A number have expressed their difficulty in sensing the spiritual, when they see an over-load of commercialism around the Basilica and Fatima. A number have shared too, that visiting the locations where the Angel appeared, where the children grew up, provides a grounding for their own Fatima experience.
How do I approach this challenge? We know from magicians and their illusions, that our eyes can be easily tricked. Perhaps the famous line from The Little Prince illuminates the path to a more spiritual experience of Fatma – “…it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
If the preceding seems too pretentious, consider this. Parents, coaches, mentors all seek to inculcate a positive attitude with those that they are responsible for and helping. They reinforce the importance of seeing the half glass full over the half glass empty. This attitude affects the actions one will take, and the resulting consequences that one experiences. But attitudes cannot be seen, they cannot be examined by any known instrumentation. Yet, they have real life consequences as any tangible concrete object. Likewise, with the heart, the soul, the spirit being the key channels for how we perceive and respond. Let these experience Fatima, and not just the eyes. Just like listening to a soaring opera moves the spirit and heart.
We spent the last couple of hours at the Basilica, to still our minds, to soak in the spirituality. I am humbled when I consider there are thousands around me that are praying for specific intentions. There’s probably a good number that are also thanking and praising for answered prayers.
As we were walking in the sanctuary grounds, we saw a family, father, mother and son, heading towards the Basilica too. The parents had deep tans on their faces, and it was easy for us to perceive they were likely to live on a farm. The boy was carrying a bouquet of flowers. They were humbly visiting the sanctuary, without dangling cameras, without smartphones in their hands. Just with their offering in hand and in their hearts. Weren’t shepherds the first to be told by angels of Christ’s birth? Weren’t the three Fatima children from farming families? Perhaps it’s we who live in towns and cities, that are the dis-advantaged?
In the courtyard before the Chapel of Apparitions, we noticed many acts of devotion. How would you demonstrate an act of devotion to your parents, who have sacrificed to raise you as best as they can? Ponder this before reading further.
What we witnessed were people walking on their knees to the Chapel. They were praying as they did so. Many were accompanied by a loved one walking by their side.
I call them pilgrims. They have spiritual intentions. They are not sight seeing.
As I previously mentioned, I was and continue to be moved by what Lucia wrote in her memoirs. May is the Marian month when rosaries are prayed in earnest. I prayed a rosary and Divine Mercy at the Chapel, for my mother. I had promised her in person a week ago that I would do so.
As we prepared to depart the Basilica grounds, Joon & I lit candles for our families and intentions. We leave Fatima, with peace in our hearts.
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on a lamp stand where it gives light to every one in the house. Matthew 5:15