Today is May 13, the anniversary of the first of six apparitions of Our Blessed Mother to the three little shepherds at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, Portugal. In one of those apparitions, Our Lady communicated this important message to little Lucia dos Santos:
“God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” (Our Lady of Fatima speaking to Sister Lucia Dos Santos, July 13, 1917)
From those prophetic words we can conclude that a Holy Father (still in the future) will finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart but only after a period of reluctance to effect such consecration. History since 1917 confirms the utterances of Our Lady of Fatima. I will try briefly to connect that message to other prophetic message presented long ago to Daniel. The vision came to the prophet of God a night more than two millennia ago. My musings may not rise to the level of exegesis, and I do not want anyone to consider them doctrine. This is just the study of a parable presented to us. What I merely suggest here may be very distant from the definite interpretation: I simply ask of you to arm yourselves with patience and consider these thoughts.
“In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being; and a human heart was given to it. Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, had three ribs in its mouth among its teeth and was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’” (Daniel 7:2-5)
The vision seems to evoke the primordial chaos described in Genesis 1:
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit (Hebr. ruach, wind) of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
Disorder seems to be increasing in the world, stirred by winds of heavenly origin. Four beasts (symbolizing nations, in the prophetic language of Daniel) emerge from the sea but we are going to concentrate only in the winged lion and the bear described there.
Why does the vision bring up a scene of disorder? If we pay attention to other prophetic dreams in the Book of Daniel we will see that the idea of the future in these prophecies is one of increasing entropy. The head of the Statue in Daniel 2 is made of gold, that is the head or beginning of the representation of history (“You are that head of gold. After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours… etc.” vv. 38-39) The quality of the metals making the Statue decreases in value as history passes, ending in iron and then iron mixed with mud, mere dirt. (“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” v. 45)
It is quite obvious that this vision of the Eagle/Lion and the Bear represents two nations near the End of Times.
The Heart of the Eagle
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
As the time of fulfillment approaches, some prophecies become more clear. That seems to be the case with this vision of Daniel.
The image of the Lion is used to portray power. The lion is deservedly called the king of the animals. It has been used to represent power, control, and nobility of heart. But lions are earthbound, they cannot fly. Eagles soar to heights unconquerable by any lion. The image of a lion possessing eagle’s wings seems to symbolize a strong and yet swift power controlling both the surface and the heights.
Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? (Job 39:27)
Some have seen in this Lion the nation of Israel (based on Genesis 49: 9), some have seen the British Empire. I am not inclined to favor any of those options, perhaps the second makes more sense. Today we see how most of the military power on earth is concentrated on the English-speaking peoples, mainly with the United States (the Eagle) which has inherited to a large extent the influence of the British Empire (a Lion.) Military power after World War II remains with the English-speaking nations for the most part. The question now is how the wings of the Eagle ended up attached to the Lion’s body.
That would be a good analogy for present times: a group of immensely rich men have gained control of vast spheres of influence. They dominate the ground like the Lion and recently, they have used that power and influence to control the Eagle (the USA.) In their beastly hubris they are ready to combine those elements to conquer the world.
But the wings of the creature of the vision are plucked off and some extraordinary power forces it to stand on two legs. It is given “the heart of a man” — this is important — It seems to me that “the winds of Heaven” act in a way to domesticate and change the aims of the winged Lion. A flying Lion is something amazing but out of its element. The ways of a Lion are quite foreign to the heights the Eagle dominates. Having its feathers plucked by a superior power, the Lion may quickly fall to the ground.
The Avenging Bear
Let us leave our flying Lion for a while and concentrate on the Bear. Russia is the Bear. Remember the meaning of Kremlin: the bear’s cave. In the vision it is “raised up to one side” his influence is contained to “one side” (the east?) but he is given power and the mission to “devour much flesh” —as a bear, he seems to thrust himself with full force into that mission— The Bear is depicted with three ribs (Hebrew “selah” also meaning “side or half“) in its mouth. Ribs are the natural protection of the heart. The three ribs the Bear is chewing are perhaps missing from the Lion-Eagle ribcage. To change its heart into “the heart of a man” the ribcage of the winged lion must be opened.
The three ribs are representing perhaps the three ways that the United States project power: economic, military, and mediatic power. As the Heavenly powers debilitate (“pluck the feathers”) of the Lion-Eagle, the opportunistic Bear is given a chance to break those three elements used by the Lion-Eagle to dominate the world. The winged Lion is humiliated as a form of penance. Remember the Angel in the Vision of Fatima exclaiming: “Penance! Penance! Penance!” three times, the same number of ribs are plucked from the proud Lion-Eagle.
Notice that the Bear does not benefit from its “eating much flesh” and no new influence is given to it. The Bear is used as an instrument of justice. Russia will convert and will become the hammer of God. The world, suddenly thrusted by Russia into a vacuum of power will not have the USA to keep order around , securing the sea lines and keeping the club of nuclear-powered nations at bay. In the end the Eagle will stand purified by divine penance. With a new heart, the Eagle will witness and welcome the arrival of angelical forces that will subdue and pacify the world.
The destiny of the Eagle is conversion, a change of heart.
A Period of Peace
“The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
The words of Our Lady of Fatima are much encouraging. The Church will also be purified by suffering and persecutions. The infiltrated reprobates that now exert so much influence will be no longer around. I believe the Bear will push its way through Europe causing much damage. Many prophecies present us with a vision of red flags flying over Rome. Just like the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Romans were used by God to punish Israel, Russia will be used to punish the Western World and redeem it.
The triumph of the Immaculate Heart is the triumph of peace over war, purity over hedonism, truth over falsehood. That will be a “new normal” that will prepare mankind for the arrival of the Kingdom that will never end.