by Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS
On July 13, 1917, during the third apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Mother spoke the following words:
“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. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
This message is of tremendous significance for our times, as it contains prophecies that have, indeed, already come to pass as well as prophecies that have yet to come to fruition. I shall, then, divide the article into two parts. In the first section, I shall discuss the theology of co-redemption, salvific suffering and, ultimately, the apex of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is total consecration to Mary’s Heart. As we shall see, Marian Consecration, with its corresponding devotions of the wearing of the Brown Scapular and the daily praying of the Holy Rosary, is truly the antidote to the spiritually infectious disease of Marxist Atheism, the “error” that has, indeed, been spread throughout the world and that has given rise to the great apostasy through which we have been living in recent decades. In the second section, attention will be given to the cosmic battle taking place between the “Woman” of Genesis and Revelation and the “Huge Red Dragon,” “the Black Beast,” and “the Beast like a Lamb.”
In the first section of the above message, Our Lady underscores the reality of hell and the fact that there are many souls who end up there as a consequence of (1) their own sinfulness and their rejection of God and His divine law of love; (2) a lack of generous souls who are willing to set their own selfish interests and preoccupations aside and offer themselves, their prayers, their works and especially their sufferings in atonement for the sins of the world, in union with the perfect Paschal offering of Christ to the Father, renewed in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In this message, Our Lady is reiterating fundamental theological realities of our Catholic faith regarding the common, royal priesthood of all the baptized, who, through their baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, are made sharers in Christ’s Eternal High Priesthood, and are enabled to offer “spiritual sacrifices” to the Father in atonement for sin and for the salvation of souls through, with and in Christ. Moreover, Our Lady states that in order to save the souls of poor sinners who run the grave danger of being eternally lost, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
Why devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart? Precisely how will devotion to her Heart assist in the saving of souls from the pains of eternal damnation? In order to answer these questions, we must first grasp the Church’s constantly held teaching that Mary is, indeed, the Mediatrix of all Grace. This is to say that every grace that comes to us from God follows a certain fixed path that has been established by God Himself. First, grace is the free, unmerited gift of participation in God’s own divine life. This grace, or divine life, springs from the bosom of the Eternal Father; it was merited for the human race by God the Son, the Eternal Word of the Father, who assumed a true human nature and forever grafted it to His Divine Nature. This union of the two natures, human and divine, in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ is referred to as the hypostasis, or the hypostatic union. Christ begins the work of redemption at the moment of His Incarnation in the immaculate womb of Mary by reconciling in His very person humanity and divinity, and brings this work of redemption to completion on the altar of the Cross, where He offers Himself as the spotless, unblemished lamb of sacrifice in atonement for the sins of the whole world.
Christ, having merited supernatural grace, or divine life for the human family, entrusts the task of distributing this grace to the members of His Mystical Body by means of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the divine personification of the love that exists between the Father and the Son; He is “the giver of [divine] life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Moreover, He is the principle of unification, binding the People of God together as one in Christ, Who is one with the Father.
Our Mother Mary, too, has an essential role to play in this process of obtaining grace for and distributing grace to the human family, the People of God. We must understand that each Divine Person of the Holy Trinity has freely chosen to cooperate with and become dependent upon Mary, the most sublime of all of God’s creatures. God the Father was dependent upon Mary’s fiat at the moment of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she had found favor in the sight of the Lord, and that, depending upon her consent and assent, she had been chosen by the Father to be the “Theotokos,” or the true Mother of God. The Lord would not have forced Mary to assume this responsibility, yet, in view of the merits obtained by Christ’s redemptive Passion, He had already granted her the singular privilege of being born without the least stain of original sin. Moreover, being free of the original sin, she was additionally free of the effects of original sin. With her emotional life in perfect compliance with right reason, and possessing the original integrity of pre-lapsarian Adam, she would experience no interior proclivity to commit sin and would be entirely free of concupiscence. Thus, Mary, from the first instant of her Immaculate Conception, was truly “full of Grace,” and her will would always be in perfect conformity with the divine will of God.
Further, God the Son chose to be dependent upon Mary as He assumed a true human nature which, from a purely biological and genetic vantage point, was wholly and exclusively the product of Mary’s genetic endowment. He became her child, and entrusted Himself unreservedly to the care of His most holy Mother.
Finally, God the Holy Spirit has chosen to be entirely dependent upon Mary’s maternal mediation in His distribution of all the grace that springs from the bosom of the Father and is merited via the salvific action of God the Son. Thus, it can rightly be stated that every single grace that comes to us from God additionally comes through the willed intercession of Mary. Each gift of grace is not only a gift of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; it is additionally and necessarily a gift from the Blessed Virgin Mary, true Mediatrix of all Grace and Spiritual Mother of all of humanity.
Additionally, it should be pointed out that Mary, in giving birth to Christ, the Head, necessarily gave birth to the Mystical Body connected to that Head. Further still, Mary, the “New Eve,” was called to participate in the redemption of humanity with Christ, the “New Adam,” by providing Him with His body, the instrument of the Redemption, just as the first Eve participated in the fall of humanity with the first Adam by providing him with the fruit, the instrument of the fall. After Christ, Mary, being “full of Grace,” merited more grace for the human family than any other creature.
Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood of all of humanity, then, began at the moment of the Incarnation and was brought to completion at the foot of the Cross, where Mary fully consented to the immolation of this victim Who was simultaneously her Son and her God. Christ’s decision to designate Mary as “Spiritual Mother” of all humanity while she stood at the foot of His Cross was no mere afterthought or happenstance; for it was on the Altar of Mary’s Immaculate Heart that He consummated the supreme offering and salvific immolation of Himself for all humanity. Moreover, Mary, in a wholly singular and unique fashion, participated mystically in her Son’s perfect offering, for her Heart was and is truly one with her Son’s Sacred Heart. Thus, the sword that pierced the Heart of Christ, from which there gushed forth blood and water as the source of the divine and Sacramental life of the Church, was the very same sword that tore open the most painful wound in Mary’s Immaculate Heart, as had been prophesied by Simeon. Thus, the Church rightly ascribes to Mary the title, “Co-Redemptrix.” The “co” is from the Latin, “cum,” which, most accurately translated, means “with,” and not, “equal to.” For, it would be theologically erroneous to hold that there was anything whatever “lacking” in the perfect salvific offering of Christ.
Rather, to arrive at a theologically accurate understanding of Mary’s unique participation in the sufferings and Redemption of Christ, we do well to keep in mind the following words of St. Paul, who states in Col 1:24, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” If St. Paul can apply the above sentiments to himself and his sufferings, would it not be foolish to think the same theological principle could not apply all that much more to Mary, who, unlike St. Paul, was wholly untainted by sin? Thus, Mary, both in giving birth to Christ, the Head, and in participating in a profound fashion in the Passion of her Son and her God, quite literally participated in giving birth to all who benefit from the grace merited on Calvary. For this reason, she is a Mother to us in the order of grace.
Motherhood does not cease with the definitive act of giving birth, however, but continues in the nourishing and nurturing of the child after it has received the gift of life; in this case, the divine life of grace. Having participated in giving birth to the Church, Mary continues her unique role as Spiritual Mother in the nourishing act of Mediation, or the distribution of divine life to the People of God, the Church. Yet, how can a mother nourish a child who puts up resistance to her? We must be absolutely docile in her arms; we must consent to being nourished. Thus, Mary can only fully carry out her role as Mediatrix of all grace with respect to those souls who have solemnly entrusted themselves to her maternal care through a solemn act of consecration to her. Just as Mary had to give her fiat to God in order for the Christ-child to be formed in her, so too must we give our fiat to Mary and her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, in order for the image of Christ to be formed in our souls through the grace that is mediated through her. Thus, Consecration to Mary is the apex of true devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In imitation of Christ, who humbled Himself by becoming a child of Mary, we too must humbly entrusting ourselves entirely to the care of our Spiritual Mother, in order that she might fully carry out her maternal mediation with respect to our souls. Our Lady states in her third apparition at Fatima that in order to save the souls of poor sinners, God wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart, the apex of which is total consecration. In consecrating ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we enable the Blessed Mother to form us into faithful replicas of her divine Son Jesus, the Savior of Humanity. The more closely our souls resemble the crucified Christ, who laid down His life for His friends, the more generous we shall be in terms of patiently accepting and carrying our crosses, thereby participating ever-more perfectly in Christ’s shared work of Redemption. Thus, like Mary, the Co-redemptrix, we too shall become co-redeemers with Christ, effectively collaborating with Him in the salvation of souls.
Finally, on October 13, 1917, the final of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima at the Cova da Iria, Lucia testifies that Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular in her hand. The Brown Scapular is one of the most indulgenced and popular of Catholic sacramentals. It is the official “religious habit” of all the consecrated children of Mary, and those who become invested in this habit make three solemn promises: (1) to continually/habitually wear the Brown Scapular (it must be comprised of 100% wool cloth, must not be placed in a plastic encasing, and the two square patches of brown wool must be connected to each other by a 100% wool string, not a chain; moreover, the “Scapular Medal,” contrary to what you may have been told, is not a legitimate substitute for an authentic wool Scapular); (2) to practice chastity according to one’s state in life; (3) to daily recite either the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” or to obtain permission from the priest performing the investiture to pray five decades of the Holy Rosary daily in lieu of the “Little Office.” It has become much more popular to pray the Rosary daily to fulfill this third requirement. The Brown Scapular, then, becomes an external sign and symbol of an interior disposition of the heart; a disposition of total dedication and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Moreover, it is clear that the Marian devotions of total consecration, the wearing of the Brown Scapular and the daily praying of the Holy Rosary are not three distinct devotions, but, rather, comprise three elements of one supreme devotion to Our Lady: that is, the living out of our total consecration.
Finally, Our Blessed Lady has stated on multiple occasions and in numerous approved private revelations that those souls who practice this sublime devotion of total consecration to her Immaculate Heart, and the corresponding wearing of the Brown Scapular coupled with the daily praying of her prayer, the Most Holy Rosary, will remain in the true faith of her Son, Christ Jesus, and will not fall prey to the many and varied theological and philosophical errors and heresies that are being promulgated even from within the very Church itself in these most perilous times of the great apostasy. Greater still, the soul who entrusts and consecrates itself unreservedly to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart through this three-fold devotion is assured of receiving all the graces necessary for salvation, and is additionally eligible to receive the Sabbatine Privilege, which consists of the promise of being released from the pains of purgatory into the fullness of the beatific vision on the first Saturday after one’s death through the all-powerful intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Our good Mother truly has provided us with everything we need in order to remain in the true faith and to assure our sanctification and salvation in these troubled times of ours. Indeed, as the foot-soldiers of Our Lady, we have been equipped with all the gear necessary for the great cosmic battle to which we have been summoned. In this final struggle between the “Woman clothed with the Sun” and the “Huge Red Dragon” of Marxist Atheism, the error that Our Lady predicted would spread throughout the world, we can take confidence in knowing that our good Mother has provided her consecrated warriors with the Shield, the Weapon and the Standard necessary for battle. The Shield is none other than the safe refuge of her Immaculate Heart, and the key that unlocks the golden gate of this Heavenly Garden is Total Consecration (externally symbolized and signified in the wearing of the Brown Scapular). The Weapon is the daily prayer of the Holy Rosary. It is simultaneously the chain that forever binds us to the Most Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the chain that will ultimately bind Satan, preventing him from escaping the everlasting lake of fire to tempt, torment and viciously attack humanity. Finally, the Standard is that of the blood-stained Cross of Christ. For, the only path that she marks out for those entrusted to her Maternal care is the way of the Cross; for, Christ states unequivocally that “whomsoever would come after [Him] must deny his very self, pick up his cross daily and follow [Him].”
Above all, she pleads with us to unselfishly pray and suffer for the salvation of souls, and it is precisely through the living of our consecration to her Most Immaculate Heart that we will be emboldened with the very generosity of her immaculate love to lay down our lives on the altar of her Immaculate Heart, in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation and sanctification of souls. This, then, constitutes the ultimate purpose and significance of Fatima for our times, prophetically referred to by Blessed Pope John Paul II as the time of the “New Advent,” and the call for a renewed devotion to the Immaculate Heart, the summit of which, as has been shown, is none other than Total Consecration.
End of Part I…To Be Continued…