to the Immaculate Heart
The intimate association of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother with
the Sacred Heart of the Son, indeed their unity in the Plan of the
Father, is the essential doctrinal feature of the Message of Fátima.
From the first message of the Angel we are pointed to it.
with me. "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you, and
I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope
and do not love you." The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive
to your prayers.
Here we see that it is the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary which await, and mediate, the prayer of reparation to God requested by
the Angel. This can only be understood by a profound reflection on the doctrines of the Trinity,
the Incarnation and the Redemption. By such a reflection the objective
reality of Mary's role within the economy of salvation can be understood.
must first start with the Trinity as it exists within Itself, apart
from its works. The doctrine of the Divine Processions tells us that
Life and Love, Truth and Goodness, all that the Persons of the Trinity
are by their sharing of the one Divine nature, proceeds from the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of the Father and the
Son). From all eternity these eternal processions of the Son and the
Holy Spirit take place, with the Eternal Father as their ultimate
This Order of Procession within God establishes the
Order of the Missions of the Divine Persons, that is of their external
works - Creation, Redemption, Sanctification/Glorification. God who is
the same "yesterday, today and forever" acts outside Himself
according to the reality of His own interior life, stamping His works
with the image of that Life. Thus, these works proceed from the
Father, through the Son and are effected by the power of their Love,
the Holy Spirit. This Order is why all formal liturgical prayer is
directed "to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy
Spirit," as that is how all good things come to us.
Fall of Adam and Eve, the Father promised a new Woman from whom would
come a new Adam, the Redeemer to undo the sin of the old Adam (Genesis
3:15). In the fullness of time the Father effected the Incarnation of
the Son by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). This Divine Spirit brought about the union of the human
nature, taken from Mary alone, and the Divine nature, in the Second Person
of the Trinity, the Word. It was thus from Mary's Immaculate flesh,
preserved from original and person sin by the foreseen merits of her
Son and "full of grace" (Luke 1:28), that the New Adam was
created. The renewal of the universe was begun in the new Adam and the
New Eve, the Woman and her Seed, as all the Fathers of the Church
We thus begin to see the intrinsic connection of Jesus and
Mary, a connection that transcends natural motherhood, since its
purpose from the beginning is a supernatural one, the Redemption of
the human race. Thus, there is nothing merely natural about the
conception of the Mother or the generation of the Son. Both are
supernatural, as was the creation of Adam and Eve in Divine Justice.
Mary, therefore, immediately assumes the supernatural role assigned
her, to accompany her Son at every step of the Redemption as the first
redeemed (pre-redeemed, as has been said) and His most faithful
disciple (Matthew 12:48-50, Luke 1:48, John 2:5). Her motherhood is
not a natural one, nor are her sons natural sons, but supernatural one
(Isaiah 7:14, 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Luke 1:46-55), subjects of the
supernatural Kingdom in which she is the Queen Mother, since she is
Mother of the King. For this reason from the throne of the Cross the
King confided the beloved disciple, and every disciple (we are all
beloved), to the motherhood of the Woman, the New Eve (John 19:27).
mysterious role of the New Eve also has an eschatological dimension.
This is the branch of theology dealing with the Last Things (Death, Judgment,
Heaven, Hell), and thus also with the destiny of the creation as a
whole, the New Heavens and the New Earth (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation
21). The Church, the Bride of Christ, is not yet fully formed, all the
redeemed have not yet come into her. At the End the numbers of the
just will be complete and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb will take
place, when God will be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28,
Revelation 19:9). We can only faintly conceive the degree of union
with God and participation in His own Divine Life that this will
entail. The Lord reveals this union as nuptial, like the complete
sharing of Bridegroom and Bride. This is why the Sacrament of
Matrimony is a this-worldly sign pointing to the union of love between
Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:21-33).
dimension of the relationship of Christ and the Church is already
fully realized in the union of Jesus and Mary in Heaven. Mary has
achieved (including bodily glory) what the rest of the Church is
moving toward. The New Adam and the New Eve have gone before us and
already hold everything in common which will be shared with all the
just in the Wedding Feast. This no more devalues Christ's unique role
as the God-man who alone can merit infinitely, then does the common
goods of husband and wife devalues the role of the breadwinner. They
are of one heart and one mind, a bond of love which is not possessive.
This nuptial reality is beautifully shown by the symbolism of the Two
Hearts associated with the message of Fátima.
The rest of the
messages which touch upon the role of the Immaculate Heart
reinforce the sense already implicit in the first message of the
Angel. In the second apparition he
would say, associating Mary explicitly with the Plan of
Pray. Pray. the Hearts of Jesus and
Mary have merciful designs upon you.
Finally, in the third
apparition he will teach the children a prayer of reparation that
implores of the Trinity the conversion of poor sinners,
the infinite merits of His Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of
This prayer, much clearer in the Portuguese and without
the equivocation of some English translations
("intercession" of the Immaculate Heart), suggests the
prefect union of the two Hearts described above. What are Christ's by divinity and redemptive purchase are
Mary's by grace and cooperation. Nothing is lacking to their union,
save the absorption of the creature into the creator. Just as in the
union of Christ's human and divine natures each nature remains what it
is, the human sweetly subject to the divine. So Mary remains ever the
creature subject to her Divine Spouse. We will likewise remain
creatures when we come to share in this ineffable union of Bridegroom and
Bride in eternity.