IT HAPPENED AFTER FIVE IN THE AFTERNOON
There are a lot of significant dates and time in which these facts took place. Certainly, the first one is the birth – on 18 May, after 5 in the afternoon. The same time appeared in the second key stage of his life – on 16 October1978, when Karol Wojtyła ‘died’ and John Paul II was born. And, finally, on 13 may 1981, at 5.17 p.m. ‘At that time I felt a deadly danger of life and suffering, and also great Divine mercifulness – said the Pope. – Through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima I was given life anew’.
The Holy Father hardly escaped death, and, undoubtedly, he was miraculously saved from it and became an advocate of the message which was witnessed in 1917 by Łucja, HIacynta and Francis. As it is widely known, that message concerned, among the others, Russia: ‘If my requests have been listened to, Russia will get converted, and there will be peace – said Our Lady. – If not, (this country) will spread its mistakes all over the world, causing wars and persecution of the holy Church’.
The motif of the assassination was unquestionable. The election of the cardinal from behind the iron curtain was a challenge thrown to the Soviet empire. The following years only confirmed it. After his pilgrimage to Poland and the birth of Solidarity, one did not have to be shrewd to evaluate the real danger, which John Paul II created for the political status quo at that time.
8 years after the shots of Alego Agcy. The Berlin wall collapsed. In the mid of that time, exactly on 25 March 1984, the Pope, together with bishops of the world entrusted the world to Our Lady of Fatima. This entrustment, according to assurance of s. Łucja, was accepted. Other dates of this scenario are also very significant. On 8 December 1991 (on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary the Virgin) a contract creating the Soviet Union was dissolved, and on 25 December (on Christmas) Michaił Gorbaczow resigned from the post of the president of this country.
An assassination on life
In the light of those events it is very easy to place both the Fatima message and the mission of St. John Paul II related to it in history. But on that May day 1981 a tread of struggles began, which did not end at the moment of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In the film mentioned on TVP recently, entitled ‘Karol. Pope who remained a human’ there is a hardly known fact from the day of the assassination – this is a scene of dinner which John Paul II had with prof. Herome Lejeune and his wife a few hours before the events on the Square of St. Peter. The famous French geneticist and a member of the Papal Academy of Sciences was also known in his country as a defender of the unborn. Also on 13 May the Italian Communist Party summoned up a manifest in Rome for the sake of legalization of abortion. The manifestation was summoned because of the assassination on the Pope, but the act was finally introduced.
Also on 13 May, during a general audience the Holy Father was to announce establishing two new institutions: the Papal Council for Family and the Papal Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. However, because of the assassination, it did not take place. Finally, the Pope established an institute on 7 October 1982, on the feast of Our Lady the Rosary, signing an apostolic constitution ‘Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum’. At that time, this institution was entrusted to the care of Our Lady of Fatima.
The task of organizing the institute was given to Fr. Carl Caffarra, the later archbishop of Bologna and cardinal. At the beginning of his mission, Fr. Caffarra wrote a letter to s. Łucja in which he asked her for a prayer in the intention of the institute. To his surprise he received a very long reply letter from her. In this letter we read: ‘The final fight between Lord and the kingdom of satan will be pursued for marriage and family – said cardinal Caffarra in an interview for the radio station Tele Radio Padre Pio. – Do not be afraid, wrote the sister, because everybody who works the sake of holiness of marriage and family, will be fought against and all ways will oppose to him, because it is a decisive matter. Later she finished: ‘Despite that Our Lady has already crushed his head’.
Cardinal Caffarra added that ‘when one was talking with John Paul II, one felt that family was the centre in his interest, because the truth about the relationship between a man and a woman and among generations is a pillar supporting creation. If this pillar is destroyed, the whole building will collapse and we see it’.
Mistakes of Russia
In 1922 Włodzimierz Lenin organized a conference in the Institute of Marx and Engels in Moscow, during which ‘cultural revolution’ was discussed, which – exported to other countries – was to change a man, his nature, behaviours, opinions and feelings. Among the others, Hungarian Marxist Gyorgy Lukacs spoke during the conference, who suggested using a sexual instinct to destroy the bourgeois society. This clue was followed by philosophers from the Institute of Studies on Marxism in Frankfurt (later the Social Studies Institute), which was moved from Germany to the USA and became an intellectual facility for counter-cultural trends. The Frankfurt school used Freud’s thought about pan-sexuality based on looking for pleasure and fighting traditional relations between a man and a woman. What was significant here was destroying the institution as the basis of the social order.
In this context words of Our Lady became deeply significant when Our Lady appeared to Hiacynta when the dying little girl was in hospital in Lisbon. Mary told her, among the others, that most people go to hell through their sins of unchastity’. For, a man who does not maintain chastity cultivates his selfishness and destroys love in this way – moreover he is not able to give and receive it.
After all, hell whose vision the little shepherds had during the apparitions and Fatima, is nothing else but a state of absolute selfishness.
Looking at today’s culture and human day-to-day life, it is easy to notice that the message from Fatima did not concern the events which had passed a long time before but it is current.
Indeed, marriage, family and life became the main field of a battle for saving a human. If we even see the most direct dangers in the form of military conflicts, we can recall the words of St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta: ‘I say it very often and I am sure of it – that the worst danger for people today is abortion. If a mother is allowed to kill her child, what can stop me or you from killing each other?’
Fatima and Papal 100th anniversary
The current year of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions in Fatima is the first of 3 years preceding the 100th birth anniversary of St. John Paul II. It is a good occasion to reflect on the great contribution of this pope in realization of the message of Fatima. If the Holy Father Francis called John Paul II ‘ a pope of family’ during his canonization, it means that on this area our compatriot became very meritorious, beyond the times in which he lived.
John Paul II left us a treasure of his teaching in which he indicates particular roads of creating marriage and family, adjusted to today’s challenges, as a kind of a happiness path – here on earth, towards eternity. His Wednesday catechesis about body theology (one of them did not take place because of the assassination), his numerous speeches (also during pilgrimages to Poland), finally his testimony of spiritual fatherhood and faithfulness till the end are becoming lights which can indicate a road to realize the Fatima call for conversion. It is worth noting that the earlier – mentioned date of entrusting the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not only a feast of Annunciation.
In 1984 it was connected with the Jubilee of Families within the Jubilee Year of Redemption (1983/84) and just in the presence of families invited to Rome, St. John Paul II made his memorable act.