MANDALUYONG City, May 29, 2014—“The Blessed Mother reminds us, her dearest and youngest children, of our duties to God.”
This statement sums up a top Catholic apologist’s talk on Church-approved Marian apparitions Saturday, May 24, at the Santuario de San José Parish hall in Greenhills.
World War II prophecy
Marwil Llasos, a lawyer who doubles as a Mariologist (expert on the Virgin Mary), explained that apparitions take place during history’s defining moments, and especially when people are becoming oblivious to their religious obligations.
Focusing on the miracles of Fátima, Portugal in 1917, the most famous and best documented of the over 200 recorded sightings of Mary, Llasos pointed out that these occurred when the world was caught up in a big war—the biggest war it knew until that time.
But Our Lady warned the three shepherd children of Fátima, Lúcia Santos, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto, that “if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.”
In 1938, after the most spectacular appearance of the aurora borealis over the northern hemisphere since 1709, Adolf Hitler seized control of Austria and invaded Czechoslovakia, marking the beginning of World War II.
Although predominantly a Catholic country, Llasos noted that Portugal then was ruled by elements hostile to the Church.
To a humanity that had its lost fear of hell, and conversely, fear of God, he noted that Our Lady of Fátima willingly played the catechist by showing the children hell.
Vision of hell
In her third memoir, Sister Lúcia mentioned, “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form…which horrified us and made us tremble with fear.”
She added, “This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”
Besides the need for repentance and conversion, Llasos explained that apparitions are also the Blessed Mother’s way of “showering us with her maternal love and comforting us in our sorrow”.
The other approved apparitions he discussed are those of Guadalupe, La Salette, the Miraculous Medal, Lourdes, Pontmain, Knock, Beauraing, and Banneux.
Llaso’s three-hour lecture coincided with the feast of “Mary, Help of Christians” and was attended by many local parishioners and outsiders. (Raymond A. Sebastián)