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By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
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Part of the crowd at the Cova da Iria on 13th October 1917

Some thirty or forty thousand people attended the Cova da Iria at Fatima, Portugal, on this date, 13th October, in 1917 at the instigation of three shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto, and her brother Francisco. The children had asserted, and maintained their position in the face of persecution, that they had seen a vision of the Blessed Virgin at the site on the 13th of each month since the May previous—save for August when officialdom prevented their attendance, when the vision occurred on 15th, the Feast of the Assumption. This is what the Wikipedia website has to say about what happened that day:

“The people had gathered because three young shepherd children had predicted that at high noon the lady who had appeared to them several times would perform a great miracle. According to many witnesses, 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 people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position. 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.”

Atheists attended the Cova da Iria in their hundreds that day. Not one of them returned home an atheist.

The miracle marked the culmination of the Blessed Virgin's visits—there were no more after that date—and served to reinforce her message to the world through the three children of the need for men to abandon their sinful ways so offensive to their Creator which drew down His chastisements upon the world, and that they must be converted and make reparation for sin.

"Men must amend their lives, and ask pardon for their sins... They must no longer offend Our Lord, Who is already so much offended."

Lucia, who became a Discalced Carmelite nun, wrote later:

"The part of the last apparition which has remained most deeply imprinted on my heart is the prayer of our heavenly Mother begging us not to offend Almighty God any more, He Who is already so much offended."

Jacinta, shortly before her early death, remarked:

"If men only knew what eternity is, how they would make all possible efforts to amend their lives …"

In her August appearance the Blessed Virgin had told the children,

"pray much and make sacrifices for sinners ; many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them."

She revealed to Sister Lucia:

"The good Lord is allowing Himself to be appeased... but He complains most bitterly and sorrowfully about the small number of souls in His grace willing to renounce whatever the observance of His laws requires of them."

Sister Lucia explained:

"Many, feeling that the word 'penance' implies great austerities, and not feeling that they have the strength for great sacrifices, become discouraged and continue a life of lukewarmness and sin."

She said, however, that Our Lord had explained to her:

"The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of My law. This is the penance that I now seek and require."

* *

On the same date, 13th October, 1884, 33 years prior, Pope Leo XIII had experienced a vision at the conclusion of his celebration of Mass, of an interchange between God and Satan in which permission had been granted to the devil to endeavour, over 100 years, to destroy Christ's Church.

* *

The coincidence of the dates of these events is not to be denied. Nor is the issue at stake in each, man's salvation from eternal perdition. Christ instituted His Church to that end. Were the Church to be destroyed, man's salvation would be impossible. That Almighty God will not allow this is certain, since He has promised to be with His Church until the end of time (Matthew 28 : 20). Yet, if men are to triumph over the devil, he must be given scope to try them. How well St Augustine put the issue when he wrote :

“Our pilgrim life here on earth cannot be without temptation for it is through temptation that we make progress and it is only by being tempted that we come to know ourselves. We cannot win our crown unless we overcome, and we cannot overcome unless we enter the contest, and there is no contest unless we have an enemy and the temptations he brings.”

(On Psalm 60, 2-3 : Cf. Office of Readings, Lent, Week 1, Sunday)

The evils abroad in 1917 are not to be compared with those that flourish in the twenty first century with contraception, abortion, sexual promiscuity and sexual perversion rife throughout the world. The message of the Blessed Virgin over the chastisements that must follow if men did not abandon their sinful practices has been ignored, and we are experiencing the consequences now. The Church God established on earth, and her teachings, have been rejected, mocked, as the devil has had his way with the Church's members, chiefly with her clergy and religious but also with the laity. The abandonment by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council of the Church's claim to be the one true religion on earth—manifest in any number of the Council's documents, but chiefly in Dignitatis Humanae, the “Declaration on Religious Freedom”—have provided fertile ground for an abandonment of belief in God by men quite unparalleled in human history. The Council has had deleterious effects, too, on the Church and the faithful reflecting the bishops' abandonment of Catholic principle. Those sceptical of the truth of this assertion might care to view the statistics in a report on the Church in the United States of America on the Rorate Caeli blogsite dated 11th October 2016—

The calculated rejection by western man, blessed with the immense benefits that have flowed to him from fifteen centuries of Christianity, of the moral authority of that civilising and peace-bringing influence deserves condign punishment. Having rejected the one true religion, men now find themselves abandoned to the demands of a false religion, Mohammedanism.


Michael Baker

13th October 2016—Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima