I have had a busy week this week and almost did not post this article. Today is a great day in the history of the message of Fatima - the Miracle of the Sun - 101 years ago today. Wow - how time flies - I would have thought something related to this great miracle would have happened to the earth by now. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen would always comment about a nuclear war as the possible message of the Miracle of the Sun which he was always wary of since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This analysis would make perfect sense that the message of Fatima was a warning of such a disaster since she came to also warn us to amend our lives or there would be a great chastisement. This same message was again repeated and approved at Akita Japan (the place of nuclear disaster). She also stated that even though the First World War was about to end - a Second and worse World War would break out if people continued to offend God and did not pray the Rosary. We saw the Second World War - are we about to see a world-wide destruction by fire for a world steeped in sin???
The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, which took place exactly a century ago, on October 13, 1917, was the first public miracle since the Resurrection of Jesus and is the most astounding event of the 20th century. And yet it is hardly known outside the Church, and not well enough known within it. This is worth sharing with all those you know!
The people who braved the terrible rainstorm which struck Fatima that day had gone there because of the promise of a miracle. Exactly what sort of miracle they didn’t know, but they knew that something exceptional was going to happen. Many skeptics and unbelievers were also drawn there in the hope of a fiasco in which the Church would then be turned into a laughing stock.
The previous July, Our Lady had told the three Fatima children that she would perform a miracle in October, and this sensational report spread throughout Portugal, ensuring that a huge crowd which numbered around 70,000 was present on October 13, despite the appalling weather.
At noon, Our Lady appeared to the children, and after repeating her requests for the daily rosary, and promising that World War I would soon end, she said to them sadly: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”
Then, while the three seers saw visions of the Holy Family, the crowd of at least 70,000 people were mesmerized as the Miracle of the Sun unfolded. What happened was so incredible that even non-believers couldn’t deny it, as this report, which appeared in the secular Lisbon paper O Dia, indicates:
"The silver sun … was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds. A cry went up from every mouth and the people fell on their knees on the muddy ground. … The light turned a beautiful blue as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands. The blue faded slowly and then the light seemed to pass through yellow glass. … People wept and prayed with uncovered heads in the presence of the miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they."
This wasn’t the only unexpected response from a secular source. The journalist Avelino de Almeida had previously published a satirical article about Fatima in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo, which had succeeded in drawing great attention to the apparitions. But when he witnessed the miracle first hand he adopted a very different tone and truthfully reported what he saw, even though he was violently criticized for this by fellow journalists.
Meanwhile, José Almeida Garrett, a young lawyer, reported that “The sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl. Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight.”
Eyewitnesses to the miracle said that the sun danced in the sky, the color of the whole landscape changed successively, and the sun seemed to come down towards them, so that many of the crowd thought it was the end of the world. It was also seen at a distance by various people, undercutting the idea that it was simply a collective hallucination. Something else that suggests that the miracle was genuine is that the people at the Cova felt the heat of the sun as it approached them. Their clothes and the ground – which had been soaked by the torrential rain – were dry at the end of the miracle.
Still, “freethinkers” continued to oppose what they regarded as a “despicable reactionary superstition”, fostered by the devotion of the ordinary Portuguese people at Fatima. Their opposition included an attempt to blow up the little chapel which had been built at the site of the apparitions in March 1922. Although the roof of the chapel was blown off, the tree where Our Lady appeared was undamaged.
A point worth focusing on is that many of the witnesses thought it was the end of the world, so terrifying was their experience. So we can also see the Miracle of the Sun as a foreshadowing of what will actually happen at the end of the world or at least at a chastisement, and also as an indication that we are living in a time of crisis, of judgment, when we are called to stand up for the Church and for the truth.
Let us pray the Rosary for our leaders in the Church and for the world which is steeped in sin - not only today but always. May we live the Fatima message in order that souls may be saved and that we can avert a disaster of this magnitude for the world.
Our Lady of Fatima - pray for us!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!