In these days of making the novena together, encompassing all our intentions in prayer, I discovered an article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker too great to keep to myself.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker says the Miracle of the Sun happened in Fatima on October 13, 1917. We have documentary, eyewitness, and photographic evidence that 70,000 people ‘saw’ the sun spin, felt it was yanked from the sky and that it plunged to earth. Everyone said they saw the same thing. Everyone was so frightened they screamed and ran for their lives. Clearly something happened, what was it? The answer given by believers is more rational than the answer given by atheists.
Fatima and the Atheists
Fr. Longenecker takes on Richard Dawkins’ faulty refutation of the Miracle of the Sun. Father quotes Dawkins from his book, The God Delusion:
“On the face of it, mass visions, such as the report that seventy thousand pilgrims at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 saw the sun ‘tear itself from the heavens and come crashing down upon the multitude,’ are harder to write off…It is not easy to explain how seventy thousand people could share the same hallucination. But it is even harder to accept that it really happened without the rest of the world, outside Fatima, seeing it too – and not just seeing it, but feeling it as the catastrophic destruction of the solar system, including acceleration forces sufficient to hurl everybody into space. Obviously the sun did not dance and plunge to the earth. We know the sun is billions of times bigger than the earth. If the sun plunged to the earth there would be no earth. Clearly there was no miracle of the sun at Fatima…”
In delicious thinking, sweeter than lemon meringue pie, Fr. Longenecker rebuts:
Dawkins is relying on the Scottish philosopher David Hume’s pithy test for a miracle. Hume wrote, “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”
Hume’s test applied to Fatima would be to observe that it is very improbable that 70,000 people could simultaneously be deluded, or simultaneously collude in a mass lie. It is also very improbable that 70,000 people experienced the same hallucination.
However, all of those improbabilities are far more probable than the alternative: That the Sun was suddenly yanked sideways in its orbit, spun around and crashed to the Earth destroying the balance of the whole solar system with nobody outside Fatima noticing.
This is typical of the dull literalistic “reasoning” of the atheists. We who believe in the miracle of the sun have also taken science classes. We do understand that the sun is much bigger than the earth.
We also know that if the sun were really spinning that everyone on earth should be able to see it. We also know that if the sun plunged to earth we would all be toast.
Scientists are supposed to objectively and rationally examine the evidence. At Fatima we have documentary, eyewitness, and photographic evidence that 70,000 people ‘saw’ the sun spin, felt it was yanked from the sky and that it plunged to earth.
Everyone said they saw the same thing. Everyone was so frightened they screamed and ran for their lives. Clearly something happened, what was it?
We see with our eyes, but what do we see? Whatever we see is transferred to the brain and the brain interprets what we see. It is well known that if we do not have the mental capacity to “see” certain things they are invisible to us.
There’s more detail in Father’s article and it’s worth the read here, entitled: Fatima and the Atheists, published at Crux on May 8, 2017. And I love his references to what people saw:
Marian researcher Donal Foley records, that the poet Alfonso Lopes Vieira who lived over 30 miles away from Fatima witnessed the phenomenon. He wrote, “On that day, 13th October, 1917, without remembering the predictions of the children, I was enchanted by a remarkable spectacle in the sky of a kind I had never seen before.”
Foley tells the story of a young boy, Inacio Lourenco, who was a schoolchild of nine when he saw the miracle at a village about 12 miles from Fatima. He described how the children and their teachers were attracted outside by a commotion in front of the school to see the miracle of the sun. He tells of how he could look at the sun, which looked like “a ball of snow revolving on itself,” before it suddenly came down in a zigzag toward the Earth.
As he says, “During those long moments of the solar prodigy objects around us turned all the colors of the rainbow. We saw ourselves blue, yellow, red, etc. All these strange phenomena increased the fear of the people. After about ten minutes the sun, now dull and pallid, returned to its place. When the people realized that the danger was now over there was an explosion of joy and everyone joined in thanksgiving and praise of our Lady.”
The miracle was also seen by sailors on a British ship off the coast of Portugal. Foley recounts an experience in England. He gave a presentation on Fatima at a college in England and was told by one of the teachers that her grandfather saw the miracle from his ship and wrote about it to his wife – “without obviously understanding what it meant or its significance.”
And finally, what most convincingly shows that the miracle was not only in the minds and perception of the witnesses is the fact that the crowd at Fatima felt the heat of the sun as it approached them, and their clothes and the ground – which had been soaked by torrential rain – were dry at the end of the miracle.
The descriptions of the Miracle of the Sun bring memories of how this miracle still occurs. I first saw it at Medjugorje in its HUGE HOST appearance with the colorful rays, spinning in praise of God and His Plan. Again I gazed upon it in Betania, Venezuela and even from our own backyard during a Marian Movement of Priests Cenacle. The similar look at each occurrence, no matter from where it was seen, reminds me of how the apparitions of Our Lady are connected and how our Mother has worked unceasingly to bring us back to God. Most of all, they remind me that God loves us so much that Jesus gave us His Mother, from the Cross, and it pleases Him to draw us to Himself through her Immaculate Heart. She, united perfectly to God’s Will, has maternal concern for billions of souls, each and every one of us, as if each was her one and only precious child, for her Son came to redeem all of humanity, throughout time, as St. Paul said: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” And I am reminded that the Miracle of the Sun points to THE Miracle of THE Son, available to us every day, with spiritual food that nourishes, heals, transforms and fills us with grace upon grace upon grace.
I don’t know about you, but I feel excitement as we approach the centenary celebration on Saturday. St. Theresa of Avila encouraged using images to stir our love and fervor for the Lord in prayer. In Missoula, we will bring a statue of Our Lady of Fatima from our home to our chapel while also bringing the statues of the two little shepherd children to be canonized on Saturday, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta. The wreath of multi-colored roses is ready for Our Lady’s crowning, the music’s prepared (perfect day to recount the story with all fifteen verses of the Fatima hymn, The 13th of May, interspersed throughout the Rosary and Mass), Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary sheets are set and people will stream in, filling every seat. Also remembering, at this time, the joy of a procession, in 2001, in the plaza of the Fatima Sanctuary with the Ave Maria prayed in a panoply of languages. On Saturday, let us unite our preparations and celebrations, be they in churches or homes, on streets or in deserts, on mountaintops or down by the sea, with those who will gather in gratitude, in a few days, with Holy Father Pope Francis in Fatima.
Our Irish friend Jaykay told us:
Blessed First Saturday to all (already Sunday over here) and May 13th coming. We’ve organised our parish public rosary and procession through the town. May Our Lady of Fatima help us all through these times. J.
Our friend Barb Wattery extended this invitation:
I wanted to let the Denver area folks know that my parish, St. Vincent de Paul, will be holding a Marian Procession, with the Knights of Columbus carrying our Blessed Mother, this Saturday, May 13 (100 years) after the 5 pm mass, starting approximately 6:00 – 6:15 pm. We will be processing through the neighborhood around the parish, reciting the rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Litany of our Blessed Mother, concluding with a concsecration to our Blessed Mother. The route and prayers will take approximately 1 hour. This is the work and planning of our wonderful Respect Life coordinator, Lee Ann. If there is anyone in the Denver area, all are welcome. I would love to meet other TRNS’rs.
Our friend Kathleen Murphy announced:
A Fatima Eucharistic Rosary Procession will take place in Pittsburgh on May 21 at 1:30 p.m. Presided over by Bishop Winter, starting at Epiphany Church the theme for this 81st Eucharistic Procession will be ‘CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF FATIMA.” Here are the details:
SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017
EPIPHANY CHURCH, 164 WASHINGTON PLACE, PITTSBURGH, PA 15219
After Liturgy of the Word there will be a PROCESSION with the BLESSED SACRAMENT and Statue of Our Lady of Fatima through Pittsburgh. The Holy Rosary will be prayed and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. There will be Benediction and the Crowning of our Lady of Fatima.
How about you? Are you getting ready? May the full Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary soon be upon us!