In the End, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Will Triumph
To say that the events of Fatima have captured the imagination of people would be something of an understatement. Millions have made a pilgrimage there and many more say the “Fatima prayer” every day as part of the Rosary. Blessed Pope John Paul II famously credited his survival of the assassination attempt against him to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, whose feast day is today. And earlier this morning, in the midst of so much violence and suffering around the globe, Pope Francis re-consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This follows earlier consecrations, beginning with Pope Pius XII in October 1942.
Why so much interest? What is the meaning and message of Fatima?
The Church has always venerated the Blessed Virgin Mary and as early as the 11th century there were devotions to her Immaculate Heart. This has become especially important since Fatima. It was there, from May 13 to October 13, 1917, in the midst of the horrors of World War I, that a radiant Lady in white appeared to three humble shepherd children, Lucia Santos and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, asking for penance and prayers to save souls. Said Blessed John Paul at the beatification Mass for Francisco and Jacinta, “According to the divine plan, ‘a woman clothed with the sun’ (Rv 12:1), came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a mother’s voice and heart.”
The young seers reported that the Lady warned that there would be much suffering in the world, including an even greater war to follow, and they said that she showed them visions of both poor sinners suffering in Hell and the journey of the Church through a time of violence, persecution, and martyrdom, with a “bishop in white” being shot down. However, they also noted that the Lady assured them that notwithstanding all of the great evils that are thrust upon mankind, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
During a pilgrimage to Fatima, Pope Benedict XVI explained, “At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart.” By entrusting ourselves to Mary, which always leads to her Son, with this faith, we have the blessed hope that regardless of all of the great hardship in this world, our Lord in his infinite love has not abandoned us.
Shedding further light on this timely message, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in his Theological Commentary on Fatima, that the promise “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph” means that “the Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Savior into the world – because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time.”
The Church thus rejoices this day that our Holy Father Pope Francis has renewed the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother Mary. We offer our prayers, confident that she is full of grace and blessed among women. While we may not see the future, we can hear today in the voice of the Church the assurance that in her, our Holy Queen and Mother of Mercy, we will find our life, our sweetness and our hope for ourselves and for our world.