“This is the 100th year of the Fatima miracle,”
It’s the Fatima Centennial (1917 – 2017), bringing the world to a historic crossroad.
An apparition, however, is a charismatic gift granted by God for some greater purpose of His than the benefit of the one receiving it. It says nothing necessary about the sanctity of the recipient(s); although God usually chooses simple and good Christians, often children, who will readily accept and do His Will. Generally, it can be understood as an external vision, created by some means of God, to represent the holy person depicted. It would not necessarily have to be the person him or herself. Only Christ and Our Lady (possibly St. Joseph, according to St. Francis de Sales and others who hold that he was taken to heaven body and soul), could actually appear in their bodies. All others, and even they, could appear by some representation accessible to the human senses. In such a way God appeared by means of angels to Abraham and to Moses.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, this manner is the ordinary cause of mysticism and apparitions. In the case of Fátima it is clear that something more than an intellectual vision took place, an external apparition accompanied by indications of the actual presence of Our Lady. This latter cannot be conclusively determined. However, it reasonably follows from the descriptions of the events and especially from the sense of Her Presence continued to be felt there to this day. As a fruit of the events, and of the fidelity of the three children to the message of Fátima, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta grew in holiness and became mystics in the proper sense.
It is for their heroic virtue in the pursuit of God that the two youngest were raised to the honor of the altar, and that the eldest, Lucia, has been proposed, not for being the recipients of an apparition. This fact, more even than the miracle of the Sun, authenticates the message of Fátima.
The Fatima Miracle, also called the Miracle of the Sun, occurred Oct. 13, 1917 in front of a large crowd near Fatima, Portugal in response to a prophecy made by three shepherd children that the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fatima) would appear and perform miracles.
The sun reportedly came down upon the crowd and terrified the people, but it returned to the sky and left the people, who were ankle deep in mud from rain and then saw the earth had dried.