The first secret given to the three Fatima children during the third Apparition on 13th July, 1917 was a vision of Hell. These are the words of Lucia, the oldest of the three children, describing the event: Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
The existence and reality of Hell was not hidden from Our Lady’s children. She wanted the three Fatima children, as well as us today, to see the severity of consequences that could await us if we refuse to sacrifice our sinful ways. However, she didn’t leave them without hope for themselves and those around them. Our Lady tells the children: “To save [the souls of poor sinners], God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” She promises peace and the salvation of many souls if this is done.
This message tells us that God once again was choosing to work through Mary for the salvation of souls. We see it first in Mary’s fiat, or her “yes”, at the Annunciation when God asked Mary to bear His son. God sent humanity salvation through His own son, God Himself, becoming human in all ways but sin and suffering a human death. To do this, God wanted the willful participation of His creatures. Mary was invited by God to participate in His plan for salvation at the moment the Angel appeared to her. God also invites us to participate, although in a different way, in His plan for salvation.
To devote ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is to to make the phrase “Thy will be done” the center of our lives. It is to follow Mary’s example of submission of our human wills and in the desire for God’s will alone. To devote ourselves to the Immaculate Heart means to turn to the heart that loved Christ with its entire being, and to ask her to help us love Him in all things. In following the example of Mary, we can allow Christ to work in our lives to reach others, especially those souls most in need of mercy and love.
What is one way you can choose God’s will in your daily life?
Ask for the intercession of Our Lady and ask her for help in desiring the will of God particularly in the way thought of in the reflection question.