Our Lady of Fatima

Image: Our Lady of Fatima, Flickr.com CC

Between May 13 -October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times between to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Most often when we consider the Fatima apparitions, we focus on the messages Our Lady gave to the three children, Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto. She spoke directly to them, but her messages were meant for the entire world. What she said is essential and has great bearing on faith, the course of history, and the end times. They well should be examined and heeded.

But there’s a Fatima-related message that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, at least in my opinion.

During the June 13, 1917 apparition, Lucia asked Our Lady if she would take the three children to heaven. She replied, “Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by me before His throne.”

Francisco would live another two years, and Jacinta three. They died on April 4, 1919 and April 4, 1920, respectively. Just before Jacinta went to the hospital where she was to die, she said to Lucia: “In a short time now I am going to heaven. You are to stay here and say that God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. . . . Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands. Oh that I could put into the heart of everybody the flame that I feel burning within my breast and which makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.”

Jacinta’s dying words to Lucia are profound because she points to two truths that we all should remember.

God grants graces through the Immaculate Hear of Mary and we must ask her for them.

A person who is dying doesn’t waste words on frivolous things. They don’t have the time and often not the strength, either. There are many things Jacinta could have said at that moment, but she chose what was most critical for others to know. The apparitions had made Jacinta wise beyond her years and she understood that her parting words to Lucia must bear fruit long after her death.

Thus, she gave witness to the God-given intercessory power of Mary and the necessity that we ask for them rather than passively expect them. Our Lady has been given both the right and privilege to distribute God’s grace to his children. At Mary’s request, God will grant us the graces we seek. It was God’s decision to put Mary in her intercessory position and not the decision of human beings. We pray to her, not because we’ve bestowed the power upon her but because God has entrusted her with it and our Lord has instructed us to do so. Furthermore, we must ask for the graces Mary distributes not because we need to sway her inclinations but because she cannot and will not do anything that isn’t in accord with God’s will. By asking for those graces from Mary we’re making an act of faith in God’s goodness and mercy and in Mary’s role as intercessor. That which we seek is far more precious than something that comes our way by chance.

Jesus wishes that the Immaculate Heart of Mary should be venerated by the side of his Sacred Heart.

Jacinta also said something vitally important about the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Our Lord wishes that the Immaculate Heart of his Mother remains by his side always and that the faithful should venerate it. Notice that Jesus wishes us to venerate, not worship the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There’s a huge difference. To venerate means to give honor, to regard with great respect. To worship means to adore and glorify. Worship is for God alone. We do not worship any other being but the Holy Trinity. We venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is worthy of honor but she is not worthy of worship. Jesus wishes that Mary’s Immaculate Heart be venerated by his side meaning that the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary shouldn’t be separated. Where Jesus is, Mary is and where Mary is, Jesus is and that is how our Lord has meant it to be.

Jacinta was passionate about these truths and wanted to assure that they would be made known to the world and passed on through the generations. Her dying words are a part of the Fatima message that should never be forgotten.

 

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