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The Holy Eucharist is—really, truly, substantially and living—the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ was formed in the first Tabernacle in which Jesus Christ lived upon earth—namely in the sweet womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The precious blood of the infant Jesus in its first tabernacle upon earth flowed between Mary and her newly conceived child.

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Recently a father of a family came to me for counseling. He said, “We are having a serious family problem. I have several daughters. I have a twelve-year-old son. The problem is, we can’t handle the boy. He uses his strength to hurt his sisters, one sister is older than him. He’s out of control. He does not obey or show respect.”

After asking the man a few brief questions, I responded, “The problem is not your twelve-year-old son. The problem is that you are not acting as the head of your home. Your wife is ruling both the children and you.”

With that introductory case, and details to which we shall return later, I continue this article. It tells what happens when the primacy of love and the primacy of authority become confused in their roles. […]

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The Fatima apparition of July 1917 has much significance for today. Many are weakening or have lost faith in the existence of the infinite and just God. Among many there is little or no faith in the reality of hell. Yet, in the July apparitions the three little shepherd children were shown a vision of hell so terrible that Sister Lucia wrote that if they had not been promised they would all go to heaven she thought they would have died on the spot.

God’s mercy is infinite. So is His justice. For God’s infinite mercy through the precious blood of Jesus to avail souls, faith, repentance and openness to his merciful love is required. Otherwise His justice must prevail.

The children beheld countless souls of sinners in hell. Our Lady, who is our Mother of Mercy, kindly but sadly said, “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, there will be peace.”

The July apparition with its call to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary requires living a life of Christian virtue as Mary did. It is most needed today. Obeying the Ten Commandments, receiving the Sacraments worthily and in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart Mary, daily prayer, especially the Rosary; all these are required for living our personal consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

In July, 1917, our Mother of Mercy gave us two prayers to recite:

Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: “Oh Jesus, this is for love of you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

When you recite the Rosary, after each mystery say: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially these who have most need of your mercy.”

Our Lady said that if we do not heed heaven’s call much punishment will befall the world, “war, hunger, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.” She foretold the importance of First Saturdays along with consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in preventing these things.

The late Fr. Joaquin Maria Alonso, Claretian, official historian of Fatima, told me that the loss of faith was predicted in the Fatima message. “In Portugal the Dogma of Faith will always be preserved… etc. …” This implies “it will be lost in other places.” We now know that the third part of the Fatima secret, told at this time, concerned the many martyrs to the faith, including, according to some interpretations, what happened to Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981.

What is evident is that the full ramifications of the July 13, 1917 message have yet to be seen. The following is that quintessential Marian message, which continues to hold immediate relevance for today. In the words of Sr. Lucia:

A few moments after arriving at the Cova da Iria, near the holmoak, where a large number of people were praying the Rosary, we saw the flash of light once more, and a moment later Our Lady appeared on the holmoak.

“Lucia,” Jacinta said, “speak. Our Lady is talking to you.”

(To the Lady): “Yes? What do you want of me?”

“I want you to come back here on the thirteenth of next month. Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it.”

“Yes, yes.”

“I would like to ask who you are, and if you will do a miracle so that everyone will know for certain that you have appeared to us.”

“You must come here every month, and in October I will tell you who I am and what I want. I will then perform a miracle so that all may believe…

Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

As Our lady spoke these words she opened her hands once more, as she had during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me do). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellant likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. This war will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.

To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace. In Portugal the faith will always be preserved.

Remember, you must not tell this to anyone except Francisco.

When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”

“Is there anything more that you want of me?”

“No, I do not want anything more of you today.”

Then as before Our Lady began to ascend towards the east, until she finally disappeared in the immense darkness of the firmament.

On May 13, 2000, John Paul II revealed the Third Part of the Secret, again here described by Sr. Lucia:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand; pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” And we saw in an immense light that is God: “something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it” a Bishop dressed in White “we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.” Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Fr. Robert J. Fox is the founder and director of the Fatima Family Apostolate International, the editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger magazine, and author of over 50 books. He assists daily at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama.

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The first response that comes to mind of why there are so many Marian apparitions in modern times is this: Because sin has become widespread and Mary, the holy Mother of God and Mother of the Church, has been chosen by God to make the Gospel known. Because of the state of the world Mary comes to many places so as to reach the millions of her children who are in grave danger. She wants to lead all her children to prepare their hearts and souls for eternal life.
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We must believe in the great power of invoking the prayers and protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is especially true when it comes to consecration. Fifteen years ago I witnessed that power during the fall of the Communist empire.

At Fatima, Mary asked the Pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. God promised to save Russia by this means. She also asked people to make the First Saturdays Devotion and pray the daily Rosary. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and it will be converted, and a time of peace will be conceded to the world. In Portugal the Dogma of Faith will always be preserved….” (Our Lady of Fatima, July 13, 1917). Yet for decades after 1917 and the Bolshevik revolution, the evil errors of an atheistic system spread worldwide. […]

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Was it the sun that danced at Fatima on October 13, 1917? In three phases the sun appeared to leave its central position in space and zig-zag towards the earth like a giant Catherine-wheel. Tens of thousands of witnesses thought the end of the world had come. People called out for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Multiple colors alternatively transformed the landscape and the people. Multiple colors for multiple graces. This was a miracle that had been foretold months in advance, even to the exact day and hour, by Our Lady, “so that all may believe.”

If the miracle of the sun that happened on October 13 was but a natural occurrence, a true physical disturbance in the sun, then it should have registered on astronomical equipment. None was reported by scientists any place in the world. People present felt they could reach up and touch the ball of fire before it reversed itself and ascended back into the sky.

Atheists who came to scoff were instead awestruck at the miracle. This testifies that what seemed to be the sun hurling itself to the earth was not due to mass hallucination. People who were expecting no miracle joined as one with the multitude of witnesses to attest to the existence and power of the triune God. Fatima is for faith, and this miracle was a visible supernatural occurrence to bring people to faith and conversion. It marked the beginning of an “explosion of the supernatural.”

If it was not the sun that danced in the sky, that luminous celestial body around which the earth and planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, and which has a mean distance from the earth of 93,000,000 miles—what was it? I submit that it was a foreshadowing of a new Pentecost, a sign of the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to be ever more manifested as the twentieth century drew to a close and the twenty-first century began. It foreshadowed the new Pentecost that will accompany the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope Leo XIII had dedicated the twentieth century to the Holy Spirit, and heaven had taken the Pope seriously.

Members of the Church, especially as we begin the third millennium, are ever more conscious of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In fact, Pope John Paul II has said: “The Church cannot prepare for the new millennium ‘in any other way than in the Holy Spirit.'” (1)

The apostles were so powerfully regenerated at the first Pentecost with the visible signs of tongues of fire that it is known as the birthday of the Church. St. Augustine, early in the fifth century, said: “What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.”

We are living during the time of the greatest changes ever witnessed in the world or in the Church. The last fifty years has seen more change in scientific technology and the acquiring of natural knowledge than any era since the beginning of the creation of man. The problem is that mankind’s morality has not kept up with man’s technology. Only by openness to the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the souls of individuals can our faith keep pace with the changing world. True faith does not change. It is immutable. But our understanding of the faith must develop ever deeper. For this and for increased divine life we need the Holy Spirit.

Pope John XXIII, soon after being elected to the Chair of Peter, suddenly announced in January 1959 that he, who was already seventy-seven years in age, would convene an ecumenical council for the entire Church. He was moved by the Holy Spirit to do this with the certainty that the Holy Spirit was about to bring a new springtime to the Church. Shortly before his death Pope Pius XII also foresaw this new springtime, and Pope John Paul II at Fatima in 1991 spoke of the Church being at the dawn of a new springtime.

The problems the Church faces today are not the result of the Second Vatican Council (1963-65). If this Council had not been called the problems in the Church of today would be much greater.

The Second Vatican Council was a Marian Council guided by the Holy Spirit. Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. The Council opened on the feast of the Divine Motherhood of Mary (October 11, 1962). It closed on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (1965). There is no outpouring of the Holy Spirit except in communion with the intercessory prayer of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Ten days after Vatican II opened it issued a message to the world. It said: “Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we intend to renew ourselves and to become better witnesses of the Gospel. We strive to offer the people of this age the truth of God in a pure form, so they can understand it and accept it freely.”

Each Pope since 1930 has said in some way, “Fatima is a reaffirmation of the Gospels.” Our Lady was a catechist at Fatima, trying to help us since she saw the lack of knowledge and love for Jesus Christ and His Church’s teachings engulfing the world. Heaven foresaw the godlessness of the twentieth century getting underway. Diabolic hatred and the spirit of atheism and materialism became the signs of the time, and brought the greatest persecution to Christianity in its 2000 year history. But Fatima gave a supernatural sign that the Holy Spirit would overcome the forces of evil in the world and in the mystical body of Christ.

Our Lady, after showing the three children the terrible vision of hell, said: “But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” That triumph of the Spouse of the Holy Spirit can come only with a new and special outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Church and the lives of us all. Her Heart, the Heart of Her Son, and the Soul of the Church are inseparable.

Our Lady started the charismatic movement of the Holy Spirit during this present age at Fatima. No less than Fr. Joachim Alonso, official historian of Fatima, said to me: “The Holy Spirit is working in the Church today through Fatima.”

On May 18, 1986, Pope John Paul II, looking forward to the third millennium, issued the encyclical letter, Dominum et Vivificantem, On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World.

In the Holy Spirit encyclical the Pope said: “Thus one can understand the profound reason why the Church, united with the Virgin Mother, prays unceasingly as the Bride to her divine Spouse, … ‘The Spirit and the bride say to the Lord Jesus Christ: Come.'”

As individuals we must ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church. Thus we can know that when we pray, think and act with the Church, the spirit acting in us is Holy.

Fr. Robert J. Fox is the founder and director of the Fatima Family Apostolate International, the editor of the Immaculate Heart Messenger magazine, and author of over 50 books. He assists daily at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama.

Endnotes

(1) Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994, 44.

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