10/3 APPARITIONS OF THE ANGEL OF FATIMA
The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Angel of Fatima to the three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The angel prepared the children for for the visit and messages of Our Lady of Fatima as well as for their own mission in the Church. The angel’s words and gestures—expressing a basic and at the same time most profound spirituality—are to be found in every true disciple of Jesus Christ and Mary! Following an excerpt from “FATIMA, IN LUCIA’S OWN WORDS.”
Apparitions of the Angel in 1916
Around this time, as I have already related to Your Excellency, Francisco and Jacinta sought and obtained permission from their parents to start taking care of their own flock. So I left my good companions, and joined my cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, instead. To avoid going to the serra with all the other shepherds, we arranged to pasture our flocks on properties belonging to my uncle and aunt and my parents.
One fine day, we set out with our sheep for some land that my parents owned, which lay at the foot of the eastern side of the slope of the hill that I have already mentioned. This property was called Chousa Velha. Soon after our arrival, about mid-morning, a fine drizzle began to fall, so fine that it seemed like mist. We went up the hillside, followed by our flocks, looking for an overhanging boulder where we could take shelter. Thus it was for the first time that we entered this blessed hollow among the rocks. It stood in the middle of an olive grove belonging to my god-father Anastacio. From there you could see the little village where I was born, my parents home, and the hamlets of Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, owned by several people, extended to within the confines of the hamlets themselves.
We spent the day there, among the rocks, in spite of the fact that the rain was over and the sun was shining bright and clear. We ate our lunch and said our Rosary. I am not sure whether we said it that day, in the way I have already described it to Your Excellency, saying the word Hail Mary, and Our Father on each bead, so great was our eagerness to our play! Our prayer finished, we started to play Pebbles. We had enjoyed the game for a few moments only, when a strong wind began to shake the trees. We looked up startled, to see what was happening, for the day was unusually calm. Then we saw coming towards us, above the olive trees, the figure I have already spoken about. Jacinta and Francisco had never seen it before, nor had I ever mentioned it to them. As it drew closer, we were able to distinguish its features. It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said: “Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”
Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat these words three times: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” Then rising he said: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” His words engraved themselves so deeply on our minds that we could never forget them. From then on, we used to spend long periods of time, prostrate like the Angel, repeating his words, until sometime we fell exhausted. I warned my companions, right away, that this must be kept secret and, thank God, they did what I wanted.
Some time passed , and summer came, when we had to go home for the siesta. One day, we were playing on the stone slabs of the well at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents, which we called the Arneiro ( I have already mentioned this well to Your Excellency in my account of Jacinta). Suddenly, we saw beside us the same figure, or rather, Angel, as it seemed to me. “What are you doing? he asked. “Pray, pray very much! The most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High.” How are we to make sacrifices? I asked. “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.” A considerable time had elapsed, when one day we went to pasture our sheep on a property belonging to my parents, which lay on the slope of the hill, I have mentioned, a little higher up than Valinhos. It is an olive grove called Pregueira. After our lunch, we decided to go and pray in the hollow among the rocks on the opposite side of the hill. To get there we went around the slope, and had to climb over some rocks above Pregueira. The sheep could only scramble over these rocks with great difficulty.
As soon as we arrived there, we knelt down, with our foreheads touching the ground, and began to repeat the prayer of the Angel: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You, I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” I don’t know how many times we had repeated this prayer, when an extraordinary light shone upon us. We sprang up to see what was happening, and beheld the Angel. He was holding a Chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice. Leaving the Chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” Then rising, he took the Chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred Host to me, and shared the Blood from the Chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us, three times more, the same prayer…”Most Holy Trinity…”and then disappeared. We remained a long time in this position, repeating the same words over and over again. When at last we stood up, we noticed that it was already dark, and therefore time to return home.
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