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FATIMA IS SITUATED IN THE FOOTHILLS of the Serra de Aire Mountains about one hundred miles north of Lisbon, Portugal.  It has become a worldwide pilgrimage destination and international shrine visited by every modern pope as a place of human spiritual and social renewal. Saint John Paul II referred to Fatima as the, “Marian capitol of the world.” Fatima was once a little known Portuguese village, until a series of three angelic apparitions prepared the way for a visitation by Blessed Virgin Mary to three small children thereafter drawing more than four million visitors annually to the site. Fatima is of such contemporary importance that one of the first actions taken by newly elected Pope Francis was to consecrate his entire pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima. This was followed by World Youth Day in Rio de Janero, which he also consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima. Then, on Oct. 13, 2013 he consecrated the entire world to Our Lady of Fatima followed by conversations with Vladimir Putin relevant to Christianity in the modern world and the role of Russia in defending Christians in the Middle East as will be detailed in this series of articles on Fatima.

The Fatima Sage begins with three visit by the Angel of Peace in 1916 to prepare them for the coming of the Virgin Mary the following year. The first apparition of Our Lady took place on May 13, 1917, just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.  On this date the Mother of Jesus appeared at Fatima to three shepherd children, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.  She came to turn the nations embroiled in world war back to God and to make an appeal for world peace.

Thereafter, she visited the children on the 13th of every month for six consecutive months making a number of prophecies now popularly known as the “Three Secrets of Fatima.” According to the official Catholic interpretation, the three secrets involve Hell, World War I and World War II, and the attempted assassination by gunshot of Pope John Paul II. The apparitions culminated with the unprecedented “Miracle of the Sun,” which she performed before a gathering of some 70,000 pilgrims and skeptics (including atheists and Free Masons) on October 13, 1917 as she had said she would so that “all might believe”.

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First Visit by the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 13, 1917

Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia were taking a rest from tending sheep on a slope in the Cova da Iria where they were passing time playing at building a stone wall when a flash of lightning appeared in the east. Sensing rain, they hurried towards home. Half way down the slope there was another flash of lightening. After proceeding a few more steps they beheld a beautiful Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun and radiated a clear and intense light.

The children stopped immediately in front of her and were bathed in the light that radiated from her in all directions.

Our Lady’s first words were reassuring, like those of the Angel of Peace who began his visit by consoling the children: “Do not be afraid“:

“Do not be afraid. I will do you know harm!”

“Where are you from?” asked Lucia

“I am from heaven”

“What do you want of me?”

“I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the thirteenth day, at the same hour.  Later on I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here a seventh time.”

“Shall I go to heaven too?”

“Yes, you will,”

“And Jacinta?”

“She will go also.”

“And Francisco?”

“He will go there too, but he must say mnay rosaries,”

Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?”

“Yes, she is.”

“And Amelia?”

“She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”

“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?”

“Yes, we are willing.”

“Then  you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort”

As she pronounced these last words, She opened her hands communicating an intense light which penetrated their hearts to their innermost depths of their souls enabling them to see themselves in God, who was the light. In this light, they saw themselves more clearly than in they ever saw themselves in any mirror.

Then moved by a communicated interior impulse, they fell to their knees repeating:

“Oh, Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”

Finally, Our Lady told them to:

“Pray the rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”

Then she rose serenely to the east and disappeared into the empyrean.

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LESSONS:

The children had been prepared for this visit from the Queen of Heaven by first being introduced to the Holy Trinity by the “Angel of Portugal” who instructed them during his first visit to ask pardon for those who “do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Him.”

Saying this prayer three times helped make the transition to the next angelic apparition in which they were taught to constantly offer prayers and sacrifices in reparation for sins by which God is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of poor sinners. 

“You will thus draw down peace upon your country, I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.”

The children were taken progressively deeper into the mystery of Divine Love and Justice, which require a closer imitation of Jesus who never ceased offering prayer and sacrifice for sinners. They were taught that they could win grace for their country in this way. They were also taught that those who pray for sinners can, like Jesus, be expected to suffer for sinners, if they are willing.

Finally, during the third angelic apparition, they were taken deeper into the mystery of the Eucharist, which is both the answer to sin and the cause of God’s greatest displeasure rooted in the apathy and sacrileges committed against Jesus Christ by ungrateful men who fail to recognize the supreme sacrifice made by the Son of God to make divine life accessible to humanity by the offering of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity available to all men and women as the means of deepest communion with the Holy Trinity. The angel appeared with the Sacred Host and Chalice and beckoned the children to thrice repeat the prayer he had taught them to recite prior to their receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ that united them to the mystery of the Holy Trinity present in the Eucharist:

During the third apparition, they were taught a new prayer of adoration and reparation necessary to win grace for the conversion of sinners:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer You 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 indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”

They were also told that Jesus is horribly outraged by ungrateful men and that they should do more than pray but to worship God and receive Holy Communion by which they could “repair for the crimes of men and also console Jesus.

After Holy Communion, the angel prostrated himself on the ground and three times repeated the same prayer of consolation, adoration, and reparation to the “Most Holy Trinity” for the conversion of sinners.

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in (1) REPARATION for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (2) I beg of you the CONVERSION of poor sinners.”

This completed the preparatory phase by which the children were taking step by step deeper into the mystery of the Holy Trinity expressed in the mystery of the Eucharist and the need for adoration and reparation through Eucharistic prayer and daily sacrifice offered to the Trinity for the sins of men, esp. sins against the Eucharist.

Significantly, the first apparition of Our Lady ended, as it had with the Angel of Portugal, with adoration and love of the Blessed Sacrament.

“Oh, Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”

Afterward, the Virgin Mary concluded Her first visit with one final request. She asked the children to continue praying the rosary.

Thus, Our Lady linked the Rosary and the Eucharist, as St. John Bosco had linked devotion to Mary, “Auxilium Christianorum” (Help of Christians) and Her Divine Son, Jesus Christ in his well-known dream of the two pillars, which the Church Militant (the Church on earth) headed by the Pope must honor to obtain victory over the world and the enemies of Christ. In effect, the Virgin Mary was beginning to unfold the relationship between the Eucharist and the Rosary as the supernatural and Divine means offed by the Holy Trinity and the Queen of Heaven and Earth to obtain world peace:

“Pray the rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”