The first two apparitions of Our Lady
In this article we begin the in-depth study on the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima with the same words with which St. Lucia tells her in her Memoirs.
On May 13, the shepherds decided to take the flock to Cova da Iria,owned by Lucia’s parents. As they played to build a small wall around a grove, the three children suddenly saw something like a flash around noon. Fearing the arrival of a thunderstorm they thought to return home, but as they descended from a slope, they saw another flash and immediately realized that above a lyse was “a Lady dressed in white, brighter than the sun”. They were enveloped by this great light that the Lord promanated and feared, but here the Lady began to speak to them (in italics we report the words of Our Lady as St. Lucia brings them back): “Don’t be afraid, I don’t want to hurt you”; “Where are you from?” I ask Lucy; “I am fromHeaven”; “And what do you want from me?” retorted the little shepherdess; “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on day 13 and at this very hour. I will then tell you who I am and what I want. So I’ll come here again a seventh time“. ” And I’m going to Heaven too?” resumed Lucia. “Yes you will go .” “And Jacinta?” “She too. ” “And Francis?” “He too; but he will have to recite many Rosaries.” Then Lucia Le asked about two girls who had recently died and Our Lady replied that one was in Heaven, while the other was to remain in Purgatory until the end of the world. Our Lady said again: “Do you want to offer you to God to endure all the suffering that He will send you, in reparation for the sins with which he is offended, and as a plea for the conversion of sinners?” Yes, we do.” “You will then have to suffer a lot, but the Grace of God will be your comfort.”
Lucia recounts that, while uttering the words Grace of God, the Virgin “opened her hands by communicating to us such an intense light, as a reflection of her, that penetrated us into the chest and in the most intimate of the soul, making us see ourselves in God, identified in that same light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors (…) Then we fell to our knees and we started to repeat in the depths of ourselves: “Most Holy Trinity, I love you. My God, I love you in the Blessed Sacrament.” Then Our Lady said again: “ Recite the Rosary every day to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war. ” (Let us remember that we were in the middle of The First World War.)
At the end of this special day, despite agreeing among them not to tell anyone anything about what they had seen, little Jacinta, failing to contain the joy and amazement she had in her heart for this extraordinary experience, spoke about it at home. One of the most frequent topics in the speeches the three children made between them became how to make sacrifices to achieve the conversion of poor sinners. Francis immediately thought of distributing their snack to the flock and offering a whole day of fasting. They also dried on the question of hell (where those who commit sins go and do not confess by burning forever) and of Paradise and the eternity of these realities that could no longer change. In their simplicity these children showed that they knew the foundations of Catholic doctrine much better than great scholars and so-called modern theologians! Thus they felt even more motivated to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so that they would not end up in hell, often giving up the snack by giving it to the poor, eating acorns and acerbe olives, even not drinking on the hottest days until they had a great headache! They competed with those who offered the most (Jacinta, the youngest, was also the most launched in this race). But soon persecution also began in the family where the children were naturally not believed and considered liars. This became a great suffering to offer.
June 13th was the feast of St. Anthony and, after Holy Mass, the shepherds went to the Cova da Iria. This time they were joined by people from neighbouring countries who had heard the first appearance. After reciting the Holy Rosary, again they saw that sudden flash and soon after Our Lady. Lucia Asked her what she wanted from them and the Virgin replied: ” I want you to come hereon the 13th of next month, to recite the Rosary every day and to learn to read. I’ll tell you after what I want.” So Lucia asked for the healing of a sick person. He replied, “If he changes his life, he will heal within the year.” The shepherdess resumed: “I would ask you to take us to Heaven”. And Our Lady: “Yes; Jacinta and Francesco will bring them soon, but you will stay here for a while. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish devotion to My Immaculate Heart in the world. To those who embrace it I promise salvation; and these souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne“. “Will I remain here alone?” asked Lucia, but the Virgin consoled her: “No, my daughter. Do you suffer a lot? Well, don’t lose heart. I will never abandon you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the road that will take you to God“. By uttering these last words, again the children were enveloped in that immense light in which they saw themselves as immersed in God.
Sr. Lucia also tells that in the palm of her right hand our Lady had a Heart crowned with thorns that seemed stuck. They understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary outraged by the sins of humanity that wanted reparation.
Following these events, the parish priest wanted to meet Lucia. It was a quiet conversation, but in the end he said that it did not seem to him to be real apparitions and that, indeed, it could also be a deception of the devil. This left poor Lucia in an unimaginable inner torment, so much so that one night she dreamed of the devil who, sneering at her for deceiving her, grabbed her with her claws to take her to hell.