Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our Lady of Fatima and Portugal: The Land of Holy Mary

by guest writer, Robert Beaurivage

What makes the Story of Fatima so fascinating and endearing, and a powerful teaching tool? It is because Fatima is a story, and a true story. Why is that?

A real story gives us a world to explore, rather than a path through it. A real story puts us in touch with persons, with a drama, and examples of truth and heroism. The facts it contains are not just formulae, equations and propositions. They make us care.  This is why God reveals His Word in a Story—The Greatest Story Ever Told. The Bible is a true story, the story of Salvation History. The Divine Wisdom—that is, Jesus Christ—used stories in teaching the Gospel.  Fatima itself is, above all, a story but it is not a parable. In this history, we see the hand of God, as telling stories is His modus operandi.

The Fatima story did not begin on May 13, 1917, the date of the first apparition, and it is far from ending, even now.  The Fatima story, in a real sense, begins from all eternity, in the mind of God.  It appears in the dawn of creation, when God proclaims to the Serpent, called the devil and Satan, “She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen.3:15).

The story of Fatima also appears, says Sr. Lucia, in the Gospel and the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation), Chapters 8 to 13.  Pope John Paul II invoked the powerful imagery of Apocalypse 12:1-4, applying it to Our Lady’s apparition there in his homily in Fatima on May 13, 2000:  “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.” In a later installment, we will explore Our Lady as the Woman of Revelation, clothed with the sun. Today, we begin to explore the Fatima Story with a look at Portugal, the Land of Holy Mary.

As one becomes more familiar with the Fatima story, one gets the sense that every detail is providential, instructive and prophetic.  Our Lady chose to appear in a nation, a region and a village that was imbued with Catholic culture.  She chose to come to a Catholic village in the hillsides of Portugal, rather than the sophisticated atmosphere of the big city. In the Divine Providence, Our Lord chose to manifest Himself first to the shepherds as they watched their flock in Bethlehem, Our Lady chose to manifest herself to the little shepherd children of Fatima.

The children of Fatima played, laughed and danced like children everywhere.  Their lives revolved around the Church, her festivals, her truths, and her culture.  Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, as many young children of the region, were charged with the care of sheep. Jacinta, in particular, loved to sing. Lucia was an intelligent girl and a natural leader. Francisco, a thoughtful and quiet young boy would play the flute while Jacinta and Lucia sang. Sr. Lucia, many years later recalled the songs they sang: “We loved to sing too. Interspersed among popular songs—of which, alas! We knew quite a number.” Among the favorites Lucia mentioned was Salve Nobre Padroeira. It sings of the protection of the Virgin Mary as the patroness of Her people of predilection, the little nation of Portugal.

“Hail, O noble Patron
Of the people whom You protect,
Of the people chosen among all others,
As the people of the Lord!

O Thou, glory of our land,
Whom You have saved a thousand times!
As long as the Portuguese people exist
You will always be their love!”

This popular Portuguese hymn, which the children sang often–a favorite of Jacinta–demonstrates the Portuguese devotion of centuries to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Frère Michel points out, “in spite of conquest by foreigners and a more and more suffocating Masonic domination, [Portugal] had remained unshakably faithful to its Heavenly Patroness, until the eve of the great miracle of 1917.

It is for good reason that Our Lady chose Portugal as the most important and most spectacular of her apparitions. Portugal had distinguished herself as no nation has, through a long, rich history of Consecration and faithful Devotion to the Mother of God. Long before Our Lady graced the Cova da Iria with her presence, Portugal was the “Land of Holy Mary.”

On August 13, 1385, on the eve of battle against the powerful Castilian forces, Blessed Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira, a figure long since revered by the Portuguese people, brought his troops to the plateau of Fatima. There, Alvares and his troops solemnly vowed that if the Blessed Virgin would give them the victory, he would build a great monastery in her honor and make a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Oliveira. Canon Barthas relates:
On the next day, August 14, Vigil of the Assumption, the great victory of Aljubarrota assured the independence of the country for two centuries, and consolidated the foundation of the new dynasty. For Portugal, this victory could be compared to the deliverance of Orleans by Joan of Arc. Pope Boniface IX, in his bull of February 1391, did not hesitate to describe the victory as miraculous, given the crushing superiority of the Spanish forces.

The king kept his promise. He and his knights marched on foot to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Oliveira: a distance of 150 miles.  The king constructed a church and splendid monastery, and called it Our Lady of Victory.

A few years later, on May 13, at the request of King João I, Pope Boniface IX ordered all Portuguese cathedrals dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Through the miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Portugal was delivered from the Castilian invasion, which marked the ascendancy of Portugal in international prominence, leading Crusades, great maritime achievements, and bringing the Gospel to the New World.  Portugal attributed its great success to its staunchly Catholic royalty, ruling under the protection of Our Lady, Queen of Portugal.

Frère Michel, in his unparalleled three-volume work on Fatima, gives the following account:

“According to the words of an ancient ballad, Fatima owes its Arabic name to an episode in the reconquest of Portugal which took place in this era. Fatima, the daughter of a powerful Moslem prince, was captured by a Crusader, Gonçalo Hermingues. When the Christian knight asked the king for her hand in marriage, she converted and was baptized under the name Oureana, from which the village of Ourem took its name. ‘But the beautiful princess died young, and a heartbroken Don Gonçalo gave his life to God in the Cistercian abbey of Alcobaça.’ Not long after, the abbey founded a small priory in the neighbouring mountains; Brother Gonçalo was sent there and took with him the remains of his dear Fatima. The place took and kept her name.”

There are no coincidences with Heaven, particularly in regard to the Message of Fatima. With the Islamic incursion into Europe in our day, courtesy of the liberal European governments, difficulties are sure to come. Our Lady has promised an era of peace to the world, and no doubt this presages an eventual conversion of the Muslims to the One True Faith.  Various saints prophesied this, and the symbolism of the name “Fatima” seems to anticipate it.

In 1646, Portugal once more reclaimed her national independence from Spain, and John IV ascended the throne on December 1.  Eight days later, on December 8, Portugal consecrated herself to the Immaculate Conception and the restoration of the monarchy. Spain fought on in a protracted battle. Portugal won a continual string of victories, which was a remarkable feat for little Portugal, with an underfunded military against powerful Spain—a clear sign of Our Lady’s continual protection. 

By this solemn act of Consecration to the Immaculate Conception, Portugal, faithful to its own tradition, once more distinguished herself as the “Land of Holy Mary.”  We can easily see why Our Lady has chosen little Portugal for her great message to the World, and the greatest miracle since the Holy Ghost descended upon the Church on Pentecost Sunday, prophesied in St. John’s Apocalypse.  Portugal dedicated itself to the Immaculate Conception, two-hundred years before Blessed Pope Pius IX infallibly defined it! 

Frère Michel recounts in part this admirable vow: “And if anyone dares to attempt anything against our promise, oath and vassalage, we will consider him from this moment as no longer belonging to the nation and we wish him to be driven from the kingdom; and if he is king (which may God avert), may the divine malediction and ours fall on him and may he no longer be counted among our descendants; we vow that he be cast out and stripped of the throne by the same God who gave us the kingdom and raised us up to the royal dignity.”

Furthermore, the King commanded that an inscription should be engraved in marble or some other stone above the gates of towns, recalling this oath of the King and the Cortes in honor of the Mother of God, “preserved from original sin.”

Many people are not aware that Our Lady already gave the world a glimpse, a prelude, of what the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart will be like. She did this in Portugal after the Portuguese bishops consecrated that nation by name to the Immaculate Heart, on May 13, 1931.

Our Lady used Portugal to demonstrate on a national level what She will do worldwide when the Pope, in union with the world’s bishops, consecrates Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

There was a striking Catholic resurgence—a dramatic increase in priestly and religious vocations, the number of religious almost quadrupled in ten years , and a vast renewal of Christian life among the laity as well.

Shortly after the 1931 Consecration, a Catholic leader in Portugal ascended to power, Antonio Salazar, who inaugurated a Catholic, counter-revolutionary program. He strove to create, as much as possible, a Catholic social order wherein the laws of government and social institutions harmonize with the law of Christ, His Gospel and His Church. 

There was the two-fold miracle of peace as a result of the Consecration. Portugal was preserved from the Communist terror, especially from the Spanish Civil War, which was raging next door. Portugal was also preserved from the devastation of World War II.

This Catholic Renaissance was of such a magnitude that, in 1942, the bishops of Portugal declared in a collective Pastoral Letter: “Anybody who would have closed his eyes twenty-five years ago and opened them now would no longer recognize Portugal, so vast is the transformation worked by the modest and invisible factor of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. Really, Our Lady wishes to save Portugal.” 

Let us recognize the fact: No other nation exist whose very foundation is so closely linked with the cult and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima gives her solemn pledge of love and assistance to little Portugal as a reward for Portugal’s faithfulness to Our Lady. She tells the seers: In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. This appears at the beginning of the Third Secret, which we know speaks of apostasy infiltrating the human element of the Church.

Portugal receives Our Lady’s assurance of her protection in these troubling times. This fortunate nation has the assurance of Blessed Mary that she will preserve them during this trial. Frère Michel rightly proclaims: “For if the text of the solemn vow always to defend the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was wiped off the gates of the towns by the liberal government of the nineteenth century or the sectarian freemasons of the revolution of 1910, the Virgin Mary did not forget it, and it is Her ‘most faithful nation’ that She chose to manifest to the world the mercy of Her Immaculate Heart. To this nation it was promised, in the midst of the great trial to come, to preserve intact all the dogmas of the faith.”

—Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words: The Memoirs of Sister Lucia, the Last Fatima Visionary [KIC. Kindle Edition, June 3, 2015]
—Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I: Science and the Facts [Translated by John Collorafi, 1983]; and Volume III, The Secret and the Church [Immaculate Heart Publications, Fort Erie, Ontario, 1989]

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fatima Moment: Our Lady's Commands Still Stand

“If I have found favor in thy sight, oh king, give me my people for which I request.”
—Book of Esther 7:23.
While it’s important we recognize the modernist heresys most terrible symptoms in order to diagnose, resist, and treat the disease, the great truth is that Our Lady of Fatima gave us the only solution so that the human element of the divine Church is cured of it.
As explained in my column series (“Secrets of the Catholic City,” published in Catholic Family News, July 2016): “…the word ‘request’ does not properly translate the Portuguese expression ‘pedido,’ which conveys the command of a superior authority. Thus, when Our Lady of Fatima made her ‘requests,’ she was in truth giving commands to the Catholic Church, which is her right and privilege as its Queen and Mother.”
Specifically: The Mother of God gave five commands to all of the Church Militant and one to the Pope and, through him, to the bishops. We lay people can turn the tide by first and always obeying those five commands to the Church Militant.
For the entire Church Militant, the Virgin’s specific “requests,” while simple, give us frequent opportunities to practice the virtues each of us, as individuals, need most:
1) The daily Rosary, 2) daily duty as true penance, 3) sacrifice for the conversion of sinners, 4) the Five First Saturdays devotion, and 5) the necessity of wearing, with proper blessing and intention, the Brown Scapular (the Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel), which Our Lady held out during the Miracle of the Sun.
As for the Pope (and, with him, the bishops), Our Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for a reigning Pope to heed her ‘requests’ to establish worldwide devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by one act (with two parts):
• Papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the five major blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.
• The solemn and public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia alone) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Like her Old Testament figure-type, Queen Esther who was the “hidden” mediatrix of her people and who commanded them to pray and fast before she interceded with the king, Our Queen and Mother Mary makes these requests of her people even as she already intercedes for us before the throne of the Lord our God.
May we, like the elect of the Old Testament, heed the true Esther—Our Lady of Fatima—and do as she “requests.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Two Things to Know about the Collegial Consecration

 From time to time, we hear claims that it is no use to do anything now about the Fatima Virgin’s requests (i.e., commands) to the Pope. Specifically, what is really meant is this: Cease asking for the collegial consecration of Russia (to which is automatically attached the papal promulgation of the Five First Saturdays devotion). Just give up.

I’m sure most of us have heard every excuse for this view, but there are two that keep coming up: Some are convinced the current Pope won’t do anything; others believe the shocking claim of a few Fatima organizations that it’s “too late” (but, hey, we can still reform ourselves and hope for the best). What you need to know is this: The latter claim is a monstrous hybrid-distortion of two different quotes—

Our Lord said to Lucia: “Like the Kings of France, they did not wish to heed My request. They will repent and do it, but it will be late.” He also said: “Pray much for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late.” [Emphasis added.]

In a famous interview, Sr. Lucia said to Fr. Fuentes, in part:

“Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means, and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also help to save all the souls that God has placed on our path."

“The devil does all in his power to distract us and to take away from us the love for prayer; we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together." [Emphasis added.]

Now, with the election of a new Pope, Lucia said of the collegial consecration of RUSSIA: “It is the will of God that the request be renewed with the Holy See.

Two things to keep in mind:

1) Our Lord Himself said that it will be late (but never did He say “too late”). We don
t know with certainty which Pope will do as Our Lady commanded. We can never say that it cannot be a current Pope.

2) We must do our part, because this affects every soul in the world. As Luca said, “we will be saved together or we will be damned together.” She was referring to the current chastisement, which began decades ago and is reaching its apex.

Don’t despair. Keep confidence in God and in His Mother’s promise but remember their specific warnings, too. We accept that it is God’s will that we respectfully ask each Pope to lead and command the exact conditions for the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And we will renew the request, with the current Pope or any following Pope, until it is answered as it should be.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fatima 100: Catholics in Action!

You are NOT alone!  "Our Lady and the Apostles of Our Days" is a grass-roots, world-wide effort that recognizes and promotes the whole truth of the Fatima Messages.

We are not a debate group. Instead, we work together to fulfill the Fatima Virgin's requests:

PRACTICAL ACTION: Starts with 3 Easy Steps!

  • LIKE our associated news/media page (Keeping It Catholic on Facebook) for Fatima and other Church-related news.

SPIRITUAL ACTIONS (The Absolute Foundation) 

  • Pray the daily Rosary (with added intention that Our Lady's commands to the Pope are finally realized. Yes, we can include other intentions, too!)
  • Wear the Brown Scapular, while conscientiously striving not to offend the Lord our God any longer
  • Pray the Fatima Morning Offering 
  • Take part in First Saturday devotions where they might be offered, or otherwise privately making the intention of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a Saturday Mass when the intention is not publicly stated by the priest; the requirements include Confession, Holy Mass, Rosary, and 15 additional minutes on the 15 Rosary Mysteries of the Redemption.
  • Offer to God our daily duty offered in penance for sins (ours and those of others)
  • Offer our crosses to God for the conversion of sinners 
  • Cultivate and spread "True Devotion" to Jesus through Mary" (St. Louis de Montfort)

"Fatima 100: Our Lady and the Apostles of Our Days"!

"Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from Her and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated
together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask them to plead for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to Her."

~Blessed Jacinta of Fatima

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Battling Modernism: Have You Prayed Your Rosary Today?

“Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for alone thou hast put an end to all heresies...”
—Tract from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Roman Missal

Today we face the greatest heresy to ever afflict the Church—modernism. Pope St. Pius X described modernism as the “synthesis of all heresies.” Now consider, just for a moment: The Madonna is hailed by the Church as “Conqueror of ALL Heresies.”

Putting two and two together, the solution to eradicating modernism is simple. To be rid of modernism—and, above all, for the good of our own souls—the first thing we must do is cultivate a true devotion to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, the one who crushes the serpents head (Gen. 3:15). The foundation of such a devotion is to pray a daily Rosary. Yes, every day. It starts there, builds from there, and continues there.

WHY the ROSARY? Let’s hear what OUR LADY HERSELF said

To the three children of Fatima: “Pray the Rosary every day.” At each and every apparition, she repeated this motherly command. When she told them who she was, she said very simply: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”

To Blessed Alan de la Roche: “When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.”

To St. Dominic, battling the Albigensian heresy: “Preach my Psalter” and “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I shall save the world.”

To St. Matilda: “‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’ No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be able to find or say to me anything that pleases me more.”


St. Bernardine of Siena: You must know that when you say ‘Hail, Mary,’ she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”

Blessed Alan de la Roche: “The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessings.”

Pope Nicholas V: “The Rosary is the tree of life which raises the dead, heals the diseased, and preserves those who are in health.”

Pope St. Pius X: “The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”

Pius XII called the Rosary “a compendium of the Gospel.”

Sr. Lucia of Fatima (Servant of God): “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves, we will sanctify ourselves, we will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.”

St. Francis de Sales: “The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.”

St. Louis de Montfort: “When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”

He also said this: “If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).”

And this: “Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”

This, too: “If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.”

AND this: “Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”

For those who think themselves already condemned to eternal perdition, St. de Montfort counseled: “Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”

St. John Bosco: “Where the Rosary is recited, there will be peace and tranquility.”

St. Bernadette: “In the evening, when you go to sleep, hold your beads, doze off reciting them, like babies who go to sleep in their mother's arms, mumbling ‘Mamma! Mamma!’

St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower): “The Rosary is a long chain that links heaven and earth. One end of it is in our hands and the other end is in the hands of the holy Virgin...The Rosary prayer rises like incense to the feet of the Almighty. Mary responds at once like a beneficial dew, bringing new life to human hearts.”

St. Pio (Padre Pio): “Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for the Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.”

These were only some of the Saints of God who spoke on the Rosary, testifying to a historical fact of centuries: After the Holy Mass, the Rosary is the prayer most pleasing to the Lord our God.