“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
– Our Lady of Fatima, 13 July 1917
On this day 104 years ago, the Mother of God appeared for the third time to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. In the intervening years, little Jacinta and Francisco have been canonised as Saints of the Catholic Church. Lucia’s cause for canonisation is underway.
During that third appearance, the Blessed Virgin once again asked the children for the prayer of the Rosary, but there was an addition to the request for the first time – She asked that the Rosary be prayed “in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, for only She can help you.”
This was also the occasion on which She requested sacrifices to accompany the prayers being offered by the children –
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice, ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’.”
Having just mentioned ‘the Immaculate Heart of Mary’, She then showed the three children a momentary vision of Hell, in which they could see the souls of the damned along with demons in human form. This was terrifying to the children of course, as it would be to anyone, regardless of age. Terrifying, but real. And the vision was intended to remind us of that reality.
Looking sad, Our Lady spoke once more and revealed the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart with these words –
“You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.
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 in the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for it’s crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of 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 the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.
The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted.. Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.
When you pray the Rosary, say after each Mystery – ‘O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need’.”
This third appearance is considered to be the core, or the heart, of the message of Fatima.
There are many details which occur in this appearance – the request to accompany prayer with personal sacrifice, offered for sinners and with a special prayer for this intention; devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the express will of God and as a way to save sinners who would otherwise be damned; the power of this devotion to obtain peace for the world; the link between sin and punishment; and the need for the Consecration of Russia and the Communions of Reparation, also known as the ‘Five First Saturdays’; the assurance that the Consecration would indeed one day be made; the promise of the triumph of this Immaculate Heart; and the addition of a new prayer to be said after each decade of the Rosary.
That’s quite a lot!
The enormity of what this encompasses can seem overwhelming to anyone moved by the message of Fatima. “I am just one little person” you might say, “how can I do all this and achieve what is asked?”
But if we break it down to basics, we are not asked to do all of it – only some of it is for the individual person, while the remaining part was for the Church. And the Church has done what was asked of her – the Consecration was made in 1984 and was accepted by Heaven, as Lucia attested several times afterwards.
So what are we asked to do?
As individuals, we are asked to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The purpose of this devotion is to make reparation to that Immaculate Heart for our own sins and those of others – our reparation is intended to remove those thorns which the children saw piercing the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And we live out this devotion in our lives by the daily recitation of the Rosary and particularly by means of the Five First Saturdays devotion, which I have written about elsewhere.
In doing these things as requested, we are living out the authentic message of Fatima so that one day, the Immaculate Heart of Mary is able to ‘triumph’ within each of us by obtaining for us the graces we need to overcome sin and so assisting us on the path to sanctity. Remember, She promised that this devotion “will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God” – what a wonderful promise!
And if enough people faithfully live out this message in this way, day after day in the midst of their quiet and hidden lives, then one day this Immaculate Heart will triumph not only within each of us but throughout the entire world.
It begins with us.