The Secret of Fatima and a New Evangelization
The final words of the Virgin Mother of the Redeemer recorded in the Gospels are the words she spoke to the wine stewards at the Wedding Feast of Cana who came to her in anguish over the lack of sufficient wine for the guests of the newlyweds. She responded to them and their situation of great distress by leading them to her Divine Son, also a guest at the Wedding Feast, and instructing them: “Do whatever he tells you.” These simple words express the mystery of the Divine Maternity by which the Virgin Mary became the Mother of God, bringing God the Son Incarnate into the world. By the same mystery, she continues to be the channel of all the graces which immeasurably and unceasingly pour forth from Her Divine Son’s glorious pierced Heart into the hearts of His faithful brothers and sisters on earthly pilgrimage to their lasting home with Him in Heaven.
By the mystery of the Divine Maternity, the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into glory, never ceases to beat with love for us, the children whom her Divine Son gave to her, as He was dying upon the Cross. They are her sons and daughters in her Son, God the Son Incarnate. With maternal care, she draws hearts to her glorious Immaculate Heart and takes them to Him, to His Sacred Heart, and she instructs them: “Do whatever he tells you.” In the oldest preserved extant hymn to the Virgin Mother of God, found already on an Egyptian papyrus of the 3rd century, Christians pray:
We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Similarly, in the words of the ancient hymn for Vespers on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ave Maris Stella, we pray:
Show thyself a mother; may the Word divine, born for us thine Infant, hear our prayers through thine.
These words of the eighth-century hymn express in a clear and striking manner the mystery of the Divine Maternity by which the Virgin Mary is both Mother of God and Mother of Divine Grace. We ask the Virgin Mother of God to lead us to her Divine Son, in order that our hearts, one with her Immaculate Heart, may rest always in His Heart, the only source of our salvation.
In a most wonderful way, the Blessed Virgin Mary has shown herself to be our Mother in her apparitions to the three shepherd children at Cova da Iria, near Fatima in Portugal, one hundred years ago, from May 13th to October 13th of 1917. The world at the time found itself torn asunder by the unimaginable destruction and death wrought by the First World War and fatally menaced by the spread of atheistic communism leading the hearts of men away from the Heart of Jesus, the sole font of salvation. Atheistic communion was leading hearts into a rebellion against God and the order, which He has placed in His creation and has written on the heart of every man, the only earthly creature made in His own image and likeness.
God prepared the messengers of the Virgin of Fatima, Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and the Servant of God Lucia Rosa dos Santos, by three visions of the Angel of Portugal which took place during the Spring, Summer and Autumn of 1916. During the first vision, while telling the shepherd children not to be afraid and assuring them that he was “the Angel of Peace,” he taught them to pray three times with these words:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope [in] and I love You. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope [in] and do not love You.
The Angel, as God’s messenger to the shepherd children was already indicating the way in which the Mother of God would lead: the way of prayer, penance and reparation. He concluded the vision with the words:
Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.
During his second apparition, the Angel urged the children: “Offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High.” When Lucia asked how the children were to make sacrifices, the Angel replied:
Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an action of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the suffering which the Lord will send you.
The children were indeed led to pray as the Angel had taught them and to accept happily suffering for the sake of the forgiveness of sins and the repair of the disorder which sin always introduces into personal lives and into the world.
During the third apparition, in the autumn of 1916, the Angel, “holding in his hand a chalice with a Host suspended above it, from which a few drops of blood fell, taught the children a much longer prayer:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in 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.
The Angel then communicated the Sacred Host to Lucia and the Precious Blood to Francisco and Jacinta, with these words: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”
The third apparition of the Angel of Portugal manifested to the children the essentially Eucharistic nature of their prayer and sacrifice. In fact, Christ makes ever new His sacrifice on Calvary through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, for the salvation of souls and of the world. Hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are most perfectly united to the Heart of Jesus through participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice which reaches its culmination in the worthy reception of the incomparable fruit of the Sacrifice: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
The central message of Our Lady of Fatima was revealed in what is called the Secret of Fatima during the apparition which took place on July 13, 1917. The first part of the Secret has two essential contents. First, there is the terrifying vision of Hell, foreshadowed in the evils visited upon the world at the time. Then, there is the offer of God’s healing peace through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that souls may be saved from a life of grievous or mortal sin and its fruit: eternal death. Our Lady spoke these words to the shepherd children:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
While the first part of the Secret gives a severe admonition, it is also full of hope in the unfailing grace of God which brings about repentance for sins committed and peace in individual repentant souls and, as a result, in the world.
Referring to the punishments necessarily connected with the grave sins of the time, the second part of the Secret is the announcement of the peace which God wants to give to souls and to the world. The peace of God will come to the world through two means: 1) the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and 2) the practice of the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturday of the month. Our Lady spoke these words to the shepherd children:
To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.
In the end my Immaculate heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc.
Our Lady indicated the spiritual remedy of the deplorable situation in which the world and Church found themselves. She also foretold the terrible physical chastisements which would result from the failure to consecrate the agent of the spread of atheistic communism to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through her Immaculate Heart and to undertake the regular practice of reparation for so many offenses communicated against the immeasurable and unceasing love of God manifested so perfectly in the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus.
In fact, the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary did not take place, as she requested, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays did not become the practice of the universal Church. There ensued the terrible suffering of the Second World War and its aftermath, the spread of atheistic communism, resulting, in fact, in the persecution of many nations and of the Church in those nations, and the annihilation of some nations. The second part of the Secret also ends with the sure hope that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph through obedience to her maternal instruction.
The third part of the Secret, indicated by the “etc.” at the end of the second part, has to deal with the spiritual chastisement brought about by the rebellion of man who instead of giving his heart to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary gives over his heart to the corruption of the worldly materialism and relativism of the age. The third part of the Secret was finally written by Sister Lucia on January 3, 1944, but was to be revealed at the death of Sister Lucia or in 1960, whichever date came first.
In her description of the third part of the Secret, Sister Lucia quotes “the Angel with a flaming sword” whom she saw at Our Lady’s left side:
Pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: “Penance, Penance, Penance!”
She then describes the martyrdom of those remaining true to Our Lord, those of one heart, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with His Most Sacred Heart. Beneath the two arms of “a big cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork tree with the bark… there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in their hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
Sister Lucia also records three declarations of the Mother of God. First, Our Lady asks that the third part of the Secret not be communicated to others, except Francisco, at that time (July 13, 1917), and then she gives the following instruction:
When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.
Finally, Our Lady assured Lucia that she had nothing further to request of her at that time.
Before considering in a bit more detail the third part of the Secret, I mention briefly how the other apparitions of Our Lady prepare for the apparition of July 13th and confirm it. During the apparition of May 13th, the Virgin asked the children come to the same place “for six months in succession on the 13th day at [the] same hour.” She indicated that in the course of the six months, she would indicate to them what she desired of them. She urged the children to pray the Rosary and to embrace the sufferings which God sends “as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.” She also assured them that the grace of God would not be lacking to them. During the apparition on June 13th, she asked the children to continue praying the Rosary, assuring them that she would tell them later what she wanted. She made clear that devotion to her Immaculate Heart is both a “refuge” and “the way” that leads to God.
During the apparition of August 19th, which was postponed due to the imprisonment of the shepherd children, the Virgin confirmed her instruction regarding the need of praying the Rosary and offering many sacrifices for the salvation of souls. She also promised that during the last apparition, “I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” On September 13th, Our Lady once again confirmed the children in the practice of praying the Rosary and offering sacrifices for the salvation of souls and peace in the world. She renewed the promise of a miracle. She declared:
In October, Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.
Faithful to Our Lady’s promise, on October 13th, after asking that a chapel be built to her honor as Our Lady of the Rosary and urging the daily praying of the Rosary, and repentance and reparation for sins, God provided the Miracle of the Sun to confirm faith in the message which our Lady brought to the world at Fatima. Time does not permit a fuller meditation on the other apparitions.
I now return to the third part of the Secret or Message of Fatima. Without entering into a discussion regarding whether the third part of the Secret has been fully revealed, it seems clear from the most respected studies of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, that it has to do with the diabolical forces unleashed upon the world in our time and entering into the very life of the Church which lead souls away from the truth of the faith and, therefore, from the Divine Love flowing from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, in his monumental study of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, writes the following regarding the third part of the Secret or what is often called the Third Secret:
In short, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary undoubtedly refers much more to the third Secret than even the second. For the recovery of peace will be a gift from Heaven, but it is not, properly speaking, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her victory is of another order, supernatural, and then temporal by addition. It will first be the victory of the Faith, which will put an end to the time of apostasy, and the great shortcomings of the Church’s pastors.
As horrible as are the physical chastisements associated with man’s disobedient rebellion before God, infinitely more horrible are the spiritual chastisements for they have to do with the fruit of grievous sin: eternal death. As is clear, only the Faith, which places man in the relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, can save man from the spiritual chastisements which rebellion against God necessarily brings upon its perpetrators and upon the whole of both society and the Church.
The teaching of the Faith in its integrity and with courage is the heart of the office of the Church’s pastors: the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, and their principal co-workers, the priests. For that reason, the Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church. Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.
In recent history, for instance, Blessed Pope Paul VI made reference to the incursion of the devil into the most sacred aspect of the life of the Church, her Divine Worship, in his homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in 1972. He reflected at some length upon the situation of the Church in the world during the years immediately following upon the close of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Using an image with a clear reference to the Sacred Liturgy, he spoke of his sense that “through some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God.” He went on to reflect on how the abuse of the temple of God reflected a more general crisis in the teaching and practice of the Faith.
He spoke of a pervasive doubt, uncertainty, restlessness, dissatisfaction and dissent, and of a loss of trust in the Church, coupled with a ready placement of trust in secular prophets who speak through the press or social movements, seeking from them the formula for a true life. He noted how the state of uncertainty prevailed within the Church Herself, observing that after the Second Vatican Council it was believed that “a day of sunlight had dawned upon the Church,” while, in fact, “a day of clouds, storms, darkness, wandering and uncertainty” had arrived. He commented that the Church seemed to plumb the abysses rather than to seek to fill them.
Blessed Pope Paul VI and Pope Saint John Paul II addressed the increasing gravity of the incursion of an atheistic materialism, secularism and relativism in the Church with the call for a new evangelization. For Blessed Pope Paul VI, a new evangelization is the fundamental form of proclaiming the truth of Christ in our time. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “On Evangelization in the Modern World” of December 8, 1975, he described evangelization as the Church’s “… deepest inspiration, that which comes to her directly from the Lord: To the whole world! To all creation! Right to the ends of the earth!” After reflecting on the first proclamation of the Gospel which “… is addressed to those who have never heard the Good News of Jesus, or to children,” he declared:
But, as a result of the frequent situations of dechristianization in our day, it also proves equally necessary for innumerable people who have been baptized but who live quite outside Christian life, for simple people who have a certain faith but an imperfect knowledge of the foundations of that faith, for intellectuals who feel the need to know Jesus Christ in a light different from the instruction they received as children, and for many others.
The degree of secularization about which Pope Paul VI referred with concern in 1975 has only continued to increase exponentially, also due to a grave impoverishment or even lack of adequate catechesis in the Church during the past four and more decades.
The pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, may be rightly described as a tireless call to recognize the Church’s challenge to be faithful to her divinely given mission in a completely secularized society and to respond to the challenge by means of a new evangelization. A new evangelization consists in: 1) teaching the faith through preaching, catechesis, Catholic education and all forms of communication, 2) celebrating the faith in Divine Worship and in prayer and devotion which are the extension of Divine Worship into every moment of daily living, and 3) living the faith by the practice of the virtues – all as if for the first time, that is, with the engagement and energy of the first disciples and of the first missionaries to our native place.
In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World,” Pope John Paul II described the contemporary situation of the Church in a world which is increasingly secularized, marked by a pervasive and constant spread of relativism, which “inspires and sustains a life lived ‘as if God did not exist’.” Not by chance, in Evangelium Vitae, addressing the culture of death which tragically marks a totally secularized society, he made reference to such a way of living in ignorance of God and of the order with which He has created the world and, above all, man. He declared:
By living “as if God did not exist”, man not only loses sight of the mystery of God, but also of the mystery of the world and the mystery of his own being.
He went on to describe the situation which “inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism,” and in which man exchanges his very being for material possessions and pleasures, rejects suffering as meaningless, and views his body and sexuality in abstraction from his person.
To remedy the situation of a totally secularized culture, the saintly Pontiff observed, “a mending of the Christian fabric of society is urgently needed in all parts of the world.” He hastened to add that, if the remedy is to be effected, the Church herself must be evangelized anew. Fundamental to understanding the radical secularization of our culture is to understand also how much this secularization has entered into the life of the Church Herself. Pope John Paul II declared:
But for this [the mending of the Christian fabric of society] to come about what is needed is to first remake the Christian fabric of the ecclesial community itself present in these countries and nations.
Pope Saint John Paul II, therefore, called upon the lay faithful to fulfill their particular responsibility, that is, “to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response – consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees – to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society.”
Making more specific the call, he clarified that the fulfillment of the responsibility of the lay faithful requires that they “know how to overcome in themselves the separation of the Gospel from life, to take up again in their daily activities in family, work and society, an integrated approach to life that is fully brought about by the inspiration and strength of the Gospel.” Before the grave situation of the world today, we are, Pope Saint John Paul II reminded us, like the first disciples who, after hearing Saint Peter’s Pentecost discourse, asked him: “What must we do?” Even as the first disciples faced a pagan world which had not even heard of our Lord Jesus Christ, so, too, we face a culture which is forgetful of God and hostile to His Law written upon every human heart.
Before the great challenge of our time, Pope Saint John Paul II cautioned us that we will not save ourselves and our world by discovering “some magic formula” or by “inventing a new programme.” In unmistakable terms, he declared:
No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you.
He reminded us that the programme by which we are to address effectively the great spiritual challenges of our time is Jesus Christ alive for us in the Church. He explained:
The programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its center in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in him we may live the life of the Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfillment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a program which does not change with shifts of times and cultures, even though it takes account of time and culture for the sake of true dialogue and effective communication.
In short, the program leading to freedom and happiness is, for each of us, the holiness of a life lived in Christ.
Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, cast the entire pastoral plan for the Church in terms of holiness. He explained himself thus:
In fact, to place pastoral planning under the heading of holiness is a choice filled with consequences. It implies the conviction that, since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethics and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: “Do you wish to receive Baptism?” means at the same time to ask them: “Do you wish to become holy?” It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
Pope Saint John Paul II taught us the extraordinary nature of our ordinary life, because it is lived in Christ and, therefore, produces in us the incomparable beauty of holiness. He declared:
The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction.
Seeing in us the daily conversion of life by which we strive to meet the high standard of holiness, the “high standard of ordinary Christian living,” our brothers and sisters will discover the great mystery of their own ordinary life in which God daily showers upon them his immeasurable and ceaseless love, calling them to holiness of life in Christ, His only-begotten Son.
The family is the first place of education in the Christian life, the first place in which the daily conversion of life to Christ, under the guidance and protection of His and our mother, takes place. Regarding Christian marriage and the family, and the call to evangelization, Pope Saint John Paul II, in his 1981 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Familiaris Consortio, declared that “the Christian family, in fact, is the first community called to announce the Gospel to the human person during growth and to bring him or her, through a progressive education and catechesis, to full human and Christian maturity.” Christian education in the family and in the school introduces children and young people, in an ever more profound way, into the Tradition, into the great gift of our life in Christ in the Church handed down to us faithfully, in an unbroken line, through the Apostles and their successors. Education, if it is to be sound, that is, for the good of the individual and society, must be especially attentive to arm itself against the errors of atheistic materialism, secularism and relativism, lest it fail to communicate to the succeeding generations the truth, beauty and goodness of our life and of our world, as they are expressed in the unchanging teaching of the Faith, in its highest expression in Divine Worship, prayer and devotion, and in the holiness of life of those who profess the faith and worship God “in spirit and in truth.”
Education which takes place first in the home and is enriched and supplemented by schools and, above all, by truly Catholic schools is directed fundamentally to the formation of good citizens and good members of the Church. Ultimately it is directed to the happiness of the individual which is found in right relationships and has its fulfilment in eternal life. It presupposes the objective nature of things to which the human heart is directed, if it is trained to follow a correctly formed conscience. It seeks an ever deeper knowledge and love of the true, the good, and the beautiful. It forms the individual to this fundamental pursuit throughout his or her lifetime.
Today, the Church is beset by confusion and error about even some of her most fundamental and constant teachings. As a secular agenda continues to advance in the world, promoting the attack upon innocent and defenseless human life, upon the integrity of marriage and its incomparable fruit, the family, and upon the very freedom of man to worship God “in spirit and truth,” the Church herself seems confused and even at times indulgent toward a mundanity which rebels against God and His law. The world has great need for the Church to announce the Faith, the truth of Christ, with clarity and courage, but sadly too often she remains silent or seems uncertain regarding the truth and its steadfast application to daily life in the world. At the same time, the confusion, which remains uncorrected, generates profound divisions among individual Bishops and Conferences of Bishops, among priests and among the faithful, in general. The most fundamental and important moral questions receive a different response from the pastors of the Church in different places. A new evangelization has been confused with a sentimental embrace of a secular culture which fails to call the culture to conversion and to give witness to conversion by the integrity of life of Christians. Not without reason, the faithful find themselves confused and disoriented. Such a situation leads also to a sense of abandonment.
Reflecting upon the pressing need to respond to the grace of a new evangelization, we see how timely the apparitions and message of Our Lady of Fatima remain. At Fatima, the Mother of God, our Mother, provides for us the means to go faithfully to her Divine Son and to seek from Him the wisdom and strength to bring His saving grace to a profoundly troubled world. She provides six particular means for us to employ in addressing the situation. She asks us as individual members of the faithful: 1) to pray the Rosary each day; 2) to wear the Brown Scapular; 3) to make sacrifices for the sake of saving sinners; 4) to make reparation for offenses to her Immaculate Heart by means of the First Saturday devotion; and 5) to convert our own lives ever more to Christ. Lastly, she asks the Roman Pontiff, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. By these means, she promises that her Immaculate Heart will triumph, bringing souls to Christ, her Son. Turning to Christ, they will make reparation for their sins. Christ, through the intercession of His Virgin Mother, will save them from Hell and bring peace to the whole world.
While the Secret of Fatima is realistic about the great evils which beset the world and the Church, it is fundamentally a message of hope in the victory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The victory of grace, however, means for us the daily conversion to Christ, purification from sin in our lives through prayer and penance, and reparation for sins committed.
Visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, 1982, the first anniversary of the attempt on his life, Pope Saint John Paul II declared:
Today John Paul II, successor of Peter, continuer of the work of Pius, John, and Paul, and particular heir of the Second Vatican Council, presents himself before the Mother of the Son of God in her Shrine at Fátima. In what way does he come?
He presents himself, reading again with trepidation the motherly call to penance, to conversion, the ardent appeal of the Heart of Mary that resounded at Fátima sixty-five years ago. Yes, he reads it again with trepidation in his heart because he sees how many people and societies – how many Christians – have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fátima. Sin has thus made itself firmly at home in the world, and denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas and plans of human beings.
But for this very reason the evangelical call to repentance and conversion, uttered in the Mother’s message, remains ever relevant. It is still more relevant than it was sixty-five years ago. It is still more urgent….
The successor of Peter presents himself here also a witness to the immensity of human suffering, a witness to the almost apocalyptic menaces looking over the nations and mankind as a whole. He is trying to embrace these sufferings with his own weak human heart, as he places himself before the mystery of the Heart of the Mother, the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the name of these sufferings and with awareness of the evil that is spreading throughout the world and menacing the individual human being, the nations, and mankind as a whole, Peter’s successor presents himself here with greater faith in the redemption of the world, in the saving Love that is always stronger, always more powerful than any evil.
My heart is oppressed when I see the sin of the world and the whole range of menaces gathering like a dark cloud over mankind, but it also rejoices with hope as I once more do what has been done by my Predecessors, when they consecrated the world to the Heart of the Mother, when they consecrated especially to that Heart those peoples which particularly need to be consecrated. Doing this means consecrating the world to Him Who is infinite Holiness. This Holiness means redemption. It means a love more powerful than evil. No “sin of the world” can ever overcome this Love.
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 words of Pope Saint John Paul II make clear the perennial importance of the Message of Fatima: the giving of one’s whole heart, together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus the commitment to become an ever more effective agent of the sorely needed new evangelization of our culture. Attention to the maternal direction of Our Lady of Fatima draw souls to Christ Who will give them the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of their lives and the transformation of a culture of death into a civilization of love.
In what regards the Message of Fatima, I cannot fail to draw attention to the particular service of Portugal and, above all, of the Bishops of Portugal in bringing Our Lady’s maternal guidance and protection to the whole world. Our Lady promised: “In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, ….” The Secret or Message of Fatima was first entrusted to the Bishop of Leiria for the sake of the whole world. Rightly, the world looks today to Portugal, so favored by the apparitions at Fatima, to bring Our Lady’s Message of trust in the victory of her Immaculate Heart which is indeed the victory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The world looks to Portugal for the sign of the Faith which alone brings about the victory of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
In conclusion, let us not give way to discouragement before the tumultuous situation in which the world and the Church finds itself in our times. Rather, let us heed once again the maternal direction of the Virgin of Fatima for a new evangelization of the Church and, thus, of the world.
Let us be invested with the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and pray daily the Holy Rosary for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. Let us center of all our labors upon participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Act of Thanksgiving after each Holy Mass and throughout the day, Eucharistic Adoration, and the daily praying of the Holy Rosary – by which Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, transforms our lives and our world.
Let us make reparation for the many and grievous offenses against the immeasurable and unceasing love of God for us by practicing the devotion of the First Saturdays and by embracing suffering and sacrifice for love of all our brothers and sisters and especially of those in most need.
Let us consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and work for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Certainly, Pope Saint John Paul II consecrated the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984. But, today, once again, we hear the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction. The requested consecration is at once a recognition of the importance which Russia continues to have in God’s plan for peace and a sign of profound love for our brothers and sisters in Russia.
May the Mother of God and Mother of Divine Grace lead many souls to unite their hearts to her Immaculate Heart in the total consecration of their hearts to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As the Mother of God teaches us, there is no surer way to grow daily in the spiritual life and thus to become “rivers of living water” for a world which thirsts so much for the truth and love which are only found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. So may the truth and love of Christ animate our homes and make them a light of hope for all who struggle against the forces of materialism and relativism. The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph over any darkness in our hearts. Through her triumph in our hearts and in the hearts of many, through the triumph of the Faith, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will also triumph over the great darkness of our time by leading souls to the truth and love of her Divine Son, by leading souls to give their hearts, with hers, completely into the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She will continue to speak to our hearts, as she spoke to the hearts of the wine stewards at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.”
Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE
1] Jn 2, 5.
 Cf. Jn 19, 26-27.
 “Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genetrix; nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedica.” Enchiridion Indulgentiarum. Normae et concessiones, ed. 4ª (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999), p. 65, n. 17. [EnchInd]. English translation: Manual of Indulgences. Norms and Grants, translated into English from the fourth edition (1999) (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006), p. 62, no. 17. [EnchIndEng].
 “Monstra te esse matrem, sumat per te preces qui pro nobis natus tulit esse tuus.” The Raccolta or A Manual of Indulgences. Prayers and Devotions Enriched with Indulgences, tr. Joseph P. Christopher, Charles E. Spence and John F. Rowan (New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1957), pp. 222-223, no. 321.
 Cf. Rom 2, 15.
 Cf. Gen 1, 26-27.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 46.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 46.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 46.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 47.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 30.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 30.
 Carmel of Coimbra, A Pathway under the Gaze of Mary: Biography of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, tr. James A. Colson (Washington, NJ: World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, 2015), p. 68. Hereafter, Carmel of Coimbra.
 Carmel of Coimbra, pp. 68-69.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 69.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 69.
 Carmel of Coimbra, pp. 69-70.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 58.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 58.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 63.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 81.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 86.
 Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth about Fatima, Volume Three: The Third Secret (1942-1960), tr. John Collorafi (Buffalo, NY: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990), pp. 816-817.
 “… da qualche fessura sia entrato il fumo di Satana nel tempio di Dio.” Paulus PP. VI, “Per il nono anniversario dell’Incoronazione di Sua Santità: «Resistite fortes in fide», 29 giugno 1972,” Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, Vol. 10 (1972) (Città del Vaticano: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1973), p. 707. [Hereafter, HomilyPaulVI]. English translation by author.
 Cf. HomilyPaulVI, pp. 707-708.
 “… una giornata di sole per la storia della Chiesa…una giornata di nuvole, di tempesta, di buio, di ricerca, di incertezza.” HomilyPaulVI, p. 708. English translation by author.
 Cf. HomilyPaulVI, p. 708.
 “… altissimum mentis instinctum in se excitat, qui ad eam proxime a divino Magistro proficiscitur, hisce verbis resonantibus: mundo universo! omni creaturae! usque ad ultimum terrae!” Paulus PP. VI, Adhortatio Apostolica Evangelii nuntiandi, “De Evangelizatione in mundo huius temporis”, 8 Decembris 1975, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 68 (1976), 40, n. 50. [Hereafter, EN] English translation: Pope Paul VI, On Evangelization in the Modern World (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, nd), p. 35, n. 50. [Hereafter, ENEng]
 “… ad eos praesertim habetur, qui Bonum Iesu Nuntium numquam audierunt, aut pueris…” EN, 40, n. 52. English translation: ENEng, p. 35, n. 52.
 “… cum crebro hodie eae invaluerint condiciones, quibus a lege christiana prorsus disceditur – plurimis hominibus, qui sacro quidem tincti sunt baptismate, sed extra quamvis formam vitae christianae degunt, plebi simplici, quae quandam possidet fidem, sed eius fundamenta vix cognoscit, viris studia colentibus, qui opus sibi esse sentiunt, ut Iesum Christum agnoscant alia ratione sibi propositum quam institutione, quae puerili aetate tradi solet, necnon aliis multis.” EN, 40-41, n. 52. English translation: ENEng, p. 36, no. 52.
 “…inhiant ac proclamant ita esse vivendum «etsi Deus non daretur».” Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Adhortatio Apostolica Christifideles Laici, “De vocatione et missione Laicorum in Ecclesia et in mundo,” 30 Decembris 1988, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 81 (1989), 454, no. 34. [Hereafter, CL]. English translation: Pope John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, 30 December 1988, “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World” (Vatican City State: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, nd), p. 95, no. 34. [Hereafter, CLEng].
 “Vivens reapse «perinde ac si Deus non sit», non modo a Dei mysterio, verum etiam a mundi ipsius arcano suaeque vitae aberrat.” EV, 426, n. 22. English translation: EVEng, p. 40, no. 22.
 “…necessario ad materialismum practicum ducit, in quo individualismus, utilitarismus et hedonismus grassantur.” EV, 426, n. 23. English translation: EVEng, p. 40, no. 23.
 “… consortium humanum spiritu christiano ubique denuo imbuendum est.” CL, 455, no. 34. English translation: CLEng, p. 96, no. 34.
 “Id [consortium humanum spiritu christiano imbuendum] tamen possible erit, si christianus communitatum ipsarum ecclesialium contextus, quae his in regionibus et nationibus degunt, renovetur.” CL, 455, no. 34. English translation: CLEng, p. 96, no. 34.
 “…testari quomodo christiana fides responsum constituat unice plene validum, ab omnibus plus minusve conscie agnitum et invocatum, ad quaestiones et exspectationes, quas vita ipsa homini et societatibus imponit singulis.” CL, 455, no. 34. English translation: CLEng, p. 96, no. 34.
 “…hiatum inter Evangelium et vitam in seipsis superare valeant, in quotidianis familiae navitatibus, in labore et in societate unitatem vitae componentes, quae in Evangelio lucem et vim pro sua plena invenit adimpletione.” CL, p. 455, no. 34. English translation: CLEng, p. 96, no. 34.
 Acts 2, 37.
 Cf. Rom 2, 15.
 “… formulam veluti «magicam».” Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Epistula Apostolica Novo Millennio Ineunte, “Magni Iubilaei anni MM sub exitum,” Acta Apostolicae Sedis 93 (2001), 285, n. 29. [Novo Millennio Ineunte]. English translation: Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, “At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,” 6 January 2001 (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 2001), p. 39, no. 29. [Novo Millennio Ineunte Eng].
 “Nullo modo: servabit nos nulla formula, verum Persona una atque certitudo illa quam nobis Ipsa infundit: Ego vobiscum sum.” Novo Millennio Ineunte, 285, n. 29. English translation: Novo Millennio Ineunte Eng, p. 39, no. 29.
 “Iam enim praesto est consilium seu «programma»: illud nempe quod de Evangelio derivatur semper vivaque Traditione. Tandem in Christo ipso deprehenditur istud, qui sane cognoscendus est, diligendus atque imitandus, ut vita in eo trinitaria ducatur et cum eo historia ipsa transfiguretur ad suam usque in Hierosolymis caelestibus consummationem. Institutum enim hoc, variantibus quidem temporibus ipsis atque culturae formis, non mutatur quamvis rationem quidem habeat temporis et culturae, ut verum instituat diverbium efficacemque communicationem.” Novo Millennio Ineunte, 285-286, n. 29. English translation: Novo Millennio Ineunte Eng, pp. 39-40, no. 29.
 “Re quidem vera, si pastoralis ordinatio sub signo sanctitatis statuitur, aliquid compluribus cum consectariis decernitur. Inde enim in primis firma aperitur sentientia: si vera est Baptismus ingressio in Dei sanctitatem per insertionem in Christum ipsum necnon Spiritus eius per inhabitationem, quaedam repugnantia est contentum esse mediocri vita, quae ad normam transigitur ethnicae doctrinae minimum solum poscentis ac religionis superficiem tantum tangentis. Ex catechumeno quaerere: «Vis baptizari?» eodem tempore est petere: «Vis sanctificari?». Idem valet ac deponere eius in via extremum Sermonis Montani principium: «Estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut Pater vester caelestis perfectus est» (Mt 5, 48).” Novo Millennio Ineunte, 288, n. 31. English translation: Novo Millennio Ineunte Eng, p. 43, no. 31.
 “Omnibus ergo tempus est iterum firmiter hunc proponere «superiorem modum» ordinariae vitae christianae: ad hanc namque metam conducere debet omnis vita ecclesialis communitatis ac familiarum christianarum.” Novo Millennio Ineunte, 288, n. 31. English translation: Novo Millennio Ineunte Eng, p. 43, no. 31.
 “… christiana enim familia est prima communitas, cuius est Evangelium personae humanae crescent annuntiare eamque progrediente education et catechesis ad plenam maturitatem humanam et christianam perducere.” Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Adhortatio Apostolica Familiaris Consortio, “De Familiae Christianae muneribus in mundo huius temporis,” 22 Novembris 1981, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 74 (1982), 823, n. 2. English translation: Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familaris Consortio, “Regarding the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World,” 22 November 1981 (Vatican City State: Vatican Polyglot Press, 1981), p. 4, no. 2.
 Jn 4, 24.
 Cf. Jn 4, 23-24.
 “E como é que se apresenta hoje diante da Santa Mãe que gerou o Filho de Deus, no seu Santuário de Fátima, João Paulo II, sucessor de Pedro e continuador de obra de Pio, de João e de Paulo e particular herdeiro do Concilio Vaticano II?
Apresenta-se com ansiedade, a fazer a releitura daquele chamamento materno à penitência e à conversão, daquele apelo ardente do Coração de Maria, que se fez ouvir aqui en Fátima, há sessenta e cinco anos. Sim, relê-o, com o coração amargurado, porque vê quantos homens, quantas sociedades e quantos cristãos foram indo em direcção oposta àquela que foi indicada pela mensagem de Fátima. O pecado adquiriu assim um forte direito de cidadania e a negação de Deus difundiu-se nas ideologias, nas concepções e nos programas humanos!
E precisamente por isso, o convite evangélico à penitência e à conversão, espresso com as palavras da Mãe, continua ainda actual. Mais actual mesmo do que há sessenta e cinco anos atrás. E até mais urgente….
O sucessor de Pedro apresenta-se aqui também como tesemunha dos imensos sofrimentos do homem, como testemunha das ameaças quase apocalípticas, que pesam sobre as nações e sobre a humanidade. E procura abraçar esses sofrimentos com o seu fraco coração humano, ao mesmo tempo que se põe bem diante do misério do Coração: do Coração da Mãe, do Coração Imaculado de Maria.
Em virtude desses sofrimentos, com a consciência do mal que alastra pelo mundo e ameaça o homem, as nações e a humanidade, o sucessor de Pedro apresenta-se aqui com uma fé maior na redenção do mundo: fé naquele Amor salvíficio que è sempre maior, sempre mais forte do que todos os males.
Assim, se por um lado o coração se confrange, pelo sentido do pecado do mundo, bem como pela série de ameaças que aumentam no mundo, por outro lado, o mesmo coração humano sente-se dilatar com a esperança, ao pôr em prática uma vez mais aquilo que os meus Predecessores já fizeram: consagrar o mundo ao Coração de Mãe, consagrar-Lhe especialmente aqueles povos que, do modo particular, tenhm necessidade disso. Este acto equivale a consagrar o mundo Àquele que è Santidade infinita. Esta Santidade significa redenção, significa amor mais forte do que o mal. Jamas algum «pecado do mundo» poderá superar este Amor.” Ioannes Paulus PP. II, “Ad Lusitaniae episcopos in aedibus Sanctuariii Fatimensis coram admissos,” die 13 Maii 1982, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 74 (1982), p. 908, n. 11. English translation: L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 17 May 1982.
 Carmel of Coimbra, p. 69.
 Jn 7, 38.
 Jn 2, 5.