Newsletter n° 33 (16 August 2016)
If the apparition of the 13th of August 1917 is extraordinary, it is because it was, so to speak, an « apparition without seers » (see newsletter n°8), and that of the following 19th of August also has a very distinctive character : for the third time, Our Lady spoke about hell.
Nowadays, hell is a subject about which little is said, and even considered as occult. Some clerics go as far as to deny its existence or declare that if it does exist, it is empty. And to treat such a subject in this newsletter would probably cause a series of cancelled subscriptions. However, if the message of Fatima is to be presented honestly and completely, it is impossible to ignore it because the Holy Virgin would not have spoken about it to the little shepherds if the subject was not important. It is equally difficult to imagine that Our Lady made a mistake in speaking about hell. Here, then, are all the words pronounced by the Holy Virgin at Fatima on the subject of hell :
- On the 13th of July, just after the vision of hell : « You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. »
- In the prayer that she taught just after : « O my Jesus, forgive us. Save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. »
- On the 19th of August : « Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell because they have no-one to pray and make sacrifices for them. »
Following this, the little seers did not cease to meditate on hell, particularly Jacinta, whose great sensitivity meant that she had a deeper perception of Fatima’s message. In her third memoir Sister Lucia explains why Jacinta attached such importance to the vision of hell :
The vision of hell had horrified her to the point that all penances and mortifications seemed so little, to be able to save some souls from hell.
And so, I am now going to reply to another question which has been sent to me from different places : How was it that Jacinta, who was still so little, could possess such a spirit of mortification and penance and understand the value of it ?
It seems to me that it was, first of all, by a special grace that God wanted to give her, by the intermediary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ; but also, because she saw hell and the predicament of souls who descend there. Some people, even pious people, don’t want to talk to children about hell, so as not to frighten them. But God didn’t hesitate to show hell to three children, the youngest of whom was only six years old, and He knew very well that she would be horrified, to the point, I might say, of being consumed with fright.
Here also are some of Jacinta’s comments as told by Lucia in her third memoir (See on this website all the passages in this memoir in which the subject is treated) :
Often, she sat down on the ground, or a stone, and very thoughtfully, would begin to say : « Oh, hell ! Oh, hell ! How I pity the souls who go to hell ! And the people who are there, living, burning like wood on the fire ! » And, trembling all over, she would kneel, her hands joined, to say the prayer which Our Lady had taught us : « O my Jesus ! Forgive us, save us from the fire of hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need ». ( … )
She would stay, kneeling, like that for long periods, repeating the same prayer. From time to time, she would call me or her brother, as if waking from a dream : « Francisco ! Will you pray with me ? It’s necessary to pray a lot to help save the souls in hell ! There are so many who go there ! There are so many ! »
At other times, she would ask : « Why is it that Our Lady doesn’t show hell to sinners ? If they saw it, they would stop sinning, so as not to go there . You must tell Our Lady to show hell to all these people ? You’ll see how many will convert then ! ».
Subsequently, Lucia often came back to the subject in her correspondence. Thus she confided to Father Pasquale :
What has remained most strongly etched in my mind as well as in my heart, was Our Lady’s sadness when she showed us hell ! If the vision of hell had lasted a moment longer, we would have been dead with fright and horror. However, one thing impressed me even more and that was Our Lady’s pained expression. Even if I lived a thousand years, it would always be engraved in my heart.
This is also what she once wrote to a seminarist :
Don’t be surprised if I talk to you so much about hell. It is a truth which must be frequently recalled in these times, because one forgets it : souls descend to hell in a vortex. Eh ! what ? Don’t you think that all the sacrifices that need to be done to avoid going there have been put to good use, and if they prevent a lot more going down there as well ?
All these teachings about hell are in perfect conformity with what the Church has always taught. Our Lord, in his great goodness, spoke several times about « hellfire », « eternal fire », « blazing furnace », « inextinguishable fire ». And the Church has never stopped transmitting this teaching from our Master. Here, for example, is the definition of hell from the catechism of Saint Pius X (part 3, n°46) :
Hell is a place of suffering to which are sent those who by their crimes have rebelled against the order of Providence or predestination and who have been attached to these crimes in such a way as to never convert. ( … ) The punishments and torments that they deserve because of their crimes will last forever and will never end. ( … ) There are two kinds of punishments : namely, moral punishment and physical punishment. ( … ) The fire should be understood as meaning real fire ; as it properly describes the punishment of the senses.
The Second Vatican Council itself recalled the existance of hell in Lumen gentium n°48 : « We must be constantly vigilant so that, having finished the course of our earthly life, we may merit to enter into the marriage feast with Him and to be numbered among the blessed and that we may not be ordered to go into eternal fire like the wicked and slothful servant, into the interior darkness where ‘’there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth’’. »
For its part, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n° 208) affirms that at death, everyone receives an immediate retribution which « consists in entrance into the happiness of heaven, immediately or after an appropriate purification, or entry into the eternal damnation of hell ».
Hell is therefore a truth of faith and one cannot call oneself a Catholic and believe that it does not exist, or that it is empty. One of the reasons the Holy Virgin came to Fatima is precisely to remind us of its existance at a time when there is a tendency to forget it. Would the Holy Virgin have taken the care to show hell to three young children, and to underline the importance of Her message by an extraordinary miracle, only to have it, some years later, considered to be an outmoded notion ? Fatima reminds us of a truth of the Faith : hell exists and those who descend into it are those who offend our Lord.
This truth is perhaps hard to accept in our world which is not used to speaking about final ends in general and hell in particular. But with this reminder, Our Lady shows us a way to avoid hell : the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. And this is not a very demanding devotion. On condition that it be practised, it can
then be said that it is easy to avoid hell.
Moreover, if many souls go to hell because no-one prays for them, then it is up to us to reverse this proposition, namely that many souls will be saved if many people pray and sacrifice themselves for sinners, an essential point of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Also, ask Our Lady to grant us the light necessary so that we may fully understand Her message, and in particular what is hell.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Yves de Lassus,
President, Cap Fatima 2017.