From May 13, 1917, to October 13, 1917, our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to Lucia (10 years) and her two cousins, Francisco (9 years) and Jacinta (7 years) – in Fatima, Portugal. These children, who were shepherds, came from an ordinary family. Raised in the Catholic faith by their parents, they learned early enough to pray. As they were accustomed to doing, on May 13, 1917, they had gone to look after the family’s flock, when our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to them. I wish to underline in this reflection some of the points that captured my attention as I went through the story of the apparitions.
What the Children Saw
Like Moses, who saw a bush burning with fire without being consumed (Exodus 3, 1-15), like Bernadette Soubirous, who, on February 11, 1858, saw the wind blowing over the leaves while she was fetching firewood with her junior sister and friend, Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta had their own experience of divine manifestation. Lucia recounts: “We saw a flash of lightning towards the east, and fearing that thunder was coming, although the weather was fine, I told Francisco that we had better go home and collect the cattle.” Lucia further reports: “When we reached the middle of the farm, there was another flash of lightning, and two steps ahead, we saw a lady on top of a holm oak tree, approximately one meter high.”
My Understanding of What the Children Saw
What I find pretty remarkable in this story is the pedagogy of God as revealed through Mother Mary. Indeed, God has a very subtle way of revealing Himself to us. In the “Flash of Light” I see the representation of re-creation, God’s desire to renew the world with the light of His eternal Love, dispelling the darkness of evil and sin. I see also the light of the Holy Spirit. In one of the prayers to the Holy Spirit we say: “Come Oh Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the Faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your Love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.” Could it be that to see and recognize divine manifestation in our lives, we have to learn to be humble and simple like these three kids? Faithfully doing their work, they saw a lady on top of a holm oak tree.
A Lady on Top of a Holm Oak Tree
The choice of a holm oak tree is quite intriguing to me. My curiosity pushed me to discover that in ancient Greece, holm oak leaves were used to tell the future, make crowns to honor people, etc. In the “Lady on top of a holm oak,” I see how God uses Mary to reveal humanity’s future to us. The woman crowned with twelve stars (Revelation 12,1) was sent to the world during war and uncertainty. Between 1914-1918 was what has today been known as the 1st World War. Mary was sent to the world to assure us that there is a solution to global conflicts and disasters. In this historical context, the Fatima message finds its meaning.
What Was the Divine Call Addressed to the Three Kids?
I am amazed to see how Fatima’s message closely connects to the Message of Lourdes. From Lourdes to Fatima, Mother Mary continued to repeat the same call: A call to prayer, especially the Rosary, for an end to the war and peace in the world, offering oneself to God and enduring sufferings related to our Faith for God’s sake, making reparations for sins with which God is offended, praying for the conversion of sinners. There was also an invitation to do the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Fatima prayer encapsulates the spirit of this message: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, I love You. I ask forgiveness for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love…”!
Ambassadors of the Message of Hope
Mary spoke to the three children, revealing to them their mission with a reassuring tone: “You will have much to suffer but the Grace of God will be your comfort.” I believe that God grants grace that matches the sufferings we go through for the sake of the Gospel. As such, we are called to be ambassadors of this Good News in a world that is desperate. But to achieve this mission, we need to embrace the renewal that comes with this divine grace! Today, let us center our prayers on peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, and bringing hope to those who are without hope.
This is really simply and inspiring to read and learn. Thanks for the beautiful write up.Good work
This is really simply and inspiring to read and learn. Thanks for the beautiful write up