The Story of Fatima
- an introduction from -
(This is the first in a continuing series)
"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I beg pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You!" - The prayer taught to the 3 children of Fatima by the angel in 1916
Warnings and Predictions About the Future
Some unusual events occurred in Fatima, Portugal, in the middle of the Great War of 1914-1918. They were a series of warnings, predictions about the future, and instructions from heaven, capped by a public miracle seen by 70,000 to 100,000 people. I’ll provide here some reasons for our continued interest in this subject, followed by some brief historical background notes.
The first reason they remain of interest is that public miracles do not happen very often. Certainly not on this scale, or with these many witnesses, and especially not with eyewitness coverage from skeptical journalists.
A second reason are the prophecies given at Fatima. They have proven to be reliable. I will discuss them in some detail in later articles, and I believe they are a key to understanding the hidden history of the past 100 years. Not all of the prophecies have been fulfilled. They are a reminder that we are getting closer to the End of the Age.
There is a third consideration. It seems improbable that these prophecies and warnings were given in vain, or frivolously. They were given at the appointed time, and heaven has its weighty reasons.
Some Historical Background:
Portugal was not a belligerent in the First World War, but the country was deeply embroiled in the conflicts of the modern world. In 1910, the monarchy was overthrown. An anti-clerical, anti-Catholic government took power. Relations between church and state were tense. The newspapers, the universities, and polite society regarded religion as the stronghold of superstition, the enemy of progress.
At the time of the last message of Fatima, which was delivered on October 13, 1917, Russia was still considered a Christian nation. The Bolshevik coup, which installed the Communist regime there, occurred a few weeks later, on November 7, 1917. It came as a complete surprise, one of those “black swan” events that happened without anybody expecting it.
The warnings about Russia, which are sometimes classified as the “second secret” of Fatima, did not make a lot of sense at the time they were given. This is especially true for the three children who received these warnings. They did not know that Russia was the name of a country. They thought that this funny name referred to some unpredictable lady that we all had to pray for.
The three children were Lucia Abodora, and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. In 1916, Lucia was nine. Francisco was eight, and Jacinto was six. Of the three, it was only the eldest, Lucia, who lived to reach old age. Indeed, she reached the age of 98, dying in 2005. Francisco and Jacinto died when still very young. They barely outlived the end of the War.
We shouldn’t consider the two younger children as unfortunate. I know that if I were promised, by the Queen of Heaven, that I would soon be in heaven, I wouldn’t complain! It was Lucia’s burden to carry heaven’s message while tarrying on this earth.
An Open Door
As an historical side note, there is a curious story about how the town of Fatima got its name. The Muslims occupied this area of Portugal for centuries. Before they were driven out, the daughter of the last Muslim chieftain fell in love with a leader of the Catholic armies. She decided to remain with him as a Christian, and he, in turn, decided to name the town after her. Her name was Fatima. The name goes back to Mohammed’s favorite daughter, the one who said about herself, “I surpass all the women, except Mary.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen believed that Our Lady of Fatima is meant to be a sign for hope for Muslims, an open door that they will one day walk through.
This is just the beginning. Please come back and let's visit these amazing facts together.
*Erasmus is the pen name of a Jewish convert to Catholicism, by way of baptism in the Lutheran church, where he stayed for a long and fruitful period of time. He received his B.A. from New York University, and studied philosophy at the graduate level at the New School for Social Research.
He has worked as a legal researcher for several major law firms, then as a librarian for a law school in New York City. More recently, he worked at a specialized federal court, where he taught legal research, maintained their internal web site, and organized their historical archives.
He has spent many years reading and thinking about how the faith can be best communicated to the wise and the worldly.
Erasmus has repeatedly asked his wife if they could have a beagle, but so far to no avail.