Basis for Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Through the centuries, popes, saints and good and holy theologians have taught the importance of devotion and prayers addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is necessary that we pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the saints have taught.
The Holy Catholic Church, the pillar and ground of the Truth, inspired and directed by the Holy Ghost down through the centuries has consistently taught this doctrine and this practice. The Blessed Virgin Mary is: Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope as the Salve Regina the Hail Holy Queen prayer of 1000-years expresses so well. These titles and realities are defended against Protestant and Modernist attacks by St. Alphonsus Liguori in his book, The Glories of Mary.
Pope Leo XIII tells us that all graces come to us from God, through the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, then through the Hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary to us. Of course, we see from this order that God has laid down for our salvation that God is first and above all then the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ then Mary the Mother of Jesus. It is after Mary that the importance of the Catholic Church comes. Mary is the Mother of the Church and She is the highest member after Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
The Blessed Virgins role in leading souls to Heaven is more widely and better understood by the Catholic Faithful (in the past 150 years) since the definition of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and the Dogma of the Assumption defined in 1950. The reason for this growing role of the Blessed Virgin is explained by St. Louis de Montfort in a little essay beginning below.
Of course the devil, who is Her enemy, has raised a counterattack on Her and on devotion to Her. We have seen this take place especially in the last 40 years since the end of Vatican Council II.
The battle for your soul in this time of Apostasy rages on and each one of us is the target, those who are Her children, those who believe in Jesus Christ Her Son and who obey Him.
Besides the teaching of the saints, (like St. Alphonsus, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Bernard, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Maximilian Kolbe and many more), as well as the teachings of the popes, (especially from 1750 to 1960) on the importance, usefulness and necessity of devotion to Our Lady the Catholic Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has had a tremendous series of Divine interventions with Our Lady. She appeared at Rue de Bac in 1830, at La Salette in 1846, at Lourdes in 1858, at Knock in 1878, and above all, at Fatima in 1917.
These apparitions at Fatima have been certified by the Catholic Church as worthy of belief and by God Himself with the Apocalyptic Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917 before 70,000 witnesses.
It is in the Fatima Message, through Sister Lucy of Fatima, that the great impetus for the flowering of devotion to the Immaculate Heart takes place. This is explored further below.
By St. Louis de Montfort (+1715 AD)It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated.
Mary hardly appeared at all in the first coming of Jesus Christ, in order that men, as yet but little instructed and enlightened on the Person of Her Son, should not remove themselves from the Truth in attaching themselves too strongly and too grossly to Her.
This would have apparently taken place if She had been known, because of the admirable charms which the Most High had bestowed even upon Her exterior. This is so true that St. Denis the Areopagite has informed us in his writings that when he saw Our Blessed Lady, he would have taken Her for a divinity, because of Her secret charms and incomparable beauty, had not the Faith in which he was well established taught him the contrary. (S.A., 842. Epistola ad Pauleum)
But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Ghost, in order that, through Her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served. The reasons which moved the Holy Ghost to hide His Spouse during Her life, and to reveal Her but very little since the preaching of the Gospel, subsist no longer.
- Because She hid Herself in this world, and put Herself lower than the dust by Her profound humility, having obtained from God and from His Apostles and Evangelists that She should not be made manifest.
- Because, She being the Masterpiece of the Hands of God, as well here below by grace as in Heaven by glory, He wishes to be glorified and praised in Her by those who are living upon the earth.
- As She is the dawn which precedes and reveals the Sun of Justice, Who is Jesus Christ, She must be seen and recognized in order that Jesus Christ may also be.
- Being the Way by which Jesus came to us the first time, She will also be the Way by which He will come the second time, though not in the same manner.
- Being the Sure Means and the Straight and Immaculate Way to go to Jesus Christ, and to find Him perfectly, it is by Her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity, have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life, (Prov. 8:35), that is, Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (St. John 14:6). But no one can find Mary Who does not seek Her; and no one can seek Her who does not know Her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known.
- Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and in grace, in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mohammedans, Jews and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall be contrary to them, and to make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, She must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall battle for His interests.
- And lastly, Mary must be terrible to the devil and his crew, as an army arrayed for battle, principally in these latter times, because the devil, knowing that he has but little time, and now less than ever, to destroy souls, will every day redouble his efforts and his combats. He will presently raise up cruel persecutions, and will put terrible snares before the faithful servants and true children of Mary, whom it gives him more trouble to conquer than it does to conquer others.
FATIMA AND THE
Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal
for six consecutive months from May to October. The appointed day was
the 13th of each month. We focus here on just a part of the apparitions
and the dialogue between Lucy, who spoke to Our Lady while the other two
children watched and listened. We take these passages of Sister Lucys
Memoirs which record these events because they focus on the importance
of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
June 13, 1917:
On June 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to the three children and asked them to return on July 13. She again requested them to pray the Rosary each day. The conversation continued:
Lucy asked: I would like to ask you to take us to Heaven.
Our Lady: Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make Me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.
Lucy asked sadly: Am I to stay here alone?
Our Lady: No, My daughter. Do you suffer a great deal? Dont lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.
Lucy: As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands for the second time. In front of the palm of Our Ladys right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation.
July 13, 1917:
The theme of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is especially stressed in the July 13 apparition. Its central importance, for our time and for each of us, is seen by reflecting on the apparition. We quote here from Sister Lucys Memoirs. Lucy is speaking first.
What does Your Grace want of me? I asked.
I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue reciting the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace in the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.
I should like to ask You to tell us who You are, and to work a miracle so that everyone will believe that Your Grace is appearing to us.
Continue to come here every month. In October, I will say who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle so that all might see in order to believe.
Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. 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 huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight that caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. (Here, in her Third Memoir, Lucy added) That vision lasted only a moment, thanks to our Good Mother of Heaven, Who, at the first apparition, had promised to bring us to Heaven. Without that, I think we would have died of terror and fear.
Terrified and as if to plead for succor, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and 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 reign of Pius XI. When you see 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 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.
What an admirable, stupefying promise made June 13, 1917, when Our Lady said: To whomever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation. Yet in spite of this promise we are still tempted to doubt. Jacinta of Fatima, by a special grace, felt her heart consumed by an ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But we? We are cold, or our fervor is so short-lived! Could we ever know if we had sufficient devotion so that Our Lady would be bound to keep Her promise to us?
It is here that we are wonderstruck by the limitless Divine Mercy, and the profoundly Catholic character of the revelations of Fatima. In the whole message, there is not an ounce of Protestant subjectivism! Here, Heaven goes to the limits of indulgence, and the most sublime prophecies are exchanged, translated into very small requests, clear and precise requests, easy requests which leave no room for doubt. Everyone can know if he has accomplished them or not. A little devotion practiced with a good heart is enough to receive infallibly for us, this grace ex opere operato, so to speak as with the sacraments; and what a grace the grace of eternal salvation!
It is worth the effort to give careful study to such a magnificent promise. It is the fulfillment, the perfect expression of the first part of the great Secret, which is entirely concerned with the salvation of souls.
- If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved ... I
shall come to ask for ... the Communion of Reparation on the First
On the evening of Thursday, December 10, after supper, the young postulant Lucy who was only eighteen years old returned to her cell. There she was visited by Our Lady and the Child Jesus. Let us listen to her account: (written in the third person)
- On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and by
Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most
Holy Virgin rested Her hand on her shoulder, and as She did so, She
showed her a Heart encircled by thorns, which She was holding in Her
other hand. At the same time, the Child said:
Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of Reparation to remove them.
- Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which
ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and
ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that
I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces
necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five
consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five
decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while
meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of
making Reparation to Me.
Sister Lucy at the time was at Tuy. Her confessor, Father Gonçalves, had given her a series of questions in writing. Here, let us recall only the fourth one: Why five Saturdays, (he asked) and not nine, or seven, in honor of the sorrows of Our Lady? That same evening, the seer implored Our Lord to inspire her with an answer to these questions. A few days later, she passed the following to her confessor.
- When I was in the chapel with Our Lord part of the night of May
29-30, 1930 (we know that it was her habit to make a holy hour from
eleven in the evening to midnight, especially on Thursday evenings,
according to the requests of the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial), and I
spoke to Our Lord about questions four and five, I suddenly felt myself
more intimately possessed by the Divine Presence and, if I am not
mistaken, this is what was revealed to me:
My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
- Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.
- Blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity.
- Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men.
- The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children indifference or scorn, or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother.
- The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, My daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of Reparation ...
After enumerating the five blasphemies which gravely offend His Most Holy Mother, Our Lord gave Sister Lucy the decisive explanation which allows us to penetrate into the secret of Her Immaculate Heart, which overflows with mercy for all sinners, even those who scorn and outrage Her:
- See, My daughter, the motive for which the Immaculate Heart of
Mary inspired Me to ask for this little Reparation, and in consideration
of it, to move My mercy to pardon souls who have had the misfortune of
offending Her. As for you, always seek by your prayers and sacrifices to
move My mercy to pity for these poor souls.
In 1929, in the apparition of Tuy which is the final fulfillment of Fatima, Our Lady will conclude the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Trinity with these striking words: So many 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.
Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this
devotion, along with the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This is why I desire its propagation so ardently, especially because
this is also the will of our dear Mother in Heaven.
Our Lady promised to put off the scourge of war, if this devotion was propagated and practiced. We see that She will obtain remission of this chastisement to the extent that efforts are made to propagate this devotion; but I fear that we can do more than we are doing and that God, being displeased, will pull back the arm of His mercy and let the world be ravaged by this chastisement which will be unlike any other in the past, horrible, horrible.
On June 13, 1929, Sister Lucy was in her convent chapel in Tuy, Spain, a city on the border of Portugal. Sister Lucy herself left a description of the event, and so we quote her account at length, adding only a few subtitles.
Sister Lucy wrote:
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
I gave an account of this to my confessor, who ordered me to write what Our Lord willed to be done.
First of all let us quote from Sister Lucys letter of August 29, 1931, where the seer passes on to her bishop this message, which is of highest importance in the economy of the Message of Fatima:
My confessor orders me to inform Your Excellency of what took place a little while ago between the Good Lord and myself: as I was asking God for the conversion of Russia, Spain and Portugal, it seemed to me that His Divine Majesty said to me:
You console Me a great deal by asking Me for the conversion of those poor nations. Ask it also of My Mother frequently, saying: Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world. At other times say: By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.
Then Jesus said:
Make it known to My ministers, that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, that they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.
Later on, by means of an interior communication, Our Lord complainingly said to me:
They did not want to heed My request. Like the King of France they will repent and do so, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!
The Fatima Message Explains:
Jesus Wants Devotion to the
In various parts of the Fatima Message, devotion to the Sacred Heart is promoted with devotion to the Immaculate Heart.
Joined to Devotion
to the Immaculate Heart
- The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.
- The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you.
- And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that You might convert poor sinners.
This same theme is seen in the prayers Jesus dictated for us to say in honor of the Pure and Immaculate Conception of Our Lady as well as the prayer to the Sweet Heart of Mary given at Rianjo.
About the other questions, if it will be convenient to insist in order to obtain the Consecration of Russia? I answer in almost the same way as I answered the other times. I am sorry that it has not been done yet, but the same God Who asked for it, is the One Who permitted it. I am going to say what I feel about it, although it is too delicate a subject to talk about in a letter, due to the danger of it getting lost and being read, but I entrust it to the same God, because I am afraid I have not treated the matter with enough clarity.
Is it convenient to insist? I dont know. It seems to me that if the Holy Father did it right now, God would accept it, and would fulfill His promise; and without any doubt, through this act, the Holy Father would gladden Our Lord and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Her letter continues:)
- (Lucy) Intimately I have spoken to Our Lord about the
subject, and not too long ago I asked Him why He would not convert
Russia without the Holy Father making that Consecration?
(Jesus) Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that Consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the Devotion to My Mothers Immaculate Heart beside the Devotion to My Sacred Heart.
The Holy Father. Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late!... Nevertheless the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her."
Prayer for the ChurchO Holy Spirit, Creator, Spouse of Mary, be gracious to Thy Catholic Church. By Thy Heavenly Power, make it strong and secure against the attacks of its enemies, within and without. Renew in charity and grace the spirit of Thy servants, whom Thou has anointed that they may glorify Thee and the Father, and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Mary Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, Thou seest how the Catholic Faith is assailed by the devil and the world, that Faith in which we propose, by the help of God, to live and die. To Thee we entrust our firm purpose of never joining assemblies of heretics or secret societies. Do Thou, All Holy Virgin Mother of God, offer to Thy Divine Son our resolutions and obtain from Him the graces necessary for us to keep them unto the end. Amen.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Save souls through Thy Bishops and Priests; accompany them through life. Give them the special grace of drawing sinners to Thy Sacred Heart, Refuge of sinners, that they may find forgiveness and salvation.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I pray for the fulfillment of this promise which Thou didst make to Saint Margaret Mary: I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. May Thy Kingdom come to the hearts of men through the activity of truly saintly Bishops and Priests.
Do Thou, O Mary, Mother of the High Priest, protect all Bishops and Priests from dangers to their holy vocations. May Thy Immaculate Heart be their refuge and consolation during temptations, trials and loneliness, that we may soon see all things restored in Christ.
We know that to combat the spiritual terror assailing Holy Mother Church in our time, the Incarnate Wisdom sent the Immaculate Heart of Mary to Fatima to help us, counsel us, enlighten us, and protect all the faithful of Jesus Christ, so that we could save our own soul and the souls of those that God puts on our path.
We acknowledge that the Blessed Virgin also gave a most important request to the Pope and the Bishops to solemnly and publicly, on the same day, consecrate specifically Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We pray that they all will receive the necessary grace to do this duty soon, so that we can attain worldwide peace and the salvation of billions of souls now. Amen.
Jesus, Savior of the world,
sanctify Thy priests and sacred ministers.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them and for us;
Obtain for us many and holy Bishops and Priests.
Fr. Gruner: The Promise: Mary's Immaculate Heart Will Triumph