WE GOT to watch the film Fatima a few days ago. We are all familiar with the story of the three children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco and their encounter with the Virgin Mary.
This movie started with Sister Lucia in her old age having a conversation with a professor who liked to argue with her. Every time he would start discussing, Sister Lucia would just stare at him with some sort of benevolent look.
Then the film goes back to when they were all children and their experiences with the Virgin Mary. In one of the appearances, Mary told the children that they would suffer and suffer greatly. Soon enough the challenges came mostly from the mother of Lucia who ironically was religious. She truly believed that Lucia was being played by the devil. That too was how the parish priest took the apparition. Even the bishop who was some high strung and even arrogant joined in. (He could not believe that Mary would appear to children and not to him.) Sounds familiar. Nevertheless, the challenges grew. The children were harassed and insulted by their neighbors. They faced money problems. They were even jailed by the so-called authorities. But through it all, they were steadfast and resolute. They were bold and nothing could stop them. Of course, there were moments of doubt but in the end, they were faithful to the end. The film came to a close with the Miracle of the Sun.
The movie left me speechless for a few minutes actually. I was watching the end credits in silence and reflection. There was something powerful about the movie, it was simple without the hysterics as some films with religious themes tend to be. (By the way, the soundtrack is great, subdued, kind, and inspired.)
The one thing that stood out for me was the strength of those children. The world tried to overwhelm them, the adults tried to tear them, the politicians and the Church hierarchy tried to destroy them, and yet they stood strong. Their source of strength was someone they only saw. And that was something worth reflecting upon.
The strongest and the bravest among us are the ones who can see what others cannot. And the world is cruel to them. Except for John, all eleven Apostles died violent deaths following their Master’s fate. Look at the saints, some had horrible deaths because of what they saw.
Some saints were tortured, beheaded, burned alive, torn apart, and yes crucified. They all stood fast till the end. They never wavered. The violence of the world had no power. Because they saw what their killers and torturers could not. The world could not touch them.
That was perhaps what Fatima taught me. As long as you believe, the world with all its machinations cannot and will not touch you. You are set apart because of your belief and your commitment. Faith.
Sometimes what we do not see makes us see clearly.