July 22-23: Ordinary Time 16th Sunday
In her memoirs, Lucia described the July message from Our Lady in three parts, three ‘secrets’...
2. World War II foretold: Our Lady told the children:
“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
(Jan 25-216 1938: an extraordinary aurora borealis that illuminated the night skies of Europe and parts of America for almost five hours. Lucia, a nun at the time, regarded it as the God-given sign that the next world war was near. Germany annexed and occupied Austria on March 12 1938.)
3 a) The spread of Communism and an age of martyrs. “I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the
First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecu-tions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
1 The Bolsheviks took power in October 1917, bringing the rule of Communism. During the first fifty years of Commu-nist ascendancy, there were more Christian martyrs than there were in all the previous years of Christian history combined. (Communist revolutions and rule have caused an estimated 100 million casualties.)
Ultimate triumph: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved.”
3 b) The intervention of Our Lady and the shooting of Pope John Paul II:
Our Lady did not speak. The children saw a series of images, a ‘prophetic vision’, unfolding before them.
The Angel with the flaming sword… Our Lady intervenes.
Lucia’s memoirs: “At the left of Our Lady and a little above, 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 splendour 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!’ ”
(Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2000 commentary, when the ‘third secret’ was released:
“The future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children was is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is the exact opposite: it is meant to mobilise the forces of change in the right direction.
“… a Bishop dressed in white… killed by a group of soldiers….”
Cardinal Ratzinger’s commentary: “In the vision, the Pope too is killed along with the martyrs. When, after the attempted assassination on May 13 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the ‘secret’ brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: “…it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (13 May 1994) . That here a ‘mother’s hand’ had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets, and faith more powerful than armies.”
From Fr Andrew Apostoli CFR, Fatima for Today: the urgent Marian message of hope, (Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2010)