Saturday, 29 April 2017

Fatima Centenary 4: First apparition of Our Lady, May 13 1917

April 29-30: 3rd Sunday of Easter
2017: Fatima Centenary Year

On Sunday May 13 1917, after early Mass, the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, took their flock of sheep to the Cova da Iria (‘Cove of Peace’) to graze them, while they themselves ate their lunches and said their prayers. It was a beautiful sunny day. While the children were playing their games, they saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning.  They thought a thunderstorm was brewing so they decided to head home. Hurrying with their flocks, they saw another flash. They had gone a few steps more when before them, on a small holmoak tree, they saw a lady dressed in white. 
Lucia described her: “She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated light more clear and intense than a  crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.”  She    appeared about seventeen, wore a mantle and a tunic that seemed to be made of light. Around her neck was a cord with a little ball of light. There was a star       toward the bottom of her tunic. In her hands were beads of a rosary which shone like stars, with the cru-cifix the most radiant of all.” 
All three children saw the Lady. Only Lucia and Ja-cinta could hear her. Only Lucia spoke to her.
  “Where are you from?
  “I am from heaven.”
   “What do you want of me?”
  “Return on the thirteenth of the month for six months, at the very same hour. Later on I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards I will return here yet a seventh time.”   (She appeared to Lucia on June 16 1921)
Lucia asked about two young women who had  recently died.
  “Is Maria Neves already in heaven?”
  “Yes, she is.”
  “And Amelia?”
   “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.”
(It was later learned that Amelia died in circumstances involving immoral behaviour.)

 Then the Lady asked: “Are you willing to offer your-selves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”
The children responded with great enthusiasm:
   “Yes, we are willing.”
   “Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”
   A light from our Lady enveloped the children and consoled them greatly. Lucia describes:
    “Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communi-cated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:  ‘O most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!’ Our Lady made another request: “Pray the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”
This request for the daily Rosary for peace was the only request Our Lady repeated in all six apparitions.
From Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR, Fatima for Today: the urgent Marian message of hope ,    (Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2010)