I have rarely paid much attention to the apparitions in Fatima or in other places, but a recent conversation with a devoted priest and Fatima’s upcoming centennial has gotten me reconsidering some of the things said there by the Blessed Virgin. The transcription of her discourse on war by Sr. Lucia is of particular interest to many Fatima devotees:
If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The [First World] war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.... In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.The “period of peace” has been interpreted many ways, some reaching absurd heights. Even though the context clearly refers to peace in terms of a rest from war and military aggression, many interpret it as a worldwide conversion of men to the True Faith. “So, the period of peace to be given to mankind can only mean the peace of Christ reigning in the hearts of men,” says one commentator.
This borders on the ancient error of Millenarianism or Chiliasm, which posited that Christ would return bodily to earth and reign gloriously but carnally from Jerusalem for one thousand years before the Resurrection and Final Judgment. While the Fatimite Millennials do not say that the Second Coming will come before the “period of peace,” some of them argue for the rise of the Great Catholic Monarch who will rule over this period. This monarch is a French figure predicted by a few saints, but never given much credence by Church authorities.
It is more reasonable to think that the prophesied “period of peace” will be a more worldly kind of peace: a cessation from war but probably without a revival of anything resembling Christendom. Russia will be converted—supposedly to the Catholic Faith, and not to Russian Orthodoxy—which will certainly be a miracle all of its own.
Will this actually happen? Is Fatima only a private revelation that can be ignored? Did the popes heavily edit all of the three shepherd children’s messages so that we don’t really know what all Mary said? Oh, these are all questions far above my paygrade.
I would, however, enjoy having an excuse to be rid of the “Oh my Jesus” prayer at the end of every Rosary decade. The church ladies are unable to pray it aloud without infusing the opening phrase with as much emotion as their mantilla-draped hearts can muster. (The Portuguese original begins with “Ó meu bom Jesus,” but the official Latin text starts with “Domine Iesu,” stripping out some of the latent sentimentality. Let’s fix the English according to the textum Latinum!) However, as long as I accept the longstanding tradition that the Second Eve bestowed the Rosary to the Church by means of a private revelation, I suppose must accept her right to amend it by the same means 700 years later.
|St. Dominic, do your thing!|