Newsletter n°51 (12 May 2017)
We have now arrived at the centenary of the first apparition at Fatima. During the following five months we should make a point of offering the day to Our Lady. A small hint from Our Lady of the Rosary that She wished to mark her apparitions at Fatima with the sign of the Rosary: have you noticed that from the 13th of May to the 13th of October there are 153 days, the same as the number of Hail Marys in a Rosary?
The Rosary is not the only teaching of Our Lady of Fatima. In fact, during the course of her six apparitions in 1917, she reminds us of the following five great teachings:
- the necessity of praying and offering sacrifices for obtaining the conversion of sinners
- the daily recitation of the Rosary for obtaining peace in the world
- last ends: Heaven, purgatory, hell
- the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, devotion wished for by God and which will assure the salvation of those who embrace it
- finally, her role as Mediatrix of All Graces.
This last theme of the universal mediation of the Holy Virgin is only expressed implicitly in the apparitions, but it is very present, particularly in the apparition of the 13th of July:
- “Say the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, to have peace in the world and an end to the war, because only She can obtain these”.
- “If you do as I ask, many souls will be saved and there will be peace”.
- “If you listen to my demands, Russia will convert and there will be peace”.
These sentences clearly indicate the power which was given to the Holy Virgin: that of obtaining the conversion of sinners and peace in the world. Our Lady therefore has a role in the spiritual domain, the conversion of sinners, but also in the temporal domain: peace in the world. Moreover, in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is invoked under the names of “Refuge of sinners” and “Queen of peace”.
But it is not only in the apparition of the 13th of July that this role was announced. Already, on the 13th of June, she had shown all the power which God had accorded her.
She said: “I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon” showing in this way that she has power over life and death. Then a little later, speaking about the devotion to her Immaculate Heart, she specifies: “To whomever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation.” She did not say: “God promises salvation”, but “I promise salvation”! And she confirms this just after by saying to Lucia that her heart is “the way which will lead you to God”. She thereby shows that she has the power to enable us to enter Paradise.
Likewise, on the 13th of September, regarding the healings asked for by Lucia she says: “Some I will heal” showing that she also has power over our health.
Our Lady’s mediation is also very clearly illustrated, in four apparitions, at the moment when she opens her hands. With this gesture, she enlightens the little seers about God (first apparition), instructs them on their vocations (second apparition), teaches them about supernatural realities (hell in the third apparition) and the mysteries of the Rosary in the sixth).
Finally, the Dance of the Sun, also started by a gesture from her hands, indicates that she has power to act with the natural elements as well. Moreover, she had clearly said so during the course of the three previous apparitions: on the 13th of July she had said “I will come to perform a miracle”; on the 19th of August, “I will perform the miracle so that everyone believes”; and on the 13th of September, “I will perform the miracle so that all may believe”. Also, this was an exceptional miracle, a cosmic miracle, the fourth of this type in the history of mankind (see newsletter n°12). By this miracle, God wants to show us vividly that he has confided very widespread powers to his Mother.
Jacinta had a very profound perception of Our Lady’s power because, a few days before leaving for the hospital, she confided to her cousin her last thoughts, which throw a remarkable light on this point:
I don’t have much time before going to Heaven. You, you’ll stay here to say that God wants to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When the time comes to say so, don’t hide yourself. Tell everybody that God gives us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that it is to her that we should ask for them, that the Heart of Jesus wants us to venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary with Him, that if we ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace it is because God has confided it to her.
The mediation of the Holy Virgin is not a new teaching in the Church. Saint Bernard had already said: “God’s will is that we have everything through Mary”. Nearer our time, Saint Bernardino of Sienna didn’t hesitate to say: “All the gifts from the Holy Spirit are distributed by Mary to those she wants, when she wants, how she wants and as much as she wants”.
In his Treatise on the True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort goes as far as to say in n°25:
God the Holy Spirit entrusted his wondrous gifts to Mary, his faithful Spouse, and chose her as the dispenser of all he possesses, so that she distributes all His gifts and graces to whom she wills, as much as she wills, how she wills and when she wills. No heavenly gift is given to men which does not pass through her virginal hands.
And several popes have confirmed this teaching. In particular, Leo XIII declared in his encyclical of the 22nd of September 1891, Octobri Mense:
May it also be affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ. Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother.
In his encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum of the 2nd of February 1904, Saint Pius X confirms the teaching of Leo XIII:
And from this community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world and Dispensatrix of all the gifts that Our Saviour purchased for us by His Death and by His Blood.
The mediation of the Holy Virgin is therefore a particularly traditional notion. And Our Lady came to Fatima to confirm what Tradition teaches; however, so as not to anticipate the solemn declarations of the Magisterium, the Virgin Mary did not present herself at Fatima as the “Mediatrix of All Graces”, but her whole message underlines that she really is the Mediatrix of All Graces, in particular graces of conversion for sinners and of peace for the world.
So on this centenary of her first apparition at Fatima, we should meditate on her power and ask of her who is “Mediatrix of All Graces” all the graces we need.
In union of prayer in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Yves de Lassus