The Third Secret of Fatima occurred on May 13, 1917. When you read it, the words can look like a strange apocalyptic prophecy.
“Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.”
In reality, much like the book of Revelations, it’s actually a glimpse of hope. According to Fr. Michael Gaitley said that “Mercy is love when it meets suffering.” The Third Secret of Fatima foretold great suffering, which meant that an even greater mercy has to come in to give us hope. That hope comes in the form of Divine Mercy. You might be wondering, “How Divine Mercy tie into the Third Secret of Fatima?” It all has to do with a certain pope: Saint John Paul II.
The third secret of Fatima mentioned a “bishop dressed in white” that the children identified as the Holy Father. 64 years later, on May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was greeting pilgrims at St. Peter’s Square. Then somebody shot him. By the grace of God, he survived that bullet. The bullet that almost killed him missed the main abdominal artery by a tenth of an inch. As he said “One hand fired, and another guided the bullet.”
One year later, John Paul II went to Fatima and consecrated the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. He said:
“Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother's intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness."
Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the Cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced Heart of the Saviour, bringing it back “to the very source of its Redemption” (quote from JP2). Sister Lucy declared that he had done what Our Lady asked for almost a century ago. Which means that the Third Secret of Fatima has already come to pass.
Pope John Paul II became the biggest advocate for Saint Faustina and the devotion to Divine Mercy. He once said that the day that he made Divine Mercy Sunday official was the happiest day of his life. And keep in mind that this was all the way back in the year 2000. He had accomplished so much, but his greatest happiness was bringing Divine Mercy to the world. I’m not sure if he realized it, but Saint Faustina also foresaw his greatness. Look at this quote from the Diary of Saint Faustina:
“I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming.” (Diary 1732)
Then look at what St. John Paul II said when he visited the shrine dedicated to Saint Faustina in Poland:
“Today, therefore, in this Shine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth ‘the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming.’ This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness!”
Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Fatima would be part of John Paul II’s life even up to his deathbed. On April 2, 2004. The last thing that he did before he died was celebrate a Vigil Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday. Keep in mind that there were other people in the room with him, so even though he was lying down on his deathbed, other priests who were there celebrated the Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday and administered the Eucharist to him. Less than an hour after the Mass was celebrated, John Paul II died.
In order to prepare for the Second Coming, we cannot live in fear, but with hope and trust in Jesus’s Divine Mercy. We hear a lot of stories on the news of Christians being martyred and bombings in the Middle East, but we cannot lose hope and think that this is the end of the world. No matter how bad things are right now, we need to constantly pray for mercy. We may not be as great as St. John Paul II, but we can live our lives dedicated to bringing hope to the world as he did. God’s mercy endures forever, sisters in Christ, and mercy gives us love in times of suffering.
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
St. John Paul II, St. Faustina, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
What gives you hope? How do you hold onto hope in spite of everything you hear on the news? How do you think Divine Mercy gives us hope?
Listen Fr. Michael Gaitley’s lecture on “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told” for more information on how Saint John Paul II ties into Divine Mercy and Fatima.