The unexpected profundity of the First Fatima Prayer

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

If you know anything about the approved apparitions of Our Lady and Saint Michael the Archangel at Fatima, Portugal, in the years 1916-1917, then you probably have heard of this prayer, which Saint Michael — the Angel of Peace — taught the three children, on his first Mission to meet them.

O My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee!  And I ask pardon for those who do not believe in Thee, adore Thee, hope in Thee and love Thee!

However, that is NOT, what the Angel of Peace said. The original Portuguese, in fact, reads thus:

Meu Deus! Eu creio, adoro, espero e amo-Vos. Peço-Vos perdão para os que não crêem, não adoram, não esperam e Vos não amam.

Which in English is this:

My God! I believe, adore, await and love Thee. I ask Thee pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not await and do not love Thee.

LET US DISCUSS THE DIFFERENCES

Like many Catholics, I have always thought the Angel of Peace was instructing in the 3 theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, along with the virtue of religion. Under that assumption, the English translation which is commonly used has been published and propagated. Thus, there are the acts of believing, hoping, loving and adoring.

But what the Angel of Peace says differs on 2 points.

First, he does not say I believe in You, but rather I believe You.  The difference here regards the sense of the verb, to believe, in both Portuguese and English.  To say I believe in You is an act of faith, which regards dogma or the acceptance of the existence and trust one has in a person.  But to say, I believe you, is the simple act of putting complete trust in the other.  The first is the kind of faith we have on Earth, where we cannot see God face to face.  The second is the kind of trust all in Heaven have in God, Whom they do see face to face and fully.

The first act is remote, and intellectual. It regards the supernatural virtue of faith. The second act is immediate and volitional, that is, regards the will and the supernatural virtue of hope.

Second, he does not say, I hope in You, but rather, I await you.

At first this is a bit difficult for us English speakers to understand, since it is an archaic concept.  When a person awaits another, he is waiting for the arrival or visit of the other.

But what does this mean in regard to God?

This has 3 senses.  First, that we are waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, at the end of Time, when He shall come to judge all and everyone.

Second, this regards how we must prepare ourselves for a holy death, and to meet Jesus Christ, Who in the moment after death will judge us personally and for all our deeds.

Third, this regards how we should wait for God’s visitations in prayer, by praying more to receive and listen to God, than rambling on speaking to him about what we want.

As regards Angels, it is quite clear that the second sense does not apply to them, but that the first and last are the essence of their expectation of God’s Justice and desire to serve.

IN CONCLUSION

This first prayer taught at Fatima by the Angel of Peace teaches us profound truths about how our Catholic Faith must be real, living, and engage us totally in a relationship which is directed directly at God, the Most Holy Trinity. As His faithful servants and adorers, we should fill our life with love and trust in Him.  Faith is presupposed, but our life of Faith goes way  beyond believing only in doctrines and dogmas. It requires that we make these the foundation of our whole relationship with God.

Let us pray this prayer frequently during the day, and learn from it to make our way back to God and to God. Let us sanctify ourselves in the true adoration of God Who has done everything for us, and who is, as the Angel of Peace declared, “attentive to our prayers and supplications.”

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4 thoughts on “The unexpected profundity of the First Fatima Prayer”

  1. You write well and with good intents and purposes. It is appreciated how you relate us with God. You use the right words in your analogies. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The difference between ‘believe’ and ‘believe in’ is a little hard grasp.
    Here is an alternate explanation that might help:

    “Believe means to accept that something or someone’s words are true.

    Believe in is a little different. Believe in means to have faith that something exists.”

    To me the difference is the degree of certainty. ‘Believe’ has more certainty than ‘believe in’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on RemnantDisciplesJtM and commented:
    This is so important: The English version of the prayewrs is beautiful, but so different in meaning nto what God intended. This is so much more relevant to these times. For myself, I am going to say this version from now on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I could see the difference immediately and thank you for bringing this translation to me/us.
    Actually I took interest in a little throw-away line you added: “Third, this regards how we should wait for God’s visitations in prayer, by praying more to receive and listen to God, than rambling on speaking to him about what we want.” I had reflected on the same thing a few months ago; whether for some people,( or any of us at times) praying and supposedly listening to God is really us just talking to ourselves and listening to ourselves…because we can reiterate the same thoughts we have had about situations and people all day. Poor Lord!! However, there seems to be a difference gained in meditative prayer; such as when we pray the Rosary or read the Bible or seek God’s thoughts on something openly and directly. When we truly seek His Guidance rather then telling/asking for what we think we need, it seems He can finally speak and occasionally we hear Him with perfect clarity. So I can relate to what you have observed here. We can get caught up in our own thoughts. We must make space for God! I will change my habits and understanding in regards to this prayer, esp. as regards, “I await thee.”

    Liked by 2 people

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