The following is a guest submission by Gene Zannetti, Founder and President of Winning Mindset.
Our Lord said a prophet is not without honor. One could ask if a prophet gets any honor at all these days. Do the majority know what a prophet is or if they continue to exist. Most Catholics are aware of the Old Testament prophets- Isaias, Jeremias, and Elias to name a few. A good number of Catholics are aware that St. John the Baptist was named by Our Lord the greatest of all that previously came. But do prophets exist after Our Lord? Do they still exist? In what way does their prophecy bind us, if at all today? These are questions we need to seriously consider.
What is a Prophecy?
The gift of prophecy is an authentic charismatic gift of the Holy Ghost. In Mystical Theology, it refers to the foreknowledge of future events or future contingent events. While some prophecy includes events that are unmovable and guaranteed to happen, contingent events may be prevented if the required people follow specific instructions. Importantly, when any messenger from Heaven gives an instruction, it is a command that we must follow. In 1Corinthians 12:28, St. Paul wrote, “And God indeed hath set some in the Church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.” Here we see clearly that the Lord has set some people to be His prophets in His Church. The order is not unimportant. One a prophecy is approved by the apostles (Magisterium), prophecy precedes doctors (teachers of the faith). Legitimate prophets must be prioritized. Saint Thomas wrote that prophecy consists in Heaven communicating supernatural knowledge to a person (the prophet) for the instruction of others. Heaven then confirms this prophecy with a miracle. It is important to remember that only the Magisterium has the authoritative charism of discernment of spirits. Our Lady of Fatima’s messages meets all the criteria for legitimate prophecy.
Do Prophets Still Exist?
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that, “In the course of time prophecy became less common, without, however, disappearing altogether.” In other words, prophets did not cease to exist after Christ came. In Acts of the Apostles, we see several prophets. In the church of Antioch, there was prophets and doctors including Barnabas, Simon who was called Niger, Lucious of Cyrene, Manahen, and Saul (Acts 13:1). Agabus prophesied there would be a famine over the world, which came to pass. (Acts 11:28). Philip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21: 8, 9). These prophets spoke “that all may learn, and all may be exhorted” (1Cor. 24:31), which implies that they were enlightened in the Faith above their fellows. Prophets have been communicating messages from Heaven throughout the history of the Church. Again, discernment of authenticity belongs to the Magisterium. Not only has the Church approved of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima as worthy of belief, but has continued to give it the highest approbation. Almost a century later, Pope St. John Paul II called Fatima the greatest message in recent times. Pope Benedict XVI said it was the most significant prophecy in our times.
At Fatima, Our Lady communicated an urgent message to the three shepherd children to instruct the world. Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were specifically chosen by Our Lady to be Her prophets. These three prophets and this prophecy of Fatima was confirmed by the Miracle of the Sun. This was the largest recorded public miracle since the parting of the red sea by Moses! The Miracle of the Sun was God’s public and unequivocal vindication of children whom many people at the time rejected. It was the Divine demonstration that these claims are in fact true. The visions of Fatima are authentic. And therefore we follow the Fatima Message related by the testimony of the prophets Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.
Does Prophecy Impose an Obligation on the Faithful?
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that nothing false can come under prophecy because the knowledge given is ultimately from God. God sees all events of the past, present, and future at once. Therefore, if God says something will happen, then it shall happen. It follows that if Heaven reveals that some action on the part of the faithful will prevent a certain consequent event, then it is so. Coming from God, prophecy is to be taken as truth. And truth always imposes an obligation on people. The behavior taken by many in the Church- the ignoring or minimizing of prophecy is therefore illogical and dangerous. Pope St. John Paul declared that the prophecies of the Fatima Message, “impose an obligation on the Church.” His decision to add the Feast of the Virgin of Fatima to the New Roman Missal further demonstrate his approval this prophecy. Failing to comply with Our Lady of Fatima’s commands would constitute an act of disobedience to Our Lady, Our Lord, and the Magisterium.
Many people raise the objection- “Our Lady of Fatima is ‘private revelation’ so I am not obligated to believe it.” This is a seriously flawed and modern way of thinking about prophecy. Just because the Fatima Message is not part of the Deposit of Faith, does not mean Heaven is not requiring something of us. The right way of looking at Fatima is asking if this prophecy is true.” Everything begins with truth. The truth always imposes an obligation on a person. The Miracle of the Sun and the Magisterium’s highest approbation give us all the confidence we need in the veracity of the Fatima prophecy. Furthermore, there are theologians who argue Fatima falls into a higher category than mere private revelation. Fr. Joseph de St. Marie and Bishop Joseph Graber call Fatima “Public Prophetic Revelation.” Church history gives us some insight into the different categories of private revelation. Compare the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich with St. Margaret Mary. Emmerich was gifted no doubt with vivid visions of the life of Our Lord for the edification of the Church. But there was no message for mankind, no public miracle, no command from heaven. This is not to downplay Emmerich’s visions. Heaven has been using them for the edification of the Church. Its purpose is being served. Compare that to the Sacred Heart visions of St. Margaret Mary. Fr. Emile Bougaud, the biographer of St. Margaret Mary, said there can be a private side and a social side to private revelation. The social side of St. Margaret Mary’s visions includes Our Lord telling St. Margaret Mary to tell the king of France to consecrate the country to the Sacred Heart or the country will be punished. In this private revelation, there was a clear command from heaven with dire consequences for a multitude of people if not heeded. When the king did not obey, not only did the reign of terror occur in France, but monarchies over the whole world began to fall in bloody revolutions. Our Lord directly related this event to the message of Fatima. In the summer of 1931, Our Lord told Lucia, “Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command [to consecrate Russia], they will follow him into misfortune. This is scary. Look at the repercussions on not only France but on the whole world for failing to follow Our Lord’s instructions. How much worse will it be if the world does not heed the commands of Our Lady of Fatima which were directed not to one country, but the whole world, and was accompanied by the largest public miracle in modern times?
The Commands of Our Lady of Fatima
Mother Mary communicated both conditional and unconditional prophecies to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. Unconditionally, Our Lady that in the end Her Immaculate Heart will Triumph. This is not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen. The when depends on us fulfilling Her commands. Conditionally, Our Lady said, “If they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting 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.’” Christ, while on earth taught we shall know a tree by its fruits. When we observe the fruits, it is clear for all to see that the Triumph of the immaculate Heart has not yet come. What did Our Lady of Fatima command? First and foremost to stop offending God who is already too much offended by our sins. This means we must stay in the state of grace. This is the precondition on which all of Our Lady’s commands depend. We must remember that in the state of mortal sin, one is spiritually dead and incapable of performing meritorious works. Our Lady taught the shepherd children that the world must perform five actions which will merit the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart. People often forget this part- that is us, the faithful, who merit the grace through the execution of five commands which can be remembered by this helpful mnemonic: Roman Catholic S.O.S.
C.onsecrate ourselves to Mary
S.capular (get enrolled and wear the Brown Scapular)
O.ffer up our sufferings
S.aturdays (First Saturday devotion)
Our Lady also communicated the conditional prophecy that the chastisement will be mitigated in proportion to the efforts made to propagate the Fatima message. Our Lady, our general has spoken. These are our marching orders. This is the only option to save the world. Success is guaranteed. The Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart will come. The question is when. How devastating will the state of affairs become before we take this prophecy seriously?
Gene Zannetti owns Winning Mindset (www.zwinningmindset.com), a sport-performance mental training program. He has two Masters Degrees in Exercise Science and Sport Psychology and is a certified School Psychologist. He was a Nationally Ranked All-Ivy League wrestler at the University of Pennsylvania. After a strong “reversion” following the 33-day consecration to Jesus through Mary in 2015, he founded Spiritual Strength (linktr.ee/Spiritualstrength), conducting retreats, presentations, and an online apostolate spreading devotion to the three hearts and fighting against the world, flesh, and devil. His book Spiritual Strength: Building the Total Athlete for Christ was reviewed and endorsed by Cardinal Burke and bears an Imprimatur. He lives with his wife, two sons and daughter in Westwood, NJ.