Mary M. Dillon
You Need to Know These Prayers from Fatima
2017 has marked the centenary anniversary of the first Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal in 1917 to celebrate the “first visit made by the Lady ‘come from heaven’, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the beautiful reality of human existence” (Benedict XVI’s Homily, Fatima 2010).
Leading up to 2017 and throughout these twelve months, Vatican and Diocesan officials along with Catholic Media and numerous organizations dedicated to Our Lady have given special attention to the Apparitions and the events surrounding them. Rosary Processions, Rosary Novenas, various devotions and Educational Conferences have taken place all over the globe. Pope Francis, who dedicated his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, allowed for a Plenary Indulgence opportunity for this entire centenary year which will end November 26, 2017.
Given that the centenary of the Fatima Apparitions and its celebrations will soon come to a close two important ‘take-away’ items stand out. One of them is Our Lady’s messages themselves: Prayer, Penance, Sacrifice, Praying the daily Rosary. The other is the “Five Prayers” taught at Fatima to the shepherd children, some by the Angel of Peace and some by Our Lady. Though related, the Five Prayers should not to be confused with the very powerful Five First Saturdays Devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary given to Sr. Lucia, one of the Fatima seers in 1925.
“Simple in structure and profound in depth,” the five prayers from Fatima are intended for “a world poor and needy in faith and charity”. They emphasize the essential truths of our Holy Catholic Church . . . especially concerning “the Holy Eucharist and Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God” (World Apostolate of Fatima, USA). These five prayers may lead us to pray more effectively for there is an “unseen battle for souls that takes place around us everyday”. These five can be prayed as we go about our day “offering sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the many sins committed against God” ("Five Prayers Taught at Fatima by Mary & the Angels", Mary Thierfelder).
A brief review of the Fatima apparitions may help for a better understanding of the role held by these prayers. An Angelic Apparition took place in the 1915 as well as in Spring, Summer and Fall of 1916. These angelic apparitions prepared the three shepherd children for the Apparitions of Mary at Fatima. In the Angelic apparition of 1915 no words were spoken by the angel figure. At that time, Lucia, the eldest of the three seers, described what all three seers saw: “a luminous figure, which appeared far off, [who] neither spoke nor even manifested itself very distinctly.”
Throughout 1916, they saw this "luminous figure” who called himself the “Angel of Peace” and who taught them prayers in word and reverent action (Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Fr. Louis Kandor, SVD). Our Lady eventually revealed herself to the children at Fatima under her title, “The Lady of the Rosary” during the October 13, 1917 apparition — on the day of the “Miracle of the Sun.”
The Pardon Prayer
The Pardon Prayer was taught to the children of Fatima by the “Angel of Peace” at his first apparition some time in 1916. In Sister Lucia’s own words describing this apparition of the angel, she said, “ We began to see, some distance off, above the trees that stretched towards the east, a light, whiter than snow, in the form of a young man . . .” He revealed himself as “the Angel of Peace” saying to them, “Pray with me” and he showing his deep reverence by “Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the earth. Led by a supernatural impulse, we did the same, and repeated the words which we heard him say . . .”
“ . . . My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love thee.”
The Angel of Peace repeated these words three times, rose and said, “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” Then the angel disappeared.
During a second apparition, the angel, remonstrated with the children upon finding them at ‘siesta’, the angel advised them to “make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.” Calling himself the ‘Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal’, he told the children that by following his words, they would “draw down peace upon [their] country” (Fr. Kandor).
(Sister) Lucia’s response to this apparition: “These words were indelibly impressed upon our minds. They were like a light which made us understand who God is, how He loves us and desires us to be loved, the value of sacrifice, how pleasing it is to Him and how, on account of it, He grants the grace of conversion to sinners. She continues, “It was for this reason that we began, from then on to offer to the Lord all that mortified us . ." (Fr. Kandor).
The Angel’s Prayer
The Angel’s Prayer was another prayer taught to the children by the Angel of Peace during the Third Apparition in October, 1916. Sister Lucia recounts that they had prayed the Rosary and the Pardon Prayer (see above) that the Angel had taught.
The angel appeared and prostrated himself before the Host with some drops of blood falling into a chalice that hung in the air. Leaving the chalice and the Host suspended, he worshipped the Eucharist, and the children were taught to pray:
Most Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirt—I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee conversion of poor sinners.
This prayer was repeated three times. Lucia explains: “Impelled by the power of the supernatural that enveloped us, we imitated all that the angel had done, prostrating ourselves on the ground as he did and repeating the prayers . . . the force of the presence of God was so intense that is absorbed us and almost completely annihilated us. . . . the peace and happiness which we felt were great but wholly interior, for our souls were completely immersed in God" (Fr. Kandor).
The Eucharistic Prayer
The children had been praying and offering sacrifices as asked by the Angel of Peace for almost eight months before the first apparition of Our Lady on May 13, 1917. In addition to the importance of the place and the time of this apparition was the situation of the world. World War I was being waged in Europe at this time which “introduc[ed] mankind to the most savage forms of warfare seen to that date. In far off Moscow Lenin prepared the revolution that would overturn the Russian social order in November 1917 and eventually engulf almost half the peoples of the earth.” This was the world scene whereby heaven “condescended to earth to provide the antidote to the moral and social evils of the world - the message of Fatima” (The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, EWTN).
On this date, May 13, 1917, the children beheld a Lady “all dressed in white, more brilliant than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water . . .” The Lady spoke to them, telling them that she was "From Heaven” and asking them to come to the same place for six months in succession and moreover, asking them if they would be willing to “offer themselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send . . . as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended . . .” (Fr. Kandor).
The children were “moved by an interior impulse” as Lucia explained, to pray this simple, but sublime prayer that highlighted the most beautiful truth: The all-powerful, all-loving God is upon the altar at every Catholic Mass (World Apostolate of Fatima, USA). Our Lady’s choice of timing is notable as well. To first appear to the children on May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, should be understood in terms of the overall focus of this apparition on adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Additionally, this Eucharistic Prayer refers to “the mystery of the Holy Trinity and it implies that in the adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament we also adore the most Holy Trinity. The Christian prayer is therefore always a Trinitarian prayer.“ While Lucia calls the prayer an “interior impulse” another writer explains that the prayer is “not directly taught by Our Lady, but is inspired by the Holy Spirit and recited automatically by the children before her” ("Fatima: Personal Sacrifice as a way of being a Missionary", Fr. Jorge Amaro, IMC).
O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, My God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
After awhile, Our Lady spoke again, instructing the children to “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” With that she rose “serenely, going up towards the east until she disappeared in the immensity of space” (Fr. Amaro).
The Sacrifice Prayer
The Blessed Mother taught the children a prayer during her third apparition of July 13, 1917 apparition. This apparition of July 13th was the most challenging part of the whole message of Fatima, for it “provided a secret in three parts which the children guarded zealously. The first two parts, the vision of hell and the prophecy of the future role of Russia and how to prevent it, would not be revealed until Sr. Lucia wrote them down in her third memoir, at the request of the bishop, in 1941. The third part, usually called the Third Secret, was only later communicated to the bishop, who sent it unread to Pope Pius XII” (The Secret of Fatima, EWTN). It was Pope St. John Paul the Great who in the year 2000 published this third secret ("9 things to know and share about the 'Third Secret' of Fatima", Jimmy Akin).
The children on this apparition date of July 13, 1917 were instructed by Our Lady to say this prayer when “they have something to offer up to God . . . such as some suffering, or an act contrary to what they wanted to do but which was necessary to please God” (World Apostolate of Fatima, USA). This prayer is a “practical application of the second part of the message of Fatima about penance, and in the context of this message, it means the offering of ourselves for others, for the conversion of sinners” (Fr. Amaro).
All their personal sacrifices could be offered to God by praying:
Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Rosary Decade Prayer
This prayer is most familiar to devotees of the Holy Rosary. This prayer was also given to the children during the second apparition of Our Lady on June 13, 1917. Our Lady made the children aware of the importance of praying the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. After praying the Our Father, ten Hail Mary and a Glory Be, through this prayer, we ask for the Mercy of Jesus for ourselves and for other sinners.
The next month, on the 13th of July, the children were given a terrifying vision of “Hell, the place where poor sinners go.” Our Lady, mercifully, once again, through this same prayer directed the children to seek Heaven, pleading for mercy for those sinners who may be headed to Hell. She again asked that it be recited at the end of each rosary decade (traditionally prayed after the ‘Glory Be’ for each decade of the Rosary). So, at the end of praying each decade of the Rosary we pray:
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.
Very soon a new Liturgical Year, beyond this Fatima centenary, commences. Let us stay steadfast by living the Fatima messages, doing our part for our own very troubled world “poor and needy in faith and charity”, remembering that at Fatima, Our Lady “spoke to the children about the deep meaning of history, the drama of evil and grace, sin and conversion that lies beneath the movements of politics, war, and peace” ("Fatima was the most important Marian event for 1,500 years", Fr. Raymond de Souza). By incorporating these five powerful prayers in our daily life along with our daily Rosary, we hope to one day gain heaven, while helping others to gain heaven as well. (You can print the prayers here.)
What else do you know about the revelations at Fatima? Share in the comments!