The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Triumph of the Divine Mercy merge as one in these seemingly apocalyptic times and generate directly from the heart of God as our lifeline. All the necessary means to advance the culmination of these two great prodigies have been provided: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and the further dimension of Eucharistic Reparation, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and an astounding number of Marian apparitions in the more recent centuries, gently urging the faithful to prayer and penance. Our Lady, Mediatrix of Mercy, is poised to act in defense of her children … our generous response to her entreaties will hasten that glorious, triumphal moment!
In his 1987 Marian encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II used a new title for the Blessed Virgin Mary, which, unfortunately has been fundamentally ignored. He stated that the Blessed Virgin Mary “also has the specifically maternal role of Mediatrix of Mercy at Our Lord Jesus’ coming.” In this single title is contained the two greatest spiritual movements initiated by heaven for the twentieth century: the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Triumph of Divine Mercy. Can we not see in this title both the reference to the critical intercession of the Mother of God in our own times, and at the same time a profound complementarity with the messages of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy?
It is abundantly clear from the Magisterial teachings of the Church that Our Lady is the Coredemptrix who uniquely shares in the one mediation of Christ in acquiring the fruits of the Redemption, and as a result she uniquely participates in that selfsame perfect mediation of Christ as Mediatrix of the graces of the Redemption. It is also abundantly clear that this theologically constitutes the basis for her universal role as “Mediatrix of Mercy” and as “Advocate” (or principal Intercessor) for all God’s people (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 62).
What then of the prophetic dimension of the title, “Mediatrix of Mercy?” How does the private revelation of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, prophesied at Fatima, unite in this one title: “Mediatrix of Mercy”? What does this title say to us at this point of human history?
I would suggest that these two great movements, the Triumph of the Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, which are not man-made but heaven-made, have a supernatural complementarity. Let us examine a few examples.
Firstly, let us look at the theology of the prayer that we find in both of these movements. Note the similarity in theology between the following prayers given at Fatima and to St. Faustina.
During the 1916 preparatory apparitions from the angel of Portugal to the three children of Fatima, the following prayer was revealed:
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.
And from our Merciful Lord to St. Faustina we have the revealed Chaplet Prayer:
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
What is the common theological foundation of these two revealed celestial prayers? Firstly, there is a foundation of Eucharistic reparation, which comes in several forms. Eucharistic reparation is first and foremost in the form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by the ordained priest, and Eucharistic Adoration. But note in these two heavenly movements for our time that there is a further dimension of Eucharistic reparation, a dimension which also extends to the laity. In the exercise of their royal priesthood, the laity offers already consecrated hosts, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ to appease the justice of the Eternal Father.
The Father looks down and sees the sins of humanity. He first sees the priest, the one set aside to offer the Sacrifice, the one who offers the Eucharist in continuation of the sacrifice of Calvary. The Father looks down and sees, amidst the ubiquitous sin and darkness of the world, these shoots of light, the Sacrifice of the Mass offered by our priests. And because of the mystical lights breaking the darkness of sin, the Father does not respond in justice, which is also a part of His nature, but rather He responds in mercy. That is why Fulton Sheen often quipped that if the priest does not understand, first and foremost, that he is one set aside to offer the Sacrifice for the people, he will forever have an identity crisis. This is the pre-eminent task of the priest, to offer the Sacrifice so that mercy is the response of the Father rather than justice.
Secondly, and most especially in these times, it is also the laity who are called—not to consecrate, which is beyond their power—but to offer the already consecrated Eucharistic Jesus to the Father in reparation for sin. We do that for the sake of his sorrowful Passion, his Passion in Eucharistic form, as it already exists consecrated in the tabernacles of the world. The offering of the laity (in a way similar to the Sacrifice of the Redeemer that is gained by the maternal, and lay, sacrifice of the Coredemptrix at Calvary) is not going to have the same spiritual efficacy as the priestly Sacrifice, but it will be a corollary, an association of the priest and the laity offering the Eucharistic Jesus to the Father so that He will respond in mercy rather than justice.
In sum, it is a heavenly appeal for the offering of the Eucharistic Lord in atonement and reparation for the sins of the world, and an exercise of the priests and the laity in bringing to the Father the Passion and the Eucharistic presence of his Son by all Christ’s faithful.
We find another complementarity between the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Triumph of Divine Mercy in many inspired Diary references of St. Faustina to the motherly mediation of Mary in the order of grace. Clearly manifest from the opening pages of the Diary, we have numerous revealed examples of the salvific role of the Mediatrix of Mercy.
In Notebook I, n. 11, p. 7, it is the Mother of God as Advocate who guides Sister Faustina to shelter:
When I got off the train and saw that all were going their separate ways, I was overcome with fear. What am I to do? To whom should I turn, as I know no one? So I said to the Mother of God, “Mary, lead me, guide me.” Immediately I heard these words within me telling me to leave the town and to go to a certain nearby village where I would find a safe lodging for the night. I did so and found in fact that everything was just as the Mother of God told me.
Notebook I, n. 20, p. 11 refers to Our Lady’s mediation of grace to souls in Purgatory: “I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment.”
The union of human suffering with the suffering Heart of the Coredemptrix can be seen from Notebook I, n. 25, p. 14:
During the night, the Mother of God visited me, holding the Infant Jesus in Her arms. My soul was filled with joy, and I said, “Mary, my Mother, do you know how terribly I suffer?” And the Mother of God answered me, I know how much you suffer, but do not be afraid. I share with you your suffering, and I shall always do so.
We also see that Our Lady’s mediation of grace and advocacy for nations is manifest in Notebook I, n. 33, p 18:
I was to make this novena for the intention of my Motherland. On the seventh day of the novena I saw, between heaven and earth, the Mother of God, clothed in a bright robe. She was praying with her hands folded on her bosom, her eyes fixed on Heaven. From her Heart issued forth fiery rays, some of which were turned toward Heaven while the others were covering our country.
Among the many other references of Our Lady’s mediation of grace in her diary, we find this entry in relation to St. Faustina herself (Notebook I, n. 79, p. 41):
O Mary, my Mother and my Lady, I offer you my soul, my body, my life and my death, and all that will follow it. I place everything in your hands. O my Mother, cover my soul with your virginal mantle and grant me the grace of purity of heart, soul and body. Defend me with your power against all enemies, and especially against those who hide their malice behind the mask of virtue. O lovely lily! You are for me a mirror, O my Mother!
A further dynamic complementarity between the Triumph of Divine Mercy and Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the undeniable urgency of both heavenly calls. It would be a grave error to “demythologize the historical reality and transmission of urgency contained in both these supernatural movements.” Without question, then, the Diary gives vivid and consistent universal testimony to the mission of the Mediatrix of Mercy. Both messages manifest an authentic celestial and historical urgency, an urgency of peace and an urgency of mercy, but nonetheless urgency. The following is the fundamental message from Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, with one prophetic promise that “in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph”:
Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war; for she alone can save it…. Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: “My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” You have seen Hell—where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace… If they heed my request, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, my Immaculate Heart shall triumph (July 13, 1917).
Many of us are aware of the fact that, when Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the first message of Fatima, after the bullet was removed from his abdomen, he asked that the bullet be brought and molded into part of the crown of Our Lady of Fatima. So clearly does he attest the saving of his life to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima! Thus, we see in Fatima a message of urgency, of conversion, and of Eucharistic reparation, all conditional upon man’s response.
The urgency of the message of Divine Mercy is manifested not only in the obvious expressions from private revelation of St. Faustina, but also from John Paul II’s 1982 encyclical on Divine Mercy, Dives in Misericordia. In this encyclical, also little noticed, the Pope warns of the potential new flood due to the contemporary sins of humanity:
At no time and in no historical period—especially at a moment as critical as our own—can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it…. Like the prophets, let us appeal to that love which has maternal characteristics and which, like a mother, follows each of her children, each lost sheep, even if they should number millions, even if in the world evil should prevail over goodness, even if contemporary humanity should deserve a “new flood” on account of its sins…. And if any of our contemporaries does not share the faith and hope which lead me, as a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God, to implore God’s mercy for humanity in this hour of history, let him at least try to understand the reason for my concern. It is dictated by love for man, for all that is human and which, according to the intuitions of many of our contemporaries, is threatened by an immense danger…. The mystery of Christ… also obliges me to proclaim mercy as God’s merciful love…. It likewise obliges me to have recourse to that mercy and to beg for it in this difficult, critical phase of the history of the Church and of the world, as we approach the end of the second millennium (Dives in Misericordia, 15).
This, of course, is where we historically find ourselves as we begin the third millennium.
What then constitutes the relationship between the Triumph of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has as its primary goal the mission to open hearts to the gift of Divine Mercy, and therefore the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, properly understood, coincides with the Triumph of Divine Mercy. The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary essentially serves the Triumph of Divine Mercy, as the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart serves to open, prepare and sustain human hearts to and with the gift of Divine Mercy from the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Our Lord. This will lead us to the “Era of Peace,” the Eucharistic Reign of the Sacred Heart, a time when the mercy of the Heart of Jesus is in fact accepted by the human heart in the awaited and promised “New Springtime for the Church.” It is Mary, Mediatrix of Mercy, who will, through the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, mediate to the world the graces of Divine Mercy and the Reign of the Sacred Heart upon the earth. The Triumph of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary seek this self-same goal. What is the key to unlock the inestimable graces of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which leads to the Triumph of Divine Mercy in the hearts of humanity? Many Marian cardinals, bishops, priests and lay leaders worldwide believe, as I do, that it will be the papal proclamation of the whole truth of Our Lady in her role as the Mother of all Peoples, the Coredemptrix, the Mediatrix of Grace and Mercy, and the Advocate.
God, the Father, does not force his grace upon us. God has tremendous respect for human freedom and the freedom of the human heart, and his grace is only given when it is petitioned for, and it is only received when the heart has been opened to it. This is also true regarding the salvific role of the Mother of Mercy. Her titles are her works. When we call the Blessed Mother the Mediatrix of Mercy, that is not just an honorary title; it is a function that she performs for the Mystical Body, and until we fully acknowledge that title, she cannot fully exercise that function for her family.
Thus, there exists a true theological foundation, that until the Holy Father freely makes the proclamation on the highest level of truth, the Blessed Mother will not have the freedom to fully exercise her titles and their functions as the Coredemptrix, the Mediatrix of all graces, the Advocate for the human family; she will not be able to fully intercede for the much awaited Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, which leads to the Triumph of Divine Mercy. As one author put it, God awaited the yes, the fiat of a woman to bring the world His Son, and now the Woman awaits the fiat of one man, the Vicar of Christ, to bring the world the inestimable graces of the Triumph of her most Immaculate Heart.
Let us, therefore, heed the call of Heaven for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, leading to the Triumph of Divine Mercy. Let us use the powerful supernatural instruments of Rosary, Chaplet, Eucharistic Adoration, and offerings of reparation to atone for the ubiquitous sins of humanity. Let us pray for the proclamation of the whole truth about the Mother of all Peoples, freeing her to fully mediate for the Church and world today as the Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of Mercy and Grace and Advocate. And let us be icons of Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Heart, doing our individual small parts, fulfilling the prophecy that “all generations will call me blessed,” (Lk 1:48) leading to the Triumph of Divine Mercy, the Eucharistic reign of Our Lord Jesus, and a New Springtime for the Church.