Mary did indeed return as promised, always on the 13th day of the month. She especially asked the children to pray the Rosary and to encourage the faithful to pray it daily so as to diminish the growing effects of sin on the world; she warned that people needed to beg for pardon and mercy because God had become terribly offended by the evil done by so many. Finally, in her last appearance on October 13, 1917, Mary announced herself as Our Lady of the Rosary and gave a promised sign so that the world would know that the children were telling the truth about seeing her and also to give credence to the message that she had asked them to deliver. The miracle that took place that day was the famous miracle of the sun in which thousands of people saw the sun seem to pulsate and then move all over the sky as if in a sort of dance.
The message of Our Lady of Fatima is consistent with the entire message of Jesus summed up in this passage: “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) We need to realize anew that God does not want any of us to be lost, which is to say, He does not want us to fall so deeply into sin through our indifference that we would end up rejecting Him and subsequently choosing Hell. Mary was sent to warn us as a sign of God’s mercy so that we might accept the gift given to us by Jesus, and through our prayer, save the world. Our call is to teach by word and deed so that the message of Jesus will continue to go out to the entire world. If we pray as both the Angel of Peace and Our Lady instructed, we can become what we pray: a sign of peace, mercy, and justice for all.
May we become what we pray: signs of God’s love and mercy in the world! May we heed the messages of Our Lady of Fatima so that the world might be converted to the way of the gospel! May we believe that God is indeed in control, trusting that He is with us even in the midst of suffering! May we continue to trust in God’s goodness, and to adore and worship God alone! And may we continue to grow in Easter joy with gratitude that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son Jesus so that we might not perish, but have eternal life! Let us meet in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Alleluia! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: The next entry will be on May 22.
(1) In addition to the prayer for reparation, the angel taught them to also pray: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly. I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles in the world, in reparation for all 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 You the conversion of poor sinners.”
Also, Mary taught the children an added prayer for the end of every decade of the Rosary: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy. Amen.”
(2) One of the best sources about the many apparitions of Mary, including Our Lady of Fatima, is from a book called A Woman Clothed with the Sun, edited by John J. Delaney. It is an oldie, but goodie. I re-read the chapter on Fatima for this entry. Another truly excellent book is called Fatima for Today, by Fr. Andrew Apostoli. Both books can be found on Amazon.com.
This website also has some good information: http://www.fatima.org/essentials/facts/story1.asp
1. The first photo is one I took in Fatima, Portugal at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. In the center background is the basilica which was built to honor Our Lady. The tombs of Blessed Jacinta, Blessed Francisco, and Lucia are inside this church. On the far right of the photo is the golden statue which stands in the actual center of the square and fittingly it is the Angel of Peace. And in the foreground is the enclosure which is now an outdoor chapel on the spot where the children knelt in prayer, awe, and rapt attention at the feet of Mary, who was seen to be hovering over a small tree.
2. The second photo is also mine. I took this at the spot where the Angel of Peace appeared to the children for the first time, during which he taught them the prayer for reparation, as above (1).
3. This is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called Blessed Francisco Marto of Fatima. I chose this because it shows Francisco at prayer with the sun behind him symbolizing how it seemed to pulsate and dance in the sky on the day of the miracle in 1917. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this icon for purchase in one of many forms, it can be found at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/blessed-francisco-marto-of-fatima-081-william-hart-mcnichols.html
4. This is another of my photos, taken at Port Aransas, TX. It was taken in the mid-morning on an obviously hazy day. When the sun broke through the fog momentarily, it turned everything gold as you can see in the photo; it was truly breath-taking. I chose it for this spot in the post because it reminded me of what the psalmist said of “the glories of the Lord” and “the marvels He has done.” These marvels happen all around us though they need to be pointed out to eyes that have either never learned to see or which have become dimmed to these glories for whatever reason.
5. I took this photo in Fatima: where the statue sits is the exact spot where Mary appeared to the children. The tree is long gone because evidently people literally tore it to shreds in an effort to get some sort of relic or keepsake of Mary appearing there. Ah, human nature!
6. This last image is an unknown artist’s rendition of the apparition as it was described by the children. I chose it because it seemed to capture the simplicity of the children and also the bucolic setting. It seems to have begun as a typical day, consisting of the children tending the usual sheep in the usual spot. Yet the day became infused with the light of Heaven as Our Lady came to them with messages of warning for the world which emanated from her Immaculate Heart so filled with love and concern.