“Lucia,” Jacinta said, “speak. Our Lady is talking to you.
“Yes?” said Lucia. She spoke humbly, asking pardon for her doubts with every gesture, and to the Lady: “What do you want of me?”
(The reader will note, and we hope without impatience or fatigue, that there is no cleverness to this story. The dialogue is always much the same. The Lady speaks her message with a sameness that an able stage director would discard. And yet she gives to all the world the one prescription that the world most needs.)
“I want you to come back here on the thirteenth of next month,” the Lady said. “Continue to say the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.”
“Yes,” said Lucia, “yes.” She was braver now. Love had restored her. In her gladness she wished only to repair the damage of her recent distrust. “I would like to ask who you are,” she said to the Lady, “and if you will do a miracle so that everyone will know for certain that you have appeared to us.”
“You must come here every month,” the Lady said, “and in October I will tell you who I am and what I want. I will then perform a miracle so that all may believe.”
Thus assured, Lucia began to place before the Lady the petitions for help that so many had entrusted to her. The Lady said gently that she would cure some, but others she would not cure. “And the crippled son of Maria da Capelinha?” No, the Lady said, neither of his infirmity nor of his poverty would he be cured, and he must be certain to say the Rosary with his family every day.14 Another case recommended by Lucia to the Lady’s assistance was a sick woman from Atougia who asked to be taken to heaven. “Tell her not to be in a hurry,” the Lady said. (The tone here is almost like that of any harried mother importuned unreasonably.) “Tell her I know very well when I shall come to fetch her.” There is unquestioned sternness here, for at Fatima, time and again, our Lady made it unmistakably clear that she was speaking for a just and hideously wounded Christ, whose patience, if not exhausted by the sins of the world, had known such trial that even the Infinite had wearied. The Blessed Mother confided to Lucia and her cousins still another secret.15 “Make sacrifices for sinners,” she instructed them, “and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
As she spoke these words (Lucia tells us in her memoirs), the Lady opened her hands, as she had in the preceding months, but instead of the glory and beauty of God that her opened hands had shown us before, we now were able to behold a sea of fire. Plunged in this flame were devils and souls that looked like transparent embers; others were black or bronze, and in human form; these were suspended in flames which seemed to come from the forms themselves there to remain, without weight or equilibrium, amid cries of pain and despair which horrified us so that we trembled with fear. The devils could be distinguished from the damned human souls by the terrifying forms of weird and unknown animals in which they were cast.
Ti Marto, who was witnessing the actions of the children by the little oak tree in the Cova da Iria that day, recalls that Lucia gasped in sudden horror, that her face was white as death, and that all who were there heard her cry in terror to the Virgin Mother, whom she called by name.
The children were looking at their Lady in terror, speechless, and unable to plead for relief from the scene they had witnessed. Sadly, but kindly now, the Lady told them:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin.16 And when you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light, you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I-shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins-of the world.
“If my wishes are fulfilled,” the Lady continued, “Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace. In Portugal the faith will always be preserved. Remember, you must not tell this to anyone except Francisco.”
The third apparition was over.
“Is there anything more that you want of me?” Lucia had asked the Lady.
“No, my child; there is nothing more for today.”
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|THE TRUE STORY OF FATIMA|
|Father John de Marchi, I.M.C,|