Last Friday the 13th, the Catholic Church culminated celebrations of the centennial of Our Lady of Fatima’s six apparitions to three shepherd children in countryside Portugal every 13th of the month from May to October 1917.
Rosary marathons, parish processions, votive masses, Fatima seminars, and other activities stirred the faithful to remember the messages of Mary, the devotions she instructed, the prophecies she spoke, and the Miracle of the Sun she promised and performed exactly 100 years ago last Friday.
Missed the past six months of centenary commemorations? No problem.
The good news is all apparitions, visions, and other revelations in the Church after the events and writings in Scripture merely amplify, elucidate, enrich, and otherwise impart what God revealed through Jesus and His Apostles.
So, in this article, let’s go over what the Bible says about Mary, and how she reflected those truths in her apparitions to Saints Jacintha and Francisco Marto, canonized at the Fatima celebrations on May 13, and their cousin, Servant of God Lucia dos Santos.
We read the Bible and find Our Lady of Fatima.
Mary in God’s saving plan
No doubt the most important biblical truth about Mary is her role in God’s plan of salvation. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God told the serpent-tempter in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”
That was the salvation promise, fulfilled by the Passion and Death of Mary’s seed Jesus Christ. And in Fatima, our redemption was again her mission.
She told Lucia in the June vision: “He [Jesus] wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation.”
In our faith, Mary is the Virgin Mother of God The Son, as announced by the angel in Luke 1:30-35: “The power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”
In her apparition in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1531, Mary told farmer-saint Juan Diego what the Church believes: “I am the Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God.”
And at Fatima, her utterly unsullied being appeared as the lady in white “more brilliant than the sun,” and as her Immaculate Heart, to which her Son established a redeeming devotion.
The same heart conveys perfect sanctity that the Angel in Luke 1:28 hailed as “full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” And that same heavenly regard for Mary we saw in the three apparitions of the Angel of Peace in 1916, to prepare the Fatima children for Our Lady’s visits.
Mothering of Christ and His Church
Our faith also proclaims that Mary is Mother of the Church, given by the Crucified Christ Himself to the apostle-evangelist John, representing humanity, in John 19:27: “Behold thy mother.”
And she was with the Church from its very beginnings, recounted in Acts 1:14: “All these [Apostles] were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
Our Lady of Fatima conveyed her motherly bond with the Church not only in imparting our Lord’s message, but even more in the instruction for “the Pope, with all the bishops of the world, to consecrate Russia to my Immaculate Heart,” as the way to peace.
Sadly, Church leaders did not follow. Then, as Our Lady warned in the second of three Secrets of Fatima, “another [war], even worse, will begin in the reign of Pope Pius XI“ – World War II.
That obedience to God’s command was shown by Mary herself. Her assent to His command in Luke 1:38 opened the door of her womb to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who became one of us by the power of the Third Person.
This all-important obedience and discipleship to our Lord was also portrayed in the wedding at Cana in John 2:4-5, when Mary told the servants, “Do what He tells you.” Heeding Jesus’s instruction, they helped bring forth the best wine at the feast.
In the end, Her heart will triumph
That is also what Fatima offered. With her simple instructions of daily rosary, the Five First Saturdays devotion, and consecration to the Immaculate Heart, we can all help bring forth the Miracle of the Earth: peace, joy, and love among all men.
For our modern age so distrustful of everything unverifiable by science, the idea of saving the world by prayers and devotions handed down in claimed visions of heavenly beings — that spurs skepticism, not obedience.
So did the arrest, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus. In His Passion and Death, even His Apostles left His side. One betrayed Him, another denied Him thrice, and all but one abandoned Him and His promise of eternal salvation.
But not His Mother. She endured the harrowing sight of His stripping, nailing, hanging, dying, and piercing, steadfast in her faith, believing that the God Who allowed the darkness, can also unleash dazzling, unending light to engulf and uplift us.
Or, as Our Lady of Fatima assures us, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Will we believe and obey, or doubt and do things our way?
Today’s Sunday mass readings speak of trusting in God for sustenance and salvation.
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!” (Isaiah 25:9)
“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.“ (Psalm 23)
“My God will fully supply whatever you need.“ (Philippians 4:19-20)
And in the Gospel of St. Matthew 22:1-14, the king invites all and sundry to his feast.
So did Our Lady on the grassy field of the Cova da Iria in Fatima.
Will you say yes and do what she says, to save yourself and our world?
That is the call of our Lord’s sacred Word and His Blessed Mother.