It’s a beautiful spring day, and you’re out for walk in a nearby woods. The sun is shining through the trees, and you stop to rest on a fallen tree trunk.
That’s when you see her. There is no mistaking what’s in front of you. You’re heart races and you fall to your knees.
The woman in front of you is “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”
How would you react if you came face-to-face with the Virgin Mary?
For Francisco and Jacinta, aged 9 and 7, and their 10-year-old cousin, Lucia, they experienced visions of Mary a half a dozen times in Fatima, Portugal. (The quote above is their description of their first meeting with Mary.)
Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia said that Mary urged them to pray for peace and a conversion away from sin. This was in 1917, and Europe was in the middle of World War I.
At the time, it wasn’t easy for these children. Many didn’t believe them. The children had been threatened by local civil authorities with death by boiling oil if they didn’t recant their story.
But they held fast and eventually the church recognized the apparitions as authentic in 1930.
What would you do if you were one of these children? Would you be brave enough to share your story, even under extreme scrutiny? What you stand tall, even as people threatened you?
I think we all like to believe that we would be as strong as Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia.
But the true test is this: are we strong enough to share our faith now even without meeting Mary in person?
As we close out the month of May, we honor our new saints, Francisco and Jacinta, with a simple prayer: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.”