August 19, 1917: A break in the pattern

“I am of Heaven.”

The six apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima all occurred on the 13th of each month, except for the one in August. This was because the Administrator of the district of Ourem, a Mason, kidnapped the children, as we discussed in our earlier post, “The Day the Masons Promoted the Message of Fatima.”

Even though the little shepherds were unable to keep their assignation with Our Lady, between 3 and 5 thousand people did come. Here is a brief account:

First, there was a thunderclap, “then came the flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree and then rose in the air and disappeared. As we looked around us, we noticed the strange thing which we had seen before and were to see in the following months; our faces were reflecting all the colours of the rainbow, pink, red, blue… The trees seemed to be made not of leaves but of flowers; they seemed to be laden with flowers, each leaf seemed to be a flower. The ground came out in colours and so did our clothes. The lanterns fixed to the arch looked like gold.”

At Valinhos

On Sunday, August 19, in the early afternoon, the children brought their flocks to a pasture in Valinhos. Lucia began to get the premonition that Our lady was about to appear, and since Jacinta was not with them, she sent Jacinta’s older brother to fetch her. It is an especially touching detail that Our Lady waited until Jacinta arrived before appearing.

In this visit, Our Lady again reiterated that she wanted them to continue coming to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of the month, and continue to pray the Rosary every day. “In the last month, I will work a miracle so that all may believe. If you had not been taken away to the City, the miracle would have been even greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will also come.”

Then looking 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 pray for them.”

This message is such an important part of the Message of Fatima. In this, Our Lady repeats what she has said earlier, emphasising the urgency. We must take this to heart!

From Frère Michel:

“But what an astonishing affirmation! The eternal salvation of many souls really depends on our prayers and sacrifices? It is so stupefying that many theologians try to interpret in their own way these disturbing words, to diminish their significance.

“As for ourselves, let us be content to show how this doctrine is in perfect conformity with the purest Catholic tradition. Pope Pius XII firmly recalls this truth in Mystici Corporis:

There is an awesome mystery that we can never sufficiently meditate on: the salvation of many souls depends on the prayers and voluntary penances of the members of the Body of Christ. It is an unfathomable but also admirable mystery that such a close communion associates all the members of the human family with one another, for their salvation or for their loss.

An oracle of Deuteronomy already expresses this will of God in all its force: For I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation, to them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto many thousands, to them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Dt. 5, 9-10)

“Although the terrible part of this oracle was mitigated by the words of Ezekiel, who without denying family responsibility makes clear the role of individual responsibility, the second part, on the contrary, was reinforced by the message of the Gospel and the Pauline doctrine of the co-redemption:

‘Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake’, he writes to his dear Colossians, ‘and in my flesh I complete what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His body, which is the Church.’ (Col. 1:24)

And this co-redemptive power conferred by Christ on the members of His body in favor of their brothers, who are also redeemed has no other measure than unbounded Love and the infinite price of the Blood of Jesus, our only and beloved Saviour:

One just soul can obtain pardon for a thousand criminals, the Sacred Heart said to St. Margaret Mary.

“Rather than making unending calculations, vainly seeking to fathom the mysteries of divine predestination and human liberty, to reconcile the role of personal merit and the communion of saints, it is better to imitate the wisdom of the three little seers, who believed in all candor the words of Our Lady: Yes, many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them. And they set themselves courageously to draw out all the consequences that flow from this fact.

The first consequence is that the opposite is also true: Many souls can go to Heaven, thanks to our prayers and sacrifices. Here is an immense field of the apostolate open to every generous soul. Who can say henceforth that his life is useless, ruined, sterile, when the most beautiful, the most useful and the only important supernatural work is proposed to everybody by Our Lady, and with what insistence! (From Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité,  “The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume III”.)

And so, in the seclusion of Valinhos, without the crowds, Our Blessed Mother patiently waited for little Jacinta, so that all three children could share this important message. They then heroically followed her requests perfectly, to:

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

What a terrible scandal that these small children promptly obeyed and yet, after one hundred years, so few Catholics have actually obeyed Our Lady’s simple requests.  But doesn’t it always seem to be the way these things work? After centuries of prophecies, only a small handful of the Chosen People actually obeyed and followed Christ their Savior.  But look what those few  accomplished!

What a blessing to be here right now, with this opportunity to comfort Our Blessed Mother and Our Lord and make such a difference in the eternal lives of so many souls. The Church is being renewed right now, do not doubt it, for Our Lord does His best work when the devil thinks he is winning.

Think back over Our Lord’s Passion and Death for just a moment.  See how horribly He suffered and all the humiliation. See the utter hopelessness of it, by the world’s standards The tragic finality as Our Lady held  her Divine Son’s  body in her arms at the foot of the Cross.

And yet we know that this great tragedy was the means by which satan’s reign was  ended.  By this Death, we are born to eternal life, and by Satan’s attacks on  the Church now, he is being vanquished. Our Lord defeats Satan by His suffering obedience and  we shall do the same!  We are called not just to penance and prayer, but to joyful penance and prayer, and this joy comes from trust in Our Lady,  Indeed, from the very beginning of Sacred Scripture God has revealed the outcome, ” She shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

So pray the Rosary with joy and confidence!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong, for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King..
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

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Francisco and Jacinta, Designs of Mercy, II

Part II

There is so much we can learn from considering Saint Francisco’s short life, consumed as it was with love for our Eucharistic Lord and the desire to console His Sacred Heart. Francisco’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has proven to be a secure way to counter tepidity in our devotions to Our Lord. From the time of the last apparition in October, 1917 until he was taken to heaven was just 18 months, but in that time, what a whirlwind of spiritual energy and grace. Today we will review a few instances that show his beautiful soul’s love for Our Lord.

In an interesting passage in Volume I, Frère Michel describes Francisco’s excitement as he looked forward to the October apparition.

Francisco was filled with joy because Our Lady had said that on October 13 Our Lord would also come:

“Oh, how good He is! I’ve only seen Him twice,  and I love Him so much!” From time to time, he asked: “Are there many days left till the 13th? I’m longing for that day to come, so that I can see Our Lord again.” Then he thought for a moment, and added: “But listen! Will He still be so sad? I am so sorry to see Him sad like that! I offer Him all the sacrifices I can think of. Sometimes, I don’t even run away from all those people, just in order to make sacrifices!”

In footnote 499 of Volume I, Frère Michel explains,

“Here Francisco is undoubtedly alluding to the apparitions of June 13 and July 13: when Our Lady directed towards them the reflections of the Divine Light which shone from Her hands, the three seers felt as though they were absorbed in God; and then, in a mysterious vision, it was also given to them to contemplate Our Lord and His immense sadness because of the sins of the world.”

It is this sadness of Our Lord at our sins that was to set our little shepherd saint on the road to such heroic sanctity that within 18 months his soul would fly to the waiting arms of the “Hidden Jesus” he loved so much.

For today, let’s take a look at the accounts of Francisco given in The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volumes I and II .

Continue reading “Francisco and Jacinta, Designs of Mercy, II”

Francisco and Jacinta – Designs of Mercy

 

“The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.”

Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto of Fatima

Today, we consider Francisco and Jacinta, the two youngest saints of Fatima. As we discussed in our earlier post, “The Promise”,

Francisco saw the Blessed Virgin perfectly, but did not hear Her words. He only understood the questions of Lúcia. As for Jacinta, who saw and heard everything, she never brought herself to speak to the apparition. Thus Lúcia was the only one to have the privilege of speaking with Her.” … “Young and quite small, the Queen of Heaven also came very close to (the) three children. For a pedestal She had chosen a little holm oak, about a metre high.  ‘We were so close’, writes Lúcia , ‘that we found ourselves in the light surrounding Her, or rather emanating from Her, about a metre and a half away, more or less.’ (from Sister Lucia’s Fourth Memoir)

In 1916, St. Michael the Archangel, the Angel of Fatima had told the children, “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you”, but it was not until Our Lady began to appear that they perceived the true meaning of “designs of mercy”.  By the time of Our Lady’s third visit,  July 13, 1917, it was becoming clearer, and by then, Francisco could say emphatically, “What I want is to go to Heaven!” This eagerness for Heaven recalls St. Bernadette of Lourdes, who said of Our Lady,  “She was so beautiful that after seeing Her once one would be willing to die to see Her again!”

That Great Light Which Is God

Although Francisco was never able to hear the words of Our Lady, he was very astute in recognising many essential aspects of the apparitions:

“He was very impressed by the reflection of light… At the time, he did not seem to understand what was happening, perhaps because it was not given to him to hear the accompanying words of Our Lady. For this reason, he asked later: ‘Why did Our Lady have a heart in Her hand, spreading out all over the world that great light which is God?’

“Sometimes he said: ‘These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn to read! How would they feel if they only knew what She showed to us in God, in Her Immaculate Heart, in that great light.’ ” (Lúcia per Frère Michel, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol I)

And so we know that Francisco understood that the great light which the Blessed Virgin poured forth on them was the Light of God, that is, was God, as Francisco expressed it. This alone should give us great comfort for by this we understand that our Eternal Father has granted to the Blessed Virgin to bring us also to this Light in time of darkness.

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