The ineffable wisdom and mercy of God’s Providence grants to every age of human history and of the history of the Church those means of aid, which are most necessary in order to heal the spiritual wounds and to save men from great spiritual and material disasters. Usually God intervenes in the most critical moments of the human and the sacred history through those authentic prophecies, which are examined and accepted by the Church. Such Divine interventions happened all along the history of the Church and will happen until the end of the time.
The Magisterium of the Church states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Christian economy, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Private revelation, however, is ongoing: 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 [i.e., collective sense of the faithful] knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations” (n. 66-67).
The apparitions, which took place in Fatima in 1917,can be considered as one of the most outstanding examples of the prophetic gifts and char isms in the history of the Church. God has send His Immaculate Mother to Fatima in 1917,and the Blessed Mother of God sounded her urgent maternal warnings in view of the grave spiritual dangers, in which the entire human family was at the beginning of the 20th century. These warnings of Our Lady revealed themselves as being true prophetic, given the unheard state of unbelief, of atheism and of a direct revolt against God and His commandments in our days. The private and public life was characteristic during the 20th century as a life without God and against God, particularly through the atheistic dictatorships of Freemasonry (for example the Masonic dictatorship in Mexico in the twenties), of the National socialism of Hitler in Germany, of the Soviet Communism (in the countries of ex-Soviet Union) and of the Maoist Communism in China.
At the beginning of the 21th century, the war against God and Christ and against His Divine Commandments was unleashed almost on a global level particularly through the blasphemous attack against God’s creation of human being as male and female by means of the dictatorship of the gender ideology and by means of the public legitimization of all kind of sexual depravity.
In the 20th century it was the Communist Russia, which was the most powerful and wide-ranging instrument of spreading of atheism and of war against Christ and His Church. This war was explicit and frontal. Through the Bolshevik October revolution in 1917, Satan began to use the largest country of the world and the largest Christian nation in the East to fight openly against Christ and His Church. On the 13th of July 1917 when Our Lady spoke about the imminent danger, which will constitute Russia in spreading its errors all over the world, one could not imagine the real apocalyptic scenario of the persecution of the Church and of spreading of atheism, which Russia will be starting some months later in the end of October 1917. The apparitions in Fatima demonstrated hereby their overwhelming prophetic character.
As the main remedy for the theoretical and practical atheism, in which humankind plunged in current epoch of the history, Our Lady indicated the prayer of the Holy Rosary, the cult and the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart with the practice of the five first Saturdays and the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, a consecration which has to be made by the Pope in union with the entire episcopate.
The contempt of God’s commandments means godlessness and this leads to the eternal damnation of many souls. In her messages in Fatima Our Lady indicated the sins against chastity and the disregard for the sanctity of marriage as the most frequent cause of the eternal damnation of the souls. Our Lady told to Blessed Jacinta that, “the sins that bring most souls to Hell are the sins of the flesh and that 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: Our Lord is always the same”. Moreover, Our Lady told that, “many marriages are not good; they do not please Our Lord and are not of God”.Saint John Maria Vianney, the curé of Ars,spoke in his sermons in a similar way: “How little purity is known in the world; how little we value it; what little care we take to preserve it; what little zeal we have in asking God for it, since we cannot have it of ourselves. No, my dear brethren, it is not known to those notorious and seasoned libertines who wallow in and trail through the slime of their depravities. What state will such a soul be in when it appears before God! Purity! Oh God, how many souls does this sin drag down to Hell!”
The prophetic character of the words of Our Lady is manifest in our days to the extent that we can state that even inside the life of some particular Catholic churches the sins of the flesh and adulterous unions are being in practice approved through the so-called “pastoral” practice of the admittance to Holy Communion of those divorced people who intentionally continue to have sexual relationships with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. Such a pseudo-pastoral practice will be responsible for the eternal condemnation of many souls, because such a practice encourages people to continue to sin offending God and thereby disdaining His commandment. Our Lady told to Blessed Jacinta that, “if people would know what eternity is, they would do everything to change their life. People will be lost, because they don’t think of the death of Jesus and don’t do penance”.
Our Lady came to Fatima mainly to make an urgent maternal appeal to save souls from eternal damnation. She showed therefore to the children the unspeakably horrible reality of the hell. She indicated at the same time as the only way to avoid hell the way of penance in its twofold dimension: acts of penance as a mean of stopping to sin and doing reparation for one’s own sins and vicarious penance as acts of reparation for the sinners in view of their conversion. In the third part of the secret of Fatima God gives us the following shaking image with the invitation to do penance: “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!’”.
The Church and the faithful in our days have to proclaim again with more vigor the Divine truth of eternal condemnation and of hell in order to save immortal souls who otherwise would be lost for all eternity.The existence of an eternal hell is a truth of the Faith, defined by the Church in councils, symbols of Faith and documents of the Magisterium. Our Lady of Fatima considered it so important and pastorally efficient, that she showed the little children the hell.Sister Lucia narrates: “That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear.”Our Lady then said to the children: “You saw Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”
Sister Lucia records then: “Jacinta remained sitting on her rock, looking very thoughtful, and asked: “That Lady also said that many souls go to hell! Hell never ends!” “And Heaven never ends either?” “Whoever goes to Heaven, never leaves it again!” “And whoever goes to Hell, never leaves it either?” “They’re eternal, don’t you see! They never end.” That was how, for the first time, we made a meditation on Hell and eternity. What made the biggest impression on Jacinta was the idea of eternity.” (Sister Lucia, Memoirs, 45-46).Jacinta, too, shortly before her death remarked: “If men only knew what eternity is, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives. Mortification and sacrifice give great pleasure to Our Divine Lord.”
Blessed Jacinta’s example as shown in the following quotation should profoundly touch in the first place every priest and every faithful and move them to concrete words and deeds: ”The vision of hell filled her with horror to such a degree, that every penance and mortification was nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there. Jacinta often sat thoughtfully on the ground or on a rock and exclaimed: Oh, Hell! Hell! How sorry I am for the souls who go to hell!”She told to her brother: “Francisco! Francisco! Are you praying with me? We must pray very much, to save souls from hell! So many go there! So many!” At other times, she asked: “Why doesn’t Our Lady show hell to sinners? If they saw it, they would not sin, so as to avoid going there! You must tell Our Lady to show hell to all the people (referring to those who were in the Cova da Iria at the time of the Apparition). You’ll see how they will be converted.” Afterwards, unsatisfied, she asked me: “Why didn’t you tell Our Lady to show hell to those people?” “I forgot,” I answered. “I didn’t remember either!” she said, looking very sad. Sometimes, she also asked: “What are the sins people commit, for which they go to hell?” “ I don’t know! Perhaps the sin of not going to Mass on Sunday, of stealing, of saying ugly words, of cursing and of swearing.” “So for just one word, then, people can go to hell?” “Well, it’s a sin!” “It wouldn’t be hard for them to keep quiet, and to go to Mass! I’m so sorry for sinners! If only I could show them hell!” Suddenly, she would seize hold of me and say: “I’m going to Heaven, but you are staying here. If Our Lady lets you, tell everybody what hell is like, so that they won’t commit any more sins and not go to hell.” At other times, after thinking for a while, she said: “So many people falling into hell! So many people in hell!” To quieten her, I said: “Don’t be afraid! You’re going to Heaven.” “Yes, I am,” she said serenely, “but I want all those people to go there too!”
A particularly important significance of the message of Fatima consists in reminding the Church and the humanity of our time of the reality of sin and of its catastrophic and life-threatening consequences. Why possesses sin intrinsically such a gravity and tragedy? It is because sin offends God, His infinite majesty, His infinite holy and wise will. This is precisely the cause of the inconceivable malice of sin. Our Lady said to the children in Fatima: “Men must amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins. . . . They must no longer offend Our Lord, Who is already so much offended.” Sister Lucia wrote: “The part of the last apparition which has remained most deeply imprinted on my heart is the prayer of our heavenly Mother begging us not to offend any more Almighty God, Who is already so much offended.”Our Lady told to Sister Lucia: “The good Lord is allowing Himself to be appeased. But He Himself complains most bitterly and sorrowfully about the small number of souls in His grace who are willing to renounce whatever the observance of His laws requires of them.”
There is a famous statement of Pope Pius XII, which says: “Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin”. (Radio message to participants in the National Catechetical Congress of the United States in Boston, 26 October 1946). One of the main appeals of the message of Fatima and of the moving example of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, could be expressed in the following question: “I am hastening towards eternity. Am I really ready to appear before the tribunal of God? Am I not in a state of sin?”
Being the sin, and in first place the mortal sin, the greatest of the spiritual misfortunes, one of the main pastoral duties of the Church consists in warning people of the danger of sin, preach them about the real gravity of sin, lead them to authentic repentance through grace of God, save sinners from eternal death through prayers of intercession and acts of vicarious reparation. The ministers of the Church should never minimize sin, should never speak ambiguously about what is sin, should either explicit or implicit confirm a sinner in his sinful life style, as for example the divorced and remarried. Such an attitude would be highly anti-pastoral and comparable to a mother, who would speak ambiguously to his child, seeing him approaching an abyss, in deed such an attitude would not be an attitude of a mother, but rather of a stepmother. Consequently, those clerics, who as in the most frequent case in our days, confirm divorced and remarried people to continue to practice adultery, behave themselves like stepmothers. The so-called merciful new pastoral style towards the divorced and remarried as propagated by Cardinal Kasper and his clerical allies even as entire Episcopal Conferences, is ultimately a cruel, stepmother like method towards the sinners. The touching attitude of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco towards sin and sinners, shames such an anti-pastoral method, which is being propagated in our days under the mask of mercy.
The reality of sin demands necessarily penance and expiation. This belong as well to the central parts of the messages, given by Our Lady in Fatima for our time. Already in 1916 the Angel spoke to the children in the same spirit, in which Our Lady will speak in 1917. He told to the children: “Offer up everything in your power as a sacrifice to the Lord in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. More than all else, accept and bear with resignation the sufferings that God may send you.”In July 13, 1917 Our Lady said: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary I offer this sacrifice to Thee.’”
We should be moved and inspired by the example of the children of Fatima in order to grow in the spirit of expiation and reparation for sins. The children burned with thirst, but there was not a drop of water near. Instead of complaining, seven-year-old Jacinta seemed happy. “How good it is,” she said. “I am thirsty but I offer everything for the conversion of sinners.” Lucia, the oldest of the three, realized she should look after her cousins, so she went to a nearby house to fetch some water. When she returned, she offered it first to Francisco. “I don’t want to drink,” the nine-year-old boy said; “I want to suffer for sinners.” “Jacinta, you drink it.” “I also want to offer a sacrifice.” So, Lucia poured out the water into the hollow of a rock for the sheep to drink and returned the empty jug to the house. The rhythmic noises of crickets, frogs and insects began to pound in the ears of Jacinta like thunder. Holding her head in her hands, she cried out in utter desperation, “My head aches so. Tell the crickets and frogs to stop.” “Don’t you want to suffer this for sinners?” Francisco asked. “Yes, I do, let them sing.” “Lucia,” Jacinta continued, “the Lady said that Her Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the way that shall lead you to God. Doesn’t that make you happy? I love Her Heart very much.”In August of 1917 Our Lady told the children, “pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.”
Commenting later the examples of Francisco and Jacinta Sister Lucia explained: “Many persons,feeling that the word penance implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of lukewarmness and sin.” Then Sister Lucia said Our Lord explained to her: “The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require.”
The apparitions and messages of Our Lady of Fatima cannot be truly understood without considering the apparitions of the Angel to the three children in 1916. Both apparitions have a mutual intrinsic relationship. The words of the Angel already prepared the central message of Our Lady in Fatima: “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners”. However, the most important significance of the apparitions of the Angel consists in his message concerning the Eucharistic mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ.Already in 1916 the Angel spoke that Christ in this mystery “is horribly outraged”. Hardly anyone in the Church of those days could imagine that horrible outrages of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrament will be perpetrated to a terrifying and widespread degree even in the midst of the Church, as it is the case now in our days mainly because of the practice of giving Holy Communion in hand and at the same time because of an indiscriminate admission of unrepentant sinners and even of non-Catholics to Holy Communion. Never in history the Eucharistic sacrament was an object of such horrendous sacrileges on behalf of the clergy and of the faithful as it is the case in our days. Once again, the apparitions in Fatima reveal in a striking manner their highly prophetic character.
The Church of our days can learn from the prophetic mission of the apparitions of Fatima the intrinsic and inseparable connection between the veneration of the Holy Eucharist and the devotion to Our Lady, especially of Her Immaculate Heart. The spreading of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart has to be connected simultaneously with a true renewal of the Eucharistic cult, concretely spoken with the restoration also of the exterior cult of sacredness and reverence in the celebration of the Holy Mass and especially regarding the rite and the discipline of receiving Holy Communion. Only then there will come the reign and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, when the reign of Christ the Eucharistic King will be again reestablished in all its splendor all over the Catholic world. The rein of the Immaculate Heart is intrinsic Eucharistic and this is a prerequisite for a time of true peace in the world.
One of the greatest devotees of Our Lady of Fatima and one of the most zealous promotors of her cult was the pious and courageous Brazilian layman Dr. Plinio Correia de Oliveira. Already in 1944 he presented in a profound and perspicacious manner the actuality of the apparitions of Fatima, a presentation, which is quite applicable to the current historical situation:“The technocrats met – those who, with the bankers, rule today’s world – et convene runt in unum adversus Dominum [and assembled together against the Lord – cf. Acts 4:26]. They built a peace without Christ, a peace against Christ. The world fell even deeper into sin, ignoring Our Lady’s message. At Fatima, the miracles multiplied by the dozens, the hundreds, the thousands. There they were, accessible to all, open for examination by doctors of whatever race or religion. The conversions were innumerable. Yet, notwithstanding all of this, no one heeded Fatima. Some doubted without studying it. Others denied it without examining it. Others believed but lacked the courage to say so. They did not heed the voice of Our Lady. The voice of Fatima speaks to us today: Let us not harden our hearts, for only by heeding her message that we may escape the judgment of history”.(Legionario, São Paulo, 14 maggio 1944).
Sister Lucia considered our current time as being close to the last times and this for the following three reasons, which she explained in an interview with Fr. Augustin Fuentes in 26 December 1957. It is worthwhile to quote her words: “The first is because Our Lady told me that the Devil is engaging in a battle with the Virgin, a decisive battle. It is a final battle where one party will be victorious and the other will suffer defeat. So, from now on, we are either with God or we are with the Devil; there is no middle ground. The second reason is because she told me, as well as my cousins, that God is giving two last remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And, being the last remedies, that is to say, they are the final ones, means that there will be no others.And the third, because in the plans of the Divine Providence, when God is going to chastise the world He always first exhausts all other remedies. When He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then, as we say in our imperfect way of talking, with a certain fear He presents us the last means of salvation, His Blessed Mother. If we despise and reject this last means, Heaven will no longer pardon us, because we will have committed a sin that the Gospel calls a sin against the Holy Spirit. This sin consists in openly rejecting – with full knowledge and will – the salvation that is put in our hands. Also, since Our Lord is a very good Son, He will not permit that we offend and despise His Blessed Mother. We have as obvious testimony the history of different centuries where Our Lord has shown us with terrible examples how He has always defended the honor of His Blessed Mother. Prayer and sacrifice are the two means to save the world. As for the Holy Rosary, Father, in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary. This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is – be it temporal or above all spiritual – in the spiritual life of each of us or the lives of our families, be they our families in the world or Religious Communities, or even in the lives of peoples and nations. I repeat, there is no problem, as difficult as it may be, that we cannot resolve at this time by praying the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves, sanctify ourselves, console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls. Then, there is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, holding her as the seat of mercy, goodness and pardon and the sure door to enter Heaven.”
May the Church in our days listen what the prophetic Spirit is saying (cf. Rev. 2:11) through the words of the Angel of Fatima, through the heroic example of the life of Blessed Francisco and of Blessed Jacinta and in the first place through the words of Our Lady, the Mother of God, our Mother and the spiritual Mother of all humanity. The actuality of Fatima consists in preparing the Church of our days for a fearless confession of the Catholic faith and even for martyrdom, as we can sees this in the third part of the secret of Fatima. Nonetheless, Fatima remains a true prophetic sign of hope, because our Lady promised a time of peace and the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.The prophetic meaning of the message of Fatima as a whole includes the apparitions of the Angel, the words and heroic example of life of the three shepherds and primarily the maternal exhortations of Our Lady herself. In the prayer, with which Pope John Paul II consecrated on 24 March 1984 the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he left to the Church and to the humanity of our time the following ardent supplication, in which are resumed the most important points of the prophetic meaning of the message of Fatima: “Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us. From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us. From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us! Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the ‘sin of the world’, sin in all its manifestations. Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”.
+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana