Did you hear the true story of the Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors? Fr. Hubert Schiffer, SJ and at least four other Jesuits were living in quarters eight blocks away from the epicenter of the bomb. They miraculously survived the bomb blast and Fr. Schiffer lived for at least fifty more years without a trace of radioactive side effects.
Fr. Schiffer attributes the miracle in his own words as related by Fr. Paul Ruge O.F.M.I, “We believe that we survived because we lived the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.”
The Message of Fatima
‘Fatima’ refers to the Church approved apparitions of Mary in 1917 to three shepherd children in Portugal for a period of six months. The children were given messages concerning world events and the miracle of the sun capped the end of the public apparitions. Through St. Jacinta, St. Francisco and Bl. Lucia (the seers), the Church was introduced to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, entreated to pray the rosary daily, and encouraged devotion known as the Communion of Reparation where the faithful assist First Saturday Masses in reparation to the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mary also begged the world to stop offending the Lord and to make sacrifices so that sinners would be saved. She promised that if her requests are heeded, “a period of peace will be given the world… and in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The alarming Fatima prophecies centered around world wars, the Pope’s assassination and the danger of Russia’s communistic influence. Today, it is tempting to dismiss that the A-bomb of Nagasaki, the crumbling of the Berlin wall and St. Pope John Paul II’s consecration of the world closed the case for Fatima’s relevance. However, St. Pope John Paul II’s successors didn’t think so. Pope Benedict XVI on May 13, 2010 in a Mass at the Fatima shrine said:
“We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.”
After him, Pope Francis, not even a year into his papacy requested Our Lady of Fatima’s statue to be brought to St. Peter’s square. On October 13th, 2013 (the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and anniversary of the last apparition), Pope Francis consecrated the world to Mary.
The threat of China and North Korea’s communism over Asia, Russia’s re-appearance in world events, middle east instability, killing of the innocent unborn, and universal Church persecution should alert us that this period of peace is not among us yet. What we see, in fact, looks more like the cusps of a brewing storm of global mayhem. Current events make for a compelling case of why we still need to listen to and live out Mary’s message in Fatima. We put our own future at risk if we turn our backs on Fatima.
Living Out the Fatima Message
The Fatima lifestyle ushers in the reign or triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, a precursor to the coming of Jesus’ kingdom on earth. St. Louis de Montfort once prophesied: “His [Jesus] kingdom will come. But this will happen only after the Blessed Virgin is known and has begun to reign…She gave him birth the first time. She will bring Him forth to us when He comes to us again.” How do we live out the messages of Fatima?
Pray the rosary daily
Follow Pope Francis’ example and consecrate ourselves to Mary
Practice the Communion of reparation for First Saturdays
Make penance and sacrifices for sinners
The Fatima lifestyle is a shield of the Church for these perilous times. During the super cyclone that hit the Eastern seaboard of the Philippines, almost all the parishes the diocese of Tacloban sustained heavy damage. All except one: the parish where a First Friday Eucharistic Adoration was going on at the time of the storm. This parish had been practicing the Communion of Reparation, a devotion which begins with an evening first Friday Mass, through nine hours of Adoration and rosaries, and closes with a midnight first Saturday Mass… as inspired by Our Lady of Fatima’s requests.