In her apparitions, Our Lady is asking us to believe in the teachings of the Church.
Some apparitions invite us to have a stronger faith:
In 1916, at Fatima (Portugal), the “Angel of peace” taught the visionaries the following prayer:
O my God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee!
I ask pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
At Kibeho (Rwanda – November 28, 1981 – November 28, 1989), one of the recurrent messages was: “Faith and unbelief will come without anybody noticing it.”
All apparitions came with a call to a stronger faith. Praying the Rosary in itself includes the Creed. Depending on the time and place of the apparition, Mary insists on one or another aspect of it.
Some ask us to believe in God the Creator:
On December 12, 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego, an Indian adult who was going to catechism to receive baptism: “Know and understand well, you the most humble of my sons, that I am the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we exist, the Creator of all things, Lord of Heaven and Earth.”
- To believe in Jesus the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary:
On December 12, 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego: “…I am the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God…”
- To believe in the Paschal mystery:
At La Salette (France), on September 19, 1851, the brightness enveloping the Virgin Mary and the two visionaries came from a golden Crucifix that Our Lady had around her neck: on one end of the cross beam was a hammer and nails, and on the other, a pincher.
At Pontmain (France), January 17, 1871, the Virgin appeared in the sky, and was followed by a vision of a large crucifix, surrounded by four lit candles, a silent message inviting us to the contemplation of the Paschal mystery.
At Kibeho (Rwanda), on May 15, 1982, the Virgin said to the seer Nathalie: "The path leading to Heaven always goes through suffering."
- To believe in the Holy Spirit:
In Amsterdam (Netherlands, 1945-1959), Mary wished to be for our times the "Lady, Mother of all Nations." Ida Perdemann, the visionary, also received a prayer (to be prayed before the cross):
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now your Spirit over the Earth. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all Nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war. May the Lady of all Nations, the blessed Virgin Mary *, be our advocate."
(Imprimatur: January 6, 2009 Haarlem-Amsterdam)
*Original version: "who once was Mary.”
- To believe in the Church:
In nearly all Marian apparitions, the visionaries have to bring a request to the priest, or to the bishop.
The patience of the visionary is sometimes tested (Juan Diego had to wait a long time before he was received by the bishop of Mexico; Bernadette of Lourdes had to suffer from the anger of her parish priest); sometimes the requests are granted easily, for instance on the evening of the apparition at Pontmain, the priest organized the evening prayer according to the indications of the little visionaries. Through these episodes, it is the faith in the mystery of the Church which is at stake.
- To believe in eternal life:
At Guadalupe (Mexico), on December 12, 1531, before appearing, Our Lady made Juan Diego hear such beautiful birdsongs that he exclaimed: “Where am I? Maybe I'm in that earthly paradise our ancestors talked to us about ? Maybe I am now in Heaven?”
At Lourdes (France), on Thursday, February 18, 1858, Our Lady told Bernadette: "I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next."
At Fatima (Portugal), Our Lady stressed the necessity to have faith in the last things: Death, judgment, heaven and hell. On May 13, 1917, Mary said: "At the end of the Rosary, recite: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of Your mercy.’" And on July 13th, the second secret showed a vision of Hell: "You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go."
At L’Ile Bouchard (France, 1947), the Angel Gabriel appeared, kneeling in front of Mary.
Many other Marian apparitions are accompanied by an Angel.
At Kibeho (Rwanda), on January 12, 1982, the apparition asked Nathalie to go and take the book of the Imitation of Jesus Christ lying in a corner of the small chapel of the dormitory and to read the first page she would come upon when opening the book. She found a passage saying that the things of this world are transitory, whereas those of Heaven are everlasting. (Imitation, Chapter 1)
We could add that these apparitions, by the very fact that they are Marian, invite us to hope in the maternal intercession of Mary (the Council Vatican II invites us to do the same (Lumen gentium 60-69).
For instance, on December 12, 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe said to Juan Diego: “I am your merciful mother, yours, and all the people of this earth and those who love me, invoke me and have confidence in me. I listen to their lamentations and I bring relief to their pains, their miseries and their troubles.”