The Fatima Center wishes you a blessed and grace-filled solemnity of the Ascension!
As we contemplate the great Mystery of Our Lord’s Ascension, it behooves us to recognize its parallels and internal harmony to Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. In this reflection we will consider three such connections. We invite you to add additional connections you have considered in our comment section below.
(1) The Great Commission: To Teach and Baptize All Nations
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).
“And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
As His last act upon earth, Our Lord gave this “Great Commission” to the eleven Apostles. He commanded them to teach all nations all that He had taught them and to baptize them that they might benefit from His perfect sacrifice upon the Cross.
Our Lord was clear: His holy doctrine (teachings) and His sanctifying grace (Sacraments) are necessary for eternal life. Likewise at Fatima, Our Lady places a great emphasis upon the dogmas of the Faith and Sacraments. If we neglect these means, many souls will fall into hell.
Sadly, the Catholic Church today has largely abandoned this Divine Commission. Churchmen in the hierarchy – even the Pope himself! – are opposed to proselytizing and baptizing those outside the Church. For example, in a 2013 interview for the Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica, Pope Francis declared: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.” Is this not a sign of the great diabolical disorientation which has descended upon us?
Many prelates are no longer teaching basic dogmas of the Faith. Hell and Purgatory are readily denied. Every religion is claimed to be good enough for salvation. Unnatural vice is considered to have its own ‘blessings.’ The Sacrifice of the Mass is no longer considered “essential” for our spiritual life. Some bishops and priests even permit the horrific sacrilege of administering Holy Communion to those in a state of public mortal sin.
At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin warned about this crisis of faith. The Third Secret of Fatima begins with these words of Our Lady: “In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved etc.” The “etc.” was Sister Lucia’s placeholder for the rest of Our Lady’s words, which were supposed to be released in 1960, but which the Vatican has withheld to this day.
Since the first words of the Third Secret state that the dogma of the Faith will be preserved in Portugal, it is logical that the rest of the Secret has something to do with the Faith not being preserved elsewhere. This interpretation is supported by the words of then-Cardinal Ratzinger (as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), who read the Third Secret. In a 1984 interview, he said that it refers to the “dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore [the life] of the world.”
In 1970, Sister Lucia explained the disorientation of many who occupy positions of responsibility in the Church:
“It is because the devil has been able to infiltrate evil under the guise of good, and they act as the blind leading the blind, as Our Lord tells us in His Gospel; and souls go on allowing themselves to be deceived.”
We also have the diagnosis of the crisis by two very credible Cardinals. In 1990, Cardinal Silvio Oddi, former prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy, stated in regards to the Third Secret of Fatima: “The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church.” And in 1995, Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, personal theologian to five successive popes including John Paul II, wrote: “In the Third Secret it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
Today, after 25 more years of ignoring the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, the crisis of faith in the Church is indescribably worse.
(2) Our Lord Promised to Be with His Church Until the End of Time.
“… behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20).
One of the ways in which Our Lord fulfills this promise is by sending His own Mother as our last chance for salvation. In this dark hour, God still wishes to save mankind, but He will only do so by establishing worldwide devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.
On December 26, 1957, Sister Lucia was interviewed by Father Augustine Fuentes, postulator for the beatification causes of Francisco and Jacinta Marto. During the interview, she stated:
“Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world but She made me understand this for three reasons. … The second reason is because She said to my cousins as well as to myself that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the last two remedies which signify that there will be no others.”
Our Lord also fulfills this promise by remaining with us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in Holy Communion. Yet, in these terrible times, Catholic prelates are abandoning Him as did the Apostles during Christ’s Passion. They are closing churches, limiting access to the Sacraments, preventing the faithful from receiving His graces through the Mass, and denying them the most intimate union with Christ that comes from Holy Communion. Even Our Lady’s Shrine at Fatima was shut down to pilgrims!
Are these churchmen lacking faith in Our Lord, just as the Apostles did in regards to the Resurrection?
“And they hearing that He was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe. And after that He appeared in another shape to two of them walking, as they were going into the country. And they going told it to the rest: neither did they believe them. At length He appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen Him after He was risen again” (Mark 16:11-14) [emphasis added].
Even as St. Mark narrates the Ascension (cf. 16:11-20), he reminds us that some of the Apostles were doubting. Our Lord had to reprimand their lack of faith. How richly do we deserve such a divine reprimand in this “Era of Fatima”!
(3) Our Lord Ascended to Heaven as the Apostles Gazed Upward and Angels Appeared.
“And when He had said these things, while they looked on, He was raised up: and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they were beholding Him going up to Heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to Heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come, as you have seen Him going into Heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
These details also powerfully recall to mind similar details from the Fatima apparitions.
Concealed by a cloud
At Fatima, Our Lady would arrive from the east and then stand above or on a holm-oak tree during each apparition. Then, as Our Lady left them, while the children were gazing up at Her, the crowd would note a small cloud that rose from above the tree and, moving toward the east, gradually disappeared – a reminder of Our Lord going up in the clouds.
Counsel from Angels
Just as the two angels mentioned above (in the Scripture passage) counseled the Apostles on how to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming, so too the Angel of Fatima came to the children in the autumn of 1916 and gave them directions on how to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and prepare themselves for their privileged encounter with Our Lady the following year.
When the Angel of Fatima appeared, he had in his left hand a chalice over which was suspended a Host, from which some drops of Blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, he prostrated himself down to the earth near the children and repeated three times this prayer:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee 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 indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that Thou might convert poor sinners.”
Then, getting up, the Angel took the chalice and Host. He gave Lucia the Sacred Host on the tongue. Then while giving the Precious Blood from the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, he said:
“Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”
Then, prostrating himself on the ground he repeated with the children three times the same prayer: Most Holy Trinity, etc., and disappeared.
We should all memorize these heavenly prayers of reparation and pray them often. Pray them at Mass during the consecration and at Holy Communion. Pray them frequently during the day. These prayers will prepare us to receive Our Lord and Our Lady in our hearts, foster devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, increase the efficacy of our Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays, and help pave the path for the Consecration of Russia.
Angels guiding souls to Heaven
And, finally, we have the Angels in the Vision of the Third Secret helping guide souls to Heaven and collecting the blood of martyrs. The Apostles would all become martyrs and their blood helps all predestined souls reach Heaven. Who can doubt that a time of great martyrdom is once again fast approaching?
Following is the relevant excerpt of the vision of the Third Secret of Fatima:
“,,, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. … the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels, each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God” [emphasis added].
The Message of Fatima is the most important message for our times. The more we reflect upon it, the more we will see its deep connections to all the Mysteries of our Catholic Faith, such as the Ascension. May this spiritual exercise serve to enlighten our faith, strengthen our hope, inflame our charity, and deepen our union with Jesus through Mary.
 Mark Fellows, Sister Lucia: Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart (Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, 2007), p. 266; available on-line at https://fatima.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Sister-Lucy-sm.pdf
 For examples, see the section “Bishops Are Denying the Sacraments to the Faithful,” in the article at https://fatima.org/news-views/at-fatima-24-nations-consecrated-or-entrusted-to-the-sacred-and-immaculate-hearts/
 The Devil’s Final Battle (The Missionary Association, Terryville, 2010), p. 86; available on-line at https://fatima.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Devils-Final-Battle-Book-One.pdf