COMMENTARY ON FATIMA APPARITIONS
May 13 will mark 100 years since the Fatima apparitions. It is an opportunity to reflect deeply again upon their message. The Angel of Peace appeared three times to the shepherd children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, beginning in the spring of 1916 in Fatima, Portugal. These visitations prepared the way for the six apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima the following year.
The message of Fatima may be lost sometimes in the mysterious and the spectacular: But the main message is as relavant today as it was 100 years ago. The entreaties of Our Blessed Virgin Mary concern our day to day activities as we sojourn to our eternal home. Yet, the main entreaties from Heaven concerned our day-to-day earthly activities and how these will forge our path to our eternal destiny.
The everlasting consequence of unrepented mortal sin is Hell; knowing this, we should live our lives according to the laws of God, not according to latest trends in secular society. Remember our intended home by God is with him for all eternity. This world is temporary and transitional. The central message of Fatima was an urgent plea to stay on the narrow path to Heaven.
In each of the six apparitions, Mary instructed the children to pray the Rosary every day, especially for peace in the world and an end to war. During the apparition on July 13, Mary encouraged the children to make sacrifices for sinners. Mary requested that the children add a simple phrase after each mystery: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.” Mary showed the children a vision of hell. The children saw the suffering of those detained there
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.
The Virgin Mary also asked us to make reparation through the “First Five Saturdays” devotion. Our Lady promised Sister Lucia, “to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation” those who will practice this devotion of Confession, Eucharist, recitation of the Rosary, and meditation upon its mysteries.
Fatima calls us to conversion, and a daily turning away from sin. Mary requested at all six appearances for us to pray the Rosary, every day. She told the children that our prayers can help save souls, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.” Are we doing our part?
What occurred on Oct. 13, 1917, the final public apparition, validated the apparitions in the eyes of many. At the designated time, the Mary revealed herself as Our Lady of the Rosary. Afterward, as she began to ascend back to heaven, St. Joseph appeared with the Christ Child and Mary. Then Jesus appeared with Our Lady of Sorrows and lastly Our Lady of Mount Carmel. And then the great solar miracle happened,
Nearly 70,000 people witnessed this miracle, when it seemed the sun was plunging toward the earth, only to return to the sky. Not everyone reported the same thing; some present claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth For the onlookers, this confirmed what the Fatima children claimed. The whole event took about 10 minutes.
Now, on this 100th anniversary of Fatima, we are reminded again to contemplate its message and embrace its devotions. As faithful disciples, we are called to be holy, and to be intercessors for each other. Fatima was a wake-up call. In the midst of a passing world, we need to get right with eternal things: penance, Confession, the Eucharist, prayer, especially the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima renews this call again, to stay on the narrow path to Heaven.
THE FATIMA CHILDREN LUCIA, JACINTA AND FRANCISCO
Pope Francis will use his upcoming visit to the Portuguese shrine at Fatima to canonize two Portuguese shepherd children who say they saw visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago. Francis signed off on the miracle needed to make siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints
The Marto siblings say the Virgin Mary appeared to them and their cousin six times above an olive tree in 1917 and told them three secrets. The brother and sister died of pneumonia two years later, at the ages of 9 and 11.
St. John Paul II beatified them in Fatima on May 13, 2000, the same day the Vatican revealed the third and final secret purportedly told to them. The Vatican said in 2000 that the third secret foretold the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul.
NOTE: Lucia became a Carmelite nun and lived 97 years. She died February 13, 2005. The cause for her beatification was opened by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. The cause for beatification is now before Pope Francis.
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