Who got us to call Yahweh “Our Father”? Well, he’s certainly proved to be that with my granddaughter, Ilana. As she was growing up, I offered to teach her how to swim. I’d had success with teaching four-year-old boys at Rolling Hills Day Camp, but Ilana’s mother, a great daughter-in-law, wanted a program. The results were visible last week.
Ilana placed first in a four style medley in Yonkers. It was butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, free style (Australian crawl), and while she fell behind on the butterfly, a power breaststroke, she surpassed the field beginning with the backstroke. She came in number one! Her earthly father, my son Fred, was busy providing for her stay-at-home mom through his self-chosen Pergola business. He’s trying to imitate his heavenly father, not his workaday earthly one!
So my son aced the SATs. So he won a merit scholarship. So he gained free access to the University of Pennsylvania. Do I know that as another eternal free gift I am a citizen of Western Civilization?
This morning Loretta and I decided to take a car trip to New England. I had a hurried breakfast so we could see the fall foliage, and while it took some time before we were that far north, come lunch time I was hungry. I’m a teacher, and frugal by custom, so we decided to stop off at McDonald’s at a place we had visited before near Kent, Connecticut. It was closed for renovations.
Now we live in one of the world’s most advanced civilizations, and in that place this is not a catastrophe. I told Loretta surely there was another adequate eatery nearby, and what do you know, up came a Dunkin Donuts’. She found an egg, cheese and sausage croissant plus a Coke, and I found an English muffin with egg, ham and cheese plus a medium sized coffee. With plenty of coffee left over, I tried an apple fritter. It was better than an apple turnover. Lunch for two, only $15.00. Is that a gift from God or what?
How little of life is there of which we are conscious! Today they buried the husband of an agreeable agent, whom I had told was number one of the realtors who would sell our house, and having forgotten that promise, Loretta and I gave the house sale to another realtor. I am certainly an impulsive character.
But I’m working on it. I didn’t dare go to the wake, lest her daughter connect me with that lost sale. Some people don’t realize the power of prayer (that’s another part of our unconsciousness), but I think I compensated her with wishes (prayers) for things she would have missed but for me. Yes, how does my son, or I, know what I provided through prayer? A skeptic would say nothing was thus provided! But in a world where quantum mechanics rules, how would that skeptic disprove me?
I try to be honest with myself and others. I am not an absolute materialist; I know there are other dimensions to this world. Fatima was one of them. I believe children can’t make up a story that 70,000 witnesses will corroborate. I chose most of the route through life that I took. But oh, so little was my doing!
The three childreln continued to meet skepticism, even from the parish priest. But they looked forward to the monthly meetings with the beautiful lady, and she finally told them she’d perform a miracle to convince unbelievers and reveal who she was. Oct. 13th was the day predicted, and when word got out, there came 70,000 skeptics and believers, a real human mixture, to that mountain top in Fatima. It was the 13th of October, and the mountain meadow was drenched with soaking rains.
The children approached the customary tree, which had already been despoiled of some of its branches by souvenir hunters. The beautiful lady spoke to them, and the crowd could see the children’s lips move as they spoke to what was invisible to the crowd.
Suddenly, the dark clouds above revealed a bright, sun-like light that began to spin and give off the rays of the spectrum, whose myriad colors dotted the clothes of the onlookers. The faux sun swooped down as if to annihilate the spectators. The whole performance lasted about twelve minutes, causing many to cry out,”It’s the end of the world,” or “Lord, forgive me my sins.”
The light then receded into the place of the sun, which had appeared at a rent in the darkness above. Everyone was amazed–their soaking wet clothes had suddenly become dry, and the mud on which they stood was caked and solid.
It happened in a small, European country overrun by followers of Karl Marx, and that’s reason enough to sympathize with the misled farmers and common people. But throw into this mix three preadolescent shepherd children who honestly believe they’ve seen a beautiful lady, and who stick by their story even though the authorities put them in jail and tell them they’ll boil them in oil if they don’t recant, and you’ve got me — a storyteller by profession. So begins the story of Fatima.
The beautiful lady first appeared in the attractive month of May, and said she’d see them at the same mountain tree, probably an ash tree, on the 13th of every month. She kept her word, and they listened while she told them to pray for peace (World War I was at its peak). Of course, to bucolic workers in a Catholic country, that meant the rosary. She also mentioned Russia, where Lenin and Engels were spreading evil ways. Now that’s setting the stage. I’ll continue this adult-child’s tale which has the marks of a far more mature mind than mine, the next time.
My youngest brother is Rudy, he of the Ph.D., and for a while (he lives mostly alone since his three children have families of their own) he owned a dog so beautiful that people would comment on it when they visited him. He would let the dog have the run of his yard, and one day the dog disappeared. Stolen. You know how animals provide companionship.
Rudy figured out a solution before he finished his search of local dog pounds and veterinarians. He went to an SPCA affiliated pound and said, “Show me the ugliest dog on your premises.”
They showed him the one they couldn’t give away because nobody wanted him–Logan. Rudy took him home. He was part Irish Wolfhound, scraggly. Logan got to love Rudy, follow some rudimentary obedience training, and now Rudy’s worried about who will take care of the dog when Rudy’s gone.
Was Fatima a hoax? What, perpetrated on the civilized world by three mountain shepherd children? The oldest, Lucy, was about ten years old! John Haffert, who wrote the book I’m reading, Meet the Witnesses of The Miracle of the Sun (available on Amazon), interviewed witness Dominic Reis after he migrated to America. He was seventeen at the time of the October 13, 1917 apparition.
Haffert: “Was the prediction of this miracle announced in church?” Reis: “The Church said nothing at all… They were against it…”
Those three children were put in jail by the Marxist government of Portugal, and Dominic Reis himself was wounded by a National Guard bayonet, wielded by one of the the soldiers who attempted to keep the curious and the faithful from accessing the mountain meadow where the children saw their “Lady.”