On Sunday, May 13, 1917, on a slope in the Cova da Iria, the three children (Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco) were playing, building a little stone wall around a clump of furze. Suddenly they saw a flash of lightning.
Lucia, the eldest of the three Fatima visionaries, described the event as follows:
“We’d better go home, ” I said to my cousins, “that’s lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.” We all agreed to go home when we saw another flash of lightning. And before us stood a Lady all dressed white. She was more brilliant than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, with the rays of the burning sun shining through it.
We stood just a few feet from her, we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather radiated from her. Our Lady spoke to us: “Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm.”
“Where are you from?” “I am of heaven.”
“What do you want of me?” “I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards, I will return here yet 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 many Rosaries.”
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister. “Is Maria das Neves in heaven?” “Yes, she is.” (I think she was about 16 years old.) “And Amelia?” “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” (It seems to me that she was between 18 and 20 years of age.)
“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 sins by which He is offended, and of supplication 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, “…the grace of God will be your comfort,” Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in a mirror. Then, moved by impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:
“O Most Holy Trinity, I Adore You!
My God, My God,
I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
(Known as the Eucharistic Prayer)
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again: “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”
Then She began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space. The light the surrounded her seemed to open up a path before her into the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw heaven opening.
The prayers taught to the children at Fatima are simple in structure and profound in depth. To a world poor and needy in faith and charity, these prayers stress ancient truths of our Holy Catholic Church… especially concerning the Holy Eucharist and Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God.
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love thee.
The Angel’s Prayer
With the Blessed Sacrament suspended in the air, the angel at Fatima prostrated himself, and recited the prayer:
O most Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee 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 by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
Our Lady taught the children a prayer to be said when they would have something to offer up to God… such as some suffering, or an act contrary to what they wanted to do but which was necessary in order to please God:
O my Jesus, it is for love of You, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Our Lady asked that the following prayer be inserted after each decade of the Rosary:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls into Heaven, especially those who are in most need of thy mercy.