World

The apparitions of Fatima and the faith of the little shepherds, hope for the world

Ricardo Cardoso-May 3, 2017-Reading time: 5 minutes

Speaking of the times to come, Jesus refers that "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (cf. Mt. 24:35). From these words of Jesus we can conclude that his Mother will continue to make resound in the heart of wounded humanity the need to look again to her Lord, seeking the One who cares for her in Love. For this reason, the service of God's Love continues to resound in successive generations who, since 1917, have been listening to what Our Lady transmitted to the little shepherds at Fatima: her Message.

The first supernatural manifestation was in 1915, on the Cabeço mountain. The narrations of Sister Lucia (Memoirs of Sister Lucia) indicate that, while she was with three friends (Teresa Matias, Maria Rosa and Maria Justino), "When noon came, we ate our snack, and then I invited my companions to pray the Rosary with me, and they gladly joined in. Hardly had we begun, when, before our eyes, we saw, as if suspended in the air, above the trees, a figure as if it were a statue of snow that the sun's rays made transparent". For these girls, immersed in prayer, the doubt remained as to who the figure was.

First appearance of the Angel

In the spring of 1916 another supernatural manifestation took place. This time everything is clearer, since the angel himself makes himself known "Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. The Angel takes the initiative and invites them to pray: "Pray with me!". Sister Lucia says that, at that moment, the Angel, "kneeling on the ground, he bowed his forehead to the ground."

The attitude of the one sent by God is followed by the children: "Transported by a supernatural movement, we imitate him and repeat the words we hear him utter." From the Angel's initiative comes the act of Eucharistic and Trinitarian adoration.My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I ask your forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not worship, do not hope and do not love you.".

Repair and Communion

In the summer of the same year, 1916, the second supernatural manifestation of the Angel took place, but this time, while they were resting by the Arneiro well. The Angel said to them: "What are you doing? pray! pray much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy upon you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High".

The children asked him how they should do it, and the Angel concretized: "Of all that you can, offer a sacrifice as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners [...]. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering that the Lord sends you". He adds: "Thus bring peace to your homeland. I am your Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal".

In the autumn of 1916, the third supernatural manifestation of the Angel took place. The children had just finished the rosary when he appeared to them. "holding in his hand a Chalice and on it a Host, from which some drops of blood were falling into the Chalice. Leaving the Chalice and the Host suspended in the air, he prostrated himself on the ground and repeated the prayer three times: -Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly....".

Then he gave the children Holy Communion, telling them:"Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God".

Apparitions of Our Lady: May 13

The study and knowledge of the supernatural phenomenon of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima require a balanced reading of the faith, far from emotional sensationalism or intellectualism. Thus, the starting point will always be what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us. In any particular revelation, its function is not that of a "improve" o "complete" The purpose is not to define the definitive Revelation of Christ, but to help to live it more fully in a certain epoch of history.

In the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, as described in the Memoirs of Sister LuciaThe colloquial stories in which the Blessed Virgin speaks with closeness, tenderness and the heart of a Mother are impressive.

In the first apparition, on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin surprised them while they were escaping from a storm. Right there, where the Capelinhasaw "on a holm oak a Lady, dressed all in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light clearer and more intense than a crystal glass, filled with crystalline water, pierced by the rays of the most ardent sun. We stopped in amazement at the apparition. We were so close that we stood within the light that surrounded Her, or that She radiated".

The Virgin Mary asks them about their willingness to accept God's mission for them.Do you want to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings that he would like to send you, as an act of atonement for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners? And in their response - "Yes, we do."-These little children assumed, with maturity, the collaboration with the designs of God's saving Love. In this same apparition, Our Lady asks them to meet her there every month and to pray the rosary every day.

Praying the rosary for conversion

On June 13, Our Lady reveals to them that she will take Francisco and Jacinta to heaven very soon. Lucia asks: "¿I stay here alone?". Our Lady's answer is not only for Lucia, because it continues to echo in every believing heart: "No, daughter. And you suffer a lot? Don't be discouraged. I will never leave you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that will lead you to God." This Mother's Heart is the place of tenderness and security, the sure path that leads to God.

In the third apparition, on July 13, Our Lady continues to insist on the recitation of the rosary as a means to obtain many graces for various intentions, especially peace and the conversion of sinners.

As with the apparitions of Angel, Our Lady also insists on constant prayer and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and allows them to see the sufferings of hell.

On the other hand, Our Lady speaks to them about God's plans and the risks facing humanity: "You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go; to save them, God wants to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world. If you do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and you will have peace. The war will end. But if they do not stop offending God, a worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He will punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

Consecration and some time of peace

"To prevent it." -continued the Virgin Mary, "....I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays. If they will heed my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have to suffer much, various nations will be annihilated. Finally, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and it will be granted to the whole world.only in time of peace".

The Virgin Mary also advises them to pray the rosary, "After every mystery you shall say: O Jesus My God, forgive us, deliver us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially the most needy!

In the October apparition, Our Lady tells them to build a chapel in her honor, and to ask that sinners amend their ways and "do not offend God Our Lord any more, who is already very much offended". When it finished, it rose to the sky, and it was then when the nearly seventy thousand people who were there witnessed the miracle of the sun, which made rotational turns in its periphery, giving off sparks of light, and acquired different colors that spread throughout the Earth, with a duration of 8 to 10 minutes, say the protagonists and scientists.

"The first condition for beatification is to have practiced the virtues to a heroic degree and it was said that children did not have that ability." Portuguese Cardinal Saraiva Martins recalls. "But in the case of the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco it is not so, because they showed a heroism that I would like to find in many adults", he assures. The Pope does not declare them saints because of Our Lady's apparitions, but because of how they lived their faith, he adds.

The authorRicardo Cardoso

Vila Viçosa (Evora, Portugal)

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