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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Designs of Mercy – Jacinta II

Part II

In our previous post on Saint Jacinta, Designs of Mercy – Jacinta, we spoke of Our Lady’s visit to Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto  in January, 1919. In her Memoirs, Lúcia tells us,

“Our Lady came to see us”, Jacinta said. “She told us She would come to take Francisco to Heaven very soon, and She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did. She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus. I asked if you (Lúcia) would go with me. She said you wouldn’t, and that is what I find hardest. She said my mother would take me, and then I would have to stay there all alone!”

In Volume II, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité speaks of Sister Lúcia’s impression of Jacinta:

Saint Jacinta Marto, pray for us, pray for the Pope.

“Jacinta was the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace, and a better knowledge of God and of virtue”

Although she was indeed the youngest of the three seers, it was she who appeared to enjoy the greatest intimacy with the Most Holy Virgin. When the cycle of the six great public apparitions was completed, Jacinta continued almost uninterruptedly to enjoy supernatural favors, right up until her death.

In our earlier post on Jacinta, we mentioned Frère Michel’s remark,

“It is indeed surprising to observe how much, after the apparition of July 13, the thought of the Holy Father kept constantly coming back to the minds of the three seers. This was one of their major preoccupations, along with solicitude for sinners, and the sight of the terrifying war to come. Why? Undoubtedly because the Pope plays a role of decisive importance in the great prophecy of the Secret: he is already named five times in the published part of the Secret; we may believe that he is mentioned again in the part which has not yet been published. Let us add that several supernatural communications Sister Lúcia was later favored with, concerning the role of the Holy Father in the great prophecy of the Secret, surely supply us with the context which sheds much light on the visions of Jacinta. “

In her memoirs, Lúcia recalled several prophetic visions given to little Jacinta.

“One day we spent our siesta down by my parents’ well. Jacinta sat on the stone slab on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket. After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: ‘Didn’t you see the Holy Father?’ ‘No.’

‘I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray much for him.’

“I have already told you how, one day, two priests recommended that we pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was. Afterwards, Jacinta asked me:  ‘Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the Secret?’  ‘Yes, he is,’  I answered. (And Jacinta, with childlike candour, went on:) ‘The Lady must surely have shown him also to those priests. You see, I wasn’t mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him.’

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Designs of Mercy – Jacinta

“Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them!”

by evensong, May 27, 2017

Although Francisco, who was a contemplative soul, recognised that  his essential task was to console Our Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament, Jacinta knew that  she must above all else, sacrifice to save souls from the eternal damnation she had seen so graphically depicted. In her memoirs, Lúcia tells us,

“Some of the things revealed in the Secret made a very strong impression on Jacinta. … How is it that Jacinta, small as she was, let herself be possessed by such a spirit of penance and mortification, and understood it so well? I think the reason is this: firstly, God willed to bestow on her a special grace, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and secondly, it was because she had looked upon hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein. … Jacinta  took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity escape her.”

“Poor Holy Father! We must pray much for him!”

“We were playing one day at the well I have already mentioned. Close to it, there was a grape vine belonging to Jacinta’s mother. She cut a few clusters and brought them to us to eat. But Jacinta never forgot her sinners. ‘We won’t eat them,’ she said, ‘we’ll offer this sacrifice for sinners.’  Then she ran out with the grapes and gave them to the other children playing on the road. She returned radiant with joy, for she had found our poor children, and given them grapes. … Another time, my aunt called us to come and eat some figs which she had brought home, and indeed they would have given anybody an appetite. Jacinta sat down happily next to the basket, with the rest of us, and picked up the first fig. She was just about to eat it, when she suddenly remembered, and said:  ‘It’s true! Today we haven’t yet made a single sacrifice for sinners! We’ll have to make this one.’  She put the fig back in the basket, and made the offering; and we, too, left our figs in the basket for the conversion of sinners.

“I’m not going to dance any more!”

“Jacinta dearly loved dancing, and had a special aptitude for it. I remember how she was crying one day about one of her brothers who had gone to the war and was reported killed in action. To distract her, I arranged a little dance with two of her brothers. There was the poor child dancing away as she dried the tears that ran down her cheeks.  Her fondness for dancing was such that the sound of some shepherd playing his instrument was enough to set her dancing all by herself.  In spite of this, when St. John’s Day festivities or carnival time came around (in 1918), she announced: ‘I’m not going to dance any more.’ ‘And why not?’ ‘Because I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.’ Since we were the ones who organized the games for the children, the dances which used to take place on these occasions stopped.”

“Occasionally, also, we were in the habit of offering to God the sacrifice of spending nine days or a month without taking a drink. Once, we made this sacrifice even in the month of August, when the heat was suffocating. On these occasions, Jacinta would say: ‘Our Lord must be pleased with our sacrifices, because I am so thirsty, so thirsty! Yet, I do not want to take a drink. I want to suffer for love of Him.”  Jacinta’s thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable.

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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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