FATIMA AND THE
IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal for six consecutive months from May to October. The appointed day was the 13th of each month. We focus here on just a part of the apparitions and the dialogue between Lucy, who spoke to Our Lady while the other two children watched and listened. We take these passages of Sister Lucys Memoirs which record these events because they focus on the importance of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On June 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to the three children and asked them to return on July 13. She again requested them to pray the Rosary each day. The conversation continued:
Lucy asked: I would like to ask you to take us to Heaven.
Our Lady: Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make Me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.
Lucy asked sadly: Am I to stay here alone?
Our Lady: No, My daughter. Do you suffer a great deal? Dont lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.
Lucy: As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands for the second time. In front of the palm of Our Ladys right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation.
The theme of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is especially stressed in the July 13 apparition. Its central importance, for our time and for each of us, is seen by reflecting on the apparition. We quote here from Sister Lucys Memoirs. Lucy is speaking first.
What does Your Grace want of me? I asked.
I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.
I should like to ask You to tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that everyone will believe that Your Grace is appearing to us.
Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle so that all might see in order to believe.
Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Sister Lucy continues:
As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. (Here, in her Third Memoir, Lucy added) That vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our Good Mother of Heaven, Who, at the first apparition, had promised to bring us to Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.
Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and sadly:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.
Our Lady continued to speak, and what follows constitutes the second part of the Secret of Fatima.
If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father.
To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.
In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
As noted above in the Second Secret, Our Lady, on July 13, 1917, promised to return later to Sister Lucy to ask for the Communions of Reparation on the First Saturdays. Our Lady came on December 10, 1925, to Sister Lucy in the Spanish city of Pontevedra. The following extract is from Frère Michel who further explains this apparition and devotion.
What an admirable, stupefying promise made June 13, 1917, when Our Lady said: To whomever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation. Yet in spite of this promise we are still tempted to doubt. Jacinta of Fatima, by a special grace, felt her heart consumed by an ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But we? We are cold, or our fervor is so short-lived! Could we ever know if we had sufficient devotion so that Our Lady would be bound to keep Her promise to us?
It is here that we are wonderstruck by the limitless Divine Mercy, and the profoundly Catholic character of the revelations of Fatima. In the whole message, there is not an ounce of Protestant subjectivism! Here, Heaven goes to the limits of indulgence, and the most sublime prophecies are exchanged, translated into very small requests, clear and precise requests, easy requests which leave no room for doubt. Everyone can know if he has accomplished them or not. A little devotion practiced with a good heart is enough to receive infallibly for us, this grace ex opere operato, so to speak as with the sacraments; and what a grace the grace of eternal salvation!
It is worth the effort to give careful study to such a magnificent promise. It is the fulfillment, the perfect expression of the first part of the great Secret, which is entirely concerned with the salvation of souls.
In describing the apparitions and explaining the message of Pontevedra, we will simply comment on the words pronounced by Our Lady on July 13, 1917. They are concise, but so rich in meaning:
If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved ... I shall come to ask for ... the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
Here then is the first Secret of Mary which we must discover and understand. It is a sure and easy way of tearing souls away from the danger of hell; first our own; then those of our neighbors; and even the souls of the greatest sinners, for the mercy and power of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are without limits.
Frère Michel continues:
On the evening of Thursday, December 10, after supper, the young postulant Lucy who was only eighteen years old returned to her cell. There she was visited by Our Lady and the Child Jesus. Let us listen to her account: (written in the third person)
On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin rested Her hand on her shoulder, and as She did so, She showed her a Heart encircled by thorns, which She was holding in Her other hand. At the same time, the Child said:
Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of Reparation to remove them.
Then the Most Holy Virgin said:
Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making Reparation to Me.
Frère Michel continues:
Sister Lucy at the time was at Tuy. Her confessor, Father Gonçalves, had given her a series of questions in writing. Here, let us recall only the fourth one: Why five Saturdays, (he asked) and not nine, or seven, in honor of the sorrows of Our Lady? That same evening, the seer implored Our Lord to inspire her with an answer to these questions. A few days later, she passed the following to her confessor.
When I was in the chapel with Our Lord part of the night of May 29-30, 1930 (we know that it was her habit to make a holy hour from eleven in the evening to midnight, especially on Thursday evenings, according to the requests of the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial), and I spoke to Our Lord about questions four and five, I suddenly felt myself more intimately possessed by the Divine Presence and, if I am not mistaken, this is what was revealed to me:
My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
- Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
- Blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity.
- Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men.
- The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children indifference or scorn, or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother.
- The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, My daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of Reparation ...
It is also true that the gravest sins against the Most Holy Virgin are first of all sins against faith. This important lesson must be kept in mind.
Frère Michel continues:
After enumerating the five blasphemies which gravely offend His Most Holy Mother, Our Lord gave Sister Lucy the decisive explanation which allows us to penetrate into the secret of Her Immaculate Heart, which overflows with mercy for all sinners, even those who scorn and outrage Her:
See, My daughter, the motive for which the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little Reparation, and in consideration of it, to move My mercy to pardon souls who have had the misfortune of offending Her. As for you, always seek by your prayers and sacrifices to move My mercy to pity for these poor souls.
Here we have one of the principal themes of the Message of Fatima: since God has decided to manifest more and more His great design of love, which is to grant all graces to men through the mediation of the Immaculate Virgin, it seems that their refusal to submit with docility to what God wills is the fault which most gravely wounds His Heart, and for which He no longer finds in Himself any inclination to pardon them. This sin seems unforgivable, because for Our Savior there is no crime more unpardonable than to despise His Most Holy Mother, and to outrage Her Immaculate Heart, which is the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. This is committing the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven in this world or in the next.
In 1929, in the apparition of Tuy which is the final fulfillment of Fatima, Our Lady will conclude the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Trinity with these striking words: So many are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me that I come to ask for Reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.
In fact, in addition to the conversion of sinners and our own eternal salvation, Our Lady has willed that the Communion of Reparation be linked to another magnificent promise: the gift of peace. On March 19, 1939, Sister Lucy wrote:
Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.
And on June 20 of the same year, she wrote:
Our Lady promised to put off the scourge of war, if this devotion was propagated and practiced. We see that She will obtain remission of this chastisement to the extent that efforts are made to propagate this devotion; but I fear that we can do more than we are doing and that God, being displeased, will pull back the arm of His mercy and let the world be ravaged by this chastisement which will be unlike any other in the past, horrible, horrible.
On July 13, 1917 as we saw in the second part of the Secret, Our Lady told Lucy that later on She would come back to ask for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady did return for this request as promised.
On June 13, 1929, Sister Lucy was in her convent chapel in Tuy, Spain, a city on the border of Portugal. Sister Lucy herself left a description of the event, and so we quote her account at length, adding only a few subtitles.
Sister Lucy wrote:
At this time Our Lord informed me that the moment had come when He willed for me to make known to the Holy Church His desire for the Consecration of Russia and His promise to convert it ... The communication took place in this way:
13/06/29 I had requested and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make the Holy Hour from 11:00 p.m. until midnight from Thursday to Friday.
Being alone one night, I knelt down before the Communion rail in the middle of the chapel to say the prayers of the Angel, lying prostrate. Feeling tired, I got up and knelt, and continued to say them with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light came from the sanctuary lamp.
Suddenly a supernatural light illumined the whole chapel and on the altar appeared a Cross of light which reached to the ceiling.
In a brighter part could be seen, on the upper part of the Cross, the face of a Man and His Body to the waist;
On His breast was an equally luminous dove,
And nailed to the Cross, the Body of another Man.
A little below the waist, suspended in mid-air, was to be seen a Chalice and a large Host onto which fell some drops of Blood from the Face of the Crucified and from a wound in His breast. These drops ran down over the Host and fell into the Chalice.
Under the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady with Her Immaculate Heart in Her hand (It was Our Lady of Fatima with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand without a sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames ...)
Under the left arm (of the Cross), some big letters, as it were of crystal clear water running down over the altar, formed these words: Grace and Mercy.
I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity that was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal.
Then Our Lady said to me: The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.
So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for Reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.
I gave an account of this to my confessor, who ordered me to write what Our Lord willed to be done.
Since the Pope and his advisors chose, for two years, to ignore the words of Our Lady of Fatima explicitly stating the Most Solemn Request of God to consecrate Russia, Jesus, Himself, spoke to Sister Lucy in Rianjo, Spain, in August 1931.
First of all let us quote from Sister Lucys letter of August 29, 1931, where the seer passes on to her bishop this message, which is of highest importance in the economy of the Message of Fatima:
My confessor orders me to inform Your Excellency of what took place a little while ago between the Good Lord and myself: as I was asking God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed to me that His Divine Majesty said to me:
You console Me a great deal by asking Me for the conversion of those poor nations. Ask it also of My Mother frequently, saying: Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world. At other times say: By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.
Then Jesus said:
Make it known to My ministers, that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, that they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.
Later on, by means of an interior communication, Our Lord complainingly said to me:
They did not want to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do so, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!