“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the pathway that will lead you to God” – (Our Lady to Lucia).
Devotion to Immaculate Heart Of Mary
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is one of the most popular Marian devotions in the Catholic Church today, often honoured alongside the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion has its roots in Sacred Scripture, which makes frequent mention of Mary’s contemplative heart, for example in Luke 2:19:
“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”
According to Catholic doctrine, Mary is the Immaculate Conception; that is, in preparation for the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity in her womb, Mary was conceived without the corruption of original sin, and was preserved from committing any actual sins throughout the course of her life through the infinite merits of her Son, Jesus Christ. She was virginal not only of soul, but also of body, both before and after giving birth to Our Lord.
Our Lady was created actually “Full of Grace” as the Archangel Gabriel declared at the Annunciation, meaning that her soul was literally adorned with all of the virtues at the moment of her Conception, as well as the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. This fullness of grace is said to emanate from the centre of her being, that is, her heart, understood both physically and spiritually. It is Mary’s heart, in its unspoiled created perfection, that is the source and wellspring of her purity . . . therefore her heart is called Immaculate. Our Lord took his sacred humanity from the flesh and blood of his Blessed Mother; Christ’s heart is taken from her heart. At Calvary, the perfect hearts of Jesus and Mary were united for the salvation of mankind. And this is why the Two Hearts are honoured together.
While the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the source of Christ’s burning love for humanity, and is largely spurned by the indifference of mankind towards Him, the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the source of Our Lady’s burning love for God and her desire to bring souls to her Son, and is so often outraged by the offences of mankind committed against her love.
This Franciscan miracle-worker was born in Lisbon and had entered religious life as a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross, residing first in Lisbon and then Coimbra, before leaving the Portuguese order for the new Order of Friars Minor and a hope of martyrdom. It was, and is, THE children’s feast in Portugal, so the parents of Lucia naturally thought that the festivities at the parish church in Fátima would distract her from the appointment at the Cova. However, undismayed by this tactic Lucia and the Marto children proceeded to the apparition site to keep their noon day rendezvous.
When they arrived they found a small crowd awaiting them.
After having said the Rosary with Jacinta and Francisco and other people who were present, we saw again the reflection of light nearing us, (we used to say it was lightening), and following, Our Lady on the holm oak as in May.
“Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?”
I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month. I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you.
“Will you take us to heaven?”
Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.
“Must I remain in the world alone?”
Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.
The moment she said the last words, opening her hands, She transmitted to us, for the second time, the reflection of that intense light. In it we felt we were submerged in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which was rising to Heaven, and I in the part spreading over the earth. In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled with thorns which appeared to pierce it. We understood it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary offended by the sins of mankind, craving reparation.
The apparition then concluded as on the first occasion, with the Lady going off toward the east and disappearing in the “immensity of heaven.”
Despite the joy of those precious moments the sorrows of the children continued in the following weeks, moderated by the belief of very many at the Cova that day. They knew that something unusual had occurred – they saw the “lightening,” some perceived a certain dimming of the sun, others a little grey cloud that came and went as the apparition did and they believed. However, the difficulties with their families did not abate, especially with their mothers, who became genuinely alarmed that the events were not just continuing but expanding. To this was added the painful initial caution of the parish priest, that after all it might be real but of demonic origin.