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THE FATIMA MESSAGE: THE CALL TO PRAYER AND THE ROSARY

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THE FATIMA MESSAGE:

THE CALL TO PRAYER

AND THE ROSARY

We continue on the rosary theme with our next two blog articles. The first is called:

"The Fatima Message, The Call to Prayer and the Rosary".


This blog takes excerpts from the first three parts of our Fatima series on "The Difficult Message of Fatima" which we ran last year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions during October of 2017.


THE FATIMA STORY

We start with a brief summary of the apparitions at Fatima.

For five months in 1917, from May 13th to October 13th. Our Lady appeared to three children in Portugal in the small town of Fatima—to 9-year-old Lucia, and to Francisco, aged 8, and Jacinta, who was 6. She told them not to be afraid. She encouraged them to pray for peace, and told of trials and suffering and persecution, and exhorted them to pray the rosary… to pray daily for world peace, and be devoted to God—the Father, the Son: Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

“Secrets” were told to the three. The first two secrets revealed a vision of hell and its sufferings. Other secrets predicted the coming of the second World War; they expressed a vital need for prayer for Russia’s conversion.

Finally, in the turnover to a new century, in the year 2000, the third and final secret was revealed (to the public). It spoke of suffering in many nations, including: the martyrdom of those who were good; persecution; the destruction of nations; dangers to the Holy Father.


INTERVIEWING LUCY

A book written by an Irish Dominican priest-sculptor who was given the rare opportunity to spend time with Lucia—almost 30 years after the apparitions. Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P. asked Lucia (whom he calls “Lucy”) many questions throughout the process. He gently probed, thoroughly, both to get the story as accurate and complete as possible, and to create a statue of Our Lady that was as accurate as possible. The statue he created of Our Lady of Fatima now stands in Fatima.

Numerous clarifications were made regarding what occurred and what was said… during the apparitions and in the aftermath. Fr. McGlynn wrote a remarkably engaging book reporting his experiences.1.


PRAYER

Mary told the children to pray. In answer to a question about the rosary, Lucy told Fr. McGlynn directly:

“My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people who might not know how to pray this simple method of getting closer to God.” 2.

After Fr. McGlynn returned to the United States, Lucy (Lucia, who became “Irma Dores” and later “Sr. Mary of the Immaculate Heart”) wrote to him and said,

“In your writing, please stress the spiritual meaning of things, in order to raise minds that today have become so materialistic to regions of the supernatural; so that they may understand the true meaning and purpose of the coming of our Lady to earth, which is to bring souls to heaven , to draw them to God.” 3.

Lucy also told him that Mary did not say that the message was just for Catholics. As followers of Jesus Christ who are familiar with His word in the scriptures, we all understand that prayer is an unending thread (throughout the Old and New Testaments) that describes our communication with, and words to, our Almighty God.

SUMMARY OF SECRETS

During much of the 20th century, many Catholics (and other Christians as well) spoke of and wondered about the “secrets” of Fatima. Some were revealed early in the century, and others in the latter part, under the direction of Pope Benedict XVI.

The apparitions spoke of war—the beginning and ending of wars…. The hopeful prevention of war… and the prayerful, hopeful salvation of many. These young and innocent children were given both the grace and the grave responsibility of seeing and speaking about the vision of hell that was shown to them. We will endeavor to gather these themes together and present a view of the difficult messages from Our Lady of Fatima to three young children.

“Fatima is, first of all, a dreadful warning to the world to stop sinning. The enormity of mankind’s rebellion against God and God’s infinite aversion for sin form the foundation of the Fatima message. Then He gives the sinner hope… Fatima manifests the most misunderstood of the divine attributes—justice and mercy…

The three children saw hell. The vision was not for their instruction or warning, but for ours; the Blessed Virgin had assured them that they were going to be saved. The accent on hell is tremendous. It is the first part of the Secret of Fatima; it is the reason for all of the rest of the revelations.”

" 'Do not offend our Lord anymore. He is already offended,' our Lady said to Lucy while seventy thousand people watched the spinning and falling of the sun." 4.

Fr. McGlynn makes the conclusion clear:

“[Our Lady] came to tell us how to keep out of hell!” 5.

We would also paraphrase and add to his conclusion, according to Our Lady’s (and Our Lord’s) general message by adding: “and help others be saved, also”. And that takes us right into the need for prayer…. Specifically, to intercession, or intercessory prayer.


SALVATION SCRIPTURES AND FATIMA

“The plea of our Lady on the mountain of Fatima is not different from the dictation of our Lord on another mount:

‘Enter ye in at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth, to destruction, and many there are who go [therein]’ (Matt. 7:13).

The fire of hell cannot be extinguished by our indifference, nor will divine justice be altered by our failure to understand it.

‘Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?’ (Ezek. 18:25)

The crime of not seeking heaven is very great. It is much better to be terrified now of hell and avoid it than to ignore it now and after death to discover it.

‘Why will you die, O house of Israel?’ (Ezek. 18:31)”

Fr. McGlynn mentions these (above) few scriptures in connection with the Fatima message.6.

There was another incidence of a dedicated life in the 20th century who also saw hell and visions and heard warnings from God. That was Padre—now St.—Pio, of Pietrelcina, Italy. (We just published a blog on his life, visions and message last month.) He was deeply devoted to intercession, and was particularly called to pray for his fellow priests—even bearing the stigmata (suffering and wounds of Jesus Christ) in behalf of this intercessory call. He ministered in many ways to many people, but one predominant way until he died in 1968 was to encourage prayer groups to gather to pray and intercede.

It seems that God was greatly emphasizing the need and call for prayer and repentance throughout the last century. Did we listen? Have we obeyed? Are we repenting?


A WAY MADE OUT OF HELL

Frankly, modern mankind has pretty much rejected or soft-pedaled hell for quite some time now. Of course, that may be just the reason for exposing those small children to such a stark revelation, to share with a largely unbelieving world.

We live in a time, and in a culture, that is accustomed to great emphasis on freedom, individual rights, and personal privacy and privileges. Our culture highly values self-assertiveness, personal power, and a “me”-centered life. We simply too often forget that man’s power only rules on this earth for a relatively brief span of years. (And, of course, that perspective ignores the very real answers to the prayer “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”) If we never find ‘the way out’ of our sin dilemmas, we face alternatives that very much include hell, whether we believe it, like it, agree with it… or not.

Our judgments and opinions lose their ephemeral authority when we leave the “kingdom of self” and move on to the rest of our (eternal) lives… where we (gladly or disappointedly) find that other powers “rule”. Our insistence on defining ultimate realities and truth by what “I” think and “I”feel … becomes as ashes and smoke and dust.

Though not often seen this way, warnings are a very kind act of a loving Father. The Bible is full of many more salvation and warning instructions that could be mentioned. Previous cautions and admonitions have been given… In fact, God sent the prophets with precious words from Him, and they were continually ridiculed, tormented and rejected. God the Father finally sent His Son as the Living Word of God, the Savior. Jesus also called Himself the “Way”. And He brought some very good news:

A Way has been made out of hell ! And that “way” is a person, the Person of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life [ Jn 14:6]. He paid the price! He made the way! He IS the “Way” out of hell. There is no other way…

So… We repeat that last truth: A “way” has been made, out of hell … and that “Way” is a person, the Person of Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. There are many who find that too much to swallow… too hard to believe… too difficult to accept. They say, “There must be some other way! There must be many ways…”

MINERS IN CHILE

In answer to this, an analogy comes to mind, in the form of a true story presented in a movie from 2015. There was a mine collapse in Chile, in 2010. Thirty-three miners were trapped for 69 days “when a… chunk of rock two times the mass of the Empire State Building trapped them almost 2000 feet underground with only 3 days worth of food and water rations…” 7

The incident attracted world-wide attention, including that of our U.S. space program. Scientists and technicians developed a machine to drill a way out, and a human-size rescue basket through an extremely narrow tunnel to carry each individual man the long distance to safety.

Here’s the analogy: What if one of the miners had said, “There must be some other way!” The mine had some other avenues, but none led outside… and they could not dig their way out. (2000 feet through stone and rocks is a long way…) The only way out was claustrophobic… and a bit scary. But, in truth, it was the only way back to life.

It makes me wonder: Just what does it take … for us to recognize the truth of this One and only “Way, Truth and Life”? Will we see more clearly… if the freedom that abounds in our country—and in other flourishing nations—is limited? … if prosperity and our vast array of provisions face new limits? If safety and a wide range of choices are cut off? … etc.?

Do we realize that others in history—both B.C. and A. D.—have been very prosperous, very powerful… and just as blind and foolish as we can be? (P.S. It did not end well for them.)


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WARNINGS?

So what happens after God warns and warns? Fundamentally, we need to remember that God has sent many, many messengers to us with communications (as mentioned above) similar in warning, throughout time… throughout Bible history, to begin with.

We have often heard that God is omniscient—that He knows everything in the past, present and future. We see throughout history that God deals with His people, and with the world, in various ways after He gives warnings.

There are many things that are revealed as both patterns and differences in the ways that He handles human behavior and world events after warning the people. One way that is particularly seen through the history of the Old Testament is this: God warns and warns… He acts enormously--in kindness and generosity--and speaks often of His mercy… and then, later… He allows (also in mercy toward those being hurt and harmed) and/or moves in with consequences—positive or negative. However, there are “differences”: Consequences can come sooner (that very day) or later (centuries or generations later) … but they do come.

An example of “sooner” was in the terrifying handwriting on the wall in Daniel [Dan. 5:5-6, 25-30] as the Babylonian king was partying and drinking out of the gold and silver sacred vessels from the Jerusalem temple (that had been carried off from Judea previously, along with the Israelites as slaves). The consequences came very suddenly and surprisingly to the Chaldean king of Babylon on that very evening, as Darius the Mede came in and took over as ruler… and killed King Belshazzar.

God warns and warns… He sends messengers and blessings… then rebellion or continued (especially blasé’ or flagrant) disobedience and idolatry (honoring/ worshipping/ preferring [so many] things above and before God) receive the warned consequences. He is (in a poor analogy) like a heart-felt early warning system… for instance, for a hurricane… warning those in a path of destruction, knowing and wanting us to avoid unpleasant, undesirable consequences.

He loves; He knows; He sees… the action and work and evil destructions engendered by the Destroyer of peace, love and life on earth. This is the same evil one who desires to bring as many souls to hell with him as possible. He is the deceiver of souls who never find “the Way out” of a path toward eternal destruction and endless death and suffering in hell. God has warned; prophets have warned; Jesus both warned and cruelly died in our place to make “a way/ Way” out—His very self as Savior-Redeemer-Messiah. And later, saints have warned, along with—in more recent centuries—Mary the mother of Jesus Christ.

In rejecting the loving, merciful God Who continually seeks us to give us “a future and a hope”, we also reject “the way/Way out”. [“ ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.’ “ Jer 29:11; Prov 23:18; Prov 24:14].

For, as we have said (and the Bible [and B.C./A.D. history] centers around the fact of the act that) God has provided that “Way” in the form of Jesus Christ His Son. For Jesus faced the cruel horrors of that same enemy of our souls mentioned above—with complete success and total victory. He did this for us. Hell—the home of the Destroyer of life and Deceiver of souls—was never meant as a destination for our lives.

Mary warned of some consequences at Fatima:

From the words of our Lady we must fear even greater affliction unless there is a change in human conduct.” 8.

Have there been, then, “greater afflictions” since 1917… or 1947?? All this was described before all the wars, persecutions, famines and violence in the 100 years between 1917 and now! So much has happened since that time in early and mid-20th century in our world. We will press on with our call to pray and discern the application of the Fatima message.


Coming up next…

We continue on the rosary theme with our next blog article.

The above article, "The Fatima Message, The Call to Prayer and the Rosary", contained excerpts from the first three blog articles published last year (on this site, by the same author) on the 100 year anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.

Next, we will look again at the 2017 Fatima series Part IV entitled,

"Why Pay Attention Now to Fatima's Message?"

We will continue with the Fatima themes including the message, visions and warnings. Again we will see ways that this connects with today’s world, today's church and today’s issues. This includes some examination of Old Testament and New Testament scriptures, other inspirational writing, our response, and prayer.


FOOTNOTES

1. VISION OF FATIMA, Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P., 1948, 2017 (currently by) Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, N.H. 

2. Ibid., p. 90

3. Ibid., p. 201

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid., p. 204

7. ROGEREBERT.COM, November 13, 2015 by Glenn Kenny

8. VISION OF FATIMA, p. 203


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