The appearance of Our Lady at Fatima (whose feast day we celebrated yesterday) was not an apparition in isolation. It followed in a long line of apparitions that included those of Paray Le Monial, Le Rue de Bac, La Sallette and Lourdes, all of which had occurred in the previous century. It is noteworthy that the apparitions at Fatima, took place between May and October of 1917, on the eve of the Bolshevik revolution, 200 years after the establishment of Freemasonry in 1717 and 400 years after the Religious Revolution initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.
The message of Fatima was not merely a call to repentance and prayer, but had a much wider significance, having a bearing on both political and theological matters, with firmly prophetic predictions in respect of Nations and the Church.
However, the Fatima messages may have seemed to have diminished in importance during these last 50 years, paradoxically because the prophesies of Our Lady have been already fulfilled! But Fatima is as important today as it has ever been, perhaps even more so.
World War II, where it is calculated 50 million people lost their lives, took place after the “strange lights in the sky” in 1938 of which Our Lady had foretold. Communist Russia “spread her errors” (atheism and secularism) throughout the world as Our Lady had also predicted. Even the prophecy of the attempt on the life of the Pope, Bl. John Paul II (part of the third ‘secret’ of Fatima) has come and gone, and now faded in the memory of many.
Devotion to Our Blessed Lady is not popular among our separated Protestant brothers, and in the current false climate of ‘Ecumenism’, any talk of the Mother of God is considered ‘politically incorrect’! Sin, and the current lack of a sense of sin, is rampant. The basic ‘call to repentance’, prayer and sacrifice for sinners, the carrying of one’s cross with patience and humility, are not messages the laid-back, comfort-loving, libertine masses want to hear.
Belief in and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament, an essential requirement for all Catholics, has declined drastically.
This Great Apostasy and rebellion of mankind, both in the secular world and within the Church itself, with all its terrible consequences of wars and disasters, and that Our Lady foretold at Fatima would happen “if men do not mend their ways”, is what many believe we are living today. Therefore Our Lady’s words on how to remedy this catastrophe are more appropriate than ever.
Most unpopular of all the messages given at Fatima is the frightening idea of Eternal Damnation for unrepentant sinners! “Hell is so passé” they say, “so negative and out-dated”. Our Lady showing this terrible place of torment to the three young children of Fatima is thus an appalling idea for many. Yet it was precisely because Hell is real, that Our Lady, the most loving of Mothers, seeing her children had wandered to the brink of a vast abyss, had came to warn us of the danger. Our Blessed Lord spoke of its existence to His disciples time and time again, and yet once more mankind, in his search for unbridled sensuality and pleasure, was turning deaf ears to the Gospel teachings on the reality of Hell. (The prevailing idea among believers, that everyone will end up in Heaven one day no matter how they live their lives, is totally false and dangerously naive.)
Hell for all eternity? What a horrendous, terrifying prospect! We would not wish such a destiny for even the wickedest criminals. Should we not to do everything, everything, in our power to prevent such a fate for anyone, ourselves included of course?
Our Lady told the children that God wants to establish “Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the world” as a sure way for men to turn from Evil. (And as we have said before, Devotion to Mary leads automatically to Devotion to Jesus Christ.) “Many souls go to Hell because there is no one to pray and make sacrifices for them. Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for souls”. Prayer and sacrifice. Two vital ways we can all, old and young, sick and healthy, heed Our Lady’s pleading, and become willing victims to save souls. Using every available moment to turn our hearts and minds to prayer, even in the normal carrying out of our daily duties, and turning every opportunity during the day (and there are plenty) to make little sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, we are actively participating in Christ’s mission in His Mystical Body. By generously offering our whole lives as ready victims for the good of others, we not only console the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but we bring about the necessary graces for men to turn from sin, to repent and amend their lives. Our Lady is calling us, her children, to be the instruments for souls who have lost their way (as perhaps we ourselves had once upon a time) to find their way back to the path that leads to Heaven. There they shall encounter the ever-lasting peace and joy only Faith and Hope in God can bring. Our true home is Heaven; we were made for Heaven. Let us work towards that end.
Naturally, this plan of life will not go unrewarded for each one of us either, and we too have our own sins for which to make reparation! This is the profound meaning of the ‘Communion of Saints’. “Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others. . . ” (CCC 947)
“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph!” We have Our Lady’s promise of ultimate triumph over Satan and his reign in the world; it is our duty, and with the assurance of God’s assistance, to bring about this triumph. “And then a period of peace will be granted to the world”, Our Lady told the children at Fatima. How greatly we need that peace today.
The simple prayer Our Lady taught the children of Fatima to be said at the end of each decade of the Rosary:
Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercy.