Devotion 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.

Pray 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. 

We 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 Source. 

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.

After the 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 testify.

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).

The 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).

This eschatological 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 Salvation, 

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,

through the infinite merits of His Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary...

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.

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