by Donal Anthony Foley –
June is the month traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and today, June 11, is the feast or Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary takes place tomorrow, June 12. It is fitting that the two feasts are so closely linked in the liturgical calendar, since this symbolically represents the union between the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and it is emphasized throughout the Fatima apparitions.
This point was highlighted at the very beginning of the Fatima events, starting with the second apparition of the Angel of Portugal to the young seers, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, in the summer of 1916. During this angelic visitation, the angel gently admonished them saying: “What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.”
The emphasis on the Two Hearts lays a foundation for the Fatima devotion, and is a good example of their solicitude for the young shepherds, and by implication, for all of us.
There is further mention of the Two Hearts in the final apparition of the angel late in 1916, when he taught the children a Trinitarian prayer, known as the Angel Prayer, for the conversion of poor sinners through the infinite merits of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Apart from those considerations, there is a marked emphasis on the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the message of Fatima emanating from the June 1917 apparition. During this vision, Lucia was told that Jesus wanted to use her to make Our Lady known and loved, and that God wished to establish the devotion to her Immaculate Heart throughout the world. The Blessed Virgin also said, “I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by me to adorn His throne.”
This theme was repeated during the July apparition, during which, after showing the children the terrible vision of hell, Our Lady said, “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.”
Worldwide establishment of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the heart of the entire Fatima message, since it goes far beyond the recitation of prayers or devotional practices. Recalling again the June apparition, according to Lucia, as the Blessed Virgin spoke about how her Immaculate Heart would be a refuge and a pathway to God, she opened her hands and from them streamed a light that penetrated the inmost hearts of the seers. Lucia said in her memoirs, “I think that on that day, the main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
On several occasions, the children were also given an intimation of the love of the Sacred Heart, when they were inundated with a heavenly light that radiated from Our Lady’s hands. Speaking about this, Francisco said to Lucia: “I loved seeing the angel, but I loved still more seeing Our Lady. What I loved most of all was to see Our Lord in that light from Our Lady which penetrated our hearts. I love God so much!”
Jacinta, too, discerned the immense love and union of the Two Hearts. Before she went into hospital, she said to Lucia: “It will not be long now before I go to heaven. You will remain here to make known that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are to say this, don’t go and hide. Tell everybody that God grants us graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that people are to ask her for them; and that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at His side.”
Jacinta went on to say: “Tell them also to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace since God has entrusted it to her. If I could only put into the hearts of all, the fire that is burning within my own heart, and that makes me love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary so very much!”
The Church placed the Two Hearts side-by-side
As early as the 17th century, St. John Eudes promoted devotion to the Two Hearts. He saw them as being so closely united that “the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Heart of Mary. These two Hearts are but one Heart …”
On August 22, 1944, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart to coincide with the traditional octave day of the Assumption. Then, in 1969, St. Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; thereby, placing the Two Hearts liturgically side-by-side, just as Jesus desired at Fatima.
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist is also very much a part of the Fatima message, particularly as regards the third apparition of the angel, during which he held a chalice above which was suspended a host from which drops of blood were falling. He left the chalice suspended in the air and prostrated himself before it, and then prayed the Trinitarian prayer three times. After this, he rose and gave the Sacred Host to Lucia, while he shared the precious Blood from the chalice between Jacinta and Francisco.
In essence, devotion to the Eucharist is inseparable from devotion to the Sacred Heart, and likewise the latter devotion is very closely allied to devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
During this month of June, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart, and likewise, the Immaculate Heart, let us dedicate some time to Eucharistic Adoration, while also expressing our personal devotion to Our Lady in prayer, promotion of the Fatima message, and in spiritual reading. The latter could include books such as Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words I, or “Calls from the Message of Fatima.
We can also meditate on the messages given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, during which, Christ gave her 12 promises for those who practice devotion to His Sacred Heart.
- I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
- I will establish peace in their families.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
- I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
- Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
- I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
- I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
- The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
In sum, we can say that the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary are united liturgically, devotionally and in heaven. Our task is to make this reality genuine in our own hearts and lives, by practicing and encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist, as well as having a solid devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the cornerstone of the Message of Fatima.
Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people, and the third in the series is due to be published later this year – details can be seen at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk