by David M. Carollo
“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 persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”
All who know the Fatima message have heard Our Lady’s words repeated many times. Each year, we have lamented that so few adhere to her call for reform of life and respect for the laws of God. As she predicted, World War I ended, World War II came and went, Russia spread her errors. The Cold War came and went while numerous armed conflicts continued. The number of dead or irreparably hurt is incalculable. The endless conflicts that continue to plague us today all stand witness to her statement that war is a punishment for sin. Disruption of all kinds is a result of sin. A sinful mind does not think clearly. The effects are a detriment to all of humanity.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Dwight D. Eisenhower.
I am not speaking as a pacifist or as one who would ignore evil. President Eisenhower was a military man who understood that as necessary as war sometimes is, it is a painful remedy. There is such a thing as just war and I passionately believe that historically the United States has been a just nation, but our sinfulness as well as that of other countries leads to conflict. War has many faces.
Soldiers in uniform identify with the nation that they act on behalf of. There is always an enemy that they can define directly. We do not always have a recognizable enemy today, because we fail to understand that we need only look in the mirror to see who is causing the disruption in the world. The source of today’s conflicts lies within many of us. We have seen the enemy and he is us.
Sister Lucia lived 88 years after the apparitions of 1917. She saw the Fatima century unfold and must have thought what a foolish lot we are. The validity of Our Lady’s warnings is plain to see, but blinded by pride we seek solutions through secular paths and fail to see the cause-and-effect relationship between willful defiance of God and the deterioration of society.
True peace only exists in a pure heart. A heart which longs for justice seeks the serenity of union with God. We pray for peace, but are we peaceful? Our motives can only truly be judged by God who sees all intentions. Do we want peace for selfish reasons, or do we seek good for all, even those who violate that peace? We must be devoted to the well-being of all, even those who hate us and hurt us. The greatest saints seek peace not on their terms, but on those of God. Obedience to His laws is the road to peace. Defiance of His law is the road to perdition.
Today we are in a war like no other. One in which our enemies are not definable as in traditional warfare, but attractive to our senses. On Dec. 10, 1975, the 50th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady and the Child Jesus to Sister Lucia in Pontevedra, Spain, a quote attributed to Most Rev. Joao Venancio, the bishop of Fatima, on the state of modern man explains our condition today:
“In light of the Fatima message, sin is not a phenomenon of the sociological order, but is in the true theological concept, an offense against God with necessary social consequences. Perhaps no other century, as the century we live in, has had a life so sinful. But there is something new added to the sins of this century. The man of today, more sinful than those who came before him, has lost the sense of sin. He sins, but laughs and even boasts of his sin… Man of today has arrived at this stage because he has placed a division between himself and God…believing that when God is ignored, everything is possible. The man of this century wishes to realize himself as stronger than God and against God and comes finally to the point of being man debased, anti-man, because man can only perfectly realize himself in God.”
The condition that his Excellency spoke of 46 years ago has intensified. Society has degenerated to the point that we no longer object, and in fact, accept things that should appall us.
Reflecting on what the Fatima message means and calls us to today, we can only conclude that we have a lot to do to come into compliance with Our Lady’s wishes, which are the wishes of God. By force or by will evil has advanced and now dominates. By grace it will be overcome and be defeated. Peace is not necessarily defined as lack of physical violence. True peace only exists in a pure heart, a heart which longs for justice and seeks the serenity of union with God. Physical peace emanates from this.
God allows evil to have its day but will not allow disorder to prevail. The most difficult times bring forth saints of the greatest magnitude. They have and continue to change the world. Never accept the narrative that prophecy has set in stone how things will go. Doing that disrespects the reality that God can change the path of anything, and it questions His mercy.
St. John Paul II stated the following when asked about the third part of the Fatima secret: “It is dangerous to want to satisfy one’s curiosity only, if one is convinced that we can do nothing against a catastrophe that has been predicted.” He then held up his rosary and stated “Here is the remedy against this evil. Pray, pray, and ask for nothing else. Put everything in the hands of the Mother of God.”
Change is in our hands, literally.
We think that we know how things will and should unfold. But God sees the big picture and the difficulties that He allows to plague us now are part of the plan for a restoration beyond our understanding. Our Lord told the apostles, “The hour is coming when you will be scattered and alone.” Then He asked, “When the Son of Man returns will He find any faith?”
Let us answer with a resounding “Yes!” Let us stay faithful, even when it is not comfortable to do so. We are on the right side of this war and He will prevail.
We must continue to work for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. The First Saturday’s devotion is necessary to achieve this. On Saturday, June 5, we continue our virtual speaker series during this Year of St. Joseph with Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle. She will speak on the Holy Family as a solution to the broken family. Please join us that day at the Shrine or on bluearmy.com/yearofstjoseph.
God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.
David M. Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA and the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington, NJ.