CHAPTER 13 - THE GREAT SIGN IN THE HEAVENS



A prodigious sign in the sky! An immense spectacle, awful and magnificent! A miracle, plain for all the world to see ~ and there were 50,000 pairs of eyes to see in the Cove itself, besides innumerable persons for miles around. A miracle in broad daylight, and plain as daylight. It was the light of day itself to which the wonderful thing was happening. When Lucy cried "Look at the sun!" and the faces of the crowd turned upwards, they saw that the clouds had parted and the sun had appeared. But it was strangely altered in appearance. Its customary brilliance was dimmed to a soft, silver hue which the people could gaze at without being dazzled. Suddenly, a great roar went up. 
A miracle! A miracle! Wonderful! Oh, wonderful!

The silver orb in the sombre sky had begun to spin like a giant top. Another moment it was like a huge Catherine Wheel, with intensely brilliant rays shooting forth into space and revolving round the whole sky. The immense radiation consisted of beams of different hues. Reflecting the gyrating lights, everything visible changed rapidly from one color to another. Clouds, earth, trees, rocks and the ecstatic visages of the crowd turned red blue, green, violet, yellow. The world was a riot of splendid colors, flooding gloriously from the spinning sun, and succeeding one another in quick succession.

After several minutes of this, the sun ceased revolving for some instants; then began again, the play of lights on earth and sky resuming more intensely than the first time. Three times in all, the brilliant rotary movement took place, each time the display of magnificent cosmic fireworks intensifying.

After their first incoherent shouts of wonder, the people had remained entranced, breathless and immobile before the spectacle.

Then cam the terrifying climax!
Every individual in the crowd, without exception, found himself gazing in dreadful fascination at the great luminous orb preciptating itself from its position and hurling towards the earth. It bounded towards them in an intently menacing zig-zag course. The motion itself, so bizarre and contrary to the ordinary astronomical movement, was sufficiently ominous in itself to petrify the onlookers.

Now cries began to rend the crowd ~ prayers, ejaculations, pleadings for mercy, acts of contrition. One and all, they believed that the last moment was come. One and all, they fell on their knees in the mud, sobbing. "I believe, I believe! Mercy, mercy! Hail Mary! O Blessed Virgin!"

The moments of terrible anguish ended. the sun arrested in its terrible career, and still pale and silvery, was retreating to its position in the zenith.

The amazing phenomenon had lasted ten minutes. Immense relief was surging through the ranks of the crowd, its terror giving place to joy and thankfulness, and its cries becoming exultant:
~ "A miracle! A miracle! Praised be God! We have seen the sign of God!"

The glorious lady in white with a gesture of farewell had left her customary place on the oak tree, yet remaining in full view of the children in a position in the sky not far from the sun. Upon a further gesture from her, the miraculous phenomenon began. But what absorbed the attention of the children were the visions of Jesus and St. Joseph, which had been promised the month before. Lucy afterwards related these visions: 
~ "I was Saint Joseph and the Child Jesus beside Our Lady."

The Child Jesus was in the arms of Saint Joseph. He was quite small, about a year old. Both were clad in crimson garments.
"After that, I saw Our Lord blessing the crowd. Then Our Lady showed herself, dressed like Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, but without the sword in her breast. At the last, I saw her dressed another way I do not know how to say, but it seems to me that it was Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She was clothed in white, with a blue veil."

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