The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which will be accomplished this Friday, March 25, 2022, is a condition requested by the Virgin Mary for divine intervention against the diffusion of the errors of Soviet Russia, errors which have already penetrated everywhere.
But the question of the conversion of Russia is not the ultimate goal of the requests made at Fatima. This goal is the establishment of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to different terms.
The liturgical cult, through which we render a just honor to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, and to which numerous men and women saints have opened the way, was approved first of all by the Apostolic See at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
It was then that Pope Pius VII instituted the feast of the Most Pure Heart of the Virgin Mary, to be piously and religiously celebrated by all the dioceses and religious families who had requested it; a feast that Pope Pius IX soon enriched with its own Office and Mass.
This cult, born in the 19th Century and growing by the day, was extended by the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XII to the whole Church, giving this feast a greater solemnity.
The apparitions of Fatima came as a divine seal of this action of the popes to propagate devotion to the Heart of Mary, just as the apparitions of Lourdes had been as a reward from Heaven for the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The Church affirms that the Blessed Virgin must receive a special cult, the highest in the order of those due to the saints: the cult of hyperdulia, the saints receiving the cult of dulia.
This requirement is based on the very special place that the Virgin Mary holds in the economy of salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior and Redeemer, wanted to associate Himself especially with a creature in the work of Redemption. This is revealed by the names that are given to Mary: the new Eve, helper or even associate.
This place is manifested by the special privileges granted to the Blessed Virgin. The first and most important is the grace of divine motherhood: Mary is the Mother of God. She gave us Jesus Christ through her Fiat.
To accomplish this exceptional mission she received other unique gifts: the grace of an immaculate conception, which exempted her from original sin and gave her, from the very first moment of her existence, a marvelous fullness of graces.
Mary also received the grace of perpetual virginity: the conception and childbirth of the Son of God did not touch the integrity of the one to whom the centuries have prayed under the name so frequently given to her: the Virgin.
Finally, the Virgin Mary received the privilege of being raised to heaven after the course of her earthly life, and of now reigning with her divine Son in heaven.
But one of the main foundations of our devotion is the Compassion of Our Lady. By being associated in a very special way with the redemptive sacrifice, the Mother of God has acquired a merit which – although of a different nature from that of Christ – is compared for its extent, by Pope St. Pius X, to that of Christ Himself.
Thus, she participated, in a subordinate way to Christ, in the satisfaction for our sins, uniting herself to the sacrifice of her Son. That’s why she merits the name of co-redemptrix. The mediation of the graces that her Immaculate Heart accomplished next to her Son comes from this co-redemption.
Any prayer made with devotion and love towards Mary can be considered as a practice of this devotion. The faithful have great freedom to turn to their Heavenly Mother who will listen to every voice that addresses her filially. There are many prayers to the Blessed Virgin which have sprung from the piety of the faithful throughout the centuries, and which the Church has encouraged in various ways.
The rosary is a singular example of this. It has always been encouraged by the popes. Is it known that Leo XIII wrote no less than twelve encyclicals to exhort the faithful to pray the rosary?
At Fatima, the Virgin Mary encouraged us to a particular practice, especially adapted to our time: the devotion of the first five Saturdays of the month. It consists of the following works:
1) A confession of reparation within the eight days preceding or following communion;
2) The communion of reparation on the first Saturday;
3) The recitation of one set of mysteries of the rosary;
4) Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary while keeping company with Our Lady for fifteen minutes.
This reparation concerns five sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1) The blasphemies committed against her Immaculate Conception;
2) Those committed against her perpetual Virginity;
3) Those committed against her divine Motherhood;
4) Those who sow indifference, contempt, or hatred towards Mary in the hearts of children;
5) Those who insult Mary in her images.
The present situation shows how this practice requested by the Virgin corresponds to the needs of the Church and of the world. That the practice of confession has been largely abandoned is no mystery to anyone.
But, much more seriously, the spirit of satisfaction or reparation has almost disappeared from the reformed rite of the new Mass. It is urgent to restore this dimension, and for all those who have abandoned it to seek to practice it.
The recitation of the rosary is an encouragement to assiduous prayer, which is taught to us in the Holy Gospel and constantly recalled by pastors. But in the face of ever more pressing needs and our lack of assiduity, the Virgin Mary has repeatedly reminded us of this duty, as in Pontmain, for example: “But pray, my children!”
Asking for this practice on five first Saturdays in a row encourages us to virtue, repeating the actions that will allow us to acquire it and keep it all our lives. For a soul that receives communion often – and who, of course, is in a position to do so – is on the path of salvation according to St Thomas Aquinas.
Finally, meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary is intended to make us penetrate ever more deeply into the intimacy of Jesus Christ our Saviour and His Mother, that is, into the intimacy of their united hearts. Or to say things with the words of St. John Eudes: in the Heart of Jesus and Mary.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must lead us to this, and it is this that can hasten the coming of the kingdom of Christ through the reign of the Heart of Mary. This reign must begin in each of us.