One problem about prophecies is that most people believe them only after they come true. Not much use at that point, except to lament one’s unbelief.
Take Noah. No one listened to his warning of a great flood until people watched his ark sail away while rising waters engulfed them.
That happened not just in biblical times, but in our time, too. As recounted in past articles, Our Lady of Fatima, whose apparitions in the Portuguese village to three shepherd children turn 100 on May 13, warned of World War II and the global spread of communism from Russia.
Visionaries Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacintha Marto relayed the warning to Church authorities, along with God’s instruction for the Pope in communion with all other bishops to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
One would think the Vicar of Christ and all his fellow prelates would promptly carry out God’s express instruction delivered by His Blessed Mother in a Vatican-affirmed apparition, buttressed by miraculous gyrations of the sun on the final visitation, before tens of thousands of witnesses.
But the Pope and the prelates didn’t heed our Lord and our Lady, even after communist Bolsheviks took over Russia in the months after the last apparition on October 13, 1917.
Jesus Himself followed up His instruction, so to speak. Appearing to Sister Lucia in Rianjo, Spain, in 1931, He admonished: “Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune.”
Just like the popes, King Louis XIV and his successors failed to obey a divine command, told by our Lord Himself to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque on June 17, 1689, to consecrate France to His Sacred Heart and place the icon on the national tricolor.
On June 17, 1789, exactly one hundred years since the day Jesus told St. Margaret Mary to convey His instruction to Louis XIV, the French elite formed themselves into the National Assembly and took power away from Louis XVI.
Two months later, the French Revolution raged, executing the royal family and countless others, shutting down churches and convents, persecuting and killing clergy and laity, and even banning Christianity for a time in a nation once called “the first daughter of the Church.”
Consecrating the world to Mary
It is now a century since Fatima. Will we see chastisements from heaven? Let’s recall some telling events.
On October 13, 1884, exactly 33 years — Jesus’s lifespan — before the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun accompanying it, Pope Leo XIII had a vision of Christ granting Satan’s request to be loosed upon the world for a century, as the devil claimed, “I can destroy your Church.”
On July 13, 1917, our Lady asks the Fatima visionaries to convey our Lord’s instruction for the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, for the nation’s conversion, blocking the spread of its errors and preventing a worse conflict than World War I.
At a concelebrated mass in Fatima on May 13, 1982, exactly one year after he survived an assassin’s bullet in St. Peter’s Square, Saint Pope John Paul II consecrated all individuals and all nations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
He repeated it the next two years. In the March 25, 1984 consecration on the Feast of the Annunciation, almost a century after Leo XIII’s vision of Satan being loosed for 100 years, St. John Paul II did the rite “in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world.”
Fatima devotees wondered why Russia was never named. Whether or not that compromised the consecrations, in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became president of Soviet Russia. He instituted his glasnost reforms, which led to the empire’s breakup and the global decline of communism.
So is this the triumph of Our Lady of Fatima? Not so fast.
When prophecies come true
A sweeping review of major prophecies about coming chastisements needs more space than we have left. But here are a few passages and developments seeming to fulfill them.
Perhaps the most widely reported prophesied event was the aurora borealis or northern lights seen across North America and Europe on January 25, 1938. Leading newspapers like The New York Times reported the illumination and the widespread fear it provoked.
Sister Lucia said it was the sign of coming punishments, of which Our Lady of Fatima said: “… you shall see a night illuminated by an unknown light.”
Several weeks later, on March 11-13, 1938, Hitler’s forces entered and annexed Austria without a fight — the first of many sovereign nations Nazi Germany invaded.
In another Vatican-approved vision, Our Lady of La Salette appeared as a beautiful weeping woman to two children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, at La Salette-Fallavaux, France, in September 1846.
Many La Salette prophecies were unimaginable at the time. Despite the adherence of governments in Europe and the Americas to Christian precepts, the Blessed Virgin warned, as it has since come to pass: “All civil governments will have one and the same plan, which would be to abolish and do away with every religious principle, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritualism and vice of all kinds.”
Closer to our time, Our Lady of Akita in Japan, seen as a weeping statue of Mary, spoke to Sister Agnes Sasagawa on October 13, 1973, the anniversary of the last Fatima apparition.
Our Blessed Mother warned: “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way you will see Cardinals opposing Cardinals, Bishops against other Bishops.”
That now sounds prophetic to Catholics following the escalating controversy over Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on marriage and the family, “Amoris Laetitia.” In the intensifying debate among the hierarchy, Francis remarked just before Christmas: “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”
Clearly, we all need to pray.