And so she calls us. She not only calls us to be converted: she calls us to accept her motherly help to return to the source of Redemption.— St. John Paul II, Homily, May 13, 1982
The third week of Advent is ending. Hopefully and prayerfully, you are growing in virtue. You are on a mini pilgrimage, after all. In today’s reflection, St. John Paul II will teach us about the meaning of our pilgrimage through life. St. John Paul II spoke about how Our Lady of Fatima “calls us.” He said she asks us to receive her motherly help. What does he mean? What if we are not particularly close to Mary? Let’s look.
On May 13, 1982, St. John Paul II went on a pilgrimage to Fatima to observe and acknowledge the first anniversary of the attempt on his life and the sixty-fifth anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima. He delivered a powerful homily there and spoke about Mother Mary’s presence in our lives, God’s mercy, spiritual motherhood, the need for conversion and repentance, the Rosary, the meaning of the Consecration, and God’s love. He lamented the state of the world today, noting that many people have gone astray, but also that there is great hope. He said his heart rejoiced with hope at the Consecration he was carrying out.
In one part of his homily, he explained how Our Lord gave us His Mother and about Christ’s heart being pierced:
On the Cross, Christ said: “Woman, behold, your son!”
With these words he opened in a new way his Mother’s heart. A little later, the Roman soldier’s spear pierced the side of the Crucified One. That pierced heart became a sign of the redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.St. John Paul II, “Mary’s Message of Love,” homily (May 13, 1982), no. 8,
On that special anniversary, the pontiff spoke of Mary’s Immaculate Heart and how it is united spiritually with her Son’s Heart:
The Immaculate Heart of Mary, opened with the words “Woman, behold, your son!” is spiritually united with the heart of her Son opened by the soldier’s spear. Mary’s heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering himself for them on the Cross, until the soldier’s spear struck that blow.
St. John Paul II explained the meaning of the consecration of the world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart:
Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of life that sprang from Golgotha. This Fountain pours forth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made continually for the sins of the world. It is a ceaseless source of new life and holiness.
Consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother means returning beneath the Cross of the Son. It means consecrating this world to the pierced Heart of the Savior, bringing it back “to the very source of its Redemption.” Redemption is always greater than man’s sin and the “sin of the world.” The power of the Redemption is infinitely superior to the whole range of evil in man and the world.
The pope assured us that Mary is acutely aware and that she calls us to conversion. But, not only that: she wants us to accept her motherly help.
The Heart of the Mother is aware of this, more than any other heart in the whole universe, visible and invisible.
And so she calls us. She not only calls us to be converted: she calls us to accept her motherly help to return to the source of Redemption.
St. John Paul II pointed to his Consecration and our need to turn to Mary. It is not a one-time thing! He said:
Once more this act is being done. Mary’s appeal is not for just once. Her appeal must be taken up by generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new “signs of the times.” It must be unceasingly returned to. It must ever be taken up anew.
The pontiff spoke about the meaning of our pilgrimage through our lives finally to reach heaven one day. He explained how the people of God “is making its pilgrimage towards the eternal Jerusalem, towards ‘the dwelling of God with men.’ ” At that time there will be no more pain or crying — every tear will be wiped away. “For the former things have passed away.”
He then encouraged us to see with the eyes of faith and emphasized how blessed we are with much grace during our pilgrimage and to have Mother Mary, who helps to save us. He stated:
But at present the former things are still in existence. They it is that constitute the temporal setting of our pilgrimage.
For that reason, we look towards him who sits upon the throne and says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
And together with the Evangelist and Apostle we try to see with the eyes of faith “the new heaven and the new earth”; for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away.
But “the first heaven and the first earth” still exist about us and within us. We cannot ignore it. But this enables us to recognize what an immense grace was granted to us human beings when, during our pilgrimage, there shone forth on the horizon of the faith of our times this “great portent, a woman” (Rev. 12:1).
Yes, truly we can repeat: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth . . . walking in the straight path before our God . . . you have avenged our ruin.”
Truly indeed, you are blessed.
Yes, here and throughout the Church, in the heart of every individual and in the world, may you be blessed, O Mary, our sweet Mother.Ibid
Take some time today to ponder God’s great love for you and the gift of His Mother Mary to guide you on your pilgrimage through life. Take time to thank God for the gift of St. John Paul II and the Consecration he made. Pray to Our Lady of Fatima and ask her to grant you every grace you need to convert your heart and to be a radiant example of love and hope to others who are struggling on their pilgrimages.
Dear Jesus and Our Lady of Fatima, please help me to open my heart to God’s graces this Advent. Help me also to be attentive — to stay awake — to open my heart to the stranger in my midst who needs my help. Our Lady of Fatima and St. John Paul II, please pray for me.
Pray the Rosary today in honor of Our Lady
of Fatima and for peace in the world.
Offer a loving sacrifice in reparation for sinners, as Our Lady of Fatima has asked. Strive to convert your heart today and every day with God’s grace and Mother Mary’s help, remembering that conversion of heart should be a daily occurrence.
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book, Advent with Our Lady of Fatima. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookstore or through Sophia Institute Press.