Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 13, 1917

It was October 13, 1917.

Thousands of people had gathered at the cove in Fatima. The Blessed Virgin had come down from heaven, on the thirteenth of each month since May, to bring a message to three children, and through them, to the world. It was a message of prayer and peace. Pray the Rosary, pray for sinners, pray for peace.

This day there was to be a miracle. As the eager men, women and children stood in the muddy puddles with drenching rain pouring down on them, suddenly they saw the sun start a dizzy dive toward earth. People cried out in fear. They cried out to God in repentance for their sins. They cried out with trust in God's mercy.

As suddenly as the sun had left its spot in the sky, so suddenly did it return to its proper place and role. Everyone in the crowd was dry - and happy - and believing in a loving God.

Many miles away in a little town on a little Azore Island, south of the mainland of Portugal, a five year old boy saw the sun make its sudden way toward earth, saw it return again to its place in the sky. Much later, he became a priest. Still later, he pastored a Portuguese parish called Our Lady of Fatima in Laton, California.

I knew Father Lima and heard his story from his own lips when I was a young adult. Recently I told this to one of my sons whom I'd forgotten to tell. He said, "You mean it really happened?" Then he said, with a little embarrassment, "I mean, I know it really happened...but you actually knew someone who actually saw it?" I think I know what he means. You read about something in a book and you believe it, but somehow it seems like it was from another time, another place, another world. And of course, it was from another World. But that World lovingly visited ours.

No comments: