The reason that Our Lady came to Fatima was to deliver a message to the world.
This was delivered during her third apparition on 13 July 1917.
The message is the most important point of the whole Fatima story.
First part of the message:
A vision of hell
“Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth,” wrote Lucia. “Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning coals floating about in the blaze, now thrown into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a great bonfire, without weight or balance, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.
The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive shapes, like frightful unknown animals, all black and transparent.
This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever repay our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first apparition, to take us to heaven? Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”
Second part of the message:
Chastisement of the nations
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go,” said Our Lady. “To save them, God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If what I say is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.” Then Our Lady described the terrible things that would soon happen in the world because of sin:
“The war is going to end: but if they do not stop offending God, an even worse war will begin during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is a great sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions
of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
‘God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If what I say is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.’
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. 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; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc…”
Third part of the message:
Martyrdom & Conversion
The third part of the secret is best left to Sister Lucia herself to tell:
“After the two parts which I have already explained,” writes Lucia, “at the left of Our Lady, and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand. Flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand.”
Pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’
“And we saw, in an immense light that is God, a bishop dressed in white – we had the impression it was the Holy Father – other bishops, priests, men and women religious, all of them climbing a steep mountain, at the top of which was a large rough Cross.”
“Before reaching this point (the cross), the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins. He trembled with a halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, praying for the souls of the corpses he met on his way. Having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the large cross, he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him. And in the same way there died, one after another, the other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.”
“Beneath the two arms of the Cross were two Angels, each with a crystal chalice in his hand, into which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it doused the people who were making their way to God.”
Some comments on the Message of Fatima
We may wonder why Our Lady would inflict the terrible experience of seeing hell upon three young children. We have to keep in mind that Our Lady would not do so without a very good reason. She first fortified their souls with her own presence and with the promise they were going to heaven.
So why did Our Lady show them hell? To remind the world of the eternal consequences of sin. Forgetfulness of hell is one of the greatest dangers to our salvation. This happens when people stop seeing sin as evil. What Pope Benedict XVI called “the dictatorship of relativism” has today caused many souls to blur the line between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil.
Although Our Lady did not use the word communism, everything suggests she was speaking about that. Communism is a cruel materialistic creed that tries to wipe every trace of God from the hearts of men. Communists say there is no God, yet they turn the State into a false god. Their hate-filled pseudo-religion demolishes morality, persecutes marriage, and undermines the family. They happily trample on the Ten Commandments and turn churches into warehouses. They build concentration camps in the name of freedom; they impose famine in the name of ending poverty. Communist Russia instigated revolutions, wars and persecutions of religion all over the world from 1917 to 1998.
The errors of Russia still fascinate many of our contemporaries long after the Soviet Union [USSR] has been relegated to the rubbish bin of history. Interestingly, theologians use the word error to describe unorthodox doctrines and dubious theological propositions. Our Lady calls communism an error. In contrast, she says “The dogma of the Faith will always remain in Portugal”.
The scene of death and destruction we encounter in the third part of the Fatima secret opens with an angel brandishing a flaming sword toward the world while saying, ‘Penance! Penance! Penance!’
Our Lady holds back this angel of destruction but at a certain point the weight of sin becomes too great for God’s justice to bear any more. Next, we see “a city in ruins” teeming with corpses, and a violent persecution of the Church with many martyrdoms. The angels are gathering the blood of the martyrs and washing a great throng of people with it. This throng is making its way towards God.
It is well known that throughout history the blood of martyrs has brought about the conversions of nations. While this is a vision of apocalyptic destruction it is also a vision of the great return of humanity to God.