Today, on 13 May, Catholics remember Our Lady of Fatima. And on 13 May 1981, Pope John Paul II was hit by a bullet that could easily have been deadly. Exactly one year later, the Holy Father visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima to commemorate in a very special way the first anniversary of the attempt on his life and the sixty-fifth anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition there. He said:
“I seemed to recognize in the coincidence of the dates a special call to come to this place. And so, today I am here. I have come in order to thank Divine Providence in this place which the Mother of God seems to have chosen in a particular way. Misericordiae Domini, quia non sumus consumpti (Through God’s mercy we were spared-Lam 3:22), I repeat once more with the prophet.” 
We may also call it Divine Providence that the three sheperd children saw several apparitions of Mary from 13 May to 13 October 1917, in the middle of World War II and at the wake of the Communinist Revolution in Russia. On 13 October 1917, the so-called “sun miracle” happened. All people present saw the sun turning like a ball and coming closer and going back up again. Is the miracle the fact that the turning and moving of the sun is not compatible with the laws of nature? Not necessarily, as Fr. Stanley Jaki tries to explain. It is rather timing and message, that’s important in God’s plan.
Here is Fr. Stanley Jaki on this meteorological phenomenon:
“Enough data are on hand to force one to recognize the meteorological nature of “the miracle of the sun” and to look askance at the phrase, “the sun danced over Fatima.” That the miracle was not solar, that it did not imply any “solar activity” in the scientific sense of that term, is indicated by the fact that nothing unusual was registered by observatories about the sun at that hour. Prior to that hour rain was coming down heavily over the area from the late morning hours on, with the clouds being driven fast by a westerly wind across the sky. A cold air mass was obviously moving in from the Atlantic, only at about 40 kms from Fatima, which itself is at about 15 kms to the east from the line where the land begins to form a plateau well over 300 meters above sea level. The hollow field, Cova da Iria, outside Fatima is itself at about 370 meters. An actual view of the geographic situation is a great help for an understanding of the true physical nature of “the miracle of the sun,” especially when one takes a close look at cloud patterns typical over the Cova.
I feel that at this juncture I must summarize my explanation of the miracle. It began at about 12:45 pm, solar time, after the rain suddenly stopped, and lasted about ten to fifteen minutes. During all that time, the sun, that had not been seen for hours, appeared through thin clouds, which one careful observer described as cirrus clouds. Suddenly the sun’s image turned into a wheel of fire which for the people there resembled a “rodo de fuogo” familiar to them in fireworks. The physical core of that wheel was, as we now have to conjecture, an air lens full of ice crystals, as cirrus clouds are. Such crystals can readily refract the sun’s rays into various colors of the rainbow.
The references to the strong west-east wind and to the continued drift of clouds may account for the interplay of two streams of air that could give a twist, in a way analogous to the formation of tornadoes, to put that lens-shaped air mass into rotation. Since many present there suddenly felt a marked increase in temperature, it is clear that a sudden temperature inversion must have taken place. The cold and warm air masses could conceivably propel that rotating air lens in an elliptical orbit first toward the earth, and then push it up, as if it were a boomerang, back to its original position. Meanwhile the ice crystals in it acted as so many means of refraction for the sun’s rays. Some eyewitnesses claimed that the “wheel of fire” descended and reascended three times; according to others this happened twice. Overwhelmed by an extraordinary sight that prompted most of the crowd to fall on their knees, even “detached” observers could not perform as coolly as they would have wished. Only one observer, a lawyer, stated three decades later that the path of descent and ascent was elliptical with small circles superimposed on it.” 
 Pope John Paul II, Homily, Mass of Our Lady of Fátima, Fátima, Portugal, 13 May 1982
 Stanley L. Jaki. A Mind’s Matter: An Intellectual Autobiography (Cambridge U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), Chapter 13 “A Portuguese Proverb.”
Images: blogspot; americaneedsfatima.
There is more in the article from Stacy Trasancos: http://www.catholicstand.com/fr-stanley-jaki-on-the-fatima-miracle/