The shepherd children’s mystical experience in the Fatima apparition of June 13th, 1917 provides a graphic illustration of Mary’s mediation of grace which helps us better know and love Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, and our Mediator with the Most Holy Trinity. A spiritual light more brilliant than the sun comes from Our Lady and penetrates the little shepherds’ souls, illumining their minds and inflaming their hearts. This is precisely what grace does.
In the last article we saw just a few examples of how the Message of Fatima continually underscores the idea that Mary is our Mediatrix with the Mediator, that Her Heart mediates with His on our behalf. We find others in Lucia’s Fourth Memoir, which she completed by December 8, 1941. In it, she tells us that her little cousin Francisco had a remarkable insight into the light streaming from Our Lady which penetrated their hearts and enabled them to “see Our Lord”:
He said to me on one occasion: “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! But He is very sad because of so many sins! We must never commit any sins again.”[i]
Here is another of his testimonies recorded by Lucia:[ii]
At the second Apparition on June 13th, 1917, Francisco was deeply impressed by the light which, as I related in the second account, Our Lady communicated to us at the moment when she said: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way which will lead you to God.” At the time, he [Francisco] did not seem to grasp the significance of what was happening, perhaps because it was not given to him to hear the accompanying words. For this reason, he asked later:
“Why did Our Lady have a Heart in her hand, spreading out over the world that great light which is God? You were with Our Lady in the light which went down toward the earth, and Jacinta was with me in the light which rose towards heaven!”
“That is because you and Jacinta will soon go to heaven,” I replied, “while I, with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will remain for some time longer on earth.”…
He remarked sometimes: “These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn to read! How would they feel if they only knew what she showed to us in God, in her Immaculate Heart, in that great light! But this is a secret; it must not be spoken about. It’s better that no one should know it.”
Here let us observe that the light streams from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “spreading out over the world that great light which is God.”
The light streaming from Our Lady, from Her hands, and from Her Heart are all graphic images of Her mediation of graces and seem to be a special feature of the Fourth Memoir, which supplies details not found in the first three. Here is Lucia’s description of the first apparition of Our Lady on May 13, 1917 in the Fourth Memoir, in which her description of Our Lady’s appearance makes one think of the description of the “Woman clothed with the sun” in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation:
We had only gone a few steps further when, there before us on a small holm oak, we beheld a Lady all dressed in white. She was more brilliant than the sun, and radiated a light more clear and intense than a crystal glass filled with sparkling water, when the rays of the burning sun shine through it.
We stopped, astounded, before the Apparition. We were so close, just a few feet from her, that we were bathed in the light which surrounded her, or rather, which radiated from her….
As she pronounced these last words “…the grace of God will be your comfort,” Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: “O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”[iii]
The above experience recounted by Sister Lucia illustrates in an extraordinary way Our Lady’s powerful mediation. As Mother of both the Redeemer and of the redeemed, that is, Mother of Christ and of His Mystical Body, She is God’s chosen conduit for all the graces God sends to mankind. Similarly, Her Immaculate Heart is our way to God. That is why it is Jesus’ will that her Immaculate Heart be honored alongside his Sacred Heart.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary, united in the most intimate way with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is the Heart of the Coredemptrix, who not only gave birth to the Redeemer but cooperated with Him in every facet of His redemptive work. This is basic Catholic doctrine which has its implicit roots in the Gospel and has been understood in the Tradition by the Church Fathers and Doctors from the earliest centuries of Christianity. In the Fatima message, Mary’s role as Mediatrix has been explicitly revealed, along with a call for our participation. In the next two articles, we will look in greater detail at this aspect of the Message calling for us to participate in the mediation of the Two Hearts by means of Consecration and Reparation.
[i] (Louis Kondor, S.V.D., ed., Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words [Fatima: Postulation Centre, 1976], 124. All italics in quotations are my own.)
[ii] (Ibid., 126. Cf. also 161.)
[iii] (Ibid., 158.)