On the 96th anniversary of the Fatima Secret: a new take on the vision of the Angel
Today is the 96th anniversary of the vision to the three children at Fatima. Coincidently, it is also the 48th year for the Bellarmine Forum. Thus, Fatima is twice as old as the Bellarmine forum this year. On top of that, it is the 90th anniversary of St. Robert Bellarmine’s beatification on May 13, 1923! In order to celebrate, I thought that I would publish an interesting part of my opinion on the third secret which has been shared to many of my friends through the years over, and over, and over!
This post is the first part of a series, at least five parts.
For years now, I have been collecting snippets, articles, and information from all over the place about the third secret of Fatima. My obsession with Fatima started years and years ago back when Father Hardon was still alive and talking about it, and from having friends who were always encouraging me to go to first Saturday devotions. It’s nice to have friends like that.
Roughly 20 years later now, many of my friends, including John Dejak, who wrote about Fatima last Friday, recognize that Fatima and especially the third secret is just one of those topics that’ll get me talking. In fact, when I hear anybody talking about it on a radio show, even Coast to Coast AM, I have to call in. I hardly ever have to wait on hold and always seem to get through straight to the host, and on air. It seems like I’ve had a lot of help there, too. Like I said, it’s nice to have friends.
I am familiar with many of the sources out there on the subject. I’ve read Cardinal Bertone’s book on the matter, I read Father Gruner’s things through the years, and even spoken with him when he was a guest on national radio (on one of those calls, I got kicked off of the radio by Art Bell after questioning Father Gruner at length). I am also familiar with many of the other sources out there including by several intense reports such as Brother Michael in France who compiled the four volume set of information gathering dates and analysis of a variety of events between sister Lucy and communications and correspondence over the years.
But little in any of it gets to what I will be talking about.
Recall that in publishing the Third Secret, it was said by then Cardinal Ratzinger that “the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.” (Linked and discussed below). And the purpose of the secret “is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.” My purpose for this mini-series is to identify those dangers and analyze them – to expand Cardinal Ratzinger’s analysis with a slow motion view of the secret.
Fatima has a lot to with today, and has to do with more than merely Russia — it has to do with the battle between the Church (the Standard of Christ) and the Anti-Church (the Standard of Satan). (See DeJak’s article on the two standards here). It would be foolish to think that this battle is only in Soviet Russia. We will discuss events in 1968 and 1971 that show that even by 1968, the errors of Russia had already spread. At the heart of the battle is the same question that faced Adam and Eve, and that St. Michael said to Lucifer: Who is like God?
What prompted me to start looking at this differently was all of the hysteria and mania over the consecration of Russia. In the aftermath of the release of the text of the third secret in the year 2000, I read the third secret and it wasn’t really a surprise. Most of what the third secret says really is apparent. Father Hardon, speaking before the publication of the third secret by many years, had said that the warning of Fatima is that the world “thinks in sin.” For Father Hardon, and any of his students and fans, sin = error = evil. The three words are synonymous in the vocabulary of Fr. Hardon. So we could say that the world “thinks in error”, or “thinks in evil”, and it would all be the same. Seeing the world as it is today, it does not take a special message from Heaven to tell us this. It doesn’t even take one to tell us that repenting, doing penance, and praying are the remedies for evil. As Father Hardon said before the publication of the third secret, Fatima is an urgent call back to God.
It is obvious that some authors and movements out there wanted something more. In fact, there’s Antonio Socci’s book on the “fourth secret”-implying that we didn’t get the entire third secret. This opinion is shared by many others and a quick glance at YouTube will show very many videos of people adamantly arguing that there’s more to it. I think those people simply don’t understand what the third secret really says. Even if they did, what I will bring about through this series is hair raising enough for me, but would leave plenty of room for more, if it really existed.
Regarding the people who wanted more, many of the people who hold this opinion are coming from schismatic tendencies or open schismatic groups, especially the sedevacantists. Because of that commonality to those holding that opinion, and the likelihood that they wanted the message to say something about the infiltration of mother church by the forces of evil, I am certain they don’t understand what the third secret really said.
A Note on Purpose and Intent
The third secret itself can be read at the Vatican website. IMPORTANT: Then Cardinal Ratzinger has a great theological analysis in that document. Nothing, absolutely nothing, below is contrary, but I intend to extend several things he observed. For instance, he comments on the angel with the flaming sword, and I expect he knows the things I write below, but chose not to expand on those things in that document. Rather, because all these little details were interesting to me, consider this a giant footnote to that document. A footnote for the non-theologian who doesn’t know all these references off the top of the head. St. Ignatius recommended that we take a prayer word by word sometimes in order to see that prayer anew. That’s really all I’m doing below.
As a side note, and as a preview of things to be discussed in a later part of this series, I had written a post about the last official act of Pope Benedict, titled KABOOM! The Literary Finale of Pope Benedict XVI was not his abdication.. In that post, I noted that there’d be a follow-up, but what I didn’t tell you then, I will say now: Pope Benedict’s choice is clearly another metaphor for the third secret of Fatima. he chose a boy and two girls. The Fatima visionaries were a boy and two girls. The scene I describe in that post sounds just like the end part of the third secret, a battle for faith on the hill. There’s even more. Stay tuned to this series for the conclusions.
Now, with that explained, on to the secret. What is important for our discussion here I will quote, rather than type the whole thing.
The Third Secret in Slow Motion
The secret itself begins with the children seeing an angel appearing in the sky above the Blessed Mother’s left shoulder. That angel is holding a flaming sword in his left hand. Pay attention to that: his left hand. The children then see flames issuing from the sword towards Earth as if it would come to destroy the earth. The children saw the flames continuing towards Earth until it was extinguished by glory emanating from the Blessed Mother’s right hand. Again, pay attention to which hand: her right hand. Because the angel had appeared over her left shoulder, she must’ve put her arm across herself. The flames went out due to her intercession.
The angel then, pointing at the earth with his right hand, get that: his right hand, said: “Penance! Penance! Penance”
The Angel Speaks With Left and Right Hands
There’s more to the secret, however, we’re going to stop here so that we can look at just the small scene that the children saw. The children had commented by way of sister Lucia’s explanation, that they had the apprehension that the flames would destroy the earth. Note that the angel is holding the sword in his left hand. Use of the left-hand in many cultures denotes the handling of dirty material. And in several cultures as well, it’s also known as the hand with which one performs personal hygiene of the necessary manner, although dealing with dirty things. This is significant because the children expressly note which hand at each step. So, this angel was here to deal with the crap. In other words, the flames would be like burning sewerage.
Notice the difference when the Blessed Mother intercedes, she does it with her right hand. And then, having ceased by the intercession of the Blessed Mother (again, you gotta love having friends like her), the angel pointing at the earth with his right hand makes the plea for penance. Rather than plea, it appears he was ordering us to penance. This is consistent with earlier visions the children had: seeing an angel that came to them discussing how widespread sin had become in the world and consequently how much more the need for repentance and penance. (And yet, basic fasting has all but gone away)
An Aside: Today, there is even controversy over on which hand one wears wedding bands. For those from Europe, Slavic, and Middle East, it is the RIGHT Hand (even today). For Americans, it is the LEFT (changed sometime during the 20s). The right hand symbolizes power and capacity, and the placing of a ring indicates the intentional circumscription of capacity. Thus, a wedding band indicates the perpetual covenant. The left hand, being called sinister in Latin has no such symbolism in history. Ironic doesn’t even begin to describe the status of marriage in America, but could the switch of hands have any “hand” in causing it? (Sorry for the pun, but I had to do it!)
But who is this angel? Many naturally assumed that the angel in the third secret is Saint Michael. But holding the flaming sword has some scriptural reference to give us a clue that this angel may be different than Saint Michael or if it was Saint Michael he was giving us a clue to his purpose. After all, the flaming sword appears in Scripture at certain locations and events. We’re going to flesh out those events and I’m going to tell you why it’s important today. This is, without a doubt, going to blow your mind.
The Gate to the Garden of Paradise: This Angel Stops those Who Would Become “Like Unto Gods
The first place we see the flaming sword in holy writ is just after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise. It is very important to remember what happened there, because not only Adam and Eve had sinned, but how they sinned is important. They had fallen to the deceptive persuasion of the serpent, accepted the error that they could “become like God” and willed to do evil.
Note this very well, because Father Harden told me to note this very well, circle it in red, underline it in black, highlight it in yellow, but remember this: error is synonymous with evil and is synonymous with sin. The demonic strategy is (and this is another place where Father Hardon would say “remember this” so highlight this too!):
The demonic strategy is to deceive the mind with error that the mind would then be confused by the error. This confusion seduces the mind to call evil good. From that error (evil) then the mind misinforms the will. The will is a blind faculty only seeking to do good, but when misinformed by an erroneous mind, it does evil. That is how Satan does his work.
Adam and Eve both knew that they could not be God. But, by the action of the serpent, who understood how the intellect and the will work, they were seduced into the desire to be God. Get that, and understand: They knew it was impossible but thought they could do it anyway. That is sin-Original style-the chief sin-the biggest error of them all.
Genesis 3:24, “And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Here, scripture notes that the flaming sword was placed at the gate to the Garden of Paradise to prevent anybody from reentering. So what are we to think that today people try to be God? In fact, some advice floating around says to think and become rich, you can achieve anything with your mind, or some openly say that people are God. It would appear that Fatima, at least the angel appearing at Fatima, was telling us precisely this. Even within the church today, as we will note below, there are many popular movements who deceptively teach people that they themselves have the power by their own humanity to be God. We’ll get to that in a moment.
A side note: in Genesis 22, as Abraham is going out to sacrifice his own son, verse 6 says this: “And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword.” It is a side note, only a digression here, but worthy to note that the sword and fire have to do with confronting error, evil, sin.
Balaam the Wicked, Warned by a Talking Mule, Meets You Know Who
The next place of interest is when we see this angel with sword drawn is when Balaam was making his trip to go curse Israel (Numbers chapter 22). Balaam was a soothsayer. He was entreated by a prince to go curse the Israelites, who were coming out of Egypt. God told him not to do it,
“And God said to Balaam: Thou shalt not go with them, nor shalt thou curse the people: because it is blessed.”
At first, Balaam did refuse to go. But, like the parable of the two servants from Our Lord, one saying yes and the other no, Balaam succumbed to the entreaties and persuasion of the prince and many others sent to get Balaam to go along. Balaam eventually goes along, even though God told him not to do it. He got up in the morning and mounted his ass to go do it.
“And God was angry. And an angel of the Lord stood in the way against Balaam, who sat on the ass, and had two servants with him. The ass seeing the angel standing in the way, with a drawn sword, turned herself out of the way, and went into the field.”
(Numbers 22:22-3). Balaam starts beating the ass, but eventually, the Lord opened the mouth of the ass and it spoke to Balaam (!) Eventually, the Lord makes Balaam able to see the angel, and Balaam falls on his knees. The exchange between Balaam and the angel is key:
“And the angel said to him: Why beatest thou thy ass these three times? I am come to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse, and contrary to me: And unless the ass had turned out of the way, giving place to me who stood against thee, I had slain thee, and she should have lived.
“Balaam said: I have sinned, not knowing that thou didst stand against me: and now if it displease thee that I go, I will return.
“The angel said: Go with these men, and see thou speak no other thing than what I shall command thee.”
Note well the angel’s words to Balaam: thy way is perverse to me. Yikes! Balaam is a character studied and understood by Jewish, Catholic, and even Islamic sources as an evil magician of sorts, an occult priest. Talmudic sources depict him as blind in one eye and lame in one foot and describes his followers as having an evil eye, a haughty bearing, and an avaricious spirit. The book numbers later describes that he was executed with all four means of capital punishment: stoning, burning, decapitating, and strangling. The Catholic account of him is no better, as even St. Peter describes him as the example of a false prophet motivated by greed and avarice (2 Pet. 2:15). Balaam is a wicked, wicked man.
Balaam ultimately ceased his plan to curse Israel, but only after a lot of warnings. This angel with sword drawn was there to prevent what God had forbidden. It is interesting that God gave Balaam warnings. First, the mule saw the angel and turned away, even enduring beatings. Then, the mule spoke! Balaam still didn’t get it. Fortunately, Balaam did get it after seeing the angel. The angel even explained that had the mule not done the will of God, Balaam would be dead.
King David Listens to Satan and Starts Down the Path to Population Control: Guess who Shows Up…
The next time we see the angel with a sword drawn is a doozey. It’s in 1 Paralipomenon (1 Chronicles) 21:16: “And David lifting up his eyes, saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand, turned against Jerusalem: and both he and the ancients clothed in haircloth, fell down flat on the ground.” That sounds just like what the children saw! Note how David fell to the ground immediately (as had Balaam) – this angel must inspire great fear!
But, what was done to cause this angel to appear this way? It wasn’t just by chance that this happened. The reason is given right away at the beginning of the chapter: “And Satan rose up against Israel: and moved David to number Israel.” Pay attention: “moved David to number Israel.” David wanted to know how many people. He was concerned there might be a population explosion (that why the men reported fewer then actually existed). We have to wonder why David would turn to such concerns, when God had already shown His great care for them.
How did Satan move David? By deception, by error. The devil convinced David of error in his mind, that the mind would then instruct to he will to do evil as if it were good. (That’s what Fr. Hardon tells us is Satan’s strategy) David gets a warning, too. After instructing Joab to go count the people, Joab says to David: “The Lord make his people a hundred times more than they are: but, my lord the king, are they not all thy servants: why doth my lord seek this thing, which may be imputed as a sin to Israel?” David ignored that warning and ultimately had the people numbered. Despite this evil act, David ultimately acknowledged his sin to the Lord, and the prophet reported he had a choice — to fall to enemy attacks for three years or to suffer the angel of the Lord striking Israel. Here, David said it was better to suffer at the hand of the Lord, for with Him there is mercy. It was here that the angel with his sword drawn brought pestilence and struck the threshing floor.
But what about fire? If this is similar to Fatima, then there must be fire, right? There is. In verse 26, “And he built there an altar to the Lord: and he offered holocausts, and peace offerings, and he called upon the Lord, and he heard him by sending fire from heaven upon the altar of the holocaust.” The fire falling from Heaven burns away sin!
What exactly happened here? What did it mean for David to want to “number the people”. I take it to mean that David was worried about the resources and the power he had under him in the people. You might say he was concerned about overpopulation. He wanted to know what sort of resources were available to him in his people. And we can inferred that from the fact that a pestilence, which damaged food crops, and the angel striking the threshing floor, which is where the food would’ve been prepared. In other words, David began to see himself in the role of God and that expressed itself in the “concern” of the people.
Whatever else we can say about this event, the Scriptures give us the clue at the beginning when it says “Satan convinced David” to do this. It follows the demonic strategy that Father Hardon gave us above: the devil will seduce the mind with error. In this instance, the error must have been giving David over to worry about the sufficiency of resources and the number of people he had to govern, something that is the province of God. So here again we see that the error has to do with that given to Adam and Eve as well, David was trying to become like unto God.
STAY TUNED! This ends part one. Next time we will discuss the remaining scriptural references for the angel with sword and fire, as well as a shocker: can you guess when America began formal population control measures? And what happened to food at the same time? Guess all you like, but we’ll bring this surprise and a few others in the next part!
This article, On the 96th anniversary of the Fatima Secret: a new take on the vision of the Angel is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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