*** Notes for Today’s Show ***
It is the 13th of May 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I’m Dan van Voorhis.
Today is the anniversary of the first claimed miracle in Portugal concerning three children and a vision of the virgin Mary. The date was May 13th, 1917. The three children: Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia were tending sheep outside the small Portuguese village of Fatima and would claim that the Virgin Mary came to them on the 13th of every month until that October when over 70,000 people flocked to the village for what is remembered to know as “the miracle of the sun”.
An account of the event reads:
“Suddenly the “clouds separated…and the sun appeared between them in the clear blue, like a disk of white fire.” The people could look at the sun without blinking and while they gazed upward, the huge ball began to “dance”. The huge fireball whirled rapidly with dizzy and sickening speed, flinging out all sorts of brilliant colors that reflected on the faces of the crowds. The fiery ball continued to gyrate in this manner three times, then seemed to tremble and shudder, and plunge in a mighty zigzag course toward the earth. The crowd was terrified, fearing this was the end of the world.”
What makes this story unlike other stories?
The Catholic Church has recognized this event as “worthy of belief”.
The children claimed that the Mother of God gave them visions and revelations to share with the world.
Two of the three children have been canonized as saints. They are the only non-martyred children to be recognized by Saints.
Today Fatima remains a VERY popular destination for pilgrims.
So what do we do with this?
A presupposition that the supernatural exists.
Christians are all supernaturalists to some extent
Distinguish between historical events and interpretations
Many eyewitness reports verify that something weird happened. Was it the result of expectations and the results of staring at the sun? Was it an optical illusion or meteorological event?
A claim was made by the one surviving child that Mary had given them 3 secrets. These would be interpreted as the end of World War 1, the rise of the Soviet Union and World War II, and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.
Why are apparitions so often Mary?
Devotion to Mary is an ancient church practice (but the definition of “devotion” will make things sticky)
But especially popular when Jesus comes to represent triumphalism and the law.
Questions and interpretations abound. Catholics and Protestants (not to be too reductive) are bound to disagree but largely on account of their respective authorities. Nevertheless, we remember the beginning of this historically significant set of events on this, the 13th of May in 1917.
The last word for today involves Mary and a vision… this from the Gospel of Luke, the first chapter.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 13th of May 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by a man who responds to that one song about Mary with “of course she knew, it’s all there in the text,” Christopher Gillespie.
The show is written and read by a man who loves all Christmas songs, except that one Mary song, that and Christmas shoes, Dan van Voorhis.
You can catch us here every day. And remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.