Yet Our Lady intervened to try and bring people back to God, and the miracle she gave us is redolent with symbolism. Not only did it demonstrate the power of God, it was probably a warning of what may lie ahead if man continues in his present ways. Why did the miracle involve the sun? In the Old Testament, Elijah asked God to send fire from heaven. It was to demonstrate to the people of Israel who was the true god, and it had the effect of turning the people away from apostasy which they had fallen into.
Could the sun also symbolise a coming catastrophe created by man himself? Pope Benedict XVI has said, "man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword," referring to nuclear weapons. Since the miracle in Fatima was both dramatic and frightening by all eyewitness accounts, could it symbolise a possible nuclear catastrophe? It seems a distinct possibility because a nuclear bomb replicates what the sun does through nuclear fusion. Therefore the miracle should be seen in apocalyptic terms.
I believe the apparitions in Fatima are related to those in Akita, Japan. In Akita, Our Lady said to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa: "Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead." Again the imagery of these words seem to capture a nuclear explosion.
John Haffert in his book "Now, The Woman Shall Conquer" (1997) describes the significance of the miracle in Fatima very well:
"It had been raining heavily before the moment of the miracle. The great hollow of Fatima was a sea of water and mud. But immediately after the miracle (which lasted about 12 minutes) the sea of water and mud had vanished. It was like the miracle of the Red Sea.
The sun itself crashed down upon the earth. It was seen in a radius of 32 miles! It was like the miracle of the sun in the time of Joshua, when the fire of the sun appeared to act independently of the sun itself.
It was also like the miracle of Elias, who called fire from the sky so that all would believe that "God is God!"...and the fire consumed, not only the sacrifice offered by the prophet, but the water in the trench around it. Therefore this miracle of Fatima had the elments of the three greatest miracles of the Old Testament. What is more, NEVER BEFORE in history had God, "so that all may believe," performed a miracle at a PREDICTED TIME AND PLACE!
Perhaps the main reason why we feel compelled to look to Fatima as a mystical throne of the Queen of the World is because of the Miracle of the Sun. This unprecedented miracle recalls the description of Our Lady in the Apocalypse. Moreover, the essential power of the sun is atomic power, and the very "annihilation of nations" which Our Lady foretold in Her Fatima apparitions now threatens the world through nuclear weapons. Yet in demonstrating such power, in making such awesome prophecies at Fatima, our Queen could promise "an era of peace to mankind."
As Our Lady said in Fatima and Akita, the best defence we have from these dire prophecies is the Rosary.