MANILA -- Penance, penance, penance is the clarion call by the Blessed Virgin Mary for mankind to repent and pray the Rosary daily during her apparition before three children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 for the world to attain peace, or face chastisement from God, remains the same to date.
It was on May 13, 1917 or more than a century ago that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three young children Lúcia Santos and her two cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto to relay the urgent message from God for man to stop sinning and offending God now before it is too late.
The apparitions occurred every 13th of the month starting May 13, 1917 and ended on Oct. 13 of the same year.
This year’s 101st anniversary of the famous Fatima Apparition falls on a Sunday coinciding the celebration of Ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven.
Actually this year’s observance of Ascension was on Thursday or 40 days after resurrection, but the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines and some other Catholic countries, opted to celebrate on May 13 to enable more Catholics to celebrate Feast of the Ascension.
During the apparition, the Virgin Mary handed to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco three messages known as the Secrets of Fatima, warning the world of chastisement if mankind would continue to sin and offend God.
In the Philippines, the only Catholic nation in Asia, the Apparition of Fatima is widely observed annually. In fact, a big number of Catholic Churches in the Philippines are named after Fatima.
Rev.Fr. Christopher “Kit” Ramirez, SVD of the Parish of St. Jude in Malacañang District, summed up the Fatima Apparition as “a call for mankind to repent for our sins now or face the consequence of chastisement such as when World War II broke out as prophesied in the first Fatima message in 1917.”
Fr. Kit also cited the importance of love quoting the verse in the Bible, John 13:34-35 which says: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” for the world to have a lasting peace.
He also quoted John 15:5-8 H ”I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Fr. Kit also reminded everyone not to separate himself from God and asked sinners to repent for “Jesus Christ is the way and the truth”
The apparition at Fatima is also referred to as Our Lady of the Rosary because the three children said the Blessed Mother called herself the "Lady of the Rosary."
It was also during the Fatima apparition that the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed the so-called Three Secrets, including the prediction of World War II more than two decades before it broke out in 1941 and other future disasters.
Fatima Apparition records show that Lúcia Santos (who later became a nun) and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto were herding sheep at the Cova da Iria near their home village of Fátima, Portugal.
“They claimed to have experienced the visitation of an angel on three separate occasions. The angel taught them prayers to pray, to make sacrifices, and to spend time in adoration of the Lord,” official records disclosed.
“On May 13, 1917, Lúcia described seeing a lady "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun". Astonished they ran back to their village and told everyone. Further appearances were reported on June 13 and July 13. In these, the lady asked the children to do penance and Acts of Reparation and make personal sacrifices to save sinners. According to Lúcia's account, the lady also confided to the children three secrets, now known as the Three Secrets of Fátima.”
“The children subsequently wore tight cords around their waists, performed self-flagellation using stinging nettles, abstained from drinking water on hot days, and performed other works of penance.”
“Thousands of people flocked to Fátima and Aljustrel in the following months, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On August 13, 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos (no relation to Lúcia Santos), believing that the events were politically disruptive, intercepted and jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iria. The administrator interrogated and threatened the children to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. Lúcia told him everything short of the secrets, and offered to ask the Lady for permission to tell the Administrator the secrets. Prisoners held with them in the provincial jail later testified that the children led them in praying the rosary. That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on the 13th, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, at nearby Valinho.”
Thirty-six years ago mankind witnessed the unfolding of cataclysmic events around the world starting with the near-fatal assassination of Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul II) in 1981, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Iraq war, the 9/11 terror attacks, the devastating earthquakes in various parts of the world, including the deadly 7.2 magnitude Bohol earthquake on Oct. 15, 2014, followed by the Super Typhoon “Yolanda” that wrought havoc Samar, Tacloban City and several Visayas islands on Nov. 8, 2014, volcanic eruptions, killer floods, the unrest in several countries in the Middle East, the Ukrainian crisis, and currently the rise of a new terror group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that continues to wage terror in the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of the world, particularly in what happened in Paris on Friday the 13th of November 2015 when terrorist suicide bombers hit a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars, almost simultaneously - and left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.
These are clear discernment that the Third Secret of Fatima is fulfilled as foretold a century years ago.
It may be recalled that on Oct. 13, 1917 the Miracle of the Sun occurred in Fatima, Portugal which was witnessed by 30,000 to 100,000 people.
The rare solar activity was described by many witnesses who said that: “|After a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky. It was said to be significantly duller than normal, and to cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the shadows on the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening those who thought it a sign of the end of the world. Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became ‘suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling.’”
Brother Michael, one of the world’s greatest authorities on the message of Fatima and author of several books on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, wrote that the Third Secret of Fatima has been unveiled.
Each of the three messages in the Fatima Apparition has three distinct parts.
The first secret was a vision of Hell where it was described as an ocean of fire where demons and souls “in human form, like transparent burning embers…are floating in the conflagration…amid shrikes and groans of pain and despair.”
In the second secret the Blessed Virgin said that World War I which was then raging in Europe was about to end and it did end on Nov. 11, 1918, but the Blessed Mother also made a shocking revelation that another war, more devastating would break out “should men continue offending God.”
There were 37 million casualties in World War I.
As told by the Blessed Virgin, World War II broke out on Sept. 1, 1939 when Germany under Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. But earlier on Sept. 13, 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria that started the China-Japan conflict before the Pacific War erupted when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, followed by an attack on the Philippines on Dec. 8, 1941.
World War II ended in Europe on Aug. 14, 1945 with the victory of the Allied Forces over Germany, while the Pacific War ended when Japan surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945 after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first and only time so far a nuclear bomb was used in a war.
More than 60 million people were killed in the Second War War.
The world was shaken when a Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca shot and wounded Pope John Paul II at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on May 13, 1981. The Holy Father sustained four gunshot wounds but miraculously survived which the Pope claimed that his survival was through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Incidentally, the incident took place during the 64th anniversary celebration of the Fatima apparition. Years later, the Pope visited Agca in his prison cell and in a massive display of humility forgave him for his crime.
It may be recalled that in 1989, the world was further stunned when the once powerful Soviet Union collapsed due to political and economic woes.
This was followed by the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Prior to that there was a war between Iran and Iraq called the Persian Gulf conflict.
In 2003, Allied Forces led by the United States invaded Iraq. Today, insurgency is still raging in Iraq instigated by the al Qaeda terror group that has also gripped Afghanistan.
This is not to mention the 1956, l967, and 1973 Middle East hostilities between Israel and Arab nations and the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis that almost triggered a head-on collision between America and Russia.
The catastrophic earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and massive floods in many parts of the world the past nine decades could be discerned as part of the Fatima prophecy.
The 9/11 murderous suicide attacks by terrorists in New York and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001 and the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the globe are clear signs that the world is in for more troubles ahead.
The Blessed Virgin Mary said: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. 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. To prevent this, 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 persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
In his book, Brother Michael said that that “the prophecy of the Third Secret has been unfolding at the present time, before our eyes, since 1960. There is, in fact, a timetable, a chronicle in the realization of the prophecies of Fatima.”
The Secret of Fatima also predicts that “the Pope will have much to suffer. Jesus tells Sister Lucy of Fatima ‘Pray a great deal for the Holy Father…’ The revealing of the Third Secret will certainly be a great grace for the whole Church and will begin to relieve the terrible problems now burdening the Holy Father. But to do even this much, the Holy Father needs your prayers,” Brother Michael said.
As it is known all over the world through media, particularly the prevalence of the Internet that the Catholic Church has not been spared of scandals, particularly of priests involved in sexual affairs, including child abuse. These incidents have been happening in various parts of the world.
Brother Michael further says: “It is therefore clear: all the material punishments which still threaten us, even the most dreadful, like nuclear war, or the expansion of Communism over the whole planet, are already foretold by our Lady in Her Second Secret, and we also know the supernatural means to avert them before it is too late. We can be certain, according to Father Alonso, that nothing about these material chastisements is repeated in the third part of the Secret. Or at least, I would add, if allusion to it is again made (as is quite possible), this will not be the essential message of the Third Secret. In effect, since the Secret is composed of three interrelated but distinct parts and whose date, for disclosure, fixed by heaven were not the same, one can be sure that the third part of the Secret is not going to repeat the same thing as the second in a few lines of space.”
He continued: Doubtlessly, the Third Secret mainly refers to a spiritual chastisement. Far worst, even more fearsome than famine, wars, persecutions, for it concerns souls, their salvation or their eternal perdition.”
Brother Michael also said that “the Third Secret deals specifically with the loss of faith” This was echoed by then Pope Benedict XVI that the Third Secret concerned “the dangers threatening the faith and life of Christians.”
Thus, mankind is urged to do penance now. Not later and go back to God, and pray daily, especially the Rosary to attain a genuine and lasting peace in a troubled world and save man from eternal damnation.. (PNA)