OUR LADY OF FATIMA
Three Revelations Since Guadalupe (1531) Reveal
ONE MOTHER, ONE MESSAGE
By Rev. Edward J. Melvin, C.M.
MYSTERY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
UNFOLDS IN LOURDES AND FATIMA
Let us recall the basic evidence for the acceptance of Fatima. Beginning with May 13, 1917,
on the 13th of each month until October, August excepted, three little shepherd children of the parish of Fatima, Portugal, claimed to see a "Lady" on a little oak tree in the Cova da Iria. She said she was from heaven, she told them to do penance and pray the Rosary and said that peace would come to the world when devotion to "My Immaculate Heart" would be sufficiently practiced. The children were Lucy dos Santos, aged 10, Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta, ages nine and seven respectively. The Lady promised that in October a miracle would happen that "all would believe." In later testimony Lucy mentions that in 1916 there had been a series of visions of an angel, apparently to prepare them for Our Lady's visitation.
The children proved to be the best of witnesses. Investigation, the most intense and at times cruel, showed they were ordinary, normal children, unimaginative, heroically truthful. Together or individually they told substantially the same account of what they had seen. Their characters indicated both subjective truthfulness and objective reality of what they related. They suffered persecution for their story. Lucy's mother beat her; they were ridiculed; they were arrested by the atheist mayor and threatened with death. One by one they accepted the death sentence which their children's minds told them the mayor would carry out and each separately walked bravely toward the death chamber before the frustrated mayor released them. But they never changed their account of what they had seen and heard.
By the time October came all Portugal was waiting for the predicted miracle, for the children's story and the atheistic opposition it awakened put the nation in a turmoil. The faithful were sensing another visit of the Blessed Mother as at Lourdes.
The communist oligarchy had their instinctive fear of the supernatural. Newspapers which ridiculed the children's visions now sent reporters. The night of October 12-13 was miserable with cold and rain but people travelled all night by foot, on burro, by motor car and cycle to the Cova da Iria. A conservative estimate is that 70,000 were on the scene by noon of the 13th. Lucy, after beginning the Rosary and announcing the arrival of the "Lady" suddenly pointed to the sky, to the sun. In the eyes of the 70,000 a ball of fire thought to be the sun broke through the clouds, assumed a silvery disc appearance, began to spin first in one direction then in another, began to zig-zag out of its position in the sky and plunge toward the terrified thousands. The people thought it was the end of the world, they knelt in the mud, begged for mercy, recited their Rosaries. After perhaps ten minutes the fireball receded back to the position of the sun and the people began to regain composure. Then they noted that they were completely dry although they had been exposed to a night of rain, had knelt in puddles, been soaked through to the skin. The experience was neither mass hysteria nor optical illusion. Eyewitness accounts of the miracle can be read in the archives of the newspapers. Within a radius of thirty-two miles around the Cova neighboring people had seen and been terrified by the same experience, people who had neither the faith nor the curiosity to go to the Cova. There was no possibility of mass hysteria, nor of fraud perpetrated by three ignorant children on a credulous multitude.
The Sun and the Atomic AgeNo astronomical observatory recorded the event. It was supernatural rather than natural. It may not have been the sun but rather a special phenomenon in the Fatima area of Portugal created by God "that all may believe." Yet by an overwhelming human testimony this was an objective event with no natural explanation. And however we try to explain the phenomenon, it easily reminds us of an atomic occurrence. It may be that God was foretelling to us that the atomic age would be in His Mother's hands.
The heroically holy lives of the children subsequent to the apparitions indicated the continuing favor of God. Francisco died in 1919, Jacinta in 1920; both endured the most intense suffering without complaint. They offered the suffering to God for sinners. The diocesan processes for beatification have been completed and miracles through their intercession reported. The third Fatima seer, Lucy, surviving her younger companions, chose a life of prayer and penance as a nun in the Carmel of Coimbra, Portugal.
Another criterion for belief in Fatima is the consonance of its message with public revelation. It reiterates the gospel call for prayer and penance, specifying a particular type of prayer and penance for our generation. It contains a biblical type threat of God's punishment if men do not return to Him; the prophets made the same threat. It asks for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a truly Catholic way of showing love to the Immaculate Mother of God, just as the First Friday devotion shows love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Mary and Jesus always go together. Our Lady asked for daily recitation of the Rosary, the time-honored method of meditating on the life of Christ and the mysteries of the redemption. The revelation of Fatima is consonant with the doctrine of our Christian faith.
In keeping with traditional Church doctrine the canonical investigation of Fatima began in 1922 and ended in 1929. On October 13, 1930, the Bishop gave his decision: We judge it well: "To declare worthy of credence the visions with which the children were favored at Cova da Iria, in the parish of Fatima, diocese of Leiria, on the 13th of each month from May to October 1917." 2: "To authorize officially the cult of Our Lady of Fatima."
IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH!!!
Message of the Fifth Vision of Our Lady
to the Children at Fatima, Portugal
"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace. The war will end, but if men do not cease offending God, another and more terrible war will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.
When you see a night lit up by an unknown light, know that it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. In order to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world promoting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.
But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and it will be converted, and a time of peace will be conceded to the world. In Portugal the Dogma of Faith will always be preserved . . . etc. . . . Do not tell this to anybody. You may tell it to Francisco. When you recite the Rosary, after each mystery say: 'Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy.' "
OUR LADY OF KAZAN ~ MIRACULOUS ICON OF RUSSIA
(This short explanation of the Icon of Kazan, was taken from the book, "Dear Bishop" by John M. Haffert.)
Known as "the Liberatrix & Protectress of Holy Mother Russia", it was used in all the crisis of Russian Liberty up to and including the invasion of Napoleon -- whose defeat was directly attributed by the Russian people to Our Lady of Kazan.
When the Communists took over Russia in 1917, they almost immediately focused their attention on the Icon of Kazan as an expression of the "soul" of the Russian people. The great Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan in Petrograd (now Leningrad) was made into an atheist museum and the official center of militant atheism in the world.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Kazan on Red Square was destroyed by battering rams while the Reds announced that they would thus prove that God did not exist--because they destroyed the Church of the "Liberatrix & Protectress of Holy Mother Russia" and there was no God, and no "Protectress", to prevent the destructive blows of their battering rams!
To the amazement of everyone, when the Communists tried to build another structure where thay had destroyed the Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Moscow, accidents kept occuring so often that finally the workmen refused to build on that spot. It was therefore turned into a small park, simply covered with green grass. It is the only "open" spot circling Red Square--only a few hundred feet from Lenin's tomb! (I understand that in recent years that they are rebuilding this Basilica.)
No one knows how the precious, original Icon upon which was centered the Russian nation's devotion to Our Lady "escaped" from its cathedral and from Russia. It turned up in an "auction of precious objects" in Poland after the first world war, and a rich Englishman in England bought it. After his death it had to be sold to pay for the estate taxes. Orthodox Christians of the western world began to raise money to "redeem the Icon"-- but twice thieves absconded with the funds and the Icon was about to be put up for general auction when the Blue Army of Our Lady in Washington, New Jersey stepped in and made the commitment to redeem it for the people of Russia. It is now in Fatima, Portugal awaiting it's return to Russia when the TRUE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA takes place and the Basilica of Our Lady of Kazan is rebuilt.