By way of the message of Fatima, God wants to establish in the world devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. In the message, we can see why: because His design of mercy is to grant peace and all graces through the mediation of Her Heart which is presented to us as a refuge and a way that leads to God.
In classical theology, of which, unfortunately, only too many are ignorant today, Our Lady’s role in distributing the graces of salvation which She has helped to merit for us is referred to as Her mediation of all graces. This is Her cooperation in the work of our redemption in actu secundo (in the application of the graces of redemption) which differs from ours in terms of its magnitude and extension. That Mary is our Mediatrix with the Mediator, that Her Heart mediates with His on our behalf, is consistently underscored in the Message of Fatima. I offer here but some examples.
In the Third Memoir, finished on 31 August 1941, Lucia offers us this profound insight into the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: “As I have already written in the second account, Our Lady told me on June 13th, 1917, that she would never forsake me, and that her Immaculate Heart would be my refuge and the way that would lead me to God. As she spoke these words, she opened her hands, and from them streamed a light that penetrated to our inmost hearts. I think that, on that day (of the second apparition), the main purpose of this light was to infuse within us a special knowledge and love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, just as on the other two occasions it was intended to do, as it seems to me, with regard to God and the mystery of the most Holy Trinity.
“From that day onwards, our hearts were filled with a more ardent love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. From time to time, Jacinta said to me: ‘The Lady said that her Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Don’t you love that? Her Heart is so good! How I love it!’” (Louis Kondor, S.V.D., ed., Fatima in Lucia’sOwn Words [Fatima: Postulation Centre, 1976], 107. All italics in quotations are my own).
Just as Jesus tells us that He is the Way to the Father (Jn 14:6), so too, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart is the way to Jesus. Hence, She tells us that Her Heart is the way that will lead to God. Unfortunately, relatively few fully grasp this truth. The whole phenomenon of Fatima was willed by God precisely to insist on this mediation: Her Heart is the most direct way to God. Would that all of us would grasp this! It would make a huge difference not only in our own personal lives, but also in the life and progress of the Church, in the salvation of souls, and in preventing many from falling into Hell, as Our Lady revealed in the apparition of July 13, 1917.
Here the images of Our Lady’s mediation are quite striking. Her Heart will be Lucia’s “refuge and the way that will lead [her] to God.” Secondly, there is the image of Mary’s hands opening and the light streaming from them. This is reminiscent of the vision of Saint Catherine Labouré, but here there is the understanding that through Mary’s mediation one can receive special insights into the Most Blessed Trinity as well as into Her own Immaculate Heart.
Lucia goes on to report to us some of the extraordinary insights of her little cousin Jacinta: “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. 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 much!” (ibid., 111–112).
Here we may note Jacinta’s firm conviction about the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary with God and “that the Heart of Jesus wants the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated at his side,” a confirmation that the recognition of the “alliance of these Two Hearts” is the will of Jesus.
We are never saying that the Heart of Mary is equal to the Heart of Jesus or that Mary saves us equally with Jesus, but that the collaboration of the New Eve was ordained from all eternity by God, to be at the side of the New Adam. Catholics understand this intuitively, but it needs to be emphasized. Although Our Lady’s role is always secondary, subordinate and dependent on Jesus, nonetheless, no other creature has ever shared as deeply as Mary in the work of our redemption, and placing the Heart of Mary next to the Heart of Jesus is an icon which shows this effectively, without words.