When Mary appeared in Portugal in 1917, she appealed for us to take a spiritual road to peace. She made certain requests how to travel this road, and perhaps the best known of these, is praying the Rosary every day to obtain peace in the world. She also asked for reparation for sin and sacrifice for sinners.
Beyond these requests and the narrative of the apparitions, there is more to be known, starting with where and when she appeared. Heaven chose these and there is reason to believe these signify something. Consider, for example, Mary's appearance at Guadalupe in 1531. The place she appeared was upon a hill called Tepeyac, where there had once been a temple to Tonantzin, the mother of their gods. It would be something the Indians could recall to memory. Now Mary appeared at this very spot, as the Mother of the True God. Truth replaced falsity. In addition, the name tonantzin means "our mother" in Aztec. It fits Mary quite well.
The place in Portugal where Mary appeared, was at the Cova da Iria, some two miles from Fatima, a name which became attached to her as Our Lady of Fatima. Centuries before, there was a woman named Fatima who was the favorite daughter of Muhammad and his first wife Khadijah. This is a meaningful name to the followers of Muhammad, a multitude of whom are in the world today.
Regarding the Cova, or cove in Portuguese, William Thomas Walsh says in his book, Our Lady of Fatima, that it "was named for the girl Saint Iria or Irene, who probably had a hermitage there." Irene is Greek in origin and means "peace." That fits quite well, too.
Mary appeared on the 13th day of several months. This finds significance in the Bible, in the Book of Esther. Esther was a Queen of ancient Persia, where an enormous evil was going to be perpetrated on the Jews: they were going to be slaughtered on the 13th of the month of Adar.
intercedes to try to save her people from this terrible fate. She will go in
to see the king, unbidden, at the risk of her life. She was at risk because
without being summoned by the king, she would be subject to death. She
prepared to go in to see him for the sake of the Jews. She asked the Jews of
Susa to pray for her and to fast from food or drink for three days and
nights, while she and her handmaidens would do likewise (4:16). We're told
in 14:2, that Esther went to the extent of putting ashes and dung upon her
head, and tearing her hair.
We may see in the narrative of Esther, certain parallels to Mary at Fatima. While Mary was not in danger for her life, she intercedes with an even greater personage, Christ the King, the Lord of the Universe, just as she was an intercessory at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Esther asked the Jews for prayer and the sacrifice of fasting. At Fatima Mary asked for prayer, the Rosary, and for sacrifices―the sacrifices of self-denial and daily sufferings we may offer up.
Esther's intercession was effective in preventing disaster on 13th of the month of Adar. By evoking this Biblical incident, it suggests not only Mary's intercessory power and but also her effectiveness, to help us. What the Jews of Susa were asked to do, to help her accomplish her critical work, also suggests what we should do, by way of prayer and sacrifice.
But it's credible that there is more meaning to be found, in the when and where she appeared. The fact she appeared near Fatima, and became known with that name, as Our Lady of Fatima, forms a connection to the Islamic world. The choice of this name could have been meant to form a way of reaching out from Christendom to the Muslims, who have a belief in one God and pray several times a day, but are sadly, in error about the meaning of the Trinity and about Jesus being the Son of God. If you think of this connection as a bridge, it makes sense that this is a way for them to come to the true faith founded by Jesus.
The date, of the 13th of the month, evokes Judaism, and it too, forms a connection, a link in this case to Judaism. The Book of Esther evokes something from their past . It makes sense that it too, forms a way for the Jews to come to Christendom. The name Fatima and the 13th of the month, could be meant to bring not only the Muslim and Jewish worlds to Christ, but also closer to one another, together in peace.
Given the situation in the world today, that seems quite difficult to believe, that it could happen, but God could intervene to change things. We should recall that God changed the heart of the king in Esther's time, from wrath to mildness. And recall as well, the participation of the Jews of Susa with prayer and sacrifice.
The question may be raised as to how much have people responded to what Mary had asked at Fatima. How much are people of today doing their part and how many are consciously aware of their part. In addition, the advocacy of abortion, the complicity in it and other immoral behavior, is not a turning to God, but a turning away from Him. God will not bless America for abortion, and sadly our nation is being led by a President who is complicit in it.
We should consider whether Fatima in 1917 ― and the history behind it ― laid the groundwork to deal with the peril in our times. I cannot help but think of the threat to the Jewish people in Esther's time and compare it to the threat to Israel from the President of Iran, a country now sometimes called Persia. The president of this largely-Muslim country, has several times called for the elimination of Israel. There's a parallel here, between Persia of ancient times and modern times.
Yet the concern for the safety of Israel also exists where one night not expect it. There's a report saying the Saudis bankroll military purchases by direct adversaries of Israel, have taken part in other Arab-Israeli wars, have jets based within six minutes of Israel, and the Jewish nation cannot dismiss the possibility of a hostile regime taking over in Saudi Arabia, which has a "state-of-the-art weapons arsenal."
Another report says, that apart from the security concerns of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah, "Israeli Arabs are a growing strategic threat." After the armistice in 1949, thousands of Arabs decided to stay in Israel and were accorded "the same rights and privileges as the Jewish Israeli citizens." But since that time, they have developed their own political identity separate from that of the Israelis, "often hostile to it." A poll in 2,000 showed "that 66% of Israeli Arabs would back the Palestinians in any confrontation with Israel..."
foresaw all of this, and it makes sense, that Fatima was meant to prevent
what is now unfolding in the world.
Copyright © 2005 - John Riedell - All