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The Secret of the Thing
Worse than War

June 14, 1917. The sounds of World War I, of human strife, of moaning and suffering overlapped the map of Europe as Lucy silently, unhappily follows her mother to the priest's house.

Maria Rosa at the priest's door said to Lucy: “Do not torment me any longer! Tell the parish priest right now that you lied, so that he could say next Sunday in church that everything was a lie. Does not that make sense? All those people who run to the Cova da Iria to pray in front of a holm-oak!”

Then she knocked on the door of the rectory.

Once inside, the Reverend Father looked somberly down at Lucy. Maria Rosa watched solemnly.

The Reverend Father spoke at last:

“That does not appear to me to be a heavenly revelation. It is not possible for Our Lady to come from Heaven to earth only to say that we should recite the Rosary every day. It is moreover an almost general custom in the parish. Besides, when things of this kind happen, usually Our Lord asks the souls to whom He communicates to render an account of what is happening to their confessor or to their parish priest. It could also be a deception of the devil. We will see. The future will tell us what we should think of it.”

At night Lucy tossed and turned in bed. She dreamt that she was being glowered at by a dark-visaged, gleamy-eyed, smiling, evil man.

“In that state of soul I had a dream which came to deepen the darkness of my spirit,” she wrote many years later. “I saw the devil who, laughing at having deceived me, was making efforts to carry me away to hell ... That dream left in my spirit a cloud of real fear and affliction.”

Jacinta, Francisco and Lucy - The Fatima Seers

On July 12, Francisco and Jacinta looked at her with disbelief as she told them she would not be going to the Cova for the appointed rendezvous with Our Lady the next day.

“We are going there!” cried Francisco. “Our Lady has asked us to go there! But how can you think that it is the devil? Did you not see Our Lady and God in that great light? How can we leave without you, if it is you who must speak?”

That evening, outside Lucy's house, Francisco waited.

“Listen! Are you coming tomorrow?”

“No! I will not go. I have already told you that I will not return any more.”

That night Francisco did not sleep at all. He spent it weeping and praying that Our Lady would make Lucy go to the Cova. By morning, after a troubled night, Lucy looks suddenly energized. She rises, runs into the street and heads for the Cova.

“When the hour that I was supposed to leave approached, I felt myself suddenly moved to go there by a force so strange that it was very difficult for me to resist. I set out on the road and I passed by the house of my uncle to see if Jacinta was still there.

“I found her in her bedroom, with her brother Francisco, on her knees at the foot of the bed and weeping.”

Lucy cried out, “Then you are not going?”

“Without you we dare not go there!” cried Jacinta.

Francisco realized what had happened to Lucy.

“Let's go. Come!” he said excitedly.

“Alright,” said Lucy, “I am going.”

Joyfully, yet anxiously, they ran from the house.

By noon the sounds of a huge multitude reciting the Rosary could be heard from outside the Cova. The field was full of umbrellas, unfurled as shade against the blazing sun. Among the umbrellas was Maria Rosa, Lucy's mother, with a scarf almost hiding her face, watching from a distance.

Closer to the holm-oak, Lucy is soon on her knees, leading the Rosary, her face a mixture of grief and joy at her previous inner conflict. As the Rosary ends she gets up quickly and looks to the east. A distant flash of light illuminates her face.

“Close the umbrellas. Close the umbrellas! Our Lady is arriving.”

As Our Lady appears on the holm-oak, the brightness of the sun dims noticeably, as at the moment of an eclipse. All three of the children are in ecstasy.

At the same moment, the tint of the sunlight is modified. The atmosphere takes on a yellowish-golden color. Yellowish tint colors the faces of the onlookers.

Lucy asks, “What does Thy Grace want of me?”

Our Lady ‘all of light’ answers gently, “I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”

“I should like to ask Thee to tell us who Thou art,” says Lucy, “and to work a miracle so that everyone will believe that Thy Grace is appearing to us.”

Our Lady answers: “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see in order to believe.

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.”

Then comes one of the most incredible moments in the history of creation. Years later Sister Lucy will describe it:

“As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. This time the rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth.”

The three children are seen suddenly reacting with horror to what they are seeing. Lucy actually cries out with fear.

“We saw as it were, a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised in the air by the flames that issued from themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.

“The vision lasted only a moment, thanks to Our Good Mother of Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.”

Then Our Lady speaks: “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.

“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.

“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. Do not tell this to anyone. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.”

Silence reigns for a few seconds as Our Lady looks at Lucy and the other two. Finally Lucy has found her voice.

“Is there anything more that You want of me?”

“No, I do not want anything more of you today.”

Once again, as on two occasions before, Our Lady begins to rise toward the east until She disappears in the immense distance of the firmament.

The message of July 13 appears then very clearly to us in two parts: There are the words which were divulged at once, and there is the text of the Secret … of the Secret carefully kept hidden by the seers.

Sister Lucy, years later, told us the Secret is divided into three parts. The first part is the Vision of Hell, as described above in Lucy's own words. The second part is the words of Our Lady (given above), starting with the phrase, “You have seen hell ...” down to, “various nations will be annihilated.” The third part of the Secret, which has not been revealed fully to this day, is the words of Our Lady which follow the “etc.” (noted above) which Lucy wrote to designate the rest of the Third Secret fits in here.

Lucy told everyone, after Our Lady went back to Heaven, that Our Lady promised a miracle on October 13, so that all might believe the Fatima Message.

It was the announcement of a pending miracle in October that was most momentous for the people in the Cova that day, and those who would hear about it.

It was a clear promise from Heaven, without any condition or any ambiguity, specifying the date and the time of a public miracle, announced three months in advance. Our Lady would repeat the promise in August and in September.

It is important to note that the promise of the great miracle came just before Our Lady revealed to the three children Her great prophetic Secret.

The miracle would be a divine guarantee of the origin of the Secret and therefore of its fulfillment. Thus, the great miracle is linked by Our Lady Herself to the Great Secret of July 13. Next to the miracle of October, still to come, the spectacles of the World War would pale in comparison, just as surely as the horrors of war pale in comparison to the sufferings of hell.

The Secret would remain that until Sister Lucy wrote down the first two parts in 1941. The Bishop of Fatima, Bishop da Silva, in October 1943, ordered the ailing Sister Lucy to put the third part of the Secret in writing. She could not bring herself to obey until January 1944.

On January 9, 1944 the Secret was placed in a sealed envelope, to be given to the local bishop, its temporary guardian.

A miracle guaranteed the authenticity of the Secret. Will it take another miracle to get it divulged, in its entirety, to the world?