Ave Maria Meditations
As the July date approached Lucia continued to be troubled by the words of her pastor that the devil might be behind the apparitions. Finally, she confided to Jacinta that she intended not to go. When the day finally dawned, however, her fears and anxieties disappeared, so that the noon hour found her in the Cova with Jacinta and Francisco, awaiting the arrival of the beautiful Lady.
The apparition of July 13th would prove to be in many ways the most controversial aspect of the message of Fátima, providing a secret in three parts which the children guarded zealously. The first two parts, the vision of hell and the prophecy of the future role of Russia and how to prevent it, would not be revealed until Sr. Lucia wrote them down in her third memoir, at the request of the bishop, in 1941. The third part, usually called the Third Secret, was only later communicated to the bishop, who sent it unread to Pope Pius XII.
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.”
“Yes?” said Lucia. She spoke humbly, asking pardon for her doubts with every gesture, and to the Lady: “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.
“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.
Thus assured, Lucia began to place before the Lady the petitions for help that so many had entrusted to her. The Lady said gently that she would cure some, but others she would not cure.
“And the crippled son of Maria da Capelinha?”
No, neither of his infirmity nor of his poverty would he be cured, and he must be certain to say the Rosary with his family every day.
Another case recommended by Lucia to the Lady’s assistance was a sick woman from Atougia who asked to be taken to heaven.
Tell her not to be in a hurry. Tell her I know very well when I shall come to fetch her.
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 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 following 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 repellent 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 [this occurred on January 28, 1938], 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…
[Here belongs the part of the Secret of which Cardinal Sodano spoke at the Mass of Beatification, and which the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith published with commentary.]
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.
The possession of the Secret proved to be very great trial for the three young ones. Family, neighbors, followers of the apparitions, even the clergy, tried unsuccessfully to get them to reveal it. Finally, as the day of the August apparition approached even the civil government, which was secular and virulently anti-clerical, alarmed by the numbers of people taking an interest in the Fátima events, attempted to wrest it from them and in the process expose the Church as a collaborator in a fraud.