Lucia of Fatima, Part IV: Calls from Our Lady

Editor’s note: The following, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, is Part IV of a four-part series by Jonathan and Clara Fleischmann. Parts I and II were originally published by Missio Immaculatae Magazine and are edited and reprinted here with the authors’ permission. Read Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Calls from Our Lady of Fatima

One unfortunate side effect of the controversy surrounding the Third Secret of Fatima, which we touched upon in the third part of this series, is that the admittedly “sensational” aspects of all the stories of cover-ups and intrigues can, at times, even when true, detract from the substance of the message Our Lady placed in the care of Sr. Lucia, which is of such vital importance to humanity. Lucia was acutely aware of this, and so, to remedy the situation, she published a book on October 13, 1997, entitled (in English) Calls from the Message of Fatima. In this book, which shows Lucia’s profound Marian spirituality as well as her impressive familiarity with Scripture – the two are indeed inseparable, since Our Lady was and will always remain a true daughter of Israel – Lucia provides us with a complete Marian catechism. Moreover, true to her character, Lucia does not shy from presenting Our Lady in truly maximal fashion, as in her beautiful explanation of Mary’s role in our redemption:

God began the work of our redemption in the Heart of Mary, given that it was through her fiat that the redemption began to come about: And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word,” (Lk. 1:38), And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14). Thus, in the closest union possible [emphasis added] between two human beings, Christ began, with Mary, the work of our salvation. The Christ’s heart-beats are those of the heart of Mary, the prayer of Christ is the prayer of Mary, the joys of Christ are the joys of Mary; it was from Mary that Christ received the Body and Blood that are to be poured out and offered up for the salvation of the world. Hence, Mary, made one with Christ, is the co-Redemptrix of the human race [emphasis added]. With Christ in her womb, with Jesus Christ in her arms, with Christ at Nazareth and in his public life; with Jesus Christ she climbed the hill of Calvary, she suffered and agonized with Him [emphasis added], receiving into her Immaculate Heart the last sufferings of Christ, his last words, his last agony and the last drops of his Blood, in order to offer them to the Father.

And Mary remained on earth in order to help her other children to complete the redeeming work of Christ, preserving it in her heart as a wellspring of grace – Ave gratia plena – in order to pass on to us the fruits of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, her Son. [1]

These “Calls,” written in the 1990s, when Lucia was nearly ninety years old, they are the fruit of a lifetime of meditation on Our Lady, done by one who not only saw and spoke with Our Lady, but subsequently strove to live a life of absolute spiritual perfection. Thus, this work can well be considered the triumph of a soul who was gifted with extraordinary miraculous events and also with a unique theological genius, which is exemplified in the following profound meditation on Mary’s Immaculate Heart:

We all know that a mother’s heart represents love in the bosom of a family. In fact, it is love which makes the mother bend over her baby’s cradle, sacrifice herself for it, give herself, rush to the defense of her child. All children trust in the heart of their mother, and we all know that we have in her a place of special affection. The same applies to the Virgin Mary. Thus the Message says: My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. Hence, the Heart of Mary is the refuge and the way to God for all his children.

This refuge and this way were proclaimed to all humanity immediately after the fall of our first parents. To the devil, who had tempted the first human beings, and had induced them to disobey the divine order they had been given, the Lord said: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Gen. 3:15). The ‘new generation’ that God foretold would be born of this woman, will triumph in the battle against the progeny of Satan, to the point of crushing its head. Mary is the Mother of this new generation, as if she were a new tree of life, planted by God in the garden of the world so that all her children can partake of her fruit.

It is from the heart of their mother that children receive their natural life, their first breath, their life-giving blood, the beating of their heart, as if the mother were the spring of a clock impelling movement to two pendulums. When we see how dependent the child is on its mother in those early months of its formation in the womb, we could almost say that the heart of the mother is the heart of the child. And we can say the same of Mary, when She carried the Son of the Eternal Father in her womb. Hence, it follows that the Heart of Mary is, in some sense, the heart of all that other generation, the first fruit of which is Christ, the Word of God.

And it is from this fruit that that other generation of this Immaculate Heart is to be fed, as Jesus said: I am the bread of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As … I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (Jn. 6:48, 56-57). And to live thus because of Christ is also to live because of Mary, since Jesus had received his Body and Blood from Mary.

It was in this Heart that the Father placed his Son, as if in the first Tabernacle. Mary was the first pyx that held Him, and it was the blood of her Immaculate Heart which communicated to the Son of God his life and his human nature, from which we all, in turn, receive grace upon grace (Jn. 1:16).

This is that new generation born from this wonderful mother: Christ in Himself and in his Mystical Body. And Mary is the Mother of this progeny chosen by God to crush the head of the infernal serpent.

Thus we see that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must be established in the world by means of a true consecration, through conversion and self-giving. In the same way, through the consecration, the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, which were drawn with his very life from the Heart of Mary. [2]

This quote is truly remarkable in that every paragraph – or even every sentence – contains a major theological insight. Some of these theological insights had been noted by other saints before her: St. Maximilian Kolbe, who noted that the consecration of ourselves to Mary is much the same as the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ; St. Louis de Montfort, who noted that if Mary is the mother of Christ the Head, then she must also be the mother of Christ’s Mystical Body; St. John Eudes, who noted that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is one with the Sacred Heart of her Son; and Pope St. John Paul II, who noted that Mary was the first Tabernacle, or pyx, to hold the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which He received from the virginal flesh of His Mother, to name only a few. However, never to our knowledge have all of these theological insights been packed with such density into one place, and linked together in quite the way Lucia links them. (She makes it look easy, but having tried to link many of these insights together ourselves in limited space, we can say it is not as easy as it looks.) That is her genius.

In her meditation on the Call to Perfection contained in the Message of Fatima, Lucia reflects on a subject she knew with painful intimacy, as we have seen. In doing so, Lucia gives us the interpretive key to her own life and to her genius:

Life brings with it the martyrdom of the Cross. There is no one in the world who does not have to suffer in some way. We have inherited the mystery of suffering as a consequence of the sin committed by the first parents of the human race: Because you … have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life (Gen. 3:17). The reference here is to the suffering to which all human beings are subject.

Jesus Christ came to redeem us by suffering; and his Mother shared as co-Redemptrix in the atrocious suffering of his passion, having been given to us as Mother at the foot of the Cross. In the apparition in October 1917 that we are discussing here, she presents herself to us in the image of suffering. The Church calls her the Mother of Sorrows, Our Lady of Sorrows, because in her heart she suffered the martyrdom of Christ, with Him and by his side. It is through the merits of Christ that all suffering has value and purifies us from sin. It is by our union with Christ that suffering can make us victims pleasing to the Father, and make us holy.

Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of his Son – the Mother of Jesus Christ – and the Mother of his Mystical Body, the Church, which is her spiritual progeny. When He was dying in agony on the cross, Jesus gave her to us all as Mother, in the person of St John: Behold your Mother (Jn. 19:27). We are the children of the suffering and bitterness of the heart of Jesus Christ, and of the heart of his Mother, and ours.

It is for this reason that all suffering united with his completes our dedication and commitment to God and contributes to the salvation of our brothers and sisters who have gone astray. Jesus said: And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also (Jn. 10:16). In order to collaborate with Christ in this mission, we must suffer, work, pray and love because it is by charity that we shall win back our lost brethren, as the Lord himself said: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (Jn. 13:35).

Love is the magnet which draws souls, and it is for them that we offer to God our sacrifices, our acts of self-denial, our infirmities, our pains and aches, and our physical and moral sufferings. By means of them, we offer our entire consecration to God, and it is by means of them that our prayer is lifted up to Him before his altar. Thinking of them, we wish to be able, like Christ and with Christ, to say to the Father: I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition. (Jn. 17:22). This was because Judas withstood your grace, was unfaithful to your call and despised your Fatherly Love. If it is still possible, Father, save him! [3]

The Little Window

No exposition of Sr. Lucia’s Marian genius can neglect her poetry and songs, which, though fewer in number, are certainly on a par with those of the Little Flower, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whom she so greatly admired. Here is a poem written by Lucia on August 13, 1947 (which comprises lyrics to a song also composed by her):

In Heaven there’s a little window
Aspirants through it can be seen
When God feels sad
By it He goes and sits.
Like the red rose
Emblem of love it be
Your soul lifted up
In the wonders of the Lord
Without its petals loses the rose
Its splendor and its shine
Soon the eager soul
Humble follows in its path!
Lovely is the wild flower
That the meadow sees in bloom
Lovelier still is the sight
Of the soul to God ascending.
The Carnation scents the wall
Like the Jasmin entwines
The Violet at its feet
Like the Rose in the garden!
Your soul a garden is
By grace without equal
Like unto the flower of the field
And the Lily that adorns the valley!
Queen of all flowers
The White Lily is
Chosen it was by God
Bride for St. Joseph! [4]

In this poem, Lucia fluidly and almost imperceptibly moves from the soul of the aspirant – the carnation, the violet, or the rose – to the soul of Mary Herself – the white lily, the queen of all flowers. In this way, Lucia teaches us the true nature of total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which transforms (or, in the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe, transubstantiates) each of us into her and makes of each of our poor souls a garden – like the new garden of Eden herself – by grace without equal.

On the same day, Lucia composed the following song to Mary:

From the thorns encircling
Your dear Heart
Can be heard our cry
Your pardon imploring.
From maternal sweetness
Returns this look of yours
To earth, sweet fortune
In Heaven is to be contemplated
Your queenly robes
Dazzling star
My poor song
A hymn of love
Lady full of light
To the earth wished to descend
Keep in your heart
This daughter till she dies!
Having in your hands
  (It is your face, prison of love)
A beautiful rosary shining
Balm that soothes the pain
Hear the humble prayer
Of every soul that gives
From my lips forming itself to you
  It is an ocean of peace and tenderness
That floods my soul with happy fortune
Making this world a reflection of Heaven! [5]

For Lucia, this world was indeed a reflection of Heaven, precisely because this world was and continues to be touched by the hands of Our Blessed Mother. In the words of St. Anselm, Our Lady is truly the mother of the recreated world:

The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave Himself form through Mary, and thus He made His own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary. God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary is the mother of the re-created world. … Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to Himself. [6]

As a preface to her sixth and final memoir, which was written in 1992, and which was dedicated to her mother, Sr. Lucia composed the following masterpiece – which essentially reveals the “stream of consciousness” of a soul ascending in meditation from Earth to Heaven – in which once again we find it difficult to distinguish between Lucia’s thoughts of her earthy father and her heavenly Father, between the land where she was born and her ultimate home in Heaven, between the mother who rocked her on Earth and the Mother who visited her from Heaven:

My father’s house, the land where I was born,
Arms of the mother that rocked me.
God knows how much I suffered for you
And you for me in fervent prayer,
Life goes on but the heart does not forget.

You were mother and you were guide,
Mistress and Lady, tree of life,
Chosen by God to be united with you
In the steep climb
Up the Redeeming Hill.

He knows why He chose us,
And his gaze bestowed upon us
Torrents of grace, light and life,
On the steep slope of his Calvary.

But now you are in Heaven, you see God unveiled
In the grace of his encounter
Thank him for the daughter He gave you
And pray for her until you see her with you in Heaven.

If only I alone
Could have carried the cross that He gave us,
But God chose to give you to me
Like another Simon of Cyrene.

On this radiant day of grace and light,
All doubts dispelled, do not forget me,
Until God chooses to call me to your side,
When there will be sweet kisses and tender embraces,
In the undying light of God. [7]

May God look down upon us, through the purity of the soul of Sr. Lucia of Fatima, who is like God’s own Little Window in Heaven, and grant that, with her, and with Jesus and Mary, and with all the saints and angels in Heaven, we may share their sweet kisses and tender embraces, in the undying light of God.


[1] “Calls” From the Message of Fatima, transl. by Sisters of Mosteiro de Santa Maria and Convento de N.S. do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon, Secretariado dos Pastorinhos (Postulation Centre), Fatima, Portugal, 1997, distr. by Ravengate Press, Still River, MA, 2001, p. 137.

[2] Ibid., pp. 135-136.

[3] Ibid., pp. 178-179.

[4] The Intimate life of Sister Lucia, ed. by Fr. Robert J. Fox and Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, S.J., Fatima Family Apostolate, Alexandria, SD, 2001, p. 297-298.

[5] Ibid., p. 298.

[6] Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Oratio 52, used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

[7] Sixth Memoir, Fatima in Lucia’s own words, Vol. II, ed. by Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD., Postulation Centre, Fatima, Portugal, 3rd edition, 2004, p. 46.

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