Our Lady appeared on the 13th of the month at Fatima so we may avoid the fate of Judas

100 years ago today Our Lady appeared at Fatima and gave the world a sign so as that we may believe. What came to be known as "the miracle of the sun" occurred when the sun burst from behind a curtain of dark clouds, the sun shook and shivered, then became a spinning circle of silver. To quote an eye-witness, the father of Jacinta and Francisco, "then at a certain moment, the sun appeared to stop spinning. It then began to move and to dance in the sky until it seemed to detach itself from its place and fall upon us. It was a terrible moment."

How amazing to think this was happening on this very day - October 13th - 100 years ago. The date begs the question, why the 13th?  The number 13 is so closely associated with Our Lady and yet us Catholics are silent when asked as to its significance. We are confused, too, because the number 13 is roundly regarded as "unlucky". There were 13 people present at The Last Supper including Judas who had already agreed to betray Our Lord; lending to the number 13 its reputation for being synonymous with betrayal. And yet, the Last Supper was the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist - and Our Lady is Mother of the Eucharist. 

In giving her will to being the Mother of Jesus - and Mother of the Eucharist - Our Lady took her place in fulfilling the will of God so that in bearing Jesus and giving Him to the world, He would institute the Eucharist and establish our means of receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at every Mass; essential to us saving our souls: our redemption and the promise of a place in Heaven and joy in everlasting life.

The number 13 when talked of solely and exclusively in terms of its connection to Our Lady can now be said to be the number of fidelity; Our Lady never strayed from God by sin, and Our Lady gave her will to Our Lord, saying yes to being His mother.

God the Father destined there would be 13 people present at The Last Supper. And yes, Judas became a traitor, which is something we are not meant to forget. Judas set his will to betraying Jesus, did so and was damned, but that need not have been the case; he could have repented, been redeemed and saved his soul from Hell's flames.

 The choice that befell Judas after he had betrayed Christ, to despair or to repent is the choice befalling all of us who share with Judas his fallen nature and his sinfulness.

The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared at Fatima on the 13th of the month to call people to repent, to stop offending Our Lord for she said to the three children on the 13th of October, "they must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended": Our Lady asks us urgently to stop sinning and to make reparation for our sins so we may avoid the fate of Judas, an eternity in Hell. In instructing Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco to recite, "save us from the fires of Hell", Our Lady was teaching the need for mindfulness that we need to repent of the times we have betrayed Our Lord so as to avoid sharing Hell with Judas.

Judas had something in common with us - fallen human nature - and we may chose his way of going against God or Our Lady's way of following the will of God. We may be the 13 of Judas, or the 13 of Our Lady. 

I am not writing this in denial of my own fallen nature, there may be 2,000 years between us but I know some of the very precise temptation visited on Judas: betraying God's will for me for love of money. I remember when I was growing up I complimented a grown-up on the snazzy watch adorning their wrist, only for them to pull their sleeve over their watch and tell me their watch was exorbitantly expensive and, "you'll never have one." It hurt my pride because the inference was that I wasn't as good as them and would never have the means of getting one. Then in my adult life I was dating a fellow who was extraordinarily wealthy, but who didn't want a Catholic marriage. Just as I was reaching the point in mind of not pursuing the relationship he said he thought a certain type of extravagantly beautiful watch would suit me and would we go shopping for one. It was the exact same brand of watch as I had admired as a child, and wearing one would have proved the person who said I would never have one wrong,  but it would have cemented a relationship I was not meant to be in. So, I declined.

There have been of course the times when I could have made the most of a few show-bizzy connections of mine and written blasphemous film scripts, deriding Jesus Christ, with the intention of getting loads lolly to the tune of hundreds of thousands and getting the monetary means of buying my own place in London.

There was one time in South Kensington when I was sitting next to a mogul, whose artistic works have sold in the hundreds of million (I've just looked the current figure up and it's as I just wrote) and they started talking about the brain-dead Christians who are against gay marriage, which gave me the choice of charming them by agreeing with them, or walking away. I walked away.

So far, I've chosen the better part. But were it not for Our Lady of Fatima opening up the ground and showing the children Judas's destination, the fire of Hell, and telling us of the need to say a daily Rosary I may not be even writing these words.

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I am writing this post in honour of Archbishop Charles John Brown who was ordained on May 13 and whose birthday falls on this day.  Happy Birthday, Archbishop Brown!

I have written a column for the Winter Edition of The Latin Mass Society Magazine where I explore in greater detail the significance of Our Lady's relationship to the number 13.