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“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

– Our Lady of Fatima, 13th July 1917

The Blessed Virgin, throughout the history of the Church, has always been solicitous for our eternal salvation. The first seeds of this maternal care are seen at the Wedding at Cana, recounted in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint John. In this account, the Lord and His Mother attend a wedding celebration and Mary notices that the wine had run short. With great economy of words, She says to Her Son, “They have no wine”. These words lead to the first public miracle performed by the Lord. For this to occur, She then says to the servants – “Do whatever He tells you”. She invites their co-operation in order that the miracle might take place.

Similarly, in all Her appearances upon the earth which have been approved by the Church, She does precisely the same thing – She invites our co-operation so that miracles of grace and of nature might take place.

At Her third appearance at Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Virgin told the children –

“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

What had She said, that She wished done?

Moments before, She had shown the three children a brief vision of Hell, where they witnessed the poor souls of the damned and, alongside them, the demons tormenting them, all wailing in horror and despair. Then, looking very sad, She told the little ones –

“You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

Note that Her words are conditional – “if”.

God has given humanity the gift of free will and He never oversteps this divine gift. We are free to follow His commandments or not, as we choose – but must acept the consequences of our choices. In the same way, they Mother of God also entirely respects our free will. She invites our co-operation but She does not force it.

Here at Fatima, She outlines what will happen if we follow Her motherly advice and She tells the children what will happen if we do not heed Her warning –

“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.”

‘If’. It is such a little word, and yet so very much depends upon it.

Looking back from the present day to that summer day in 1917, it is patently clear that we – humanity – have responded so poorly to this motherly call. As Our Lady predicted, Russia – representing atheistic communism – did indeed spread so many of her errors throughout the world, and those wars and persecutions occurred; even now, we live with the effects of them, although that regime of atheistic communism has gone, since the requested Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was eventually made by the Holy Father in 1984. But it took 67 years for the Consecration to be made – and how much happened in those intervening years!

People ask why the predicted Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has not yet taken place. The answer is very simple. That Triumph was dependent on two things, which together form the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady spoke explicitly about this –

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communions of Reparation on the First Saturdays.”

‘And’. Another very small word, but with much dependent upon it.

So we see there are two distinct aspects to properly undertaking this Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The first was the Consecration made by the Holy Father in union with the Bishops, done in 1984 – this was the response required of the Church, and that response has been given and has been accepted by Heaven.

The second is the Communions of Reparation, more commonly referred to as the ‘Five First Saturdays’ – this is the response required of every single one of us. And when sufficient numbers respond to the request of the Mother of God, then the Triumph will follow.

As at Cana, the Mother of the Lord asks us to do as She requests; She does not demand, for we are free to accept or to reject Her requests. But as we have seen, each particular choice of ours carries with it a consequence.