Fatima’s Century

A grace-filled hundredth anniversary of the final apparition at Fatima, as Our Lady appeared for last time to the three seers on this day in October, 1917, during some of the worst days of World War I, and just before the Spanish Influenza would kill millions across the globe.  Unlike most flus, this on targeted mainly the young and healthy (for complex physiological reasons) including the two young visionaries, Jacinta and Francesco, who predicted their own deaths.

There are prophecies and revelations at Fatima, none of which we are strictly bound to accept (even the dancing Sun, whose provenance we know not) except, of course, those already in public revelation (such as the existence of judgement, heaven and hell, the need for reparation, that Our Lady intercedes for mankind, and so on). I must confess that, although I strive to maintain what devotion I can to the Virgin Mother, and tell my beads as the mediaevals would have it, however distractedly, I am not much given to the hype over all the apocalyptica surrounding this vision.  Yes, there will be wars, calamities, famines, storms, as there have been since Adam and Eve partook of that forbidden fruit, Cain slayed Abel, so that by the sixth chapter of Genesis (signifying only God knows how much ‘real’ time) the Lord saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that man’s every thought and all the inclinations of his heart were only evil.

Things have not changed all that much since those early days, it seemeth, and this ‘Fatima century’ has seen some of the worst wickedness.  In consequence, there have always been cataclysmic destructive forces, and eventually there will be the final one, not with water, as God promised Noah; likely by fire, if the first Pope is any indication and speaking not figuratively: The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone, ominously burping?  The asteroids that seem to be flying by a little closer each time? Nuclear war with Korea and China and Russia and who knows who else? A solar flare? A black hole wandering into our solar system? All of the above?

But why worry and fret? Our own private apocalypse will occur at the time and moment when God so wills, whether today, or next year, or at ‘the end’, and the best way to be ready, as Our Lady in her visions has always repeated, is to maintain a healthy devotional life, to participate in Mass, at least on Sundays, more often if one is able; fighting our ‘evil’ passions, with a regular examination of conscience and Confession; to stay united to Christ and His Church, practising daily charity by acts of kindness and self-giving, especially those that are sent to us by providence and that go against our own grain; to be joyful, even with an act of the will if need be, lifting others up; to realize that this passing life is indeed so temporary and fleeting (the pilgrims in the accompanying photograph, even the little children, have by now all gone before their Maker), and that what good we can do here and now will be multiplied a hundredfold, poured into our lap, and brimming over.

So be of good cheer. Christ has indeed already overcome the world.

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