A Hundred Years of Fatima – Part II

Here is part two of Sheen’s commentary on Our Lady of Fatima, the Church, the world, and the consecration of Russia:

It may be worth inquiring, however, why Almighty God in His providential dealings with the Universe should see fit in this day to give us a revelation of His Blessed Mother in order to bring us back to prayer and penance.canonizationarchbishopfultonsheen

One reason immediately comes to mind. Since the world has lost Christ, it may be that through Mary it will recover Him. When Our Blessed Lord was lost at the age of 12, it was the Blessed Mother who found Him. Now that He has been lost again, it may be through Mary that the world will recover Christ the Savior. Another reason is that Divine Providence has committed to a woman the power of overcoming evil. 

In that first dread day when evil was introduced into the world, God spoke to the serpent in the Garden of Eden and said: “I shall put enmity between thee and the woman; between thy seed and her seed, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Gen. 3:15) In other words, evil shall have a progeny and a seed.

Goodness too shall have a progeny and a seed. It will be through the power of the woman that evil will be overcome. We live now in an evil hour, for though goodness has its day, evil does have its hour. Our Blessed Lord said that much the night Judas came into the garden: “This is your hour, the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53) All evil can do in that hour is to put out the lights of the world; but it can do that. If then we live in an evil hour how shall we overcome the spirit of Satan except by the power of that Woman to whom Almighty God has given the mandate to crush the head of the serpent?

our20lady20of20fatima-1No longer does one hear the lie that the Catholic Church adores Mary, or puts her on the same level with God, or that she takes the place of God. Rather are men beginning to recognize the truth of the Christian tradition that as it was through Eve that sin came into the world, so it will be through the new Eve, Mary, that Redemption from sin comes into the world. 

[…] The revelation of Fatima is a reminder that we live in a moral universe, that evil is self-defeating, that good is self-persevering; that the basic troubles of the world are not in politics or economics but in our hearts and our souls, and that spiritual regeneration is the condition of social amelioration. Soviet Russia is not the sole danger to the Western world; rather it is the despiritualization of the Western world to which Russia gave political form and social substance.

World War II came according to Our Lady of Fatima because there was no amendment in the hearts and souls of men. The danger of World War III is precisely in this point, not just in the Communist International. The Western world is scandalized at the Soviet system, but this is basically because it sees its own individual atheism socialized and put into practice on almost a cosmic scale. 

The great issue at stake is not individualism or collectivism, because neither of these is of primary importance; it is not between free enterprise and socialism in the economic order, for neither of these matters tremendously; rather the struggle is for the human soul.

This is another way of saying that the crisis centers around freedom in the spiritual sense of the word. War will not settle the world atmosphere, but will result only in the atomization of man, a fact of which the atomic bomb is only a symbol. Since evil is not wholly external a war will not eliminate it. Any world war is really an objectification of evil in the lives of men. A microcosmic war is the reflection of microcosmic war inside of individual hearts. Because the Christian knows this better than anyone else, the responsibility for the world’s condition is to a greater extent his. ROSARY DEVOTION

The world is the way it is because each of us is the way we are. It is the special responsibility of the Christian to discern in two world wars in 21 years the judgement of God on the way we live. As long as the Christian thanks that there are only two directions he can take, “Right” or “Left,” not only will he make no contribution to the world, but he will make the world worse by failing to recognize that additional to the horizontal plane of life, there is also the vertical which leads to God and where there are the two more important directions of “inward” and “upward.” Not by funding scapegoats, whether they be political parties or communism, will we escape responsibility of bearing, as Christ did in Gethsemane, the burden of the world’s guilt.

The revelation of Fatima was a most poignant reminder to Christians that the so-called problem of Russia is the problem of Christians: that by prayer, penance and reparation, and not by war, abuse and attack will Russia join the society of freedom-loving nations.

There is no “iron curtain” for this vision of the world because prayers do not go through an iron curtain but over it, as radio-mountains and continents. The conversion of Russia is the condition of world-peace, but Russia’s conversion is conditioned upon our own reconversion. 

[…] As Americans we cannot be unmindful of the relation of this country to the Woman to whom God gave the power of crushing the head of the serpent. The Council of Baltimore on December 8, 1846 consecrated the United States to the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother. It was only 8 years later that the Church defined Her Immaculate Conception.

It was on December 8, 1941, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, that the United States went to war with Japan. It was on May 13, 1945, Mother’s Day, the day on which the entire Church celebrated Sodality Day of Our Lady, that the United States


Government proclaimed a National Thanksgiving for V-E Day. 

It was on August 15, 1945, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother, that victory came to us in the war with Japan. It was the nineteenth of August, 1945, that the United States Government declared official V-J Day and this happened to be the anniversary of one of the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima. 

On September 1, 1945, the Birthday of Our Lady, that the first American flag flew over Tokyo, and as it was unfurled General MacArthur said: “Let it wave in its full glory as a symbol of victory for the right.”

Under the inspiration and suggestions of the Lady of Fatima, may it be America’s destiny to see the great spiritual solidarity that exists between the 97 percent of Russian people who are not members of the Communist Party and the idealism, love of peace, generosity and friendliness of the American people.

[…] When a minority would now disrupt those peaceful relations between Russian and the American people, it is now the sweet burden not only of America, but of the conscience of the West, to restore our relations to God, to the Mother of Christ “up whose body as a tower ivory, He climbed to kiss upon her lips a mystic rose.”

(Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West, p. 205-207, 216)