Our Lady appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, and gave them messages for the world. The seers affirmed these apparitions were to be made known to the Holy Father, the Sacred Hierarchy, and to all Christendom. Thus, either the proofs are clear, certain, and conclusive, rendering the apparitions worthy of credit, or the proofs are doubtful, confusing, debatable, and the messages false. If Our Lady wanted to make her message known to the world, she would not fail to arrange the events so as to supply mankind with reasonable motives to believe the messages authenticity and she did. Therefore, if the proofs are certain and the messages are authentic, we cannot fail to attach the greatest importance to what they contain. If Our Lady really spoke to us through the seers, we must attach the highest regard to her words, meditate on them, and through diligent analysis, draw the utmost from their meaning. On the other hand, if the proofs are uncertain, we had better not waste a second on the subject. Just as one cannot somewhat believe the messages, so also one cannot merely attribute some importance to their contents.
The Gravity of the World Situation According to the Fatima Message
Lady spoke to the world. She described the situation as extremely
grave, pointed out mankind's frightening moral decadence as the cause of
this situation, and threatened us with terrible earthly punishments a
new war, the spread of the errors of Communism, persecutions of the
Church, and what is a thousand times worse, eternal punishment if we
fail to amend, and prescribed the necessary means for us to avoid all
Despite some happy-go-lucky optimists who
close their eyes to reality and say that our world of doubt, naturalism,
moral laxity and worship of earthly pleasures is in accordance with
God, we must believe the contrary because the contrary is what Our Lady
tells us. Some evolutionist sociologists delight in saying today is
better than yesterday and tomorrow will necessarily be better than
today. However, Our Lady affirms that reality is altogether different:
Tomorrow will be better than today only if we amend our lives and do
penance. Otherwise, no matter how much material progress is made in the
realms of medicine, finance, entertainment and personal comfort, we are
marching toward a huge universal collapse.
optimistic theologians also try to create a nice atmosphere by claiming
that hardly anyone is ever condemned to Hell. However, Our Lady teaches
the opposite, not only with words but with an invincible, concrete
argument: She showed Hell to the terrified little shepherds so they can
tell the world what they have seen. And we should rather believe Our
Lady than a wishy-washy theologian.
Supernatural Life is the True Solution
Lady points out prayer, penance and amendment of ones life as
fundamental remedies for the contemporary world. According to her, on
these three spiritual measures hinge the maintenance of world peace, the
preservation of the West against Communist propaganda, and the very
survival of civilization.
This could shock many incautious
Catholics who place all their hopes in human resources such as
seminaries, universities, newspapers, magazines, bookstores, movie,
theaters, works of charity and social assistance. Through this concept,
everything is reduced to the material realm. De-Christianization is
caused by a lack of resources and means of action to promote the Faith.
day we remedy this insufficiency we will have overcome
de-Christianization. However, Our Lady appears in Fatima and does not
utter a word about all these means of action. How to explain this
mystery? And how to explain that the popes have recommended unceasingly
that which Our Lady silenced? Are the Fatima messages in contradiction
with papal guidelines?
The popes untiringly recommend using all
natural and legitimate means to promote the social kingship of Our Lord
Jesus Christ. However, in countless documents the popes also show that
natural means would be useless without a continuous life of piety,
mortification, and sacrifice. The soldiers of Christ must constantly
bear in mind that the natural means must be channels for the grace of
God; and that an apostle, whether a cleric or a lay person, must himself
be a reservoir of the graces that must vivify his works.
In other words, the popes have unceasingly promoted the essential theses in Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard's book, The Soul of the Apostolate,
and these are the same principles that Our Lady teaches us at Fatima.
Far from discouraging us from dedicating ourselves entirely to apostolic
works, the Holy Virgin nevertheless repeats the teaching of Our Lord in
Bethany: One must live in close union with God, because everything
emanates from this union, and without it even the best and most useful
and opportune works remain sterile.
A Nation's Guardian Angel
us now quickly review other aspects of the Fatima messages. The
apparition of the Angel of Portugal reminds us of Church doctrine, that
each nation has its own Guardian Angel. There was a time when nations
had a special devotion to their Guardian Angels, invoking him in their
tribulations and especially in the struggle to maintain their people
within the fold of the Church. Have we thought about this? Do we honor
our own country's Guardian Angel?
Love and Fear of God
Angel prayed in the presence of the shepherds who were bowed to the
ground. It is an example we should imitate. In our prayers, we must be
confiding, intimate, and filial. We should not forget that true filial
piety does not exclude the most profound respect. This is another point
in which the Fatima revelations contain precious teachings for modern
man. By dint of talking constantly about democracy, at times we tend to
introduce an egalitarian tone even in our relations with God.
A Devotion that Liturgists Combat
certain liturgist mindset inside the Church for years turned Catholics
against certain devotions, including worshipping the Most Blessed
Sacrament outside of Mass and reciting the Holy Rosary. Still, these two
devotions are strongly recommended at Fatima. To God, nothing is
impossible, and had He so pleased, the three little shepherds could have
been transported to some place where the Holy Sacrifice was being
celebrated so they could receive Holy Communion. Yet Providence
determined that an angel give them Holy Communion. If worshipping the
Blessed Sacrament extra Missam was in any way opposed to the true manner
of understanding the Real Presence, Divine Providence would not have
decided that the Angels Eucharistic adoration and the first communion of
the little shepherds take place the way it actually did.
recitation of the Holy Rosary, it could hardly have been recommended
with greater insistence. "I am the Lady of the Rosary," revealed the
Blessed Virgin at the last apparition. And in nearly all apparitions she
insisted on that devotion with the little shepherds. Fortunately, both
devotions are returning today by popular demand.
Devotions that Liturgists Seek to Erase from Peoples Hearts
also teaches with great insistence, devotion to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus, which also has been cast aside by a certain style of
spirituality. All theologians have considered devotion to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus one of the most precious graces comforting the Church
over the last few centuries. It was destined to rekindle in men the love
of God, numbed by the naturalism of the Renaissance and the errors of
Protestants, Jansenists, deists and rationalists. It was through this
devotion that, in the 19th century, the Apostolate of Prayer produced an
admirable reflourishing of religious life around the world, and since
the evils from which the Sacred Heart of Jesus must preserve us grow
daily, obviously the need for this incomparable devotion grows
Nevertheless, one must add that in the present
aggravation of contemporary evils, Divine Providence, so to speak,
wanted to outdo itself by pointing out to men the devotion to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, which in a certain way refines the devotion to
the Sacred Heart of Jesus and takes it to its fullness. Studies about,
and devotion to, the Heart of Mary are not new. However, a simple
reading of the Fatima messages shows how insistently Our Lady wants this
devotion for our days. The mission she entrusted to Sister Lucia was
especially to remain on earth to attract men's hearts to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.
During the visions, this devotion is often
commended. At the second apparition, this Most Holy Heart appears
crowned with thorns by our sins and asking for prayers of reparation on
the part of mankind. It seems to us that this point, as it were,
contains in itself all the treasures of the Fatima messages.
* * *
on the whole, the Fatima apparitions on the one hand instruct us about
the terrible gravity of the world situation and about the true causes of
our evils, and on the other hand, they teach us the means by which we
must avoid the earthly and eternal punishments that await us. To people
in antiquity, God sent the prophets. In our days, He spoke to us through
the Queen of Prophets herself. Having thus studied what Our Lady said,
what can we say?
The only suitable words are those of Our Lord in the Gospel: If any man has ears to hear, let him hear (Mark 4:23).
[Catolicismo, n. 30, June 1953.]