In the message of Fatima, there is a repeated request for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is one of the most obvious calls of Fatima. What is perhaps less well known is the divine desire that this devotion “be along side of” devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What exactly does this mean? To begin to answer that question, we will cite the specific references from Fatima. At first they are more subtle and later they become more explicit.
Preparing the Way
The Guardian Angel of Portugal, the Angel of Peace, three times appeared to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta in 1916 to prepare them for the coming apparitions of our Lady. During each of these visits he made reference to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and each time it is in a single phrase.
In the first apparition in the spring of 1916, after teaching the children a beautiful prayer of love for God and of intercession for souls, the Angel instructed the children: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.”
Then again in the second apparition, during the summer, he told them, “Pray! Pray very much! The most holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”
In the third and final apparition that fall, the Angel taught them another beautiful prayer, this time of adoration and reparation: “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.”
Heaven’s messages are rich with meaning and depth of truth. What is the purpose of referring to Jesus and Mary in this way? What is the meaning? Let’s explore two more references from the Fatima message, this time from after the public apparitions were concluded.
One Single Devotion
After the six monthly apparitions of our Lady, Lucia was visiting Jacinta who, lying sick in bed, knew that she would not be on earth much longer. This little seer, whose wisdom and insight were divinely gifted, pleaded with Lucia, “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.”
Then, many years later as if to renew and give strength to the clarity of this call, our Lord Himself confirmed His desire. In response to Sr. Lucia’s question why He would not convert Russia without the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, He said, “Because I desire My Church to recognize this favor as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and, in this way, to extend the devotion to her Immaculate Heart together with My Sacred Heart.”
From all that we have seen and heard from the messages and messengers of Fatima we can understand clearly that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are, by God’s eternal design, to be loved together, alongside one another. It is not to be two separate devotions but one single devotion. What is the reason for this? What is the truth underlying this important development in devotion to the Two Hearts?
O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins and giving us your Mother on Calvary! O Heart of Mary pierced by sorrow and sharing in the sufferings of your divine Son for our redemption! O sacred union of these Two Hearts! Praised be the God of Love who united them together!
May we unite our hearts and every heart so that all hearts may live in unity in imitation of that sacred unity which exists in these Two Hearts. Triumph, O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary! Reign, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!—in our hearts, in our homes and families, in the hearts of those who as yet do not know you, and in all the nations of the world. Establish in the hearts of all mankind the sovereign triumph and reign of your Two Hearts so that the earth may resound from pole to pole with one cry: Blessed forever be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!
(Published by the Legionaries of Christ)
The Union of Their Hearts
Most simply, the answer is that devotion to the Two Hearts is meant to be founded upon the reality of the Two Hearts, that is, that these Two Most Precious Hearts are truly one; they are most deeply united. We will turn, for further understanding of this point, to a French saint whose statue is one of the four that adorn the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima. This is the saint whose feast was chosen by our Lady as the day to appear to the three children for the fourth time, in August.
On August 13th, the children of Fatima were held in custody by civil officials in an attempt to thwart the monthly apparition, which was indeed delayed. Because of local protests, the three seers were released on the 15th of August. Instead of appearing on her Assumption, our Lady chose to wait four more days until August 19th. Even when man fails to cooperate with heaven’s plans, God shows His power and mercy by writing straight with the crooked lines that our “no’s” give Him. What is the Mother of God pointing to in this choice of hers? What is the meaning of this decision?
August 19th is the feast day of Saint John Eudes. On this date in 1680, a faithful and holy priest left this world with the names of Jesus and Mary on his lips. Having ardently lived and proclaimed devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, he was declared by Pope Leo XIII in 1903 the “Father, Doctor and Apostle of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary.” Not only did he author the Liturgical Offices and Masses for their Hearts, he also wrote prolifically and preached passionately about them. He had a penetrating insight into the love they had for each other. In his book, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Saint John exclaimed, “What union, what intimacy, what understanding and correspondence between these two Hearts! . . . The Holy Heart of Mary was, therefore, always intimately united with the Sacred Heart of Her divine Son . . . She always desired what He desired and also consented to act and to suffer so as to fulfill the work of our redemption.” (1)
Our Union with Their Hearts
What then, is our response? How are we to practice this one single devotion to the united Hearts of Jesus and Mary? Our Lady has pointed out the way to us: through consecration to her Immaculate Heart. She asked for this not only for Russia but for every nation, every family, and every heart.
Whether it is the first time or the tenth, this centennial of Fatima is an opportune moment to consecrate ourselves and our families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are many ways to prepare for and make (or renew) one’s total consecration. From St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary and 33 day preparation, to Father Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory; from home enthronements to simple acts of personal, daily entrustment. No matter what method, what length of preparation or what particular prayer is used, the importance of believing in and living this union with our Lady and her Son is what is primary.
Echoing the call of she whom he credited with saving his life on May 13, 1981, Saint John Paul II tells us,
Our act of consecration refers ultimately to the Heart of her Son, for as the Mother of Christ, she is wholly united to His redemptive mission. As at the marriage feast of Cana, when she said, “Do whatever He tells you,” Mary directs all things to her Son, who answers our prayers and forgives our sins. Thus by dedicating ourselves to the Heart of Mary we discover a sure way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, symbol of the merciful love of our Savior. (2)
Our Lady’s Heart is the surest and purest pathway to union with her Son’s Heart. There is nothing in her most pure Heart that is kept from Him. When we consecrate ourselves to her, we can be sure that all we give her will be received with utmost pleasure by her Son. Everything we are and have, all that we can offer now passes through the holy Heart of Mary, and is given to Jesus, as only she can. He will refuse nothing from her and she will keep nothing from Him. We, and all that we give Them, then become immersed in that infinite union of the Two Hearts. Here we will receive the comfort and safety that we each long for and the love and mercy that we each need. There is no greater love than this.
- John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, trans. Charles Di Targiani and Ruth Hauser (New York: P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 1948)
- John Paul II, Address to the Participants of the Study Week of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Friday, Vatican Website, 26 September 1986, sec. 3, para. 2, accessed May 11, 2017, https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul ii/en/speeches/1986/september/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19860922_simposio-maria-gesu.html
—By Sr. Teresa of the Two Hearts