Fatima and the way of Mary

As we approach the anniversary of the June 13 apparition at Fatima, we discussed the significance of that apparition with Fr. Francisco Pereira, chaplain of the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal, and specifically why God wanted devotion to the Immaculate Heart at that time at Fatima.

Father Francisco Pereira celebrated Portuguese Day at the Shrine in New Jersey while staying with us.

[Fr. Francisco] We must see this in the context of Portuguese culture, because all the apparitions have to do with what German theologians say, Sitz im Leben, time and place.

Portugal since the beginning was consecrated to Mary, it is Holy Mary’s land. The devotion to the Immaculate Heart is because people forgot their connection to God, and created a wrong idea of God as a stern God who wants suffering, who has a thirst for blood. We know that the father is always the stern one in the family and the mother is the one who can get the father to move and get us to move also. When the mother asks something of her children, it’s easier for them to comply.

What I always find interesting is that the language of the Angel is a more reverent language, almost a stern language. The language that Our Lady uses is a more tender language, more direct, more approachable to the children, because God knows that at a time when everyone is rejecting Him, the better way to bring them back is through Mary. People are not afraid of the mother; whereas, sometimes we are afraid of the father. It is the human experience.

Why Mary is a sure path to God

Our Lady told Lucia during the second apparition, You are suffering. Do not lose heart. My heart will be your refuge and your way to God. The consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is to find the sure path to God, because going through Mary is easier. It is a simple way, a humble way. To understand also the mercy of God, it is easier to look to Mary. We know that Mary leads us to Christ. Christ is our final destination. Some people say we are adoring Mary and making her into a goddess. That is always a danger, but we try to help people understand that Mary shows us a way to God. She is the servant of God and she is the strongest example of the Christian life because she is the one who always said “yes” to God.

The documents of the Church present Mary as the first meditator, when she keeps all these things in her heart. Mary is the first to pray the mysteries of the Rosary. We have a good example of a human being living the perfection of the holy life. Our Lady tells us, if I can do this, you can also, with the grace of God, with the help of my Son Jesus, with the help of the saints, with your prayers.

How the early apparitions relate to Lucia’s last vision of the Holy Trinity

Our Lady in the first and second apparition, opened her hands and projected the light that started from her and through her, penetrated the hearts and souls of the children, and they saw themselves immersed in this light. This light is the experience of God, of heaven. Our Lady showed them hell in the third apparition, but made them experience heaven first, in May and June.

Lucia wrote in her memoirs, “What made the most powerful impression on (Francisco) and what wholly absorbed him was God, the Most Holy Trinity, perceived in that light which penetrated our inmost souls.”

This experience of God is the same experience Sister Lucia had later in the vision of the Most Holy Trinity (at Tuy). This vision is predicated upon her years of spiritual growth and meditation. When Our Lady appeared at Fatima, Lucia only knew the basics of the faith. However, when she went to the convent, she kept studying and reading the bible, meditating on Scripture and the words of Our Lady and the meaning behind them. With the help of her spiritual director, she formed a deeper understanding of the will of God and of the Fatima revelation. Lucia was not permitted to reveal the insights she received in the vision, because she did not have human words to explain it, but she understood it because it was for her personally.

Even St. Francisco, after the June apparition, exclaims: “We were on fire in that light which is God and yet we were not burnt. What is God? We could never put it into words. Yes, that is something which we could never express!” It is a mystery how to explain the experience of God.

Fatima is a continuous revelation – to build the Kingdom of God

These final visions of Lucia’s are the closing of the Fatima apparitions. The apparitions must be taken all together as a continuous process that starts with the first apparition of the angel, “My God, I believe, ….”, and finishes with the visions the Immaculate Heart (at Pontevedra) and of the Holy Trinity (at Tuy). We see that as a synthesis of the message of Fatima. Everything is connected. We cannot separate them.

We must see in this process what God wanted with this event of Fatima. The will of God is that man can return to the family of God, see the light that is shining upon all the world, pray for the conversion of sinners and pray for peace, having our Mother as a special help in this path of conversion. We are not alone. We have the grace of the sacraments and the help of the Mother. We need to see the true meaning of the message of Fatima, and not be stopped by the apocalyptic visions.

Yes, we are fighting against evil, but we cannot forget that the most important thing is to build the church, build the Kingdom of God.

Even Our Lady’s request to build a chapel at Fatima was important because it was a request to build as a church, not as individuals who just connect personally with God. Today, most people see their relationship with God as an individual relationship, and they don’t care about the parish or the priests or church community. We must think about building up, not tearing down. And especially the way of Our Lady, “Are you willing?” Always she wants to ask us, because that is the way God works, He respects absolutely our free will.

In the third secret, we can see the image of the pope passing through the city in ruins, but climbing to Christ and praying for the dead; he, and others, giving their lives for the salvation of humanity as Jesus did. This is the work of building. When we build the kingdom of God, the power of evil is less and less. If we remove the evil from the world, what remains? We must put there the good.

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6 Comments
  1. Good afternoon..
    Great great we were in Portugal June 13, 2017..We believe in our Mary’s God miracles..
    Let us spread this message to all…God / Mary will use anyone to spread the miracles…
    All God’s blessings…great day…
    Mary Anne, Felix Pena
    EWTN Coordinators Media Missionaries..Toronto, Canada

  2. Thank you for your messages. Yes, Mary is the sure path to God. She will help us and intercedes for all our needs. I love you dearest Mother.
    We have a great devotion to Mother Mary

    Glenview, IL

  3. Let us all pray that all will listen to our Lady’s message: Make the five first Saturdays devotion by going to confession, receiving Holy Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary, meditating fifteen minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to our Lady. Also she requested that we wear Her scapular.
    She is our answer for peace in the world. The Rosary is the weapon of our time.
    Love to You, dear Mother and to Your Divine Son.

  4. Thank you for your messages, yes, Mary always leads us to God/ Jesus Christ. as we remember regard the Wedding feast at Cana : Do whatever He tells you, us to do. We have a great devotion to Mary. We venerate Mary. We worship God. I feel secure when I pray to Mary. I trust,,,,,I feel secure in Her arms . Middlesex, N.J.
    Her, I love Her. I,m a Secular Franciscan . Our devotion is the Crown Rosary in our Order worldwide. The seven Joys of Mary. St. Francis of Assisi made Mary the Advocate of Our Order. We love Mary.

  5. Beautifully written

  6. Just as Mary brought Jesus into the world, she now prepares the world for His second coming. Each modern apparition is a progressing theme revealing her role. At Guadalupe, she reveals herself as Mother of the church and the world. With Catherine Laboure and Margaret Mary Alacoque, she introduces the relationship between the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. With Bernadette, she proclaims the Immaculate Conception and praying the rosary. The Fatima apparitions reveal to us why to pray the rosary, and expound on all the previous apparitions.

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