The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
and the Fatima Message
Msgr. Arthur Burton Calkins
While one might readily think
of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the idea of associating Fatima with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary might
seem much more forced – but, in fact, that is not so. From its very beginnings the phenomenon of Fatima bears
the imprint of the two Hearts. From a strictly theological perspective this must necessarily be true because
one can only understand the theology and the cultus of the Heart of Mary with reference to the Heart of Jesus –
and this is consistently verified in all that is associated with Fatima.
The primary witness of the
events of Fatima, of course, is Sister Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart dos Santos, O.C.D. who lived
from 30 March 1907 to 13 February 2005, dying at the advanced age of 97 and whose cause for beatification has now
been opened with the special permission of Pope Benedict XVI. 1 Hers is the third such cause in recent times to be opened by special papal concession prior to
the five-year waiting period after the death of a servant of God. Her little cousins, Francisco Marto (11
June 1908-4 April 1919) and Jacinta Marto (10 June 1910-20 February 1920) both died illiterate at a very young
age and were beatified at Fatima by Pope John Paul II on 13 May 2000. 2 Thus all of the testimony about Fatima comes from Sister Lucia who has left us six memoirs 3 , letters 4 and what we might call a final memoir 5 which she wrote in her final years and which summarizes her experiences and her meditations of a lifetime
on those profound experiences. It is of particular significance that this latter volume was explicitly “authorized
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”.
II. The Framework of the Apparitions
Sister Lucia began her very
first Memoir, written at the request of Dom José Alves Correia da Silva (1872-1957) before Christmas of
1935, in this way:
Having implored the protection of the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
our tender Mother, and sought light and grace at the foot of the Tabernacle, so as to write nothing that would
not be solely and exclusively for the glory of Jesus and of the most Blessed Virgin, I now take up this work, in spite of the repugnance I feel, since I can say almost nothing about Jacinta
without speaking either directly or indirectly about my miserable self. I obey, nevertheless, the will of
Your Excellency, which, for me is the expression of the will of our good God. I begin this task, then asking the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary to deign to bless it, and to make
use of this act of obedience to obtain the conversion of poor sinners, for whom Jacinta so generously sacrificed
Thus we note that, in the mind of the primary witness, the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are a fundamental
point of reference. They are mentioned twice in the first few lines of the memoir while Lucia also mentions
once that this undertaking is “solely and exclusively for the glory of Jesus and of the most Blessed Virgin”.
Here it should be made clear that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the language of theology and mysticism represent
the persons of Jesus and Mary with all of the affective resonances connoted by the word heart which I already touched
upon in my conference on “The Alliance of the Two Hearts and Mariology”. Further, it goes without saying
that the Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the God-man while the Heart of Mary is the symbol of a creature, even
if the most perfect human person conceivable. Thus, whenever Sister Lucia links the two hearts together the
Heart of Jesus is always given precedence.
Lucia continues in her third
As I have no free time at my disposal, I must make the most of the hours when we work in silence,
to recall and jot down, with the aid of paper and pencil which I keep hidden under my sewing, all
that the most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary want me to remember. 7
Concluding the First Memoir, she wrote:
And now, I have finished telling Your Excellency what I remember about Jacinta’s life.
I ask our Good God to deign to accept this act of obedience, that it may kindle in souls
a fire of love for the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 8
It is quite likely that in
writing this First Memoir, Lucia had in mind the three apparitions of the Angel of Peace, the Angel of Portugal,
in 1916, but it was only in the Second Memoir, finished on 21 November 1937 that she revealed these important preludes
to Our Lady’s six apparitions in 1917. She described her impressions of the Angel thus:
It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal
when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said:
“Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”
Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat
these words three times:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those
who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love You.”
Then rising, he said “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary
are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” 9
Profound adoration of God, an exercise of the theological virtues, a prayer of reparation are
taught by the Angel – and then he declares that “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your
supplications.” The connotations are not yet logically worked out as Sister Lucia will later develop them
in “Calls” from the Message of Fatima 10, but the foundation is already laid and the mediators of this ardent call to worship are precisely the
Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
The second apparition of the
Angel took place in the summer of 1917 and is sketched by Lucia in this way:
Suddenly, we saw beside us the same figure, or rather Angel, as it seemed to me.
“What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus
and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly
to the Most High.” 11
In effect, Sister Lucia devoted a chapter of Calls
to “the call to sacrifice” 12 She
We are all ill, we all have many defects and sins; hence we all have a duty to make sacrifices,
in union with Christ, the innocent victim, in reparation for our own sins and for those of our brothers and sisters,
because we are all members of the one and the same Mystical Body of the Lord. …
This is the Call of the Message: To make sacrifices as
an act of reparation and in supplication for the conversion of our brothers and sisters who have wandered off on
false and erroneous paths. 13
III. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary: Icons of Redemption and Coredemption
With the third apparition
of the Angel, we enter into the very heart of the mystery of the Eucharist as sacrifice. Let us listen to
the description which Lucia gives us in the Second Memoir. The immediate context is that the three shepherd
children were praying together the prayer which the Angel taught them during his first apparition with their foreheads
touching the ground:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love You …” I don’t know how many times we had
repeated this prayer, when an extraordinary light shone upon us. We sprang up to see what was happening,
and beheld the Angel. He was holding a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which
some drops of blood fell into the chalice. Leaving the chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down
beside us and made us repeat three times:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You
the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world,
in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You
the conversion of poor sinners.”
Then, rising, he took the chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred
Host to me, and shared the Blood from the chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so:
“Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men!
Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” 14
In Calls Sister Lucia offers a masterful catechesis based on this apparition 15 and with particular reference to our theme of the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary in the Fatima Message she offers us these incisive and limpid comments. They are somewhat lengthy, but
deserve to be presented in their entirety:
At this point, I ask myself: Why is it that, since the merits and prayer of Jesus Christ
are sufficient to make reparation for and to save the world, the Message invokes the merits of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary and calls on us, too, to pray, to make sacrifices, to offer reparation?
I have to say that I do not know! Nor do I know what explanation the theologians
of the Church would give me if I were to ask them. But I have meditated on, and
thought about this question. I open the Gospel and I see that from the very beginning Jesus Christ united
to his redemptive work the Immaculate Heart of Her whom He chose to be his Mother.
The work of our redemption began at the moment when the Word descended from Heaven
in order to assume a human body in the womb of Mary. From that moment, and for 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.
And we can think that the aspirations of the Heart of Mary were
completely identified with the aspirations of the Heart of Christ. Mary’s ideal had become the same as that
of Christ Himself, and the love in the Heart of Mary was the love in the Heart of Christ for the Father and for
all human beings; 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.
Since the Father entrusted his Son to Mary, enclosing Him for nine months within her chaste
virginal womb – and “All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and hear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means, God with
us).” (Mt. 1:22-23; Is. 7:14) – and since Mary of her own free will opened herself entirely
to whatever God willed to accomplish in her – “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord:
let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1:38) is what she said to the angel – in view of all this and by God’s disposition, Mary became, with Christ, the Coredemptrix of the human
Sister Lucia, with great modesty,
but with the sureness that belongs to one who spent her life, like Our Lady and under her guidance, “meditating
on these things in her heart,” 17
offers us a brilliant elucidation on Mary’s unique role in the mystery of our redemption. She asks herself:
Why is it that, since the merits and prayer of Jesus Christ are sufficient to make reparation
for and to save the world, the Message invokes the merits of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and calls on us, too,
to pray, to make sacrifices, to offer reparation?
And she admits: “I have to say that I do not know!” She readily acknowledges that
“the merits and prayer of Jesus Christ are sufficient to make reparation for and to save the world” and so she
asks why “the merits of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”? She even goes on to add “I [do not] know what explanation
the theologians of the Church would give me if I were to ask them.” The fact is that classical and traditional
Catholic theologians have consistently given the answer that she proceeded to give until at least the mid-twentieth
century when the word “Coredemptrix” was banished from use in the Second Vatican Council’s major treatment on Our
Lady in Lumen Gentium, chapter eight. The word was banished
from the conciliar text – unfortunately in my estimation – as an ecumenical gesture of good will to Protestants
18, but happily the doctrine was taught
more clearly than in any previous ecumenical council. 19 The problem remains, of course, that all too many contemporary mariologists have done their best
to minimize the import of the conciliar teaching which clearly states that
The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union
with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten
Son the intensity of his suffering. There she associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart,
lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her. 20
of the Catholic Church, in effect, summarizes the teaching on Redemption and Coredemption
– precisely what Sr. Lucia has been commenting on in this way:
No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer
himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses
and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive
sacrifice for all. 21
In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its
first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately
than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. 22
These magisterial texts, then, beautifully illustrate the profound value of the prayer taught
by the Angel in his third apparition and the commentary offered by Sister Lucia on this prayer. Once we understand
that the word “Coredemptrix” applied to Mary does not mean that she is equal to the Redeemer, but rather is his
helpmate as the “New Eve” beside the “New Adam” 23 and that her role is secondary and subordinate to his and entirely dependent upon it, I don’t believe
there is a better word to describe her mission in our redemption without resorting to complicated circumlocutions.
The word itself was used three times in discourses of Pope Pius XI and seven times in discourses by Pope John Paul
II. 24 The term cooperator, collaborator,
associate or ally in the work of redemption is generic and can refer to anyone. A term is needed which refers
to Mary’s altogether unique role and I know of none better than Coredemptrix once it is clear that this does not
put Mary on the same level with her Son.
Now many contemporary mariologists
are highly allergic not only to the term “Coredemptrix” but also to the doctrine which it represents. In
this regard the present Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. made a very significant admission
in his book on Sr. Lucia, The Last Seer of Fatima. He
acknowledged that there has been criticism about the use of the term “Coredemptrix” on the part of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical International Marian Academy, especially in light of the ecumenical
dialogue, and that that criticism was effectively supplanted by the “sober form” 25 in which Sister Lucia used the term no less that eight times in her
book. 26 This should be kept in
mind along with the fact that Calls has the distinction of being
“authorized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”.
IV. Our Share in the Work of Redemption
According to Monsignor Brunero
The conditions by which a doctrine is and must be considered Church doctrine are totally and
amply verifiable in Marian Coredemption: its foundation is indirect and implicit, yet solid, in the Scriptures;
extensive in the Fathers and Theologians; unequivocal in the Magisterium. It follows, therefore, that the
Coredemption belongs to the Church’s doctrinal patrimony.27
I believe that we can make the same assertion about “the alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary” which basically has to do with the unique collaboration of Jesus and Mary in the work of our redemption.
Their Hearts are not only the symbols of their persons, one divine, the other human, but they are also the icons
respectively of Redemption and Coredemption. This is so in such a way that even the “little ones” of the
Lord can readily understand, yet remains a stumbling block for the worldly-wise.
The distinction between Mary’s
unique cooperation in the work of our redemption and our own was beautifully drawn out by the late Pope John Paul
II in a catechesis which he gave on 9 April 1997:
Down the centuries the Church has reflected on Mary’s cooperation in the work of salvation, deepening
the analysis of her association with Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. St. Augustine already gave the Blessed
Virgin the title “cooperator” in the Redemption (cf. De Sancta Virginitate, 6; PL 40, 399), a title which emphasizes Mary’s joint
but subordinate action with Christ the Redeemer.
Reflection has developed along these lines, particularly since the 15th century. Some feared there might be a desire to put Mary on the same
level as Christ. Actually the Church’s teaching makes a clear distinction between the Mother and the Son
in the work of salvation, explaining the Blessed Virgin’s subordination, as cooperator, to the one Redeemer.
Moreover, when the Apostle Paul says: “For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor.
3:9), he maintains the real possibility for man to cooperate with God. The collaboration of believers, which
obviously excludes any equality with him, is expressed in the proclamation of the Gospel and in their personal
contribution to its taking root in human hearts.
However, applied to Mary, the term “cooperator” acquires a specific
meaning. The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they
endeavor to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, cooperated during the event itself and in the
role of mother; thus her cooperation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated
in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ
and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity. 28
The Pope makes clear, then,
that both Mary’s cooperation in the work of redemption and ours is truly human and always subordinate to the work
of Christ, but a key distinction is that Mary cooperated “during the event itself and in the role of mother”, that she “merited the salvation
of all mankind” in a way subordinate to Christ and
that “she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity”.
Our cooperation, on the other hand, “takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits [we] endeavor to spread
by prayer and sacrifice”. Scholastic theologians thus say that Mary’s cooperation is in
actu primo, in the actual working out of our salvation, and also in
actu secundo, in distributing the fruits of salvation. Our cooperation, however,
is not in actu primo, but only in actu
secundo. All of this the Pope managed to say in a very concise way.
But collaboration in actu secundo is not unimportant; indeed that is our special call to enter into
the “alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary”. The Message of Fatima makes this clear in a very emphatic
way in calling us to prayer, penance and reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The third apparition
of the Angel makes explicit the call to reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in these words: “Take and
drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their
crimes and console your God.” 29
Sister Lucia calls us to this collaboration in commenting on the first part of the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity:
Thus, having led us to offer to the Most Holy Trinity the merits of Jesus Christ and those of
the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is the Mother of Christ and of his Mystical Body, the Message then goes on to
ask us to contribute also the prayers and sacrifices of all of us who are members of that one same Body of Christ
received from Mary, made divine in the Word, offered on the Cross, present in the Eucharist, constantly growing
in the members of the Church. 30
V. The Mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
In classical theology, of
which, unfortunately, only too many are ignorant today, Our Lady’s role in distributing the graces of salvation
which she has helped to merit for us, is referred to as her mediation of all graces. This is her cooperation
in the work of our redemption in actu secundo, which differs
from ours in terms of its magnitude and extension. That Mary is our Mediatrix with the Mediator, that her
Heart mediates with his on our behalf is consistently underscored in the Message of Fatima. I offer here
but some examples. In the Third Memoir, finished on 31 August 1941, Lucia offers us this profound insight
into the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
As I have already written in the second account, Our Lady told me on June 13th, 1917, that she would never forsake me, and that her
Immaculate Heart would be my refuge and the way that would lead me to God. As she
spoke these words, she opened her hands, and from them streamed a light that penetrated
to our inmost hearts. I think that, on that day (of the second apparition), the
main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
just as on the other two occasions it was intended to do, as it seems to me, with regard to God and the mystery
of the most Holy Trinity.
From that day onwards, our hearts were filled with a more ardent love for the Immaculate
Heart of Mary. From time to time, Jacinta said to me: “The Lady said that her
Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Don’t
you love that? Her Heart is so good! How I love it!”31
Here the images of Our Lady’s mediation are quite striking. Her Heart will be Lucia’s “refuge
and the way that will lead her to God.” Secondly there is the image of Mary’s hands opening and the light
streaming from them. This is reminiscent of the vision of Saint Catherine Labouré, but here there
is the understanding that through Mary’s mediation one can receive special insights into the Most Blessed Trinity
as well as into her own Immaculate Heart.
Lucia goes on to report to
us some of the extraordinary insights of her little cousin Jacinta:
You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody
that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the
Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side. Tell them
also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, since God has entrusted it to her. If I could only put
into the hearts of all, the fire that is burning within my own heart, and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus
and Mary so much!” 32
Here we may note Jacinta’s firm conv iction about the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
with God and “that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side”, a confirmation
that the recognition of the “alliance of these Two Hearts” is the will of Jesus.
According to Lucia’s Fourth
Memoir, finished by 8 December 1941, her little cousin Francisco had a remarkable insight into the light streaming
from Our Lady which penetrated their hearts and enabled them to “see Our Lord”.
He said to me on one occasion: “I loved seeing the Angel, but I loved still more seeing Our Lady.
What I loved most of all was to see Our Lord in that light from Our Lady which penetrated
our hearts. I love God so much! But He is very sad because of so many sins!
We must never commit any sins again.” 33
Here is another of his testimonies recorded by Lucia:
At the second Apparition on June 13th,
1917, Francisco was deeply impressed by the light which, as I related in the second account,
Our Lady communicated to us at the moment when she said: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the
way which will lead you to God.” At the time, he [Francisco] did not seem to grasp
the significance of what was happening, perhaps because it was not given to him to hear the accompanying words.
For this reason, he asked later:
“Why did Our Lady have a Heart in her hand, spreading out over
the world that great light which is God?” You were with Our Lady in the light which went down toward the
earth, and Jacinta was with me in the light which rose towards heaven!”
“That is because you and Jacinta will soon go to heaven,” I replied, “while I, with the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, will remain for some time longer on earth.” …
He remarked sometimes:
“These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said,
and that you are to learn to read! How would they feel if they only knew what she
showed to us in God, in her Immaculate Heart, in that great light! But this is
a secret; it must not be spoken about. It’s better that no one should know it.” 34
Here let us observe that the light streams from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “spreading out over the world that great light which is God.”
The light streaming from Our
Lady, from her hands and from her Heart are all graphic images of her mediation of graces and seems to be a special
feature of the Fourth Memoir which supplies details not found in the first three. Here is Lucia’s description
of the first apparition of Our Lady on 13 May 1917 in the Fourth Memoir in which her description of Our Lady’s
appearance makes one think of the description of the “Woman clothed with the sun” in the twelfth chapter of the
Book of Revelation:
We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holmoak, we held a Lady
all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light
more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine
We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet
from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated
from her. …
As she pronounced these last words “… the grace of God will be your comfort”, Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed
from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in
God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then,
moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts:
“O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed
VI. Consecration and Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The opening of Our Lady’s
hands on 13 July 1917 was perhaps the most conspicuous illustration of the mediation of her Immaculate Heart.
Here is Lucia’s narration of Mary’s exhortation and revelation on that occasion:
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times to Jesus, especially whenever you make
‘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.’”
As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands once
more, as she had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a sea of fire. … Terrified
and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save
them, God wishes to establish in the world 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 during 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 its 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, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. 36
This July 1917 apparition manifests the great efficacy of the mediation of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary. I shall try to enumerate some of the most important characteristics of this mediation.
As above, we note the opening
of Our Lady’s hands and the light streaming from them. Now there is a new development: the light from
Our Lady’s hands penetrates the earth to the point of revealing hell to the three terrified children. Not
only does this horrifying revelation come about through Our Lady’s mediation, but that same mediation sustains
them and keeps them from dying of fright as they look instinctively to her for help.
Then let us note that she
tells the children that God wants to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart as a means of preventing people
from falling into hell. Thus, as she collaborated in the work of redemption during the earthly life of Jesus
in actu primo, God now wants her mediation in
actu secundo, precisely in the form of devotion to her Immaculate Heart, in order to
save souls from hell. If people accept this Gospel call to conversion and act on it with recourse to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, “many souls will be saved and there will be peace.” If, however, “people do not
cease offending God, a worse [war] will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.” To prevent the evils
which will come upon an unrepentant world, Our Lady says that she will come to ask for two specific acts of devotion
to her Immaculate Heart: consecration and reparation. The consecration in question is that of Russia
and the act of reparation is the Communion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays.
Let me point out just one
fascinating feature of this request. In that apparition of 13 July 1917 Our Lady was effectively stating
that the fundamental elements of devotion to her Immaculate Heart, which is explicitly willed by God, are consecration and reparation. Now what is particularly interesting is that
Pius XI, the Pope whom she mentions and who will only be elected in 1922, was to write in his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor of 8 May 1928 that the two principal acts of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are precisely consecration and reparation. 37 Here we see the truly remarkable harmony between what we may call the “hierarchical order” and
the “charismatic order”. Almost eleven years before Pius XI solemnly enumerated the principal acts of devotion
to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as consecration and reparation, Our Lady speaks of the principal acts of devotion
to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as consecration and reparation in strict analogy to devotion to the Sacred
Heart of Jesus. It should also be pointed out that reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a fundamental
feature of the Message of Fatima which is already presented to the shepherd children in the third apparition of
the Angel at Valhinos in 1916.38
What I want to underscore
here is the statement made by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort in his Treatise on
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
We consecrate ourselves at one and the same time to the most holy Virgin and to Jesus Christ:
to the most holy Virgin as to the perfect means which Jesus Christ has chosen whereby to unite Himself to us, and
us to Him; and to our Lord as to our Last End, to Whom as our Redeemer and our God, we owe all we are. 39
As we already saw in the conference on “The Alliance of the Two Hearts and Mariology”, there
is an analogy between Jesus and Mary, between his Heart and her Heart, between consecration to his Heart and to
her Heart – an analogy, but not an identity. Consecration to her and to her Heart is always a means of arriving
at him and His Heart. Thus we see that consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
is justified on the basis of the concept of analogy and mediation. We consecrate
ourselves to Mary in order to belong more entirely to Jesus. Saint Louis-Marie gives us the rationale in
All our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; and therefore
the most perfect of all devotions is, without any doubt, that which the most perfectly conforms, unites and consecrates
us to Jesus Christ. Now Mary being the most conformed of all creatures to Jesus Christ, it follows that of
all devotions, that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to our Lord is devotion to His holy Mother, and
that the more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus. 40
This, of course, seems like utter foolishness to our Protestant brothers and sisters and – unfortunately
– to not a few of our Catholic brothers and sisters, but this is part of the mysterious designs of God who wills
Mary’s mediation as the most direct way to Jesus. Now the specific plea of Our Lady at Fatima, clarified subsequently
to Sister Lucia at Tuy, Spain on 13 June 1929 41, was the consecration of Russia, but the principle remains valid for all.
The second major act of devotion
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary formulated in the July apparition of Our Lady is that of reparation. Just
as she would come later to Sister Lucia to ask for the consecration of Russia, so the Lord himself would also come
later to her to ask for the Communion of reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart on the
five First Saturdays of the month. This happened in Pontevedra, Spain on 10 December 1925 and on 15 February
1926. 42 As I already indicated
in my conference on “The Alliance of the Two Hearts and Mariology”, the theology of reparation to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary remains virgin terrain. It is repeatedly illustrated in the lives of the three shepherd children
in all four memoirs, but its theological elaboration remains to be further explored.
VII. The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
In the July apparition to
the children Mary states:
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, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. 43
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of
Mary is not based on any condition. It is an absolute declaration and it is based on God’s infallible word
about the Woman who will crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) and the Woman clothed with the sun (Rev. 12).
From all that we have seen thus far, it is clear that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart will prepare the way
for the triumph of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It could not be otherwise. God has ordained that
the mediation of the Woman, of her Immaculate Heart, should be a fundamental component in the ultimate victory
over sin and death.
There is no question, then,
about the ultimate triumph of the Immaculate Heart. The only question is when and that is a question that
we can help determine. To the extent that we accept and live what Sister Lucia calls the “Calls” of the Message of Fatima, we will hasten that triumph. That is our insertion
into the “Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary”. Sister Lucia puts it this way:
Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of his Son – the Mother of Jesus Christ – and the Mother
of his Mystical Body, the Church, which is her spiritual progeny. When He was dying in agony on the cross,
Jesus gave her to us all as Mother, in the person of St. John: “Behold your Mother” (Jn. 19:27). We are the children of the suffering and bitterness of the heart of Jesus Christ,
and of the heart of his Mother, and ours.
It is for this reason that all suffering united with his completes our dedication and
commitment to God and contributes to the salvation of our brothers and sisters who have gone astray. 44
To the extent that we ignore
those calls, we will retard that triumph. The beginning of the conversion of Russia was delayed for many
years because of inaction regarding its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lord himself said
to Sister Lucia:
Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have
already spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars, and persecutions of the Church; the Holy Father
will have much to suffer. 45
The King of France referred to was Louis XVI who consecrated his kingdom to the Sacred Heart
of Jesus in his prison cell in 1792 before he was led off to the guillotine. 46
Finally, I am personally and
profoundly convinced that there is a fundamental prerequisite for the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart:
the recognition, celebration, proclamation in teaching and preaching and the solemn definition that Mary, already
acknowledged as the Immaculate, Ever-Virgin Mother of God, gloriously Assumed into Heaven, is also Coredemptrix,
Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate for the people of God. This is clearly and repeatedly illustrated in
the Message of Fatima and Mary’s Heart is the most perfect symbol of this role which God has given her in union
with the Redemptive mission of her Son. This, I believe is the specific meaning of what Blessed Jacinta Marto
was expressing when she said: “Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate
Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side.” 47
1. Cf. L’Osservatore Romano
of 15 February 2008, p. 1.
2. Cf. Andreas Resch,
C.Ss.R., I Beati di Giovanni Paolo II, Vol. 4: 1996-2000 (Vatican City: Libreria
Editrice Vaticana, 2004) 321-324.
3. The first four memoirs are contained in Louis Kondor, S.V.D. (Ed.), Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words trans. Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Rosary (Fatima:
Postulation Centre, 1976) = Kondor. The fifth and sixth memoirs are contained in Louis Kondor, S.V.D. (Ed.),
Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, Volume II: 5th and 6th Memoirs trans. by Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Rosary and of Mosteiro
de Santa Maria (Fatima, Portugal: Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 1999).
4. Cf. Antonio Maria Martins, S.J. (Ed. and trans.), Memórias
e Cartas de Irmã Lúcia (Porto, Portugal: Simão Guimarães,
Filhos, Lda., 1973) = Martins; Antonio Maria Martins, S.J. (Ed.), Documents on Fatima
& Memoirs of Sister Lucia (Alexandria, SD: Fatima Family Apostolate, 1992).
5. Sister Lucia of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, O.C.D., “Calls” from the Message of Fatima, trans. by Sisters of Mosteiro de Santa Maria
and Convento de N.S. do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon (Fatima: Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 2002) authorized by the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith = Calls.
6. Kondor M 1:16 (Henceforth the number following M refers to the volume
number of the Memoir and the number after the colon refers to the page number). Italics my own.
7. Kondor M 1:20. Italics my own.
8. Kondor M 1:46. Italics my own.
9. Kondor M 2:62. Italics my own.
11. Kondor M 2:62. Italics my own.
13. Calls 101, 103.
Italics in text.
14. Kondor M 2:63; M 4:152. Italics my own.
16. Calls 114-115.
Italics my own except for those used for citations from Scripture.
18. Cf. Arthur Burton Calkins, “Marian Coredemption and the Contemporary Papal
Magisterium: The Truth of Marian Coredemption, the Papal Magisterium and the Present Situation” in Maria “Unica Cooperatrice alla Redenzione”. Atti del Simposio sul Mistero della Corredenzione Mariana,
Fatima, Portogallo 3-7 Maggio 2005 (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate,
2005) [= TMC] 139-142. Cf. also Brunero Gherardini, “Ecumenismo
e Corredenzione” in the same volume 463-475.
19. Cf. Lumen Gentium #56-58,
61; TMC 142-144.
21. Catechism of the Catholic Church [= CCC] #616.
22. CCC #618. (then scroll down to #618)
24. Cf. TMC I 56-158.
Since writing that article I have discovered a seventh use of the term by Pope John Paul II on 10 December 1980.
25. Tarcisio Bertone con Giuseppe De Carli, L’Ultima
Veggente di Fatima. I Miei Colloqui con Suor Lucia (Milan: Rizzoli, 2007)
26. Cf. Calls 115, 137, 178, 195, 266, 278, 279, 294.
27. Brunero Gherardini, “The Coredemption of Mary: Doctrine of the Church”
in Mary at the Foot of the Cross, Vol. 2 (New Bedford:
Academy of the Immaculate, 2002) 48.
28. Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II XX/1 (1997) 621-622 [Pope John Paul II, Thetókos – Woman, Mother, Disciple:
A Catechesis on Mary, Mother of God (Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 2000) 185-186].
Italics my own.
31. Kondor M 3:107. Italics my own.
32. Kondor M 3:111-112. Italics my own.
33. Kondor M 4:124. Italics my own.
34. Kondor M 4:126. Italics my own. Cf. also M 4:161.
35. Kondor M 4:158. Italics my own.
36. Kondor M 4:162. Italics my own.
37. Acta Apostolicae Sedis
20 (1928) 167-169.
41. Cf. Kondor Appendix 2:199-200.
42. Cf. Kondon Appendix 1:189-197.
43. Kondor M 4:162. Italics my own.
45. Kondor Appendix 2:200.
46. Cf. Margaret Williams, R.S.C.J., The Sacred Heart
in the Life of the Church (NY: Sheed & Ward, 1957) 135, 138.
47. Kondor 3:111-112. Italics my own.
Copyright ©; Msgr Arthur Calkins 2014
Version 21st February 2014