THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
2.0 The Second Secret:
A Great Design of Mercy
for the Salvation of Christendom.
«You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.»
After these words, which seem to us like the conclusion of the first part of Her great Secret, and the introduction to the second part, Our Lady continued:
«If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end.
«But if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.
«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 of the month.
«If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.
«If not, she will spread her errors throughout the whole world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred. The Holy Father will have much to suffer. Various nations will be annihilated.»
The Secret is both spectacular and terrible. Its complex structure, bewildering at first sight, in fact expresses a message packed with meaning, which we shall discover little by little. 1 To begin with, however, let us look only at the general themes and principal ideas.
A SECRET FOR CHRISTENDOM. First important remark: this time it no longer concerns, at least directly, souls taken individually vis-à-vis the drama of their eternal salvation. No, now we are dealing with nations and the Church, and their temporal salvation: war or peace for the nations, liberty or peace for the Church. In short, even if the word is not found there, the salvation of Christendom is the principal subject of this “second secret” of Our Lady. What are the essential themes? These are easy to discern.
1. THE GREAT DESIGN OF GOD: WORLD PEACE CONFIDED TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
To understand the Secret correctly, we must always return to the central phrase which is the pivot, the divine oracle which determines the rest and from which the other parts flow: « God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.»
The great design of God for our century, His irrevocable decision, is to make the Immaculate Heart of His Most Holy Mother loved, praised and glorified, by all souls and by all nations as well. To this Immaculate Heart, God has entrusted incomparable treasures of grace to be poured out on all Christendom, because He wishes Her to receive a solemn, official and public cult everywhere, and because He wills that She reign in truth over the Church and over all peoples. One word is enough to call to mind all the benefits of the temporal order: peace. In His love for Her and His eternal decree to make Her Mediatrix of all graces and dispenser of all good things, the Holy Trinity wishes to make Her, in our century, the source and the unique custodian of the gift of peace, to whom we must have recourse.
Little Jacinta had understood this quite well. Shortly before leaving for Lisbon, she explained it to her cousin, almost as though she were leaving us her last will and testament:
«Jacinta said to me: “It will not be long now before I go to Heaven. You will remain here to make it known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that people are to ask Her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side. Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to Her.”» 2
In Her most maternal kindness, Our Lady has even willed to make it clear how we are to ask of Her the precious gift of peace, and be sure of being heard. Her “little requests” are nothing less than the revelation of the best way of asking Her, a way in which men can be certain of meriting the gift of peace, because it is a way chosen by God Himself.
2. THE REQUESTS OF OUR LADY, CONDITIONS FOR WORLD PEACE
On 13 July 1917, even before revealing the great Secret to them, Our Lady had explained the first condition for peace to the children, so that the children could promptly make it known: « I want you to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.» 3 And during each of the subsequent apparitions, right up until 13 October, Our Lady had repeated this same pressing invitation. This shows how important this point of the message is; this is still true today, because since that time, Sister Lucy has unceasingly reminded us of its urgency.
The Secret, however, mentions two other requests, and these are just as decisive. They express and summarise all the desires of Heaven. These two requests are the Communion of Reparation on the five first Saturdays of the month, because according to Her promise, Our Lady of Fatima came to ask for it in 1925 at Pontevedra, and the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady came to ask for this consecration at Tuy, in 1929. Later on we shall see in what circumstances She came.
Thus does God will to achieve His ends: to establish on earth the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, not only over souls, but over all nations, and the whole of Christendom. The means are unassuming, simple, and easy – but as we will gradually discover, what a sublime and divine wisdom they disclose!
To invite men, who are so easily distracted and deaf to His appeals, to urge and finally compel them to accomplish the Divine Will regardless of the cost, God decided to link these humble requests of His Mother with wonderful promises and terrible chastisements. Line by line, the great Secret evokes the stages of these dramatic alternatives with which the Church and the nations have been confronted since then. First of all, it puts forward the way of obedience, which is rewarded by heavenly promises.
3. WONDERFUL PROMISES: HEAVEN FOR SOULS, PEACE FOR NATIONS
«If My requests are heeded», – these are the words Our Lady uses – what will happen? What graces, what signal blessings will Heaven pour down upon the earth? Our Lady of Fatima is neither verbose nor pretentious, as are so many of our false prophets of good things to come! On the contrary, what sobriety in Her words: « Many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end.» There it is. Is that all? Yes, because all is said there.
She promises an end, in the first place, to this terrible war of attrition which for almost three years had been ravaging Europe, causing rivers of blood to flow with no apparent results. In that summer of 1917, there was still no end in sight to the war. But Our Lady announces that for the time being, the chastisement will end, and soon the soldiers will return home. What good news and grounds for hope!
When the men finally come out of this ordeal of purification, if only they have the wisdom to understand the meaning of it, if only they learn their lesson and are converted, says Our Lady, peace will follow. It would be a true and genuine peace, a harmony between the nations as they return to fidelity to their Christian traditions. In each of these nations would reign the tranquillity of order in the service of the common good. Full liberty would finally be granted to the Church, whose work for the salvation of men would be facilitated and increased tenfold: «many souls will be saved, and there will be peace». Such is in fact the eternal ideal of Christendom. We dream of no other ideal, for outside of this one there are only chimerical utopias; sooner or later they always result in bloody catastrophes.
But when, for the second time in this great Secret, Our Lady reiterates Her promises, She gives them an astonishing precision, a concrete shape apt to move human hearts to accede to Her requests. By a real miracle of grace, the fulfilment of Her requests will preserve humanity from the horrible chastisements which threaten it. «To prevent this», She declares. Then above all there is the incomparable promise: « If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.» This is the Pax Christiana, the true peace of Christendom, “the peace which the world cannot give”, as we chant in the Roman liturgy: illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem. By their own efforts, it is impossible for men to attain it, but in 1917, Our Lady of Fatima promised it to the whole world. For in both Her Secret of July 13 as well as Her other messages of 13 May and 13 October, Our Lady always spoke of the peace of the whole world to the three shepherds of Aljustrel.
As a Sovereign in Her own right, Regina Pacis, Our Lady indicates the concrete means by which this extraordinary peace is to be obtained: « Russia will be converted.» In fact, what a grace it would have been for the whole world if in 1929-1931, by a miracle of Heaven, Russia had suddenly been delivered from the barbarism of Soviet tyranny, not to mention the unfortunate centuries-old schism of the Russian Church, and finally returned in an official way to the sheepfold of Roman unity!
Surely the face of the world and the political history of this century would have been changed. The Second World War would not have taken place. And the heretical, schismatic or pagan countries, drawn by the example of an immense and powerful Russia, would have found the road leading back to Catholic unity. Having conquered the hearts of the Russian people, the Roman Church by this very fact would have regained its power and prestige everywhere.
Such, therefore, was the great plan of God for our epoch: to grant peace to the nations at the dawn of a century when material progress had turned the spectre of war into an apocalyptic menace. God also wished to return full liberty and conquering force to the Church after four centuries of inroads made by heresy and apostasy: Luther in 1517, Freemasonry in 1717, the Russian Revolution in 1917. Such was God’s plan for extending to the whole world the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, prepared and heralded by the Reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was indeed a great design of mercy which God had conceived for the world, renewing through Our Lady of Fatima this oracle of Jeremiah the prophet: «For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of affliction, preparing for you a future full of hope.» (Jer. 29:11)
The preceding, then, summarises in all their fullness – without us having distorted or unduly exaggerated them in any way – the promises made to the world in 1917 by Our Lady of Fatima. They are as wonderful as the chastisements corresponding to them are terrible and frightful.
4. TERRIBLE CHASTISEMENTS: HELL, WAR AND PERSECUTIONS
«The war is going to end (Our Lady continued), but if people do not cease offending God another worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI.» And She insisted, repeating for our blind “modern men”, who are no longer able to read the true “signs of the times”, the eternal lessons of sacred history; this war, even more atrocious and deadly than the first one, will, like the first war, be the chastisement of God, Who is justly angered at an apostate and rebellious humanity. Yes, Our Lady in Her goodness deigned to explain clearly the meaning of events, just like the prophets: it is God Who will «punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.»
When Our Lady outlined these chastisements for the second time, She made clear their nature and their cause. First of all, She gives the cause. Then, finally, this conversion required by Heaven is all summarised in the fulfilment of Our Lady’s requests. «If My requests are heeded... if not...» Such, in the final analysis, is the Will of God: that the future of humanity hang in the balance between these two alternatives. If Russia is not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, if the devotion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month is not propagated, God will use Russia with its pernicious errors of communism, and its bloody wars, as a devastating scourge, the instrument of His wrath over humanity: «If not, Russia will spread its 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.»
JUSTICE IN THE SERVICE OF MERCY
What a fearsome drama, what terrible menaces! Yet they remind modern man of the sovereignty of God, Who when He commands, expects to be obeyed. Imprisoned in the walls of their laicism, or completely secular vision of history, they think they are absolute masters of it, that God never intervenes in history. In a few words, Our Lady of Fatima sweeps away this foolish pride, this vain pretension. No, it is God who directs history. In our century He wishes to make His Most Holy Mother the Regent of His omnipotent Providence. If men refuse to enter into this great design of love and mercy, it will cost them dearly. Chastisements will rain down upon them until they finally understand and enter into His ways.
But if God directs His children as a sovereign Master, He also does so as a most wise Father: if He requests, if He promises and threatens, if He rewards and punishes through either peace or war, it is still by virtue of His mercy towards them; it is to save them for all eternity as it were in spite of themselves, moving their rebellious wills to finally be converted. This is the reason why He has doubled the dramatic choice incumbent upon them: the way of Heaven and the way of hell. There is another choice parallel to it: this time between temporal chastisements and rewards, to lead carnally inclined hearts on the road to salvation. God willed this correspondence; He willed that Christian peace with its wonderful benefits, both spiritual and temporal, be an image reminding us of the eternal peace in the midst of the heavenly Jerusalem: beata pacis visio, the blessed vision of peace. Similarly, God willed that war, with its black trail of horrors and atrocious sufferings already give us here below a terrifying vision of eternal chastisement.
This is why the great Secret of Our Lady is summed up in a double dramatic alternative, where the terms correspond to each other: Heaven or hell for all eternity. Already here below as well, either the blessing of peace and the good life in Christendom under the benevolent and protective eyes of the Immaculate Virgin, or war and famine, persecutions, blood and tears in the Soviet gulag.
THE RESPONSE OF MEN
To avert so many evils, and to merit the wonderful promises, so that the Queen of Heaven pour out upon Christendom a shower of graces and blessings as She had announced, it sufficed for men to obey. This would have been enough. But it was absolutely necessary. And it did not take place.
“THEY DID NOT WISH TO HEED MY REQUESTS.” 4 Since that time, the other branch of the alternative has been accomplished to the letter, inexorably. We will not describe right away this exact coincidence between the actual events and the prophecy, the final phases of which are being fulfilled today, before our eyes. We shall describe it little by little, as we show how first the Shepherds of the Church and then the faithful were not docile to the voice of their Mother, resisted Her appeals, and continually delayed the fulfilment of Her requests.
A HAPPY EXCEPTION; “THE LAND OF HOLY MARY”. As a guarantee of the veracity of Her promises however, and a proof of Her faithfulness in keeping them, Our Lady of Fatima wished to accomplish a miracle in favour of Her chosen nation: a miracle to serve as an example for others, to the extent Her requests were obeyed. This initial miracle of the conversion of a whole people, as well as its temporal, political and social salvation, takes on a prophetic value in our eyes. For in the end, after all the justly merited chastisements, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph and all Her promises will be fulfilled for all Christendom: «and a certain period of peace will be given to the world.»
REMARKS ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE SECRET
At first glance, the structure of this second part of the Secret is confusing.
The prophecy seems to first predict events in the order that they unfolded historically: the end of the First World War (1918); the night illumined by an unknown light (1938); the Second World War (1939).
Then, suddenly, it seems to go back in time: «To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart (1929), and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays (1925).» Then come the announcement of new promises and the threat of new chastisements, centred around the theme of Russia.
Do these new prophecies concern an era coming later in time than the first one? Too quick a reading of the Secret would lead us to believe this. This has often led to erroneous interpretations. In this case the great Secret is supposed to have prophesied: 1. The end of the First World War. 2. The Second World War. 3. The wars stirred up later on by Russia. Since this scheme seems to correspond to the historical reality, there is a danger of substituting it for the real structure of the secret which is different, more complex, and richer in meaning.
A SECRET IN TWO PARTS
In fact, if we analyze this text attentively, we discover that it is perfectly constructed in two strictly parallel parts, where fourteen terms rigorously correspond to each other, following a clear, logical plan. We present here this rigorous correspondence in the form of a synopsis. To see how the two terms correspond to each other, it suffices to read first the column on the left, and then the one on the right. To read the text of the entire authentic Secret, one can read the entire column on the left, then the whole column on the right.
|I. THE SALVIFIC INTENTION OF GOD IS EVOKED|
|A./ Description of hell: «To save them.»||A.’/ Description of chastisements: «To prevent this.»|
|II. OUR LADY STATES HER REQUESTS|
|B./ «God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.»||B.’/ «I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.»|
|III. FIRST POSSIBILITY: IF MEN OBEY|
|C./ «If what I say to you is done.»||C.’/ «If My requests are heeded.»|
|IV. OUR LADY STATES A DOUBLE PROMISE|
|D./ «Many souls will be saved.»
E./ «And there will be peace. The war will end.»
|D.’/ «Russia will be converted
E.’/ and there will be peace.»
|V. SECOND POSSIBILITY: IF MEN REFUSE TO OBEY|
|F./ «But if men do not cease offending God.»||F.’/ «If not» (= If My requests are not heeded).|
|VI. THE THREAT OF TERRIBLE CHASTISEMENTS|
|G./ «Another worse war will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father.»||G.’/ «She (Russia) will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred. The Holy Father will have much to suffer. Various nations will be annihilated.»|
THE KEY TO THE DRAMA
The question occurs: why this construction of the Secret in two parts? What meaning might it have?
First of all it seems that this text, where twice in a row the most attractive promises alternate with the most terrifying chastisements, is much more eloquent, more convincing, more persuasive than a straightforward exposition would be, simply listing events as they follow chronologically.
However, there is something else also. This duplication, this “rebounding” effect of the prophecy, in which are repeated the same themes corresponding to each other with precision, visibly tends to underline the capital, decisive importance of the sentence found in the centre of the exposition. This becomes the key phrase. In expressing the requests of Heaven as precisely as possible, She puts forward the unique condition of salvation, the unique remedy for all the terrible evils mentioned in the text, and which are stated again even more vigorously: « To prevent this (the chastisements), I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays.»
This is the heart of the drama. The structure of the text brings this out in the most striking way. This is the key to the prophecy, for everything depends on this twofold request: everything which precedes it and everything which comes after it. Placed in the centre of the presentation of promises and chastisements, it clearly stands out as the unique condition of their fulfilment:
A. First presentation of the promises.
B. First presentation of the chastisements. Our Lady’s requests, conditions for salvation.
A’. Second presentation of the promises.
B’. Second presentation of the chastisements.
ONE SINGLE PROPHECY
Once the structure of the Secret is explained, everything is clear. There is one single prophecy; the various elements of it are expressed in successive developments: the second is not a simple repetition of the first, but each element gives greater precision and brings out more of the implications. Now let us repeat our “synoptic” reading of the text, pointing out a few interesting remarks which it suggests.
THE PLAN OF GOD AND THE REQUESTS OF OUR LADY. To call to mind the great design of God’s mercy, the first text simply says, «To save them», referring to the phrase immediately preceding it: «You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go.» The second formula, «To prevent this», is much more complete, because in addition to the danger of eternal damnation, it also calls to mind the temporal chastisements which prefigure it here below. Heaven proposes to us obedience to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the unique means of preserving ourselves from all the evils which threaten us, the eternal ones and now also the temporal ones. What extraordinary, stupefying importance Heaven thus attributes to these two small requests: the consecration of Russia and the devotion of reparation on the first Saturdays of the month!
WONDERFUL PROMISES. «If what I say to you is done». «If My requests are heeded». This is the unique condition for the fulfilment of Her promises. The two formulas are equivalent; both of them refer us to the apparitions of Pontevedra and Tuy.
As for the promises, they are twofold. Both are of the spiritual order: «Many souls will be saved». The second formula, which introduces the theme of Russia, gives a wonderful detail on the meaning: «Russia will be converted». The similarity is eloquent. In the eyes of God and the Blessed Virgin, the conversion of Russia is before anything else the grace of eternal salvation granted to millions of souls returning to the flock of Christ’s one, true Church, and put back on the road to salvation by that same Church.
Then comes the second promise, added to the first almost as a “throw-in”: the temporal benefits which follow and ordinarily accompany supernatural grace. «And there will be peace». Yes, this is an essential point of the message of Fatima, although the primary element is the salvation of souls. Then peace follows, as the fruit of the conversion of peoples.
Let it be noted that in the text of the Secret, it would be wrong to exaggerate the importance of the promise concerning the end of the First World War: «The war is going to end.» This announcement – which is a part of the message intended to be revealed right away, since Our Lady was to repeat it on October 13 – figures here only in passing. It could almost be put in parentheses. For it merely illustrates – like a limited promise, the fulfilment of which is at hand and already granted – the more vast and unconditional promise which constitutes one of the essential elements of the Secret: «many souls will be saved and there will be peace.»
This peace which is mentioned three times in the great Secret is a universal and lasting peace which God wishes to grant to the world in our time by an extraordinary miracle of grace, «granted» to men by the Mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This wonderful peace which Our Lady proposed to the world in 1917 on a condition is the same peace which will certainly come in Our Lady’s eventual triumph, which She also predicted: «In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph... and a certain period of peace shall be granted to the world.»
TERRIBLE CHASTISEMENTS. Once again, the resemblance in the two successive expressions is a rich source of instruction for us. What is the cause of these divine chastisements? There are two reasons.
«But if people do not cease offending God», Our Lady says first of all, employing the formula which She was to repeat with such sorrow on October 13. Yes, it is all the sins of men which draw down on the world the chastisements of God. The second time, however, a single phrase sums it all up: «If not», meaning, «If My requests are not heeded». The brevity is striking.
For Heaven, to not stop offending God and to refuse to fulfil the requests of Our Lady are one thing. Indeed, these two requests, which seem like mere nothings, are so well chosen by God that they serve as an infallible gauge of the dispositions of men in this regard. To conform to them with docility as soon as they are known is already showing a genuine and sincere desire for conversion. On the other hand, to refuse them obstinately is to reveal one’s own blindness of intellect and hardness of heart, a proud pretence of knowing the means of salvation better than the Blessed Virgin Herself. It is like resisting God to His Face, since He desires more than ever today to grant Heaven to souls and peace to nations by the sweet and powerful mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The two announcements of coming chastisements are equally complementary: the first one gives prominence to the Second World War, still worse than the war of 1914-1918, while the second reveals the profound causes, unmasks the secret reasons for it and describes its lasting and disastrous consequences of worldwide scope. The cause of the chastisements? It is the non-consecration of Russia in conformity with the precise requests of Our Lady. The secret reason, the cause for this horrible future war breaking out? It is the non-conversion of Russia. For the Secret leaves no room for doubt: if Russia had been converted beforehand, the Second World War would not have taken place. The consequences? They are so terrible in this context that the disaster of 1939-1945 seems like only an episode, a first phase of the true chastisement. This true chastisement is the war waged everywhere today by Communist Russia, by its armies and those of its satellites, by its emissaries and by its spies, finally by all the traitors and ideologues it has been able to enrol in the service of its satanic combat for world domination by Communism, a godless power which persecutes the Church.
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
After the dramatic exposition of such promises and chastisements, we now have an idea of the astonishing, incalculable scope of the event of Fatima. The great prophetic revelation of the Immaculate Virgin at the Cova da Iria on 13 July 1917, begins to look like an Apocalypse for our century. However, before attempting to explain it in the light of theology, before demonstrating how it has been fulfilled to the letter, inexorably – in our contemporary history right down to our own vitally important times – it would be good beforehand to first go over all the facts, scrutinise the structure of the text to eliminate all the possible wrong understandings, or inexactitudes, and attempt to propose the most certain and faithful interpretation possible.
A task remains for us: to compare the Secret with history, to gauge its exactness and the inexhaustible richness of its content. These are additional striking proofs that all the words of the great Secret really come from the Immaculate Mother of God, Queen of Prophets and Heavenly Empress of Christendom.
(1) Cf., at the end of this introduction, the appendix on the structure of the Secret.
(2) III, p. 116.
(3) Cf. our Vol. I, p. 180, 190, 303-305.
(4) Words of Our Lady to Sister Lucy in 1931.