Fatima: Hope of the World
Based on the Booklet, St. Joseph, Fatima,
and Fatherhood, by Msgr. Joseph Cirrincione
with Thomas Nelson
In all the books about the Fatima apparitions, the part played by St. Joseph in the story of Fatima is one of the least discussed. In a way, this is in keeping with the subdued manner in which his role in the history of salvation is treated in the Gospels. There he is mentioned only when he is acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, as the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the virgin foster father of Jesus. We have no record of any word he spoke in any of these three roles. Also, there is no mention of his life at Nazareth following the three-day loss of Jesus in Jerusalem. That he died before Christ began His public ministry is quite certain. But where or how is passed over in silence by the writers of the Gospel.
Devotion to St. Joseph has followed the same pattern in the history of the Church. As far as we have any record of this devotion, we have no knowledge of the first days of the Church and it was not until the 14th century that reasons for honoring him began to appear in scholarly treatises. From then on devotion to St. Joseph was definite, receiving the great impetus of St. Teresa of Avila. After that we can speak of the growth of popular devotion to this great Saint, even that shown by the Roman Pontiffs.
Thus in history, as in the Gospels, St. Joseph has been the quiet and obedient instrument of Divine Providence for enormously great tasks. And in history, as in the Gospels, the richness of his contribution to the work of our redemption has been reserved mostly for those souls who are willing to mine it by means of silent hours of contemplation and prayer.
It is this very approach we take in this little tract on the role of St. Joseph and Fatima and the world today. St. Joseph stands before us today as a reflection of the Fatherhood of God and as a model of fatherhood for all mankind; in this double role he parallels the role of Jesus Himself, Who is the perfect image of God the Father.
Fatima is the hope of the world because it was there that God's unprecedented intervention in human affairs took place. The message of Fatima represents his challenge to atheists and secularists alike to produce a peaceful world without Him. The "miracle of the Sun" represents not so much a threat of evils to come as it does a foreshadowing of the dethronement of God the Father, and an intimation of the appalling consequences inevitably to follow.
The last vision at Fatima in 1917 was the Miracle of the Sun in October. And the last vision within that vision was the appearance of St. Joseph who introduced Our Lady as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel; he was holding the infant Jesus and blessing the world, with Mary by the side of the sun which has not left its place; this was and is God's assurance that though men may reject Him, God will never reject man. In describing the father of the prodigal son in His famous parable, Jesus was actually describing His own Eternal Father: God the Father is ever waiting for sinners in particular and mankind in general to return to Him and to His law.
And as the principal theme at Fatima would indicate, the road by which the prodigal world will someday return to God the Father is called the Way of the Immaculate Heart of Mary -- symbolized by the conversion of Russia and world peace. Our Lady of Fatima repeated this Way in various apparitions at Fatima and afterward, such as the apparition to Sr. Lucia in her convent in 1925, when she elaborated on the Way of the Immaculate Heart by giving her the task of spreading the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation.
And it was to her most chaste spouse on earth, St. Joseph, that she and God entrusted once again his position as head of the Holy Family and representative of all fathers who are assigned the headship of the family by Divine decree, to usher in that Way of the advent of the Reign of the Immaculate Heart.
to Msgr. Cirrincione, that which is
the common denominator, the future event which this scene foreshadowed
is the role of fatherhood. He is led without any doubt to this
because in that last vision at Fatima. St. Joseph was holding the Child
Jesus in his arms and both of them were blessing the world, while Our
looked on. Msgr. Joseph goes on:
"And in the convulsions of the sun I see an ominous foreshadowing of the consequences for the world which are sure to be felt if the true Fatherhood of God and the traditional, strong role of the father of the family are rejected by mankind.
St. Joseph was the head of the Holy Family not because he was the holiest member of it. In fact, in that respect he was the least. Nor was he the head because he had been chosen by agreement of the other two members. He was the head of the Holy Family because he was the FATHER of the family. And as father he represented God the Father. . .
There was another dimension to the miracle of Fatima, specifically the Miracle of the Sun, October 13, 1917, a sign so stupendous, so unique and unprecedented in the history of the world, so much greater a sign than, in a sense, was needed to vindicate the three child seers; one cannot help speculate that it was more than a sign relating to the then recent events, it was also a sign foreshadowing events in the future. Taken in conjunction with the prophetic aspect of the three Rosary scenes shown to the children, it is plausible to see in the Miracle of the Sun a foreshadowing of some new evil which would produce repercussions on a cosmic scale, the worst evil in the history of Christianity: namely, the almost universal rejection of the Fatherhood of God as stated above.
The events at Fatima on that day took place one month before a revolution in Russia that has led to the eventual rejection of God by roughly one-half of mankind. Atheism is a central doctrine of Communism and the rejection of God in Communist countries is official, promoted by law and propaganda. In countries now declared to be less communistic or "free" such as in the purported breakup of the Soviet Union, materialism and militarism still predominates as it does in the United States. In fact, there is almost no country left in the world that is not tainted by practical atheism [in practice if not officially] and almost all have a socialist or milder form of communism as the pre-eminent form of actual governmental policy, regardless of any official title of the country. In essence all that is missing at this time is the walled off borders and military rule, thus in essence one can truly say that Communism [read late 20th century socialism] is the dominant ideology active in the world. Both forms of government are condemned by the Church as violative of God's social plan for man and the human family. The essential difference between socialism and communism today is that people prefer a false security to freedom and have stupidly voted for socialist policies ---- the nanny or big father state, what used to be called "Uncle Joe Stalin" is now the new name for "Uncle Sam." Uncle Sam has given way to Aunt Nanny as fatherhood has been rejected for a militant feminism. While this is not news to us, it is essential to this discussion to remind ourselves of it. What seems to be of less concern to us, unfortunately, is the rejection of the Fatherhood of God by almost all of the rest of the world, even those countries where communism is not predominant.
Secularism pays lip service to religion, allowing individuals the freedom to believe or not believe in God; it interferes as yet only a little with churches, schools and hospitals and it permits the clergy to function without harassment, unlike the more communistic states. But, like these, IT BANS GOD FROM PUBLIC LIFE! It rejects God's right to play any role in human affairs: "Our Father, Who art in Heaven, STAY THERE!"
The combination of this practical atheism and secularism, which amounts to an official rejection of God's Fatherhood or authority, is a first in the history of the Christian era, foreshadowed by the "Miracle of the Sun" at Fatima in 1917.
Rejection of the Fatherhood of God by the vast majority of mankind inevitably has set in motion a chain reaction of consequences affecting fatherhood under every aspect that we have considered here. The notion of fatherhood in many families, for example, has been reduced to a biological fact; the role of the father as head of the family has completely gone out of style, even in most two-parent families. Since human fatherhood, as a reflection of the Fatherhood of God, was designed to be the pillar of the family, the disappearance of esteem for fathers and fatherhood has led to the collapse of that pillar and thus to the disintegration of the family. [In families where the father has died but his role as head was present when he was still on earth, the family tends not to disintegrate as the family is strengthened still by an authoritative father's presence psychologically speaking, unlike families deliberately started without a father present ---- the new "feminist lesbian" mandate.]
Since the family is the fundamental unit of society, the disintegration of the family inexorably leads to the disintegration of society itself. The spirit of anti-fatherhood has also entered the Church. Recognition of the fatherhood of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, has eroded to an alarming degree. Like the lip service paid to religion by secularist governments, a certain outward respect is still paid to the Holy Father. However, his authority in faith and morals is openly rejected by many who still consider themselves to be Catholics. Some priests, in turn, have bartered the respect they have enjoyed for years as spiritual fathers, for a mess of pottage -- to be considered "pals' of their people, dressing and acting like laity. And many pastors have chosen to exchange the role of "shepherds of their flock" for that of "board chairmen" [or "presiders of the assembly"] with fixed terms.
Not unexpectedly, just as the vacuum created by the abandonment of male fatherhood has been filled by eager feminists who know not God, so in the Church, the role of priestly fatherhood is now coveted by certain women, seeking to escape the noble destiny which God has prepared for their sex, but which nevertheless they are taught to regard as drudgery.
People still say they believe in God. Yes, they believe in Him, in His existence, that is: for His existence is virtually impossible to deny. What modern man rejects, however, as Fr. Frederick Faber commented over a century ago, is the notion that God has any right to tell man what to do. These comments form far less of a prediction than the statement of an established fact. It became quite obvious when almost all the Christian governments of the world legalized abortion. In doing so, they crossed the Rubicon. The almost universal acceptance of abortion worldwide has cleared the way for men to ignore completely the moral law [also referred to as "the Natural Law," which is God's law, as the unaided human intellect sees the truth God has implanted in His creation] whenever and wherever civil laws are enacted. Genetic experiment, another example of man's ignoring the Natural law, is already with us, and the propaganda for "death and dignity" [a slogan for killing the aged and the weak] is heating up. With god out of the way, the weakest and poorest in our society are defenseless -- at the mercy, not of foreign enemies, but of their own fellow citizens.
As we said earlier, Fatima is the hope of the world because: the vision of St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus blessing the world, with Mary by the side of the sun which has nit left its place, is God's assurance that though men may reject Him, God will never reject man. In describing the father of the prodigal son in His famous parable, Jesus was actually describing His own Eternal Father. God the Father is ever waiting for sinners in particular and mankind in general to return to Him and His law. And as the principal theme at Fatima would indicate, the road by which the prodigal world will someday return to God the Father is called the Way of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ----- symbolized by the conversion of Russia and world peace for a period. Whether one believes in Fatima or not ----- it must be remembered above all that there is still one part of the Fatima story that is not in the least debatable, namely, the great "Miracle of the Sun." The solar prodigy, its occurrence is a historical fact, attested to by thousands of witnesses and recorded in the secular press by reporters who had gone to the Cova da Iria just to scoff. Thereafter, and because of the "Miracle of the Sun," it behooves us to look at the rest of the Fatima story and what it predicted for the family. To save the family and restored the father to his rightful place as head of his family, go to St. Joseph and obey Our Lady of Fatima's urgent requests. Make Fatima and its message a regular part of your family life.O my God, I thanks Thee for St. Joseph, his devotion to the Christ Child