by Brother Michael of the Most Holy Trinity
Continued From Crusader 47
In this article, Brother Michael explains that Fatima bears all the hallmarks of an apparition of unquestionable authenticity and holiness. What he has written helps us to distinguish between the true and false apparitions, so many of which seem to be proliferating today. At the time of Lourdes, there were twenty false apparitions going on in the same general area, all of which, no doubt, were an attempt of the devil to distract the Faithful from the true apparition. Brother Michael highlights the holiness of the seers, the holiness of the Faithful as a result of the apparitions, and the holiness and Catholicity of the message itself.
The Supernatural Fruits
in the Lives of the Seers
Much would need to be said about the supernatural fruits of Fatima. First of all, in the lives of the three seers, I shall say but a word, because it cannot be summarized. You should read in Lucy's Memoirs, or in our own volumes on Fatima, the very moving accounts of the illness and the last moments of Francisco and of Jacinta. In the short space of time left to them to spend on this earth Our Lady came to take them to Heaven in 1919 and 1920 – they lived the lives of saints, and there is every hope of seeing them soon raised to the honors of the altar.
As for Lucy, there is only one word to be said about her: the rest of her life has been one of unfailing charity and uprightness, characterized by a disconcerting modesty and humility. She is truly the perfect messenger: with intrepid courage, she transmits what she has heard from God, and then, whilst continuing to pray and make sacrifices that the divine plans be fulfilled, she obeys her legitimate superiors in all things. On her exemplary obedience, every testimony is in agreement: those of the Jesuits who were her confessors, those of her spiritual directors, those of the bishops, on whom she was dependent, as well as those of her superiors in religion.
The Supernatural Fruits
in the Souls of the Faithful
Finally, we should need to consider the supernatural fruits of the Apparitions in the souls of the Faithful and for the life of the nation. They are obvious: Fatima undoubtedly marked the dawn of salvation for Portugal. The "Land of Holy Mary" had been dominated by Freemasonry for more than a century, and more especially since the 1910 revolution when violent persecution was unleashed against the Church. Well, a few months after the beginning of the Apparitions, the situation began to change; open persecution ceased, and thanks to the continuous flow of pilgrims coming to Fatima the 13th of every month, within ten years Portugal was already so well converted that Salazar could establish an openly Catholic government. Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, and Salazar himself were not afraid to admit openly that it was the Blessed Virgin Mary who saved Portugal from Masonic domination through Her Apparitions and through the Fatima pilgrimage.
It should be stressed that Monsignor da Silva, appointed Bishop of Leiria in 1920, always insisted on the fact that the pilgrimage was born and grew quite spontaneously. The pilgrims came in crowds to Cova da Iria drawn solely by the Blessed Virgin and not through the invitations of the clergy: "No one can say," declared the Bishop in 1922, "that the ecclesiastical authorities did anything to encourage faith in the Apparitions; quite the contrary. The ecclesiastical authorities maintained an attitude of reserve. From the beginning, the clergy refused to take part in any manifestation. It is only very recently that we have permitted low Mass with a sermon to be celebrated there on days when large numbers gather." It is a fact that Monsignor de Vida Limal, who was in charge of the diocese in 1917, ordered that his priests adopt an attitude of extreme reserve. So much so that in 1920, it was with great difficulty that a priest could be found who would agree to bless the first statue of Our Lady of Fatima, still venerated at the Capelinha.
The parish priest of Fatima, however wrong he may have been with regard to the seers, had indeed seen the necessity for this: if the Blessed Virgin really appears, he thought, She is powerful enough to attract the crowds by Herself. The more the clergy kept resolutely out of it, the more convincing the proof became. On August 17, 1917, he wrote a communique to the press: "The Blessed Virgin has no need of the parish priest's presence to show Her goodness, and it is necessary that the enemies of religion be unable to defame the striking manifestations of Her benevolence by attributing the people's belief to the presence or the advice of the parish priest." Father Ferreira remained loyal to this attitude, and it was not until about three years after the last of the apparitions that the clergy began to take the pilgrimage in hand. As Cardinal Cerejeira was to repeat: "It is not the Church who imposed Fatima; Fatima imposed herself on the Church."
Later, it is true, the bishops of Portugal had the outstanding merit of corresponding to Our Lady's requests, and it was this obedience that earned their country that shower of blessings which, for forty years, was to make the "Land of Holy Mary" "Our Lady's showcase". In 1942, Cardinal Cerejeira was not afraid to speak of a true "miracle": a miracle of conversion that wrought a magnificent Catholic renaissance throughout the whole country; a miracle of political and social renovation; a miracle of peace preserving Portugal from the Bolshevik conflagration in 1936 and then keeping her out of the Second World War to the very end. All these events should be studied in detail to discover in them evidence of the Queen of Heaven's miraculous protection (cf. our Volume II,* The Whole Truth About Fatima "The Salvation of Portugal, a Miracle and Model For Our Times", pp. 303-439; 747-753; 782-790).
*Available from The Fatima Crusader.
The Message of Fatima is of an unquestionable Catholic orthodoxy. But that is an understatement; it could be said to contain the answer, the antidote to all modern errors. Of incomparable doctrinal richness, it is at the same time perfectly coherent and clear, making it very simple and accessible to all. Thus, one finds a wonderful synthesis of the ascetic and mystical teaching in the little prayers taught to the seers by the Angel and by Our Lady. These four very brief formulas truly express the essential of the Message of Fatima.** Why not repeat them often, following the example of the three little shepherds who never wearied saying them over and over again with their faces to the ground: "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee!" Then the great synthesis of the message from the very mouth of Our Lady, is, of course, the great prophetic Secret of July 13th. Since 1917, it has been fulfilled to the letter, and is being fulfilled today before our eyes, and it also reveals our whole future. The more one scrutinizes and meditates on this text, the more one realizes that no earthly intelligence, however brilliant, could have invented it.
All through volumes II and III of The Whole Truth About Fatima I have labored to explain it and comment on it phrase by phrase, by showing in detail how it has been fulfilled in our history. Let us content ourselves here with rereading this message from Heaven to earth – a message that is still as actual and as urgent as ever.
**We have had them printed in English on the reverse side of a holy picture, which we shall be happy to send you on request. Ask for leaflet LF#24.
|After the three children were given the Vision of Hell Our Lady of Fatima said: "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."|
The Salvation of Souls
After the terrifying – and yet profoundly theological description of the vision of hell, Sister Lucy continues: "This vision only lasted a moment, thanks to our good Mother of Heaven Who had promised, during the first apparition, to take us to Heaven, without which, I think we would have died of shock and fear. Frightened, and as though asking for help, we raised our eyes to Our Lady Who, with great goodness and sadness, said: 'You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I am going to say to you is done, many souls will be saved'..."
This first part of the Secret is in itself a magnificent message of hope: we have in the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in the very easy practice of Communion of Reparation on the Five First Saturdays of the month – which Our Lady came insistently to request again, at Pontevedra, stressing the spirit and the conditions attached – a wonderful means of salvation for ourselves, "for all those souls who God has placed in our path", and even the most hardened who are in greatest danger of eternal damnation.
Promise of World Peace
Then begins the second part of the Secret. Our Lady therein presents devotion to Her Immaculate Heart as the final means of salvation for the world and the necessary means for obtaining peace. The Secret takes on prophetic and political tone here where first promises and then chastisements are evoked depending on whether or not men obey Heaven's demands:
"If what I have come to tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war (1914) is coming to an end. But if men do not stop offending God, then under the reign of Pius XI another and worse war will begin.
"When you see a night lit by an unknown light, know that that is the great sign given to you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.
"In order to prevent that, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and for Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays of the month.
"If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. Otherwise, she will spread her errors throughout the world, stirring up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated."
It is not difficult to prove phrase by phrase and word by word the shattering realization of the prophecies of the Second Secret: the miraculous salvation of Portugal, the horrors of the Stalinist Gulag, the Spanish war, the mysterious sign of January 25, 1938, the herald of the terrible chastisement of the Second World War, itself followed by the implacable expansion of Bolshevism throughout the entire world.
The Third Secret
Then comes the third part of the Secret: "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc." The rest, which should have been revealed by Pope John XXIII in 1960, still has not been revealed, thirty-six years later! It is the mystery of the final Secret which I have attempted to elucidate in my third volume on Fatima. First of all, its history: its dramatic written record in 1943-1944, the enigma of its transfer to the Vatican in 1957, the disconcerting attitude of Pius XII, its being read by John XXIII and then the leaden silence that has weighed on this extraordinary prophecy in Rome since 1960. At the end of this exhaustive enquiry, it is possible to discern the contents of the Third Secret: it is no longer to do with the peace of the world, but with the future of the Church. More precisely, it prophesies the crisis of faith, which suddenly took a turn for the worse in 1960, before, during and after the Council. It announces the Pastors' failure to exercise their duty and their chastisement; it heralds the decisive combat between the Blessed Virgin and the devil. It announces that satan's hour has come, the hour of the great apostasy of the last times, prophesied by the Scriptures, and particularly by the Apocalypse in chapters XII and XIII, the contents of which correspond term by term to the Secrets of Fatima. But after this "diabolical disorientation", which the Church is suffering right now, will come the hour of her magnificent renaissance.
Fatima Message of Hope
The great message of July 13th ends in effect with a conclusion full of hope. It is an unconditional promise so reassuring and so stirring that it should be constantly preached in season and out of season:
"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me; Russia will then be converted and a certain time of peace will be given to the world."
The Message of Fatima, Cardinal Cerejeira declared, "is an appeal, a hope, it is salvation in this apocalyptic hour. Fatima has become the hope of the nations." And this message of hope is all the more sure and firm for being situated in line with the previous great prophetic revelations. It brings them up-to-date and in a way recapitulates them all. "Fatima," said the Patriarch of Lisbon, "will be for the cult of the Immaculate Heart of Mary what Paray-le-Monial was for the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Fatima is, in a certain sense, the continuation, or rather the conclusion, of Paray-le-Monial: Fatima reunites those two Hearts, which God Himself united in the divine work of Redemption." The recent retreat preached by the Abbé de Nantes on "The Secret of Paray-le-Monial" provides striking proof of this divine harmony between the two messages.
Fatima is also an insistent reminder of the revelations of the Immaculate Mediatrix to Saint Catherine Labouré, whose certain prophecies still concern our future, it should not be forgotten.
Fatima is the Heavenly confirmation by the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself of the Marian message of Saint Louis de Montfort, the prophet of the last times, whose message was recalled in our twentieth century by Saint Maximilian Kolbe starting precisely from October 1917 – an astounding coincidence – exactly in the spirit of Fatima, even though the Polish Franciscan Saint was never acquainted with the Apparitions of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria.
Thus Fatima appears to us as the plenary revelation of God's great merciful design for our century, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the coming of the Universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.