A steady rain fell on the morning of October 13th, 1917, onto a freshly plowed field that had become a muddy mess. Clouds covered the sky.
It was a dreary fall day outside of the village of Fatima, Portugal. Still, a crowd of more than 70,000 people had gathered, because three children had told them that the Blessed Mother would appear.
She had been appearing since the spring, six times in all, and over the summer the crowds had become larger. When she appeared in September, she said that a miracle would occur when she next came, “so that all may see and believe.”
The crowds had come to see the miracle. They trudged over the muddy field, and stood waiting. At mid-day, the Blessed Mother appeared to the crowd. She asked them to pray the rosary. She asked people to repent of their sins and amend their lives. Then she appeared in the presence of St. Joseph and the child Jesus.
Finally, the rain stopped. The clouds broke. And the sun began to spin, flicker, and shoot rays of brilliant color across the sky. One pilgrim said that the “sun began to dance.”
A newspaper reported that “the sun trembled, the sun made unusual and brusque movements, defying all the laws of the cosmos, and according to the typical expression of the peasants, ‘the sun danced’.”
Nearly a century later, Pope St. John Paul II said that the most important message of Fatima is that we should pray to the Blessed Mother to defeat the evil of this world. “Pray, pray and ask for nothing else,” he said. “Put everything in the hands of the Mother of God.”
The Blessed Mother gave specific messages to the children at Fatima, among them the importance of consecrating Russia to her Immaculate Heart. But her most profound and important message for all of us, at all times, is that her intercession can help us to overcome the power of evil, by God’s grace.
Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who died last month, received a letter in 1981 from Sister Lucia, one of the children of Fatima. This letter predicted that “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Today, when families face such profound challenges, we must entrust our family lives to the Blessed Mother, and trust in the power of the Lord’s grace. That is the powerful message of Our Lady of Fatima.
In 1982, Pope St. John Paul II consecrated the entire modern world to Our Lady of Fatima. And he urged all people to entrust their lives to her intercession. We go to Jesus through Mary because she is his mother, and her prayers are especially powerful. We need her prayers for the world, and we need her prayers for families.
May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for all of us. And may we repent of our sins, pray for the defeat of every kind of evil, and entrust ourselves, and our families, to the powerful prayers of the Mother of God, who made the sun dance across the sky.