IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY, AND RUSSIA IN IT
In the Christian theology the word ‘heart’ has an important place. It is connected with the Truth, the deepest truth about the man. It means – Benedict XVI reminds – ‘the centre of the human existence ….in which a man finds his unity’. This is the common denomination of our thinking, speaking, deeds. It defines us in whole, defines us for eternity. Indeed Jesus teaches: ‘Where your treasure is, your heart is also there’ (Mt 6.21).
In the heart there is the truth about a man which is known to God. After all, even we use this word, intuitively copying the Creator’s look. We speak about somebody that ‘he has a good heart’ and we mean that this person is always good.
Following the Heart
No wonder that the saints and masters of the spiritual life were fascinated with the mystery of Jesus’ Heart. Especially that this element (initially called ‘the constant feature of Jesus) was to be the encouragement for holiness for all believers. After all, following the Redeemer is based not on copying Him in the outer way but on having the same Heart as He has! Hence there is a short road to the cult to Jesus’ Heart, which is not so much an outer form of religiousness but worshipping Christ through following Him.
Only little time was needed, so that one human heart could be among other hearts learning to live according to Jesus’ example and which was a perfect reflection of the Blessed Heart: a teacher in following. It was Mary – our ideal of conforming to the Redeemer. Soon after that there appeared a divine service to Her Blessed Heart whose aim was also to follow Jesus. People wanted to be so close to Jesus, so similar to Him and so loved by Him like Mary was. Throughout other centuries this desire brought great saints.
Top-down taking over the initiative
Discovering the mystery of Jesus’ Heart and Mary’ Heart was an unusual spiritual catalyst which helped sinners change their lives and led the saints onto the heights of uniting with God. The Divine Service to the Blessed Hearts was a bottom-up discovery – a fruit of searches of the Church in the light of the Holy Spirit. At one moment this initiative of its development was taken over by the heaven. The top-down conducting of the cult to the Heart of Jesus and Mary began. The most important phases of the revelation in Paray-le-Monial ( a message given to St. Margaret about the cult to the Blessed Heart of Jesus) and in Fatima (teachings of both little shepherds about the role of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).
In Fatima Mary revealed that everyone who wants to enter the mystery of Her Immaculate Heart, in the very beginning faces an incredible calling. When the Blessed Mother speaks about the need of popularizing the cult to Her Immaculate Heart and with the same breath she starts speaking about Russia. It is the first time we have heard such a thread in history. So far the cult to Mary’s Heart has been connected with people’s individual way of aiming at holiness. God unexpectedly inscribes it into the Heart of Mary: into the area which has been reserved for individuals so far. Mary, sketching a map of humankind, announces that Russia must get converted – otherwise it will lead the world towards the hell. And she gives a hint: in the conversion of Russia, entrustment of it to her Immaculate Heart will be helpful.
So far the practice of entrustment to Mary’s Heart has been a choice of particular people. Here there appears a new, extra-individual thread which is connected with a new form of this divine service. This novelty appears at the time when an old divine service to the Immaculate Heart has existed for a long time and is supported by the Church. In 1936 it generously bestowed the Church with indulgences…
So, how did the appeal prayer in Fatima appear? Firstly, it is an invitation to return to sources. At that time the divine service to the Immaculate Heart was only a devotional practice, and God wants it to become a road to holiness again. God calls us to return to the divine service which is the follows the ‘constant attitude’ of Mary – Her Heart.
Secondly, God speaks about a new dimension. The new divine service emphasizes that ‘Jesus’ principle’, that is, following the Redeemer’s Heart to the example of Mary, requires from us to change our life not only in reference to God. ‘Religiousness’ means to live ‘in a religious way’ and God expects from us that this phrase ‘in a religious way’ will become a rule of our hearts. We must spread our religiousness, not only touch God with it, but also touch another man, have influence on the history of other nations and the whole world through it. So, no wonder that in this dimension, the word about Russia appears.
A double direction
How did the connection with Fatima appear: Russia – the Immaculate Heart? We will find the answer in letters of St. Ludwig who teaches that a man (and a nation) who is aiming at heaven and undertakes an effort to change his heart, through entrustment to Mary’s Heart, will get to God the quickest. The road will come out to meet him because the Mother’s Heart is the biggest ‘shortcut’ to heaven. The conversion of Russia is so difficult (and important!) that this ‘shortcut’ is very needed. Russia went away from God, stood safely near the hell. God knows that ‘synthesis of evil’ is taking place in it, whose result will be the explosion bringing a danger to the existence of the world! He knows that it is necessary to disarm the ‘Russian bomb’… Synthesis of evil? Such things which in 1917 start defining new Russia, automatically result in excommunication in the Catholic Church. So, whole Russia is ‘outside salvation’! In a moment a fight with God will begin in Russia. There will be martyrdom of believers. The social system created by the Creator will be destroyed and the civil war will bring suffering and death to millions of innocent people. Russia will be the first country which will legalize abortion and validate other millions of murders. And there is also this Russian dream, diabolic dream to spread one’s ideology all over the world…
In Fatima God says to this process ‘stop’. He shortens Russia’s return way, placing the Immaculate Heart of Mary in front of it: a gate-to-a-different-world. But Russia, possessed by the evil, does not want it. Therefore, God demands that the Church must place the Heart on the Russia’s road. The whole Church – Our Lady in Fatima asks – should help Russia through entrustment of the nation possessed by the evil to the Immaculate Heart and life according to this Heart.
We and the Heart
The new divine service to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is taking from Jesus’ Mother Her ‘rule of life’ which is following the Redeemer in His relation to God and people. It is a target life, whose purpose is God and heaven, it is life with the perspective of eternity, this is love to our neighbor within this target – so that nobody would be in the tragedy of the hell. The novelty of the divine service indicated by God in Fatima means obedience to the message of Mary, who calls us to be responsible for every man, and, today, mainly for Russia. We are supposed to live with the divine service to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in which God inscribed entrustment of Russia to this Heart. To the example of Mary we are supposed to take over the ‘constant attitude’ of Jesus. And because His particular concern is Russia today, we are supposed to devote ourselves for Russia, by following His Blessed Heart together with Mary. The latter thing means a way of understanding devotion done by s. Łucja, who was following Mary in everything and who renounced everything and became ‘Lord’s servant’ and was ‘nothing’ towards the world in order to save people from the hell.
In Fatima the divine service to the Immaculate Heart was shown as the fundament of our unity with God. It also gave us a possibility to get to know the fragment of God’s Knowledge – the Holy Providence – and stressed the role of the Church and every believer in building the future according to the Creator’s plan. Lord pointed to a danger which has been brought by new Russia and as an antidote to its poison He gave it a new divine service to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We already know it: taking over the ‘constant attitude’ of Jesus according to the example of Mary also means obedience to incomprehensible hints given in Fatima.
Mary did not understand either. However, she kept everything in Her Immaculate Heart. Isn’t it a hint for our hearts?