By Rev. Fr. Karl Stehlin, SSPX,
Kolbe Publications, Singapore 2016
In the supernatural interventions of God in the life of the Church, particularly in many of those of the past two centuries, the Blessed Virgin takes a central place. It is She who appears and commissions Her chosen messengers to transmit to ecclesiastical authority the directives from heaven for the needs of the Church.
In contrast with miracles or apparitions of other saints, those of Our Lady, some of them at any rate, are not merely of private importance for some particular persons, but have a public character and concern the whole Church.They are like official messages from heaven. Our Lady appears for the sake of the Mystical Body of Her divine Son. Christ reveals His presence and action in the Church, not directly by Himself, but through His Mother.
If Mary is what Catholic dogma and theology say She is: Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of our race, Mediatrix of all graces, then She must be expected to mother the Church today as She did at its beginning. Christ’s care for His bride should not unnaturally pass through Mary. If He has a message for the Church: to warn her against threatening dangers, to call up the members of His Body to crusade for the defense and spread of His kingdom in the world; when we know that His Mother and ours plays an essential role in the work of the Redeemer and Mediator, it should not be surprising that She is sent to transmit to the Church the bidding of Her Son.
That is why Fatima holds a special place in the life of the Church of our times. We can truly say Fatima is a ‘sign of contradiction’. Forget about the modernist. Even among the so called conservatives we find two kinds of reaction to Fatima. One is of rationalistic scorn and the other of unenlightened enthusiasm. Of the latter, we see that they are mostly preoccupied with knowing the ‘third secret of Fatima’. For them, the message of Fatima is nothing but what is in the ‘so-called unopened envelope’.. what will happen if the secret is fully revealed? Will they listen to Our Lady or will they go after other ‘undisclosed secrets’? This is not piety.
Having said this, what is Fatima all about? What is the essence of the message? What did Our Lady want us to understand? Unfortunately, there was a dearth of material available in English to elucidate this apparition in a proper light. Now, we cannot complain any longer. Kolbe Publications has published the explanation of the apparition by one of the renowned Mariologist of our times, Rev. Fr. Karl Stehlin. The author needs no introduction and especially when it comes to things dealing with our Blessed Mother.
“Fatima – a Spiritual Light for our Times” is his latest work. “This book aims to be an answer to the request of all those who want to know more profoundly the message and the spirituality of Fatima” (Foreword). The structure of he body is very simple – historical events and a commentary of each event. Each chapter deals with each apparition (Chapters 2 – 4 deals with the three apparition of the angel and the remaining deals with that of Our Lady). Every commentary reflects sound doctrine with solid piety.
In this beautiful book of explanation on the apparition of Fatima, Fr. Karl Stehlin offers an inspiring way of renewing our reading of the one of most important event of our times. He proposes to explain the facts not only as something of the past, but one that has repercussions in the life of the Church today. (p.148). We have here solid doctrine and deep spirituality such as should be found in any literature on Our Lady.
This book may be warmly recommended to priests, who have a ‘duty to prepare properly for the centenary of Fatima’ (Bp. Fellay’s letter, September 2016), but they should not expect to find ready-made conferences (or sermons even); they will find better than that, if only they can afford the unhurried and meditated reading it requires to let the ‘essence of Fatima’ to sink in.
Both the author and the Publishers have placed Catholic scholarship in a heavy debt of gratitude. We can only wish that his enterprising courage and energy may be rewarded with a speedy and successful continuation of his promised work –Fatima Continued.
Fr. Therasian Xavier