With the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance to the visionaries in Fatima, there has been a renewed interest in meaning of her visit. There has been much ink spilled, especially since the release of “Third Secret” in 2000, interpreting all that she did and said. At the heart of all the visions, miracles and “secrets” is the perennial call to pray and do penance. But there is one aspect that has, for the most part, remained a mystery. What did Our Lady mean when she told the visionaries that “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”?
To understand what Our Lady meant when she told the visionaries of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart we have to examine a most fundamental truth. It is the Immaculate Heart that paves the way for the Sacred Heart. This is not based on some pretended religiosity and obscure connection but the most basic truth that in the fullness of time, it was the Immaculate Heart, a heart completely open to God’s will that led to the creation of the Sacred Heart. Not only does the Immaculate Heart pave the way in the fullness of time, but also at the end of time. That is it was the Immaculate Heart that brought about the Incarnation and thus we should expect that it would be instrumental in His return. Just was we know that it is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is Our Lord both in His Divinity and His humanity that will reign in the end, we can also know that Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will reign as well.
The Immaculate Heart
In his theological commentary on the Third Secret of Fatima, the future Pope Benedict XVI explained what it meant to have a devotion to the Immaculate Heart. He said, in “biblical language, the “heart” indicates the center of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8, the ‘immaculate heart’ is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore ‘sees God’. To be ‘devoted’ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat—‘your will be done’—the defining center of one’s whole life.” His point is that the Immaculate Heart reigns in our hearts when we allow our own hearts to be cultivated after hers.
Mary’s heart is one that is one that does not grow weary because she is always expecting God to act personally in her life. Evidence her reaction to the appearance of St. Gabriel. Throughout the Old Testament record, the appearance of an angel always elicits great fear in the visionary. The first words spoken by the angel is “do not be afraid.” But Mary seems to expect the angel and is clearly not shaken by his appearance; even if his manner of greeting her is troubling. Most of the artistic renderings of the Annunciation show her at prayer, but there is little proof of this other than pious tradition. She was just as likely working as sitting in contemplation. She knew God can and does come in either situation. She travels to the Hill Country to visit Elizabeth “in haste” because she is excited to see the mighty power of God at work. She believes and professes that nothing is impossible for God. Her response to St. Gabriel’s proposal is “let it be done to me according to thy word.” Later when she arrives at the home of her cousin Elizabeth she proclaims the “great things that God has done for me.” It is this change in preposition that shows how deep her trust in God truly is. A living faith like that of Our Lady is one that sees those things that God does to us, ultimately are for us. But this is a radical trust that must come from the heart and be filled with fiat.
How the Immaculate Heart Triumphs
How is it that the Immaculate Heart will triumph? Building on Cardinal Ratzinger’s commentary we can say that the reign of the Immaculate Heart is not so much about the reign of Mary as Queen per se, but a devotion to her spirit. It is by the wholesale adoption of this spirit of the Immaculate Heart. The Kingdom comes when “Thy will is done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is only this spirit of fiat, that is, the spirit of wanting nothing more than God’s will that will bring about the fullness of the Kingdom of God.
We might see how this is done individually, but how can an entire culture adopt this stance? This is why Our Lady so vehemently desires the First Saturday devotion. It is the Communion of Reparation that will bring about this reign. When all the children begin to act like Mommy and willingly go to the foot of the Cross and stay with Jesus. This is no symbolic gesture but instead a literal one. We go to the foot of the Cross each time we go to Mass and on First Saturdays we go with Our Lady in reparation for the offenses against her Immaculate Heart—not because she is overly sensitive, but because without reparation by those children that love her, her spirit of fiat will never spread. There are two things always at the heart of Christian culture—Mary and the Mass. Where devotion to Our Lady thrives, so too does the Mass. Where the Mass is seen as the “source and summit” love for the Immaculate Heart grows.
Ironically there has been so much controversy over whether or not John Paul II consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart or not, that we have neglected the other part of Our Lady’s request of the First Saturday Communion of Reparation. While we have very little control over whether the Pope performed or has yet to perform the Consecration of Russia, we do have control over the spread of this practice. The best way to bring about the reign of the Immaculate Heart and hasten the reign of the Sacred Heart is also the best way to heal our culture.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, reign in our hearts and show us the way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.