“In Her hands, raised to the level of Her breast, She held a globe .. Her face was totally beautiful – I could not describe it.. At that moment, as I contemplated Her, the Blessed Virgin lowered Her eyes to look at me and an interior voice said – ‘This globe which you see represents the entire world’..”
– Saint Catherine Labouré
In November of 1830, the young Saint Catherine Labouré saw the Blessed Virgin Mary for the second time in the convent on the Rue du Bac in Paris.
This vision began with the Blessed Virgin holding in Her hands a globe which She raised to Heaven, toward God – the symbolism being that Her concern is for every person upon this globe on which we live, and that She intercedes for all of us. The vision changed and Catherine saw the Immaculate One with the globe of the world now at Her feet, rays of heavenly light streaming down upon the earth from jewelled rings on Her hands. It is this second part of the vision which is now depicted on the Miraculous Medal – but it was actually the first part which the Mother of God asked to have decpited on the Medal. (Be that as it may, the ability of engravers at that time was far more limited than it is now, and they found great difficulty in doing as had been requested, the latter part of the vision proving somewhat easier, even though those first resulting Medals had a quite ‘flat’ appearance.)
Appearing eighty seven years later to three little children at Fatima in Portugal, the Blessed Virgin once again depicted Herself with a globe. On this occasion, it was in the form of a pendant on a golden cord around Her neck, nestling close to Her Immaculate Heart.
There is a clear connection between these two events and the common motif of the globe representing the entire world.
In Paris, the Mother of God was pleading for the world before the Almighty, interceding for us, before obtaining and distributing a myriad of graces, which were shown to Catherine as rays of brilliant light streaming from the hands of the Blessed Virgin. Note that She distributed those graces as and where She pleased.
At Fatima, She called the world back to the Almighty, for it was already clear that we were in need of being called back; She even gave us particular ways of making our return to Him, such as the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart and the Five First Saturdays, as well as the daily recitation of the holy Rosary. Above all else, She reminded us of the centrality of devotion to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament – after all, the best way to come back to Him is through the very Sacrament by which He comes to us and remains with us.
This globe, in the hands of the Mother of God in Paris and close to Her Immaculate Heart in Fatima, symbolises a deep truth of our Faith – the Mother of God loves us immensely and, no matter how far we go from Her Son by our indifference, our waywardness, our sinfulness, Her love for us does not change.
This globe, as the She said to Saint Catherine, “represents the entire world” and every person upon it. She loves us all in our common humanity – and She also loves every single one of us individually.
We could ask for no sweeter consolation than to know that the Blessed Virgin Mary loves us with the love of a true Mother.
Let us, then, go to Her confidently in all our needs, certain that as surely as She lifts the entire globe to the Father in Heaven, so She lifts up our own intentions and intercedes for us.