My impressions of the Apparitions of the Angel

February 9, 2017

I wanted to give my impressions of the Apparition of the Angel tonight as I may not be able to post for a few days.

1) A step into the minefield

And already here at the very beginning we must take our first step into the minefield that men have made of Fatima.  It all concerns a footnote.  And footnotes do seem to cause such problems in the Church these days.  This particular footnote was written in regards to one of the prayers dictated by the Angel, “Most Holy Trinity…” and it occurs in the 1998 edition of Fatima in Lucia’s own words.  First I will recount the prayer of the Angel as remembered by the Venerable Sister Lucia herself:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You 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 indifference with which He Himself 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.

And now here is the footnote, footnote 15 on page 64 to be exact:

15. Some theologians have difficulties regarding this prayer.  Two aspects should therefore be taken into account: 1) it is not necessary to regard this version as verbatim.  2) This is a form of prayer which was influenced by other popular prayers.

First question: which theologians? give an example please.  Second question: what difficulties?  Who are the theologians and what are their difficulties?  Don’t you think that these would be important details.  I mean if there are problems here that could lead the faithful astray don’t you think that you should tell us.  So please tell us what are the difficulties with this prayer?  That is the sound of crickets chirping in the background (in case you were wondering) because you are not going to get a direct answer to that question.

On to the next difficulty I have with this footnote: “it is not necessary to regard this as verbatim.”  Really?  Why not?  I have discovered two different places where Sister Lucia recounts this prayer in her memoirs and in both places EXACTLY the same words are used in both places.  So why should I not “regard this version as verbatim?”

“This is a form of prayer which was influenced by other popular prayers.”  Which prayers?  Shouldn’t you tell us?  Of course the motivations behind this footnote are a bit too obvious, aren’t they?  Somebody is trying to slither the idea quietly into our brains that the children didn’t really hear this prayer from an angel now did they?  They just concocted it based on popular ‘superstitious’ piety didn’t they?

I challenge anyone to read this prayer, to meditate on it, to recite it with your forehead touching the earth, and then to proclaim that this prayer did not come from Heaven.  It is so elegantly crafted and theologically deep as the ocean and wide as the expanse of the heavens.  The subtle and quiet linkage between the Hearts of Jesus and Mary echoing Saint John Eudes a quarter of a millennium before.  That Jesus Christ Himself in the Eucharist is both the offended one and the reparation.  There is such a deep and rich emphasis on the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that it is no wonder that the enemy seeks to dissuade us from using this prayer.

I only bring this whole matter up because you will either see or hear this prayer recited strangely, sometimes with missing words and disconnected ideas.  This footnote or at least the sentiments behind it are the reason for it.  Just learn the prayer as it was given to us from the beginning, recite it with your forehead touching the earth from time to time, and forget all the rest.

2) More important stuff

The first thing that I want to note is the posture of prayer that the Angel introduced: prostrate with the forehead touching the earth.  In our time this position of prayer is universally associated with Islam.

I have heard it said that the Muslims did not come up with this posture for prayer themselves, but rather that they copied it from the Catholics that they encountered in Syria and Egypt during their first conquests.  It is difficult to be certain of this at a distance in time of fourteen centuries from those days, but maybe the Angel was reminding us of where we came from and of things that we should not have forgotten.

At the very least we might consider what Our Lord might say to us on Judgement Day if we refuse to adopt this prostrate position before our Creator, in our hearts at least if we cannot do it with our bodies: “If these people, the Muslims, who do not know Me and have sparse understanding of true religion in comparison to yourselves could at least fall on their faces before their Creator then why couldn’t you?”  Do you want to hear that question?

Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus; ipse fecit nos et non ipsi nos!

“Know that the Lord, He is God; He made us, we did not make ourselves! (the proper translation of Psalm 100 [99] v. 3  from both the Latin [Septuagint] and Hebrew psalters)”

The second thing that I find fascinating about this last Apparition of the Angel is the Chalice.  He gave the Chalice specifically to Jacinta and to Francisco while Lucia received Holy Communion under the species of the Host.  The reason for this is often stated that Jacinta and Francisco received the Chalice because they had not received their First Communion yet before this while Lucia had, but it is difficult to see why this would matter.  The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ are the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ whether under the species of Bread or of Wine.  So why the difference?

What follows is only my opinion.  The sign of the chalice reminds me of Matthew 20:22 when Our Lord asked Saint James and Saint John in a very different context Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink?  And again in Matthew 26:42 Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.

I say this because Francisco and Jacinta were caught up in martyrdom almost immediately after the Apparitions of Our Lady were concluded a year later.  Both were caught up in the Spanish flu outbreak that devastated the planet around the conclusion of the First World War.  Francisco died in the spring of 1919 and Jacinta died less than a year later in February, 1920 alone in a hospital in Lisbon, both of them having suffered grievously and having offered that suffering for the conversion of sinners.  Jacinta had two ribs removed not long before she left this world and was left with a wound on her small body that must have resembled Our Lord’s pierced side.  Both Francisco and Jacinta were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in the year 2000 and both can properly be called Blessed, though I use that title sparingly for the sake of brevity.  The chalice is the sign of martyrdom and I think that this is why they received the Blood of Jesus Christ from the Chalice.

Pray the Rosary daily and join the Rosary Confraternity!

The Apparitions of the Angel

February 9, 2017

I will recount here the beginning of the story: the apparitions of the Angel that were to prepare the children for the later apparitions of the Θεοτόκος, the Mother of God.  The Angel appeared first to Lucia in a series of brief manifestation in 1915 and then three times to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco together in 1916 that contained messages from Heaven.  The text I am using here is from Sister Lucia’s fourth memoir completed under the orders of the Bishop of Leira on December 8, 1941.  The English translation is from the volume published under the title Fatima in Lucia’s own words the 10th edition published on November 13, 1998 under the Imprimatur of the Bishop of Leira-Fatima.  Here is Sister Lucia’s account of the apparitions of the Angel:

Although I cannot give the exact date, it seems to me that it was in 1915 that the first Apparition took place.  As far as I can judge, it was the Angel, although at that time he did not venture to make himself fully known.  From what I can recall of the weather, I think that this must have happened between the months of April and October in the year 1915.

My three companions from the Casa Velha, by name Teresa Matias and her sister Maria Rosa, and Maria Justino, were with me on the southern slope of the Cabeço.  We were just about to start praying the Rosary when I saw, poised in the air above the trees that stretched down to the valley which lay at our feet, what appeared to be a cloud in human form, whiter than snow and almost transparent.  My companions asked me what it was.  I replied that I did not know.  This happened on two further occasions, but on different days.

This Apparition made a certain impression upon me, which I do not know how to explain.  Little by little, this impression faded away, and were it not for the events that followed, I think I would have forgotten it completely.

The dates I cannot set down with certainty, because, at that time, I did not know how to reckon the years, the months, or even the days of the week.  But I think it must have been in the spring of 1916 that the Angel appeared to us for the first time in our Loca do Cabeço.

As I have written in my account of Jacinta, we climbed th hillside in search of shelter.  After having taken our lunch and said our prayers, we began to see, some distance off, above the trees that stretched away towards the east, a light, whiter than snow, in the form of a young man, transparent, and brighter than crystal pierced by the rays of the sun.  As he drew nearer, we could distinguish his features more and more clearly.  We were surprised, absorbed, and struck dumb with amazement.

On reaching us he said:

“Do not be afraid.  I am the Angel of Peace.  Pray with me.”

Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the earth.  Led by a supernatural impulse, we did the same, and repeated the words which we heard him say:

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You!  I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You!”

Having repeated these words three times, he rose and said:

“Pray thus.  The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”  Then he disappeared.

The supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense, that we were for a long time scarcely aware of our own existence, remaining in the same posture in which he had left us, and continually repeating the same prayer.  The presence of God made itself felt so intimately and so intensely that we did not even venture to speak to one another.  Next day, we were still immersed in this spiritual atmosphere, which only gradually began to disappear…

The second Apparition must have been at the height of summer, when the heat of the day was so intense that we had to take the sheep home before noon and only let them out again in the early evening.

We went to spend the siesta hours in the shade of the trees which surrounded the well that I have already mentioned several times.  Suddenly, we saw the same Angel right beside us.

“What are you doing?” he asked.  “Pray! Pray very much!”  The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.  Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”

How are we to make sacrifices?” I asked.

“Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.  You will thus draw down peace upon your country.  I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal.  Above all, accept and bear with submission, the sufferings which the Lord will send you.”

These words were indelibly impressed upon our minds.  They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, He grants the grace of conversion to sinners.  It was for this reason that we began, from then on, to offer to the Lord all that mortified us, without, however, seeking out other forms of mortification and penance, except that we remained for hours on end with our foreheads touching the ground, repeating the prayer the Angel had taught us.

It seems to me that the third Apparition must have been in October, or towards the end of September, as we were no longer returning home for siesta.

As I have already written in my account of Jacinta, we went one day from Pregueira (a small grove belonging to my parents) to the Lapa, making our way along the slope of the hill on the side facing Aljustrel and Casa Velha.  We said our Rosary there and the prayer the Angel had taught us at the first Apparition.

While we were there, the Angel appeared to us for the third time, holding a chalice in his hands, with a host above it from which some drops of blood were falling into the sacred vessel.  Leaving the chalice and the host suspended in the air, the Angel prostrated on the ground and repeated this prayer three times:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You 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 indifference with which He Himself 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.”

Then, rising, he once more took the chalice and the host in his hands.  He gave the host to me, and to Jacinta and  Francisco he gave the contents of the chalice to drink saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Repair their crimes and console your God.”  Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us three times more, the same prayer “Most Holy Trinity…”, and then disappeared.

Impelled by the power of the supernatural that enveloped us, we imitated all that the Angel had done, prostrating ourselves on the ground as he did and repeating the prayers that he said.  The force of the presence of God was so intense that it absorbed us and almost completely annihilated us.  It seemed to deprive us even of the use of our bodily senses for a considerable length of time.  During those days, we performed all our exterior actions as though guided by that same supernatural being who was impelling us thereto.  The peace and happiness which we felt were great, but wholly interior, for our souls were completely immersed in God.  The physical exhaustion that came over us was also great.

Thus ends sister Lucia’s account of the Apparitions of the Angel of Portugal.  Just the act of copying this account and typing these words have strangely lightened my soul.  I want to say a few things about this apparition but I will leave that be until the next post.  For the moment I would just suggest reading and meditating on this wonderful passage.

Pray the Rosary daily.  Go to Confession.  Make reparation for the crimes committed against your outraged Lord and Savior by ungrateful men.  Pray and keep watch.