,
throwing on the children the rays of that immense light in which they saw
themselves as if immersed in God . . . The Blessed Virgin held in her right
hand a Heart surrounded by thorns, which pierced it from all sides. The
seers understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, afflicted by all
the sins of the world, which demanded penance and reparation. "It seems to
me," said Lucia, "that on that day, the purpose of the light was to pour
into us a special knowledge and love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as on
other occasions it infused into us the knowledge and love of God, and the
mystery of the Blessed Trinity."
Jacinta seems to have received "a special light to understand
intimately and in detail the meanings of these heavenly revelations."
Before leaving for the hospital in 1919, she said to Lucia: "I am going
soon to heaven. You will remain still on earth to make known to men that
the Lord wishes to spread in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary. When you have to speak about it, you will no longer have to hide
yourself! Proclaim openly to the whole world that: It is through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary that God wishes to grant us His graces! It is from
this Immaculate Heart that we must ask for them! The Heart of Jesus wishes
the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated with His own! It is through
the Immaculate Heart of Mary that peace must be asked, because it is to
that Heart that the Lord has confided it. How I love the Immaculate Heart
of Mary! It is the Heart of Our Heavenly Mother! Oh! If only I could put
into all hearts the fire I feel in my own, which makes me love the Hearts
of Jesus and Mary so much!"
To remind the three children of their special vocation and to inspire
them to greater fervor and courage for the future, Our Lady said:
"Sacrifice yourself for sinners and say often, especially when you make
some sacrifice, 'My Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, for the conversion
of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.' "
In each of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, she insisted on
praying the Rosary. "Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the
world." Lucia often repeated and emphasized what Our Lady had first
recommended to her: "Yes, she wishes people to recite the Rosary; people
must recite the Rosary." Our Lady asked them to add after each decade the
short prayer: "Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of
Hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of Thy
mercy." In the final apparition on October 13, 1917, Our Lady silently
held out the scapular (the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).
Lucia had said that the Blessed Mother wants everyone to wear it: "The
Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable."
Lucia spoke to Our Lady of the sick who had been recommended to her.
"Yes, I shall cure some of them within the year." But she went on teaching
them to pray rather for the health of souls than of bodies. "Pray! Pray a
great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell
because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them."
Lucia asked Our Lady about two girls who used to come to her house that
had recently died. "Is little Maria Das Neves, who died recently, in
Heaven?" "Yes, she is in Heaven." . . . "and Amelia?" "She will be in
Purgatory till the end of the world."
Our Lady predicted that God would work a great miracle on October 13,
1917 to prove the authenticity of the apparitions. A tremendous prodigy
happened on that day just as Our Lady had promised. For four minutes, the
noontime sun spun around giving off various colors, one after the other. If
a person at Fatima that day had on a white shirt -- it would turn red,
green and blue as the sun spun around. It stopped and started again for
four more minutes, this time giving off even more beautiful colors. Then it
stopped again. Then it started again. This time it detached itself from its
regular position and began to zigzag in the sky. It "danced" for about four
minutes, then started to plummet to the earth. It looked like it was the
end of the world. Many people fell on their knees to ask for mercy of God.
The sun then returned to its original position in the sky. It was witnessed
by over 70,000 people who all, both believers and unbelievers, came away
acknowledging that a great miracle had occurred. Several learned men
present testified: "I have seen it but I cannot explain it."
BLESSED FRANCISCO'S DEATH
Francisco was struck down by the well-known Spanish influenza in
December, 1918. The little patient suffered for several months always
devout, and faithful to his Rosary which he recited eight or nine times a
day. When he no longer had the strength to pronounce the words he said
them mentally. He was extremely ill and some of the medicines he had to
take were not particularly agreeable. "Yet he would take any medicine we
gave him," his mother said. "He never fussed. I could never find out what
he liked. If I gave him a glass of milk, he took it; and when I gave him
an egg, he sucked it. Poor child! He took any bitter medicine without
making a face. This gave us hope that he would recover, but he always
repeated that it was useless since Our Lady was going to come for him. He
knew well what was in store for him." On Thursday, April 3rd 1919, he
made his First Communion on his death-bed, all radiant with happiness. On
the following day, Friday, April 4th, at 10 o'clock in the evening, he died
the death of the elect, with a smile on his lips. He was ten years and
nine months old.
Jacinta was attacked by the Spanish plague almost at the same time as
her brother Francisco. She too spoke of nothing else than of reciting the
Rosary and offering sacrifices for sinners. Towards the end of January,
1920, Jacinta was taken to Lisbon to be operated upon for a persistent lung
infection. There she immediately impressed all by her candor, her modesty,
her great patience, her perfect submission, her continued prayer and ardent
love for Holy Communion which she received every day except when prevented
by illness. Many doctors came to examine Jacinta; their only thought was
of science and medicine. They discounted the influence God might have on
the condition of the patient. The little girl did not hesitate to set them
straight on the matter, pointing out the cause of their frequent failures.
"Pity doctors. They have no idea what awaits them. Doctors do not know
how to treat patients with success because they have no love for God."
The Blessed Virgin continued to encourage this heroic virtue by her
apparitions. One day, when Mother Godinho, Superior of the orphanage, came
to see her, Jacinta asked her quite naturally: "Could you come back a
little later? I am expecting the Blessed Virgin any minute!" The effects
of these visits from heaven manifested themselves not only in the
supernatural wisdom of the child's words, but also in her predictions.
Mother Godinho one day asked Senhora Olimpia, Jacinta's mother, during a
visit to the Orphanage: "Would you like your daughters Florinda and Teresa
to enter the religious life?" "Heavens no!" that honest and uncomplicated
woman exclaimed, and the discussion seemed at an end. A little while
later, however, Jacinta, who had heard none of the conversation between the
women, confided to Mother Godinho with great seriousness: "Our Lady would
like my sisters to be nuns, although my mother would not approve. That is
why she will take them both to heaven before very long." If this was an
"irresponsible" attempt at prophecy it proved amazingly accurate, since
shortly after Jacinta's own death her sisters, Florinda, seventeen, and
Teresa, one year younger, followed her to the grave.
One of the doctors who attended her in Lisbon asked her to recommend
him to the Blessed Virgin when she went to heaven. Jacinta promised to do
so; and then looking at the doctor she said to him: "You will follow me
soon!" To another doctor, who recommended himself and his daughter to her
prayers, she promised to pray for them and added: "You will follow me
soon; first your daughter and then yourself!" These predictions, as well
as several others, were fulfilled to the letter.
What ardor did not this child of ten preach amendment of life, not only
to sinners, but also to faithful souls! How she insisted on flight from
sin, the practice of the Christian virtues and penance! "Oh!" she said to
the Superioress of the Orphanage in Lisbon, "if men only knew what eternity
is, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives! Dear
Godmother (she addressed the Superioress in this way), mortification and
sacrifice give great pleasure to Our Divine Lord! Oh! Fly luxury! Fly
riches! Love holy poverty and silence. Be very charitable even towards the
wicked! Never speak evil of anyone and avoid those who do. Be very
patient because patience leads to heaven. Pray much for sinners! Pray much
for priests, for Religious, for Governments! The sins of the world are too
great! The sins which lead most souls to Hell are sins of the flesh!
Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very
much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has
no fashions; Our Lord is always the same. Many marriages are not good; they
do not please Our Lord and are not of God. . . . Oh! Men must do penance!
If they amend their lives Our Lord will still pardon the world; but if they
do not, the chastisement will come! Priests should occupy themselves only
with the affairs of the Church! They must be pure, very pure." Mother
Godinho asked her: "Do you know what it means to be pure?" "Yes, Yes. I
know to be pure in body means to be chaste, to be pure in mind means not to
commit sins; not to look at what one should not see, not to steal or lie,
and always to speak the truth, even if it is hard. The disobedience of
priests and of religious to their Superiors and to the Holy Father offends
Our Lord very much! If the government left the Church in peace and gave
liberty to our holy religion, they would be blessed by God. Our Lady said
that there are many wars and discords in the world. Wars are only
punishments for the sins of the world. She stated that she could not stay
the arm of her Beloved Son upon the world anymore. It is necessary to do
penance. If people amend themselves, Our Lord shall still come to the aid
of the world. If they do not amend themselves, punishment shall come."
When Jacinta was at the orphanage in Lisbon, before she was sent to the
hospital, she spent every possible moment in the chapel kneeling with her
eyes riveted on the tabernacle. Seeing people in church being irreverent
toward the Blessed Sacrament upset her greatly. She stated that Our Lady
does not want us to talk in church. One day she heard visitors discussing
faults of a certain priest who had been forbidden to say Mass. Jacinta
began to weep for sorrow and she said people should not talk about priests
but they should rather pray for them.
BLESSED JACINTA'S DEATH
February 20th came. Jacinta seemed about the same; she might last a
few more days, she might go any moment. About six o'clock in the evening
the child said she was not feeling well and she wanted to receive the last
rites of the Church. A priest was called, heard her confession and
promised to bring her Communion in the morning. Jacinta asked him to bring
it immediately but he could see no reason for alarm. She insisted that she
was to die shortly. At ten-thirty, she died peacefully without having her
wish fulfilled. She had just turned ten years old. The news of the
child's death spread fast through the city and crowds flocked to the church
to see the body.
The undertaker testified that he never before nor after had a case like
Jacinta's. "It seems to me that I can still today see the little angel.
Laid in the casket she seemed to be still alive, in her full beauty with
rosy cheeks and lips. I have seen many bodies in my business, young and
old. Never did a thing of this sort happen to me before nor since." The
pleasant aroma that exhaled from her body cannot be explained. The worst
unbeliever could not question it . . . Though the child had been dead
three days, the aroma was like a bouquet of flowers.
Fifteen years after Jacinta's death, her body was transferred to the
cemetery of Fatima. When her casket was opened on this occasion her little
body was still whole and incorrupt.
It is hoped that everyone who reads this article will become most
serious about their salvation by practicing the prayers, devotions and
penitential life as prescribed by Our Lady and Blessed Jacinta.
The above is taken from http://olrl.org/prophecy/fatima.shtml
(available on an 8.5 x 14 folded brochure - 7 cents ea. To order, visit our
online Store at http://www.olrl.org/mm5/merchant.mvc).