SIGNIFICANTLY THE FIRST APPARITION of the Virgin Mary, May 13, 1917, ended, as it had with the Angel of Peace in 1916: with adoration and love of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Oh, Most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!”
Afterward, the Virgin Mary concluded Her first visit with one additional request. She asked the children to continue praying the rosary.
Thus, She linked the Rosary and the Eucharist, as St. John Bosco had linked devotion to Mary, “Auxilium Christianorum” (Help of Christians) and the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in his well-known dream of the two pillars. In effect, the Virgin Mary was beginning to unfold the relationship between the Eucharist and the Rosary as the supernatural means offered by the Holy Trinity and the Queen of Heaven to obtain world peace:
“Pray the rosary every day in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
One month later, June, 1917, after completing their rosary, the three children once more saw a flash of light reflecting the Light that was proceeding toward them. Then Our Lady appeared on the same holmoak tree as She had previously. The dialogue began in this fashion:
‘”Please tell me, Madam, what it is that you want of me?”
“I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month.”
“I want you to continue saying the Rosary every day. And after each one of the mysteries, my children, I want you to pray in this way: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need.”
“I want you to learn to read and write, and later I will tell you what else I want of you”.
She said that She would not tell them until “later” what more She wanted.
She told them that Jacinta and Francisco would soon go to heaven, but that Lucia was to stay longer because it was Jesus’ wish that she remain on earth longer to make the Lady known and loved and to “establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart”:
“Will you take us to heaven?”
“Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”
“Must I remain in the world alone?”
She told Lucia not to despair because She herself would comfort her and that Her “Immaculate Heart would be Lucia’s refuge and the way that will lead to God.
Not alone, my child, and you must not be sad. I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.”
The moment She said the last words, the Woman opened Her hands and communicated the rays of that same immense light by which the children saw themselves immersed in God during Her first visit. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light that rose toward heaven, as Our Lady had foretold, and Lucia in the rays poured out upon the earth where she was to remain in order to spread devotion to the “Immaculate Heart.”
Then, elevated in front of Our Lady’s right palm they saw Her Immaculate Heart encircled by thorns that pierced it.
The three understood that they were being shown “The Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity and seeking reparation.”
The apparition then concluded as on the first visit: The Virgin Mary rose to the east and disappeared in the “immensity of heaven.”
The children learn that Our Lady, like the Holy Trinity, is outraged by the sins of humanity and like the Holy Trinity, seeking reparation.
Before revealing Her Immaculate Heart, the children are told that the Trinity wants to establish devotion to it and that Lucia is to be the prime instrument for this purpose.
She also began to prepare Jacinta and Francisco, as She prepares each of Her children, for their upcoming deaths.
They were also prepared for their ministry of reparation, to suffer out of love for God and neighbor, they were prepared for this by being immersed in the grace of God communicated by the Our Lady, She who suffers with God, wills what God wills, and reveals Her own Heart pierced with sorrow for the sins of humanity, a Heart foretold in Scripture:
“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
The Angel of Peace had already informed the children of the existence of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts during the third apparition in 1916:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.”
Months later, the Immaculate Heart is revealed to them. Of course, the children are indirectly being given the identity of the Woman because the angel had already told them that the Immaculate Heart belonged to the “Mary” evident in the final sentence above.
Thus, we can expect God to foreshadow, unfold and progressively reveal future events to His children (those who listen to Him, love Him and put His words into action) so that little by little begin meditating on and preparing for them before they are more fully revealed and before they take place.
“I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you” (John 16:12-13).
This however, is a gift reserved to His children, those “little ones” who love Him and therefore participate with Him in the Divine plan to overcome the world and participate with Him in the work of human redemption and sanctification.
“And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightening falling from heaven. Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you.
“In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Ghost, and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight” (Luke 10:19-21).
Fatima is for little ones, humble servants of God who seek His glory and not their own, who offer themselves as other Christs for the sins of humanity. This mission involves much suffering endured by deep compassion that encourages, heroic willingness to do penance for love of others.