The visitation of Our Lady to three children in Fatima, Portugal is one of the most famous apparitions of our Lady in the world. It stands alongside Lourdes as one of the most revered and respected appearances of Our Lady. But unlike Lourdes, Fatima has also become a centre point for confusion amongst the faithful who misunderstand the important message given to the three young children of Fatima, Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto and her brother Francisco Marto.
Many Catholics already know of the miracle of Fatima where the sun was seen to spin and also many of the messages given to the world by Our Lady as a warning, but what has caused dissension is the third secret of Fatima. Many people have chosen to believe that the Vatican has entered into a vast conspiracy to keep the secret from the world, this is not so!
As in all apparitions Our Lady can reveal nothing further than what has already been foretold in the Bible, so there is no 'new revelation' that needs to be known. What The Blessed Virgin Mary has done is merely illuminate and make present the Word of God through Scripture so that those who do not reflect on what God has revealed through the Bible will quickly remedy this by studying the Bible alongside our Catholic Traditions and Doctrine.
As the Word reveals in Mathew, "Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved....If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,' do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it." We see this piece of Scripture correspond within the Catholic Catechism, 672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching....674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". And once again we read in the Catechism these words of instruction for the Faithful, 675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
With the visions of Fatima and the messages Our Lady is simply reminding us of what we should inherently know, to pray with our hearts, to study God's Word, to participate in the Sacraments of the Church, most especially the Sacrament of Penance, in order to receive the Eucharist in a state of Grace. To be obedient to the Churches Teaching and its Authority and the real meaning of Fatima is to practice acts of penance in reparation for the many sins committed against God.
As much as many people would like to think, there is NO smoking gun when it comes to the revelations of Fatima. The Catechism states quite clearly about private revelation, 67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church."
It cannot be stated more clearly than this, that though Our Lady cannot reveal to us anything over and above what has been revealed through her Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary does warn us to return to the fundamentals of our Faith by following the Word given to us at such a price and to the Authority of the Catholic Church and the Vicar of Christ.
This is the message given to the three Seers written down by Sister Lucia, regarding the 'third secret', "After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." Though the language is symbolic it also correlates to Scripture and the Catechism, which warns of a falling away as souls grow cold, "And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold."
The most integral aspect of the message of Fatima is not one of scandal or a dramatic scene of 'signs and wonders' the REAL message of Fatima is that of 'Penance, Penance, Penance'. We know that sins abound everywhere and that we too are all sinners, therefore to appease the Divine Justice of God our Lady reminds us to offer Penance to God in reparation for the sins committed against His Divine Majesty. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "key word" of the third secret of Fatima "is the triple cry, 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'' Once again it cannot be stated more clearly than what has been spoken by Bishops, Cardinals and Popes.
Those who seek the 'sensational' in the messages of Fatima, have missed the point entirely, Our Lady is beyond human hysterics, the Queen of Heaven always points the way to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Mother simply reminds her children to follow the Word of God which is Life and to be OBEDIENT to the Catholic Churches Teaching, irrespective of what society is teachings for God's Moral Law eclipses man made laws. Those who do prefer to believe the more 'sensational' aspects of Fatima do so out of ignorance in that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not to be mistaken for the time when our Lord returns to Judge the Living and the dead as is spoken in the Credo. It is Christ Himself which will herald in that peace which the Word Reveals in the book of Revelation, "Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...The one who gives this testimony says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! "
What Our Lady of Fatima is asking of the Faithful is to offer up penances for the conversion of Russia and the world, in order to avoid and mitigate Gods Divine Wrath against a faithless people.
Through the valid Consecration of Russia made by Pope John Paul II united with the Bishops and for which Sister Lucia conveyed to the Pope our Lady's acceptance of this Consecration, the communistic hold over Russia has ceased. The Faithful must now continue to pray and offer penance to God for sins committed against Him and for the sins which cry out to Heaven for Divine Justice.
This is the essential message of Fatima as our own generation becomes more secularized and belief in Jesus Divinity is now questioned not only by non believers but also by those who 'profess to believe', yet they deny the fundamentals of our Catholic Faith.
Has our Faith reached a stage of 'coldness' that is a question each person must ask of themselves.
I would encourage all to read more about our Lady of Fatima and its message for the world.
Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.