Notebook

Don’t Get Caught!

On 13 May 1917, three children in Fatima, Portugal had a vision of the Mother of God which they described as a communication of ‘light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors.’ The three gained insight into eternal realities. One might think they’d be estranged, thereafter, from earthly things. Far from it. Not long afterwards, one of the children, Francisco, was upset upon seeing a friend clutch in his hand a bird he had caught. Offering to ransom it, Francisco ran home to fetch his savings, gave them to his friend, and set the bird free. ‘Then, as he watched it fly away, he clapped his hands for joy, and said: “Be careful! Don’t let yourself be caught again!”‘ The encounter with God’s redemptive grace had made him unable to endure the sight of unfreedom in any form. Is it possible to have a radical sense of justice for creatures without faith in an ultimate, eternal Justice? A moot point.