IV. The Spirit of the Devotion of Reparation:
The Revelation of May 29, 1930
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?"28 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.29
"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 mistaken29a, 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 ..."30
Here let us follow Father Alonso, for in his study on the message of Pontevedra, he makes a long and useful commentary on the five offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary enumerated by Our Lord.
Blinded by a deceitful ecumenism, we have had a tendency since 1962 to forget that there is an obvious truth recalled here by the Message of Fatima: those who obstinately and with full knowledge openly deny the prerogatives of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commit the most odious blasphemies in Her regard.
First blasphemy: against the Immaculate Conception. Father Alonso asks: who are those who might commit this offense against the Immaculate Heart of Mary? The answer leaves no doubt: "In the first place and in general the Protestant sects who refuse to receive the dogma defined by Pope Pius IX and who have continued to maintain that the Blessed Virgin was conceived with the stain of original sin and even personal sins. The same can be said of the (dissident) Eastern Christians, since in spite of their great Marian devotion they too refuse this dogma."31
The second blasphemy: Although the Orthodox admit it, the majority of Protestants also reject the perfect and perpetual virginity of Mary "before, during and after giving birth".
The third blasphemy: Although they theoretically accept the Divine Maternity of Mary defined at the Council of Ephesus, they refuse to recognize Her as the Mother of men in the Catholic sense, which implies Her co-redemption and Her role as Mediatrix of grace.
The fourth blasphemy concerns the perversion of children by enemies of Our Lady whereby they strive to inculcate indifference, scorn or even hatred for the Immaculate Virgin; and the fifth one, by which they outrage Her in Her holy images. These last two sins are only the logical consequence of the first three, and often go together with them. Iconoclasm, or at least the obstinate rejection of Catholic theology on the holy images, is a long way from having disappeared.
In short, for three and a half centuries the Counter-Church has been waging an unceasing and furious struggle against the Immaculate Virgin, against the promotion of Devotion to Her, against Her reign in hearts and over all societies. Following in the footsteps of Protestantism, coming after Jansenism and its cold disdain for true devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, the rationalism of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, as well as the modernism of the Twentieth, continue to attack Marian doctrine and devotion, and just as scornfully and perfidiously. Finally, it is common knowledge how Bolshevik communism attempted in every possible way to destroy the profound veneration for the Mother of God, anchored in the soul of the Russian people. The holy icons had to disappear, being either destroyed or hidden and they still await a happier day.
The blasphemies of rebellious and ungrateful children. But there is something graver, more serious by far than all the offenses of heretics, schismatics, apostates and ungodly men. It is the blasphemies of the Church’s own children against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With the passing of time, the message of Pontevedra seems astonishingly prophetic.
Father Richard, leader of the Blue Army in France, and who could hardly be suspected of an abusive pessimism, remarks on this subject: "Who could have imagined fifty years ago that these five great offenses against Mary would spread within the clergy of the Catholic Church Herself, and that a great number of baptized and catechized children in our parishes would not even know any longer how to say the ‘Hail Mary’."32 Father Alonso was forced to make similar remarks.
This situation has become so prevalent today that all commentary is superfluous. There are certain theologians, certain priests, certain bishops who are guilty of the five blasphemies. There are not just a few exceptional cases, but hundreds and perhaps even thousands. It is not enough to make an observation of this fact. We must discover the causes of it and explain how we arrived at this point. Father Alonso at least described the event with exactitude: The great "Marian era" inaugurated in 1854 by the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he dares to write, closed with the Second Vatican Council.33 But how did this come about? And why this alarming decline in Marian devotion, which was still in full bloom at the death of Pope Pius XII? This is what we will have to examine later on, in the context of the Third Secret.*
However, let us remark right now that the first element in the Message of Fatima is faith — precise, dogmatic faith. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin always and necessarily presupposes faith in Her privileges and prerogatives infallibly defined by the Pope, or taught by the ordinary magisterium and unanimously believed for centuries by the Faithful. It is also true that the gravest sins against the Most Holy Virgin are first of all sins against faith. This important lesson must be kept in mind.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: See Frère Michel’s book The Third Secret Vol. III of The Whole Truth About Fatima or the booklet The Third Secret Revealed available from The Fatima Crusader.
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."34
"The sin against the Holy Spirit." Here we have one of the principal themes of the Message of Fatima: since God has decided to manifest more and more His great design of love, which is to grant all graces to men through the mediation of the Immaculate Virgin, it seems that their refusal to submit with docility to what God wills is the fault which most gravely wounds His Heart, and for which He no longer finds in Himself any inclination to pardon. This sin seems unforgivable, because for Our Savior there is no crime more unpardonable than to despise His Most Holy Mother, and "to outrage Her Immaculate Heart, which is the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. This is committing ‘the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven in this world or in the next’."35
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." These words are so strong that several translators took the liberty of diluting their meaning.36
"A little act of Reparation" to save the greatest sinners. Yes, Our Lady affirms sadly, many souls are lost because of their scorn, their blasphemies against Her … Thus, giving us the example of loving our enemies, She Herself intervenes, because She alone can still save these monsters of pride and ingratitude who have revolted against Her. As "Mother of Mercy and Mother of Pardon", as we sing in the Salve Mater, She intercedes for us before Her Son: may the filial devotion of faithful souls, and the Communions of Reparation offered on the Five First Saturdays to console Her outraged Heart, be accepted by Him in Reparation for the crimes of sinners. Our Lady prays that He deign to accept this "little devotion", and take into account this "little act of Reparation" to Her Immaculate Heart, and deign to grant pardon in spite of everything, to the ingrates and blasphemers, all the poor souls who have had the audacity to offend Her — She, His Most Holy Mother!
And as always, Our Lord grants Her desire. In this way He makes the devotion of Reparation a sure and efficacious means of converting souls, many souls, among those who are in the greatest danger of being eternally lost. We must quote here a significant text in which "the great promise" itself is a secondary consideration, effacing itself before the primary intention of the Heart of Mary, which is the salvation of all sinners. In May of 1930, Sister Lucy wrote to Father Gonçalves:
"It seems to me that the good Lord, in the depths of my heart, insists that I ask the Holy Father to approve the devotion of Reparation, which God Himself and the Most Holy Virgin deigned to request in 1925. In consideration of this little devotion, They wish to give the grace of pardon to souls who have had the misfortune of offending the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Most Holy Virgin promises to souls who will seek to make Reparation to Her in this manner, to assist them in the hour of death with all the graces necessary for their salvation."37
Reparation necessary. To save souls, all souls, "especially those who are most in need", to snatch them all from the fire of hell which threatens them, is then, in the final analysis, the principal intention of the practice of the first Saturdays of the month, just as it was already the same intention Our Lady indicated on August 19, 1917, urgently inviting the three shepherds to pray and make sacrifices: "Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have nobody to pray and make sacrifices for them."
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been constituted universal Mediatrix and Mother of Divine Grace. Nevertheless, by a design of Providence which wills us to be joined to Her, She cannot act alone. She needs us, our consoling love and our "little devotions" of Reparation, to save souls from hell. Exalted and awesome is the mystery of the communion of saints, which makes the salvation of many souls really dependent on our own generosity! And what a motive for generosity on our part! For how could we refuse this missionary action which Our Lady awaits of us, which She has made so easy to fulfill — remember that with the permission of a priest, all the exercises requested can be transferred to Sunday — when these same exercises are so efficacious, so fruitful? For through this devotion many souls in imminent danger of being eternally lost can obtain, at the last moment and as it were in spite of themselves, the grace of their conversion.
To console the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with thorns, to make Reparation for the outrages It receives from sinners by prayer and sacrifice, such in the end is the most precise requirement of this first part of the Secret, which Our Lady came to recall and clarify at Pontevedra, in 1925: "You, at least, try to console Me." Now the most perfect sacrifice, the most efficacious prayer, is of course the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion offered to God in the spirit of Reparation.38
All this helps us understand the pressing insistence of Our Lady, Her ardent desire that this devotion of Reparation be practiced everywhere as frequently as possible. This devotion is the dearest to Her, because it is the most perfect and therefore the most efficacious for the salvation of souls. Because She desires our co-operation at any price, She has joined the most wonderful promises to it
"War and peace depend on it." In fact, in addition to the conversion of sinners and our own eternal salvation, Our Lady has willed that the Communion of Reparation be linked to another magnificent promise: the gift of peace. On March 19, 1939, Sister Lucy wrote:
"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."39
And on June 20 of the same year, she wrote:
"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 cannot do any 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."40
Two months later, war had been declared. Still nothing had been done to correspond to the requests of Heaven.
This prophetic announcement brings us straight into a tragedy. It is the great tragedy at once both religious and political, which in twenty years led our Christian Europe into an atrocious war, the deadliest in all history, and then into another one even bloodier and still more horrible in its deadly consequences. Soon it was to deliver nations and almost entire continents into the slavery of Soviet barbarism. We shall now explain how Our Lady foretold this terrible tragedy, explaining its major phases and secret causes, on July 13, 1917. This is the second part of Her great Secret.
The capital secret: The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Salvation of Souls. However, let us make it clear at the very beginning that this "second secret" is closely dependent on the first one, which has a primordial importance. For as we shall discover in the second part of our study, the great Divine policy revealed by the Queen of Heaven at the Cova da Iria, with its attractive promises of universal and enduring peace and also its threats of fearsome chastisements — this whole Divine policy is only an instrument used by Divine Mercy to obtain the salvation of souls, the greatest possible number of souls.
In the final analysis, it is to the first part of the Secret that we must always return, for it is undoubtedly the principal and most important one in the eyes of God. To save souls, all souls, from the only real evil because it is the only eternal one — to snatch them at any cost from the fire of hell — such is also the first concern of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At Fatima, She revealed this Immaculate Heart as a refuge and ultimate recourse of sinners, even the most hateful and miserable, because She is the Mediatrix of Mercy, and Gate of Heaven. This is the first part of Her great Secret, because it is also the first secret of Her Heart: Sister Lucy described the First Secret (the Vision of Hell) in her Memoirs (see photo and caption earlier in article) and then continued to say:
"Frightened, and as if to ask for help, we lifted our eyes up to Our Lady, who said to us with kindness and sadness:
‘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 ...
‘I shall come to ask for the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays of the month.’"
Little Jacinta had understood perfectly this great warning of Our Lady for the salvation of souls. Her soul was completely penetrated by it, as this charming episode shows. "Sometimes, (Sister Lucy recalls) she would gather flowers from the field and sing to a melody which she herself had invented, at the same time:
‘Sweet Heart of Mary,
be my salvation!
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
save souls from hell!’"41
In effect, these words sum up the whole essence of the "first Secret": It is through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that the Holy Trinity wishes today to save our souls, all souls, to snatch them away from the fire of hell and open up Heaven to them.
See also Sister Lucy’s writings in Appendix I.
28. Documentos, page 407; Fatima et le Coeur Immaculé de Marie, page 45.
29. On this letter, which has no date, Father Gonçalves had marked: June 12, 1930.Documentos, pages 409-410; cf. Fatima et le Coeur Immaculé de Marie, pages 46-47.
29a. As in the writings of Saint Margaret Mary, it would be an error to see the expression of a real uncertainty or doubt in this restrictive formula. It is simply a formula of humility and obedience through which the seer defers in advance to her director’s judgement.
30. See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume II, Appendix III. Also see Appendix I of this booklet.
31. La Gran Promesa del Corazon de Maria en Pontevedra, pages 56-57.
32. L’Homme nouveaux, March 2, 1980, page 20.
33. La Gran Promesa del Corazon de Maria en Pontevedra, page 56.
34. Documentos, page 409.
35. Sister Lucy herself suggests this comparison with Mt.12: 31-32 in her conversation with Father Fuentes. See Volume III, page 503.
36. Dom Jean-Nesmy, for example, gives this inexact translation: "So many are the sins which the justice of God condemns for being sins committed against Me ..." (Lucie raconte, page 208; La Verité de Fatima, page 221; cf. also Father Alonso’s translation which appeared in Fatima et le Coeur Immaculé de Marie, page 42) No! the original text indeed says: "Sâo tantas as almas (souls) que a Justiça de Deus condena par pecados contra Mim cometidos ..." Documentos, page 465. Thus, without any doubt Our Lady refers to the numerous souls who are damned, not the sins which God reproves.
37. Letter received on May 29, 1930. Documentos, page 405; see Fatima et le Coeur Immaculé de Marie, page 44.
38. See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I, pages 86-89.
39. Letter to Father Aparicio, Documentos, page 483.
40. Letter of June 20, 1939, to Father Aparicio, Documentos, page 485.
41. See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume II. In later chapters we relate how Lucy was to strive indefatigably to make known the reparatory devotion and get it approved by her bishop and by the Pope, according to Heaven’s desires. (infra, passim.)