THE THIRD APPARITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
- Location: Cova da Iria
- Date: July 13, 1917
- People present: 3000 to 5000
Immediately after the second apparition, the sufferings of the three children intensified as their families, neighbours and even their parish priest (pastor) condemned them for making claims that Our Lady appeared to them. Their pastor told the people that the children’s claims were the “invention of the devil.” One of the few who believed the children replied to him saying, “Prayers are going on at the Cova da Iria, and the devil does not like that.” “The devil, even, goes to the Communion rail,” countered the priest. Such was the persecution of the three seers.
In spite of the criticism, attacks, and condemnation accompanied by the sorrows, Jacinta and Francisco were the happiest children in the world. However, Lucia was filled with doubt and despair. Her mother constantly repeated the words of the pastor to her. Unfortunately, Lucia understood that it was possible the apparitions were from the devil. That possibility disturbed her so much that she made up her mind not to go to the Cova da Iria again.
On the eve of July 13 (the day prior to seeing the Lady), Lucia went to Jacinta and Francisco and told them of her decision not to go to the Cova the next day. This brought them to tears. They tried to convince her to go, but Lucia grew angry. She told her cousins, “No, I am not going. Look! If the Lady asks for me, tell her I am not going because I fear she is the devil.” At that Lucia left them.
The morning of July 13 arrived. Lucia felt the same doubt and confusion. However, she was interiorly compelled to go there when it was time to leave for the Cova. She could not ignore it. Once she decided to go, every doubt, every fear vanished. Her heart was transformed from sadness to joy. Upon arriving at her cousins’ house, she found both of them kneeling by the side of the bed, crying their eyes out. Realizing that Lucia had changed her mind, they jumped to their feet. So off they went, the three of them, walking happily through the crowds of people that jammed the roads to the Cova. The three children could not hurry, because many people stopped them, asking them to speak to Our Lady and ask special favours for them.
When they arrived at Cova da Iria, they knelt and Lucia led them in praying the rosary. When the rosary was over, Lucia stood up, looked towards the east and cried out, “Our Lady is coming!” The crowd saw something like a small greyish cloud hovering over the holm oak. The sun turned hazy and a refreshing breeze began to blow. It no longer felt like the height of summer. The crowd fell silent. Like a loving mother bending over her sick child, wishing to strengthen and console the children in the truth of the apparitions, the beautiful Lady engulfed the three in her immense light and rested her loving eyes on Lucia. The girl could not speak for joy. Jacinta nudged her, “Lucia, go ahead, speak to her. She is already speaking to you.” So Lucia, looking up towards Our Lady, her eyes filled with loving devotion, asked, “What do you want of me?” “I want you to return here on the 13th of next month,” the Lady said. “Continue to say the rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war…”
Lucia couldn’t help but think of what the pastor had said. She wanted to clear up the doubts in her mind. So she asked, “Will you please tell us who you are and perform a miracle so that everyone will believe that you really appear to us?” The beautiful Lady replied: “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I desire and I will perform a miracle all shall see so that they believe.” Then Lucia spoke of the petitions of the people. Our Lady answered, “Some I will cure and others not. As to the crippled boy, I will not cure him or take him out of his poverty, but he must say the rosary every day with his family.” Lucia told her of the case of a sick person who wished to be taken soon to heaven. “He should not try to hurry things. I know well when I shall come for him”; replied the Lady. Lucia asked for the conversion of some people. The answer of the Lady was, as with the crippled boy, the recitation of the rosary. Then, to remind the children of their special vocation and to inspire them to greater fervour and courage for the future, the Lady said: “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’” As Our Lady said these words, Lucia described many years later, “She opened her hands again as she had done the two previous months. The light reflecting from them seemed to penetrate into the earth, and we saw as if into a sea of fire, and immersed in that fire were devils and souls with human form as if they were transparent black or bronze embers floating in the fire and swayed by the flames that issued from them along with clouds of smoke, falling upon every side just like the falling of sparks in great fires, without weight or equilibrium, amidst wailing and cries of pain and despair that horrified and shook us with terror. We could see the devils by their horrible and nauseous figures of baleful and unknown animals, but transparent as the black coals in a fire.”
All three children witnessed this. The crowd could see they were frightened. One person said the children turned deathly pale. Unable to bear these visions, they raised their eyes to Our Lady for help as Lucia cried out. “Oh… Our Lady!” Our Lady then explained what they had seen:
“You have seen hell – where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
After this, we also saw on the left side of Our Lady (a little higher) an Angel with a sword of fire in his left hand; as it sparkled, it fired flames that seemed to set the world on fire; but they were extinguished with the contact of the brightness that Our Lady sent to her right hand: The Angel pointing with his right hand towards the earth, with a strong voice said: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” And we saw in an immense light that God is something similar to how people look in a mirror when a Bishop dressed in White passes by him; we had a feeling that he was the Holy Father. Several other Bishops Priests, men and women religious, climb a rugged mountain, on top of which was a large Cross of rough logs as if it were a cork oak with the bark; before reaching there, the Holy Father passed through a large city half in ruins, and half shaky, with a wobbly walk, overwhelmed with pain and pity, he was praying for the souls of the corpses he met along the way; arrived at the top of the mountain, prostrate on his knees at the feet of the great Cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who shot him with several shots and arrows, and even so the Bishops, Priests, men and women religious and several secular people were dying behind each other, gentlemen and ladies of various classes and positions. Under the two arms of the Cross were two Angels each with a crystal watering can in their hand, collecting the blood of the Martyrs in them and watering souls who approached God. “To forestall this,” the Lady said, “I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If they heed my request, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting 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 shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will be kept always. Do not tell this to anyone. To Francisco, yes, you may tell it.” (This was because Francisco could not hear her at that time but could only see her).
“When you say the Rosary,” says the Lady, “say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all your souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of your mercy.” After this, there was a moment of silence. On seeing how Our Lady looked sad and wanting to do something heroic for her Lady, Lucia asked, in a childlike way, “Don’t you want anything else from me?” “No; today I desire nothing else from you.” At this point, the crowd heard something like thunder, and a little grotto that had been set up to hold vigil lanterns shook as if there had been an earthquake. Lucia stood up quickly and exclaimed, “There she goes,” pointing up to heaven, then a few moments later, “She’s gone!” The small grey cloud witnessed by those present vanished. Immediately, the inquisitive crowd surrounded them, asking, “What did the Lady say to make you look so sad?”
“It is a secret,” she responded.
“Is it something good?”
“For some, it is good; for others, it is evil.”
“Won’t you tell it?” they pressed.
“No, I cannot tell it,” she answered with convincing determination.
The crowd continued to push so much that they almost smothered the children. Jacinta and Francisco’s father, Ti Marto, who had believed the children from the beginning, was frightened for their safety. He picked up Jacinta. Another relative took Francisco in his arms. A man from the village carried Lucia. The three men took the three visionaries safely home. As was the case in all the heavenly encounters before, Lucia was the only one of the three to speak to Our Lady. Jacinta could see and hear Our Lady. Francisco was permitted to see but not hear her words. In previous apparitions, Our Lady taught them in a comforting, assuring way. This time, though, was different. They saw Our Lady but were also allowed to see into the revolting, foul and vile reality of hell. Her lesson to them was unlike her previous consoling ones. She had prepared them the month before to begin conveying to the world God’s desire to increase devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order to bring peace and end the war. Now the children were told what would come if God’s plan was not followed. Yet they were not permitted to tell anyone. That would come later.
Knowing this knowledge would only increase the children’s sufferings, she taught them that those sufferings would be meritorious. She gave them a simple prayer, “My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” The children would endure far more suffering before Our Lady visited them again. This prayer, by taking refuge in the Immaculate Heart, was their sole source of comfort. They did not know what was to come. They did not know what they were supposed to do with the knowledge given them. But they were now prepared to endure it all prayerfully and for the salvation of souls (salus animarum).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, may Almighty God bless + you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Culled from “Memórias da Irmã Lúcia I. 14.ª ed. Fátima: Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 2010”
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?