happened again. This morning (October 7, 2016) in Rome, on the
Feast of Our Lady
of the Rosary, a lightning bolt hit the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.
“The bolt hit
the dome of St. Peter’s at approximately 9:20 am., as a strong
rainstorm passed through Rome. Vatican police confirmed the strike. No
damage was reported.
“Those close to the
Vatican, from Swiss guards to local shop owners, felt the shock.
“I was in the shower
and heard what sounded like a loud thunder clap which lasted a
few seconds and seemed to shake everything. I knew it was
storming but it sounded more like an earthquake than a
thunderstorm,” said one resident.
Most of us will
remember that lightning twice struck St. Peter’s dome when Pope Benedict
XVI announced his resignation of the papal throne. The date of his
announcement? February 11—the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
What Does It Mean?
To answer that
question, we need to review a bit of history with a “Catholic
conscience,” as Hilaire Bellloc coined the term.
First: Did you
know that October 7 was originally the Feast of the Blessed Virgin
Mother of Victory?
To commemorate the
date of October 7, 1571 of the Catholic Armada’s victory over the Turks
at the Battle of Lepanto, Pope Pius V introduced in 1572 the “festem
BMV de victoria” (Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of Victory). This
same Pope had earlier called all Christians to ardently pray the
Rosary, for the Muslim threat had reached epic proportions. With
constant supplications for the Virgin’s intercession, coupled with the
great battle at Lepanto, the threat was turned back.
Two years later, the
new pope, Gregory XIII, changed both the title and the date: The “Feast
of the Holy Rosary” was to be celebrated on the first Sunday of
October. At the time, the privilege of celebrating this feast was only
granted to all churches with a Rosary altar. Later, Pope Clemens
XI extended the feast to the universal Church.
Pope St. Pius X
returned the feast day to its original date, October 7. In the early
papacy of Pope John XXIII, the name was changed to “Feast of the
Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary.” In 1969, the name was again changed
to “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Today, the feast is celebrated as a
previously mentioned, Pope Benedict XVI announced his upcoming
resignation on February 11, 2013, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
On that very day, lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s
basilica—not once, but twice.
What was the main message of Lourdes? It was three-fold: The daily
Rosary, “Penance, penance, penance!” (as Bernadette quietly repeated
during one apparition), and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where
Our Lord is truly present. This is known by Our Lady’s “request”
for a “chapel” and “Let processions come hither.”
There is yet another
message of Lourdes, often overlooked as intended only for St.
Bernadette: “I do not promise you happiness in this world but only
in the other.” We , too, must offer, as our penance to God, our
faithful adherence to daily duty (which has a two-fold
direction: our duty as a Catholic and in of one’s state), as was proven
by the life of the humble Bernadette. The same message about
adherence to “daily duty” and accepting the sufferings that God allows
or sends was repeated at the Fatima apparitions, first by the Angel
Guardian of Portugal and, years later, by Our Lord to Lucia.
The Sign of Lourdes.
After the parish priest of Lourdes directed Bernadette to ask for a
specific sign (the blooming of the wild rose bush under the niche where
the Lady stood), the Virgin directed the 14 year old Bernadette to a
hidden spring, inside the Grotto’s confines and the River Gave. In
following the Lady’s command, “Go to the spring, drink of it, and wash
yourself there,” Bernadette was at first confused. She saw no spring,
so she took a few steps toward the River Gave, when the Lady gently
interrupted her, “No, the spring yonder” and indicated a particular
spot. Bernadette went to it and felt impelled to dig into the ground.
As a small amount of water came up, she rubbed her face with the mud,
and also ate of the nearby wild plants, as Our Lady also told her. To
the eyes of others, Bernadette’s actions appeared to be insane, and so
she was called. In other words, for obeying a simple command of the
Virgin which, to others, made no sense, the 14 year old saint was
subjected to loud, public ridicule and humiliation.
But the child’s
obedience to the Lady’s command brought forth a miracle.
While the uncovered spring’s source is natural, the supernatural graces
imparted through it are not. Since the year 1858, the water of Lourdes
has brought to many the graces of spiritual conversion or restored
bodily health, granted by God through the intercession of the Lady, who
eventually revealed, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The miraculous
spring of Lourdes is a “sensible sign” (that is, a sign that one can
perceive through one or more of the five senses of sight, hearing,
touch, taste, or scent).
As I point out in my
The Signs and Secrets) when comparing Fatima, Lourdes, La
Salette, and the Rue-de-bac: “Lourdes is the first of modern apparition
sites which drew onlookers. St. Bernadette Soubirous stated that ‘the
Lady’ who came to her simply appeared in the Grotto niche−but when
pressed for details, she said that a ‘golden cloud’ within the niche
quickly preceded the Lady’s appearance. The people who came to Lourdes
during St. Bernadette’s apparitions would testify to the saint’s
demeanor during her ecstasies, but none reported any sensible signs
attesting to the Vision’s presence.”
Third: Such was
not the case at Fatima, Portugal, and which (for many reasons)
I have long described as “the crown of all Marian apparitions.” The
first apparition of the Virgin occurred in May, 1917 and the only ones
present were the three child visionaries. By June, word spread and
people came, increasing in numbers, month by month.
It was also in June
that the first “sensible sign” was seen by onlookers: a light
cloud, traveling from east to west, serenely settling over a young
holmoak tree upon which “the Lady” stood. The same cloud, after resting
on the tree during the entire time of the Apparition, rose and departed
from whence it came−toward the east.
What is truly
incredible is that the visionaries themselves did not see this
cloud. Over the course of five months, witnesses were graced with
even more signs. The faithful were convinced that “the Lady” was the
Virgin, but she did not announce her identity until October 13,
1917—the day of the promised sign, the Miracle of the Sun. On that day,
the Madonna stated very simply: “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
The Signs at Fatima
As I also address in
my book, “witness testimonies reveal the following ‘sensible signs’
seen at Fatima over the course of five months” and then I explain the
meaning of each of these signs, section by section:
“• A delicate white
cloud, traveling from east to west, serenely settling over a young
holmoak tree. The same cloud, after resting on the tree during the
entire time of the Apparition, rose and departed from whence it
came−toward the east.
“• In July (the month
in which the Virgin gave the children a Great Secret), the cloud
(mentioned above), three times curling and rising into the air during
the whole time of the Apparition−as though invisible thurifers were
liturgically incensing the Vision.
“• Claps of
thunder, either as the Lady arrived or as she departed. (The day
was clear and sunny.)
“• Flashes of light,
seen only by the three children, as the Vision approached the small
holmoak tree.(Again, the weather was fine.)
“• The ground of the
apparition site momentarily trembling, like the briefest of earthquakes.
“• The branches and
shoots of the young holmoak tree mysteriously bending to the east after
the Apparition departed.
“• Atmospheric changes
of the sky’s luminosity, similar to a solar eclipse, or changes of
unusual color, from yellow gold to all the colors of the rainbow. Some
people reported seeing stars in the sky at solar noon.
“• A relieving drop in
temperature, during the hottest days of summer, accompanied by a cool
“• Small, white
objects described as stars, roses, or doves gently falling from the
sky, only to disappear before touching the ground.
“• A globe of
extraordinary light that glided, from east to west, descending toward
the small holmoak tree.”
Explanation of the Signs of Thunder and
For the purposes of
the current subject (lightening striking the dome of St. Peter’s),
below I’ll share more excerpts from my book, which
refer to the signs of lightning and thunder of the Fatima apparitions,
and which were seen and heard on clear, sunny days:
● In July, the month
in which the Virgin Mary gave the three child visionaries the Great
Secret of Fatima in its three distinct parts, a “large clap of thunder”
was heard just seconds before the eldest child, Lucia, suddenly jumped
up from her kneeling position, exclaiming, “There she goes! There she
goes!” as the Lady departed. The thunder shook the ground, so that a
small arch placed by the apparition site “trembled as if in an
● In August, when the
children were not present at the apparition site because the mayor had
abducted them, a great crowd gathered in anticipation of solar noon,
the usual time of Our Lady’s appearance. When the hour arrived, the
people heard an extremely loud boom of thunder, which so badly
frightened them that many scattered and ran, thinking they would be
● A flash of
lightning, following the thunder, was also seen in August, garnering
the attention of the now-silenced crowd. This “flash,” always seen by
the children, served as the sign of the Virgin’s approach but
had never been previously perceived by the people.
In the Scriptures, the
sound of thunder, the appearance of lightning, or the
trembling of an earthquake announce a direct manifestation
from the Lord or of the Lord. Thunder denotes God’s “voice”−i.e., His
irrevocable declaration of His truth, mercy and judgment: “The Lord
shall thunder from heaven: and the Most High shall give forth His
voice.” (Here it should be noted again that only twice
was thunder heard at Fatima−in July, after the Great Secret was
divulged, and an even greater “boom” in August when the plotting mayor
kidnapped the children. Recalling that thunder denotes God’s voice,
often in judgment, we should also remember that Our Lady would, in
August, tell the children, “If you had not been taken away to the City,
the miracle would have been greater.”)
Lightning is the
sign of God’s divine majesty and His wisdom and power in His
wonderful works, His miracles, and His judgment. In the Book
of Exodus, thunder and lightning together announce the
Holy Presence of the Lord God immediately before He gave the Ten
Commandments to Moses: “And now the third day was come, and the morning
appeared: and behold thunders began to be heard, and lightning to
flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount…and the people that
were in the camp, feared.”
Both thunder and
lightning are likewise found in the Psalms, representing
Divine Revelation which enlightens the interior life of the soul, when
King David mysteriously addressed the Lord: “The voice of thy thunder
in a wheel. Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and
trembled.” As was mentioned earlier, an eyewitness of the Fatima
apparition in July inadvertently chose similar words to those of King
David when, at the moment the child Lucia exclaimed the Lady’s
leave-taking, “the earth trembled like an earthquake.”
Most interesting, a
witness in Rome to today's lightning strike said something along the
same lines: it "seemed to shake
knew it was storming but it sounded more
like an earthquake..."
If there is a
message from God in the lightening that struck St. Peter’s
(for the third time, on yet another feast day of Our Lady’s), it is
this: Shirking the true duties of the Church and of the papal office
will save no one. “Ecumenism” will save no one. Adapting the ways of
the world will save no one. Making grand concessions to those who
are—objectively speaking—in heresy, or schism, or mortal sin will not
save souls. For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways
my ways, saith the Lord (Isa. 55:88). What, then, shall save
the Church and the world from the terrifying descent in which both are
The answer is clear
and wonderfully easy: Heed all of the “requests” of Our Lady of
Fatima. (N.B. I’ve said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating: In
the original Portuguese, the Virgin used the word “pedido,” meaning
“order” or “command,” as in a “request” made by a superior to a
subordinate. As we can see, Our Lady gave her commands with both a
motherly and queenly grace.)
Simply stated, Our
Lady of Fatima has waited almost 100 years for the Vicar of Christ to
heed her requests for the following:
• Worldwide devotion
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
• Papal promulgation
of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation for the five major
blasphemies committed against the Virgin’s Immaculate Heart.
• The public
dissemination of the Third Secret Text.
• The solemn and
public collegial consecration of Russia (and Russia alone) to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary.
To repeat another
excerpt from my book: “Individual Catholics can and do respond to
the other requests made by the Blessed Mother at Fatima (daily Rosary,
daily duty offered in penance, making sacrifices for the conversion of
sinners, the wearing of the Brown Scapular, conscientiously striving
not to offend the Lord our God any longer, and taking part in First
Saturday devotions where they might be offered, or otherwise privately
making the intention of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a
Saturday Mass when the intention is not publicly stated by the priest;
the requirements include Confession, Holy Mass, Rosary, and 15
additional minutes on the 15 Rosary Mysteries of the Redemption).”
Why Such Simple
At Fatima, the Lady
who eventually gave her name as “the Lady of the Rosary” said in July
1917 (the day she gave the Great Secret, in three distinct parts): “God
wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” That
is the central message of Fatima–the “heart,” if you will, of God’s
Since 1929, no Pope
has yet to fully obey the Queen and Mother of the Church. Whoever he
may be, whether the present pope or a very-near future pope, the man
holding the papal office must recognize and accept the power of his
authority and jurisdiction (which is universal) and use it for the good
of the Church and the world. The Pope needs nobody's permission to
command and lead the collegial consecration of Russia; he need not ask
the cardinals, the bishops, or even Russia, for he alone is Pope and
Steward of the Catholic City. Our Lady’s “requests” (again, “commands”)
to the Pope, bishops, and the entire Church Militant still stand.
Finally, as we
consider this recent sign, may we also recall what Pope Benedict XVI
said in May, 2010: “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s
prophetic mission is complete.”
CONCLUSION by The M+G+R Foundation
For details on key Marian
Apparitions since the early ninetheenth
October 8th, 2016
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