It was her that revealed the secret of Fatima
From earth to heaven
She died last year, on 13 February, at 5.25 p.m. - exactly at the hour of the Fatima apparitions. She was buried in the Carmelite convent in Coimbra, Portugal. Now, on 19 February, her body will return to Fatima and she will rest beside Jacinta and Francisco, who are Blessed at present. When those three were children the Mother of God appeared to them. Jacinta and Francisco died soon, Lucia lived 98 years. Just before her death John Paul II sent a fax to Sister Lucia. When he learnt about her death he interrupted his Lenten retreat and began to pray for her. In his letter on her funeral celebration he wrote, 'I recall with emotion my several meetings with her and the bonds of our spiritual friendship that grew stronger with time. I have always felt supported by the daily gift of her prayers, especially during the most difficult moments of trial and suffering. May the Lord reward her abundantly for her great and hidden service to the Church. I like to think that it was the Blessed Virgin, the same one whom Sr. Lucia saw at Fatima so many years ago, who welcomed her on her pious departure from earth to Heaven'.
Salvation for the world
Sister Lucia saw 'Lady dressed in white'. She appeared many times in 1917, always on the thirteenth of the month. She called to pray the rosary, to penance and conversion. She asked to pray for sinners. She also predicted World War II and totalitarian governments in Europe. Finally, Mary told the children three messages, which were called 'the secrets of Fatima'. They were to save the world, which was dashing to its doom.
The first part of the secret is the vision of hell, 'Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration.... We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart", wrote Lucia dos Santos.
The second part of the secret concerned the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Mother of God showed her Immaculate Heart as the sure way to be saved and avoid the predicted punishment. For many years it was the third part of the secret that aroused most feelings. What happened in Rome, in St Peter's Square, on 13 May 1981, was connected with this part of the secret. Fortunately, the assassination attempt on the life of John Paul II failed. It was our Lady of Fatima that saved him, as the Holy Father said. That's why the Pope put his blood-stained robe at the foot of Our Lady of Fatima. And he set the bullet in the crown of the statue of our Lady of Fatima. In the Jubilee Year John Paul II visited Fatima and again expressed his gratitude to Mary for saving his life. And he put the ring, which he had received from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, with the meaningful inscription 'Totus Tuus', at the foot of our Lady of Fatima.
Penance, Penance, Penance!
The document with the third part of the secret remained in the Vatican archives for years. According to the suggestion of Sr. Lucia, who wrote it, the document was to be revealed only after 1960. But neither Pius XII nor John XXIII, nor Paul VI nor John Paul I revealed the text although they all read it. 'The delay was caused by caution', the present Pope and formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said, 'especially that the Church was only at the threshold of Vatican Council II'.
It was known that the vision of Sister Lucia did not concern the doctrine of the faith. It was a private revelation, i.e. revelation that embraced the visions, which had occurred in the history of the Church. In spite of the fact that John Paul II had known about the secret he read it only after the assassination attempt in May 1981.
The year 2000 provided the occasion to reveal the secret. As the Holy Father wrote in the bull Incarnationis Mysterium: 'The period of the Jubilee introduces us to the vigorous language which the divine pedagogy of salvation uses to lead man to conversion and penance'.
The content of the 'secrets' was connected with the Jubilee, the aim of which was inner change, meaning penance and conversion. Mary, who appeared to the little shepherds in 1917, exactly expressed the summons to penance and conversion.
- Even if the events to which the third part of the "secret" of Fatima refers now seem part of the past, Our Lady's call to conversion and penance, issued at the start of the twentieth century, remains timely and urgent today, Cardinal Angelo Sodano explained.
Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in his theological commentary on the secret of Fatima, 'the key word of this third part is the threefold cry: "Penance, Penance, Penance! (...) To understand the signs of the times means to accept the urgency of penance - of conversion - of faith'.
In opinion of the Vatican theologians revealing the text of the document was to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. However, the world was curious to know what the third part of the secret was to say about the suffering of the Holy Father.
Faith and prayer are powerful forces
How to understand the picture of the Pope and other religious going up a mountain with the Cross at the top and passing through a city in the martyrs' procession, which the third part of the secret contained? Cardinal Ratzinger explained that it was the vision of a suffering Church, full of martyrs. And we must admit that the martyrs' way of the Church in the 20th century was especially tragic. The number of those who died for the cause of faith equalled the number of all martyrs of the previous centuries. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stressed that 'we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the "secret", such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.'
- That here "a mother's hand" had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies', Cardinal Ratzinger stressed. 'Therefore, the vision of the third part of the "secret" concludes with an image of hope: there is the Cross on the mountain, no suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God'.
The third part of the Fatima 'secret' written by Sister Lucia dos Santos:
'..at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.