A Thought That Haunted the Three Seers:
Pray, Pray Much for the Holy Father
by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité
One constant concern of the little seers was to try to pray unceasingly for the Holy Father. We know that after July 13 and the revelation of the great Secret, they began to offer their sacrifices and prayers for the Holy Father, especially Jacinta, who "was very impressed by certain things revealed in the Secret", Lucy tells us.
"When we were in prison," Lucy tells us, "what made Jacinta suffer most, was to feel that their parents had abandoned them. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she would say:
"Neither your parents nor mine have come to see us. They don't bother about us any more!"
"Don't cry," said Francisco, "we can offer this to Jesus for sinners." Then, raising his eyes and hands to heaven, he made the offering:
"O my Jesus, this is for love of You, and for the conversion of sinners."
Jacinta added: "And also for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
Later on, after the threats of the Administrator, who let them believe he would kill them, Jacinta began crying:
"I went over and drew her close to me," says Lucy, "asking her why she was crying."
"Because we are going to die without ever seeing our parents again, not even our mothers!"
With tears running down her cheeks, she added: "I would like at least to see my mother."
"Don't you want, then, to offer this sacrifice for the conversion of sinners?"
"I do want to, I do!"
With her face bathed in tears, she joined her hands, raised her eyes to heaven and made her offering: "O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!"
In her account of their imprisonment at Ourem, which was so terrifying for children that age, Lucy relates another incident which shows that they were continually thinking of the Holy Father, just one month after the Secret was revealed:
As the Blessed Virgin had told us to offer our prayers and sacrifices also in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we agreed that each of us would choose one of these intentions. One would offer for sinners, another for the Holy Father and yet another in reparation for the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Having decided on this, I told Jacinta to choose whichever intention she preferred.
"I'm making the offering for all the intentions, because I love them all."
The Vision of the Holy Father Insulted and Persecuted
One day, Lucy says, we spent our siesta down by my parents' well. Jacinta sat on the stone slabs on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket. After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: "Didn't you see the Holy Father?"
"I don't know how it happened, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him."
One day, Lucy continues, two priests recommended us to pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was. Afterwards, Jacinta asked me:
"Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the Secret?"
"Yes, he is."
"The Lady must surely have shown him also to those priests. You see, I wasn't mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him."
Some experts believed that this mysterious vision applied to Pope Pius XII. But it is more probable that this prophetic vision concerns the future. Does it perhaps concern the Pope who will finally decide to fulfill the requests of Our Lady, beginning with revealing Her final Secret to the world? If Sister Lucy experienced a real agony before writing it down, we can imagine the terrible sufferings of the Pope who would have to reveal it. It is also certain that when the Supreme Pontiff renounces the silence and decides to act vigorously, in conformity with his duty as Vicar of Christ — that is, first of all as the fearless defender of the deposit of faith, no longer hesitating to denounce by name the heretics who poison his flock — he will provoke the furor of his enemies, he will also have to bear the insults and hatred of his own misguided children, who for a long time have been serving the Enemy. He will be insulted, he will be pelted with stones, and he will be cursed. Yes, at that time more than ever, "the Holy Father will have much to suffer".
The Vision of the War and the Holy Father in Prayer
Another time, Lucy writes, we went to the cave called Lapa do Cabeco. As soon as we got there, we prostrated on the ground, saying the prayers the Angel had taught us. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me:
"Can't you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?"
Some days later, she asked me: "Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?"
"No. Don't you see that that's part of the secret? If you do, they'll find out right away."
"All right! Then I'll say nothing at all."
This second prophetic vision, like the first, has undoubtedly not yet been fulfilled. The horrible war in question is undoubtedly the future war we are threatened with. As for the Holy Father "praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary", we may believe that he is the Pope mentioned in the Secret: "In the end …the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me." Did Our Lady perhaps reveal to her little confidante what a tragic situation we would be in when the consecration of Russia, requested so insistently by Heaven since 1929, would finally take place? "They will do it, but it will be late," Our Lord told Sister Lucy.
Only the disclosure of the third Secret, and the fulfillment of the events predicted, will give us the whole truth about these visions of Jacinta. Be that as it may, the lesson Lucy wished us to draw from these accounts is simple, and more relevant and urgent than ever: we must pray, pray much and offer sacrifices for the Pope. Although in her Memoirs the seer could not reveal the reasons for her insistence — which undoubtedly directly depend on the revelations in the third Secret — she at least wished to set before us the moving example of her little cousin. Along with concern for saving sinners from hell, the thought of the Holy Father was what preoccupied her the most, surely because she knew of events that we did not — she knew what dangers, temptations and finally what terrible persecutions the Holy Father would have to put up with and suffer before the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Lucy says that this gave Jacinta such love for the Holy Father that every time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus, she added: "and for the Holy Father". After the Rosary, she always said three Hail Marys for the Holy Father.
Shortly before he died, Francisco said to Jacinta and Lucy:
"It won't be long now before I go to heaven. When I'm there, I'm going to console Our Lord and Our Lady very much. Jacinta is going to pray a lot for sinners, for the Holy Father and for you. You will stay here, because Our Lady wants it that way. Listen, you must do everything that She tells you!"
When the Blessed Virgin told her that soon she would leave for the hospital and that she would suffer much there, Jacinta said to her cousin: "…I'll be there suffering all alone! But never mind! I'll suffer for love of Our Lord, to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners and for the Holy Father."
A few months later, in July-August of 1919, the prophecy of Our Lady was fulfilled. Jacinta went to the hospital of Vila Nova de Ourem. Lucy could only visit her twice. She says: "I found Jacinta joyful as ever, glad to suffer for the love of our Good God and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for sinners and the Holy Father. That was her ideal, and she could speak of nothing else."
When she returned to Aljustrel, Jacinta continued to think often about the events announced in the Secret: "Don't be afraid!" she told Lucy. "In heaven I'll be praying hard for you, for the Holy Father, for Portugal, so that the war will not come here, and for all priests." Finally, a few months before her death, shortly before she left for Lisbon, Lucy asked her: "What are you going to do in heaven?"
"I'm going to love Jesus very much, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, too. I'm going to pray a lot for you, for sinners, for the Holy Father, for my parents and my brothers and sisters, and for all the people who have asked me to pray for them …"
Always includes His Holiness
Although Lucy is always discreet when referring to herself, she shows us that she shared the intentions of her cousin. When Lucy was overwhelmed by visitors and pilgrims who came to interrogate her and ask her to pray with them: "I repeated my usual prayer from the depths of my heart: O my God, this is for love of You, in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the conversion of sinners and for the Holy Father."
Similarly in sorrow for her father's death:
"My God! My God!" I exclaimed in the privacy of my room. "I never thought You had so much suffering in store for me! But I suffer for love of You, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Holy Father and for the conversion of sinners."
Lucy even goes so far as to write: "…there was not a prayer or sacrifice we offered to God which did not include an invocation for His Holiness." This preoccupation, which is so surprising for such young children, is perfectly understandable if the third Secret mentions explicitly — and with details striking to the imagination — possible defects of the Supreme Pontiffs and the persecutions they will have to undergo later on.
Moreover, we find explicit mention of these tribulations that the Popes would undergo in the dramatic prophecy of Our Lord to Sister Lucy at Rianjo, in August 1931:
"Make it known to My ministers, that since they follow the example of the king of France in delaying the execution of My request, that they will follow him in misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary."
What misfortunes is Our Lord referring to? Undoubtedly it is the third Secret which provides the answer.