October 13, 2022 marks the 105th anniversary of the miracle of the dancing sun in Fatima. On that day, Our Lady proved to the world that her apparitions to the three children of Fatima (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco) were indeed authentic. The event, witnessed by over 70,000 people, was captured by media, and forever immortalized with powerful photos. The miracle of the dancing sun remains as perhaps the largest public miracle ever performed by God since the parting of the Red Sea.
But why did Our Lady appear in Fatima, in the first place? What was it that was so urgent to be communicated to mankind that God, through Our Lady, felt the need to perform a significant public miracle?
In the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady gave three secrets. These three secrets are so important to mankind, and so relevant even until today.
In this article, we will focus on the first of the three secrets of Fatima.
A Vision of Hell
In her third memoir, written in 1941, Lúcia said that the first secret, a vision of Hell, was disclosed to the children on 13 July 1917. Here are the exact words of Lucia, describing the vision:
"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, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. 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."
Over 162 References to Hell in the New Testament
Yes, hell is indeed real, and it is eternal! A great multitude of souls, as can be seen in the first secret of Fatima, are in hell already because they died in mortal sin, without repenting prior to their last breath.
In the New Testament, there are 162 references to hell. Of these, over 70 of the references were made by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Jesus Himself has told us that hell is real, its pains are real, and it is eternal.
Here are some references to Hell from the New Testament:
- The man in Luke 16:24 cries: ". . .I am tormented in this FLAME.”
- In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: "And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
- In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting FIRE,. . .” Revelation 20:15 says, " And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE."
Is Hell Empty?
One of the greatest lies of the devil in modern times is to convince people that Hell is not real and eternal. His goal is to convince people that he does not exist, that a place of eternal punishment does not exist. He does this so that we will be lulled into a false sense of complacency, so that we will all live immoral and sinful lives which will eventually lead us to hell.
There are many variations of this lie.
One prevalent variation is this: Hell is real, but it is empty! God is merciful, and He will make sure that everyone goes to heaven.
This is a lie of the devil which, unfortunately even some priests and cardinals nowadays believe in! Yes, God is merciful, but we must remember that He is also just. If we die in a state of unrepented mortal sin, we will go to hell. It is as simple as that. That is what the Church has always taught.
Hell is not empty! We know it is not empty because Our Lady herself showed a vision of Hell to the 3 children of Fatima, and in that vision, hell was not empty at all. The children of Fatima saw a great multitude of souls burning in the fires of hell.
A documented, verified public miracle (the dancing sun) proved beyond reasonable doubt that Fatima was authentic. The Church herself has declared the Fatima apparitions to be authentic. And as such, the contents of the three secrets are also authentic. We can therefore believe with a high-degree of confidence in the vision of Hell that was given by Our Lady at Fatima to the three children.
Life’s Ultimate Goal
The goal of life is simple: to avoid Hell, and bring our entire family to Heaven. Amid the difficulties of the pandemic, many of us may perhaps be tempted to forget about this simple, ultimate goal of life. We are buried amid the troubles of the world - bills to pay, money to be earned, and many other problems.
But as the first secret of Fatima tells us, the only thing in life that truly matters, is that ultimate goal: to avoid Hell, and to go to Heaven! No other goal is more important than this. As Jesus said: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26).
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! Help us to avoid the fires of Hell! Bring us and our entire family to Heaven!