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ST JACINTA MARTO, “THE LITTLE SAINT”

ST JACINTA MARTO, “THE LITTLE SAINT”

HER ILLNESS BEGAN WITH THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC THAT SWEPT THE WORLD IN 1918

“I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon,” our Lady had said to Lucia on June 13. The final illness of the two children began with the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918. [“Spanish ‘flu epidemic”]. They were both stricken. Complications set in, and neither recovered, although Jacinta lingered on longer than her brother.

“FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS” 

One day when Lucia came to visit her sick cousins, Jacinta had great news for her.

“Lucia,” she cried, “our Lady came to see us and said she was coming soon for Francisco. She asked me whether I wanted to convert more sinners. I said yes. Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals, but it is not to cure me. It is to suffer more for the love of God, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She told me that you would not be with me. My mother will take me there, and afterward I am to be left there alone.

Jacinta was happy to undergo any sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. Francisco, too, underwent great suffering without the least complaint. His desire was to console our Lord and our Lady. It seemed to him that they were very sorrowful.

FRANCISCO’S FIRST COMMUNION 

In April, Francisco asked to be allowed to make his First Communion. His request was granted. It was also his last Communion. He died April 4, 1919. He was not yet ten years old.

DON’T BE AFRAID. I’LL PRAY A LOT FOR YOU IN HEAVEN

Jacinta missed her brother very much even though she knew he was happy in heaven. “I think of Francisco and how I’d love to see him,” she told Lucia. “But I also think of the war that is going to come. So many people will die, and so many will go to he’ll. Many cities will be burned to the ground, and many priests will be killed. Look, Lucia, I am going to heaven. But when you see that night illumined by the strange light, you also run away to heaven.”

Lucia said that would be impossible, and Jacinta agreed. “But don’t be afraid. I’ll pray a lot for you in heaven, and for the Holy Father also, and for Portugal, for the war not to come here and for all the priests.”

Her influenza grew worse and an abscess formed on her chest. Her suffering was great, but she was glad she could offer it for the conversion of sinners. She was taken to a hospital at Ourem, but the doctors there could do nothing for her. After two months she was returned to her home.

“I WONDERED WHETHER OUR LADY HAD MADE THE SAME PROMISE TO JACINTA”

A priest who visited her at her home said: “She was all bones. It was a shock to see how thin her arms were. She was running fever all the time. Pneumonia, then tuberculosis and pleurisy, ate away her strength. I remembered as I saw her, that our Lady had promised Bernadette of Lourdes that she would not be happy in this world but in the next. I wondered whether our Lady had made the same promise to Jacinta.”

We know now that the Lady had made the same promise, in slightly different words. She had said, “You will have much to suffer.” She had also promised that Jacinta would go to heaven.

Despite her illness she made several painful trips to the Cova, and she also went to Mass.

“Don’t try to come to Mass,” Lucia said one day. “It’s too much for you. Besides, it isn’t Sunday.”

“That doesn’t matter. I want to go in place of the sinners who don’t go even on Sundays.”

“TELL EVERYONE THAT OUR LORD GRANTS US ALL GRACES THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY” 

These words from the lips of a favoured child of Mary remind us that the desecration of the Sabbath was one of the sins against which our Lady had protested at La Salette.

“Look, Lucia,” Jacinta continued, “our Lord is so sad and our Lady told us that He must not be offended any more. He is already offended very much, and no one pays any attention to it. They keep committing the same sins.”

This also recalls Mary’s words at La Salette: “And as for you, you take no heed of it.”

Another time Jacinta said to Lucia:

“Soon I shall go to heaven. You are to stay here to reveal that the Lord wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you start to reveal this, don’t hesitate. Tell everyone that our Lord grants us all graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that all must make their petitions to her; that the Sacred Heart of Jesus desires that the Immaculate Heart of Mary be venerated at the same time. Tell them that they should all ask for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as God has placed it in her hands. Oh, if I could only put in the heart of everyone in the world the fire that is burning in me and makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.”

FINALLY, SHE WAS GIVEN A ROOM IN AN ORPHANAGE 

The Blessed Virgin appeared to Jacinta again and told her that she would die in a hospital in Lisbon. Soon after that a specialist told her parents that she should be taken to a hospital in Lisbon. They protested that there was no point in making such a trip if the Blessed Virgin had told her that she was going to die. The doctor replied that the only way they could be sure the Blessed Virgin wanted to take the girl was to go to all lengths to save her. This argument convinced them, and so they took her to Lisbon.

The hospital had no vacant room, and no one wanted to take such a sick girl into a private home. Finally, she was given a room in an orphanage. A chapel adjoined the orphanage and Jacinta was happy to be under the same roof with the Blessed Sacrament. The superior, Mother Godinho, was very kind to the girl. Our Lady appeared to Jacinta several times during her stay at the orphanage.

Jacinta made statements that were far beyond the ordinary girl of her years. Mother Godinho kept a record of them. She asked Jacinta where she learned these things and was told that our Lady taught her some of them and that others she had thought out for herself. “I like to think very much.”

“IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW WHAT ETERNITY IS, THEY WOULD DO EVERYTHING TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES” 

“Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world,” she said one time. “Our Lady cannot stay the arm of her beloved Son upon the world any more. It is necessary to do penance. If the people amend themselves, our Lord shall still come to the aid of the world. If they do not amend themselves, punishment shall come.”

Again one is struck by the similarity between Jacinta’s words and the words of Our Lady of La Salette. “If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son.”

“If men do not amend their lives,” said Jacinta on another occasion, “Almighty God will send the world, beginning with Spain, a punishment such as never has been seen.” She spoke of “great world events” that were to take place around 1940. She cried when she thought of the catastrophe that was coming and when she thought of the way men were offending Jesus and Mary.

“My dear Mother,” she said at another time, “the sins that bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions… If people only knew what eternity is, they would do everything to change their lives. People lose their souls because they do not think about the death of our Lord and do not do penance.

“Many marriages are not good; they do not please our Lord and are not of God.

“IF GOVERNMENTS LEFT THE CHURCH IN PEACE… THEY WOULD BE BLESSED BY GOD”

“Pray a great deal for governments. Pity those governments which persecute the religion of our Lord. If the governments left the Church in peace and gave liberty to the Holy Religion, they would be blessed by God.

“Do not give yourself to immodest clothes. Run away from riches. Love holy poverty and silence. Be very charitable, even with those who are unkind. Never criticise others and avoid those who do. Be very patient, for patience brings us to heaven. Mortifications and sacrifices please our Lord a great deal.

“The Mother of God wants a large number of virgin souls to bind themselves to her by the vow of chastity. I would enter a convent with great joy, but my joy is greater because I am going to heaven. To be a religious one has to be pure in soul and in body.”

“Do you know what it means to be pure?” Mother Godinho asked.

“Yes, I do. To be pure in body means to preserve chastity. To be pure in soul means to avoid sin, not to look at what is sinful, not to steal, never lie and always tell the truth even when it is hard. Whoever does not fulfil promises made to our Lady will not be blessed in life.”

“PITY DOCTORS. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT AWAITS THEM”

On February 2, 1920, Jacinta was admitted to the hospital. She was examined by many doctors. Most of these were concerned only with science and medicine and had no thought of God. Jacinta knew this and the thought saddened her. “Pity doctors. They have no idea what awaits them. Doctors do not know how to treat their patients with success because they have no love of God.”

In these three sentences ten-year-old Jacinta protested against the materialism of our times. She saw that men were putting their entire trust in science and ignoring God. But she was not angry with them; she pitied them.

ALL OF JACINTA’S WORDS ARE WORTH GREAT CONSIDERATION 

All of Jacinta’s words are worth great consideration. We are not bound to believe private revelations, and some of Jacinta’s remarks were not even private revelations. The Blessed Virgin told her some things, and others she “thought out” for herself. We do know, however, that Jacinta was very saintly and that she had been promised by our Lady that she would go to heaven. Her words are not to be dismissed lightly. And her prediction of a great punishment being visited on the world, beginning with Spain, came only too true!

So when Jacinta tells us that “the sins that bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh” her words carry great weight. And there seems little reason to doubt them, when we behold the Sixth Commandment held up to ridicule in Broadway plays, in magazine fiction and in best-selling novels; when in some parts of the United States one marriage in three ends in a divorce, a flagrant disregard of God’s laws.

“Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend our Lord very much” seems meant for our own day. Was Jacinta thinking of us when she uttered those words back in 1920?

“Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world” is a sentence that should be broadcast to the world. Our day-to-day actions are more important to the keeping of the peace than all the maneuverings of the world’s diplomats.

THE PRIEST HEARD HER CONFESSION AND SAID HE WOULD BRING HER COMMUNION IN THE MORNING 

On February 10, two of Jacinta’s ribs were removed. Because of her weakness, she could not be given a general anaesthetic, and the local one did not take away her pain. “It is for love of You, my Jesus,” she murmured. “Now You can convert many sinners, for I suffer much.”

For six days the agonising pain lasted. Then on the night of February 16, our Lady appeared to her and told her that her suffering was at an end. The pain stopped. On February 20, she asked for the Last Sacraments. The priest heard her confession and said he would bring her Communion in the morning. She asked him to bring it at once because she was going to die soon. She died before her wish was fulfilled. A young nurse, Aurora Gomes, was the only person present when Jacinta quietly breathed her last.

“THE LITTLE SAINT”

Crowds flocked to the undertaking parlour where Jacinta was laid out in her white First Communion dress with a blue sash, our Lady’s colours. The people were sure that Jacinta was already in heaven with our Lord and our Lady, and they wanted to see “the little saint.”

Although her body had been filled with poison, she was beautiful in death. Her lips were red, her cheeks rosy and a pleasant aroma came from her body. “I have seen many bodies, in my business, young and old,” the undertaker said later. “Never did a thing of this sort happen to me before or since.”

Jacinta’s body was placed at first in a vault at Ourem. In 1935 the Bishop of Leiria requested that it be taken to Fatima and buried in the church yard beside the body of Francisco. Her casket was opened at that time and the body was found to be whole and incorrupt.

In April, 1951, the remains of Francisco and Jacinta were moved to the basilica which had risen above the Cova da Iria. Jacinta’s body was examined again. It was found to be partly corrupted but still in a remarkable state of preservation.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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FATIMA 1917: “MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE”

FATIMA 1917: “MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE”

Through the shepherd children of Fatima, our Lady spoke to us who are living today.

Her words are just as pertinent today as they were in 1917. In fact, many parts of her message seem to be meant specifically for us. “If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace” means infinitely more to us than it did to the world of 1917. At that time, Russia had just undergone a revolution and was so weak that she had been forced out of World War I. Who at the time, when the Allies were deeply embroiled in a war with Germany, could foresee that Russia would ever be a threat to the peace of the world? Now the fact is pounded home by each new day’s headlines.

That the message of Fatima is directed to us is also emphasised by the fact that much of the message did not become known until 1942.

MUCH OF THE MESSAGE DID NOT BECOME KNOWN UNTIL 1942

This latter fact has puzzled a great many people. It puzzled the Rev. Thomas McGlynn, O. P., and, in 1947, he had the opportunity to ask Lucia about it. Lucia is the one living survivor of the children of Fatima. When Father McGlynn had the privilege of interviewing her, she was a Dorothean Sister. Since then, she has joined the Carmelites.

“It seems,” Father McGlynn said to Lucia, “from the words of our Lady in 1917, that the war of 1939-1945 was threatened as a punishment for sin. But the warning was not generally known until 1942, after the punishment had begun. How is this explained?”

HOW IS THIS EXPLAINED? 

Lucia replied that, in 1917, the people knew the important part of our Lady’s message, that is, that men must amend their lives, that they must not offend God, that He was already much offended.

In other words, our Lady let the people of 1917 know what she wished them to know at the time. They should have carried out her requests even though they did not know the punishment that awaited them if they failed.

Today, we not only know her requests, but we see that World War II was inflicted on the world as punishment for its sins. And we know that if we do not heed Mary’s requests, there will probably be a World War III.

WHAT DID HAPPEN AT FATIMA? 

The three children were watching their flocks as usual. They were ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, nine and seven respectively. They were in a natural depression among the hills which was called the Cova da Iria. They had said their Rosary, as was their custom, and they had begun building a stone playhouse.

Suddenly, a brilliant shaft of light pierced the air. Frightened, they looked about them. The sun shone brightly, and there was not a cloud in the sky. How could there have been lightning? Just the same, they decided that they had better go home. They gathered the sheep and started down the hill.

When they were halfway down, another shaft of light filled the air. Panicky, they turned toward the right, and there, standing above a small holm oak they saw a beautiful Lady.

“It was a Lady dressed all in white,” Lucia says, “more brilliant than the sun; shedding rays of light, clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”

HER HANDS WERE JOINED IN AN ATTITUDE OF PRAYER

Her hands were joined in an attitude of prayer. From her right arm hung a string of pearly white beads ending in a cross of burnished silver. Her feet were bare and rested on a cloud that just touched the little evergreen.

“Do not be afraid,” the Lady said in a sweet voice, “I will not harm you.” (How similar to the first words spoken to the children of La Salette!)

The words and the voice were both reassuring, and Lucia summoned enough courage to ask, “Where are you from, Madam?”

“I am from heaven.”

“What do you wish of me?”

“I come to ask you to meet me here six months in succession at this same hour, on the thirteenth of each month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want.”

AM I GOING TO HEAVEN? 

Francisco could see the Lady but he could not hear her, nor could he hear any of the subsequent apparitions. Jacinta could both see and hear the Lady, but Jacinta did not talk to her. All conversation during the series of apparitions were between the Lady and Lucia.

“And I, am I, too, going to heaven?” Lucia asked.

“Yes, you shall.”

“And Jacinta?”

“She, too.”

“And Francisco?”

“He, too, but first he must say many Rosaries.”

Father John De Marchi in  The Immaculate Heart says that here the Lady’s beautiful and compassionate glance rested for a little while on Francisco. “For reasons we are not qualified to fathom, it held a shade of sadness and disapproval. Somewhere in his little heart the Lady must have read a fault that others could not see.

Lucia thought of two girls who used to come to her house to learn sewing from her sisters. Both girls had died only recently.

“Is Maria Nevers in heaven?”

“Yes, she is.”

“And Amelia?”

The document gives three different versions of our Lady’s answer to this question: “She is in purgatory”; “She is still in purgatory”; and “She will be in purgatory till the end of the world.”

Many people have objected to the third version, but Lucia has insisted that it is the correct one. She says there is nothing strange about it; a person can go to hell for all eternity for missing Mass on Sunday.

The Lady then said to the children: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God and endure all the suffering that He may chose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?”

“Yes, we do!” Lucia answered eagerly.

“Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will assist you and always bear you up.”

She opened her hands. From each palm came a stream of light which shone on the children and seemed to penetrate to the depths of their souls. Moved by an inward impulse the children fell to their knees and prayed: “Most holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

The Lady spoke again. “Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”

“She began to elevate herself serenely,” Lucia says, “going in the direction of the east until she disappeared in the immensity of space.”

THIS WAS NOT THE CHILDREN’S FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THE SUPERNATURAL 

This was not the children’s first experience with the supernatural. An angel, “the Guardian Angel of Portugal,” had appeared to them three times. On one occasion, as was mentioned in the preceding chapter, he had brought them Holy Communion. After each visit of the angel, they had felt heavy and tired. The Lady, however, left them with a feeling of lightness, of peace and of joy. After the Lady had disappeared, they knelt for a while having no desire to move or to speak or to do anything but meditate on the beautiful vision they had seen.

ONLY ONE THING CAN MAKE OUR LADY UNHAPPY, AND THAT IS SIN

After a time, they rose to their feet and began to look for the sheep. They found them grazing quietly on the grass.

They spent the rest of the afternoon in the fields talking about the wonderful visit from our Lady. Francisco, who had not heard anything, wanted to know everything the Lady had said. When told that he would go to heaven, but that he must say many Rosaries, he almost burst with happiness. “O my Lady,” he exclaimed, “I will say all the Rosaries you want.”

The children agreed that our Lady had seemed unhappy about something, and this was the only thing that marred their very great happiness. They were too young to comprehend fully the fact that only one thing can make our Lady unhappy, and that is sin. They were to realise this, however, before the series of apparitions was over. In 1846, Mary had wept because of the sins of the world; in 1917, sins were still making her very sad.

LUCIA’S MOTHER THOUGHT THE GIRL WAS LYING

The Lady returned every month as she had promised. The children underwent great suffering and had many occasions to remember her words, “Then you will have much to suffer.”

Lucia’s mother thought the girl was lying. The pastor of their church suggested the apparitions might be the devil. They had trouble with the authorities, just as Bernadette had had. The civil administrator of their district arrested the children and kept them in jail so that they missed the apparition scheduled for August 13. In that month, the Lady appeared to them on the 19th.

THEY GAVE THEIR LUNCHES TO POOR CHILDREN AND ATE BITTER ACORNS AND UNRIPE OLIVES

But these sufferings were not enough for them. They gave their lunches to poor children, and they ate bitter acorns and unripe olives. Each wore under his clothes a shaggy rope which itched and chafed. Our Lady had asked for sacrifices, and they delighted in thinking up new ones to offer her.

On June 13, the Lady told the children to “say the Rosary always.” To Lucia she said, “I want you to learn to read. Then I will tell you what else I want.

When Lucia asked that the three of them be taken to heaven, our Lady said: “I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you must remain longer here below. Jesus will use you to make me better known and more loved. He wishes to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself as flowers to adorn His throne.”

“Then I am to stay here alone!” Lucia said, at the thought of being left behind.

“No, my child. You are suffering very much, but do not be discouraged. I will never leave you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

Once more she parted her hands, and the children were enveloped by the light from her palms. Francisco and Jacinta were in a stream that went toward heaven, and Lucia was in a stream that spread over the ground. A heart surrounded by thorns was in front of the right palm. “We understood,” says Lucia, “that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind, desiring reparation.”

“O JESUS, IT IS FOR YOUR LOVE…”

Four or five thousand people were on hand for the apparition of July 13. When our Lady appeared to the children, the crowd saw that the sun became dimmer and that a little cloud stood over the holm oak. The Lady told the children to continue to say the Rosary. “Say it with the intention of obtaining the end of the war. The intercession of the Blessed Virgin alone can obtain this grace for men.”

Lucia, thinking of her mother and all the people who doubted her story, said, “Will you please tell us who you are and perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that you really appear to us?”

“Continue to come here every month. In October I will tell you who I am and what I desire, and I shall perform a miracle so that everyone will have to believe you.”

Lucia requested the cure of some sick people. She was told that some would be cured and others not.

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners,” the Lady said, “And say many times, especially when you make any sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for Your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

THE VISION OF HELL 

As our Lady said these words she parted her hands as she had done the two previous months. The light from her palms seemed to penetrate the earth. The children saw a great sea of fire. “In this sea,” says Lucia, “were immersed burning demons and souls in human forms, resembling live transparent coals. Lifted up into the air by the flames, they fell back on all sides like sparks in a conflagration, with neither weight nor balance, amid loud screams and cries of pain and despair which horrified us and shook us with terror. We could tell the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures of baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire.”

Pale with terror the children raised their eyes to our Lady for help.

“You have seen hell,” said the Lady, “where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, our Lord wishes to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace in the world. The war is coming to an end, but if the offences against God do not stop, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI.

“WHEN YOU SEE A NIGHT ILLUMINED BY AN UNKNOWN LIGHT…”

“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger and of persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“To prevent this, I shall come back to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.

“BUT IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH.”

“But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me; it will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.

“In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will be kept always.”

These grave words, the Lady said, were not yet to be revealed to the world. The girls were to repeat them to no one except Francisco.

She then told them another secret which has not as yet been revealed. Lucia has written it down and delivered it to the bishop of Leiria.

THE AUGUST 13 EVENTS

On August 13, the children were in jail at Ourem. The civil administrator threatened to boil them in oil if they did not tell the Lady’s secret. Though badly frightened, they could not think of disobeying our Lady. In disgust, the administrator finally freed them. A large number of people, not knowing that the children had been kidnapped, went to the Cova for the scheduled appearance of the Lady. At noon, there was a loud clap of thunder. Then, according to an eyewitness:

“Right after the thunder came a flash, and immediately we all noticed a little cloud, very white, beautiful and bright, that came and stayed over the holm oak. It stayed a few minutes, then rose toward the heavens where it disappeared. Looking about, we noticed a strange sight that we had already seen and would see again. Everyone’s face glowed, rose, red, blue, all the colours of the rainbow. The trees seemed to have no branches or leaves but were all covered with flowers; every leaf was a flower. The ground was in little squares, each one a different colour. Our clothes seemed to be transformed also into the colours of the rainbow. The two vigil lanterns hanging from the arch over the holy spot appeared to be of gold.

“When the signs disappeared, the people were sure that our Lady had come, and, not finding the children, had returned to heaven. They felt that our Lady was disappointed…”

OUR LADY MADE IT PLAIN THAT HER PRINCIPAL CONCERN IS FOR SOULS

The August apparition took place on the 19th, while the children were tending sheep in a hollow called Valinhos. The Lady appeared over a holm oak slightly taller than the one in the Cova. “I want you to continue to come to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth and to continue to say the Rosary every day,” the Lady told them.

“What do you wish us to do with the money and the offerings that the people leave at the Cova da Iria?” Lucia asked.

“Two litters should be made; you and Jacinta are to carry one with two girls dressed in white; Francisco is to carry the other with three boys also dressed in white robes. The money placed on the litters is for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.”

Our Lady repeated her promise of a miracle. “In October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions. If they had not taken you to the village, the miracle would have been greater. St Joseph will come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord will also come to bless the people. Besides, Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will come.”

Lucia asked for the cure of some sick persons and was told that some of them would be cured within the year. Our Lady made it plain, by her next words, however, that her principal concern is for souls.

“Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners,” she said gravely, “for many souls go to hell because they have no one to sacrifice and pray for them.”

“TO US HAD BEEN GIVEN THE GRACE TO SEE THE CHARIOT THAT HAD BORNE HER FROM HEAVEN” 

Many of the people who were present for the apparitions of September 13 saw a luminous globe cross the sky and stop over the holm oak. Then later it rose and disappeared toward the sun. Monsignor John Quaresma, who was one of the many to behold this phenomenon, said: “The three little shepherds had seen the Mother of God herself; to us had been given the grace to see the chariot that had borne her from heaven to the barren and inhospitable hills of Aire.”

There was another unusual feature of this apparition. Many people saw white flowers which seemed to shower from the sky and disappear before they touched the ground.

While the crowd was seeing these things, our Lady was saying to the children, “Continue to say the Rosary to bring about the end of the war.”

She repeated her promise of a miracle the following month. Then she said, “God is content with your sacrifices, but does not wish you to sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.”

Someone had given Lucia a bottle of cologne with the request that it be presented to our Lady. It was probably the nicest gift a Portuguese peasant woman could think of. Our Lady graciously refused the gift, saying: “That is not necessary for heaven.”

AHEAD OF THE PROMISED MIRACLE, THE ROADS BECAME CLOGGED WITH PEOPLE MAKING THEIR WAY TOWARD FATIMA

In July, August, and September, our Lady had promised a miracle in October. Lucia had told a number of people about this promise, and the word spread rapidly through Portugal. Unbelievers scoffed at the idea and waited confidently for October 13. They were sure that there would be no miracle and that the entire story of Fatima would be exposed as a hoax. Those who believed talked the matter over excitedly. Think of it! A miracle promised in advance and in their own country of Portugal!

Several days ahead of the promised date, the roads became clogged with people making their way toward Fatima. “Nearby communities, towns and villages, emptied of people,” said the Lisbon newspaper O Dia.“… They came on foot, by horse or by carriage. They travelled the highways and the roads, between the hills and pine groves. For two days these came to life with the rolling of the carriages, the trot of the donkeys and the voices of the pilgrims.”

Lucia’s mother tried to get the girl to retract her story. Other people warned her that something very serious would happen if there were no miracle. It was said that there would be bombs in the crowd. The families of the children were very much frightened, but the children themselves were calm and serene.

“There will be a miracle, because our Lady promised it,” Lucia said.

On the night of the twelfth, a cold wind came out of the north bringing with it a chilling rain. This caused the most acute discomfort to the pilgrims who had to sleep in the open, but it did not dampen their ardour.

THE COLD RAIN DID NOT DAMPEN THE PILGRIMS’ ARDOUR

The next day was cold and rainy, but the pilgrims were not daunted. By 11:30, more than 70,000 of them had gathered at the Cova. They sang hymns, recited prayers and said the Rosary. Seldom has there been a more striking demonstration of faith. Our Lady must have been very much pleased with the Portuguese people that day.

A path had to be cleared through the throng for Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. “Put down your umbrellas,” Lucia said. The word spread throughout the crowd, and all umbrellas were lowered. Lucia does not know now why she made this request.

At two o’clock wartime, noon sun time, Lucia saw the flash of light that always preceded our Lady’s appearances.

“Silence, silence, our Lady is coming,” Lucia cried.

Our Lady came out of the east and again stopped above the holm oak.

“Who are you, Madam, and what do you want of me?” Lucia asked.

“I am the Lady of the Rosary, and I desire a chapel built in my honour in this place.

“People must continue to say the Rosary every day. The war will end soon, and the soldiers will return to their homes.”

“I have so many things to ask you,” Lucia said.

“I will grant some of them, the others, no.”

“MEN MUST OFFEND OUR LORD NO MORE, AND ASK PARDON FOR THEIR SINS”

Assuming a sadder air, the Lady said, “Men must offend our Lord no more, and they must ask pardon for their sins, for He is already much offended.” It was the same as the message of La Salette but in different words: “If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it.”

Our Lady stretched forth her hands, and the light again shone from her palms. She pointed toward the sun which seemed dim in comparison with the light from her hands. Then she seemed to disappear in her own radiance.

High up in the sky appeared a representation of the Holy Family. St Joseph held the Child Jesus on his left arm. To the right was the Blessed Virgin dressed in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary. St Joseph and the Child Jesus made the Sign of the Cross over the world three times.

The vision faded, and then Lucia alone beheld our Lord dressed in red as the divine Redeemer. He blessed the world. Beside him stood Mary dressed in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows.

In the third and last of those visions, Lucia saw the Blessed Virgin clothed in the brown robes of Our Lady of Carmelite.

The 70,000 pilgrims did not see any of this, but they were seeing something very spectacular. Our Lady did not forget that she had promised them a miracle.

THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN

The crowd heard Lucia shout, “Look at the sun!” (She does not remember saying this.) At that moment, the clouds parted suddenly and revealed the sun which looked like a phosphorescent disk. Everyone could look at it without blinking, although there was no fog and the clouds no longer obscured it.

The testimony as to what happened after that differs greatly. Most persons saw the sun spin about in the sky, throwing off rays of light in all directions like a gigantic pinwheel. This light, they say, was yellow, red, green, blue and violet successively. The people stood spellbound as they beheld this manifestation of God’s power.

Then the sun suddenly detached itself from the sky and plunged toward the earth. The terrified people thought they would be crushed by it. Most of them fell to their knees in the churning sea of mud.

“Save us, Jesus!” went up the cry from hundreds of throats. “Our Lady, save us!”

Many fervently said the Act of Contrition.

Just when it seemed certain that the world would be destroyed, the sun stopped its downward plunge and climbed back to its accustomed place in the sky. It again became the brilliant sun of every day.

Some witnesses declare that the sun spun in the sky, stopped for an instant, then spun in the other direction and that this process was repeated. Others say its spinning was one continuous motion with no stopping. Many are sure that the sun plunged toward them in a straight line; many are equally sure that it came toward the earth in a zigzag path. Estimates of the length of time the display lasted vary from a few seconds to twelve minutes.

When a number of people have seen a very important event, it is only natural to expect some variations in their stories. Carlos de Azevedo Mendez, however, has an account that is at complete variance with most of the others. Here is his version as told to Father McGlynn: “The rain stopped; the clouds split open into tatters – thin transparent strips. The sun was seen as a crown of fire, empty in the middle. It went round on itself and moved across the sky. It could be seen behind the clouds and in between them, rolling around and moving horizontally. Some cried, ‘I believe’; others ‘Forgive!’ The crowd prayed in terror.”

Senhor Mendez saw clouds, while practically all the others declare the sun spun around in a cloudless sky. For him the sun moved horizontally across the sky; for others it came rushing toward the earth. To him the sun was a crown of fire, empty in the middle, to others it was a disk. He did not see the coloured lights mentioned by others.

One woman to whom Father McGlynn talked did not see the sun at all. She saw nothing unusual except the sudden stopping of the rain. She was a rare exception. Practically everyone else in that crowd of 70,000 persons agree that something wonderful and awe inspiring happened to the sun although they do not agree as to the details of what happened. It seems that each person saw what God deemed best suited to his particular needs. The fact that impressions were so different ferestalls any interpretation if the miracle as a natural phenomenon. So does the fact that it was not registered on any scientific instruments anywhere.

Was it mass hypnosis? Did the people just think they saw the sun behave in such peculiar manner? This is rendered extremely unlikely by the fact that the rain had been pouring down until the minute the miracle occurred. In that cold drenching rain, a solar display is the last thing the people would have imagined.

If the mass hypnosis idea is rendered unlikely by the rain, it is rendered impossible by the fact that people as far as twenty miles away from the Cova da Iria saw the phenomena.

One of the best proofs of the reality of the miracle is the space given to it by the Portuguese newspapers. The intellectuals of Portugal were infected by the same materialism as their counterparts in other countries. They had declared that miracles were impossible. But there was no denying what they had seen with their own eyes. Page after page in the daily newspapers was devoted to the wondrous occurrence.

PAGE AFTER PAGE IN THE DAILY NEWSPAPERS WAS DEVOTED TO THE WONDROUS OCCURRENCE

Lucia dose Santos, a poorly educated ten-year-old girl, had announced three months in advance that a miracle would take place at noon on October 13, 1917, and that miracle had taken place. This was God’s sign that the message of Fatima was genuine, a message that should be studied and carried out by everyone.

“I shall perform a miracle so that all will believe,” our Lady had said to Lucia, and she had carried out her promise.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 

 

 
 

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“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“Do you wish to know a secret?” Pope Pius IX asked, in referring to La Salette. “This is it: Unless you do penance, you shall all perish.”

At Lourdes, Bernardette repeated our Lady’s plea for “Penitence! Penitence!”

At Fatima, our Lady asked the children: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and ask for the conversion of sinners?” When Lucia answered that they did, our Lady said: “Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will assist you always and bear you up.”

THE GRACE OF GOD WILL ASSIST YOU ALWAYS

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners,” our Lady said on another occasion at Fatima, “and say many times, especially when you make sacrifices: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

The following words of Our Lady of Fatima put a great responsibility upon all of us: “Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them.”

In 1925 the Child Jesus and our Lady both appeared to Lucia in the convent and asked for acts of reparation to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

At Beauraing, Belgium, in 1932, our Lady said, “Sacrifice yourself for me.”

“THEY HAVE NO ONE TO PRAY FOR THEM” 

How are we to make sacrifices? The three children of Fatima asked this very question of the angel who appeared to them the year before they were favoured by the apparitions of our Lady. The angel had just asked the children to “offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”

“How are we to make sacrifices?” asked nine-year-old Lucia. – “You can make sacrifices of all things,” the angel replied. “Offer them in reparation for the sins that offend God, and beg of Him the conversion of sinners. In this way, try to draw down peace on your country…  Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.'”

HOW ARE WE TO MAKE SACRIFICES? 

“You can make sacrifices of all things…” The words were meant as much for us as for the children of Fatima. The three children heeded the request of the angel and made sacrifices of all things. They offered all their everyday actions to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the spring of 1942 Lucia wrote: “This is the penance which the good Lord now asks: the sacrifice that every person has to impose upon himself is to lead a life of justice in the observance of His Law. He requires that the way be made known to souls. For many, thinking that the word penance means great austerities and not feeling in themselves the strength or generosity for these, lose heart and rest in a life of lukewarmness and sin.

“Last Thursday, at midnight, while I was in the chapel with my superior’s permission, Our Lord said to me: “The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of My Law. This is the penance I now seek and require.'”

This is the very most that is asked of us: the sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of God’s law. This is heartening when we tend to become discouraged, and when we think we are not doing enough.

THE MORNING OFFERING

The most effective way to make sacrifices of all things is to make the Morning Offering: “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works and sufferings of this day for the intentions of thy Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates and in particular for the intention of the Holy Father.” If we are in the state of grace, the Morning Offering turns all our actions for the day into meritorious acts.

The Act of Total Consecration has this same effect. To a person who has consecrated himself completely to Jesus through Mary, the Morning Offering is simply a daily renewal of that consecration.

THE TOTAL CONSECRATION

“Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.” When the civil administrator put the children of Fatima in jail with the hardened criminals, they offered their suffering in reparation for the sins of the world. When Jacinta was undergoing great agony on her deathbed, she murmured through her pain: “It is for love of You, my Jesus. Now You can convert many sinners, for I suffer much.”

All of us have our sufferings, small ones and big ones; the extra tasks we have to perform, the slights we receive, the plans that go wrong, the severity of the weather, the loss of a loved one, a severe illness, a financial reverse. Like Jacinta, we can offer these in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.

“ABOVE ALL, ACCEPT AND BEAR HUMBLY THE SUFFERINGS WHICH THE LORD WILL SEND YOU”

Offering their everyday actions and their sufferings to Jesus through Mary was not enough for Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. They were constantly thinking up voluntary sacrifices. When they went out to tend the sheep, they gave their lunches to children poorer than themselves, and they ate unripe olives. Under their clothes they wore shaggy ropes which chafed their skin.

All of us can make voluntary sacrifices in addition to the minimum penance which our Lord says he requires, although our sacrifices are not likely to take such extreme forms.

“IT IS ONLY BY SACRIFICE AND SUFFERING – OFFERED AS PENANCE – THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, TO CONVERT HIM”

St John Mary Vianney, the Cure of Arms, lived a life of heroic self-denial, penance and reparation. Because of these virtues he was able to convert an entire parish, the members of which had given up their practice of religion.

One day a neighbouring pastor said to Father Vianney: “I have a hardened old sinner in my parish. Years ago he fell away from the faith. I’ve tried everything to convert him. I’ve pleaded with him: I have prayed for him: I’ve asked others to pray for him. But it’s no use. He seems determined to die in his sins. What can I do?”

“You say, Father,” replied the Saint, “that you have pleaded with him and have prayed for him. But have you tried fasting for him? It is only by sacrifice and suffering – offered as penance – that you will be able, by the grace of God, to convert him.”

PRAYER AND FASTING 

Similarly, with the grace of God, we can accomplish stupendous things by our sacrifices. The stakes are high. We can win peace on earth. We can win a Catholic Russia. We can win peace of mind and peace of soul. We can achieve the unity of the Mystical Body all over the world. We can bring about a rebirth of the moral values so long deadened by the forces of materialism.

What sacrifices shall we make? We can make them in all categories: everyday actions, sufferings and voluntary acts of self-denial. Here are a few suggestions. We can:

  • Get up an hour earlier every morning and go to Mass.
  • Do that unpleasant task we have been shirking.
  • Be kind to someone who has slighted us.
  • Be pleasant at home and at work, even when we have severe provocation to be otherwise.
  • Bear our aches and pains in quiet patience.
  • Go out of our way to help others.
  • Live up to the duties of our religion, even when doing so is very inconvenient.
  • Give up something we want very much in order to give the money to the missions.

These are only a few ways in which we can answer Mary’s call for sacrifices. With good will we should be able to think of many more ways of carrying out the wishes of the Mother of God. If made in the proper spirit, such sacrifices will help restore the world to Christ, and will help put the world on the road to true peace.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 

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