The war did end as our Lady had promised but just as quickly as Europe was delivered from that terrible war they were crushed to the ground by a pandemic plague we know as the “Spanish Flu”, which killed an estimated 130 million people making it the most terrible natural disaster since the flood.
The seers of Fatima were deeply touched by the flu because both the Santos and the Marto families lost many. Little Francisco died a very holy death on April 9th 1919. The parting words from his dear sister were:
Give my love to our Lord and our Lady, and tell them that I suffer all they ask of me to convert sinners, and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
She was then only eight. Soon after she herself fell ill and even though our Lady had told them this would be the case Lucia was very sad because she knew that she would have to live on after her cousins for a “little while later” our Lady had said. When Jacinta noticed that Lucia was very sad knowing that soon she would lose her too after having already lost Francisco it was then she who did the cheering up from the incredible depths of her charity:
Poor thing. Don’t cry, Lucia. I shall pray a lot in heaven for you. You are going to stay here, but it is our Lady who wants it.
When Lucia asked her little cousin what she would do in heaven her response reminds one of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face:
I’m going to love Jesus a lot, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and pray and pray for you, for the Holy Father, my parents, brothers, sisters and for everyone who asked me and for sinners. I love to suffer for love of our Lord and our Lady. They love those who suffer for the conversion of sinners.
The last sentence is one we all ought to take to heart, especially considering the times in which we live. After her time at the hospital in Ourem little Jactina had to make the long and painful ride to Lisbon where a specialist in children’s diseases was to attend to her. On the journey she meditated upon the difficult journey of our Lady and Saint Joseph to Bethlehem. After reaching Lisbon her mother then had to leave her there and it was the last time she would see her or anyone from her family.
She spent 18 days there in excruciating suffering of body, mind, and soul. At 6 o’clock on February 20th 1920 a priest came to hear her confession, and promised to bring her communion in the morning. Jacinta begged him to bring it immediately, but seeing no reason for any alarm he declined to do so. Four and half hours later she died peacefully with only a nurse at her side, and without having ever received our Lord whom she loved so much, but then she was at last with Him in heaven.
The 1920’s and 30’s saw more bloody Masonic/Communist revolutions in both Catholic Spain and Catholic Mexico. Neither country has yet recovered from the damage done socially, politically, and most of all spiritually during this period. There were very many martyrs from this time as well including Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J. (+1927) in Mexico and Blessed Lucas of Saint Joseph, O.C.D (+1936) in Spain. The latter was an amazing and yet little known figure who was the Provincial General of the Discalced Carmelite Order and the founding missionary pastor of a Church in Tucson Arizona. He also wrote some wonderful books including: Saint Teresa’s Bookmark: A Meditative Commentary. It is a must read for every Catholic because of it’s depth and applicability to our day. Here are a few examples:
“When rulers were men filled with the spirit of God, such as Recaredo, St. Ferdinand, Cisneros and Isabel the Catholic, little was said about truth and virtue, and much done. In times of unbelief, statesmen have withdrawn from God, at any rate they do not want Him at their side while they legislate. You cannot deny their talent, for they are scholars and doctors and speak with fascinating eloquence; but good sense is lacking. In their minds there is light, but it is an artificial light, which stupefies Saint Teresa’s and dazzles, killing the noble energies of the souls of individuals and of nations. Ah! it is because these minds have not God; and if the mind that hath God wanteth nothing, the mind bereft of Him has scarcely anything of avail.”
“Here is the dividing line that separates naturalism or rationalism from Catholicism. The former wants to establish harmony in our being, by quenching all idea, all sentiment of the infinite; erasing all traces of God imprinted in our souls. It pretends to counterbalance this most distressful world of the human spirit, not by Saint Teresa’s raising what is less noble to what is most perfect and lofty; but on the contrary by lowering what is highest to what is less perfect, the spirit to matter. It takes away the infinite element, so that having, unlike the brute, more than material and coarse elements, tendencies and aspirations, we shall have in our soul a clear distinction between virtue and vice, between the temporal and eternal, between the aspirations and our effort to satisfy them. To rationalists the infinite is but a foolish fancy; to think of it, desire it and love it, is a chronic disease of the human spirit. To cure it, rationalists hold that our heart must be restrained to the end that it may never think of anything beyond the confines of time and of matter. So that not thinking of God, nor desiring anything beyond the material and sensible, earth would suffice us; on it, they imagine, we would be contented and satisfied, live in complete peace, happiness and freedom. But it will not be possible for rationalism to complete its work; it would be necessary to recast human nature and form it in another and an impossible mould.”
“To all those men who persist in their unbelief, and in withdrawing from heaven try to be happy on earth, and in the same manner to those who believe, God alone can suffice.”
“Souls dearest to God are always those who, though bowed down by sorrow, do not allow themselves to be depressed, nor place their confidence in creatures; but, raising their eyes towards heaven, hope for consolation only from God.”
Next door in Portugal Lucia’s role in our Lady’s plan was still just beginning, for she was not to see heaven until February 13th 2005. Not long after the death of her little cousins and so now all alone she entered a convent.
On December 10th 1925 our Lady appeared holding her Divine Son in her arms and asked Sister Lucia to promote the devotion to her Immaculate Heart that she had requested in 1917. Again, on February 15th, 1926 she received another visit from the Child Jesus and was asked again to promote this devotion to His mother. But her letters fell on deaf ears. On July 13th 1929, at the point when Stalin (the greatest Mass murderer of all time) had fully come to power in Russia, our Lord came to Sister Lucia once again, but this time with a new message. He told her that it was now time for the Pope to perform the tasked requested by our Lady in 1917: the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
In Russia the Catholic Faith had become illegal and any who were Catholic were prohibited from partaking in the most basic necessities of life, and even the solemn day of rest Sunday was abolished from existence in Russia. Thus Lucia sent this message to the Holy Father (Pope Pius XI):
The Good God promises to make an end of the persecution in Russia if the Holy Father deigns to make, and orders to be made, by all the Bishops of the Catholic world a solemn and public act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and if, in return for the end of this persecution His Holiness promises to approve and to recommend the practice of reparatory devotion (the first five Saturdays).
Again, tragically this appeal from heaven was not heeded by the Pope, for whatever reason, and in August of 1931 our Lord again came to Sister Lucia with this horrifying message:
Make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune.
When the King of France refused the request of our Lord the punishment was most severe, and when the Vicar of Christ over the whole world did the same the results were no less so.
Economic and social discord in Europe and the whole world were growing to a fever pitch and into the breach stepped some of the most evil men the world has ever seen. I have already mentioned Stalin and to him can be added the likes of Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan not to mention their many subordinates.
Sister Lucia tirelessly tried to convince the Holy Father of his duty to follow this request of our Lord. But again to no avail.
In Poland another nun was praying in perfect unity with the Heart of Jesus and receiving regular visits from him. On January 8th 1938 He said to her:
My beloved child, delight of My Heart, your words are dearer and more pleasing to me than the angelic chorus. All the treasures of My Heart are open to you. Take from this Heart all that you need for yourself and for the whole world. For the sake of your love, I withhold the just chastisements, which mankind has deserved. A single act of pure love pleases Me more than a thousand imperfect prayers. One of your sighs of love atones for many offenses with which the godless overwhelm Me. The smallest act of virtue has unlimited value in My eyes because of your great love for Me. In a soul that lives on My love alone, I reign as in heaven. I watch over it day and night. In it I find My happiness; My ear is attentive to each request of its heart; often I anticipate its requests. O child, especially beloved by Me, apple of My eye, rest a moment near My Heart and taste of the love in which you will delight for all eternity. (Diary, #1489)
On January 25th 1938, the aurora borealis was seen in an exceptional display all across the western world. It was the fulfillment of the prophecy of our Lady at Fatima:
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.
On that very same day, Saint Faustina again wrote in her diary these words:
I saw the anger of God hanging heavy over Poland. And now I see that if God were to visit our country with the greatest chastisements, that would still be great mercy because, for such grave transgressions, He could punish us with eternal annihilation. I was paralyzed with fear when the Lord lifted the veil a little for me. Now I see clearly that chosen souls keep the world in existence to fulfill the measure [of justice]. (#1533)
Nine months later on October 5th Saint Faustina went to be with her Divine Spouse.
During 1939 Sister Lucia continued to encourage the Holy Father to perform the requested actions. Our Lord continued to visit her and urge her on in this task. In May He told her:
Ask, ask again insistently for the promulgation of the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturday in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The moment approaches when the rigor of My justice will punish the crimes of diverse nations. Some will be annihilated. In the end the rigors of My justice will fall more severely on those who wish to destroy My reign in souls.
On June 20th, Sister Lucia’s words become dramatic:
Our Lady has promised to delay the scourge of the war, if this devotion is propagated and practiced. We see that it can repel this chastisement in the measure in which we make an effort to propagate it. But I am afraid that we cannot do more than what we have already done, and that God, displeased, will lift the arm of His mercy and allow the world to be devastated by this chastisement, which will be horrible, more horrible than we have ever seen.
But still her words are not heeded, and on August 22nd Russia and Germany sign a pact that effectively caused the nation of Poland to disappear. Without her powerful protector of Vilnis, the messenger of the Divine Mercy, this great Catholic nation ceased to exist. This fulfilled yet another of our Lady’s prophesies at Fatima that: “various nations will be annihilated”.
In April of 1940 the new Pope Pius XII received his first message from the seer of Fatima, and it was requested of him that he would make the consecration of Russia and promote the devotion to the Immaculate Heart that his predecessor had failed to do.
Finally, on October 31st 1942 the Holy Father performed a consecration of the whole world to the Immaculate Heart with the special mention of Russia, but Lucia was informed by our Lord that this was not what had been asked and thus the request remained unfulfilled. He told her, however, that this act was pleasing to Him and would secure a shortening of the chastisement. In fact just three days after the Consecration the war took an unexpected and decisive turn in favor of the allied forces.
The war only lasted a little more than a year and a half longer in Europe, but by then it had taken a terrible toll. Saint Maximilian Kolbe had died a Martyr of Charity in Auschwitz on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption in 1941. Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) died in the same camp almost exactly one year later. There were also the 108 Martyrs of Poland who were priests and faithful alike all killed for their faith, many of them in Auschwitz or Dachau.
Three years later another tragedy struck the Church, but in it we see the power of the message of Fatima.
On August 6th, 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima Japan. Never before had the outright slaughter of innocent civilians by the tens of thousands been seen to be acceptable in a civilized society. But President Truman, a Freemason, was confident that morals simply were lagging behind technology and that one day we would look back on this terrible event and see it as perfectly noble. This is a testament of the spread of the “errors of Russia” already deeply embedded in the western world by this time. This is something the late great Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen would speak about often during his many opportunities on Radio and Television.
What was amazing was not what happened, but rather what didn’t happen. Just eight blocks from ground zero stood the Jesuit Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. Not only was the church still standing, but the priests inside were all perfectly unharmed and more than that were never shown to have suffered any effects of radiation whatsoever.
Over the next 30 years, Father Hubert Schiffer (the Superior of the house) was examined around 200 times for radiation exposure, and the doctors were unable to find any at all. These four Jesuit Priests survived a nuclear blast that killed almost all other people even at over ten times the distance from the blast. Almost every other person, even at 3 times the distance from the explosion, died instantly. Those within a radius ten times the distance at which the Jesuits were exposed, died from radiation poisoning within days. Half a million people were annihilated.
All four members of the small Jesuit community escaped alive when most of the City of Hiroshima was obliterated. Nine days later, on the Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Wednesday, August 15th 1945, the military of the United States in that region were ordered to cease fire. From a pool of survivors of a fifteen-kilometer radius, the Jesuits were the only people who, after fifteen years, were still alive. All the rest had died due to radiation exposure. When asked what obtained this incredible miracle the Jesuits emphatically responded:
We believe that we survived because we were living the Message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that Rectory.
On August 9th the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This city was a Catholic center in Japan and more than ten thousands Catholics were killed by this bomb. Here too though was an incredible miracle in another religious house. This one had been personally established by Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and had been placed in a location specifically indicated to him by our Lord. This Friary was also completely unharmed by this bomb, and again the Franciscans attributed their deliverance to the fact that they lived the message of Fatima as a community.
There is an interesting excerpt from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheens wonderful book on our Lady: The World’s First Love – Mary Mother of God, which is apropos in this context:
There are three possible ways of interpreting the Miracle of the Sun. The first is to regard it as a warning of the atomic bomb, which, like a falling sun, would darken the world. It conceivably might be a potent of the day when man, Prometheus-like, would snatch fire from the heavens and then rain it down as death on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
It could also be seen as a sign of hope, namely, that the Woman who came out of nature is mightier than the forces of nature… At Fatima, the fact that Mary could take this great center and seat of atomic power and make it her plaything, the fact that she could swing the sun “like a trinket at her wrist”, is a proof that God has given her power over it, not for death, but for light and life and hope.
The war was over but the errors of Russia were spreading. The Soviet Union controlled Eastern Europe. China had undergone its own revolution and the errors spread from there throughout Asia and there was a great persecution of Catholics there. Catholic Cuba too which had been wonderfully blessed a century earlier when they had the great Saint Anthony Mary Claret as their Bishop was oppressed by communism too.
In 1950, on October 30th and 31st, Ven. Pope Pius XII saw, on multiple occasions, a repeat of the miracle of the sun in his private garden just before he was to proclaim the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary, and on a third occasion after the proclamation.
In May 1952 our Lady once again appeared to Sister Lucia with a message for our Holy Father:
Make known to the Holy Father that I am still awaiting the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. Without this consecration, Russia will not be able to convert, nor will the world have peace.
Pope Pius XII again responded, but again did not complete the requested action in full as our Lady had originally requested. The act was done on July 7th 1952. And again we see a partial response from heaven for a partial completion of the request.
In October Stalin was gearing up for a military incursion into Western Europe and things were very tense, but as the preparations were being completed in February of 1953 he was suddenly struck with a cerebral hemorrhage, and died on March 5th.
No more was to be done by this Pope in regard to this message of Fatima, and in December 1957 Sister Lucia wrote:
The Holy Virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to Her message, neither the good nor the bad. The good continue on their way, but without giving any importance to her message.
Pope Pius XII went to his eternal reward almost a year later on October 9th 1958, and Pope John XXIII was elected his successor shortly there after.
It was just over a year then until it was time for the third and final secret of Fatima to be revealed in 1960, and Lucia shortly after his election began writing letters to yet another Pope in the hopes that the requests of our Lady would be heeded at last.