In 1916 to early 1917 the three children of Fatima, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were tending the sheep in the fields when they experienced multiple visits and the Apparitions of the Angel. These visits were a prelude and preparation to the Apparitions of Our Blessed Mother which began on May 13 and lasted until October 13 of the year 1917. In the First Apparition of the Angel of Peace, Lucia recalls:
We had enjoyed playing for a few moments only when a strong wind began to shake the trees. We looked up, startled to see what was happening, for the day was unusually calm. We saw coming toward us above the olive trees the figure I mentioned before . . . . As it drew closer, we were able to distinguish its features. It was a young man, about 14 or 15 years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said: ‘Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ Kneeling on the ground he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground and made us repeat these words three times: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.’ Then rising, he said: ‘Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’
In the Second Apparition the Angel of Peace tells them:
‘What are you doing? Pray, pray very much. The most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High…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 peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.’
In autumn, the three shepherds decided to pray together prostrating themselves and saying the prayer that the Angel taught them when suddenly the felt enveloped by and intense light and rising saw the Angel holding in his hand a chalice with a Host suspended above it, from which a few drops of blood fell. The Angel did not say anything, but leaving the chalice with the Host suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside them with his face to the ground. The shepherds followed his gesture and this time prayed a prayer much longer than the first:
‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.’
Then rising, the Angel took the Chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Host to Lucia and the Chalice to her cousins Francisco and Jacinta to drink, as he said:
‘Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.’
These three visions of the Angel we to prepare the way for Our Blessed Mother’s messages to the three humble children of Fatima. It is to the humble that God shows his favor and it is these seemingly useless instruments that He chooses to manifest His greatness and in this case to be the channel through which we receive these Messages from Heaven.
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In the months from May to October we will relate the particular message of Our Lady gave to the shepherd children that month.