DEVOTION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
In 1916, a year before the apparitions of Our Lady, the Angel of Peace appeared to the children to prepare them for things to come. "The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy for you," he said. "Offer unceasingly to the Most High prayer and sacrifices."
In the second apparition the following year (June 13) Our Lady let the children know that "Jesus wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart." Several times in the June and July apparitions Our Lady spoke of this devotion, as we shall see; and soon there began to burn in their hearts (especially Jacinta's) a deep love for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Shortly before Jacinta went to the hospital where she was to die, she said to Lucia: "In a short time now I am going to heaven. You are to stay here and say that God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands. Oh that I could put into the heart of everybody the flame that I feel burning within my breast and which makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary."
June 13, 1917
Lucia asked Our Lady if she would take them to heaven. Our Lady answered: "Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by me before His throne."
When Lucia asked if she were going to be left alone, Our Lady responded: "No, my daughter. Does this cause you to suffer a great deal? I will never leave you, my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
As the Blessed Mother uttered these words she extended her hands and in the rays of light that shone from them, the children saw themselves as if submerged in the Divine presence. Jacinta and Francisco were on the side of the light that was ascending to Heaven, while Lucia was in the light that seemed diffused over all the earth. In the palm of her right hand was a Heart pierced with thorns; and the children understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so offended by the sins of mankind and pleading for reparation.
July 13, 1917
"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often when you make some sacrifice, 'My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'"
After showing the children a vision of hell, Our Lady said to them: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people do as I shall ask many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.... But if people do not cease offending God... another and more terrible war will begin. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God gives that the chastisement of the world for its many transgressions is at hand through war, famine, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."
"To prevent this, I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and Communions of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will suffer martyrdom; the Holy Father will suffer much; different nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be granted to humanity."
NOTE: From the above, we must not think of the Five First Saturdays merely in terms of personal salvation, of receiving "at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation;" but also in terms of world peace, of avoiding the terrible social consequences mentioned above by Our Lady.
December 10, 1925
The visits of Our Lady to Lucia did not end with those in 1917. In fact it was only through later apparitions that Lucia received permission to make known some of the messages revealed in 1917.
While Lucia was in her room at the convent of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, Our Lady and the Child Jesus appeared to her. Resting her right hand on Lucia's shoulder, the Blessed Mother held in her other hand a Heart surrounded by sharp thorns. The Divine Child was the first to speak to Lucia: "Have pity on the Heart of your most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation."
Then Our Lady made known her request for Communions of reparation: "My daughter, look at my Heart encircled with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you at least try to console me and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me."
Every sin, great and small, is an offense against God for which reparation must be made. Yet, so dear is the Heart of Mary to her Divine Son, and so much is He pained at the offenses and blasphemies against her Immaculate Heart that, as Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P. expresses in his book VISION OF FATIMA:
"God has told us now, through Fatima, that we can make reparation to Him if we repair the sufferings we have caused her. The Heart that received the fullness of participation in the divine life, that knew the affections of a mother for Jesus Christ during the years at Nazareth, that went through the agony of seeing Him die, that honors Him in heaven more than all the rest of creation, is now gloriously proclaimed by Him through Fatima."
Back to the Fatima outline, or go to Next chapter.