THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT FATIMA, VOLUME II
THE SECRET AND THE CHURCH
2.6. The Great Revelation of Tuy:
God Asks for the Consecration of Russia
(Thursday, June 13, 1929).
SINCE 1917, the words of the Apostle apply more than ever before : « Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. » (Eph. 6 :11-12) In this apocalyptic combat Our Lady of Fatima intervenes, to confront the menacing forces of Impiety. In 1929, God in His mercy wished to let the world know that “ enough was enough ”. The hour had come to deliver « poor Russia » from the “ diabolical possession ” which had overcome it, to save it and convert it. Through this conversion, God would have stopped the sinister conflagration which otherwise, little by little, was going to ravage all the nations… Thus the intervention of God with a view to ending such a tragedy takes on enormous importance. In fact the revelation of Tuy crowns the cycle of the apparitions of Fatima by a spectacular theophany, for which no comparable example can be found in the entire history of the Church since the apparition which knocked Saul to the ground on the road to Damascus, to make him the Apostle of the nations.
In the course of our account, we have left our seer as a young postulant in her convent of Pontevedra. After the apparitions of December 10, 1925, and February 15, 1926, concerning the devotion of reparation on the five first Saturdays of the month, 1 Lucy left Pontevedra on July 16, 1926, to enter the novitiate of the Dorothean Sisters established at Tuy, a nearby city in Spanish Galicia at the Spanish-Portuguese border. After her reception of the habit on October 2, 1926, she pronounced her first vows on October 3, 1928.
In 1929, the humble Maria das Dores pursued her hidden life at Tuy – so well hidden that the majority of her fellow sisters were still unaware that she was the seer of Fatima – putting into practice the message of Our Lady and living Her rule to perfection, giving herself entirely to the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. A letter she wrote to one of her sisters in religion, one month before the revelation of June 13, bears witness to this peace and this fervour. 2
The moment had come. The messenger was ready. It was then that the promise of the great Secret was fulfilled : « I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia… » 3
I. THE APPARITION AND MESSAGE OF TUY
(THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 1929)
Sister Lucy herself left a description of the event, and so we quote her account at length, adding only a few subtitles : 4
« Russia 1929. Our Lord asks for the consecration.
« The Reverend Father Gonçalves sometimes came to our chapel to hear confessions. I made my confession to him, and as I felt at ease with him, I continued to do so during the three years he remained there as superior. » 5
THE REQUEST FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA
« At this time Our Lord informed me that the moment had come when He willed for me to make known to the Holy Church His desire for the consecration of Russia and His promise to convert it… The communication took place in this way :
THE HOLY HOUR OF ADORATION AND REPARATION
« (13/6/29). I had requested and obtained permission from my superiors and confessor to make the Holy Hour from 11 :00 p.m. until midnight from Thursday to Friday.
« Being alone one night, I knelt down before the communion rail in the middle of the chapel to say the prayers of the Angel, lying prostrate. Feeling tired, I got up and knelt, and continued to say them with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light came from the sanctuary lamp. »
A SPECTACULAR TRINITARIAN THEOPHANY
« Suddenly a supernatural light illumined the whole chapel and on the altar appeared a cross of light which reached to the ceiling.
« In a brighter part could be seen, on the upper part of the Cross, the face of a man and His body to the waist ;
« On His breast was an equally luminous dove,
« and nailed to the cross, the body of another man.
« A little below the waist, suspended in mid-air, was to be seen a Chalice and a large Host on to which fell some drops of Blood from the face of the Crucified and from a wound in His breast. These drops ran down over the Host and fell into the Chalice.
« Under the right arm of the Cross was Our Lady with Her Immaculate Heart in Her hand… (It was Our Lady of Fatima with Her Immaculate Heart… in Her left hand… without a sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames…)
« Under the left arm (of the Cross), some big letters, as it were of crystal-clear water running down over the Altar, formed these words : “ Grace and Mercy ”.
« I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity that was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. »
THE REQUEST FOR THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA
« Then Our Lady said to me : “ The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. ”
« “ So numerous are the souls that the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray. ”
« I gave an account of this to my confessor, who ordered me to write what Our Lord willed to be done. »
LATER ON, OUR LORD COMPLAINS
« Later on, by means of an interior communication, Our Lord said to me, complaining : “ They did not want to heed My request !… Like the King of France they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church : the Holy Father will have much to suffer. ” »
THE MOST PRECISE REQUEST. Let us point out right away that in 1930, in two letters to Father Gonçalves, Sister Lucy was to express in a slightly different manner the requests of Heaven, closely associating the devotion of reparation on the five first Saturdays of the month with the consecration of Russia :
« The good Lord promises to end the persecution in Russia, if the Holy Father will himself make a solemn act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as ordering all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same. The Holy Father must then promise that upon the ending of this persecution he will approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion already described. » 6
A PROMISE STILL IN EFFECT
What a wonderful, incomparable promise ! It has not been abolished by the interminable delays of our Pastors in responding to the requests of Heaven. For in Her Secret, Our Lady is categorical : « In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, she will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to the world. » So this message continues to be just as relevant for our day. We can be sure that the great vision which accompanied it will be known in the entire world. Everywhere this holy Icon will be spread as a remembrance of the great miracle of conversion and peace granted to Russia and the world, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must therefore love this extraordinary vision, meditate on it, and try to better understand all the riches contained in it, for it summarises the entire message of Fatima.
II. A SPECTACULAR TRINITARIAN THEOPHANY
THE VISION AND THE MESSAGE
At Tuy, just as was the case in Saul’s vision on the road to Damascus, and in the apparitions of the Angel and Our Lady of Fatima, the apparition is composed entirely of light : « Suddenly the whole chapel was illumined by a supernatural light. » « God is light », and Sister Lucy undoubtedly would have contented herself with these simple words had not her vision been accompanied by a message to transmit, a message closely related to the divine Mystery it had been given her to contemplate. For as we will see later on, the vision of the mystery was not only juxtaposed with the request of Our Lady and Her promise of the conversion of Russia : the vision explains the meaning of the promise, it manifests its extraordinary importance, and guarantees in advance its extraordinary fulfilment.
AN INDESCRIBABLE VISION ?
At the end of her account, Sister Lucy says with deliberate solemnity : « I understood that it was the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity that was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal. » Thus Sister Lucy repeats the very words once used by Saint Paul : « I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth), such a one caught up to the Third Heaven. And I know… that he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not permitted to man to utter. » (2 Cor. 12 :2-4)
Thus we have been informed : the Trinitarian theophany of June 13, 1929 was an unspeakable mystical grace for Lucy, and a vision so sublime that of course it is inaccessible to us. Yet, the seer wanted to tell us something about it. This description is then for our spiritual profit…
But let us avow right away that on the first reading one is struck by the simple, dry, almost clumsy nature of the account which is disappointing to us. Clearly the seer has made no effort to depict the apparition for us in an attractive manner. This absence of all qualifiers, the lack of any expression of devotional sentiment, can be surprising for some. The three Divine Persons are not even named. Sister Lucy is content to say : « The face of a man…, a dove…, another man ». And that is all !
This striking “ coldness ” is surely intentional. Is it not the best way of making us see, if not the mystery, at least its ineffable and transcendent character ? Would not any description with more detail and colour to it have diminished the mystery, distorted it and reduced it to our human understanding ?
This is especially the case because the richness of the Vision consists in an order entirely different from the sensible one, which has been voluntarily reduced to a minimum. The image is there only to evoke, to recall to our memory the divine Words which accompany it, and give us the key to this incomparable Icon : it is all the Words taken together which constitute the whole message of Fatima, the faithful echo of the unique and entire Revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, expressed by Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. Thus we are not prevented from taking stock of the savoury riches contained within…
THE HOLY ICON OF THE REDEMPTIVE TRINITY
Many saints received sublime revelations from God on the mystery of the Holy Trinity. To some of them, it was given to contemplate the mystery ad intra, as the theologians say, or in other words to grasp in some way the ineffable processions which eternally constitute the Three Persons in their distinction on the bosom of the Father, Filius semper nascens, 7 and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the One and the Other as from only one Principle, and by one unique Spiration, tamquam ab uno principio et unica spiratione. 8
The vision of Tuy, on the contrary, is entirely “ economical ” : in other words, it is the Holy Trinity ad extra, entirely engaged in the work of our salvation. Although the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the latter under the figure of a luminous dove equal in brightness to the Father) are represented in their perfect distinction, this vision is not static. Instead, the mystery appears to us in its double movement of “ procession ”, of “ descent ”, and then of “ conversion ”. “ going back up ”, following the great theological theme of exitus and reditus.
For the vision is accompanied by a message which reveals to us something of the unspeakable secret : « Grace and Mercy » is written under the bar of the Cross in letters of crystal-clear water running down below. And the words of Our Lady during the apparition are all summed up in the three words which remind us of the most important themes of Her message : “ consecration, reparation, conversion ”.
Do we not have here a wonderful key which will permit us to see something of the inexhaustible richness of the divine Mystery, which is revealed in the double movement of love by which our salvation is worked out ?
- Exitus : the mystery of “ Grace and Mercy. ”
- Reditus : the mystery of the conversion of souls, of Russia and of nations, by the practices of reparation and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary requested by Our Lady.
Let us point out already the first delicate gesture of Heaven towards « poor Russia » which it wants to save : God has chosen to reveal His great design of mercy by a trinitarian theophany. For a true son of holy Russia, this fact could not pass unnoticed : « Russia (writes Volkoff) has a mystic heart whose true name is the monastery of the Holy Trinity of Saint Sergius ». Founded in 1344 not far from Moscow by a holy anchorite, Sergius of Radonezh, the surroundings of the Holy Trinity monastery developed so much that it became a small city, « a holy city and the heart of the Russian Church, which gave birth to 254 monasteries during the next two centuries ». 9
III. « GRACE AND MERCY »
« THE THRONE OF GRACE AND MERCY » (Heb. 4 :16)
“ HAIL, O CROSS, OUR ONLY HOPE ! ” In the vision of Tuy, the cross takes up all the space and is immense : « On the altar appeared a cross of light which reached up to the ceiling ».
And on this Cross, although He alone is nailed because only He is the incarnate Divine Person, Jesus crucified is not alone. Above Him on the upper part of the Cross is the Father, who holds Him up. In the bosom of the Father and hovering above the Son is the Dove, representing the Holy Spirit. This holy Cross which the Church boldly makes us “ adore ” appears here in all its glory, sparkling with light, as if it were a throne for the Holy Trinity. Is it not, indeed, reminiscent of that « Throne of God and the Lamb » spoken of in the Apocalypse ? Just as in the vision of Saint John, at Tuy the Lamb was « in the midst of the Throne » (Apoc. 7 :17).
This is the first marvel, the first eloquent “ sermon ” of the Holy Cross, which today is despised and scorned by Christians themselves. This Cross, which is the Throne of God, is also the source of our salvation.
“ O HOLY TRINITY, THOU FOUNTAIN OF SALVATION. ” « Hail, O Cross, our only hope !… O Thou Holy Trinity, fountain of our salvation ! » These are the triumphal words of the hymn Vexilla Regis, sung during Passiontide.
At Tuy, « under the left arm of the Cross, some large letters as it were of crystal-clear water running down over the altar, formed these words : “ Grace and Mercy ”. » Does not this Water of Life, this Water of Grace which flows from the Throne of the Cross, expressly remind us of the great vision of the Apocalypse ? « Then the Angel showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the Throne of God and the Lamb. » (Apoc. 22 :1) And again : « For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them, and shall lead them to the fountains of the waters of life. » (Apoc. 7 :17)
This is the first mystery revealed to us by this Water gushing from the Throne of God : the mystery of the gift of Grace and Mercy by the entire Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which decides, effects and completes our salvation through the redeeming Cross of Christ. We are far from the stupid and revolting theology of a Luther, a Calvin or a Jansenius, imagining the Heavenly Father as being angry at His own Son, and transferring to Him the wrath merited by our sins. The vision of Tuy evokes instead the hymn of thanksgiving which the liturgy repeats unceasingly on the Feast of the Holy Trinity : « Benedicta sit Sancta Trinitas atque indivisa Unitas ! Confitebimur ei quia fecit nobiscum Misericordiam suam ! » In a similar way, the vision of Tuy unites the three mysteries of the Trinity, Redemption and Grace. Yes, blessed be God in His Holy Trinity and indivisible Unity ! Let us praise Him because He has made us partake of His merciful Love !
AT THE SOURCES OF MERCY : « THE LOVE OF GOD THE FATHER » (2 Cor. 13 :13)
At the summit of the Cross, as the initial Fountain of all being, all life, and all charity, above the crucified Son who proceeds from Him, is the Most Holy Father, under the appearance of « the face of a man ». For in what other way could He appear ? Is it not this appearance of a man which best reveals to us His Fatherhood ? « He who sees Me sees the Father » (Jn. 14 :9), Jesus tells us, and He is « the Image of the invisible God » (Col. 1 :15), « the splendour of His glory and the figure of His substance ». (Heb. 1 :3)
In the vision of Tuy, the Father appears as the initial fountain of « Grace and Mercy ». He is the Father of the prodigal child, « the Father of mercies » (2 Cor. 1 :3), always ready to show kindness. Grace and Mercy, these are the dispositions of the Father towards Russia, the Russia of the victims as well as that of the persecutors. Sister Lucy is to transmit this message to her confessor : God is « disposed to have mercy on poor Russia », « He greatly desires to save it. » 10
Yes, did not God permit this unchaining of evil to make of this nation, as He did with Saul the persecutor « who ravaged the Church », « a vessel of mercy » ? (Acts 8 :3) In any case, it is remarkable that when Saint Paul recalls the event of his conversion and the apparition on the road to Damascus, it is precisely these two words, grace and mercy, that are found together under his pen : « I give thanks to Him who hath strengthened me, to Jesus Christ our Lord, for that He hath counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry ; Who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious. But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Now the grace of Our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.
« But for this cause have I obtained mercy : that in me first Christ Jesus might show forth all patience, for the information of them that shall believe in Him unto life everlasting. » (1 Tim 1 :12-16).
Since at Tuy God promised in an extraordinary theophany to « convert » Russia, to « save » it, this is « a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation », for His mercy is all powerful.
« THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST »
This grace of salvation granted by the Father is completely gratuitous. His beloved Son – to manifest it to us in truth, in such a way as to make us see the gravity of sin and the immensity of pardon, and thus be able to touch our hearts – the same beloved Son wished to merit it, paying on the Cross the whole price in His sorrow and His blood.
In the vision of Tuy we find once again the image of the “ God of pity ” so dear to our painters and sculptors of the Middle Ages, so rich in a vigorous theology deep in meaning. It is the image of this « most gentle and most merciful Heavenly Father, holding in His holy and venerable hands the pitiful, suffering body of His Son, crucified for us for the remission of our sins. » 11
THE BROKEN BODY OF THE SAVIOUR, HIS BLOOD POURED OUT. « For I judged not myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. » (1 Cor. 2 :2) In the face of the too facile theologia gloriae (theology of glory) preached by our modern theologians who “ empty the Cross of Christ ”, it is this theologia crucis (theology of the Cross) preached by Saint Paul which the vision of Tuy imposes on us. In this trinitarian theophany the only Son, the Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords is Jesus, and Jesus nailed to the Cross, where His Heart is pierced and His Face is bloody from the wounds of His crown of thorns.
The mystery which He gives us to contemplate is His Blood poured out for our redemption, and which He offers to us as our Eucharistic drink :
« Suspended in mid-air was to be seen a Chalice and a large Host onto which fell some drops of Blood from the face of the Crucified and from a wound in His breast. These drops ran down over the Host and fell into the Chalice. »
Already at the Cabeço in the autumn of 1916, the children had seen the same vision : « He was holding a Chalice in His left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice. » 12 At Tuy, the Blood of Jesus with its proper appearances no longer flows only from His Eucharistic Body, the holy Host, it gushes forth from the wound in His Heart and the wounds in His outraged Countenance.
This striking realism of the Blood poured out and flowing from the Chalice is really the response to the modern, Protestant heresy which pretends to dissociate the Eucharist from the Sacrifice of the Cross, to connect it only with the supper of Holy Thursday or only with the glorious life of the risen Christ, sitting in Heaven at the right Hand of the Father. The vision of Tuy, on the other hand, introduces us to the heart of the mystery : the blood of the Chalice is the Blood of His Body. It is the same redeeming Blood at the Mass as at the Sacrifice of the Cross : in the latter It was shed in pain, while today, in the Mass, It is offered to us as a salutary drink. It is the same broken Body which is proposed to us for our food, for the holy Host is like a prolongation, a « true, real and substantial » extension of the Victim of Calvary.
THE ICON OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. Let us remark finally, for this fact surely is profoundly significant, that this spectacular Trinitarian theophany took place in the Sanctuary, above the Altar and the Tabernacle where the Real Presence was. If the whole vision is Trinitarian, it is also entirely eucharistic. It represents before our eyes the reality of the mystery which takes place at each one of our Masses, where for our sake, each day, the redemptive Incarnation is renewed.
In this mystery of the Mass, the entire Holy Trinity manifests to us the secret of Its Mercy, which dispenses to us the riches of Its Grace, in the Communion of the Body and Blood of the Saviour. « Caritas Pater est, Gratia Filius, Communicatio Spiritus Sanctus, o beata Trinitas », we chant in one antiphon of the liturgy, echoing the beautiful formula of Saint Paul. 13
« THE SPIRIT OF GRACE » (Heb. 10 :29)
In the vision of Tuy, as in the iconography of the Middle Ages, one can see « on the Father’s breast an equally luminous dove ». This representation of the Holy Spirit might surprise us. The symbolism seems very poor and means very little to our mentality. Besides, it risks causing a problem to the theologian : is not the order of the trinitarian processions reversed ? The dove representing the Holy Spirit, which rests in the bosom of the Father, does not seem to proceed from the Son. Does not this image correspond more to Eastern Orthodox theology, which maintains that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, rather than Catholic dogma which clearly states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son ?
However, even before we look for possible speculative answers to the question – and whether the vision of Tuy might suggest a reconciliation between the two traditions in the truths they contain – we can quickly be reassured. The apparition of Tuy surely does not refer us back to medieval iconography but quite simply… to the great trinitarian theophanies of the Gospel ! And as we shall see, the theophanies described in the Gospel, with astonishing precision, throw a great light on the essential message of Tuy : the request for the consecration of Russia and the promise of its conversion. No, this dove representing the Holy Spirit is not to be neglected as some sort of accessory element, placed there only to complete the trinitarian symbolism artificially. As we will see, it too is rich in meaning.
First of all, it unquestionably brings to mind the Trinitarian theophany of Our Saviour’s baptism. « And when Jesus had been baptised, He immediately came up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. And behold, a voice from the heavens said, “ This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. ” » (Mt. 3 :16) Later John the Baptist gave witness : « I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove from Heaven, and He remained upon Him… And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Chosen One of God. » (Jn. 1 :32) Saint Peter also said : « You know how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power. » (Acts 10 :38)
But in the vision of Tuy, the dove representing the Holy Spirit descends and remains upon Jesus crucified. Yet this is not a new representation ; it only manifests and makes more explicit the lesson of the Gospel.
THE SUFFERING SERVANT, SALVATION OF THE NATIONS. Exegetes have shown how the baptism of Our Lord already prefigures His sorrowful Passion. The symbolism is created by the descent into the waters of the Jordan, but especially by the voice from Heaven explicitly designating Jesus as the Messiah-Saviour, the “ Suffering Servant ” of the book of Isaiah. The same words, which were heard again during the Transfiguration, « This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye Him », likewise place this second trinitarian theophany in close relationship with the Passion of Jesus. Moreover, Saint Luke adds the detail that Moses and Elijah, who were talking with Jesus, « spoke of His death which He was about to undergo at Jerusalem ». (Lk. 9 :31; Mt. 17 :5) Thus, at His baptism as well as His transfiguration, Jesus appears as the one designated by His Father as the beloved Son, the suffering Messiah of Isaiah on whom His Spirit rests.
Thus, the vision of Tuy goes even beyond the theophanies of the Gospel, and refers us back to the prophecies of Isaiah on the suffering Servant on whom the Holy Spirit rests. This is even clearer if we consider that after the evocation of the sufferings of the Messiah, the prophecy sings of all His fruits of grace : the conversion and salvation of the nations : « If He offers His life as a victim for sin, He will see a long-lived seed… He will prolong His days and Yahweh’s good pleasure will be accomplished in Him. Through His sufferings, My Servant will justify the many. » (Isaiah 53 :10)
And here are those words which we do well to reread, having before our eyes the image of the vision of Tuy and its message for the conversion of Russia. Here are the prophetic words, such as Saint Matthew applies them to Jesus : « Behold My servant, whom I have chosen, My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased : I will put My spirit upon Him, and He will declare judgment to the gentiles… A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking wick He will not quench, Till He send forth judgment unto victory, and in His Name will the gentiles hope. » (Mt. 12 :18-21)
« The bruised reed and the smoking wick » once referred to the empire of Egypt, which threatened Israel. Do not these words remind us today of this poor nation, Russia, a schismatic nation which persecutes the Church, but is still Christian ? For God does not want to abandon it to perdition, but to make it, on the contrary, “ a vessel of mercy ” by raising it up again and enkindling its flame once more in the household of Roman unity, for the universal triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And what can we say about this other prophecy of Isaiah which evokes the suffering Messiah who has become King of the nations, but a gentle king, humble of heart, who shows favour to the poor and mercy to the guilty ? These words which Jesus applied to Himself in the synagogue of Nazareth we can still apply to Him, and as we see Him nailed to the Cross as in the theophany of Tuy, we can still hear Him pronounce them today : « The spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because He has anointed Me ; To bring good news to the poor He has sent Me, to proclaim to the captives release, and sight to the blind; To set at liberty the oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense… Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. » (Lk. 4 :18-21; Is. 61 :1-2)
Yes, by the mercy of the Father, may the Grace of Jesus Christ, Redeemer and King, descend soon upon this poor Russia and upon its “ Gulag Archipelago ”; may this grace convert its blind persecutors ; may it free its captives and all its oppressed; may it bring back to the guidance of the one Shepherd the millions of the poor, still led astray in schism !
THE CAPITAL GRACE OF THE SON OF GOD, THE SAVIOUR. The dove representing the Holy Spirit, resting above Jesus nailed to the Cross, undoubtedly has another significance. Does it not evoke the whole mystery of the grace of Christ our Head ? « Grace and Mercy » : the Father fills His crucified Son with the plenitude of Grace, the plenitude of the Holy Spirit. This infinite treasure He receives through His divine sonship, but He also merits it through His redeeming sacrifice. He will pour out this stream of graces upon all nations through the effusion of the Holy Spirit. It is an adorable Mystery : this divine Plenitude which overflows from the fruitful Trinity, and is communicated in wave after wave… even to the souls of pagans, or rebels and persecutors, to transform and convert them, to lead them through the Church and the mediation of the Immaculate Virgin to the Sacred Heart of the Son, in the bosom of the Father.
Let us cite only a few texts, mentioning this plenitude or fullness, which will cause a good many others to come to mind. First of all Saint John in the prologue to his Gospel : « And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… Yes, of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. » (Jn. 1 :14 & 16) « For He whom God has sent speaks the word of God, for God gives His spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. » (Jn. 3 :34-35) And Saint Paul says : « For if by the offence of the one the many died, much more has the grace of God, and the gift in the grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many. But where sin has abounded, grace has abounded yet more. » (Rom. 5 :15 & 20) « Again, He is the Head of His Body, the Church… For it has pleased God the Father that all His fullness should dwell in Him, and that through Him He should reconcile to Himself all things, whether on the earth or in the heavens, making peace through the Blood of His Cross. » (Col. 1 :18-20) « For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily… and in Him you have received of that fullness. » (Col. 2 :9)
THE MYSTERY OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
« On the right side of the Cross stood Our Lady, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her hand… »
« There stood near the Cross of Jesus, His Mother », St. John tells us. (Jn 19 :25) That is where She appears in the theophany of Tuy, « under the right arm of the Cross ». For the Blessed Virgin Mary is the first to receive in Herself this plenitude of grace which flows from the Cross, gushing from the pierced Heart of Her well-beloved Son. She received of this plenitude more than any other creature. There, under the Cross of Jesus where She is standing, the richness of Her ineffable mystery shines forth the best. It is the mystery of an incomparable Heart, for it belongs to the Immaculate Conception, the pierced Heart of Our Lady of Sorrows, Spouse of the divine Crucified One, Co-Redemptrix and « Reparatrix of fallen humanity », 14 the Heart of the Mother of God and Mother of men, Mediatrix of Grace and universal Dispensatrix of Mercy for all humanity, redeemed on Calvary. Yes, the liturgy is a thousand times right to sing in honour of Mary, the pressing invitation of the Apostle to approach without fear the throne of the Cross : « Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum Gratiae, ut Misericordiam consequamur et Gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportuno. » 15 Yes, « let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy and find Grace to help in the time of need. » (Heb. 4 :16)
THE MYSTERY OF AN INCOMPARABLE HEART. Fatima is the revelation of the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Always, everywhere, there is question only of this most holy Heart. Why this insistence, if not to induce us to contemplate Our Lady in each one of Her mysteries, under this symbol of the heart ? For it is so expressive not only of sentiments, but of the person Herself, in the entire spiritual portion. The Blessed Virgin Mary is a creature so pure, so sublime that, although She really does share in our nature, it is Her “ Heart ” that sums up and most exactly expresses Her entire being. This means that She is first and foremost a soul completely filled with the Holy Spirit, a brightly shining intelligence full of unsearchable Wisdom, a sovereign, indefatigable will, unceasingly working so that Love inflame the whole world. Behold this « Admirable Heart », to repeat the expression of St. John Eudes, ready to receive the plenitude of Grace with which God wishes to fill it.
THE MYSTERY OF THE IMMACULATE HEART. At Tuy, the Blessed Virgin appears alone at the foot of the Cross. Neither the holy women nor St. John appear there. This shows that Our Lady has a unique, incomparable place in the plan of salvation. She is the Elect, the woman chosen among all others, the beloved and unique Daughter of the Heavenly Father, predestined from all eternity to become the ever-Virgin Mother, the all-holy Spouse and Companion of the Son of God made man, the new Eve of this heavenly Adam : « I came from the mouth of the Most High, the firstborn before all creatures ; like a vapour I covered the earth, I inhabited the heavens, and My throne was a column of clouds. » (Sirach 24 :3)
The scene of Calvary reveals to us the mystery of the Immaculate One in its very source. Under the right arm of the Cross, bedewed with the divine Blood, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the first and incomparable fruit of the redeeming sacrifice, to which She owes the singular privilege of Her Immaculate Conception. Redeemed in advance by Her Son in a very special way, « sublimiori modo redempta », 16 She has been preserved from the sinful solidarity and stain of the children of Adam. Like the Church, which She typifies, one can truthfully say that mystically She was born from the side of Christ pierced by the lance during His sleep of death, just as the first Eve was drawn by the Heavenly Father from Adam’s rib, as he slept in the garden of Eden.
This is the first ineffable mystery, which filled Saint Maximilian Kolbe with wonder. Predestined from before all ages, She is the “ Immaculate Conception’’ of the Father and the Son. From the first instant of Her creation, They filled Her with the fullness of Their Spirit of Love, of which She is the created Image, the Temple and living Sanctuary. Ave Maria, gratia plena !
Flowing down from under the left arm of the Cross is the crystal-clear water forming the letters of the words, « Grace and Mercy ». Does this not equally express, after the mystery of the grace of Headship in Christ – His pierced Heart is the fountain of living waters (Jn. 7 :37-39) – the mystery of Mary, universal Mediatrix of Grace ? Is not the Immaculate One, “ full of grace ”, to an eminent degree this fountain of “ crystal-clear water ” gushing from the “ throne of God and the Lamb ”, this time from the right side, according to the letter of Ezechiel’s prophecy : « Vidi aquam egredientem a latere dextro » ? (Ez. 47 :1-12; Jn. 19 :34; Apoc. 22 :1) 17
In the vision of Tuy, according to Sister Lucy, Our Lady appeared as She did at Fatima. Is it not remarkable that to describe the Immaculate One as She appeared at the Cova da Iria, Lucy used this comparison of crystal-clear water – this water which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit everywhere in Scripture – illumined by the rays of the sun : « There before us on a small holm-oak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it. » 18
The Immaculate One is a pure water which has gushed forth from a single Principle, the unique divine Fountain of the Father and the Son. At the foot of the Throne of the Cross, She receives their superabundant plenitude of Grace and Mercy.
THE MYSTERY OF THE PIERCED HEART. « It was Our Lady of Fatima with Her Immaculate Heart… without a sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames. »
We come to the second mystery. At the foot of the Cross, Her Immaculate Heart is pierced by the same sorrows as those that overwhelm Her beloved Son. All the torments of His Passion pierce Her Heart : the agony, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, outrages, crucifixion. She also is bent down under the weight of the sins of the world. Her Heart is mortally wounded by so many crimes, outrages, blasphemies, so much ingratitude and indifference, which pierce Her like sharp thorns.
She is like the Spouse in the Canticle, whom the Bridegroom implores to share in his redemptive Passion : “ I hear my beloved knocking : open to me, my sister, my beloved, my dove, my perfect one ! My head is covered with dew, and my cheeks with the drops of the night ! ” (Ct. 5 :2; 6 :9; 2 :14)
This mystery of co-redemptive compassion is eloquently expressed at Tuy : nothing is said to us about the Heart of Jesus. Only the Heart of Mary is represented. But the seer insists that the Immaculate Heart did not appear according to the usual iconography, pierced with a sword and with roses, but with a crown of thorns and with flames. In other words, it appeared exactly as the Heart of Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary. It suggests to us with Saint John Eudes that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are but one Heart, as is fitting for a Bridegroom and a Spouse, suffering together the same sorrowful Passion for our salvation :
« From that moment, and right up until the end, Your common love of the Heavenly Father unites You even more closely, and Your unique love for us sinners, flowing from Your Sacred Heart, O Jesus, into Your Immaculate Heart, O Mary, procures for You a fruitfulness which makes You blessed. » 19
THE MYSTERY OF A MOTHER’S HEART. « With Her Immaculate Heart… in Her left hand. » Our Lady offers to us this Heart. She gives it to us because She is our Mother, our true Mother in Heaven. Her Heart is all on fire with the Spirit of Love kindled with an infinite tenderness for Her children, whom She brought forth in sorrow on Calvary, and an effective love which wishes at any price to save them from the eternal fire of Hell.
The Heart of Mary, the Immaculate Heart, the Heart pierced with thorns, also reveals itself at Tuy in this great scene from Calvary as the maternal Heart of the new Eve. Mary is the Mother of the new human race, conquered and redeemed by the Blood of Her Son, and Her co-redemptive Compassion. It is Jesus Himself who expresses this universal maternity applied to each of His disciples, to each of the members of His Body, as in a solemn testament, speaking to His Mother and His beloved disciple : « Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold thy Mother. » The best exegetes are in agreement with the Fathers as well as the Magisterium of the Church, in giving these words all the force of a spiritual, supernatural maternity, as really concrete as the natural motherhood which is its foretype, and all the breadth of a universal maternity, as vast by right as the whole human race, and extending in fact to the multitudes of Christ’s faithful, who in the end are joined to His Body and led by Him to the glory of Heaven.
Yes, by Her plenitude of grace, by Her fiat at the moment of the annunciation, when She became the Mother of the “ whole Christ ”, and by Her co-redemptive compassion as Spouse, Our Lady merited to become the new Eve, the Mother of all men. She really brings forth to the divine life all those who correspond to this grace of salvation. 20
We find this concept of the spiritual maternity of Mary forcefully expressed in the message of Fatima. For example, in the important revelation received by Sister Lucy on May 29, 1930, 21 where Our Lord enumerates the blasphemies which most gravely offend the Immaculate Heart of His Mother : « Blasphemies against Her divine Maternity, refusing at the same time to recognise Her as Mother of men. » The formula is rich in meaning and very enlightening. The Immaculate One, the Mother of God because She is the Mother of Christ, is also “ Mother of men ” with respect to « the rest of Her children », as the Apocalypse says, because it is She who brings them forth, in sorrow, to the divine life. (Apoc. 12 :7)
It must also be stressed that in the apparition of December 10, 1925, at Pontevedra, the Child Jesus speaking of the Blessed Virgin to Lucy does not say, “ My Mother ”, but « your most holy Mother » : « Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Her at every moment. »
The writings of Sister Lucy demonstrate how thoroughly saturated she is with this consoling and beautiful thought. Such expressions as these are constantly found under her pen : « Our tender Mother in Heaven, the Immaculate Heart of Mary », « our most tender Mother », « the Immaculate Heart of our most holy Mother ». 22 These expressions mean that Mary is « our heavenly Mother », to whom we owe our whole life in the supernatural order, because it is through Her and never without Her that « Our Father in Heaven », Who is the source of supernatural life, and Jesus, Who merited it for us, will to dispense it to us.
Let us understand well : it is not merely an affection, a moral bond which would cause the Blessed Virgin to love us as a mother and to adopt us as Her children. No ! It is something different, an ontological bond, a relation of origin which unites us to Her.
In meriting to become the Mother of God, the Immaculate Virgin also merited to become our Mother. Here are the very words of Saint Pius X, whose doctrine once again coincides with the message of Fatima :
« Is not Mary the Mother of God ? Thus She is also our Mother… in the chaste womb of the Virgin where Jesus took on mortal flesh, He also assumed a spiritual body formed of all those who were to believe in Him. Thus as She carried Jesus in Her womb, it must be said that Mary also carried all those whose lives were included in the life of the Saviour.
« Thus all of us who being united to Christ are, as the Apostle says, “ the members of His body issued from His flesh and His bones ”, have come forth from the womb of the Mother like a body attached to its head...
« If then the Blessed Virgin is at the same time Mother of God and Mother of men (Dei simul atque hominum parens est), who can doubt that She employs all Her power interceding with Her Son, Head of the Body of the Church, that He pour out over us who are His members the gifts of His grace, especially the grace of knowing and living by Him. » 22a
THE MATERNAL MEDIATION OF MARY :
« MOTHER OF DIVINE GRACE, MOTHER OF MERCY »
To avoid anticipating the solemn declarations of the Magisterium, at Fatima the Blessed Virgin Mary never calls Herself “ Mediatrix of all graces ”, but Her entire message presupposes that She is. Indeed, does not Her supernatural motherhood imply it in an eminent way ? What kind of mediation could be more total than the mediation of the Mother who gives life ? Being our Mother, how could She not grant us also all the goods at Her disposal ? In the liturgy and extra-liturgical hymns we never tire of chanting with fervour : « Salve, Mater Misericordiae ! Mater Dei et Mater veniae, Mater spei et Mater Gratiae, Mater plena sanctae laetitiae, O Maria ! Hail, Mother of Mercy ! Mother of God and Mother of pardon ! Mother of hope and Mother of Grace, Mother full of holy joy, O Mary ! »
Because our birth to the divine life is never completed here below, this bond of motherhood, which is prolonged by the daily gift of innumerable graces, will last right up until the blessed day of our death, our dies natalis. Yes, Her “ great promise ” is our pledge that She is our Mother of Grace and Mercy, who will finally dispense us the grace of graces, the supreme grace of final perseverance which opens the gates of Heaven : « To those who will embrace this devotion to My Immaculate Heart I promise salvation. » (June 13, 1917)
Just as in eternity our divine life will always be a perpetual Gift, flowing from the glorious Life and mercifully associating us to the Eternal Divine Processions, this bond of origin uniting us to our Mother will last eternally.
Let us then love this Immaculate Mother to whom we owe everything. Yes, absolutely everything, because it has pleased the Holy Trinity to associate Her with His plenitude, and through Her to grant us the Gift of Grace, actual graces and sanctifying grace, created graces and Uncreated Grace, the Gift of the sanctifying Spirit, from this Spirit of Love and Wisdom of whom Mary is the living Image and Throne, the Immaculate Vessel, holy Ark, and resplendent Abode : Seat of Wisdom ! Spiritual vessel ! House of gold ! Ark of the covenant ! Pray, pray for us !
III. CONVERSION, REPARATION AND CONSECRATION
TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Our Blessed Lady is like the ladder of Jacob by which God comes down to us. He wills that we use the same ladder to go back up to Him.
Filled with admiration, in the vision of Tuy we have just contemplated the series of all the mediations going back and forth, disposed with love by our Heavenly Father to make us partakers of His Grace and Mercy, freely giving us the gift of His divine Spirit. First there is the mediation of Christ our only Saviour, crucified for our salvation. There is the Eucharistic mediation of His Body broken and His Blood poured out, offered as a sacrifice of expiation and proposed to us as our saving food and drink in communion. There is the mediation of this crystal-clear water of the Holy Spirit, which has been communicated to us. By baptism and penance it gives us life, sanctifies us, and washes us from all stain of sin. And thus there is the mediation of the Church, the unique and fruitful Spouse, making us partakers of all these gifts by the ministry of its priests who act in the name of Christ and exercise His powers. Finally, a new marvel : to this double mediation of the Son of God, the Saviour, and His Holy Spirit acting through the Church, is mysteriously added the universal mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Grace and Mercy.
THE WAY OF CONVERSION : THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Thus the path of our return to God, the way of our conversion, is all marked out. It is the shortest way, the easiest way, the sweetest way, but also the narrow and enclosed way and the only way which leads to life. To despise it or depart from it is to despise the Mercy of God, to insult the divine predilections of His Heart. If it is folly or a diabolical lie to pretend to return to the Father while ignoring His beloved and only Son, sovereign Mediator between God and men, 23 it is a similar blasphemy, and a sure sign of the work of the evil spirit, to wish to go to Jesus while neglecting the Immaculate Heart of His Mother, whom He has established as our universal Mediatrix. « My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God », Our Lady declared to Lucy on June 13, 1917.
Thus the wonderful dispensation of the mystery of grace whose aesthetic and mystical aspects we have considered now present themselves to our eyes as a dramatic requirement. In the plan of God, the cult and love of the Blessed Virgin are not something secondary and optional. On the contrary, the whole message of Fatima proclaims that they are the indispensable condition for obtaining salvation. At Tuy, the Blessed Virgin solemnly informed Her messenger of this fact : many souls are damned because they refuse to conform with docility to the predilections of God towards Her, because they despise and insult Her : « So many are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me… »
We can easily understand this terrible rigour : Since She is truly our Mother, the Mother of all men, our Co-Redemptrix, Advocate and most loving Mediatrix, how could this Virgin who is all good, and also the Mother of God, the Immaculate One in whom the Trinity takes Its delight, not have an absolute right to the veneration, gratitude and filial love of all Her children ? God would no longer be God if He did not severely chastise those who spit in the face of such a Mother and do not repent… The crime is greater still because God wills that She be better known, better loved and more exalted in our times.
Indeed « the moment has come », and for two centuries Heaven’s requests have become more and more pressing. The hour has come for the hierarchical Church, which has received as a deposit the treasure of divine Revelation, to now cause the full glory of the Immaculate Heart to shine, and to present Her to the world, authoritatively and in the name of Christ, as the Mediatrix of Grace and Mercy for all souls and for all nations, for the Church and for Christendom. The apparitions of Fatima, with their culmination at Pontevedra and Tuy, correspond to the apparitions of Paray-le-Monial. After the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary comes in the name of God to make known the devotion due to It in preparation for Its “ triumph ”, which in turn heralds the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY AND THE CHURCH, THE FINAL SALVATION OF THE WORLD. « God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. » To this end He wishes to give us a striking proof that through Her, and only through Her, can we be saved from the frightful perils that menace us. Faced with an eternal Hell, faced with the hell on earth of the Bolshevik Gulag, God presents the Immaculate Heart of Mary to us as the final recourse, the last hope of salvation for a world on the way to perdition.
This is the oracle which Our Lady repeats insistently : “ You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. ” And on June 13, 1929, the events speak for themselves. “ You have seen the famines, the wars and the persecutions which overwhelm the poor people abandoned to the living hell of the communist Gulag, the veritable empire of Satan. ” Well, Our Lady repeats insistently, to save them “ God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. ”
GOD PROMISES A MIRACLE THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF MARY… It is in the tragic context of 1929, when Stalin was bringing the bloody terror and the horrors of the Gulag to their height, that the great divine promise must be understood : « It was at this time (Lucy writes) that Our Lord informed me that the moment had come for me to let the Holy Church know His desire for the consecration of Russia and His promise to convert it. » In another place Sister Lucy calls it His promise « to end the persecution in Russia », « His promise to save it ». Finally the atrocious butchery, the cynically planned famines, the persecutions, the harassment by the police, the stupid and inhumane socialisation, all that was to be ended by the all-powerful intervention of the Mother of God, this Theotokos so beloved to the Russian people who continued to venerate Her icons in secret.
The conversion of Russia through the mediation of Mary was to be a first prodigy. But there was also a second…
… AND THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY. This extraordinary miracle would have stupefied the world, reawakened faith and caused a hymn of thanksgiving to break out among the people. It was imperative that the whole world, heretics, schismatics, Jews and pagans, realise that God had performed the miracle through the mediation of the Queen of Heaven, but also in response to « a solemn and public act » of the Pastors of His one, true Church, which is Catholic and Roman. What admirable wisdom in this twofold mediation ! For both are required by God for the long-awaited miracle, so necessary to world peace, to finally take place : « The good Lord promises to end the persecution in Russia, if the Holy Father will himself make a solemn act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as ordering all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same… »
Poor Russia, dominated by Bolshevism, and still a victim of its centuries-old schism, would have been saved from both evils at the same time. Moreover, deliverance would have come at the request and on the decision of all the Catholic bishops obeying their head, this Pope of Rome, whose universal primacy of jurisdiction as successor of Peter the Russian Church, in its obstinate rebellion, had refused to recognise. Yes, let us admire the astonishing, divine stratagem through which God willed to bring back to His flock, by the millions, the multitude of His sheep led astray in the schism, and at the same time assure world peace.
What fullness of wisdom in this great design of mercy ! This already would suffice to show that it is not of man, but of God. The more we examine it, the more we understand its divine coherence. We understand also that this design is irrevocable, and that God does not will to change any part of it. When Sister Lucy asked Him why He would not convert Russia without the Pope making this consecration, Our Lord responded : « Because I want My whole Church to recognise that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to extend its cult later on and place devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Divine Heart… The Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been confided to Her. » 24
THE ULTIMATE DESIGN OF GOD : THE CONSECRATION
AND THE DEVOTION OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
What will be this triumph, which has been foretold ? The universal expansion of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As for this devotion, it is summarised completely in two words : consecration and reparation.
THE CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. Clearly, by establishing such a close connection between the conversion of Russia and its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, God wants to show us how supremely pleasing this consecration is to Him, not only for Russia, but for all nations. What Lucy says about the “ Portuguese miracle ” applies, a fortiori, to the conversion of Russia. She wrote to Pope Pius XII : « This will be the proof of the graces God would have granted to other nations, if like Portugal they had been consecrated to Her. » 25
If this is the case, it is clear that all other societies, and persons themselves, will receive great graces by consecrating themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But why ? The Blessed Virgin did not ask the Russian people or the Portuguese people to consecrate themselves, but for the Pope and the bishops to do it in their name. This is because it is the best way of accepting fully, with love and humility, all the mediations willed by God and which are the true antidote to modern pride, where each individual raises himself into an autonomous and sovereign monad. Yes, against this sin, which is the very essence of the democratic revolution, this is what is most pleasing to God. All those who exercise any authority, the Pope at the head of the Church, the bishop in his diocese, the King as the head and father of his nation, the pastor in his parish, the father in his family – to show that they hold this authority from God and intend to use it in His name and in conformity with His will – must publicly make this act of obedience to the divine Good Pleasure of the Heavenly Father and His Son. However small or large their flock be, they must consecrate it to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is inseparable from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as to their King and their Queen, to whom they belong and who enjoy the full right of true sovereignty. They can be sure that in exchange for this filial recognition of their power, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary will mercifully bless, protect and fill with graces all those who shall be confided to Them. 26
THE DEVOTION OF REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. If the consecration is related to the mystery of the divine mediations, reparation puts into effect this other mystery which is equally at the centre of the message of Fatima : the communion of saints.
During the messages of the Angel in 1916, and again during the apparitions of Our Lady on June 13 and July 13, and shortly after that in the apparitions of Pontevedra, Heaven urgently asks for reparation for all « the sins by which God is offended », « for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference » which wound the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and finally, for « the blasphemies and ingratitude » of men who pierce the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 27
It is remarkable that at Tuy, Our Lady insists on this point again, in two ways. First of all by this grave and terrible warning, which seems to us like an echo of the first part of the Secret with its terrifying vision of Hell : « So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray. » 28
Prayer and sacrifice offered in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to snatch souls from Hell – this is a theme which we find constantly in the letters of Sister Lucy of this epoch. Let us remark also that the spectacular trinitarian theophany took place while she was devoting herself, with generosity, to this work of reparation. Fulfilling to the letter the requests of the Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary, each week during the night of Thursday to Friday, between eleven and twelve in the evening, she would make a holy hour of adoration and reparation. Prostrate in the chapel there, or on her knees with her arms in the form of a cross, she would repeat untiringly the two beautiful prayers of reparation taught by the Angel at the Cabeço.
This demonstrates how exact is the continuity between the message of Fatima and that of Paray-le-Monial. Fatima is the continuation, the complement, the fulfilment of Paray-le-Monial, for in the great design of divine Mercy the most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are indissolubly linked. 29 So they must be, as well, in our own love and in the acts of reparation that we offer them.
Yet, in the messages of Pontevedra and Tuy, by an admirable mystery of love and a unique predilection for His Mother, it seems as though the Sacred Heart of Jesus itself willed to be effaced, or at least to be approached only through the sweet mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is as if Jesus said to us : “ The acts of reparation to be made for all the offences and crimes which insult the sanctity of My Father, the perfect worship which must be rendered unto Him, I Myself as eternal High Priest accomplish in My Sacrifice of the Cross, which is renewed at every moment. The offences, the outrages which wound My Heart, which mock Me in the Sacrament of My Love – to make reparation for them it suffices for you to offer Me the superabundant merits of the Heart of My most holy Mother, and join Her in Her sorrowful compassion. But the injuries, the blasphemies which sadden Her Maternal Heart so cruelly – it is for you, Her children to make reparation for them by consoling Her, and by your prayers and sacrifices obtaining the conversion of the poor people who have had the misfortune of offending Her gravely. For they have merited by this unpardonable crime, by this sin against the Holy Spirit, the condemnation of eternal fire. For very many are the souls that My justice condemns for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of My Mother ! ”
This is why, according to the message of Fatima, the work which is proper to us, the work most within our grasp, is reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. « You, at least, try to console Me !… »
God is so insistent about this reparation that He has placed it at the beginning and end of the whole great plan revealed at Tuy. First of all at the beginning, for at the same time as the act of consecration, God asks the Pope and the bishops for « a solemn and public act of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary », undoubtedly for all the profanations and blasphemies committed against Her in Bolshevik Russia by so many fanatical atheists, but also for the communist revolution which is itself an abominable crime, since it wrongfully exercises a Satanic power over an ancient country of Christendom, which by right belongs to the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Reparation figures also at the end of God’s great design, which in fact promises « to end the persecution in Russia », if the Pope and the bishops consecrate it to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, « and if His Holiness promises, through the end of this persecution, to approve and recommend the practice of the devotion of reparation » on the first Saturdays of the month. It is an admirable exchange of promises by which God wishes to draw the Vicar of Christ to resolutely commit the whole Church to this reparatory devotion which He so greatly desires to see practiced everywhere.
IV. THE APPARITION OF TUY, THE TURNING POINT OF THE CENTURY
From then on, after June 13, 1929, when God completed His solemn revelation of His great design for the Church, for Russia, and the world, one can say that the drama of our century was cast. The outcome depends in the last analysis on the Holy Father, and on him alone. We will explain why. And because the message of Fatima is perfectly limpid and coherent, three propositions, the truth of which is even more striking in 1983 than in 1917 or 1929, sum it all up.
1. WORLD PEACE DEPENDS ON THE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA
« If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. » If not, Russia « will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions… The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. » Thus everything had already been said on July 13, 1917. Our Lady even predicted the Second World War, which would be worse than the first, as a direct consequence of the non-conversion of Russia.
We will soon demonstrate the unquestionable historical truth of this surprising statement. As for Soviet expansionism (both ideological and military) prophesied by Our Lady, this too is a fact of history – a more and more prominent fact, which causes the future of the entire world to depend on Russia alone. Solzhenitsyn, who saw this fact, wrote : « Communism cannot stop itself in its desire to conquer the world, whether it be by overt war, subversive and terrorist action, or by the destabilisation of social structures… Nothing can be hoped for from communism itself : no compromise with the doctrine of communism is possible ; one can foresee either its total triumph in the whole world, or its complete disappearance everywhere. The only salvation for Russia, for China and the entire world consists in rejecting it. Otherwise, the world runs the risk of being ruined and annihilated. » 30
This is precisely the prophecy of Fatima. As long as it remains under the communist yoke, Russia will continue to be a perpetual menace for the world, because its Bolshevik revolution is like a growing cancer, which by its nature will never be able to do anything but spread. We must give this serious reflection : the only escape, the only possible salvation for Russia and the world is its conversion… And the latter can only be an extraordinary miracle, granted by God in His mercy.
2. THE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA DEPENDS
ON ITS CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Here we are entering into the realm of entirely supernatural faith and hope. Still, this fact is not therefore any less certain than things which are proved empirically ; far from it ! To the eyes of faith, the plan of salvation revealed at Fatima and Tuy appears as the work of divine wisdom, which has no equal for its unquestionable efficacy. Yes, for every Catholic who understands the profound underlying intention, and the wonderful, supernatural fruits, the two requests of Our Lady appear as the adequate means, the conditions necessary for the miracle which is possible and so to speak necessary for the conversion of Russia. This is a second truth which, like the first one, is just as certain and even more obvious than it was in 1929.
3. THE CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA TO THE IMMACULATE HEART
OF MARY DEPENDS ON THE POPE AND THE BISHOPS
« If the Holy Father will himself make (a solemn act of reparation and consecration of Russia) as well as ordering all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same… The Holy Father must then promise to approve and recommend the practice of the reparatory devotion. » The texts are clear : what room is there for doubt ? In God’s great design, everything depends in the final analysis on the Supreme Pontiff, and on him alone, since it is for him to order the bishops to make the requested act of consecration with him. The faithful, of course, can also act effectively : by their prayers and sacrifices they merit this grace. Still, this does not change the fact that no decisive solution for the peace and salvation of the world can be reached without the Pope. Here we must be insistent, because this point of the message of Fatima is often passed over in silence. God promises to accomplish miracles of grace through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but on one formal condition : that the Pastors of the Church solemnly request it of Her, and demonstrate by their obedience to Her requests that, in the face of the extreme perils of the hour, they hope for deliverance from Her and Her alone.
In other words, since the extraordinary trinitarian theophany of Tuy on June 13, 1929, more than ever before everything depends on the Pope : « The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father… » It remains for us to examine what his response was to the requests of the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
(1) Cf. supra, Part I, Chap. VI.
(2) Letter to Sister Lucy, May 9, 1929, Uma Vida, p. 365. Also must reading is the moving account of a miraculous healing obtained by the seer at this period (cf. infra, Chap. XII, Appendix IV).
(3) In God’s great design, the reparatory devotion and the consecration of Russia are so intimately connected with each other, that resuming our account of events, after 1925, in the next chapter we will examine the Church’s response to these two requests of Our Lady.
(4) Doc., p. 463-465. This text, which is the most detailed one we have, was written by Sister Lucy in May 1936, when her spiritual director, Father Gonçalves, asked her to write some biographical notes. Documentos does not give us a reproduction of the original manuscript, which was destroyed by Sister Lucy, but reproduces a literal copy which Father Gonçalves made at the end of April 1941, during the course of a visit to Sister Lucy.
Unfortunately, the translations of this text appearing in MSC (p. 41) and in an appendix to the Memoirs of Sister Lucy are faulty on several points. Thus the reader need not be astonished at any discrepancies he may notice.
A second, more succinct account of the vision of Tuy may be found infra, Chap. VII, Appendix.
(5) We know that Father José Bernardo Gonçalves, who was superior of the Jesuit community at Tuy, heard Sister Lucy’s confession for the first time on May 19, 1929, thus hardly a month before the apparition (Doc., p. 399).
(6) Letter received by Father Gonçalves on May 29, 1930 (Doc., p. 405). The letter of next June 12, addressed to the same person, literally employs the same formula (Doc., p. 411), which indissociably unites the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
(7) Fourth Lateran Council : « Absque initio, semper ac sine fine : Pater generans, Filius nascens, et Spiritus Sanctus procedens » (Denz., 428).
(8) Council of Florence (Denz., 691).
(9) CRC 184, Dec. 1982, p. 16 & 18. This wonderful history of mystical and Christian Russia, from Saint Vladimir to Saint Seraphim of Sarov and the “ Way of a Pilgrim ” in the entire nineteenth century, is related with much charm in two works available to all : Pierre Kovalevsky, Saint Serge (collection Maîtres de la vie spirituelle, Seuil 1958); and John Meyendorff who relates the continuation in Saint Grégoire Palamas (same collection).
(10) Doc., p. 413.
(11) Abbé de Nantes, Way of the Cross, “ Prayer to the God of Pity ”.
(12) Cf. Vol. I, p. 76, 88, 104-105.
(13) Matins Antiphon for the Feast of the Holy Trinity. 2 Cor. 13 :13 : « Gratia Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et caritas Dei, et communicatio Spiritus Sancti sit cum omnibus vobis. »
(14) Saint Pius X, Ad diem illum, February 2, 1904.
(15) Mass of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces and Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
(16) Ven. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus.
(17) Ez. 47 :1-12; Jn. 19 :34; Apoc. 22 :1.
(18) See our Vol. I, p. 112.
(19) Abbé Georges de Nantes, Way of the Cross, 1974.
(20) See for example A. Feuillet, Jésus et sa Mère, the spiritual maternity of Mary, p. 135-139. In the light of « the woman who gives birth » of Apocalypse 12, the author gives Jesus’ words, « Woman, behold Thy son », all their richness of affirmation of a permanent mystical reality, merited by the Cross but already pre-existing in fact, like the grace of the Immaculate Conception : « The dying Christ sees Mary and the beloved disciple, and He says something which nobody sees and nobody knows : that Mary is the Mother of the disciple and the disciple His son. What does this mean, if not that this episode does not relate the creation of something new, but simply reveals a reality that already exists. » (p. 138) Cf. also the very developed exposition of M. Braun, “ La Mère des fidèles ” : La Mère du disciple, p. 97-129 and La Femme de l’Apocalypse, p. 131-176, Casterman, 1953.
(21) Cf. supra, p.265 and etc.
(22) Letter of May 9, 1929, to Sister Luz (Uma Vida, p. 365). The letter of July 24, 1927, addressed to her mother, and entirely devoted to the devotion of the five first Saturdays, is even more significant : « A devotion… which our dear Heavenly Mother has requested », « our dear Mother », « our most Holy Mother with Jesus on Calvary », « the tenderest of mothers », « in this way console your Heavenly Mother, and seek to make many others console Her in the same way » (cf. supra, p. 261-262.). She could hardly be more insistent on Mary’s Maternal Heart.
(22a) Ad diem illum, February 2, 1904.
(23) « If God were your Father, you would love me, for from God I proceed and came… But you seek to kill me… You are of your father, the devil. » Jn. 8 :39-44.
(24) Letter to Father Gonçalves, May 18, 1936. Doc., p. 414.
(25) Cf. supra, p. 427-428.
(26) Let us remark that it is in this very spirit that the Portuguese bishops made the consecration of their country in 1931. We will also have the opportunity to cite eloquent historical examples which illustrate the incomparable supernatural fecundity of such a consecration : the consecration of France to Our Lady by King Louis XIII in 1638, the parish of Our Lady of Victories consecrated on December 3, 1836, to the “ Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary ” by Father des Genettes ; or finally the parish of Ars, consecrated by its holy parish priest that same year, 1836, to Mary conceived without sin.
(27) We have already explained this important aspect of the message at length, cf. Vol. I, p. 86-89 and supra, in the chapter on “ The Great Promise ”, p. 153 etc., “ The Reparatory Devotion, a Secret of Mercy for Sinners ”.
(28) Cf. supra, Part I, Chapter VII, note 36.
(29) To such a point that, relating the Divine request for the consecration of Russia, Sister Lucy sometimes speaks of a « consecration of Russia to the most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary », which is necessarily addressed at the same time to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is how true it is that « … to come to the Heart of Mary is to come to Jesus ; to honour the Heart of Mary is to honour Jesus, to invoke the Heart of Mary is to invoke Jesus… » Saint John Eudes, Le Coeur Admirable, Vol. II, chap. V. Cf. Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, No. 148.
(30) L’erreur de l’Occident, p. 89, 1980.