As we are about to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, I want to bring out the connection between Fatima and Sr. Faustina. I will begin by reading excerpts from the Document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called “The Message of Fatima” from June 26, 2000. This document gives a good overview of Fatima and its meaning for the Church. It was issued mostly to explain the third secret. However, I will use it as an overview of the meaning of Fatima in regard to the first two secrets. We will also see how the third secret prompted Pope John Paul II to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
As the second millennium gives way to the third, Pope John Paul II has decided to publish the text of the third part of the “secret of Fatima”.
The twentieth century was one of the most crucial in human history, with its tragic and cruel events culminating in the assassination attempt on the “sweet Christ on earth”. Now a veil is drawn back on a series of events which make history and interpret it in depth, in a spiritual perspective alien to present-day attitudes, often tainted with rationalism.
Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.
Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the “secret”—which are here published in sequence so as to complete the documentation—refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.
In 1917 no one could have imagined all this: the three pastorinhos of Fatima see, listen and remember, and Lucia, the surviving witness, commits it all to paper when ordered to do so by the Bishop of Leiria and with Our Lady’s permission.
For the account of the first two parts of the “secret”, which have already been published and are therefore known, we have chosen the text written by Sister Lucia in the Third Memoir of 31 August 1941; some annotations were added in the Fourth Memoir of 8 December 1941.
The third part of the “secret” was written “by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother …” on 3 January 1944.
There is only one manuscript. The sealed envelope was initially in the custody of the Bishop of Leiria. To ensure better protection for the “secret” the envelope was placed in the Secret Archives of the Holy Office on 4 April 1957. The Bishop of Leiria informed Sister Lucia of this.
According to the records of the Archives, the Commissary of the Holy Office, Father Pierre Paul Philippe, OP, with the agreement of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, brought the envelope containing the third part of the “secret of Fatima” to Pope John XXIII on 17 August 1959. “After some hesitation”, His Holiness said: “We shall wait. I shall pray. I shall let you know what I decide”.(1)
In fact Pope John XXIII decided to return the sealed envelope to the Holy Office and not to reveal the third part of the “secret”.
Paul VI read the contents with the Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, on 27 March 1965, and returned the envelope to the Archives of the Holy Office, deciding not to publish the text.
John Paul II, for his part, asked for the envelope containing the third part of the “secret” following the assassination attempt on 13 May 1981. On 18 July 1981 Cardinal Franjo Šeper, Prefect of the Congregation, gave two envelopes to Archbishop Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Substitute of the Secretariat of State: one white envelope, containing Sister Lucia’s original text in Portuguese; the other orange, with the Italian translation of the “secret”. On the following 11 August, Archbishop Martínez returned the two envelopes to the Archives of the Holy Office.(2)
As is well known, Pope John Paul II immediately thought of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and he himself composed a prayer for what he called an “Act of Entrustment”, which was to be celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on 7 June 1981, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the day chosen to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus. Since the Pope was unable to be present, his recorded Address was broadcast. The following is the part which refers specifically to the Act of Entrustment:
“Mother of all individuals and peoples, you know all their sufferings and hopes. In your motherly heart you feel all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, that convulse the world: accept the plea which we make in the Holy Spirit directly to your heart, and embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord those who most await this embrace, and also those whose act of entrustment you too await in a particular way. Take under your motherly protection the whole human family, which with affectionate love we entrust to you, O Mother. May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope”.(3)
In order to respond more fully to the requests of “Our Lady”, the Holy Father desired to make more explicit during the Holy Year of the Redemption the Act of Entrustment of 7 May 1981, which had been repeated in Fatima on 13 May 1982. On 25 March 1984 in Saint Peter’s Square, while recalling the fiat uttered by Mary at the Annunciation, the Holy Father, in spiritual union with the Bishops of the world, who had been “convoked” beforehand, entrusted all men and women and all peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in terms which recalled the heartfelt words spoken in 1981:
“O Mother of all men and women, and of all peoples, you who know all their sufferings and their hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.
‘We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God!’ Despise not our petitions in our necessities”.
The Pope then continued more forcefully and with more specific references, as though commenting on the Message of Fatima in its sorrowful fulfilment:
“Behold, as we stand before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, together with the whole Church, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father: ‘For their sake’, he said, ‘I consecrate myself that they also may be consecrated in the truth’ (Jn 17:19). We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for the human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.
Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the Redemption: the power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope!”.(4)
Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.
The secret is made up of three distinct parts.
The first part is the vision of hell.
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“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, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. 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 shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.
Standing now in the year 2017, we can look back on the last century. A chronology of 1917 tells us of the following events:
March 15th: Tsar Nicholas II abdicates the throne
April 3rd: Lenin arrives in Petrograd
April 6th: US declares war on Germany
May 13th: First apparition of Our Lady in Fatima
July 13th: Mary appears promising the conversion of Russia
October 13th: Last appearance of Our Lady at Fatima, she implores conversion and daily rosary for the conversion of Russia
November 6th: Bolsheviks capture the Winter Palace
November 7th: Lenin seizes power in Russia
We know now what evil was unleashed by the First World War. It destroyed many monarchies of old Europe. In doing so it opened the way for atheist revolutions and decadent cultures. The collapse of Christendom in Europe in the Enlightenment, left Europe open to self-destruction. Amid this chaos, strange ideologies gained power unleashing even worse evils.
The message of our Lady to the children at Fatima was of prayer for the conversion of Russia. Even as Russia is about to be taken over by an evil ideology, the Church is called by our Lady to begin prayers for its conversion.
What is the link between Fatima and the Divine Mercy Devotion? Sr. Faustina lived in a time of great peril. Nazism was taking hold in Germany. Her native Poland would become the first country overrun by Nazi Germany. The worst of the death camps would be in Poland. But, also, a young seminarian, Karol Wojtyla, would study for the priesthood underground. He would survive Nazi occupation, confront Communism as a bishop, and help bring down the Soviet Union as Pope. This is the Pope who would be the subject of an assassination attempt on the anniversary of Fatima, May 13, 1981. Who would reveal the last secret of Fatima, who would consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and who would promote the Divine Mercy devotion and establish Divine Mercy Sunday as the Octave of Easter.
In addition to their historical links through Pope John Paul II, the spiritual connection goes through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For Sr. Faustina, God’s mercy, incarnate in the person, Jesus, Christ, comes into the world through Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The heart that was kept free from all sin from the first moment of her conception. Here are some excerpts from Sr. Faustina’s diary that brings out this connection:
During Holy Mass, before Communion, we had the renewal of vows. When we had left our kneelers and had started to recite the formula for the vows, Jesus appeared suddenly at my side clad in a white garment with a golden girdle around His waist, and He said to me, I give you eternal love that your purity may be untarnished and as a sign that you will never be subject to temptations against purity. Jesus took off His golden cincture and tied it around my waist. Since then I have never experienced any attacks against this virtue, either in my heart or in my mind. I later understood that this was one of the greatest graces which the Most Holy Virgin Mary had obtained for me, as for many years I had been asking this grace of Her. Since that time I have experienced an increasing devotion to the Mother of God. She has taught me how to love God interiorly and also how to carry out His holy will in all things, O Mary, You are joy, because through You God descended to earth [and] into my heart.
The crusade day, which is the fifth of the month, happened to fall on the First Friday of the month. This was my day for keeping watch before the Lord Jesus. It was my duty to make amends to the Lord for all offenses and acts of disrespect and to pray that, on this day, no sacrilege be committed. This day, my spirit was set aflame with special love for the Eucharist. It seemed to me that I was transformed into a blazing fire. When I was about to receive Holy Communion, a second Host fell onto the priest’s sleeve, and I did not know which host I was to receive. After I had hesitated for a moment, the priest made an impatient gesture with his hand to tell me I should receive the host. When I took the Host he gave me, the other one fell onto my hands. The priest went along the altar rail to distribute Communion, and I held the Lord Jesus in my hands all that time. When the priest approached me again, I raised the Host for him to put it back into the chalice, because when I had first received Jesus I could not speak before consuming the Host, and so could not tell him that the other had fallen. But while I was holding the Host in my hand, I felt such a power of love that for the rest of the day I could neither eat nor come to my senses. I heard these words from the Host: I desired to rest in your hands, not only in your heart. And at that moment I saw the little Jesus. But when the priest approached, I saw once again only the Host. O Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Pure crystal for my heart, You are my strength, O secure anchor, You are a shield and protection for a weak heart. O Mary, you are pure and unparalleled, Virgin and Mother at one and the same time; You’re beautiful as the sun, by nothing defiled. Nothing is worthy of comparison to the image of Your soul. Your beauty enthralled the Thrice-Holy One’s eye, That He came down from heaven, forsaking the eternal throne, And assumed from Your Heart body and Blood, Hiding for nine months in the Virgin‟s Heart. O Mother, Virgin, this will no one comprehend, That the infinite God is becoming a man; It’s only love’s and His inscrutable mercy’s purpose. Through You, Mother – it’s given us to live with Him forever. O Mary, Virgin Mother and Heaven’s Gate, Through You salvation came to us; Every grace to us streams forth through Your hands, And faithful imitation of You only will sanctify me. O Mother, Virgin – most beautiful Lily. Your Heart was for Jesus the first tabernacle on earth, And that, because Your humility was the deepest, Wherefore You were raised above Angel choirs and Saints. O Mary, my sweet Mother, To You I turn over my soul, my body and my poor heart. Be the safeguard of my life, Especially at death’s hour, in the final fight. Jesus, I trust in You.
I offered the whole day for dying sinners. During Holy Mass, I felt the closeness of the Lord in a special way. After Holy Communion, I turned my gaze with trust toward the Lord and told him, “Jesus, I so much desire to tell You something.” And the Lord looked at me with love and said, And what is it that you desire to tell Me? “Jesus, I beg You, by the inconceivable power of Your mercy, that all the souls who will die today escape the fire of hell, even if they have been the greatest sinners. Today is Friday, the memorial of Your bitter agony on the Cross; because Your mercy is inconceivable, the Angels will not be surprised at this.” Jesus pressed me to His Heart and said, My beloved daughter, you have come to know well the depths of My Mercy. I will do what you ask, but unite yourself continually with My agonizing Heart and make reparation to My justice. Know that you have asked Me for a great thing, but I see that this was dictated by your pure love for Me; that is why I am complying with your requests. Mary, Immaculate Virgin, take me under Your special protection and guard the purity of my soul, heart and body. You are the model and star of my life.
February 2, 1937. Today, from early morning, divine absorption penetrates my soul. During Mass, I thought I would see the little Jesus, as I often do; however, today during Holy Mass I saw the Crucified Jesus. Jesus was nailed to the cross and was in great agony. His suffering pierced me, soul and body, in a manner which was invisible, but nevertheless most painful. Oh, what awesome mysteries take place during Mass! A great mystery is accomplished in the Holy Mass. With what great devotion should we listen to and take part in this death of Jesus. One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing in it for us. Only His divine love could permit that such a gift be provided for us. O Jesus, my Jesus, with what great pain is my soul pierced when I see this fountain of life gushing forth with such sweetness and power for each soul, while at the same time I see souls withering away and drying up through their own fault. O Jesus, grant that the power of mercy embrace these souls. O Mary, today a terrible sword has pierced Your holy soul. Except for God, no one knows of Your suffering. Your soul does not break; it is brave, because it is with Jesus. Sweet Mother, unite my soul to Jesus, because it is only then that I will be able to endure all trials and tribulations, and only in union with Jesus will my little sacrifices be pleasing to God. Sweetest Mother, continue to teach me about the interior life. May the sword of suffering never break me. O pure Virgin, pour courage into my heart and guard it. This day is so special for me; even though I encountered so many sufferings, my soul is overflowing with great joy.
I wish to conclude this talk with the act of Consecration made by Pope John Paul II:
13 May 1982. Pope St. John Paul II, Consecration of the Modern World to Our Lady of Fátima.
(On Thursday, 13 May 1982, after the concelebrated Mass in Fátima, Pope John Paul II made the following act of consecration of the modern world to Our Lady of Fátima.)
“We entrust, O Mary, and consecrate the whole world to your Immaculate Heart!”
- “We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God.” As I utter the words of this antiphon with which the Church of Christ has prayed for centuries, I find myself today in this place chosen by you, O Mother, and by you particularly loved.
I am here, united with all the Pastors of the Church in that particular bond whereby we constitute a body and a college, just as Christ desired the Apostles to be in union with Peter.
In the bond of this union, I utter the words of the present Act, in which I wish to include, once more, the hopes and anxieties of the Church in the modern world.
Forty years ago and again ten years later, your servant Pope Pius XII, having before his eyes the painful experience of the human family, entrusted and consecrated to your Immaculate Heart the whole world, especially the peoples for which you had particular love and solicitude.
This world of individuals and nations I too have before my eyes today, as I renew the entrusting and consecration carried out by my Predecessor in the See of Peter: the world of the second millennium that is drawing to a close, the modern world, our world today!
The Church, mindful of the Lord’s words: “Go… and make disciples of all nations… and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:19-20), renewed, at the Second Vatican Council, her awareness of her mission in this world.
And therefore, O Mother of individuals and peoples, you who “know all their sufferings-and their hopes”, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, as though moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Heart. Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to you, for we are full of disquiet for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be entrusted and consecrated.
“We have recourse to your protection, holy Mother of God: reject not the prayers we send up to you in our necessities.
Reject them not!
Accept our humble trust-and our act of entrusting!
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
It was precisely by reason of this love that the Son of God consecrated himself for all mankind: “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth” (In 17:19).
By reason of that consecration the disciples of all ages are called to spend themselves for the salvation of the world, and to supplement Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the Church (cf. 2 Cor 12:15; Col 1:24).
Before you, Mother of Christ, before your Immaculate Heart, I today, together with the whole Church, unite myself with our Redeemer in this his consecration for the world and for people, which only in his divine Heart has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.
The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. It overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has in fact awakened in our times, in the heart of man and in his history.
The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, unites herself, through the service of Peter’s successor, to this consecration by our Redeemer.
Oh, how deeply we feel the need for consecration on the part of humanity and of the world-our modern world-in union with Christ himself! The redeeming work of Christ, in fact, must be shared in by the world by means of the Church.
Oh, how pained we are by all the things in the Church and in each one of us that are opposed to holiness and consecration! How pained we are that the invitation to repentance, to conversion, to prayer, has not met with the acceptance that it should have received!
How pained we are that many share so coldly in Christ’s work of Redemption! That “what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” is so insufficiently completed in our flesh.
And so, blessed be all those souls that obey the call of eternal Love! Blessed be all those who, day after day, with undiminished generosity accept your invitation, O Mother, to do what your Jesus tells them (cf. Jn 2:5) and give the Church and the world a serene testimony of lives inspired by the Gospel.
Above all blessed be you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obey the divine call!
Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son!
Mother of the Church! Enlighten the People of God along the paths of faith, of hope and love! Help us to live with the whole truth of the consecration of Christ for the entire human family of the modern world.
- In entrusting to you, O Mother, the world, all individuals and peoples, we also entrust to you the consecration itself, for -the world’s sake, placing it in your motherly Heart.
Oh, Immaculate Heart! Help us to conquer the menace of evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today, and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths towards the future!
The Holy Father concludes the consecration with these prayers. Please respond “deliver us”:
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.:
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world your infinite power of merciful Love. May it put a stop to evil. May it transform consciences. May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope. Amen.