Fatima Centenary Still Resonates

Fr. Francesco Giordano, Director of HLI’s Rome Office, Prays at Fatima

The Sacred Versus Profane

Though the Fatima centenary is just past, the Marian apparitions hold on-going resonance, as they can be understood as signaling the battle between good and evil, between the sacred and the profane. During the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, in a context where all things sacred today are under threat, I thought it necessary to be present there, not only for personal devotion but also for my part in the HLI Mission, helping defend of the sacredness of Life, Marriage and Family. Would not the Mother of God be concerned about these issues?

Since I have a good friend who was willing to host me and another good priest friend at his family’s home near Fatima, it was obvious that I had to go on this special anniversary last October. Once at Fatima centenary celebrations, we prayed in the olive grove where the Angel of the Eucharist appeared, and just as we entered my brother priest uttered what I was feeling: “What peace one feels here.”

There had been three apparitions there in 1916, the first when the Angel of Peace appeared! The second to appear was the Angel of Portugal, and finally the Angel of the Eucharist. This third apparition took place in October, and on this day the three shepherds had pastured their flocks at the Pregueira, the small olive grove which belonged to the dos Santos. The Angel held a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside the three visionaries and made them repeat three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the sacrileges, outrages and indifference [emphasis mine] by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.”

 

Avoid Indifference at All Costs

For me, the key word here is indifference. Indifference to the unborn, to elderly who are euthanized, to the need for intact families…We all know what happens to the lukewarm: “…because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16). Also in the Book of Revelation we read a key passage: “The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” (Rev. 12:4-5) Was there ever a more pro-life image? Who the woman is can be interpreted as Our Lady but also as the Church. I would go further: Consider how the woman represents what is sacred, and the dragon represents what is profane. The drama of the Secular Age, as Charles Taylor coined it, is indeed the profane absorbing the sacred. After the Fatima centenary, we continue to mark mankind’s ongoing struggle against the powers of darkness: war continues between the sacred and the profane. We dare not be indifferent.

I could not help but think of the special attention given to the Eucharist during this apparition. Why would the Angel stress the Eucharist in 1916? There did not seem to be liturgical confusion. Upon further examination, like the rest of the Message of Fatima, we can see how prophetic Our Lady was in announcing the world we see today. Unfortunately, in addition to social Marxism and every other ideology in the book disintegrating our families and cultures and sending many individual souls to hell, we see division over the Eucharist. Are the Eucharist and family not intertwined? Despite evermore evident liturgical divisions, which cause the Church to become more and more like the Congregationalists, we see indirect attacks on the Eucharist through the loose interpretations of Eucharistic reception for those living in adulterous situations. The Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian life” and must be received in state of grace (CCC 1324). What Our Lady warned us about 100 years ago is here before us in a mist-like apostasy of the Faith. Christ and Our Lady do not sanction doubt and confusion.

Hope Remains

Fatima centenary
Pope Benedict XVI Offers Rose to Our Lady of Fatima, 2010

But one should not fear. Josef Ratzinger reminded us in the 1960s: The Church would become a small, non-influential group, but she would operate freely and joyfully in the midst of a depressed and lonely world. Such witness would bring much conversion. If we are pure of heart, our intellectual apprehension of God is clearer, which in turn brings peace and joy to our hearts. Our Mission for Life, Faith and Family may never cease but from this peace and joy, we become the peacemakers the Lord needs in such times of confusion, and such ordered good makes us truly sons of God. Let us therefore seek Our Lord, through Our Lady, to find the profound joy of the Truth, the Way, and the Life (cf. John 14:6) we all truly desire in this vale of tears.

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