The First Apparition of Our Lady in Fatima — May 13, 1917
Before we enter into the very presence of Our Lady and reflect on her admirable interventions to save us, her beloved children, we must first of all be aware, that we enter in a spiritual world, which is inexpressibly holy, pure and delicate.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe expressed this in his deepest words: “When you get ready to read about the Immaculata, do not forget that you are then entering into contact with a pure living being who is without any stain whatsoever. Consider, too, that the words that you read are incapable of expressing who she is, for they are human words, drawn from human concepts, which present everything only in an earthly way, whereas the Immaculata is a being belonging entirely to God and therefore is to an infinite degree higher than everything around you… Recognize honestly, too, that alone, without her help, you are incapable of knowing anything about her, and consequently you cannot truly love her, and that she herself must enlighten you more and more, in order to draw your heart to Herself in love”. If this is true about anything we read about her, how much more it is, when we start to face herself and grasp Her own words and gestures.
A second preliminary reflection: we should not read the events of the apparitions just to recall a historical fact, as if Fatima would be just a meeting between the Mother of God and the three children. The visionaries are always only instruments chosen by her to be her channels and transmit her message. They are also the representatives of all men, to whom Our Lady speaks indirectly, whilst speaking directly to Lucy, Francis and Jacinta. The words of Our Lady should go straight down into our heart, as if we would have been personally present in the Cova da Iria in 1917.
Here is the history of the first apparition written by Sr. Lucy:
High up on the slope of the Cova da Iria, I was playing with Jacinta and Francisco. Suddenly we saw what seemed to be a flash of lightning. “We'd better go home”, I said to my cousins, “that's lightning; we may have a thunderstorm”.
“Yes indeed” they answered.
We began to go down the slope, hurrying the sheep along towards the road. We were more or less half-way down the slope, and almost level with a large holm oak tree that stood there, when we saw another flash of lightning. We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holm oak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.
We stopped, astounded, before the apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from Her, that we were bathed in the light that surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her. Then Our Lady spoke to us:
— Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm.
Where does Your Grace come from?
— I am from heaven.
What does Your Grace want of me?
— I have come to ask you to come here for six months in succession, on the 13th day, at this same hour. Later on, I will tell you who I am and what I want. Afterwards I will return here yet a seventh time.
Shall I go to heaven, too?
— Yes, you will.
— She will go also.
— He will go there too, but he will have to say many Rosaries.
Then I remembered to ask about two girls who had died recently. They were friends of mine and used to come to my home to learn weaving with my eldest sister.
Is Maria das Neves in heaven?
— Yes, she is.
— She will be in Purgatory until the end of the world.
— Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?
Yes, we are willing.
— Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.
As She pronounced these last words “the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened Her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then moved by an inner impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament”.
After a few moments, Our Lady spoke again:
— Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.
Can you tell me if the war will go on a long time, or will it end soon.
— I cannot tell you that yet, because I have not yet said what I want.
Then She began to rise serenely, going up towards the east, until she disappeared in the immensity of space. The light that surrounded Her seemed to open up a path before Her in the firmament, and for this reason we sometimes said that we saw Heaven opening.