Chapter 5

13 MAY 1917- FIRST APPARITION OF OUR LADY IN FATIMA

Before we enter into the very presence of Our Lady and reflect on her admirable interventions to save us, her beloved children, we must first of all be aware, that we enter in a spiritual world, which is inexpressibly holy, pure, and delicate.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe expressed this in his deepest words: “When you get ready to read about the Immaculata, do not forget that you are then entering into contact with a pure living being who is without any stain whatsoever. Consider, too, that the words that you read are incapable of expressing who She is, for they are human words, drawn from human concepts, which present everything only in an earthly way, whereas the Immaculata is a being belonging entirely to God, and therefore, is to an infinite degree higher than everything around you … Recognize honestly, too, that alone, without her help, you are incapable of knowing anything about her, and consequently you cannot truly love her, and that she herself must enlighten you more and more, in order to draw your heart to herself in love.” If this is true about anything we read about her, how much more it is, when we start to face her and grasp her own words and gestures.

A second preliminary reflection: we should not read the events of the apparitions just to recall a historical fact, as if Fatima would be just a meeting between the Mother of God and the three children. The visionaries are always only instruments chosen by her to be her channels and transmit her message. They are also the representatives of all men, to whom Our Lady speaks indirectly, whilst speaking directly to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. The words of Our Lady should go straight down into our heart, as if we would have been personally present in the Cova da Iria in 1917.

Here is the history of the first apparition written by Sr. Lucy:

“High up on the slope of the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco.

Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning. “We’d better go home,” I said to my cousins, “that’s lightning; we may have a thunderstorm.”

“Yes, indeed,” they answered.

We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less halfway down the slope, and almost level with a large holm oak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning. We had only gone a few steps further, when; there before us on a small holm oak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light clearer and more intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.

We stopped, astounded, before the apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light that surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us:

-Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm.

Where does Your Grace come from?

-I am from heaven.

What does Your Grace want of me?

-I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards I will return here yet a seventh time.

Shall I go to heaven, too?

-Yes, you will.

And Jacinta?

-She will go also.

And Francisco?

-He will go there too, but he will have to say many Rosaries.

Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine, and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.

Is Maria das Neves in Heaven?

-Yes, she is.

And Amelia?

-She will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.

-Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?

Yes, we are willing.

-Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.

As She pronounced these last words “the grace of God will be your comfort,” Our Lady opened Her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that as it streamed from Her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then moved by an inner impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament”.

After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again:

-Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.

Can you tell me if the war will go on for a long time, or will it end soon?

-I cannot tell you that yet, because I have not yet said what I want.

Then She began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until She disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded Her seemed to open up a path before Her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw Heaven opening.”

Let us now reflect on the words of Our Lady:

  1. “DO NOT FEAR, I WILL DO YOU NO HARM:”

The first words of Our Lady, just because they are the first ones, are very important.

-“Do not fear. I will do you no harm!”

Lucy explains: “The fear which we felt was not really fear of Our Lady, but rather fear of the thunderstorm which we thought was coming. The apparitions of Our Lady inspired neither fear nor fright, but only surprise”.

100 years after her apparitions in Fatima we can find the deeper interpretation of these words: a world of fear with so many powers of darkness to do us harm. Against that the first and principal declaration: “I, your mother, will do you no harm,” with me you have nothing to fear, no real harm can touch you if you hear me, follow me, accept me.

  1. “I AM FROM HEAVEN”:

Certainly inspired by the Holy Ghost, Lucy found courage to speak and to ask the vision,

– “Where does Your Grace come from?”

Then Our Lady gave her first reply, and she did not answer the question precisely:

“I come from Heaven,” would be certainly true.

No, she said literally:

-“I am of Heaven” (In her first written account in 1922, Lucy herself writes: I myself am of Heaven!).

In these words, we already find her whole mystery.

When we ask with the angels and saints: Who are You, O Immaculata?

She will answer: I am – of Heaven!

– Of Heaven: It is an echo of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven,” and of this Heaven She IS with all Her being and personality.

Now all human beings are first of all ‘of the earth’, children of human parents. On the contrary, Mary is the only one in our human lineage to be an exception from the common rule, being first and principally ‘of Heaven’, before being ‘of the earth’.

Why? Because “God possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He had made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived … I was with Him forming all things” (Prov. 8, 23 – 30). The reason of “being” of Mary is submerged in the mystery of God: Her life on earth will be only the visible expression of her “myself of Heaven”. Her essence, her foundations, her inmost intimacy is not creation but the Creator, is not time but eternity, is simply heaven. She never will live for anything else but for God: in all her being, she will be only the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the temple and Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

I AM:

She did not say, “I come from…” but, “I am…”

It is somehow the auto-definition of herself: My being, my identity, my “self” is “being of Heaven”.

Now Heaven is eternal life, is holiness, is light without darkness, eternal peace, and fullness of perfection: everything undefiled, immaculate!

Therefore, this self-presentation is a faithful echo of her answer to Bernadette’s request:

– “Who are you?”

– “I AM the Immaculate Conception.”

There is yet another important detail to consider:

Properly spoken, only God can say, “I am!” because only He really IS. If creatures say, “I am,” they mean, “I have”. Nobody would reasonably say: I am Life, only I have life, nor I am truth, but – I speak the truth. “I am” means full possession; “I am” means that I am the principle of what I have.

Therefore, only Our Lord, because He is God, can say: I am the Resurrection and the Life. Before Abraham was, I AM.

Is it then not exaggerated and even not convenient, when Mary said in Lourdes, “I am the Immaculate Conception,” and in Fatima, “I am of Heaven?” It would be so, if she would speak of her own created being, which is strictly “nothing.” If God allows her to present herself in that way means that in her is really something essentially DIVINE.

What?

Thanks to Her fullness of grace and Her being free from all stains of sin, Mary received fully and totally the “gift of the Father and Son”, the Holy Spirit sent by God into our hearts. So totally does the Holy Ghost dwell in her, penetrates her, that nothing remains in Her ‘on Her own’, but all full of God: all Her thoughts, words, actions, everything are more the thoughts, words, and actions of the Holy Ghost than Her own. Therefore, she can say: I AM.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe explains this admirable mystery: “She is joined in an ineffable manner to the Holy Spirit because she is His Spouse; but this is true of her in an incomparably more perfect sense than anything this term can be, expressed among creatures.  What kind of union is this?  It is above all interior; it is the union of her very being with the being of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit dwells in her, lives in her, from the first instant of her existence, and He will do so always, throughout eternity.  In what does this life of the Holy Spirit in her consist?  He Himself is love in her, the love of the Father and the Son, the love by which God loves Himself, the love of the entire most Holy Trinity, a fruitful love, a conception.  Among created resemblances the union of love is the closest.  Holy Scripture affirms that ‘the two of them become one body’ [Genesis 2:24], and Jesus insists, ‘Thus they are no longer two but one flesh’ [Matthew 19:6].  In an incomparably more rigorous, more interior, more essential manner, the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in her very being, and makes her fruitful from the first instant of her existence and throughout her life, that is, forever.”

  1. THE ONE UNIQUE NECESSITY: EVERLASTING THINGS:

What are the great themes of Fatima from the very beginning?

The Angel’s apparition showed the absolute primacy of God, the honor of the Most Holy Trinity, the conversion to God, and the reparation for the offenses against God. Our Lady will put the same themes into the hearts of children, when she later communicates to the children God’s light to submerge them in the depths of God’s Majesty and infinite Love.  Also, the first words spoken by Our Lady revolve exclusively around the after-death realities, first and foremost Heaven and purgatory. During the third apparition she will conjoin, in a striking manner, the reality of hell.

Again inspired by the Holy Ghost, Lucia asks THE question:

-“And I, shall I go to Heaven?”

What a lesson for our materialistic and atheistic times, where almost everybody is turned completely towards the world and his short life therein. How often the question arises in the minds of people nowadays, even believers, even zealous Catholics? This little question of Lucia is somehow the summary of the life of all saints, but also the goal of the work of redemption: that all in our life should revolve around the UNUM NECESSARIUM, the only necessary: “Shall I go to Heaven?” What did I do today to go to Heaven? O Mother Mary, you came to answer this question, and it will be “yes”, if I answer your request, as the children of Fatima answered you.

– “And Jacinta? And Francisco? And Maria des Neves? And Amelia?”

These following questions show what is really important for us next. They contain the whole new commandment of Our Lord – the true love of neighbor. And again, what a lesson for us, who are constantly occupied only with the material welfare of the world around us, and our ‘love of our neighbor’ is mostly limited in procuring material goods or earthly joys!

We should learn to look into the world with these questions: “What about my children, what about my friends, my neighbors, my relatives, my enemies, my fellow citizens, the other members of the Mystical Body etc.? What will be the issue of their life? Will they go to Heaven?” And again the answer is in Mary’s hand, and her answer will be again “yes” if the people use the necessary means to save their souls, especially that they “will have to pray many rosaries.”

– “Yes, they will!”

We should let ourselves get deeply impressed by this consoling promise of Our Heavenly Mother. This promise is for all those who will follow her and want to walk in the footsteps of the three small children. It is also remarkable that Our Lady reveals to Lucia that her friend Maria de Neves is already in Heaven, as normally such knowledge is almost never given with the exception of the canonized Saints. In this way, she confirms that her coming from Heaven to us has but one great purpose: to remind us about this unique necessity and to help us on the way to Heaven.

Purgatory:

– “And Amelia? – She will be in purgatory till the end of the world!”

Our Lady’s catechism goes on with the important precision that “going to Heaven” is not such an easy thing. The way to holiness is an ardent labor and requires heroic generosity. If “going to Heaven” – salvation of the soul – holiness – overwhelming happiness in the “Light, that is God Himself” is certainly the main purpose of Our Lady’s apparition, it is also important to know, that only the “totally pure will see God”, and as long as man is infected by darkness (sin), he cannot unite himself with HIM, Who is pure light.

But as almost nobody finds himself totally pure at the moment of death, almost nobody could go to Heaven, if God’s mercy had not created the ‘possibility of purification after death’ – Purgatory. But this place of purification is a spiritual fire, which purifies the souls through enormous sufferings. Our Lady uses the example of Lucy’s friend, Amelia, to show how intense these sufferings might be: “…. till the end of the world!” Which, translated into our language, means: full sufferings up to the end of all possibilities. If, according to the fathers of the Church, one minute in Purgatory is more than 100 years of worst sufferings here on earth, we can have an idea of what,  “… till the end of the world” means.

What again a lesson for us, who are fully occupied with our earthly problems and sufferings, shut up into our little years on earth, and our little group of people surrounding us. Life on earth could be compared to a small hill, beyond which we can see an immense valley where every burning fire is filled with innumerable souls. And amongst them we can recognize our ancestors, relatives, and friends… And all of them have fixed their eyes towards Heaven and towards this small hill – earth – from where they could get immense relief and often full deliverance of their pains, if only the people would not be occupied only with themselves, but have a small love of the neighbor to help them in their pains. Our Lady reminds us from the very beginning, of Her apparition about this gigantic world of Purgatory filled with billions of souls, first, to excite us to help them (because they all are Her beloved children), and, secondly, to remind us that for many, many, years this could be our place after the short while on earth, if we do not care about “going to Heaven”.  The thought of Purgatory helps us to detach ourselves from our ridiculous little world and have a glimpse into the ‘other world,’ the essential and true one, and so to live in truth.

Finally, Our Lady gives us an important lesson about the Church: She appears here on earth to be with her children of the militant Church. But the reason of existence of the militant Church is only to prepare for the triumphant One “in Heaven”. In between is the suffering Church, to give the poor sinners the chance to prepare themselves for eternal bliss after death. And all three are one Church, and what they unite is the grace of God and the instrument of God’s graces, Our Lady.

4/ THE WAY TO HEAVEN: PRAYER AND SUFFERINGS:

Once the goal is fixed, Our Lady speaks about the means to be used.

– “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, only in the next,” the Immaculata had said to Bernadette in Lourdes.

Similarly, in Fatima, after promising Heaven to the three children she immediately announces to them ‘suffering’. It is the royal road of the Cross which leads to the Light. In 1916, the Angel had already invited them to offer to God their sacrifices unceasingly: “And especially accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you.”

Today, Our Lady asks them to do much more: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for all the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?” Again Our Lady emphasizes the immense value of sacrifices, crosses, and sufferings for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

One could imagine, that after having shown the children the eternal things to come, Our Lady would have given them the advice to tell this to the others, to go to the priests to say Masses, to organize prayers, or other apostolic deeds.

No, the first means is not even prayer but sufferings voluntarily offered with the intention of reparation and conversion!

It is also of highest importance that these sufferings be willingly accepted to bring their supernatural fruits. They must be an act of love towards God and towards the neighbor, and in this way, they are the perfect fulfillment of the greatest commandments. And the more voluntarily they are accepted, the more they are acts of love and the more they bring fruits.

Therefore, Our Lady asks the children for their free agreement. And after obtaining it, she pronounces: “Then you will have much to suffer.”

This shows us that the words of Our Lady are never “small talk”, frivolous conversations. But they engage fully. If you say “yes”, it will be “yes” with all following consequences.

Besides sacrifices and sufferings, Our Lady will speak at each apparition about the other means to use: Prayer! And, first and foremost, the daily Rosary. The Angel had already prepared the children for a life of prayer, insisting on small ejaculatory prayers, to which one could add the “Prayer of the Angel”. We will see that each apparition in Fatima is also a way of educating us to have a regular and deep spiritual life. If we use these means, as the children of Fatima had used them, we will see the same effects in our heart as in their hearts.

Most important in such a life of prayer and sacrifice is the highest means given by God Himself:

-“The grace of God will be your comfort”.

On our way to Heaven, we have certainly to make constant efforts. But, it would be a deep error to think that from them depend our holiness. Our efforts, important as they are, can only dispose us to the intervention of God Himself in our lives, when He gives us His light and His life – His grace, which transforms our souls to become holy. The proof of this truth follows immediately:

5/ THE VISION IN GOD:

“As She pronounced these last words ‘the grace of God will be your comfort’, Our Lady opened Her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense, that as it streamed from Her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors.”

A mysterious, astonishing vision, for it manifests in a striking fashion the universal Mediation of Mary to whom it is given, by an unfathomable grace, to introduce souls into the Light of God. Three times the children will contemplate this astonishing spectacle, which reminds us of the apparition of the “Virgin with the Rays” (Miraculous Medal at the Rue de Bac in 1830).

And Lucia gives the important statement:

“We fell on our knees. It inspired us with so great a knowledge of God that it is not easy to speak about it.” According to the greatest specialists of Fatima, the very core of all the apparitions is in these three communications of “God’s light” through the Immaculata.

Everything is of utmost importance here, and

– First, the very gesture of Our Lady, who “opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that as it streamed from her hands…” We should fall on our knees as the children did and look at her hands, these hands which held the Child Jesus, which worked hard during her whole life. But these hands are much more a symbol: we need our hands to communicate to the others what we have. Opening my hands means I open my heart, I open myself, and I open the gates of my intimacy. As Mary is ‘fullness of grace’, opening her hands, the ocean of graces overflows into the souls of all who stand by her. Lucia insists, saying, that the graces (the light) streamed from her hands, which means that the doors of the paradise is not only opened by Her, but SHE IS THE GATE OF HEAVEN HERSELF.

– What does She give? “A light so intense… GOD, Who was that light … ourselves in that light more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors.” This ‘light’ is reality, the only true reality; the rest is only shadow and nothingness. Here the children received one of the highest possible mystical graces, the “vision of God” Himself. What the children really saw and received at that moment, we can only define by the effects. The first reaction was the ejaculatory prayers: “O Most Holy Trinity, I adore you!” In this light, they saw the only true God in three Persons, the ineffable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. “My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!” In this light, they must have seen the presence of God in the world, a summary of the mystery of salvation, which culminates in the presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Francisco would say later- “I loved seeing the Angel. I loved still more seeing Our Lady. What I loved most of all, was to see Our Lord in that light from Our Lady, which penetrated our hearts. I love God so much!”

– The effects of this vision: all three were filled with a fullness of love and self-surrender. Not only at the moment of the vision, as they declared themselves, but in their physical lives till their death. One can say that the whole lives of the three were nothing but uninterrupted outbursts of love towards God, a living in His presence, a seeking of His will and good pleasure. These visions brought so many graces, that what God normally does during long years amongst His best friends (the saints), He accomplished here in a few minutes. Having experienced God’s light, they did not want anything else other than HIM. And this grace is exactly what God wants to bestow on everybody who approaches the mystery of Fatima!

– The sorrow of God: Francisco in this vision of light was especially impressed by one reality:

-“God is very sad because of so many sins! We must never commit any sins again.” In fact, he will spend his short life in particular contemplation of this mystery: “I am thinking of God, Who is so sad because of so many sins! If only I could console Him!” – Exactly the answer to the request of the Angel when giving them the mystical Holy Communion in 1916: “Console your God!”

– Fr. Alonso explains that we have to distinguish between the exterior and the interior aspect of the message of Fatima. The exterior and visible one is more apologetic, that is, to prove before the world the authenticity of Fatima, to engage the faithful to accomplish the wishes of Our Lady. But the essential message, the “constitutive reality” of Fatima is only given by his interior aspect: it is a “particular experience of the Divine Word, of God and His will, the very communications of God by Our Lady to the world”. We will come back to this essential aspect of Fatima after having meditated about all three ‘communications of the light of God’ through Mary.

SUMMARY OF THIS FIRST APPARITION:

If you meditate often about this event on 13 May 1917, you will realize more and more, how far Fatima is from the secular and even religious atmosphere of our times, which focuses on man and his life on earth, as the most important and often only valuable aspect of life; and even if we believe in God, He is not an important factor, just somewhat an agency of security, a being far away from us which has nothing to do with our concrete lives. If Saint Pius X exclaims that we are in the time of the Antichrist because the people live and behave as if God didn’t exist, then we understand better the importance of this first message of Fatima, where GOD is ALL. He is Light, and besides Him is only darkness. In this way, Fatima wakes us up from our illusions and makes us resist the lies of the rulers of the world. What matters is eternity: Heaven or hell, and the way to eternity, which is prayer, sacrifices, fight against sin, salvation of souls, and above all, the incredible happiness of GOD’S LIGHT: HIS LOVE!

13 MAY 1917 (II) – THE IMMACULATA AMONGST US

“Thou art all beautiful, O Mary,” our liturgy chants.

This was also what Jacinta kept repeating after her contemplation of the Heavenly vision:

– “O, what a beautiful Lady! O, what a beautiful Lady!” So beautiful that all images, all statues of the apparition disappoint her: “It is impossible to depict Her as She really is, and we cannot even describe Her with words of this earth.”

No doubt, the children of Fatima (as well as Saint Bernadette in Lourdes, Saint Catherine Labouré in Paris, and Melanie and Maximin in La Salette) had the privilege to see the glorious body of the Immaculate Virgin, Queen of Heaven and Earth: that body with which She was assumed into Heaven. They saw Mary, as she is now and forever, sitting at the side of Her Divine Son!

It is worthwhile to contemplate her, as she appeared to these visionaries, with all the details mentioned by Lucy: it will help us to approach and to love her much more than before!

  1. As in Lourdes, Our Lady appeared very young; Lucia said around 15 years old. This astonishing youth evokes one aspect of her mystery. If we see children, our young people, we often think of their parents – the youth of Mary reminds us that she is the “Eternal Daughter of the Heavenly Father”. This aspect brings us to think about her origins, her creation, her birthday, but above all her conception, her Immaculate Conception. She comes somehow from the depths of the divine light out of the “bosom of the Most Holy Trinity” and she always receives freshly His power and light and beauty.

Youth means purity and beauty – the Immaculata! Mary is always fresh in her soul, heart, and body, because she is full of the light and life of God. We should often lift our eyes to this eternal beauty, the masterpiece of God’s works, the living mirror and icon of His own eternal LIGHT.

  1. Again, as in Lourdes, She appeared very small, scarcely five feet tall, Lucy said. This littleness also has its meaning. It conveys something to us. In the breviary we sing about her: “When I was a little one, I pleased the Most High, and in my womb I brought forth God made man!” Before HIM she wants to be small, so small that she would disappear completely if possible. Her humility attracted God so much, that He chose her to become the Mother of God.

What a difference to us, who only desire to become “great”, visible, known, estimated, appreciated and cannot tolerate to “disappear”! The way of holiness, however, is here: to become small and to wish to disappear, so that God may be glorified.

  1. Another detail: she came very close to the three children. For a pedestal she had chosen a little holm oak, about a meter high. “We were so close, that we found ourselves in the light surrounding her, or rather emanating from her, about a meter and a half away, more or less.” She always looks to the children, “her voice is soft and pleasant”. Do we not desire to come close to our beloved if we really love them? And the more we love them, the closer we want to be to them! And when we are in their presence, we keep attention not to speak anything or to behave in any way which would disturb the atmosphere of intimacy and love. This is exactly what happens in Fatima. But attention! It is Our Lady who comes close to us. She loves us so, so much.

It would be one of the greatest benefits for our life to understand and appreciate how much Our Lady wants to come close to us, to our hearts, to our lives, to each moment of our lives.

  1. “ERA DE LUZ”: But the most important word to describe the figure of Our Lady is “light brighter than the sun”. Lucy often declares: “We saw a Lady all dressed in white, more brilliant than the sun,” a light so sparkling that it dazzled them: “She came in the midst of a great light. Again this time, she blinded me. From time to time I had to rub my eyes”.

In short, it was her risen body in all the splendor of its glory in which she manifested herself at the Cova da Iria. And her body is similar to that of Jesus Himself during His transfiguration: “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (Mt. 17, 2). In the great vision of the glorious Christ at the beginning of the Apocalypse, Jesus appears “as Son of man, whose face was like the sun shining at full strength” (Apoc. 1, 16). When He throws Saul down to the ground on the road to Damascus, it was once again in the same light. “At midday I saw, on my way, a light from Heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me” (Acts 26, 13). The light was so intense that he lost his sight.

The sun is only the image of the divine light with which the risen bodies of Jesus and Mary shine. It was thus that the Virgin appeared at Fatima, like the Spouse in the Canticle of Canticles: “fair as the moon, bright as the sun” (Cant. 6, 10), and also like the Apocalyptic Woman: “a woman clothed with the sun” (Apoc. 12, 1). By Her apparitions at the Cova da Iria, the Blessed Virgin confirms for us that as Mother of the “Sun of Justice,” she has been clothed with the Divine Light since Her Assumption. While remaining a creature and fully human, she has penetrated, so to speak, into the sphere of the divinity.

  1. The glorious body:

Although “all shining with light”, the apparition nevertheless seemed to be a real human person, of ineffable beauty: her body seemed like different “undulations of that ineffable light”. When praying to her, we should sometimes first have a deep spiritual look towards her, and try to imagine how the children saw her: “the face, with infinitely pure and delicate lines, shines in an aureole of the sun.  The eyes are black. The hands are joined on top of the breast. From the right hand, there hangs a beautiful Rosary with white beads, brilliant as pearls, ending in a little cross of silver, which also sparkles. The feet gently come down onto a little ermine cloud, which floats over the green branches of the shrub. The dress, which is snow white, falls right down to the feet. A white veil (a veritable mantle), with edges adorned with fine, braided gold, covers the head, the shoulders, and falling almost as low as the dress, and envelops the whole body”.

The Church sings at the feast of the Immaculate Conception: “My soul shall be joyful in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He has covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels” (Introit).

Is it not this way that she appeared in Fatima? Clothed with a robe of light, a symbol of the singular privilege by which she would benefit more than any other form, the grace of salvation; since, in view of the future merits of her Son, she was preserved from every stain of sin. Draped in a sparkling white mantle, resplendent in the golden flashes of light, she is the image of original justice rediscovered and restored in greater splendor: “He has covered me with the robe of justice”.

In the further descriptions, Sister Lucy also sees how Our Lady is “adorned with jewels”. She speaks particularly of one of them like a “ball of light”, but without further explanations. Visibly, Our Lady of Fatima wants to be recognized and identified exactly as the Spouse of the Canticles and the Apocalyptic Woman. The apparition is the visible expression of the Catholic doctrine about Mary in contradiction to any other religion: She is the Immaculate Conception (Spouse of the Canticle), the Virgin assumed into Heaven with body and soul (light), the Mediatrix of All Graces, Queen of Heaven and Earth, who crushed the head of the dragon (Apocalyptic Woman).

SUMMARY: Fatima is not only a “message”, it is an overwhelming REALITY: the very presence of the Queen of Heaven here on earth. And she wants to approach us, and let us approach her. The more we have her in mind, consider her in this appearance full of light and majesty, but also full of humility and delicacy, the more she can protect and guide us, and preserve us from the dangers of error and sin. When looking to her with the eyes of the children of Fatima, we can only be fascinated by such a vision, “blinded” by so much light! And living in this light we will easily discover the false lights, which tempt us by their worldly brilliance, and not be impressed by them anymore.