The third "secret" of Fatima revealed that a potential World War III could be stopped by the radiance of Our Lady.
The private revelations of Our Lady of Fatima to Sr. Lucia can be disturbing to some, as many believe parts of her messages have already come to pass, while others think the messages appear to predict another world war.
St. John Paul II addressed these concerns when he published the third part of the “secret” of Fatima in the year 2000. In this document the following description of the private revelation is recorded by Sr. Lucia.
[W]e saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady, radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’
How World War III can be prevented
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, future Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a commentary about the “flaming sword” and how Our Lady of Fatima appeared to predict a new world war. At the same time, this potential catastrophe could be stopped by Our Lady and her call to penance.
Let us now examine more closely the single images. The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgement which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction “the splendor of the Mother of God” and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance.
Ratzinger continues to explain how this pending war is not set in stone, but can be prevented.
In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.
The key, according to these private revelations at Fatima, is to follow Our Lady’s words and to strive for personal and communal conversion, practicing penance for our sins and turning our hearts to God.
There is always hope. Cardinal Ratzinger ended his commentary with the following words of Jesus.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.John 16:33