THE FIFTH APPARITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
- Location: Cova da Iria
- Date: September 13, 1917
- People present: 20000 to 3000
Following Our Lady’s fourth apparition, the words that stayed in the minds of the children were her last words at Valinhos: “Pray, pray a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell for not having someone to pray and make sacrifices for them.” All three, but especially Jacinta, had been praying and sacrificing. With those words, they had an even stronger desire for mortification, prayer, and suffering. Their one longing was to close that terrifying furnace of hell so that no more souls could go there. The children prayed much, but they sacrificed themselves even more. They trained their minds to discover new ways of suffering for the conversion of sinners. Lest others misunderstand the motives of their mortifications and prevent them from saving souls from hell, they kept this a secret between themselves. Only under orders from her superiors, many years later, did Lucia relate the extent of their sacrifices.
Later, Our Lady would mention one of the many ways they mortified themselves. While pasturing their sheep, they found a piece of rope. Playfully, Lucia tied it around her arm and soon discovered that it hurt. “Look, this hurts! We could tie this around our body for another sacrifice.” The rope was thick and very rough. They cut it in three pieces and tied it around their waists. The sharp pain it caused was difficult to endure, especially for little Jacinta. Lucia suggested that she take it off, but Jacinta insisted she keeps it on to save sinners from hell. They even wore the rope to bed. This prevented them from getting the rest they needed to carry out their daily tasks.
Finally, the D-day arrived (September 13). Before sunrise, crowds gathered around the children’s homes. Everyone wanted to speak to them or to ask a special remembrance to Our Lady. When it came time to leave for the Cova da Iria, Lucia would later write, “I left with Jacinta and Francisco, but there were so many people that we could hardly move a step. The roads overflowed with people. Everyone wanted to see and speak to us. There was no human respect in that crowd. Ordinary people, even noble ladies, and gentlemen succeeding in breaking their way through the crowd surrounding us, fell on their knees before us, asking that we bring their needs before Our Lady. Many others, unable to get near us, shouted, ‘for the love of God, ask Our Lady to cure my lame child… ask her to make my child see… to make my child hear… ask her to bring my husband and son back from the war… to convert a sinner… to make me, sick with tuberculosis, whole again.” When they finally arrived at the holm oak, Lucia as usual started the rosary, with the people responding. They were almost finished when the children arose to scan the horizon. They had seen the flash that meant the Lady was arriving. A globe of light was visible to many in the crowd.
The beautiful Lady stood over the same holm oak. Again, Lucia began with the humble question, “What do you want of me?” “Let the people continue to say the rosary every day to obtain the end of the war,” Our Lady responded. She renewed the promise she made during her last apparition. “In the last month, in October, I shall perform a miracle so that all may believe in my apparitions. If they had not taken you to the village, the miracle would have been greater. St. Joseph will come with the Baby Jesus to give peace to the world. Our Lord also will come to bless the people… God is pleased with your sacrifices but does not wish that you sleep with the rope. Wear it only during the day.”
Luca then said, “They have requested me to ask you many things.” “This girl is a deaf-mute. Don’t you want to cure her?” The Lady replied: “In the course of the year she will be improved.” “Will you help these other people?” Lucia asked. “Some I will cure; but the others, no. Our Lord does not have confidence in them”; the Lady replied. “The people would like very much to have a chapel built here,” Lucia suggested. The Lady replied, “Use half of the money received so far for the litters. On one of them, place the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. The other half should be set aside to help with the building of the chapel.” Lucia also said, “many people say that I am a swindler who should be hanged or burned. Please perform a miracle for all to believe,” “Yes, in October, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” “Some people gave me these two letters for you and a bottle of cologne”; said Lucia. She did not want to forget any requests. “None of that is necessary for heaven,” Our Lady retorted, and then began to leave.
Lucia, pointing towards the east, shouted to the people, “If you want to see Our Lady, look that way!” They looked eagerly towards the east and many saw the luminous globe now ascending towards heaven. As soon as it disappeared, the whole crowd swarmed the three children, asking many questions and pressing them to tell them the secret. Their parents had to struggle to make their way through the crowd. Once they did, they brought the children home.
Many years later Lucia wrote what many of the saints have before, that a most pleasing sacrifice to the Lord is offering your day to Him and doing your duties well. The children stopped sleeping with the rope as the Lady instructed. It affected how they watched over the sheep and how they carried out their other chores. Our Lady was gently teaching them this lesson.
All was now in place for the next, and the last, apparition. The children were now prepared for what would come.
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?