We may already have a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but maybe we don’t realize the strong connection of this devotion to Fatima. Let’s see how both fit together and what Our Lady is teaching us. As we learn from her, the next step for us is to put her teachings into practice for our good and the good of the world.
The June 13, 1917, apparition marked the first time Our Lady spoke about her Immaculate Heart, and she also had something to say directly to Lucia. She made it clear that ten-year-old Lucia would have to stay on earth longer. “Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth,” Mary told her. “He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”
When Lucia asked if she was to remain in the world alone, our Blessed Mother consoled her, saying, “I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.”
So far, we see that it is Jesus, Mary’s Son, who wants to make her known and loved, with devotion established in the world to her Immaculate Heart. And the Immaculate Heart will be not only our comfort but the way that will lead us to God. Wow! It couldn’t be clearer than that — reason enough why we should be devoted to the Immaculate Heart.
Recounting that June apparition, Lucia gave this description of the scene:
The moment she said the last words, opening her hands, she transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which was rising to heaven, and I in the part spreading over the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation.
Right there, Lucia hinted at why our Blessed Mother would later ask for the reparation to her Immaculate Heart by instituting the Five First Saturdays devotion.
The following month, during the July 13 apparition, Our Lady told the children in detail about her Immaculate Heart, the reparation that heaven asked for, and what would happen if people ignored this request. Another hint came during the October 13 apparition, when Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Sorrows. She again made it perfectly clear eight years later when she appeared to Lucia.
Notice the specific reference to her heart that Our Lady gave the children in this short prayer: “Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Let’s remind ourselves who it was that asked for this devotion: her Son, Jesus.
Then, in the July 13 apparition, after Our Lady had shown the children a vision of hell, where poor sinners go, she told them, “It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”
During the same apparition, Our Lady referred twice more to her Immaculate Heart when she called for the consecration of Russia and the Five First Saturdays devotion. Our Blessed Mother didn’t give the details of the Five First Saturdays devotion yet. That was to come later. But she made clear what would happen concerning the devotion to her Immaculate Heart: “If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred, and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated. But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
The triumph will come through her Immaculate Heart. Nothing and no one will prevent this. We just have to make sure we’re helping Our Lady by living out her requests because heaven wants our cooperation and devotion.
Later, apparitions to Sister Lucia continued this same theme. The major one on December 10, 1925, when Our Lady appeared to her in the convent in Pontevedra, Spain, bears repeating because it needs to be fulfilled today more urgently than ever.
Lucia would describe the visit, saying, her “dear Mother”
came with the Child Jesus standing on a luminous cloud by her side.
“Our Lady, as if wanting to instill courage, rested her hand on my shoulder, and as she did so, she showed me her Immaculate Heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. The Child Jesus said, ‘Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.’”Carmel of Coimbra, A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary (Washington, NJ: World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, 2015), 158.
Then the Blessed Virgin Mary said to Lucia:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.Carmel of Coimbra, A Pathway, 158.
Lucia continued to receive visions reinforcing the importance of devotion to the Immaculate Heart. On February 15, 1926, the Child Jesus appeared to Lucia and asked, “And have you spread through the world what our heavenly Mother requested of you?”
Then, three years later, on June 6, 1929, at the convent in Tuy, Spain, another major supernatural event happened — Lucia saw a vision of the Holy Trinity. Jesus appeared crucified, and, from the wound in His side, drops ran down upon a Host and fell into a chalice below. Lucia writes, “Beneath the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady, and in her hand was her Immaculate Heart. (It was Our Lady of Fatima, with her Immaculate Heart in her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames).”
What our Blessed Mother requested during this apparition ties in to the July 13, 1917, apparition. At the same time, the connection between Fatima and the Eucharist again appeared during this vision, which contained a Host and a chalice with Jesus’ blood falling into it.
This article is adapted from a chapter in The Fruits of Fatima: A Century of Signs and Wonders. It is available as an ebook or paperback from Sophia Institute Press.