FATIMA CENTENNIAL (1917-2017)
The Story of the Apparitions, In Lucia’s Own Words
<< The Angel’s Second and Third Apparitions in 1916 >>
Some time passed, and the height of summer came, when the heat of the day was so intense that we had to take the sheep home before noon for siesta and only let them out again in the early evening.
One day we went to spend the siesta hours in the shade of the trees which surrounded the well down at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents, which we called the Arneiro. We were playing on the stone slabs of the well, when suddenly we saw the same Angel right beside us.
“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 Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.”
These words were indelibly impressed upon our minds. They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, He grants the grace of conversion to sinners. It was for this reason that we began, from then on, to offer to the Lord all that mortified us, without, however, seeking out other forms of mortification and penance, except that we remained for hours on end with our foreheads touching the ground, repeating the prayer the Angel had taught us.
After this second Apparition of the Angel, down by the well, Francisco waited a few moments, and then asked:
“You spoke to the Angel. What did he say to you?”
“Didn’t you hear?”
“No. I could see that he was talking to you. I heard what you said to him; but what he said to you, I don’t know.”
As the supernatural atmosphere in which the Angel left us, had not yet entirely disappeared, I told him to ask Jacinta or myself next day.
“Jacinta, you tell me what the Angel said.”
“I’ll tell you tomorrow. Today I can’t talk about it.”
Next day, as soon as he came up to me, he asked me: “Did you sleep last night? I kept thinking about the Angel, and what he could have said.”
I then told him all that the Angel had said at the first and second Apparitions. But it seemed that he had not received an understanding of all that the words meant, for he asked: “Who is the Most High? What is the meaning of: ‘The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications’?”
Having received an answer, he remained deep in thought for a while, and then broke in with another question. But my mind was not yet free, so I told him to wait until the next day, because at that moment I was unable to speak. He waited quite contentedly, but he did not let slip the very next opportunity of putting more questions. This made Jacinta say to him: “Listen! We shouldn’t talk much about these things.”
When we spoke about the Angel, I don’t know what it was that we felt. “I don’t know how I feel,” Jacinta said. “I can no longer talk, or sing, or play. I haven’t strength enough for anything.”
“Neither have I,” replied Francisco, “but what of it? The Angel is more beautiful than all this. Let’s think about him.”
A considerable time had elapsed, when the Angel appeared to us for the third time. (It seems to me that this third Apparition must have been in October, or towards the end of September, as we were no longer returning home for siesta.)
One day we went to pasture our sheep in a small olive grove belonging to my parents called Pregueira, which lay on the slope of the hill I have mentioned, a little higher up than Valinhos. 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 of the hill on the side facing Aljustrel and Casa Velha, and had to climb over some rocks above the Pregueira. The sheep could only scramble over these rocks with great difficulty.
As soon as we arrived there, we knelt down and said our Rosary. Then with our foreheads touching the ground, we began to repeat the prayer the Angel had taught us at the first Apparition: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I 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 a Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood were falling into the sacred vessel.
Leaving the chalice and the host suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and prostrated on the ground and made us repeat this prayer 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 once more 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 to drink, 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.
In this third Apparition, the presence of the supernatural had made itself felt more intensely still. For several days even Francisco did not venture to speak. Later he said: “I love to see the Angel, but the worst of it is that, afterwards, we are unable to do anything. I couldn’t even walk. I don’t know what was the matter with me.”
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