In Portugal, on June 10, the Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Guardian Angel of Portugal, a traditional devotion since ancient times and increasingly popular after the apparition of the Angel of Portugal to the three shepherd children in Fatima.
Newsroom (10/06/2022 12:00 PM, Gaudium Press) Some supernatural manifestations preceded the apparitions of the Angel, having occurred between April and October 1915, on a hill near Cova da Iria, called Cabeço. Lucia was herding the flock, not with her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, but three other girls. At a certain point, they saw that “over the trees of the valley which stretched out at our feet hovered a cloud like a cloud, whiter than snow, somewhat transparent, with a human form,” according to Lucia’s words. On different days, the apparition was repeated twice.
First Apparition of the Angel
Again, in the same Loca do Cabeço, on a spring day in 1916, as Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco were sheltering from a fine rain, the Angel clearly appeared for the first time. And it was not just any Angel, but the Guardian Angel of Portugal.
Father Manuel Fernando Sousa e Silva, canon of the Cathedral of Braga, Portugal, notes that “According to an ancient tradition in the Church, each nation has an Angel specially entrusted to help it.” The concept is firmly based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Dn 10, 13; 12, 1), the Holy Fathers and the Doctors of the Church. However, he continues, “in the entire history of the Church, this is the first time that an Angel presents himself as the Guardian Angel of a particular nation.”
After praying, the children started to play when a strong wind shook the trees. They then saw a young man resplendent with great beauty walking towards them through the olive grove. Lucia tells us: “A light whiter than snow, in the form of a young man, transparent, more brilliant than a crystal pierced by the rays of the sun. As he drew nearer, we could distinguish his features”.
From this narration considering an Angel as if it were a crystal, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira comments: “Can one imagine a more adequate description of an Angel than that of the aspect of a crystal? Pure, light and lovely like crystal, but essentially transparent. The Angel is, as it were, like a crystal, a magnifying glass to see God more closely, to get a better idea of the Creator, and that with what expressions of beauty!”
Here is how Sr. Lucia recounts what followed: “When she arrived near us, she said: – Fear not. I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me. And kneeling on the ground, he bowed his forehead to the ground. Driven by a supernatural movement, we imitated him and repeated the words we heard him speak:
-My God, I believe, adore, hope and love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.
After repeating this three times, he stood up and said, “-Pray like this. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications. And he disappeared. The atmosphere of the supernatural which enveloped us,” continues Sister Lucia, “was so intense that we were almost unaware of our existence for a long time, remaining in the position where she had left us, repeating the same prayer over and over again. God’s presence felt so intense and intimate that we didn’t even dare to speak among ourselves. The next day, we felt our spirit still enveloped by this atmosphere, which only very slowly disappeared.
Such was the strength of God’s presence in that contact with the Angel that the children sensed that silence was the best voice for that moment, not telling anyone, not even their parents, about what had happened. This state of mind and the secrecy that the children kept afterwards are a good indication of the supernatural and transforming atmosphere surrounding them.
by Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, EP
Text taken, with adaptations, from the book ‘In the end, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!’