On the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s promised Miracle of the Sun, modern man asks if there is truth to such crazy Catholic prophecies or if they are nothing more than Friday the 13th superstitions?
Skeptics wonder why we bother with such ideas. Christians find Marian appearances and devotion to her Immaculate Heart heretical. Saddest of all, social and lukewarm Catholics make no meaningful effort to learn what Fatima contains.
I am no wise Marian scholar. I live a modest life trying to stand for my Catholic beliefs in a time and place where my beliefs (and sometimes me too) are openly despised, ridiculed, demeaned, belittled, and attacked. I am often more like Fatima’s minimally educated shepherd children than the great Church leaders.
I do not know all there is to know of Fatima, but I do know my study of what happened at Fatima helped me leave my lukewarm existence and discover a Catholicism I never knew. That said, here is my retelling of the events of Fatima in 1917.
The Three Children of Fatima
An Angel and the Blessed Mother Mary came to three simple shepherd children in the Portuguese town of Fatima. Jacinta, the youngest of the three children, saw and heard the Angel and the Blessed Mother but never spoke with them. Jacinta’s older brother Francisco could see both the Angel and the Blessed Mother but could neither hear nor speak to them. Lucy, the older cousin, could see, hear, and speak to the Angel and to the Virgin Mother of God. Lucy would later become a nun and carry the messages of Fatima toward the end of the 20th century
1916 The Angel of Peace Visits the Fatima Children.
Before My Mary appeared to the children, and Angel, calling himself the Angel of Peace and the Angel of Portugal, began preparing the children for the Blessed Mother’s visit. Even young children are not sinless and must be prepared for their Queen’s appearance. The Angel kindly but urgently instructed the children to pray these words,
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
On another visit, the Angel prostrated himself before a floating host and chalice. Worshipping the Eucharist the Angel said,
Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, Appears
The Marian visits began May 13th, 1917. The Beautiful Lady would then appear on the 13th of each month for five of six months until October 13th, 1917.
Mary did not come to make the lives of these poor, shepherd children easier. She did not come to bring them riches, material goods, or popularity.
Jesus came to bring faith, hope, and love, and Mary continues her Son’s mission. She brings messages of faith, hope, and, most of all, God’s Love for His children.
Like Jesus, Mary also brings God’s demand for repentance. She pleads for an end to our sinful indifference and lukewarm faith so that we may receive God’s love on earth and, most importantly, in Heaven.
While Jesus healed and brought an end of suffering to many He met, Mary does not heal and take away suffering from her visionaries. Instead, she offers comfort in an understanding of the value of suffering for the redemption of souls.
Like many of those who stand for faith, the children did not have easy lives. As the oldest, Lucy bore the brunt of ridicule from peers, townspeople, and clergy. Even her own mother accused her of lying. At one point, Lucy was so upset, she refused to go to the Virgin. Fortunately, she agreed to return in time to make all five visits.
Only once in those many months did the children and the Blessed Mother did not meet on the 13th. August 13th, 1917, the children were being imprisoned for refusing to disclose secrets revealed to them by Our Lady of Fatima. The children were told they’d be slowly dipped in boiling oil until dead if they did not reveal or recant. All three children held to their promise preferring painful death to betrayal of the Blessed Mother and the suffering souls. Finally, they were released.
The Miracle of the Sun
Word continued to spread and crowds of people came to Fatima causing major destruction to this humble family farm. Still, the three Portuguese children did not deny or stray from their visions. Lucy, knowing the skepticism many had, asked Mary for a sign that would make the whole world believe, and in July 1917 the always loving Mother, told her children they should keep coming to her through October, and on the 13th of October, their sign would come.
October 13th, 1917 was a dark and dreary day in Fatima, Portugal. Rain poured from the sky and dark clouds loomed overhead. Still the children went to their meeting spot. So did crowds of people undeterred by the weather. Estimates range from 30,000 to 100,000 people stood in drenching rain to see the miracle the children had been promised. Among those present were many devout Catholics, but there were also many indifferent to their faith. There were Christians, non-Christians, skeptics, and atheists who had come to prove the children wrong. Reporters came fully prepared to tell their papers Fatima was a hoax. Moreover, others not in the field watching with the crowds and those not knowing much if anything about what was to occur, saw the sun dance as well.
Then the sun danced!
At the appointed time, the sun “danced” where clouds had been shortly before. Tens of thousands of people saw the sun shimmer and swirl radiating with supernatural colors. The sun zigzagged across the sky, plummeted toward earth racing toward the crowds and sending people running in fear for their lives.
The entire event lasted about 12 minutes. Then the sun zoomed back into position. The world, which had been drenched only moments before, was suddenly dry.
What were the Secrets of Fatima? What were the children told? What prophecies did the three learn and have any prophecies come true? Do we trust the Church or another authority figure on Marian visions, prophesy, and Church doctrine? What are my feelings about all this? How does it relate to Marriage and Family? Where do we go from here?
Those are topics for next Friday’s post. 🙂
Can you believe on October 11th, it was six years since I started Single Mom Smiling? Don’t miss tomorrow’s post as I look at how perspective allows me to offer hope to the hurting.