Mother Adela, SCTJM
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Historical context

In 1914, “the Great Battle” began. It was called so, because never had anything like this happened before in the history of humanity. The year 1917 marked the birth of atheism with the establishment of the first atheist regime in the world. The revolution against God, fruit of this First World War, in its initial and fundamental phase, took on the form of the secularization of the powers of the world.

In the midst of this tense environment and as a response to the prayer that Pope Benedict XV made to Our Lady on May 5, 1917, imploring her to end the war, there occurs, just eight days later, on the 13th of May, an event that transformed the history of the Church and of the world in the Twentieth Century: the Blessed Virgin appears in Fatima, Portugal. This intervention of the Heart of Christ in our contemporary history, through the Heart of his Mother, has been one of the most obvious signs “that God is not indifferent before human difficulties, but rather penetrates them, bringing to realization His ‘ways’, that is, His ‘designs’ and His efficacious ‘works’”, as the Holy Father Benedict XVI, calling to mind the event, told us this past 11th of May.


In 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, a remote town in the Iberian Peninsula, the Blessed Virgin appears to three small shepherd children in a simple village, with a message that would have transcendent repercussions in the history of the twentieth century and for the life of the Church. A message of extreme urgency for humanity. A humanity submerged in war, in a great crisis of faith, and the Church- on the verge of initiating what we can today call the Calvary of the Twentieth Century- received from the Blessed Virgin a call to conversion, to reparation, to the offering of self, and to the consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as the great remedy to battle the immense evils of these times. The Blessed Mother showed us the means to console the Heart of Her Son and to draw upon the world on this great crisis of love, the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, the triumph of love, the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, the triumph of love, the reign of the Eucharistic Heart.

On May 13th, 1982, at the same place of the apparitions of Our Lady, His Holiness John Paul II told us: “the essence of Our Lady of Fatima’s call, is deeply rooted in the Gospel and in tradition, and contains a truth and a call so fundamental in its context, that the Church herself feels an urgency as a result of this message. This call was made at the beginning of the twentieth century and consequently has a direct and particular implication for the generations of this century and the next to come. Therefore the entire message that heaven has given us in this place should be adhered to.”

The message that the Immaculate Heart of Mary would bring to the world, was preceded by the guardian angel of Portugal, who in the year 1916 prepared the children to understand the seriousness of the moment and the importance of the fact that they had been chosen for this task. By doing this, the Angel hoped to lead them to respond in a responsible manner to the call to be key players in the drama of the history that was unfolding before their small and simple lives. Who would ever think that such young children could impact history to such an extent?

Every heart open with humility and with a generous availability to the designs of the Heart of God is the foundation upon which great works of love and grace are built. The Lord chooses, throughout the history of the Church, humble and simple hearts to bring about his designs. The only thing that God needs to enter into history and to powerfully carry out its plan of salvation is a heart totally opened to the will of God. Who knows better than the Blessed Virgin, this profound reality?

It was her heart that received and embraced that design of God, by which he had chosen to become man and to enter into the world in order to save it. She is the one who has opened her heart wide to the Heart of Christ, and because of this, the Incarnation ushers in the new alliance, the intimate relationship of the Heart of Jesus with the Heart of Mary, a relationship of hearts whose fruit was the redemption of all humanity. The fiat of Mary’s heart “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord”, is the perfect response of love to the fiat of the Heart of God made man: “when he came into the world, he said: Behold, I have come to do your will” (Heb 10, 7). The fiat of the human heart is the only necessary condition for God to be able to carry out great works of grace in each moment of history, and for the promise made by the Blessed Mother in the Magnificat to be realized: “His mercy reaches from generation to generation,” (Lk 2:50).

To Read the Signs of the Times

In order to be able to give a fiat to the designs of God’s heart, each generation needs to know how to identify both the signs of light and of darkness being manifested in their time, just as the Holy Father tells us in his letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 17 “We should seek all that gives testimony, not only to what man does, but also to the interventions of God in the midst of human hardships. To read the signs of the times, as the Second Vatican Council teaches is to identify the significant indications, clear and evident of the presence and action of the Spirit of God in history. As we read in the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 4: “to the Church belongs the permanent responsibility to scrutinize thoroughly the signs of the times and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel, so that each generation can respond to the perennial questions of mankind.”

Therefore, each generation has the responsibility to discover the movements of the Holy Spirit so it can: 1) build the reign of God in the course of history. 2) counteract the forces of darkness that close in on humanity’s horizons 3) reach the hearts of the men and women of that historic period and to reveal to them the saving love of Christ. 4) strengthen the Church with men and women who are willing to be luminous witnesses in the midst of the world’s darkness.

Therefore the warning that Jesus gives us in Mt.16: 3-4, should today resound strongly in our hearts: “You know how to judge the appearance of the sky, but you can not judge the signs of the times”. The Church at the beginning of the Third Millennium, should call to mind the manifestations of the Spirit in her generation to understand what is her particular mission at this moment in history. “By recalling the past, we acquire a more vivid consciousness of our true identitÿ, told us John Paul II in his last book, “Memory and Identity”.

Our generation which knows how to explore the universe, the planets, the depths of the seas and the mysteries of science, should stop and reflect in depth, for the designs of God on our history, the events and incidents that have characterized our times and be able to give an adequate and responsible response. It is a necessity!

The Shadows of the Twentieth Century

Let us mention John Paul II’s evaluation at the beginning of the Third Millennium before the diplomatic body of the Holy See: “as we reflect on this past century, it is necessary to consider in this respect: this century will pass through history as the century that has seen the greatest advancements in science and technology, but also as the century in which human life has been scorned in the most brutal way: cruel wars, totalitarianism, legalization of abortion and euthanasia, dissemination of the cultural values of consumerism and a hedonistic ideology at all cost. A century of great moral crisis, due to its abandonment of ethical values.” We could say that the Twentieth Century is characterized by a crisis of love.

Man has disrupted the equilibrium of creation and has forgotten that he is responsible for his brethren...has fallen into the temptation of using and abusing the gifts the Creator has placed in his hands. “In the beginning of this millennium, let us save man who in this era, has gravely fallen into the most dangerous temptation of the heart of man, believing he can become master of nature and of history.”

Our generation has built three great idols: 1. happiness at any cost 2. the exclusive value of material riches 3. science as the only explanation of reality. These idols can only be brought down by a profound conversion of heart, by turning his heart away from his egocentric love of self, and turning towards true love, the love of God and the love of neighbor.

In view of this historical reality, fruit of man’s misuse of freedom and also fruit of a diabolical action, Pope Benedict XVI, as vicar of Christ, called to mind: “History, in fact, is not in the hands of impending darkness, of chance or of human options. Before the unleashing of evil powers, before the vehement outburst of Satan, before so many blows and evils, the Lord is lifted up, as supreme arbiter of the hardships of history.”

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told us, that it was precisely for this reason and as a result of it, that at the beginning of the third millennium John Paul II decided to make public the third part of the “secret” of Fatima; revealing that this chapter of Twentieth Century history, that was tragically marked by evil, was foremost encountered and defeated by the merciful love of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of the Blessed Virgin.

The Two Hearts have been revealing since the beginning of the last century, particular designs of mercy for us and our historic period. Designs that began to manifest themselves to the world in the summer of 1916, when the angel in Portugal told the little shepherds: “What are you doing? Pray! Pray much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer unceasingly to the Almighty prayer and sacrifices.”

In this second message, the angel admonished the children for not taking seriously the urgency of the message, for not taking seriously those designs. The Two Hearts had designs of mercy to fulfill in humanity “through their fiat”, through their free and generous co-operation, therefore they needed to be responsible, for much depended on them. The angel made them understand that love is always responsible, that love and responsibility go together. The human person, John Paul II says, is an actor in the drama of the world, who writes the true history, the history of love or of its refusal.

Designs of Mercy

In the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, John Paul II invited us to: “value and reflect deeply on the signs of hope present at the end of the previous century, in spite of the shadows that often hide these from our eyes.”

In the drama of the Twentieth Century, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia would play a crucial role. The words of the angel: “offer sacrifice in everything you do,” became the rule of life for these little shepherds. The words of the Blessed Virgin: “do not offend God any more for He is already very offended”, pierced the heart of Francisco who offered himself as a victim of reparation and consolation to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. How many hours he spent before the Blessed Sacrament, to accompany Him and repair for the abandonment of man in our age!

Jacinta, moved by a deep love for sinners, whom she saw condemned to hell because nobody prayed and sacrificed for them, offers herself as victim for sinners. She desired that her life and sacrifice would become, --as she herself said--: “a barrier that would prevent sinners from entering hell.” Jacinta saw a suffering Pope and offered herself for him… A Pope, who cried and covered his face with his hands… A Pope, wounded… a Pope for whom she offered her life, although she did not know him, who had not even been born yet.

The sacrifices of one girl had the power to change history in such a way, that, John Paul II, towards whom, on the 13th of May, 1981, at 5:17pm, a professional assassin fires from a few steps away with precision to kill, would later state with certainty: “one hand fired and one maternal hand guided the path of the bullet”, allowing the “agonizing Pope” to be detained “at death’s door”(1994). As a result, on the 13th of May in 2000, with great emotion John Paul II proclaimed in Fatima during the homily of the beatification Mass of the two little shepherds: “Thank you, Jacinta, for saving my life!”. The Pope is a witness that in the end the Immaculate Heart will triumph, “the maternal Heart of Mary is stronger than the assassin’s bullet”… and for this reason he wanted the bullet that had pierced his body to be inserted into the crown of the Virgin of Fatima in the Cova de Iria…

During that same occasion, the Holy Father, through Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano, wanted to reveal to the world the awaited Third Secret and to reveal that the Pope, who had walked trembling among the corpses and through a generation in ruins, was actually himself. However, the most powerful revelation of this secret was not so much the signs, but rather the message, as Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI explained: “the call to conversion and penance is central and at the same time it clearly manifests that history does not unfold in a predetermined outcome, as if all were written without being able to be altered, but rather continues to be a history of freedom: where prayer and penance can change prophetic events”.

“The entire secret is a dramatic call to the liberty of man; a call to change oneself , and therefore change the course of history: this is precisely what the secret has in common with the Apocalypse.

If the Pope on the 13th of May in 1981 was protected from death, it is a sign of how “history can be changed through prayer” (Cardinal Ratzinger, in “God and the World” 2002). History can change if generous hearts are available to fulfill the designs of mercy of the Two Hearts!!

St. Maximilian

In the same year that Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia , responded “yes, we do “ to the question posed by the Lady from heaven: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to bear all the sufferings that He desires to send you as reparation for the sins with which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners? You will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will strengthen you”, there was a young Polish seminarian in Rome, who gave his fiat to the Immaculate One to work fervently in the world for the reign of the Heart of Jesus. St. Maximilian on October 16th, 1917 founded, three days after the great miracle of the sun, the Knights of the Immaculata: “We have to win over the whole world and every soul, now and in the future, till the end of times, for the Immaculate One, and through her for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

St. Maximilian, understood that this conquest of hearts for the reign of the Two Hearts, would not come about without a great battle. As John Paul II tells us in the encyclical Mother of the Redeemer #11, “the victory of the woman’s son would not come about without a difficult battle that would penetrate all of human history. Mary is positioned at the very center of that struggle which parallels the history of humanity on earth and in the same way the history of salvation.”

St. Maximilian, with prophetic vision, understood the signs of his time and was quoted as saying, some time before World War II broke out: “these modern times are dominated by Satan and this will increase in the future. The conflict with hell can not be embraced by men, not even by the most intelligent ones. Only the Immaculate One has God’s promise of victory over Satan.” These words were a prophecy fulfilled in the life of St. Maximilian, who only a few years after having said these words, would confront the horror of seeing the City of the Immaculata stripped of everything by the Nazi’s, and who, in the middle of a concentration camp, would rise as a great witness to the triumph of love and of the reign of the Two Hearts, as he stepped up and handed over his life to save another’s. Many survivors of that place of horror and death, later said: “after the act of Father Maximilian, nothing was the same in Auschwitz , even the Nazi doctors would hide the sick, to save them”. He died as he lived: all for the reign of the Sacred Heart through the Immaculate Heart… “for this” he said “I live, work and suffer… and with the help of the Immaculate One, I’ll die for this.” This great knight of the Blessed Virgin also changed history.

St. Maria Faustina

After only two years that the City of the Immaculata had been founded in Poland like a visible sign of the reign of the Heart of Mary in that country, there, just a short distance away, in that very same nation, a young religious, Saint Faustina Kowalska, receives for the world submerged in the darkness of the years prior to World War II, the revelation of the Merciful Heart of Jesus. Through her, Christ told the world and our history that evil never achieves the definitive victory. And that life prevails over death and love triumphs over hate. That if sin appeared to be the theme of this generation, mercy is His response. For His mercy reaches from generation to generation. “Human misery is not an obstacle for my mercy. My daughter, write: “however great is the misery of souls, so much greater is it’s right to my mercy, and I invite all souls to trust in the inconceivable abyss of My Mercy”. (D.1182) (D.300) “Humanity will not find peace or tranquility until it returns with trust to My Divine Mercy”.

St. Faustina also offered herself as the children of Fatima, for sinners, especially for those who had lost hope in the merciful heart of God. In her mission of offering herself she even reaches the point of experiencing in her own body, the pain and the consequences of the abortions carried out in Poland illegally in the late hours of the night, in this way becoming a victim soul for life.

“The Secretary of Mercy” of the Heart of Christ, transmits a message that transformed and transforms the history of our generation. Our modern world, so rich in the sciences, in technology and discoveries, is not capable in the end of making sense out of our proper existence. It finds itself divided in it’s interior, moved by selfishness and hatred, by war and death, and, it must once again find the strength and the reasons to be able to live and to hope. Christians believe and affirm that these reasons and this strength can alone be found in the heart of God. Therefore, today’s world which experiences and will experience it’s own poverty is in need more than ever of the gift of grace and of mercy that only God can offer….a gratuitous mystery of the love of God for humanity. Our world and the human heart is in need of God’s love, the only love in which man can rest.

“In the designs of Providence nothing is pure coincidence”, says JPII: A Polish boy, who grew to be Fr. Maximilian, had received two crowns from the Blessed Virgin, one red and one white; a Polish religious, receives the unfathomable gift of contemplating two rays, red and white, the Blood and Water that flowed from the Heart of Jesus….and a few years later, Poland, gives the Church and the world, a Pope whose white was stained with blood on a 13th of May in St. Peter’s square. In this way Poland fulfills the prophecy given by the Heart of Jesus to St. Faustina: “I love Poland in a particular way and if she obeys my wishes I will exalt her in power and holiness. From her will come the spark that will prepare the world for the second coming” (D. 1732).
Poland and Fatima…two great torrents meeting in a single ocean… the ocean of the infinite mercy of the Heart of Jesus

John Paul II: The Pope of the Two Hearts who Fulfills the Designs of Mercy

As a witness to the great struggles of the Twentieth Century, he has justifiably been called “The Great”: “I will raise her up (Poland) in power and holiness”: John Paul II the Great ! From an early age, in addition to his personal sufferings, he experienced the dramatic and heroic struggles of his country, Poland. In the most recent decades he was also a protagonist, first as a priest, later as a Bishop and finally as Pope—in many episodes of the history of Europe and of the entire world. All this, as he himself confirmed, led him to a maturity in his understanding of the various forms in which evil seeks to influence history. In his book Memory and Identity, he told us: “The history of humanity is a plot of the coexistence between good and evil. In our times, evil has grown excessively, to the extent that it has reached gigantic proportions. An evil that utilizes the infrastructures of the state to achieve its designs, an evil systematically built.”

At the same time, the Pope was able to probe intensely into the evil of these times, and also was able to discover with certainty of heart, what St. Paul tells us in Rom. 5:20: “Where sin is in abundance, there is a superabundance of grace.” In an interview, he was asked on what he based his confidence given the darkness of these times: “In the power of the love of the merciful heart of Christ, for I am convinced that in the end, it alone will be victorious and that the maternal force that prepares these triumphs is the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Therefore he tells us in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope: “The victory if it comes, will be achieved through Mary. Christ will conquer by means of Her, because He wants the victories of the Church in the contemporary world and in the future world to be united to Her.”

If John Paul II lived convinced of this truth, he was then a witness of the many and different ways, from the realities of his own nation to the fall of Soviet communism, of Mary’s maternal participation in a powerful way in the victory of the Heart of Christ over the evils of the world, and that the surest means to activate this maternal mediation is through consecration to her Heart. The great Mariologist Stephano D’Fiores: “If the most recent popes have spoken favorably on the Marian Consecration, John Paul II has made it one of the key characteristics of his pontificate. For John Paul II, the consecration to Mary, is an essential point in his spiritual and pastoral life.”

And how could he not have done it, if he as well as all of us, are witnesses of what the Blessed Virgin has done in the history of our lives, nations and families to make the reign of her Son prevail over the threats of evil? Have we not seen how the act of consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart in 1984, brought down “miraculously, without a drop of blood” the totalitarian and atheistic system of Russian communism which had given to the church its greatest martyrs of the XX Century? What is not well known is that as the Pope pronounced the act of consecration in communion with all the Bishops, there was a bishop, now deceased, Bishop Hnilica, who secretly entered the Kremlin, and there, in the heart of international communism , the center of a political, military and ideological power, that wanted to build a new world, a society without God, celebrated the Holy Mass in hiding, perhaps the first in 70 years, and prayed the prayer of consecration that the Pope was reciting at the same time from St. Peter’s Square.

As Bishop Hnilica concluded the prayer he perceived clearly that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary were beginning to reign in that place. He smiled as he read on a large sign: “Communism will conquer and dominate the whole world”….It’s time is running out, said the Bishop to his companion…the Two Hearts will triumph in Russia, because the merciful love of Jesus conquers sin, hatred, violence and evil! And that is what happened. Because the essence of mercy is to reveal that love is stronger than death. “The power of this consecration will always encompass all men, towns and nations and overcomes all evil that the spirit of darkness is capable of sowing in the history and hearts of men and has in fact sown in our times,” (words of the Consecration Prayer of 1984).

In the sanctuary of the merciful love in Italy, John Paul II told us in November 1981: “From the start of my Petrine ministry , I considered the message of the mercy of the Heart of Christ, to be my particular mission. Divine Providence had assigned this mission to me, due to the condition of today’s man, of the Church, and of the world. At the same time, I could say that it is precisely this critical situation, that assigns me the responsibility of being a messenger of the merciful heart, this being my task before God and men. I will obtain it, if the Mother of God, helps me accomplish it.”

His task before God and men!! A task very well accomplished! He died as he lived, as St. Paul in Romans 14 tells us: “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord.” He surrendered his life generously to be a luminous witness of the love of the merciful Heart of Christ and of the maternal Heart of Mary….that was the task he accomplished so well even in his death, which came about on a First Saturday (Feast of Our Lady), and also on the vigil of the Feast of the Divine Mercy. He was a witness not only by his words, but even with his gestures. What an eloquent gesture he left us before his death! He died between the Two Hearts, for which he gave his life, drop by drop, to promote their reign in the world, to give testimony that the love of these hearts is stronger than all the evil of our history, of our generation. “Only love creates, only love triumphs”, St. Maximilian Kolbe taught us, because “only love has an invincible potential”, these words were the reason why a wave of love covered Rome, and the whole world, after John Paul’s death, during his funeral. We have seen how suffering for love burns and consumes evil with the call to love and also obtains from sin a flourishing of many forms of good.

A Witness for Our Generation

The lives and words of these great witnesses to love of the XX century, are the greatest signs of mercy we have received in our time. Now it is up to us to build the history of the XXI Century, the history of our generation…Where evil grows, the Christian has the great opportunity to combat it with good, with a good that can reach heroic levels. For evil is conquered by good, but not without much sacrifice, and at times even by the giving of one’s life.

In John Paul II’s last book, published only two months prior to his death, he explains that evil is always the absence of a good not carried out at a particular moment, which a specific generation should have achieved, which hearts should have generously offered; but it is never a complete absence of good. It is a great challenge, brothers and sisters, because evil grows where there is an absence of good… And at the same time there is great hope knowing, that if we cooperate with good, evil will be uprooted from history. What a great responsibility!

Today the words of the angel of Portugal to the children, resounds like an echo in our hearts…”what are you doing? The hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy upon you”. Fatima continues to be present to us… continues to speak to us. In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Holy Father John-Paul II told us: “The words of Fatima appear to be getting closer to their fulfillment at the end of the century, to their fulfillment.” What are you doing? What are we doing?

“This generation has the mission of taking the Gospel to the humanity of the future. You are the witnesses of Christ in the new millennium. Be very conscious of this and respond with prompt fidelity to this urgent call. The Church is counting on you. “Do not be afraid of being the saints and apostles of the Third Millennium.” (Holy Father John Paul II, Nov. 21, 2000)

Brothers and sisters, the doors of this new millennium are opened…we have to enter and cross the threshold and begin the path. A path marked by the love of the hearts of Jesus and Mary; they go before us, they are our banner, showing us how we are to make this journey. We are writing history. We should all write it with our personal and collective lives of holiness and by saying fiat to their designs. Today, as was the same yesterday and tomorrow, this generation has a responsibility before God and before men. So many, have been willing, like Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, like Lucia, like St. Maximilian, St. Faustina, like John Paul II, to fulfill with a generous offering of their own lives, the designs of mercy of the Two Hearts… others have closed their hearts to those designs, as the Holy Father states in a poem: “The division of the generations passes between those who have not paid enough and those who have paid more than their share”… and on what side are we?

The modern age has been characterized for being one of revolutions, of drastic changes that have been rapid and profound. Unfortunately these revolutions have been leading man away from God and for this its effects have been ill fated. They have wanted to raise man above God.

Look at some of these revolutions:
The Enlightenment -- Revolution, the primacy of reason
French Revolution -- the primacy of the rights of man
Communist Revolution -- the primacy of the State
Industrial Revolution -- the primacy of work
Scientific Revolution-- the primacy of knowledge
Sexual Revolution -- the primacy of pleasure

I invite you to make the XXI Century, a century of revolution, of drastic and profound change, that this century may pass through history as the one of the revolution of love, of which the primacy is the Heart, the center of love, whose fountain is the Heart of Christ and whose perfect reflection is the Heart of Mary. “The man of the year 2000 needs the Heart of Christ to come to know God and to know himself; he is in need of Him if he is to build a civilization of love” (JPII, 1999)

Sister Lucia told Cardinal Meisner on May 2002: “The Blessed Virgin of Fatima still has much to accomplish, until the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary triumph in our world.”  Therefore, let us pray together with St. Maximilian Kolbe these words of his consecration prayer: “In your pure and merciful hands make me a useful instrument, so as to introduce and increase your glory in so many tepid and indifferent souls, and in this way, increase as much as possible the blessed Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Brothers and Sisters, the Two Hearts have designs of Mercy for us, we should understand the seriousness of the moment, the greatness of having been chosen, so we can respond with maturity and responsibility to be the witnesses to love in this new millennium. Let us generously dispose ourselves to fulfill the designs of love of the Two Hearts, let us become instruments to bring about the revolution of love that HH. Benedict XVI just called us to: “a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love, a love that does not base itself definitively in human resources, but in the gift of God, that is obtained only and unreservedly in his merciful goodness”.

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