The message of all anti-modernistic or counterrevolutionary apparitions – if we may use these ugly names for such beautiful realities – correspond to the first law of Divine love: the deeper the human misery, the greater God’s mercy manifests itself. For instance, Saint John of the Cross, in the first of his Sayings of Light and Love, says: “The Lord has always revealed the treasures of His wisdom and spirit to souls, but now when the face of evil exposes itself more and more [he is speaking at the time when Protestantism had engulfed half of Christendom], so does God reveal His treasures more.”
To young Lucia, anxious because she will not be taken to heaven soon, the words of the Blessed Mother, “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God”, are but an echo of the loving words to Juan Diego at Tepeyac, “Am I not here, who am your mother? Are you not under my protection?”
The way to God in these terrible times of the manifestation of the mystery of iniquity, and our refuge, are the Two Hearts united: the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is what Heaven and the Popes have proposed as the means of protection for the faithful and the Church. And it is what the message of Fatima states formally and explicitly.
The message of Fatima has a special character: the Blessed Mother came to warn us of the seriousness of the times.
“Seriousness”: this is the term that describes the tone, the mood of the soul, so to speak, of the Fatima message. The word serious is short for severe, which has more negative connotations, but we would dare say is more accurate in this instance. Severe means rigorous here, with the rigor of truth. While the Blessed Mother appears at Fatima very loving indeed, she is also serious. The little shepherds say so time and again. She does not cry, but neither does she smile. She spoke to those truly innocent children of sinners, of how deeply God is offended, of the punishments men are calling on themselves by their sins. Unlike at La Salette, the Blessed Mother at Fatima did not cry because the confidence in her intercession softens her sadness; but she did not smile either, and that showed her indignation at the offences committed against God.
Everything the beautiful Lady said and asked of the children is serious, even severe, very severe. They were small children and yet she showed them hell, a vision that would have literally scared them to death had she not been present with them. She talked to the children about a girl that will be in purgatory till the end of time. She asked of the children prayers and sacrifices and encouraged them to a life of prayer and penance that would seem to us cruel, had she not been their guide. Furthermore, the Blessed Mother told the children that she would soon take them to heaven; news that did not sadden them, but would so sadden their parents. Jacinta’s mother, though a good Catholic woman, nevertheless rejected the idea of her two older daughters becoming nuns, and Jacinta prophesied that the Blessed Mother would take them to heaven while still young (as it indeed happened). Could it be that the Blessed Mother warns us that in these times it would be preferable for the children to die while still young rather than remain in families that will not protect them? The miracle of October 13th, by which the Blessed Mother confirmed her presence, was terrifying and was obviously a preview of what will take place on the Dies Irae, the day of the wrath of God at the end of time, when “the sun shall be darkened, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved.”
The message of Fatima which in itself is a loving one, at the same time is a message of rigor, severity, and seriousness. After the apparition, the little shepherds of Fatima ceased to play. We, too, must get to work.
This begs repeating especially to us, priests. The Blessed Mother told us to “Pray and make penance for sinners”. The Society of Saint Pius X received a great grace of preservation amid these perverse times; and yet we, its priests, perhaps have not taken it all very seriously.
Parents, you may not have taken your duties seriously, either. How many dads are wasting their time on the internet, [on video games, on Netflix]; how many moms are going about here and there [spend time on Facebook, Pinterest], when the education of the children demands so much dedication. The Blessed Mother gave us a lesson on how to educate children. Her pedagogy with the little shepherds, so loving and therefore so strict (because reality is hard), is not an extraordinary pedagogy for visionary children, it is an example for all moms and dads. A mother must be able to tell her children, “Do not be afraid, my heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” If the fathers have a generous and provident love, they will be able to be demanding in regards to their children’s faults, leading them to God. The times do not allow for anything else.
Dear young men, do not waste your time, as so many do. Do not get distracted, claiming to be Catholic and even calling yourselves champions of Tradition whilst accepting yet another drink.
Dear young ladies, how many of you are wasting time chatting on your cells, wasting so much time and money on makeup and tempted by immodest fashions. These are the fashions that lead to the abyss that terrified the little Fatima shepherds. Jacinta, young as she was, cautioned us in very somber terms.
Let us, therefore, get to work. We are living in very serious times; let us, therefore, be more serious. True love is serious. Let us, then, pray; let us pray more. Let there not be one day without praying the rosary, let us not miss attending a single Mass. And let us do penance, especially the conscious performance of our duty of state. Our duty of state, if done in earnest is a constant and significant penance. As the world has not only not converted, but has deteriorated more and more, for sure we will have to face calamities; but let us not fear, we have a safe refuge in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Editor’s Note: This article by Fr. Alvaro Calderón was translated by Laura Garza from Iesus Christus #158, pp. 22-23