06 The Significance of Fatima - J. J. Ziegler

posted Oct 5, 2017, 10:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 5, 2017, 10:36 AM ]
The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, where the Blessed Mother appeared once each month from May 13 until Oct. 13, 1917. The message of Fatima highlights many central truths and devotions of the Catholic faith: the Trinity, the Eucharist, penance, the Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. There is special emphasis on the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is a refuge of maternal love for us all and a sure path that leads us to God.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote that "In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son." (Heb 1:1-2). God did not abandon the world after creating it; instead, He revealed himself to our first parents, made a covenant with Noah, chose Abraham to be the father of a multitude of nations and formed His people of Israel.

In the fullness of time, God "said everything in His Word," as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches. "Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable word. In Him, He has said everything; there will be no other word than this one ... No new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Nos. 65-66).

Even though God has already "said everything" through Jesus Christ, some Christians throughout the centuries have attested that they have seen or heard Jesus, the angels or the saints, especially the Blessed Mother. Thus "throughout the ages, there have been so-called 'private' revelations, some of which have been recognised by the authority of the Church," as the Catechism teaches (No. 67). "They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history."

Pope Benedict XVI reflected on private revelation in his 2010 apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord). "Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals. It is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorised to give to it their prudent adhesion." (No. 46)