Apparition at Fatima
October 12 was a night filled with rage. We can picture in our mind’s eye, the powers of Heaven and hell, battling violently for possession of the earth and its inhabitants. Satan had his way with the weather. He created a vicious storm over the entire continent of Europe. He didn’t want to take chances that anyone would come to Fatima on that fateful day. God, for His part, filled His children with such a burning desire to witness the promised Miracle, that nothing could stop them. They were willing to die for the privilege of whatever the Mother Of God had in store for them.
There were reports that the villages in the surrounding area, indeed as far as a hundred miles away, were deserted. All the inhabitants had left to go to the little Cova da Iria in Fatima. The roads, which Lucifer had turned to mud, were filled with peasants, some walking, others trying to ride bicycles, a favored few with horses, automobiles and motorcycles. Torrents of rain pelleted the pilgrims. Everyone who came had to sleep out in the open, because there were no facilities in this little farming village. They tried as best they could to protect themselves from the satanic attack of weather. They were committed. Their eyes looked straight ahead to their final destination. Their mouths uttered silent prayers of the Rosary, their Rosary Beads slowly cascading from their soaked fingers.
The estimate is that anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 people came to Fatima that day. There was a great contrast in attitude between the Pilgrims to the shrine and the local people of Aljustrel, in particular Lucia’s mother, who didn’t share the faith of the thousands that Our Lady would keep her promise. She wasn’t even that sure that the Lady had ever come. She was sure that she and her family, Lucia in particular, and her niece and nephew, Jacinta and Francisco, would all be killed when the Miracle did not take place. However, something told her to be with her child, so she went to the Cova da Iria that day, confident that it would be her last.
Considering the enourmous amount of humanity at the cramped, little area of the Cova, the behavior was outstanding. For the most part, there was peace and tranquility about everyone who came. They didn’t speak to each other very much. They mostly prayed. These were the serious pilgrims. They had a reason to be there. They had struggled and sacrificed to come. They were not about to let anything interfere with their goal. In addition, there were indeed the non-believers, the doubting Thomases; we are certain that deep down in their souls, they desperately wanted to believe. They just had to be shown. Why not? Aren’t we all that way? Don’t we all need the sign and symbol?
There were newspaper reporters from all over Portugal. They were here to see the children fall flat on their faces. They wanted to be able to write about the hoax of Fatima firsthand. They believed that would be the greatest news story of all. What they were given was a much greater story, one that would continue to be told for the next 70 years, and then some.
With all of the above, it becomes increasingly clear why this was such an important day, and why the battle raged between the powers of light and darkness to have their way. This was an opportunity for great conversion. It was also a tool for Lucifer to cause Our Lady and the Church to suffer a crushing defeat. Because of this, Satan used every trick he had at his disposal. Rumor has it that there was not one demon left in hell that cold, rainy October day. They were all in Fatima, trying to turn the tide, and create disaster. Rumor also has it that every guardian Angel in Heaven was working a double shift that day, with St. Michael in charge, moving at lightning speed from place to place, and person to person, to foil every attempt of his deadly enemy, Satan, to ruin the day.
Lucifer’s wicked weapon of weather continued on, pounding the entire assemblage with great torrents of rain, right up to the last minute. There is also a story of a man believed to be a priest, who had stationed himself near the place of the Apparitions the night before. When the children arrived at the appointed time, the man kept looking at his watch. He asked Lucia what time Our Lady would come.
She answered “At Midday.”
He replied, “It’s past noon now. Our Lady would not tell an untruth.”
He then tried to push the children out of the place, telling them to go home, that the charade was over. At that instant, Lucia pointed to the east, and exclaimed: “LOOK, SHE’S COMING NOW!” The man disappeared, and was never seen again.
Everybody went down on their knees. The now familiar flash of lightning streaked through the sky. The little cloud moved slowly towards the holmoak tree. She was here!
The Lady spoke first to Lucia, telling her to continue saying the Rosary every day for the end of the war, and to have a chapel built in this place. But she was really here this time for the people. This was her greatest opportunity.
At a given point, Our Lady raised her hand in the direction of the sun. The brilliant light emanating from her hand shot up into the sky. As if the clouds were the curtains of a great stage, they parted, revealing the brilliant sun. Lucia shouted “LOOK AT THE SUN” It turned from a blinding gold to a dull silver. It began to dance in the sky. It twirled uncertainly on its axis. Then it began to descend on the people. It grew bigger and bigger as it came down on them. Streaks of varied colors shot out like sparks from a wheel, covering the people, causing changes of color on their faces and clothes. Reds, yellows, blues, greens hurled down onto the little Cova. “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD” “FORGIVE ME MY SINS”. There were reports of open confessions, shouted at the top of the lungs of the sinners. They thought the Lord was taking His final vengeance on them.
And then it stopped. A command was given from Heaven; the sun moved slowly back, up into the sky. It returned to its proper place in the atmosphere, and at once turned from dull to brilliant. The pilgrims could not look directly into it again. A great hush took place on earth. The 70,000 were stunned. They had been saved, but they weren’t quite certain about it yet. Then they began to look around them. Their clothes, soaking wet moments before, were completely dry. The mud which had caked on them, was gone. They were clean. Then from various parts of the assemblage, voices rang out, “I CAN WALK!!” “I CAN SEE!” The blind opened their eyes; the lame threw down their crutches. Others went down on their knees in tears of reconciliation. Mass miracles, cures and conversions took place in a period of minutes.
The children didn’t actually take part in this miracle. They were being given special gifts from Our Lady. They saw St. Joseph with the Child Jesus, Our Lady of the Dolors, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with the Scapular hanging from her hands, and Our Dear Lord Jesus blessing the people at the Cova da Iria. The children were saved. Our Lady, as usual, had kept her promise, and more. The number of conversions due to this miracle, called THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN’, is beyond comprehension.
Lucia looked around her, noticing for the first time all that was happening at the Cova. She could hear the sobs of joy, the shouts of thanksgiving from those cured of illnesses and deformities. She turned quickly towards Our Lady, who was beginning to fade away. Their eyes met that one last time. A sweet smile broke out on the face of the Lady. Lucia began to cry. Without saying a word, just by looking at Lucia, Mary told her it was not over for them. In that final exchange of glances, their bond was sealed. They would see each other again. Then she left. The little cloud slowly moved back toward its final destination. Lucia watched every movement of the cloud, hoping Mary would come back again, though she knew she would not. A single tear ran down her face. Then she smiled. She knew.
The finale of this great series of Heavenly apparitions by the Queen of Heaven, under the title of the Queen of the Rosary, catapulted into motion, a movement which, though slow in beginning, has emcompassed the entire world. The message of the children of Fatima, the pleas of Our Lady, and the promises of Fatima have been repeated to and embraced by everyone she has touched. A new generation of believers, people like us who were not born when Our Lady gave us this gift, have become completely enthralled by the power of Jesus and the love of Mary, as revealed to us at Fatima.
We thank you, dear Mary, for the sign you gave us here at Fatima. We thank you for telling us that no matter what we do, “Your Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end”. We thank you for it, but we wish you had kept it to yourself. Perhaps we would have prayed a little harder, fasted a little more, and sinned a little less. Maybe we could have avoided World War II.
This is an excerpt from Bob and Penny Lord’s book, The Many Faces of Mary, a Love Story