Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fatima: The Signs and the Traces of Hidden Things

Below is an excerpt from Part 11 in my book, "Fatima: The Signs and Secrets" (available through Amazon in both paperback and Kindle readers). Numbers within brackets indicate the paperback book's footnote number.

At Fatima, Our Lady’s distinct words provided counsel and admonition, while the accompanying signs and symbols fulfilled all seven purposes that authentic prodigies may hold. While scholars examine all the text from and about Fatima in regard to the Third Secret and the collegial consecration, we must also study the Fatima signs. That God wills the elect to understand His signs, at the proper time, is supported by inerrant Scripture: “For the Lord knoweth all knowledge, and hath beheld the signs of the world, he declareth the things that are past, and the things that are to come, and revealeth the traces of hidden things.”[364]

The Purposes of Signs 

Part 3 of this book stated, "Throughout salvation history, the signs of God indicate various purposes. A true sign can possess any one or more of the following seven functions: It confirms God’s Word, His goodness, authenticates prophesy, verifies God’s blessings and His intervention for the sake of the elect, strengthens the faithful with hope, insures or testifies to God’s Presence, or declares His judgment upon sin. [365] The signs of the world oppose the Catholic City, both in her human and eternal nature, leading souls to revolt against God, mimicking but falsifying God’s Word, undermining true prophecy, weakening or destroying the virtues by employing their imitators as replacements, and working contrary to God’s Will. [366] In sum, God’s signs and the world’s signs contradict each other. This explains why “the whole truth about Fatima,” [367] specific to the salvation of souls living in this era, remains contradicted by the world.

Fatima follows the pattern of Scriptural prophecy, which is given by visions, words, types and signs. In regard to Scripture, the usual course is to first study the text of its prophecy. As most Catholic biblical exegetes agree, “When the generations for whom it was chiefly intended would come into being, the true author of all true prophecy, the Holy Spirit, would in his own ways allow his elect to take from the text the knowledge that had from the beginning been concealed therein. In this, then, is to be found the reason why the magisterium of the Church, which is based directly on tradition in all matters of faith and morals, must depend largely on experience and the interpretation of signs when there is a question of unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled prophecy.”

What St. Justin the Martyr said in relation to the Old Testament which prophesied Jesus as the Son of God can also be applied to the public revelation and prophecies of Fatima: We are “compelled to belief by those who prophesied before the events. With our own eyes, we are witness to things that have happened and are happening, just as they were predicted. And this, we think, will appear to you as the strongest and surest proof.”

Fatima, judged by the Church as “worthy of belief,”
[370] prophesied “things that have happened and are happening.” Above all, Fatima has proven to be in perfect accord with Church dogma and doctrine, which is the supreme test of any revelation. The validity of the Virgin’s merciful message and apocalyptic warnings – and, principally, the solution to avert the latter - was authenticated by miraculous signs, from the seemingly small to the stupendous.

The Mother of God vs. Modernism
The Virgin Herself is a sign: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”
[371] Our Lady is the same Woman foretold in Genesis who will crush the serpent and his plots: “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.” [372]

This same Virgin, who came to Fatima, subtlely underscored dogma, doctrine, sacred history and Scriptural prophecy in the dates She appeared, the place She chose, the distinct dress and adornments She wore, the succinct words She uttered, the visions and secrets She revealed, and the many signs She gave. Together they form a consistent whole, fortifying the Secret given in three parts which concern the following: first, the salvation of souls; second, the salvation of the nations and of Christendom, the peace of the world; and third, the preservation of the Catholic Faith and the salvation of the Church. “These three themes, which are joined by an indissoluble bond, reveal to us the extraordinary mystical, moral, political, ecclesial, and dogmatic implications of the Secret of Fatima.”

Not long before the first Fatima apparition, Pope St. Pius X had issued Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907) against the modernists and Our Apostolic Mandate (1910), in which the latter declared:

We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be set up unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. Omnia instaurare in Christo. (To restore all things in Christ.)”

Because Modernism is insubordinate to Tradition and Scripture, it redefines everything pertaining to sacred dogma and doctrine, leaving no stone of the Catholic City unturned. It is especially defiant against Vatican I, which affirmed the “sacred dogmas must be perpetually maintained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the pretext of a deeper understanding."
[375] As the prophetic Pascendi expounded, modernism pretends that dogmas are merely symbols instead of absolute truths. “Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms [false reasoning] which ruin and wreck all religion.” [376]

Modernism, the “synthesis of all heresies,”
[377] is an insidious sign of apostasy that lives in the souls of men, wherein should reside the kingdom of God. [378] It is the heresy of inversion, spawned by the same evil entity behind liberalism, which brought forth the “Enlightenment,” the French Revolution, and “The Age of Reason.” However, throughout salvation history, when the elect are (or soon shall be) insidiously besieged, God manifests His Divine Intervention in diverse ways – as did the Sacred Heart in the visions of Paray-le-Monial before liberalism and rationalism began to sweep Christian Europe.

The year 1830 initiated the prelude to “The Age of Mary,” in which the Virgin Mother of God herself began to earnestly entreat Her children, giving us a repeated message of prayer and penance, and sacramentals like the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, the Badge of the Immaculate Heart (the Green Scapular), and the miraculous water at Lourdes. Yet Fatima is the crown of all, with its message and its signs to the world, culminating in the Miracle of the Sun.

The First Sign: Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Ghost,
Figure of Israel and the Church

The smallest of the Fatima signs are two adornments of the Virgin. The ornaments, however, speak for themselves, if only we have the eyes to see: “For it is good to hide the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal and confess the works of God.”

The first symbol was a waist-length yellow necklace, from which hung a luminous orb or ball of light; the orb shone even brighter than the radiating light of Our Lady’s risen and glorious body.
[380] The second ornament was a small yellow star, suspended on Our Lady’s long gown between knee and hem. [381] There is no extant record that Our Lady or Sr. Lucia, the last surviving visionary who died in 2005, ever commented upon these two adornments.

Of the necklace and the shining orb, Fatima historian and expert Frére Michel of the Holy Trinity wrote, “… in the light of the liturgy, itself completely saturated with Holy Scripture, it seems to us that we can easily guess the symbolic meaning of this ornament. Does it not remind us of the ‘jewels,’ the traditional attribute of the spouse? Sicut sponsam ornatum monilibus suis – ‘As a bride adorned with her jewels,’ continues the canticle of Isaiah, which the Church places on the lips of the Immaculate One.”

Is it not in this sense that we must look for the most profound significance of this mysterious jewel described by Lucy? Several verses of the Canticle seem to invite us to do so; thus the divine Spouse [is] speaking to the Bride, the figure of Israel and of the Church, personified in the Blessed Virgin: ‘You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride!’ (Cant. 4:9-10)”

The Second Sign: The Mediatrix of All Graces
The meaning of the jewel and necklace is intertwined with the little yellow star. Known as “The Star of Esther,” it “points to a particular Old Testament history called The Book of Esther, which relates the story of a Hebrew queen whose intercession saved her people from annihilation…Just as the star adorning Our Lady of Fatima points to The Book of Esther, so does The Book of Esther point to all of the Fatima revelations. Esther’s theme centers on secrets and revelations, suggesting [it] is a figure type for The Apocalypse (Greek for Revelations)…The Book of Esther appears to encapsulate what Fatima highlights about both the Virgin’s and the Church’s singular office in salvation history.”

Centuries ago, St. Albert noted Queen Esther
[383] as a figure type of the Virgin Mary. Since the Star of Esther was one of the Fatima Virgin’s adornments, it is clear that The Book of Esther calls for a thoroughly traditional, theological study. That said, it must also be noted that no Church Doctor ever attempted a complete examination of this canonical, historical book. For those of us living in the Fatima era, the proper interpretation of Esther is vital. The interpretation must be in accord with Church dogma and doctrine, the constitution of the Church, apostolic tradition, and study of history with a “Catholic conscience.” [384] Such a venture includes “studies into the spiritual, moral, social, political, educational, economic and cultural conditions of the times,” [385] employing the Scholastic method of faith and reason.

Both of the Virgin’s adornments reveal the “secrets” of Mary and about Mary, which are carefully hidden in the Old Testament and apocalyptic figure types. As to the method prescribed for the interpretation of Scripture (which, with Tradition, is one of the two sources of Revelation), Pope Pius IX clarified that “the rules which the holy Synod of Trent salutarily decreed concerning the interpretation of Divine Scripture in order to retrain impetuous minds, are wrongly explained by certain men. We, renewing the same decree, declare this to be its intention: that, in matters of faith and morals pertaining to the instruction of Christian Doctrine, that must be considered as the true sense of Sacred Scripture which Holy Mother Church has held and holds, whose office it is to judge concerning the true understanding and interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures; and, for that reason, no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture itself contrary to the sense, or even contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers…”
[386] (All emphasis mine) In regard to the literal and mystical sense of Scripture, Pope Pius XII taught, “In this work, let interpreters keep in mind that their greatest care should be to discern and define what the so-called literal sense of the Bible is.” [387] In obedience to Trent’s decree, this examination of The Book of Esther will hold to the sense held by the Church and the Fathers, for as St. Augustine noted: "What lies hidden in the Old Testament, is made manifest in the New."  [388]

The Central Figures in Esther
Almost five hundred years before Christ, God raised up a Hebrew virgin, an orphan adopted and educated by her uncle Mardochai, to save the Israelites from annihilation. Through an unusual series of events, she became the queen of ancient Persia, living in its capital city of Susan.

The very name of this Hebrew queen, who was loved by the king above all others, refers to “hidden things.” She was “named Edissa, ‘who by another name was called Esther.’” In the Old Testament of the Hebrew text, her name was Hádássah - meaning myrtle, a white, five-pointed, star-shaped flower. The Hebrew texts [also] relate that she gave her name as Hester (in Persian, Esther – which means ‘star’)…The alteration from Hádássah to Hester refers to a secret, because Hester translates to ‘hidden [meaning of the] star.’” In addition, the “Hebrew name for the Book of Esther is Megillat Esther – e.g., "revelation [of that which is] hidden.”

Intriguing as a figure type is Assuerus, Esther’s spouse, the Persian monarch apparently serving as a figure type of God. Modern-day Iran is the heart of ancient Persia, even to the city of Susan (Susa). Is it not possible that Our Lady’s choices to appear at Fatima, a village named after a Mohammedan woman who converted to Catholicism, and Her display of Esther’s Star provide many traces of the Third Secret’s hidden things? For The Book of Esther centers on secrets and revelations, a plot among nations against one kingdom and the elect, prayer and sacrifice, and the final triumph of the Queen.

 ---Continued in "Fatima: The Signs and Secrets"

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