“REPENT AND DO PENANCE! THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND The evangelical call to conversion echoes more powerful than ever in the authentic Message of Fatima, the “evangelical message of prayer and penance” as Pope Paul VI called it.
The Message of Fatima has it all: The doctrinal richness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; its freshness, images, gestures of the primitive Christian catechesis; the calls to penance from Saint John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Redeemer; the strong eschatological accents of Christ before the ruins of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44); the didactic force of Jesus’ parables; the simple life of the villagers, their emotional gestures and learned prayers; the prophetic contents of the Book of Revelation with the confrontation between “the Woman clothed with the sun… and the red dragon”; as well as God’s seal with the Miracle of the Sun Fatima October 13, 1917 (video 5:32) and the profound spiritual peace found in that holy place where heaven and earth meet for the welfare of humanity.
Everything occurred in Europe: Three apparitions of the Angel, (video 3:02) the messenger who prepared the way for the visitation of the Mother of God and seven apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima (including a special one to Lucia on her departure from Fatima) were located in Portugal. Then, two apparitions of great magnitude and transcendence occurred in the other half of Iberia, Spain, at Pontevedra and Tuy, all of them forming a unique and perfect message coming from heaven, having the objective of explaining the Gospel of the beloved Son of God for our times so that nobody could excuse himself or herself from not been capable of interpreting “the signs for our time”.
Our Lady came to Fatima to speak to the world, but firstly, to speak to Europe, her beloved “old continent”, whose history of wars and conflicts, ideologies and politics, geographical and scientific discoveries as well as technological developments, had the greater influence to the rest of the world. Through Europe, Christianity was spread to most nations in a constant pattern of light and darkness that produced many saints and heroes that portrayed some of the best of what human beings are capable of, as well as some of the bigger tragedies in history, armed conflicts, persecutions and slander. Then, at our modern times, through Europe, the philosophical trends of illustration, rationalism and dialectic materialism engendered a struggle against faith and morals, against the spiritual destiny of humanity, against God himself; not only denying His existence, but also persecuting in many ways those who believe in Him.
The Message of Fatima is heaven’s reply to human pride neglecting God and pretending to build “a civilization without God” because He is not needed any more.
Lourdes in France (video 1:55) stands as heaven’s reply to illustration and rationalism, showing the great limitations of human knowledge and power when confronted with sickness, aging and death. The great advances of humanity are nothing when compared to the inexplicable intervention of God in the individual history of men and women completely cured from their infirmities when coming with faith to the waters of Our Lady’s well at Lourdes (video 1:55). Reason, technology, pride are mute and humiliated by God’s acts. Then, suddenly, God is needed again in the European heart! The heavenly mother showed the way to recover faith in God!
Fatima stands as heaven’s reply to the threats posed by substituting God with the idol of material progress and totalitarianism. The “paradise” promised on earth turns to be a real hell of hatred, struggles for power, violence, assassinations, jealousy and genocide. The twentieth century is the century of martyrs where millions of people were sacrificed to construct an elusive “paradise on earth without God” that never came! The Message of Fatima offers the best possible interpretation of the philosophy of history of that century whose developments come well into our present XXI century forcing our future generations to become protagonists in the drama of our times: We must choose between the “civilization of love” or that of hatred; we must choose between the “culture of life” or the “culture of death” as the great options that will define our own collective history!
Fatima provides an interpretation of God’s intervention on the COLLECTIVE HISTORY of men and women of the XX and XXI centuries as Lourdes (video 1:55) provided in the XIX century the historical interpretation of God’s intervention in the INDIVIDUAL HISTORY of men and women longing for health and wellness in the midst of misery and suffering caused by sickness.
God is still needed! The fall of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, are all great signs of the fulfillment of the Fatima prophecy: “At the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph… Russia will be converted and a time of peace will be granted to the world.” The great qualitative changes in the world at the end of the twentieth century constitute an authentic new Marian Lepanto, a great Marian triumph that occurred exactly on the same dates of liturgical Marian feasts, commemorating the spiritual victories of the Woman dressed in sun:
SIGNIFICANT MARIAN DATES ASSOCIATED WITH DISSOLUTION OF USSR AND REBIRTH OF RUSSIA
1. August 22, 1991: The attempt to overthrow Russian President Mikhail Gorbachov failed. The Soviet Communist Party has sealed its fate after three days of a military take over; three days of confusion and despair in which the forces of the hard core atheistic Communists confronted the forces of grandmothers and young citizens, ending in the collapse of their attempt. –Feast of the Queenship of Mary!
2. December 8, 1991: It was announced publicly that the new Community of Independent States would replace the USSR, precisely when the Catholic world celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary!
3. December 25, 1991: On this date, the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia announced the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was Christmas Day, the greatest joy in the life of the Blessed Mother, her giving birth to her only Son, the great Solemnity of Nativity Day!
4. January 1, 1992: Russia emerges as an independent state, open to religious freedom, public cult and religious practices. The new Community of Independent States recognizes the independence and sovereignty of the former Soviet republics. The Soviet Union of Marxist and atheistic republics passed away at the age of 74 years. This day the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the principal Marian feast in the liturgical calendar. (The Soviet Union could not celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, that is, its 75th Anniversary. The Fatima Message could! Both began on October 1917 at the same time!)
The four major dates of the historical changes that ended an era are marked by the Marian presence, according to God’s will, the Lord of History! The Servant of God, John Paul II, was a wonderful instrument in the hands of God to comply with the petitions of Our Lady of Fatima, including the entrustment of Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops of the Catholic world and those of the Orthodox Church who united with them. By this collegial consecration of March 25, 1984, the Universal Church complied with the desires of Our Lady of Fatima, who prescribed this act of collegiality among the bishops of the world to convert Russia and many sinners and bring an era of peace to earth. Just six years later, the world would see the great qualitative changes in the political map of Europe without the shedding of blood!
The great efforts and contributions of Pope John Paul’s crusade to fulfill the Fatima prophesy are most remarkable: The fall of atheistic communism in Eastern Europe, beginning with Poland, the Pope’s Motherland; the collapse of the Soviet Union and its regime, without bloodshed; the openness of the old Communist countries to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and religious freedom; the prevention of a disastrous nuclear war that could have happened between 1985-1986, according to some disclosed documents of the intelligence agencies and the correspondence of Sister Lucia with the Holy Father; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany; an end to the old Cold War and the opening of a new era of collaboration and better understanding between nations. The contributions of Pope John Paul II to these achievements are of the greatest magnitude. These changes in the world can be labeled as “the Great Miracle of the twentieth century”. Such GRACE AND MERCY coming through Fatima should produce in the hearts of people the most profound gratitude to the Lord of History who saved the the world from terrible threats of war and destruction! That gratitude should move the people hearts to the conversion of many sinners!
Although there were great improvements in removing the malignant structures that prevented whole societies to believing, loving and serving God, it is also true that many more people have ignored the great GRACE AND MERCY granted from heaven.
But humanity is free to follow God or to walk away from His path. At present, the world is submerged into a spiritual and moral crisis. Pope John Paul II, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, foresaw the present crisis and launched precisely from the Shrine of Fatima the encyclical letter “Centesimus annus” commemorating the 100 years of the encyclical letter “Rerum Novarum” by Pope Leo XIII.
The social doctrine of the Church and the New Evangelization are offered by Pope John Paul II as the needed instruments to build a new world after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. It is essential to substitute the oppressive structures of the materialistic and atheistic societies of with the “civilization of love” taught by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, acquiring the values and lifestyle of Christian life. The world must be re-evangelized. God must be at the center of cultures and civilization. God must be first! God has the primacy!
GO TO NEXT ARTICLE: FATIMA – END TIME APOSTLES AND THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH