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The Church today commemorates the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, marking 104 years since the Blessed Mother appeared in Portugal, exhorting us to pray, fast and do penance. But she also warned of Russia's errors and a second world war if she was not obeyed.
Church Militant's Hunter Bradford reviews the essential elements of the Portuguese phenomena and Our Lady's commands.
The Mother of God chose three poor farm-town children to remind the world, once again, God hates sin, the Rosary is powerful and Hell is hot, with too many souls to count. To little Lúcia and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, Mary revealed the fiery furnace of Hell: "You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."
The Mother of God asked each of us to repent of our sins and to pray the Rosary every day because the line between good and evil runs down the heart of every man.
Fr. Chad Ripperger, Doloran Fathers founder: "The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against Hell. In fact, Padre Pio said that the Rosary is the weapon — not a weapon, but the weapon."
Our Lady promised peace if her requests were obeyed, but her hopeful message also contained a warning:
If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.
The errors of Russia are many, but communism, as well as abortion, cannot go unmentioned. In 1920, the communist country became the first nation in modern times to legalize murder of the unborn.
Decades ago, Abp. Fulton Sheen blasted communism, contrasting it to the Church.
Abp. Fulton Sheen, former bishop of Rochester, New York: "First, Our Blessed Lord established a Church in which, one, we do not obey a system, but a person. Two, in the Church, the basis of our obedience is not fear, but love. And thirdly, in the Church, freedom of thought is saved by reverence for the truth."
Our Lady continued to visit the children for months. According to Lucia, "We saw an angel with a flaming sword in his left hand — it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire. Pointing to the earth with his right hand, the angel cried out in a loud voice, 'Penance, penance, penance!'"
During the final apparition on Oct. 13, 1917, upwards of 70,000 witnessed what's best known as the 'Miracle of the Sun,' when the sun was said to have danced in the sky. Two months before the monumental miracle, Our Lady commanded the three kids to "pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them."
Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta during his trip to Fatima on May 13, 2017, during a Mass at the shrine.