Visits of the Angel
In 1916, as if in preparation for the Visits of Our Lady, the three children were graced with three visits by an Angel.
The children were tending their sheep on the east side of the Cabeço, (a small hill about 5 minutes' walk from their village called Aljustrel, which is a hamlet of Fatima), when a strong wind began to shake the trees. A figure appeared above the olive trees and as it came closer Lucy describes:
"It was a young man, about fourteen … whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty."
The young man spoke:
"Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me."
Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead reached the ground. The children did the same. Then he led them in this prayer three times:
"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon of Thee for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee!"
He rose and said:
"Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications."
Then he disappeared.
They were so impressed by the Angel's presence and message that they prayed this prayer over and over again all day long, lying prostrate on the ground.
They continued to pray like that for many days but gradually their fervor lessened.
At the height of summer, the Angel appeared a second time as the children, having returned their sheep to their barn during the hot midday sun, were playing near the well. He said to them:
"What are you doing? Pray, pray very much! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High … The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplication.
"Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Angel Guardian, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you."
The third and final apparition of the Angel took place in the autumn while the children were tending their flock in the small olive grove. They knelt down with their foreheads touching the ground and were reciting the prayer of the Angel when an extraordinary light shone upon them.
"We beheld the Angel, holding a chalice in his left hand with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood fell into the chalice.
"Leaving the (Host and) chalice suspended in the air, the Angel lay prostrate on the ground beside us and made us repeat three times:
"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son, Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners."
Lucy continues, "Then rising, he took the chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred Host to me, and shared the Blood from the Chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so:
"'Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.'
"Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us, three times more, the same prayer and then disappeared."
The brief words of the Angel present as a synthesis the unique message of Fatima which constitutes for our century a glimpse of the Gospel perfectly adapted to our time.
Who is this Angel of Peace that came to Fatima as a precursor of Our Lady? Portuguese historians recognize St. Michael the Archangel as their patron and protector, who had always been venerated as the Guardian Angel of their country.
In addition, in the Roman Breviary as well as in the litanies, the Archangel Michael is also invoked under the titles Author of Peace and Michael, the Angel of Peace.