Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 1917: Promises and Predictions

The war raged on.  Europe was no stranger to war; but the ferocity and the scope of this war were unprecedented.  The slaughter proceeded on an industrial scale.  And there were the new horrors, beyond all description: the blood and mud of trench warfare; poison gas; primitive tanks, whose operators could not expect to survive more than a few minutes in an engagement; and air raids over cities.  While the three shepherd children of Fatima were keeping their appointment with the Mother of God in the Cova da Iria on June 13, 1917, 18-20 German bombers struck the city of London in broad daylight, in one of the worst air raids of the war.  Four hundred people were injured, and 162 -- including 46 children -- perished. 

The peace that had fled the world had also fled Fatima, particularly in the home of Lucia dos Santos.  After the first apparition of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria, her little cousin, Jacinta, promptly broke the children's firm resolution not to tell anyone what they had seen; and thus began in earnest the sufferings the children promised to undergo for the conversion of sinners.  From this point forward, the children were hounded by inquisitors, both pious and profane, and curiosity-seekers.  But Lucia bore the added burden of persecution right at home.  Her family treated her with contempt; and her mother, who had a great horror of lying, employed every means, including corporal punishment, to make her daughter admit that she was lying.  It was hoped that the children would forget about the alleged apparitions amid the festivities of June 13th, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

But the children did not forget.  At noon on the feast of St. Anthony, the children were not at the festa, but at the Cova.  Lucia records in her Fourth Memoir:
As soon as Jacinta, Francisco and I had finished praying the Rosary, with a number of other people who were present, we saw once more the flash reflecting the light which was approaching (which we called lightning).  The next moment, Our Lady was there on the holmoak, exactly the same as in May.

"What do you want of me?" I asked.
"I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read.  Later, I will tell you what I want."
Amid the rending torments of nations, heaven remembers individuals, even the least of them, down to the last detail.
I asked for the cure of a sick person.

"If he is converted, he will be cured during the year."

"I would like to ask you to take us to heaven."
"Yes.  I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon.  But you are to stay here some time longer.  Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved.  He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."
Some time longer...The Mother of God has a gift for understatement.  Jacinta and Francisco would both be dead within three years, but another 88 years would pass before Our Lady would come for Lucia. 
"Am I to stay here alone?"  I asked, sadly.

"No, my daughter.  Are you suffering a great deal?  Don't lose heart.  I will never forsake you.  My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands and for the second time, she communicated to us the rays of that same immense light.  We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God.  Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth.  In front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it.  We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation.
In her Third Memoir, Lucia looks back on the effects of this second apparition on her and her cousins:
...Our Lady told me on June 13, 1917 that she would never forsake me, and that her Immaculate Heart would be my refuge and the way that would lead me to God.  As she spoke these words, she opened her hands, and from them streamed a light that penetrated to our inmost hearts.  I think that, on that day, the main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, just as on the other two occasions it was intended to do, as it seems to me, with regard to God and the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

From that day onwards, our hearts were filled with a more ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  From time to time, Jacinta said to me: "The Lady said that her Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.  Don't you love that?  Her Heart is so good!  How I love it!"

In the Fourth Memoir, Lucia describes more particularly the effects of this apparition on Francisco:
...Francisco was deeply impressed by the light which, as I related in the second account, Our Lady communicated to us at the moment when she said: "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God."...

He remarked sometimes:

"These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn to read!  How would they feel if they only knew what she showed us in God, in her Immaculate Heart, in that great light!  But this is a secret; it must not be spoken about.  It's better that no one should know it."

But greater secrets -- and greater sufferings -- were to come.


  1. This post prompted to look for my own copy of Sr. Lucy's Memoirs, which I have not gone over for the last few years:

    I have: Documents on Fatima & the Memoirs of Sister Lucia, published (1992) by the Fatima Family Apostolate, intro by. Fr. A.A. Martins, with a pictorial documentary and historical update by Fr. Fox. It is beside my computer now, and this post has nudged me to review it again.

    SIDEBAR: Third Secret Controversy, as we briefly touched upon recently - I am just finishing up a book entitled The Devil's Final Battle (updated, 2009 version) edited/compiled by a Fr. Paul Kramer (I still have to get/read Socci's The Fourth Secret - Kramer's book quoted therein - and another by Christopher Ferrara, entitled The Secret Still Hidden - the latter, incidentally, wrote a book criticizing EWTN)... Now I am not saying that I concur with everything stated about the situation by Kramer, and I am no conspiracy theorist (I did, after all, write an essay on the philosophical aspects of conspiracy theories at my blog)...but... but... my interest is sparked; and I can now say (tentatively at least) that there is something rotten in Denmark.

  2. I read some excerpts from The Devil's Final Battle and decided on that basis not to buy the book -- names then-Cardinal Ratzinger as one of five guys who have set out to "murder" the message of Fatima (which has to be why, as Pope Benedict, he made a personal pilgrimage to Fatima). I haven't read Socci's book or Ferrara's book.

    I think it is not unreasonable to read the Third Secret as (in part) a foretelling of the assassination attempt on JPII, especially in light of the warning against Russia spreading her errors throughout the world: I happen to think the Soviets were at the bottom of the attempt. But I also think that's not all the Third Secret is about. Prophecies often have manifold interpretations.

    I plan to deal with the Third Secret on July 13th, since that's when it was revealed. Stay tuned.

  3. On Ratzinger: That is one of things that bugged me about Kramer's book... Lot's of stuff to sift through still, distinctions to make, etc.

    Looking forward to your 13 July post...

  4. Already workin' on it!

    As far as the conspiracy theories go, I'm under the impression that Socci's book is the least nutjob one out there. I think I'll probably take a look at it myself.

  5. These children are so wonderful!
    I love to read about them; they loved the Eucharistic Jesus and our Lady with such intense devotion and fidelity.
    Thank you!

  6. And Jacinta is the youngest person ever to be beatified on the basis of heroic virtue. Until St. Dominic Savio, all child saints were martyrs.