The Great Promise of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him the morning star. (Rev. 2:26, 28)

May 10, 2017                                                                                                                                 The Memorial of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molokai

Time passed after the Miracle of the Sun and the world went through its revolutions.  Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco were swept up in the Spanish flu epidemic in late 1918 and as Our Lady had told the children on June 13, 1917 both of them were soon gone to Heaven: Francisco in April, 1919 and Jacinta in February, 1920.  They were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000 and will be canonized by Pope Francis this Saturday May 13, 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first Apparition.

Lucia was now alone in the world.  But Our Lady did not leave her.  The young Lucia would become a religious sister in the early 1920s joining the Sisters of St. Dorothy.  After beginning her life in the convent at Pontevedra, Spain she recorded further Apparitions of Our Lord and Our Lady.  Remember that on July 13, 1917 Our Lady informed the children that she would be coming to ask for the Communion of Reparation and for the Consecration of Russia.  She was not asking for them that day, but she was informing the children, and Lucia most especially that she would be coming in the future to ask for these things.

I give here Lucia’s account of how this came about, in this post it will be specifically relating to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Communion of Reparation.  Sister Lucia chose to write this account largely in the third person i.e. she uses ‘she’ to refer to herself.  So here it is from Appendix I of Sister Lucia’s memoir, pp. 196-97 of Fatima in Lucia’s own words:

On December 17th, 1927, she went before the tabernacle to ask Jesus how she should comply with what had been asked of her, that is, to say if the origin of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was included in the Secret that the most holy Virgin had confided to her.

Jesus made her hear very distinctly these words: “My daughter, write what they ask of you.  Write also all that the most holy Virgin revealed to you in the Apparition, in which she spoke of this devotion.  As for the remainder of the Secret, continue to keep silence.”

What was confided on this subject in 1917, is as follows:

She asked for them to be taken to heaven, and the most holy Virgin answered: “Yes.  I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  But you are to stay here some time longer.  Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.  I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and these souls will be loved God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”

“Am I to stay here all alone?” she asked, sadly.

“No, daughter.  I shall never forsake you.  My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

On December 10th, 1925, the most holy Virgin appeared to her, and by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child.  The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand.  At the same time, the Child said:

“Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”

Then the most holy Virgin said:

“Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude.  You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

Herein lies the Great Promise of the greatest and most marvelous and most wondrous thing in all Creation: the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This is the way that will lead you to God.  This is the dwelling place that God created for Himself and it is our refuge in this perilous time as we traverse these darkening and storm tossed seas.

Practice the First Saturday devotion to the extent you can.  It is a simple and easy thing that we can do to warm the Divine Heart of our Savior and to make reparation to the wounded Heart of his most holy Mother.

Some questions may arise on how to practice this devotion.  First, you do not have to make Confession on the First Saturday.  Jesus told Sister Lucia in a later Apparition on February 15th, 1926 that it was possible to confess eight days before or after the First Saturday, provided that one is not conscious of any mortal sin when they receive Him on the First Saturday and the first bishop of Fatima Dom Jose Correia da Silva confirmed this in 1940.

Second, the last bit about keeping the Blessed Mother company “for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary” is open to interpretation as to how one might practice it.  First, this Apparition took place in 1925, almost eighty years before Pope Saint John Paul II made his recommendation about the new Luminous Mysteries so quite understandably the Blessed Virgin did not mention twenty, but fifteen.

But as to how to practice this aspect of the devotion Bishop da Silva stated in 1940 that “it is preferable to meditate on one mystery each month.”  And this makes sense.  My own personal practice is to select a portion of the Gospel or the Acts of the Apostles or some other part of Sacred Scripture that pertains to a different Mystery each month.

The promises of Our Lady are great indeed to those who faithfully practice this devotion.  Do it.

The aftermath of October 13, 1917

Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

May 3, 2017                                                                                                                                   The Feast of the Apostles Saints Phillip and James

In the weeks immediately following the day the sun danced before 70,000 astonished witnesses who fell on their faces and implored the Mercy of God in the Cova da Iria two events occurred in the world which would in time fundamentally alter the worldview of everyone who went by the name of Christian.  They collapsed the last pillars of what had been the worldly foundation of the Christian order and sowed horrible seeds of confusion that have borne and continue to bear malignant fruit throughout the Church and the world to this day.

1) The Russian Revolution

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd on the night of November 7-8, 1917, three and one half weeks after the Miracle of the Sun, it was the end of an era.  It was the end of the false peace which had prevailed in Europe since Napoleon Bonaparte had overthrown the French Directory on November 9, 1799.  Between 1799 and 1917 the peoples of Europe nourished in their breast in varying degrees the delusion that Christ and Belial could coexist and they were wrong.

The governments of that period did not produce any Robespierres who set up guillotines to butcher priests and nuns and bishops and make the streets run with their blood.  No, these were civilized men.  All the issues were debated responsibly in the newly formed and much exalted at the time popular legislative bodies.  These men calmly proposed and gently cajoled and thoughtfully persuaded their colleagues to vote on and to pass laws that at first slowly put an onerous tax burden on Church property, imposed mandatory military service on the clergy, and little by little removed the Church from the role she had in educating the young.  And the people for the most part went along with it.  They wanted all the high sounding rhetoric of 1789 about the ‘rights of man,’ but refused to remember the barbaric terrorism of 1793.

They thought that they could retain the fruits of Christian civilization while they little by little pushed the Catholic Church first to the sidelines and then completely out of their national lives.  They thought that the teachings of the Church could be ignored and yet they would continue to receive the blessings of civilization which she had first bestowed on their barbarian ancestors so long before.  They thought that they could boldly proclaim that man was free to worship any god he wished or no god at all and yet somehow they would continue to live under the protection of the God who had given life to both themselves and their nations.  They were wrong.

God was merciful and patient with them.  He sent them some of the greatest popes in the history of the Church to warn them of the perilous path they were on.  Blessed Pius IX and Leo XIII (read any of his encyclicals here) spent the entirety of both of their extremely long papacies that spanned the period 1846-1903 warning the peoples of Europe at the top of their lungs not to fall into the trap that was being set for them.  They never listened.  He sent them what was at the time the most terrible war in human history starting in 1914 to make them see the consequences of the path they had pursued.  They did not repent.  On October 13, 1917 the sun danced in Portugal to show them that indeed there was a God and that He was in fact paying attention.  They did not hear.  On the night of November 7-8, 1917 his patience ended and He gave to the children of Adam their hearts’ desire.

A radical movement of men whose sole purpose for existing seemed to be the annihilation of even the memory of God from the mind of the human race at first seized control of the Winter Palace in Petrograd, then the city of Petrograd, then the Russian government itself, and then after a long and bloody civil war gained control over the largest country on earth.  They established the first militantly atheistic regime in human history.  And they did not go away.

Unlike the quasi atheistic French revolutionary governments of the 1790s this regime endured.  They simply murdered anyone in that vast territory who would, could, or one day might even think of opposing them.  Mass graves are still being stumbled into all over Russia  The Church in Russia was not merely suppressed, it was annihilated.  And they made sure there would be no going back.

The secret societies who had fomented the French Revolution 130 years before knew that they had tried for too much too soon in those days and had caused a terrible reaction that was inimical to their interests.  They did not make that mistake again.  They exhibited a diabolical patience likely forced on them by necessity during the nineteenth century.  They were able to influence legislative bodies to push the Church out of her role educating the young and replace her with their own members or sympathizers.  They struck from the shadows and planned and plotted in dark corners and spewed their venom over the whole earth.  With each successive generation the role of the Church and of God assumed less importance in the lives of people and in the life of the nation, and by the turn of the twentieth century the very Existence of God was treated by societal elites (and sadly by more than a few clergy) as a mere philosophical proposition.  When 1917 rolled around there remained very few men of influence in the world who had the will to fight this thing.  Finally they were ready to strike.

Once their position in Russia was secure they founded their new state, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and used the enormous resources of that country to fund state institutions that aligned themselves with like minded movements abroad to foment atheistic revolution in various forms throughout the world while starving the Russian people.  By the time the USSR finally died out three quarters of a century after the Miracle of the Sun atheism had become the guiding principle of most peoples’ lives throughout the formerly Christian world.  Sure, some of them might say they are ‘christian’ or that they believe in some notion of God or another, or they may even go to a building on Sunday to sing some songs with other people who also claimed to be ‘christian,’ but all of that has had very little effect on how they live their lives.  And in Europe which had once been the seed ground of the Catholic Church and for more than a millennium had seen her as the foundation of her existence they do not even do that.  Russia will spread her errors throughout the world.

2) The taking of Jerusalem

On December 9, 1917, fifty-seven days after the Miracle of the Sun, the British Army under the command of General Sir Edmund Allenby took control of Jerusalem, seizing it from the Ottoman Turks.  Thus ended 673 years of continuous Muslim control of the holy city stretching back to August 23, 1244 and the fall of the last Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Khwarezmian Turks.  But the men who seized it in 1917 were no longer Christians.

By 1917 the British people had been separated from the Church of Rome for almost four centuries.  And even what Christianity remained among the Anglicans was rapidly waning as those isles became subsumed in the vast materialistic wave that came with a global empire.  By 1917 the religion of the British Empire was the British Empire: an empire that would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Read an excerpt from General Allenby’s proclamation when he entered the city:

Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three of the great religions of mankind and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore, do I make it known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred.

Guardians have been established at Bethlehem and on Rachel’s Tomb.  The tomb at Hebron has been placed under exclusive Moslem control.

The hereditary custodians at the gates of the Holy Sepulchre have been requested to take up their accustomed duties in remembrance of the magnanimous act of the Caliph Omar, who protected that church.

One can understand the need to maintain peace in the city, but are these the words of a Christian?  Would Richard the Lionheart have made this ridiculous statement?  Was that city only sanctified by “prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these three religions”?  Did not something else happen there that made General Allenby’s ancestors walk on their knees to do penance in that holy place?  Did not the Eternal Word Himself take flesh and sacrifice Himself to redeem us from our sins on a hill in that city?  Did not He rise from the dead in that city?  Does any of that matter?

If it was only the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes from three different religions who are diametrically opposed to each other on the most important question of human existence that ‘sanctified’ this place then who cares?  If that is all it is then your local city landfill is of much more use to you than Jerusalem.  This proclamation is a supreme example of the religious indifferentism that had been destroying Europe since the French Revolution and it is why British rule of the Holy Land failed so miserably.  But why is this important to us?

The British conquest of the Holy Land and the subsequent failure of its rule opened the door to the return of the Jews to control the land for the first time in nineteen centuries.  The nationalist tide that had been rising up in Europe since 1789 swept up the Jews and gave birth to the Zionist movement in the latter part of the nineteenth century.  They saw the British advance toward Palestine as Our Lady was making her final Apparition in Fatima in the fall of 1917 as a once in a millennium opportunity and took full advantage of it.

During the British rule of Palestine the Jewish population dramatically increased and after the Second World War the sympathy generated by the Nazi massacre of six million Jews in Europe led to the British evacuation of Palestine, its partition, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.  Nineteen years later in 1967 the Israeli Army conquered the whole land and brought the whole of Jerusalem under Jewish control for the first time since they days of the Apostles.  But why is this important?

Since the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 and the final mass expulsion of Jews from the Holy Land by the Emperor Hadrian sixty years later the Church had had something tangible to point to when proclaiming that the Old Covenant had been fulfilled and the New Covenant had superseded it.  The pagan Emperor Domitian had even done her the favor of carving into stone on the Arch of his brother Titus (who had been the one to destroy the Jewish Temple) in the city of Rome a memorial of that event that still remains with us to this day:

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One finds this consistently mentioned by Christian apologists from the earliest Fathers until the end of the nineteenth century and everywhere in between.  This was their visible, tangible proof.  The Jews had been expelled from the land and had never returned.  The Temple had been destroyed and never rebuilt.  The sacrifice of bulls and goats had ceased and never recommenced.  The priesthood of Aaron was dead and gone and replaced forever by the Catholic priesthood.  There were clear and visible signs: it was an easy argument to make.

But on December 9, 1917 the British Army conquered Palestine.  The Jewish population of the land multiplied greatly.  In 1948 the Jews in Palestine declared the State of Israel.  In 1967 the Israeli army conquered Jerusalem and put the Jews in control of the city for the first time since the days of the Apostles.  That argument became less easy to make, and those of weak faith have begun to waver.  The identity of the Catholic Church as the New Israel, which she is, has become less easy to express in these days in the minds of some.  Strange and highly destructive theologies such as the ‘dual covenant’ theory have emerged.

The Jews are once again masters of the holy city, masters of the temple mount.  And the presence of the Al Aqsa Mosque in that place and the fear of a massive Muslim retaliation is probably the only thing that prevents them from attempting to rebuild the ancient Temple.  There is a movement afoot in Israel, a small minority movement but a very passionate minority, to rebuild that Temple no matter what the cost.  The political situation in the wider Middle East is so chaotic right now that we have no idea what things will look like tomorrow, much less next month or next year.  Who can say what will happen there?  This monument to the designs of that sect stands above the Western Wall plaza probably less than a thousand feet from where the Holy of Holies once stood:

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Taken August 2, 2011

Yet the Truth is still the Truth.  What was true in 1917 AD and was true in 917 AD and was true in 517 AD and was true in 117 AD is still true in 2017 AD.  He who lives in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church is something greater if I may say so that He who was present in the ancient Holy of Holies.  The One in the tabernacle is both God and Man.  He is the Word made flesh and He dwells among us.

We live in very strange times where illusions and delusions lurk around every corner and are constantly reaching out to strangle the best of us.  Pray and keep watch.  The Faith of the ancients is still the Truth, even if appearances have changed.  After all, while Our Lord did prophesy that the Jews would be driven from Jerusalem, He also prophesied that they would come back.  And if anything ever does get built in Jerusalem it will be starkly empty of any Divine Presence.  All this is merely a sign of the times.

Pray.  Pray very much.  Pray the Rosary every day.  Never lose consciousness of God.  Our Lady has given us at Fatima a way through this catastrophe: her Immaculate Heart.

The Apparition of October 13, 1917 and the Miracle of the Sun

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Luke 21:25-26).

April 27, 2017

I will begin here with an excerpt from William Thomas Walsh’s Our Lady of Fatima (pp. 142-44) where he describes the journey of the children and their parents from Aljustrel to the Cova da Iria and the moments that passed just prior to the Apparition:

It was a long and slow journey.  The highroad was crowded all the way from Fátima to Cova da Iria.  Men and women were kneeling in the thick slime on both sides, imploring their prayers.  Hands reached out to touch them.  Wet burros brushed against them.  Umbrellas threatened to poke out their eyes.  But what a sight when at last they arrived near the scene of the apparitions!  Fully 70,000 men, women, and children, people of all ages and conditions, were standing patiently in the rain waiting for them-a dark mass under innumerable black umbrellas, dripping sombreros, soaked blankets.  They were packed so densely between the highway and the azinheira that the children were able to get through only with the help of a chauffeur, who seized Jacinta and mounted her on his shoulder, crying, “Make way for the children who saw Our Lady!”

Ti Marto followed with Lucia and Francisco.  When they reached the place of the apparitions, he was surprised to find his wife already there.  He had forgotten her in his anxiety for Jacinta.  “My Olimpia turned up from another direction, I don’t know from where,” he confesses.

At all events there she was close to the stump of the azinheira, which Maria Carreira had lovingly draped, along with her alms table, under garlands of flowers.  The crowd lurched and swayed this way and that, ducked umbrellas, huddled together for warmth, scanned the leaden eastern sky.  Loud voices were repeating the Rosary in various rhythmical cadences.  A priest who had been praying all night in the rain and mud was reading his breviary and from time to time nervously fingering his watch.  Presently he turned to the children and asked at what hour Our Lady was going to arrive.

“At midday,” replied Lucia.

He glanced at his watch again, and said, disapprovingly: “It is midday already.  Our Lady is not a liar.  We shall see.”

Nearly all the people now were saying the Rosary. “Avé, Maria, cheia de graça… Santa Maria, Mãi de Deus, rogai por nos pecadores…”

“Put down your umbrellas!” cried Lucia-why she never knew-and one after another they obeyed, although the rain was still falling.  “Put down your umbrellas!” said one after another.  They all stood patiently in the rain.

A few minutes more passed.  The priest looked at his watch again.

“Midday is past,” he said with gloomy finality.  “Away with all this!  It is an illusion.”

He began to push the three children with his hands, if we may trust the memory of Maria Carreira.  But Lucia, almost in tears, refused to budge, saying.

“Whoever wants to go, can go, but I’m not going.  Our Lady told us to come.  We saw her other times and we’re going to see her now.”

Disappointed murmurs and grumblings began to be heard among the bystanders.  Then of a sudden Lucia looked toward the east and cried:

“Jacinta, kneel down, for now I see Our Lady there.  I can see the flash!”

“Watch out daughter!”  It was the shrill voice of Maria Rosa.  “Don’t let yourself be deceived!”

Lucia did not hear the warning.  Those near her noticed that her face had become flushed and transparently beautiful.  She was gazing rapturously now at the Lady herself, who stood in a flood of white light on the flowers that Maria Carreira had draped on the stump of the azinheira.  Jacinta and Francisco, on either side of her, stared likewise, both radiant, both quite oblivious of the multitude around them.

I will continue with the account of this Apparition here for Sister Lucia’s account in Volume IV of her memoir, as published in the 1998 version of Fatima in Lucia’s own words (pp. 177-79):

A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

“What do you want of me?”

“I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour.  I am the Lady of the Rosary.  Continue always to pray the Rosary every day.  The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.”

“I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…”

“Some yes, but not others.  They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.”

Looking very sad, Our Lady said:

“Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”

Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.

Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun.  My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence.  I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun.  St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.  When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours.  Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done.  This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.

The Miracle of the Sun

The three children were enraptured with the vision of Our Lady, and Lucia in particular with the last phase of the Apparition with the appearance of St. Joseph and Our Lord and Our Lady in her various manifestations, and they did not see the Miracle of the Sun.  But it was not meant for them to see.  It was meant for those 70,000 in the Cova da Iria.  Here is how William Thomas Walsh describes this great miracle on pp. 145-46 of Our Lady of Fatima:

What they all did see, however, was something stupendous, unheard of, almost apocalyptic.  The sun stood forth in the clear zenith like a great silver disk which, though bright as any sun they had ever seen, they could look straight at without blinking, and with a unique and delightful satisfaction.  This lasted but a moment.  While they gazed, the huge ball began to “dance”-that was the word all the beholders applied to it.  Now it was whirling rapidly like a gigantic fire-wheel.  After doing this for some time, it stopped.  Then it rotated again, with dizzy sickening speed.  Finally there appeared on the rim a border of crimson, which flung across the sky, as from a hellish vortex, blood red streamers of flame, reflecting to the earth, to the trees and shrubs, to the upturned faces and the clothes all sorts of brilliant colors in succession: green, red, orange, blue, violet, the whole spectrum in fact.  Madly gyrating in this manner three times, the fiery orb seemed to tremble, to shudder, and then to plunge precipitately, in a mighty zigzag, toward the crowd.

A fearful cry broke from the lips of thousands of terrified persons as they fell upon their knees, thinking the end of the world had come.  Some said that the air became warmer at that instant; they would not have been surprised if everything about them had burst into flames, enveloping and consuming them.

Ai Jesús, we are all going to die here!”

“Save us, Jesus!  Our Lady, save us!”

“Oh, my God, I am sorry-”  And one began the Act of Contrition.

Some who had come to jeer fell on their faces and broke into sobs and abject prayers.

The Marques do Cruz said, “Oh my God, how great is Thy power!”

This had lasted about ten minutes, perhaps.  Then all saw the sun begin to climb, in the same zigzag manner, to where it had appeared before.  It became tranquil, then dazzling.  No one could look at it any longer.  It was the sun of every day.

The people stared at one another in joy and amazement.  “Miracle!  Miracle!  The children were right!  Our Lady made the miracle!  Blessed be God!  Blessed be Our Lady!”  The shouts were taken up all over the Cova da Iria.  Some were laughing, others weeping with joy.  Many were making the discovery that their drenched clothes had in some unexplained manner become perfectly dry.

That testimony is based on the memory of eyewitnesses reported to William Thomas Walsh that he published approximately thirty years after the events in Our Lady of Fatima.

But Walsh next recounts an eyewitness account contemporary to the events published in the Lisbon newspaper O Seculo on October 17, 1917, four days after the events.  This newspaper generally supported the policies of Portugal’s at the time fiercely anti-Catholic government.  The author of the article is a man named Avelino de Almeida, managing editor of O Seculo, who was a public Freemason and, while he was not as eager to ridicule those who believe as some of his cohorts in that stupid death cult, he did retain that strong dislike for all aspects of religion, and of Catholicism in particular, that is necessary to thrive in the Masonic orders.  Despite all that here is what he reported to his Lisbon readers on October 17, 1917:

“a spectacle unique and incredible if one had not been a witness of it…  One can see the immense crowd turn toward the sun, which reveals itself free of the clouds in full noon.  The great start of day makes one think of a silver plaque, and it is possible to look straight at it without the least discomfort.  It does not burn, it does not blind.  It might be like an eclipse.  But now bursts forth a colossal clamor, and we hear the nearest spectators crying, ‘Miracle, miracle!  Marvel, marvel!’

Before the astonished eyes of the people, whose attitude carries us back to biblical times and who, full of terror, heads uncovered, gaze into the blue of the sky, the sun has trembled, and the sun has made some brusque movements, unprecedented and outside of all cosmic laws-the sun has ‘danced,’ according to the typical expression of the peasants…  An old man whose stature and face, at once gentle and energetic, recall those of Paul Deroulède, turns toward the sun and recites the Credo with loud cries from beginning to end.  I ask his name.  It is Senhor João Maria Amado de Melo Ramalho da Cunha Vasoncelos.  I see him afterwards addressing those about him who have kept their hats on, begging them vehemently to uncover before so extraordinary a demonstration of the existence of God.  Similar scenes are repeated in all places…

The  people ask one another if they have seen anything and what they have seen.  The greatest number avow that they have seen the trembling and dancing of the sun.  Others, however, declare that they have seen the smiling face of the Virgin herself; swear that the sun turned around on itself like a wheel of fireworks; that it fell. almost to the point of burning the earth with its rays..  Another tells that he has seen it change color successively…

Pray the Rosary every day.  Offer sacrifices for sinners.  Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and to sacrifice for them.

Prelude to October 13, 1917: the great rain

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.  On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark (Genesis 7:11-13)

April 19, 2017                                                                                                                                   Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

The Miracle of the Sun is the great event of the modern times.  The events of October 13, 1917 are like in their suspension of the normal natural course of events to the great miracles of the Old Testament: the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:9-31), the crossing of the Jordan river into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:7-17), the sun and the moon standing still (Joshua 10:9-14), and the shadow moving backward on the sundial of Ahaz (Isaiah 38:4-8, 2 Kings 20:8-11).  One might even make the argument that October 13, 1917 was even greater than any of these events because Our Lady predicted three separate times on July 13, on August 19, and on September 13 that a great miracle would be done around midday on October 13, 1917.  God did not tell Moses in advance not to worry about the Egyptians because He was going to take care of them in the Red Sea, but Our Lady did tell that to Lucia and Jacinta who told it to Francisco and anyone else who would listen.

This great event occurred in front of 70,000 witnesses who all knew in advance to expect something great that day and who all likely would have come down on the children pretty hard if nothing happened.  There were great fears for the lives of the children.  Even Lucia’s mother, Maria Rosa, who thought flat out that her daughter was either making all of this stuff up or being deceived by the devil, decided to go with her daughter on October 13 to the Cova da Iria.  She was convinced that there would be no miracle and that the crowd would turn on the poor child so she resolved to die with her daughter.

But there was a great miracle.  The strange thing is now, a century later, that this greatest event of modern times is covered by a blanket of silence.  It is not so much denied as it is just not talked about, and in the not talking about it the thing tends to be forgotten.  I doubt that even one in a thousand Catholics who attend Mass on Sunday even know anything about the events of October 13, 1917, and maybe one in a hundred thousand might appreciate them for what they are.  This should not be surprising given the nature of the ridiculous pseudo-gnostic death cult that has sought from the shadows to control the affairs of men since the 18th century and has driven even the idea of God from almost every facet of human life and sadly wormed its way into the highest positions of the Church.

So we will tell the story of the Miracle of the Sun here.  It will take more than one post.  I want to start with the poetic description of the all night rain over the Cova da Iria on October 12-13, 1917 that William Thomas Walsh gives on pp. 135-39 of Our Lady of Fatima because it gives not only a good description of the rain but of the tenor of the times in that disastrous year in human history: 1917.

That afternoon the sky became overclouded, and a fine cold mist began to fall over the gloomy autumnal expanse of the Serra da Aire.  Shepherds in Aljustrel locked the beasts up early, for it was plain that thick weather was brewing in the northeast.

What a night!  It was as if the devil, somewhere in the ice and snow that could never slake the burning of his pain, had resolved to destroy with one blow all that remained of the Europe which had so long been his battleground against the Thing he hated most.  Somewhere in the dark misery of Siberia, he was permitted, heaven knows why, to disturb the equilibrium of the air, setting in motion a cold and cutting blast that shrieked across the continent to the western sea.  It may have passed howling over a cabin in Finland where a little lynx-eyed man who called himself Lenin was waiting to enter St. Petersburg (he had lately sown the seeds of revolution there), and to begin, in a very few weeks, the transformation and destruction of all that world which owed what was best and noblest in it to the teachings of Christ.  It screamed in mockery over vast armaments moving stealthily through Germany to prepare for the “peace through victory” drive of 1918.  It scourged poor wretches of both armies into the cover of slimy dugouts all along the western front, and plastered with mud the Italian fugitives from Caporetto.  It seemed to echo and enlarge the despair that was settling over the vineyards of war-wearied France, where Haig stood, as he said, with his back to the wall.  Finally it dashed itself against the Pyrenees, and then, as if it had gathered up all the hatreds and discontents of disobedient men and all the rebellious powers of a corrupted nature in its mad career from the Baltic to Cape Saint Vincent, it let them all loose on the little country that has never been permanently conquered, the land where she who treads upon the serpent’s head has long been honored, the terra da Santa Maria.

Darkness fell swiftly, with blacker clouds scudding from the northeast, and huge shapeless masses of fog drifting along the mountain sides and down the river valleys to the ocean.  As the drizzle thickened to a fine, cold, slanting rain, the wind whipped to a gale, bent under it the waving and moaning plumes of the pine forests near Leiria; it ripped the square sails of ancient windmills on the gray heights of the Serra da Aire; it scattered pale glistening leaves of poplars and aspens across the swollen Tagus; it flattened the plucked and reddened vineyards of Braga and the withered gardens of Moita and Fátima; it went roaring across hundreds of miles of narrow beaches until the frothy Atlantic bellowed back in anger, and cast up vengeful floods into village streets.  The rain fell steadily, pitilessly.

Yet there were thousands of human beings and many beasts on the roads of the little Republic that night.  For faith is stronger than doubt, and love is hardier than hate.  Devout Catholics in every village had heard by this time that Our Lady had promised to return to Cova da Iria to perform a miracle on October 13.  Rain or shine, that was all they needed to know.  Peasant families slung their wicker baskets and earthen water jugs over their shoulders, or packed them in panniers on the backs of burros, and started out under the lowering skies.  Fathers and mothers carried sick or lame children in their arms for incredible distances.  Fishermen left their nets and boats on the beaches of the Vieira and took to the oozy roads.  Farmhands from Monte Real, sailors from ships in the harbors of Porto or Algarve, factory workere from Lisboa, serranas from Minde or Soublio, ladies and gentlemen, scrubwomen, waiters, young and old, rich and poor, all sorts of people (but most of them humble, most of them barefoot, most of them workers and their families) were plodding through the mud under the pelting rain that night, like a great scattered army converging upon Fátima, hoping to find there some favor of health or conversion, forgiveness of sin, consolation for sorrow, the beginning of a better life, the blessing of the Mother of God.

It made no difference to these devotees if saturated trousers or skirts sloshed around their tired legs as their bare feet plowed the mud or splattered the puddles of bad roads.  Laughter was heard among groups of several families as they walked along together.  Fragments of old hymns would echo back from the wet cliffs, or come floating down out of the darkness of a lonely road.  “Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!”  Not for nothing had the ancestors of these people sung the Salve Regina on the decks of galleons in the Indian Ocean or whalers in the China Sea.

This description of the pilgrims marching toward Fatima is in its way an excellent metaphor for the Church and her march through history.  She gathers her humble children from the mountains and from the fields, from the factories and the harbors, from the streets and the forests, from the deserts and the bayous and they take their place with her, singing ancient hymns and thanking God for that great gift of the Immaculate Heart of his most holy Mother and all that she conceived, on the march through the terrible stormy night of history.  And it is a storm that will grow much darker and much more terrible, the devil knowing how short his time is now, as she approaches her final goal: to meet her Lord who stands waiting for his Bride when dawn breaks on the far shore of the Resurrection and the final Judgement of the human race.

Impressions of the September 13 Apparition and a step through the minefield

Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.  And he said to them:  Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24: 45-47).

April 18, 2017                                                                                                                                     Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

We are forced to deal here with one of the most disastrous and likely most deliberate, in its origin at least, misstatements in the whole history of Fatima, but first a bit of background.  When Sister Lucia published her memoirs, a quarter of a century after the Apparitions, she revealed for the first time the extent of the penances and sacrifices that the children were practicing.

Apparently the movement in their heart to do penance started after the second Apparition of the Angel of Portugal in 1916 when he told them to “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.”  This movement toward sacrifice and penance only accelerated, especially for Blessed Jacinta Marto, after Our Lady showed the children the vision of Hell on July 13, 1917, told them to sacrifice for sinners, and gave them the Fatima intention for which to offer their sacrifices: “O Jesus, it is for the love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

During this time the children followed her commands and the inspirations given by the Holy Spirit to their hearts to do penance.  Often when they were shepherding their families’ sheep they would do without their lunch and either give it to whatever poor children they found or, if no impoverished families were at hand, they would give their lunch to the sheep.  They would deprive themselves of water to drink on those unfathomably hot summer afternoons of the Portuguese serra at a time when there was no air conditioning to retreat into.  They prayed constantly, Jacinta spending hours sometimes with her forehead pressed against the earth repeated the prayers of the Angel and the O my Jesus prayer the Blessed Virgin taught them that we now recite after each Mystery of the Rosary.  This six year old girl made of everything she could a supplication for the conversion of sinners, to save them from Hell.  Blessed Francisco Marto spent the days when other children were in school (since Our Lady had assured him that he wasn’t long for this world he felt no purpose in learning lessons to help him advance in it) before the Blessed Sacrament in the local church seeking to console Our Lord and Our Lady for the outrages committed against them.  Blessed Francisco was only nine when he was doing this, and Blessed Jacinta only six.  What were you doing when you were nine?  What was I doing when I was six?  What are any of us doing right now?

The tragic misstatement about Fatima originates with one of the penances the children were practicing.  They chanced upon the idea a few days after the August 19, 1917 Apparition of tying a rope around their waists as a penance.  Here is Lucia’s description from Volume II of her memoir repeated on page 78 of 1998’s Fatima in Lucia’s own words:

Some days later, as we were walking along the road with our sheep, I found a piece of rope that had fallen off a cart.  I picked it up and, just for fun, I tied it round my arm.  Before long, I noticed that the rope was hurting me.

“Look, this hurts!” I said to my cousins.  “We could tie it round our waists and offer this sacrifice to God.”

The poor children promptly fell in with my suggestion.  We then set about dividing it between the three of us, by placing it across a stone and striking it with the sharp edge of another one that served as a knife.  Either because of the thickness or roughness of the rope, or because we sometimes tied it too tightly, this instrument of penance often caused us terrible suffering.  Now and then, Jacinta could not keep back her tears, so great was the discomfort this caused her.  Whenever I urged her to remove it, she replied: “No!  I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord in reparation, and for the conversion of sinners.”

This was the genesis of Our Lady’s instruction to the  children on September 13, 1917 that God is pleased with  your sacrifices.  He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime.

This statement of Our Lady is often mutilated by various persons who talk and write about Fatima into some form of the following lie: “Yes the children were doing terrific penances, but Our Lady came and told them to stop doing that.”  Quite obviously that is not what she said.  She said that God was pleased with the penances were offering, but that He wanted them to modify one of them slightly.  After all God made us, and He knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves.  He knows what we can handle and what what we cannot, what will draw us to Him and what will drive us away.

Yet you will hear this stupid misstatement that “Our Lady told the children to quit doing penances” in some form or another from people who seem to have devoted their lives to spreading the message of Fatima, who have written books about Fatima, who have made careers dealing with Fatima.  It has sadly become part of ‘what people say’ about Fatima.

Why is this important?  Because there has been a movement in the Church for a long time, starting in fact many lifetimes before the Second Vatican Council, to be done with penance.  It probably goes back in some way to Martin Luther in 1517 and all of his successors and their declarations that the way one lives his life has nothing to do with whether or not he will be saved or not.  So over the centuries this idea has crept into and consumed the Church.  Penance and mortification, both exterior and interior, slowly over time began to lose their importance.  Yet this is what it is to be a Christian: our screwed up will must be subdued and our fallen nature must be conquered.  Penance and mortification are how you do that.  And there is no other way.  To remove penance from the Christian life is in many ways like removing the soul from the body: all you have left is a decaying corpse.

There is also the matter of what penance on our part can do for others and for the world.  The Fatima revelations remind us of something that is made clear throughout Sacred Scripture: penance softens the anger of God and loosens the grip that devils have on souls in the world.  Consider the account of the exorcism that Our Lord performed when He came down from Mount Tabor with Peter, James, and John after the Transfiguration.  He encounters the rest of the Apostles who had been trying and failing to exorcise a demon from a young boy.  Notice here as well the intimate connection between prayer and fasting and belief and faith.  Here it is from the Gospel of Mark:

One of the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.  And Jesus * asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood.  And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”  And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.”  And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.  And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:17-29)”

This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.  And what is the message of Fatima?  Prayer and fasting.  In this sense fasting, penance, sacrifice, they are three different words for the same thing.  If you wish to drive out the demons afflicting souls in our world then heed the message of Fatima.

This would seem to have been a primary reason for Our Lady’s appearance at the Cova da Iria four centuries after Father Martin Luther’s little outburst: to call people back to penance.  After all Our Lord Himself after his Resurrection stated that penance should be preached in his Name to all nations.  How many times do we read in the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation, that the followers of the Beast (Antichrist) and his false prophet will in the last days of this world refuse to do penance, despite the plagues that afflict them, and instead blaspheme God?

The penances that these children did were a primary reason for the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto in the year 2000 so why do these people continue to repeat the lie that “Our Lady told them to stop making these sacrifices?”  How can you call them ‘Blessed’ if you deny the reason for their beatification?  Some of it is just habit, some of it is just a herd mentality i.e. people feel safe (even though they are in mortal danger) when they just repeat what everybody else says despite the fact that they know better and some are just ignorant, whether that ignorance is willful or not is between them and God.

But there is another group who have another purpose.  They think that by spreading this lie they can undo a large part if not the whole message of Fatima.  They are not the ones who repeat this lie publicly, rather they whisper it in the ears of authors of books on the subject, they cause it to be written in footnotes or cause it to be repeated by people who are supposed to be authorities on the subject.  And trust me they are there.  They do exist.  Just ignore them and the fruits of their work and do penance.

So what is penance?  What sacrifices are we called to make?  Are we supposed to go out and buy a hairshirt or wrap a cilice around our thighs and wear it until we draw blood?  No.  If God wants you to do that you will know it and it won’t be because you read this post.  But that is a dangerous place to start doing penance because most often those things are purely self will and feed only your pride and hurry you down the road to spiritual disaster.  So what do we do?

Penance is primarily doing the will of God, especially when it contravenes your own will.  Penance is not sinning, especially when the devil makes sin look like a good and reasonable choice that will do no harm to anyone and may perhaps actually help somebody.  Penance is enduring and conquering with prayer and patience grievous temptations that afflict you to commit certain sins. Penance is being patient with the troublesome and helping them bear their burdens.  If you want to do real penance then try this: the next time you encounter someone whom you deem to be rude and inconsiderate and whom you think is in your way then be kind to them, smile at them, pray a Hail Mary for them, ask them if you can help them in any way and maybe, just maybe, try getting out of their way.  In other words learn to live and love the Works of Mercy.

Sometimes penance is just to live in this world that is so awash with sin and error that 99.9999999% of the human race perceives good to be evil and evil to be good and not to succumb to it.  To not say Ave (2 John 1:10) to those in positions of authority who preach all manner of heretical yet seductive stupidity from the pulpit and to keep the commandments of God and bear the testimony of Jesus Christ in a world that is constantly screaming in your ear at the top of its lungs that neither of them have ever existed, that it is all a delusional fantasy.

These things are penance too, and if you let Him the Holy Spirit will show you more and better ways of doing penance than anything I could come up with.  Pray the Rosary every day and do penance.  Make supplication in reparation for the outrages committed against the Holy Trinity and for the conversion of sinners.  Place your forehead against the earth and say:

O 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.

The Apparition of August 19, 1917

Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars.  She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table.  She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” (Proverbs 9:1-4)

April 5, 2017                                                                                                                                       The Memorial of Saint Vincent Ferrer

This Apparition did not occur on the 13th of August because… well the children were in prison.  Portugal was in 1917 in the grips of an intensely anti-Catholic government that had taken power in a 1910 revolution and closely identified itself and its polices with the radical Jacobins who had seized power in France and murdered its monarch while despoiling the Church in that country during the 1790s.  Quite a stir had been created by reports of Our Lady appearing to these three children in May and June, but July was the last straw for the Administrator of Ourém, Artur de Oliveira Santos who was a public Freemason and out to do anything and everything he could to stamp out the renewed faith among the people of his district because of these Apparitions.

When asked what Our Lady told them on July 13th the children simply replied that it was a secret: it would be decades before Lucia would write, and only in obedience to the Bishop of Leira, some of what the children were told that day and even now we still don’t know everything.  However once word of a secret got out, well you know how that goes.  Artur de Santos thought that secrets were his business so he kidnapped the children under the pretext of giving them a ride to the Cova da Iria for the Apparition on August 13th and held them in jail for two nights, threatening them with all manner of torture to get them to tell him the secret.  They didn’t tell him, and the public outcry about the kidnapping forced him to release the children, Lucia last of all on August 15th.

In the meantime witnesses reported that something did happen in the Cova da Iria on the 13th: there were signs of Our Lady’s being there, but she did not speak.  Obviously she knew what had happened to the children but she had promised to be there that day so she came to fulfill her word.  She did eventually appear to the children on August 19 in a place called Valinhos.  Lucia states in the memoir from which I am about to quote that she was of the opinion, at the time she wrote this description, that it was on the 15th but she acknowledged that she may have been confused about the date and other witnesses placed it on the 19th.  Here is Lucia’s description of the Apparition in the Fourth Volume of her Memoir published as part of the 1998 work Fatima in Lucia’s own words:

I was accompanied by Francisco and his brother John.  We were with the sheep in a place called Valinhos, when we felt something supernatural approaching and enveloping us.  Suspecting that Our Lady was about to appear to us, and feeling sorry lest Jacinta might miss seeing her, we asked her brother to go and call her.  As he was unwilling to go, I offered him two small coins, and off he ran.

Meanwhile, Francisco and I saw the flash of light, which we called lightning.  Jacinta arrived, and a moment later, we saw Our Lady on a holmoak tree.

“What do you want of me?”

“I want you to continue going to the Cova da Iria on the 13th, and to continue praying the Rosary every day.  In the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”

“What do you want done with the money that the people leave in the Cova da Iria?”

“Have two litters made.  One is to be carried by you and Jacinta and two other girls dressed in white; the other one is to be carried by Francisco and three other boys.  The money from the litters is for the “festa” of Our Lady of the Rosary, and what is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.”

“I would like to ask you to cure some sick persons.”

“Yes, I will cure some of them during the year.”

Then, looking very sad, Our lady said:

“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

And she began to ascend as usual towards the east.

Pray the Rosary every day.  Pray.  Pray very much.  Make sacrifices for sinners.  Many souls go to hell because no one who will sacrifice themselves and pray for them.  Pray and keep watch.

The Apparition of July 13, 1917

Thou art beautiful, O my love, sweet and comely as Jerusalem: terrible as an army set in array.
(Song of Songs 6:4)

March 1, 2017                                                                                                                                     Ash Wednesday

In a certain sense the July 13, 1917 apparition is the mother lode.  The heart of the Message of Fatima is a call to penance and to make reparation.  The prophetic warnings and the Secret revealed in the July 13 Apparition are what give this call to penance its great urgency.  And that is why any attempt to make Fatima a “part of the past” is a grave threat to the future of the human race.

William Thomas Walsh in his 1947 work, Our Lady of Fatima, that word had gotten out and two to three thousand people gathered with the three children on the Cova da Iria on July 13, 1917.  He describes the scene as follows (p. 78):

On this particular thirteenth of July, in 1917, there was something unusual afoot in all the villages and fields of the Serra.  Even before the children arrived within sight of the Cova da Iria they must have become aware of it.  For all over the mountains and beyond people had been hearing, by the mysterious grapevine that disperses news so thoroughly and so fast in country places, of what had taken place on the feast of Saint Anthony.  An astonishing number had made up their minds to be on hand for the next apparition.

Lucia herself describes the momentous revelation of Our Lady this day as follows in Volume IV of her memoirs:

A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holmoak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more, and a moment later Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

“What do you want of me?” I asked.

“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you.”

“I would like to ask you to tell us who you are, and to work a miracle so that everybody will believe that you are appearing to us.”

“Continue to come here every month.  In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”

I then made some requests, but I cannot recall now just what they were.  What I do remember is that Our Lady said it was necessary for such people to pray the Rosary in order to obtain these graces during the year.  And she continued:

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands once more, as she had done during the two previous months.  The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire.  Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.  (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me).  The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellant likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.  Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.  If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.  The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.  When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“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 requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.  The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.  In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.  The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.  In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc…   Do not tell this to anybody.  Francisco, yes, you may tell him.

“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell.  Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.”

After this, there was a moment of silence, and then I asked:

“Is there anything more that you want of me?”

“No, I do not want anything more of you today.”

Then, as before Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until she finally disappeared in the immense distance of the firmament.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as the saying goes.  There are very many things to say about this Apparition.  Each sentence in some way shape or form warrants its own post but I won’t go to that length.  The one thing to keep in mind is that Heaven does not issue empty threats, but the Almighty bides his time to give a chance for repentance.  Very many of the things Our Lady warned us about have already happened, but not all of them, and not the worst.  We still do not know the rest of what she told the children: the “etc…” was not included or clarified or even commented on in any way, shape, or form in the Vatican’s 2000 release about the Secret of Fatima.   And we have not stopped offending God, but rather have made things much much worse.   You do the math.

O Jesus, it is for the love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.