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May 13, 2022 3 min read
On May 5, 1917, Pope Benedict XV, because of the continuing World War I (which broke out in 1914) and the growing spiritual degradation of humanity, proclaimed a crusade of prayer.After countless attempts by the pontiff to stop "The Useless Massacre,"hopes were placed in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After 9 days -- just the time of a novena-- for the first time in the twentieth century Our Lady appears to 3 poor shepherd children in a hidden village called Fatima. in Portugal.
It was Sunday, May 13 when the lives of the three cousins - Lucia Dos Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marto - werechanged forever. As good Catholics they had attended Holy Mass in the parish church and were preparing to graze sheep to help their large, and certainly not wealthy, families.
It was a wonderful spring day and in the scent of lush nature they wanted to give themselves abeautiful backdrop. La Cova da Iria, with its natural amphitheater and wide green open space seemed like the perfect place to spend those hours. They were children, and as is natural they knew how to reconcile play with duty, but surprisingly the sky emanated a dazzling light, similar to that of lightning. What, wasitgoing to rain? Better not to take risks, spring is unpredictable. They gathered the sheep and started going down a slope when a new glow dashed. Near an holm oak there was a beautiful Lady who dressed in white with gold friezes; golden was the cord that served as a belt and white the jewels of a rosary crown she held in her hand.
The Fatima apparitions have an extraordinary scope that reminds us of how attentive Heaven is to the events of humanity. A humanity lost in the ways of the world, blinded by thefoolish lights that can bring souls into hellish crevasses. Thensuddenly it appears to us with glaring vividness that the Savior’s Mother is sent by God to straighten the paths of her children.
To whom does Our Lady of the Rosary appear? To three children, three shepherd children of a village then unknown. What did He want from them? He wants his children, by the means of penance and prayer, especially that of the Holy Rosary, to amend themselves and not condemn themselves to Hell. That place of eternal suffering thatwas shown to the three children who would likely have died of fear if the Blessed Virgin had not guaranteed them eternal joy in Heaven. How can we notcriticize the sad omissionby many priests who do not speak about it, so as not to disturb and frighten the faithful, while the Mother of God, Seat of Wisdom, shows it --complete withthedamned and devils within it -- to children?
Fatima isnowsynonymous with salvation. Every apparition, every message postulatesonthe true purpose of our lives, and the need for prayer and penance to escape Hell and gain eternal happiness, but without forgetting the Earthwhere it is possible to live in peace ..
The prayer:"O my Jesus, forgive our sins (...)" offered by Our Lady to each of us, through the 3 little shepherd children, is a ruby to be set in everydecade of the Holy Rosary. He teaches us masterfully, but in a few words, that God is yes, merciful, but if we do not pray and take charge of souls – our own and others – the consequences can be tremendous and eternal.
Oh, Mary, refuge of sinners Pray for us!
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