The Angel of Peace
In the spring of 1916, in the northeast corner of the west central Portuguese province of Estremadura, thirty miles east of the Atlantic Ocean, three young shepherds led their sheep to graze on a hill known as the Loco do Cabeco. These three children were Lucy dos Santos (9 years old) and her cousins Francisco (8 years old) and Jacinta (6 years old) Marto.
They spend their day on top of the hillside saying the Rosary, playing games and eating lunch. As they were playing, a strong wind blew, shaking the trees, and the children saw a youthful heavenly being of light. Lucy described the figure as having “the appearance of a young man of fourteen or fifteen, whiter than snow, which the sun rendered transparent as if it were of crystal, and of great beauty.”
He identified himself by saying, “Do not fear! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” Kneeling down with his forehead to the ground, he taught the children a prayer that reflects the Great Commandment of Jesus that invokes the love of God and neighbor: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.” Three times the angel repeated the prayer. Then rising he said: “Pray thus, the hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive the voice of your supplications.”
While the three children were playing near the old well behind Lucy’s home, the Angel of Peace appeared to them again, saying, “What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer sacrifices to the Most High.”
Lucia asked, “How are we to make sacrifices?” To which the Angel answered: “Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation to make up for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. Above all, accept and endure with submission the suffering which God will send you.”
The Angel came to them, in the fall of 1916, while they were praying in the spot at the Cabeco, where he appeared the first time. In his hand, he held a chalice, and over it, a bleeding Host. Kneeling before the Chalice and Host, suspended in the air, he taught the children Eucharistic Adoration and a beautiful magnificent prayer for the conversion of sinner. “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”
Then the Angel of Peace gave them Holy Communion, giving the Host to Lucia and the contents of the chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, saying, “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make repartition for their crimes and console your God.
The Angel of Peace prepared the three children, in this final apparition, for the coming of the Queen of Peace the following year. He emphasized the constant need of reparation for sin and consolation of God for the countless sins by which he is offended. By reparation, he meant, sorrow for sin, amendment of life and bodily mortification.