Before we begin, I have exciting news: Belle Anne @ Worlds of Ink and Paper has agreed to take over Catholicism Explained. I still may do CE posts with her on occasion, but in general I'm going to focus on these Fatima posts while she covers Catholicism Explained. So keep an eye on her blog for some interesting discussions about Catholic theology!
And now, on to our Fatima post. Much of this information is drawn from Chapter Two in the book Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever by Luiz Sergio Solimeo. All italicized passages below are taken from that book.
The Fatima apparitions which took place in 1917 actually began in 1916.* One day in this year, Lucia and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta were watching their sheep in the hills surrounding Fatima. Since it had been drizzling, they were taking shelter in a grotto. They had just finished their rosary.
*Actually, I just learned today from Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever that even earlier, in 1915, Lucia and a group of friends saw several times a white figure above the trees. This would seem to be the very beginning of the apparitions.
In Lucia's own words (I've put the angel's prayer in bold):
We had been playing for a few moments when a strong wind shook the trees and made us raise our eyes to see what was going on, since it was a calm day. We then saw that above the olive trees the figure I've already spoken about was walking toward us. Jacinta and Francisco had never seen it, nor had I ever spoken to them about it. As it drew nearer, we could make out its traits: It was a young man 14 or 15 years old, whiter than snow whom the sun made as transparent as crystal, and of a great beauty. When he got near us he said, "Fear not! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me."
And kneeling down, he bowed his head all the way to the ground and made us repeat three times these words, "My God! I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee."
Then, rising, he said, "Pray like this. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications."
His words were so engraved in our minds that we would never forget them. And after that we spent a long time prostrated, repeating them until we got tired. I soon recommended that we should keep it a secret and this time, thanks be to God, they did as I asked.
Being in the angel's presence exhausted the children. Lucia described the feeling he brought on as one of "annihilation." But his visits also brought them profound joy and peace.
The next time he appeared to them, they were at Lucia's home, playing by a well. This time he said,
"What are you doing? Pray, pray a lot. The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy upon you. Constantly offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High."
"How must we sacrifice?" [Lucia] asked.
"In all that you can, offer God a sacrifice in reparation for the sins with which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus attract peace upon your country. I am the guardian Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering that the Lord sends you."
The angel appeared to them one last time in an olive grove while they were watching their sheep and praying the prayer he had first taught them -- "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee."
I don't know how many times we had repeated this prayer, when we saw an unknown light shining upon us. We arose to see what was happening and saw the Angel, holding in his left hand a Chalice over which was suspended a Host from which a few drops of blood were dripping into the chalice. The Angel left the Chalice suspended in the air, knelt next to us and made us repeat three times:
"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly and offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles on earth in reparation for the insults, sacrileges and indifference with which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask Thee for the conversion of poor sinners."
The angel then offered the children Holy Communion, saying to them, "Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly insulted by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God."
It was only the beginning of the apparitions, only the prelude to Our Lady's urgent message to the world. But already the message is clear. The major points of Our Lady's plea appear in the Angel's words:
Pray. Pray to console the good God who is so offended by sin. Pray for the conversion of poor sinners. Pray to make reparation for their sin. Make sacrifices and offer up your sufferings for these intentions, and for peace in the world.
It's a clear message, a simple message, one anyone can obey. In this year that is the Centennial of Fatima, we must make a conscious effort to obey it. We must make time for prayer. We must offer up sacrifices, even and especially by taking all the trials of daily life with a smile for the love of God.
It's a simple request God is making of us, ever so simple. How hard could it be to obey?
|The spot where the Angel last appeared to the children|
is now marked with a statue portraying that final visit.
My Fatima resolution for the week: Get into the habit of making a good morning offering, accompanied by the Angel's prayers and the general intention of offering every moment of the day to God in reparation for sins.