On this day, next year, we will celebrate the centenary of the apparition which happened on 13th June 1917. During that apparition, Our Lady made this extraordinary revelation: « Jesus wants to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. »
The year before, the Angel of Peace had already prepared the little shepherds for this request. Three times, the Angel of Peace had spoken to them about the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
- - In Spring 1916: «The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications. »
- - During Summer 1916: « The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. »
- - In Autumn 1916: « I pray for the conversion of poor sinners through the infinite merits of His Holy Heart [Jesus’ Heart] and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. »
And on 13th July 1917, the Holy Virgin reiterated almost word for word the request she had made one month before. The expression “Immaculate Heart” will be used six times by Our Lady: twice on 13th June and four times on 13th July.
Jacinta knew the extreme importance of this devotion. A few days before going to hospital, she confided to her cousin:
Tell everyone that God grants us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; graces have to be asked through Her. The Heart of Jesus wants us to join Him in venerating the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Once she had joined the St Dorothy’s sisters, Lucia hastened to devote herself to make this divine request known. In October 1928, she wrote to the Bishop of Leiria:
In His infinite mercy, it grieves the Good Lord that offences committed against the Immaculate Conception of the Very Holy Virgin are becoming too much for Him to bear any longer. He says that a great number of souls goes to Hell because of this sin. He promises to save them insofar as we will practise the following devotion [the five first Saturdays of the month], with the intention to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of our Very Holy Mother.
On a few occasions, Our Lord reminded Sister Lucia that this devotion was especially dear to Him. On 29th May 1930, He especially confided to Lucia in Tuy: « … The Immaculate Heart of Mary has inspired Me to ask for this small reparation and, because of this, My mercy shall be moved to forgive the souls who had the misfortune to offend it. »
A few years later, Sister Lucia wrote to Father Gonzalès who was one of her confessors:
Around March 1939, Our Lord told me in another message: “Ask and plead again for the propagation of the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays in honour of the immaculate Heart of Mary.
Again, on 19th March 1939, she wrote to Father Aparicio, also one of her confessors:
Peace for the world or war depend on the practice of this devotion united to the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the reason why I so desired its propagation; but most of all because such is the will of Our Good Lord and of our dear Mother in Heaven.
O the 27th may 1943, she wrote to the bishop of Gurza:
A few days ago, Our Lord told me the following: « I so ardently desire the propagation of the veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and its devotion. Because this Heart is the magnet which draws souls to Me, the fire centre which radiates My light and love onto earth. It is the inexhaustible fount which makes the living water of My Mercy gush forth on earth. »
Could it possibly be any clearer? Jesus wants us to venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary and He tells us why: it is the magnet which draws souls to Him.
Although this message certainly belongs to private revelations, this is indeed different from any other private revelations because it has been authenticated by incredible phenomena which have never happened in any other apparitions. The revelations in Fatima have therefore a very special significance. In fact, in an article titled “Reflections on an act of consecration” Father Joseph de Sainte Marie explains as follows:
If it is true that the motive behind an act of faith determines the nature of this act, then one can conclude that human faith is faith founded on a human testimony. Conversely, the act of faith engaged by a supernatural testimony of divine origin, will also be given a supernatural character. This kind of faith will not be called theological faith. By definition, theological faith requires indeed to be founded only on a Revelation through the Church and from the Gospel’s message. However, this kind of faith will neither be a purely human faith only relying on each one’s free will. In other words, we can say that, from the moment that it is certain that God speaks to us, either directly or through a messenger, His Word activates an act of faith which is, in a certain way, of supernatural nature. This act of faith originates from His Word and is prompted by it. One is then compelled to believe and to obey.
Therefore, the miracle of the sun which was observed by 70,000 witnesses stands as a testimony, if not supernatural, at least “of divine origin”. And Father Joseph de Sainte Marie continues:
Thus, when Popes consecrate the world to the Heart of Christ or to the Heart of the Holy Virgin, they obey to a request made to them through prophetic channels. They also ascertain that this act of consecration is in conformity with the New Covenant’s requirements. (…) They don’t merely act justly but they feel compelled to answer to a supernatural order.
During his first visit to Fatima, Pope John-Paul II might have been prompted by similar considerations when he said: « Our Lady of Fatima’s appeal carries a message which is deeply rooted in the Gospel and in all the Tradition of the Church. Therefore, the Church feels that this message involves its responsibility. »
One can conclude that, since Fatima, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart needs to be accepted as a divine will. Therefore, shouldn’t we be led by our love for Our Lord to respond spontaneously to His desire by practicing this devotion? In order to show Him our obedience to His Will, should we not work eagerly to make this devotion known? Therefore, the Centenary of the apparitions in Fatima urges us to become more aware of our duty to embrace this devotion and to spread it around us. By doing so, not only will we follow Jacinta’s advice to her cousin just before her death but we will especially give to Jesus the joy of seeing His Will fulfilled when He said: « I very ardently desire the propagation of the veneration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and its devotion. »
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Yves de Lassus,
Cap Fatima 2017.