by John Haffert, co-founder of the Blue Army
From his book Her Glorious Title
Have there ever been two miraculous events in the history of the world so similar and so important as the miracle of fire described in the Book of Kings and the miracle of the sun, which took place at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917?
We are still so close to the miracle of Fatima that we may not yet adequately appreciate it in the perspective of the great promise: “An era of peace will be granted to mankind.” But we are sufficiently removed in history to appreciate the similar miracle described in the Book of Kings, which marked a high point in the history of the people of God. They had been on the verge of annihilation (this time not from a flood, but from a prolonged drought sent by God as a punishment for their idolatry). By the miracle of Mount Carmel they were converted and saved.
MIRACLE ON MOUNT CARMEL
Elijah, that great prophet with whom Jesus appeared at His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, had proclaimed to the people that if they did not destroy the idols and return to God, they would be severely punished. When the prophet’s words were not heeded, the punishment came. Facing the death of his people, when the King sent for Elijah, the holy man said:
“Gather unto me all Israel on Mount Carmel, and with them the pagan prophets who eat at the Queen’s table: four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of the groves.” (1 Kgs 18:19) Then an incredible “contest” was proposed by the prophet on Mount Carmel “to prove that God is God.”
The 450 pagan priests would erect an altar and place a sacrifice upon it and pray to the pagan gods to send fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. And he, the sole prophet of God, would also build an altar and place a sacrifice upon it. He would also fill a trench at the base of the altar with water. Then he would call upon the one true God to send fire from Heaven.
The contest between God and anti-god lasted an entire day. The pagan prophets danced around their altar cutting themselves with lancets, crying out to Baal to prove his power. But hour after hour their sacrifice simply dried under the blistering heat of the sun, which had not been covered by a cloud for three and a half years.
Towards the end of the day, as the pagan priests were falling exhausted around the pile of stones upon which they had laid their sacrifice, Elijah looked up to Heaven and voiced a single prayer. Fire came down from Heaven and consumed not only the sacrifice of Elijah but the very stones of his altar and the water on the ground around it.
The nation fell to its knees crying: “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” (1 Kgs 18:39)
As we said above, this Mount Carmel miracle [perhaps the greatest of all the miracles of the Old Testament] is amazingly similar to the miracle of the sun at Fatima at the climax of which Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
THE FATIMA MIRACLE
In the case of the miracle of fire on Mount Carmel, did it seem to the crowd as though the fire of the sun suddenly came down upon the mountain? And with the fire so intense that it actually melted the rocks, did the people around feel its heat? Were they terrified at such a sight? What was the impression of this great manifestation of God’s power, which so touched each one individually that with great conviction and emotion they all cried out: “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”
In the case of the fire which came down from the sky in Fatima, we have the testimony of thousands of witnesses. They all testified: A fireball appeared in the sky which everyone thought to be actually the sun itself. It plunged towards the earth causing the tens of thousands of witnesses to think it was going to consume everyone and everything.
Most of the some 100,000 witnesses were stricken with fear. All thought it was the end of the world. After it was over, there was an extraordinary climax, almost as impressive to the crowd as the fire itself:
It had been raining for many hours before the miracle. Most of the people’s clothing was thoroughly wet. Some of them were standing in puddles of water when the “sun” seemed to plunge from the sky. The Cova of Fatima was a veritable sea of water and mud. Yet suddenly everything was entirely dry.
As the miracle on Mount Carmel, the water had instantly evaporated from the heat of the great fire, which came down from the sky over the mountain at Fatima. Only after talking over and over with many witnesses did the present writer even begin to realize what really happened at Fatima and what the tens of thousands of witnesses meant when they said they thought the sun itself had come hurtling down onto the earth. But they were not blinded despite its brilliance, and they were not burned by the heat of it. Yet the water—a veritable sea of deep puddles and mud—dried instantly. All the witnesses of this miracle testified that they were at once dry and clean. Thus, the miracle which had been witnessed by so many thousands became completely personal. Each individual had experienced a miracle within himself and herself which could leave no possible doubt that the Mother of Jesus had kept her promise to perform a miracle “so that wall may believe.”
At the climax of the great miracle of Fatima, Our Lady appeared in the sky a final time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel!
Portugal at that time was ruled by atheists who had vowed to wipe out religion within two generations. They tried to destroy the place of the apparitions. They imprisoned the children to whom Our Lady appeared and threatened them with death. The contest, as on Mount Carmel of old, was between God and anti-god.
The impact on Portugal and the world in 1917 was not immediately apparent, as was the impact of the miracle on Mount Carmel for Israel at the time of Elijah. The miracle of Fatima was for the entire world, about to be engulfed in a worldwide militantly atheistic revolution starting at that very moment in Russia.
It was a miracle opening a new era in which God declared that He would establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart, an era in which her Immaculate Heart would triumph and bring about the reign of the Eucharistic Jesus to such an extent that there would be “an era of peace for all mankind.”
Perhaps we may better understand what may happen now by looking at what happened at the time of Elijah. After sending his servant to look over the sea six times, each time the servant returns and reports, “There is nothing.” Suddenly the servant returns a seventh time and reports there is a single cloud rising out of the sea in the shape of a human foot! Upon hearing this, Elias rises and announces to the king and the people to hasten to their homes “lest the rains overtake them.” The divine punishment of three and a half years of drought is about to end!
Fathers and doctors of the Church have interpreted the foot-shaped cloud seen rising from the sea at the foot of Mount Carmel as a symbol of the Immaculate, rising pure out of the sea of humankind to bring forth the Savior of the world, crushing the head of the serpent beneath her heel and bringing the saving rain of grace.
THE SIGN – THE SCAPULAR
By the Mount Carmel miracle in the Old Testament and the Miracle at Fatima in 1917 with the final appearance of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we are brought face to face with the mystery of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sea of grace, and a supreme manifestation of God’s love in the world. Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is practiced through the wearing of a small garment—the Scapular. Our Lady gave it as a sign of salvation in 1251 with the words: “Whosoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire.”
The World Apostolate of Fatima encourages all to wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign of their entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to live out the consecration it signifies.
John Haffert’s book Her Glorious Title is available at ShopFatima.com