Prayer, penance, and conversion
Asked Our Lady at Fatima
Wars are chastisements for the sins of men
If one does'nt stop offending God, there will be a third world war
Lucia Dos Santos, one of the three seers of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917,
is still alive. She was born on March 22, 1907; she is now 96 years old.
As the Virgin Mary had told them, the two other seers died at a very
young age: Francisco Marto died on April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, and
his sister, Jacinta, died on February 20, 1920, at the age of 9. To
Lucia, Our Lady had said: “You
must remain a little longer here on earth. Jesus wants to use you to
make Me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world the devotion
to My Immaculate Heart.” Francisco and Jacinta Marto were declared
“blessed” on May 13, 2000, in Fatima, in a ceremony presided over by
Pope John Paul II, in the presence of Sister Lucia.
the request of her Bishop, Lucia wrote all that she knew about Jacinta
and the Apparitions, after she entered the Carmel in Coimbra, Portugal.
Here are excerpts from this book, “Memórias e Cartas da Irmã
Lucia” (Memories of Sister Lucy of Fatima), which begins with a
foreword by Father Antonio Maria Martins, SJ:
Fatima, a work of God
Fatima, like all the other true Apparitions
of Our Lady, is a work of God, and God leaves nothing to chance. As in
Israel, from time to time, God sent prophets to remind His people of
their eternal destiny after Christ's coming, so God in His utmost
sapient Providence used Apparitions of Christ and Our Lady – strong
enough in themselves to have worldwide influence – to recall the
attention of His children to the eternal truths of Revelation which were
very often forgotten or distorted due to human passions.
Let us remember that in Christ's time most
of the priests and doctors of the law, in spite of their frequent
readings of the Holy Scriptures, had wandered so far from the true
meaning of Revelation that they were expecting a political messiah to
set Israel free from Roman bondage. Is not something like this going on
in our day?
As a matter of fact, are there not some
priests and bishops who pretend to turn the Church into an institution
of social assistance and as a means of development for underdeveloped
people or countries? There are many who attack the authentic Magisterium
under the pretence of liberating the Church from medieval structures.
But the most dangerous error that has led
many priests to leave the priesthood is the pagan naturalism that
pretends to achieve supernatural goals by human means. Therefore they do
not care about prayer and penance, but trust only in action, action,
Is not such a mentality in conflict with
the eternal words of Christ, “for apart from Me, you can do
nothing”? There are some too who pretend to banish all responsibility
for sin, fictionalizing strange theories. Christ has already fulminated
such baseless intents (Mt 7:15-23). The Apparitions of Our Lady at
Fatima, are they not a strong admonition against the above-mentioned
distortions of Revelation?
short, what is the Message of Fatima? It is to remind us that our
eternal destiny depends on keeping our souls in the grace of
means of prayer and penance. Prayer includes devotion to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Rosary.
point of Revelation which is very often forgotten is that Fatima reminds
us that wars and cataclysms are God's punishments for our sins.
Do not the Holy Scriptures say that Sodom was destroyed because there
were not ten just men in it? And Jerusalem, because it had not
understood the message of peace? And what is meant by the Flood, the
forty years of God's people in the desert, the captivity of Babylon?
God has not changed, and moreover, He
cannot change. Therefore what happened in the past will be so until the
end of the world. Men are looking for pleasure with increasing
refinements. They easily forget the lessons of History and God's
Fatima is a tocsin in men's and countries'
ways. It is also a loving invitation for sincere contrition, an
indispensable way to obtain the pardon of God our Father.
A. M. Martins, SJ
Memories of Sister Lucia of Fatima
“A sea of fire”
The secret is composed of three different
parts... The first is the vision of hell! Our Lady showed us a large sea
of fire which seemed to be beneath the earth. Plunged in this fire were
demons and souls, who were like embers, transparent and black or
bronze-colored, with human forms that floated about in the
conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from it with clouds of
smoke, falling on all sides as sparks fall in great conflagrations,
without weight or equilibrium, among shrieks and groans of sorrow and
despair which horrified us and caused us to quake with fear. The devils
were distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals, frightful
and unknown, but transparent and black.
This vision vanished in a moment.
Providentially, our good Heavenly Mother had promised us, in the first
Apparition, to take us to Heaven. Otherwise I think we would have died
of fright and horror. Shortly afterwards, we raised our eyes to Our Lady
who said with goodness and sadness:
Words of the Virgin Mary
saw hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to
establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If they do
what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.
The war is going to end. But if they don't stop offending God, another
and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you shall see a
night illuminated by an unknown light (the night of the 25th to 26th of
know that this is the great sign God will give you that He is going to
punish the world by means of war, hunger, and persecutions of the Church
and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I come to ask for the
consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of
reparation on the first Saturdays. If they listen to My requests, Russia
will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her
errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the
Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to
suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.
the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will
consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a certain period
of peace will be granted to the world.”
Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto
Horrified by the sight of hell
Your Excellency, as I told you in the
writings I sent to you after I had read the book about Jacinta, she was
greatly impressed by some things revealed in the secret. As a matter of
fact, this was one of them. The vision of hell frightened her so much
that she did all the penances and mortifications she could to prevent
more souls from going there.
Now I shall answer the second question
which is asked from all sides. How had Jacinta, still a child,
understood such a spirit of mortification and penance, and how had she
In my opinion, it was, first of all,
through a special grace God granted her through the Immaculate Heart of
Mary; and secondly, through the vision of hell and the unfortunate souls
falling into it. There are people, even devout ones, who are afraid to
speak about hell to children lest they frighten them, but God did not
hesitate to show it to three children, one of whom was only seven years
old. He knew she would be horrified to the point — I would say
— of shrivelling with fear.
People burning like wood in fire
Frequently she sat, meditating, on the
ground or some stone, and began to exclaim, “Hell! Hell! How sorry I
am for the souls that are going to hell! And people burn there alive,
like wood in fire!” And quivering a little, she would kneel on the
ground with her hands joined and say the prayer Our Lady had taught us:
my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all
souls into Heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy
Now you can understand why I got the
impression that the last words of this prayer are concerned with souls
who are most in danger of damnation or nearest to it. Jacinta stayed for
a long time on her knees, repeating the same prayer. Every now and then,
as if waking us, she called to me or her brother, Francisco.
“Francisco, are you praying with me? We need to pray a great deal to
save souls from hell. So many are going there! So many!”
At other times she asked, “Why doesn't
Our Lady show hell to sinners? If they saw it, they would never sin
again and wouldn't have to go there. You must tell Our Lady to show hell
to all those people. (She meant the people staying in Cova da Iria at
the time of the Apparition.) You will see that they will be
converted.” Some days later, a little despondent, she asked, “Why
didn't you tell Our Lady to show hell to those people?”
“I forgot,” I answered.
“I didn't remember, either,” she said
sadly. Sometimes, she also asked, “What sins are committed by those
people to make them go to hell?”
“I don't know. Perhaps not going to Mass
on Sundays, stealing, saying wicked words, cursing, swearing.”
“What would it cost them to keep quiet
and go to Mass! I am sorry for sinners! Oh, if I could only let them see
Sometimes she hugged me and said, “I am
going to Heaven, but you have to stay here. If Our Lady lets you, tell
everybody what hell is like, so that they can escape it by not
Other times, after thinking for a while,
she said, “So many falling into hell! So many in hell!” To reassure
her, I said, “Don't be afraid. You are going to Heaven!” “Yes, I
am going there,” she said calmly. “But I also want everyone to go
Sacrifice for sinners
When, to mortify herself, she didn't want
to eat, I said, “Jacinta, come on, eat now.” ”No, I am offering
this sacrifice for sinners who eat too much.” When she was sick but
was going to go to Mass anyway, I said, “Jacinta, don't. You aren't
able. And it's not Sunday today.” “It doesn't matter. I will go for
sinners who don't even go on Sundays.”
If she happened to hear any loud cursing,
she covered her face with her hands and said, “Oh my God, these people
don't realize this kind of talk might send them to hell! Forgive them,
Jesus, and convert them. They certainly don't know they are offending
God. Oh, what a pity, Jesus! I will pray for them!” And she repeated
the prayer Our Lady had taught us, “O my Jesus, forgive us” etc.
Now, your Excellency, I have revealed the
first part of the secret. The second part refers to the devotion to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary. As I mentioned to you previously, Our Lady, on
July 13th, 1917, told us that God wishes to establish in the world the
devotion to Her Immaculate Heart and to prevent the forthcoming war. She
came to ask the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart and the
Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays...
And I still say, prayer and penance as done
in Portugal has not yet placated Divine Justice, for they have been
accompanied neither by contrition nor amendment. I hope Jacinta is
interceding for us in Heaven.
As I said in the writings I sent about the
book “Jacinta”, she was very impressed by some things revealed in
the secret. For instance, the vision of hell, the misfortune of so many
souls falling into it, the forthcoming war whose horrors, it seemed,
were present to her. All this filled her with consternation. When I saw
her deep in thought, I asked, “Jacinta, of what are you thinking?”
Often, she answered, ”Of that war which
is coming, of the many people who are going to die and go to hell. What
a shame! If they would stop offending God, neither the war would come
nor would they go to hell!”
Sister Lucia of Fatima
This article was published in the March-April, 2003 issue of “Michael”.