Impressions of the August 19 Apparition

One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.  He who saw it has borne witness–his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth–that you also may believe (John 19:34-35).

April 14, 2016                                                                                                                               Good Friday

1) God is in the details

The first thing I noticed in this Apparition is the care that Our Lady takes concerning the small details of life.  The previous month she had dealt with the horrible fact of souls going to hell and terrible persecutions of the Church and the annihilation of nations but here in August she speaks much about things that the world would consider to be of no consequence.

Lucia asked Our Lady what was to be done with the money left in the Cova da Iria and she gives very specific and helpful instructions regarding this matter.  The background to this is that after reports of the Apparitions had begun to spread in the surrounding regions of Portugal people began to visit the site on a regular basis, already esteeming the Cova da Iria to be holy ground.  Spontaneously they began to leave money there as a sort of votive offering to God or in thanksgiving for some benefit received.  Nobody knew what to do with this money.

A local woman, Maria Carreira, found herself put in charge of the money, but did not know what to do with it.  She tried giving it to Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta’s father, but he didn’t want it.  She tried giving it to Lucia, but she refused.  Next she tried giving it to Father Ferreira, the parish priest in Fatima, but he wanted nothing at all to do with anything going on in the Cova da Iria at that point so he turned her down as well.  Confused and distraught she finally asked Lucia after Mass on Sunday morning, August 19, 1917,  to ask Our Lady what she wanted done with the money the next time she appeared to the children.  Well, that afternoon she had her answer.  Who says prayers don’t get answered, and sometimes rather quickly?

It is important to note here that we are not talking about a large amount of money, probably less than 20 American dollars by today’s reckoning, yet Our Lady took the time here to give her full attention to the matter.  We should learn from this to trust God even in the smallest details in our life.  We should never be afraid to ask for help about whether we should turn to the left or to the right in any given situation if we don’t know the answer.  God delights in giving us answers to these questions.  If we do this we give evidence of our trust in Him.  He wants to be involved in every detail of our lives, and if we let Him into those details then it will be the beginning of a life that we never could have imagined.  After all, those twenty dollars left in a pious woman’s charge by those first few pilgrims would in time become this:

fatima

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/12/19/120333/

This account is also a reminder to seek the help of intercessors.  Ask people to pray for you, ask the saints in Heaven to pray for you, ask Our Lady to pray for you.  Some people, whether in Heaven or on earth, are simply in a better position to get you what you need.  This is the Communion of Saints: the City of God.  After all Maria Carreira had done all that running around and gotten nowhere, but when she asked Lucia to ask Our Lady she received her answer forthwith.

2) The call to prayer and sacrifice

Our Lady ends this Apparition with the following sad statement:

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.

God wishes all to come to Him, and that none should be lost: The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  And He calls us, nay He demands that we participate in this mission of redemption.  He demands that we become little Christs and offer ourselves for sinners just as the Divine Son of Mary offered the last drop of Blood and Water from his most Sacred Heart for our salvation.  Do not neglect this mission all of you who hear this call, or else the loss of those souls will be held to your account, for this is not just a lament here by Our Lady but a warning.  We must be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.  And as his Will is that none should be lost then that must be our will as well.  This is Divine Charity: Deus caritas est : et qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo.  God is charity.  God is the outpouring of every last bit of Himself for you and for me and for the people you want to hate and that I want to despise.  So must you be as well, and so must I.  That is the only way, and there is no other.

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.

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.