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The rain poured heavily down, and the children took refuge from the storm in a rocky hollow in the side of the hill, without losing sight of the sheep. They ate their lunch, recited the rosary and were about to begin a game when suddenly a great rushing blast of wind, a burst of light . . . and then, astonishing sight!
A comely young man shining like crystal in the sun, advancing through the air toward them!
Fear mounted in their hearts, but the stranger spoke in gentle tones:
No, no! Do not be afraid. I am the angel of Peace. Pray with me.
Upon that the mysterious visitor bowed his forehead to the ground and repeated three times:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope in Thee and I love Thee! I beg pardon from Thee for those who do not believe, who do not hope, who do not adore, and who do not love Thee!
He rose and gazing at them kindly, said: Pray like that, my little ones. The most holy hearts of Jesus and Mary will be moved by your prayer.
The Angel disappeared. The children remained rooted to the spot. They neither stirred nor spoke. They were filled with a sweet awareness of the presence of God.
At last they looked at one another, and read in each other's eyes the glowing aftermath of the vision. Their wonder gave rise to resolve as they thought of the message. They must pray! And down they went, bowing their heads to the ground and repeating again and again the angel's prayer. They kept it up until their bodies ached.
As they reluctantly stopped to rest, they began to wonder about it all, questioning each other what the angel could want of them. They relapsed into a puzzled silence. The only conclusion grew upon them: the only certain thing that they could cling to was that they must do what he had asked!
And so, down went the little heads to the ground again, and tremulously the tender voices chanted: My God, I believe, I adore, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I beg pardon for . . .
Another halt, and another return to the enormous question that now filled their lives, hitherto untroubled. What did it all mean? What did the angel want of them? They were old enough to know that even in the Christian country of Portugal, there were many men who had scant love for their Creator and their Heavenly Father. They had forgotten Him and no longer confided in Him. Still God is good! How is it that men think no more of Him . . .
And upon this thought, the children resumed their adoration and petitioning, this activity which all of a sudden had become the burning need of their souls.