Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005 and before that a regular correspondent for the paper. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in major newspapers. He is the author of Fruits of Fatima — Century of Signs and Wonders. He holds a graduate degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day, Our Lady reminded Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco at the start of her second appearance to them on June 13..
Then answering a question Lucia asked about going to heaven, our Blessed Mother said, adding an essential devotion, Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.
In these words, she introduced this vital devotion necessary for the children, all her children — devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Jesus requested it.
To another question, she answered Lucia, I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.
Lucia later described how Our Lady then opened her hands and “transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God…In front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation.”
Our Lady emphasized this devotion repeatedly.
On July 13, she gave the children another specific reference to her heart, teaching them this short prayer — Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
That July 13 she continued, “It is to save them (poor sinners from hell) that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.
Then predicting World War II, she said, To prevent this, I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart” and added she will ask for the Five First Saturday devotions.
Giving dire predictions of what would follow if her requests were ignored, she did conclude with hope — in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
On Dec. 10, 1925 Our Lady appeared to Lucia in the convent in Pontevedra, Spain. In her hand she held her Immaculate Heart. Next to her the Child Jesus on a luminous cloud 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 Blessed Virgin Mary added: Look, my daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude.
Four years later, in a vision of the Trinity in 1929 in a convent in Spain, Our Lady again appeared standing under the Cross, with her Immaculate Heart visible, surrounded by a crown of thorns and flames.
From her monastery decades later, Sister Lucia wrote “Calls” From the Message of Fatima to illuminate Fatima’s messages. She had much to tell about the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“It is our humble prayer, our poor little acts of self-denial which we must unite with the prayer and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation and for the salvation of our brothers and sisters who have wandered away from the one true path that leads to Life,” she recounted, echoing the Fatima apparitions.
Lucia said she found in the gospels “from the very beginning Jesus Christ united to his redemptive work the Immaculate Heart of Her whom He chose to be His Mother.” That work began at the Incarnation.
Through the next nine months “the Blood of Christ was the Blood of Mary, taken from Her Immaculate Heart; the Heart of Christ was beating in unison with the Heart of Mary.”
The love in Mary’s Heart was the love in Christ’s Heart for the Father and for all humans, and “to begin with, the entire work of redemption passed through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through the bond of her close intimate union with the Divine Word.”
Sister Lucia’s next insight?
Call for Devotion
Lucia then examines Fatima’s eleventh call: Jesus wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.
“To establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means to bring people to a full consecration through conversion, self-dedication, intimate esteem, veneration and love,” said Lucia. “Thus, it is in this spirit of consecration and conversion that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
To help make the connection clear, Lucia gives the example of a mother’s heart and the love in it which makes her sacrifice herself for her babies, give of herself, and rush to the defense of her children. “All children trust in the heart of their mother, and we all know that we have in her place a special affection. The same applies to the Virgin Mary. Thus this message says: My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
Consequently, Lucia restates, “the Heart of Mary is a refuge and the way to God for all his children.”
The revelation actually had its seeds planted in Genesis 3:16 where God told us the children born of this woman — Mary — will triumph over Satan and his progeny.
What a great analogy Lucia draws: “Mary is the Mother of this new generation, as if she were a new tree of life, planted by God in the garden of the world so that all her children can partake of her fruit.”
The first fruit is Christ, the Word of God.
Eucharistic Connection Too
“And it is from this fruit that other generations of this Immaculate Heart is to be fed,” explains Lucia, because “as Jesus said: I am the bread of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As...I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (John 6:48,56-57). And to live thus because of Christ is also to live because of Mary, since Jesus had received His body and blood from Mary. It was in this Heart that the Father placed His Son, as if in the first Tabernacle.”
Lucia continues to make a strong connection between the Heart of Mary and the Eucharist. After all, Our Lady is Mother of the Eucharist.
She informs devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary “must be established
in the world by means of a true consecration, through conversion and self-giving. In the same way, through the consecration the bread and wine are converted in to the Body and Blood of Christ, which were drawn from His very life from the Heart of Mary.”
Therefore, Lucia notes, “this Immaculate Heart must be for us a refuge and the way that leads to God.”
She reminds us that we are the ones who make up the “new generation created by God, drawing our supernatural life from this same life-giving source, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is the Mother of Christ and of His Mystical Body.”
Lucia makes another connection clear. Jesus said: My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21).
“This word of God is the bond which links all the children in the Heart of the Mother,” observes Lucia, and “there we hear the echo of the word of the Father, because God enclosed His eternal Word in the Heart of Mary; and it is from this Word that life comes to us: “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink” (John 7: 37-38).”
“God began the work of our redemption in the Heart of Mary,” Lucia reminds us. Through Mary’s Fiat “Christ began, with Mary, the work of our salvation,” she continues. “The Christ Heart beats are those of the Heart of Mary, the prayer of Christ is the prayer of Mary, the joys of Christ are the joys of Mary; it was from Mary that Christ received the Body and Blood that are to be poured out and offered up for the salvation of the world.”
Consequently, “Mary, made one with Christ, is the co-Redemptrix of the human race. With Christ in her womb, with Jesus Christ in her arms, with Christ at Nazareth and in His
public life; with Jesus Christ She climbed the Hill of Calvary, she suffered and agonized with Him, receiving into Her Immaculate Heart the last sufferings of Christ, his last words, his last agony and the last drops of His Blood, in order to offer them to the Father.”
“Our Lady then stayed on earth to help her other children to complete the redeeming work of Christ, preserving it in Her Heart as a wellspring of grace — Ave gratia plena - in order to pass on to us the fruits of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, Her Son.”
Is it any wonder that Jesus wants the world devoted to his mother, the Immaculate Heart of Mary?