Below  - The Triumph of The Immaculate Heart of Mary




A Meditation (Reprinted from Western New York Catholic May 2001)



The Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12:1)

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo NY


From May 13 to October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three Portuguese children at a place called Fatima in Portugal on six separate occasions in a series of apparitions.  During the course of the apparitions, Mary showed the children a vision of hell.  She told them that many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and to make sacrifices for them.  In order to save souls from going to hell, God wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.  She said that if people did as she requested, many souls would be saved and there would be peace.  Mary taught the children a prayer to be said after each decade of the Rosary, “O, my Jesus, forgive us our sins.  Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in the most need of Your mercy.”  She told them that if people did not stop sinning, God was going to punish the world for its crimes by war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father and that another and more terrible war would break out in the reign of Pope Pius XI (World War II).

To prevent this, Mary asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. She went on to tell the children that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph, that the Holy Father would consecrate Russia to her and a certain period of peace would be granted to the world.  All of the messages and visions were confirmed on October 13 by the miracle of the sun, which Mary had said would convince people that these events had truly been sent by God.  In our own time the Catholic Church has confirmed these events by the Beatification on May 13, 2000, of two of the visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died shortly after these events had taken place.  According to Father Robert Fox, an expert on the Fatima apparitions, Pope John Paul II accomplished the consecration to Russia on March 25, 1984.  Father Fox has indicated that Lucia, now a Carmelite nun, the remaining survivor of the Fatima apparitions, believes that this consecration met the requirements set down by Mary.


What is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then, and of what does it consist?  Mary revealed at Fatima that her heart was an object of sin and that reparation needed to be made for all the sins and offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  She indicated that one specific way this could be done would be by spending time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, at least fifteen minutes, on the First Saturday of the month in a prayer of reparation to her Heart.  This should be accompanied by the reception of Holy Communion, by going to the  Sacrament of Confession and reciting at least five decades of the Rosary.  For those who did this for five consecutive First Saturdays they would receive at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation.  Of course, prayers of reparation and love to her Heart can be made at any time in any place but the messages indicate that reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is important and even necessary.


There is another way that devotion to Mary’s Immaculate heart can be expressed as both Pope Pius XII and our present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, have indicated.  Pius XII said this, “--our devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart expresses our reverence for her maternal compassion, both for Jesus and for all of us, her spiritual children, as she stood at the foot of the cross.”  John Paul II states a similar thought, “Mary’s Heart, the Heart of both a virgin and a mother, has gone out to all that Christ has embraced and continues to embrace with inexhaustible love.”  This way of looking at devotion to Mary’s Heart makes her heart, not an object, but a subject and Jesus and her spiritual children become the objects of her Heart.  Mary’s Heart, then, can become an active instrument in the life of the Christian for the purpose of love and reparation toward Jesus and others.


This method, as it were, of using the Heart of Mary in all that we do, has been developed in a series of reported messages (interior locutions) from Mary to Father Stefano Gobbi, the founder of the Marian Movement of Priests.  These messages have been described as an implementation of Fatima and are entirely in conformity with Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church.  They were given to Father Gobbi from 1973 through 1997.


In a message to Father Gobbi, given while he was making a pilgrimage to Fatima on July 7, 1973, Mary is reported to have said, “Let yourself be possessed by me so that in every thing you do, it will be I who am doing it through you---I want to act through you---To be consecrated to me means to be led by me ---train yourself to remain in me, in my Heart and always to act with me, to think with my mind, to see things with my eyes, to touch them with my hands and to love them with my Heart”.  Although these messages were addressed primarily to priests, it was made clear by Father Gobbi that they were also meant for all the faithful. Although the idea of using Mary’s Heart was not practiced extensively in earlier centuries of the Church, it was known as far back as the 4th century as St. Ambrose had said, “Let the Heart of Mary be in every Christian”.


It was not until the 17th century that devotion to the Heart of Mary began to be practiced more widely in the Church due mostly to the preaching and writings of Saints John Eudes and Louis de Montfort.  It was to the method and manner of consecration of St. Louis de Montfort that John Paul II referred in his encyclical entitled, Mary, Mother of the Redeemer (3/25/87).  He referred to St. Louis’ consecration to Jesus through the hands of Mary as an  effective means for Christians to live faithfully their baptismal commitments.  The Holy Father has indicated also that he has practiced this devotion to Mary, as taught  by St. Louis de Montfort, from his youth. This is seen especially in the motto he has chosen for his papacy, Totus Tuus (I am completely yours, O Mary).


The positive results of the practice of this manner of devotion to Mary in his life are evident to the whole world in the continued demonstration of his love for God and for  neighbor.


From my own personal experience, I have practiced this devotion, as taught by St. Louis de Montfort, for some 51 years, ever since I made the consecration to Jesus through Mary on December 8, 1949.  Since that time, I have made every effort to live the consecration and I believe it has made a tremendous difference in my Christian life, as a single person, as a married person and as a deacon.  As I have understood this devotion to the Immaculate Heart, it is to do all things, every thought, every word, and every action with the Heart of Mary.  This is after having given to her everything we are and have, everything we ever were and had and everything we ever will be and ever will have.  By practicing this method, I have found that my Christian life has become more focused on Jesus and that Jesus has become more and more the center of my life.


What then of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart that Mary foretold?  There are messages to Father Gobbi regarding this triumph.  On December 19, 1973, Mary is reported to have said, “When Satan will think himself the sure victor, he will find himself empty-handed and in the end the victory will be exclusively my Son’s and mine.  To win the battle I want to give you a weapon, prayer---offer yourselves to me so that I, myself, in you and with you may always pray and intercede with my Son for the salvation of the world”.  On October 13, 1977, this message was reported to have been received, “---the greatest victory of my motherly and Immaculate heart will be to cause Jesus to shine in the souls of all my children.”  The triumph of the Immaculate Heart will consist, then, of the formation of Jesus in the souls of priests and the faithful in general.  This formation of Jesus will be brought about by the action of Mary under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is true consecration to the Immaculate Heart, which in the Catholic Church has always meant consecration to Jesus through the hands of Mary, which will be most effective for the salvation of souls and for the eventual triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The end of Christian life is complete identification and union with Jesus, as St. Paul testifies, “I live now not I, with my own life, but with the life of Christ, who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20)                                                                                                                    


What the messages of Fatima and those to Father Gobbi indicate is that a singularly effective way to attain this union and identification with Jesus is to strive for a union and identification with the Heart of Mary. These messages also indicate that we are being called in a powerful and urgent way by God to participate now more directly in His work, indeed, the primary work of the Church, the salvation of souls. The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of  Mary will only happen when enough of her children consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart and then live that consecration and all that it implies. Perhaps Jesus’ words apply here, “Anyone that has ears to hear let him hear.”  (Mk. 4:9) 


Deacon Frank Shaughnessy


May 31, 2001