In the Easter season the Church encourages us to read the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. What does that book have to do with Fátima? It’s not that the apparitions of Mary at Fátima can help us decode the Book of Revelation with all its visions. But at a deeper level, Fátima is about the main message of that book: We are in the battle of our lives, but have no fear because in the end, God wins!
Many people have tried to figure out what the various visions in the book mean in terms of historical events. Usually that doesn’t work, and we don’t need to know what will happen in the future. But we do need to know how to live according to God’s will, no matter what happens. That’s what Revelation teaches us. Jesus Christ appears in the book as the one who conquered sin and death. He is the Lamb who was slain (see Rev 5:6-11). By faith and baptism we become followers of the Lamb, and if we live the way he taught, we will share in his victory.
At Fátima, the Blessed Mother brought a similar message. She appeared to three shepherd children in a sleepy village in Portugal. World War I was raging, and Mary told them that the war would end. But she warned them that if people didn’t turn to God and change their ways, a new and far worse war would break out. World War II exploded 22 years later. That war was a symptom of the deeper battle going on in people’s hearts, the battle between good and evil. Yet Mary also told the children, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and a period of peace will be given to the world.”
We don’t know how that promise might be fulfilled. But we can help to bring peace to the world if we listen to Mary’s requests for prayer, penance, and devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
Prayer is the most important and fundamental message of Fátima. Mary urged the children to pray for peace, especially by praying the Rosary. The Book of Revelation is filled with prayers, in fact, some of the most beautiful hymns of praise in the Church’s liturgy come from the book: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:11). The angel who appeared to the children to prepare them for Mary’s visit taught them a prayer to praise God: “My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love you! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love you.”
Penance is a way of making up for or setting right the disorder that sin has brought into the world. The Book of Revelation begins with letters to seven churches in Asia Minor, some of which are rebuked: “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death . . . Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent” (3:2-At Fátima, Mary said: “Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners.” Moved by her words, the children began to do acts of penance and make sacrifices for those intentions. We too can follow their example.
3) Devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart
God made a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in Mary’s heart, beginning with her Immaculate Conception. Her heart is free from sin, filled with grace, a place where God himself dwells. Doesn’t that describe what we too are called to through our Baptism? Through the gift of sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our hearts also. The divine indwelling is a wonderful effect of grace. Wherever the Holy Spirit dwells, Jesus is there too, and so is his Father, so that the entire Trinity dwells in us through grace.
Explore books and movies about Our Lady of Fátima for adults and kids
Grace is often associated with the image of light. The Book of Revelation speaks of a woman clothed with light: “A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (12:1). Catholics have often seen this image in terms of Mary. At the last apparition at Fatima, October 13, 1917, the great miracle of the sun occurred, as it danced through the sky and seemed it would crash to earth. Mary is that woman clothed with the sun, clothed with light, because she gave Jesus to us, who is the true light of the world (Jn 8:12). If we listen to Mary’s message at Fatima we will be doing what the Book of Revelation urges us: “Be earnest, therefore, and repent. . . . Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (3:19, 22). That’s a powerful message to ponder as we continue through this Easter season.
by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP