Our Lady of Fatima went against her usual custom of appearing to the seers on the 13th of each month when, in August, she appeared on the 19th. By doing this, Our Lady showed her special affection toward St. John Eudes, whose feast is celebrated on that day. St. John Eudes was the first saint to promote devotion to Mary’s heart specifically in a major way. Given that Fatima was the means God chose to further establish this particular devotion in the world, we cannot see Our Lady’s irregular apparition on the 19th as anything other than a providential encouragement to learn what St. John had to share about our Queen’s heart.
According to St. John Eudes, nothing is more pleasing to Mary’s heart than working for the salvation of souls: “The greatest joy that we can afford the Admirable Heart of Mary, all aflame with love for souls which cost the Precious Blood of her son, is to work zealously and devotedly for their salvation. If the hearts of the angels and saints in Heaven rejoice for each conversion of a sinner on earth, the Queen of Angels and saints derives infinitely more joy from it than that of all the denizens of Heaven combined because her heart possesses more love and charity” .
Charity is willing the good of another. Man’s ultimate good is the salvation of his soul. The truest and highest form of charity, therefore, is to work towards helping others reach this supreme and eternal happiness.
The virtues of faith and hope, though inferior to charity, are always listed before charity as necessary prerequisites. Defects in either of these theological virtues will inevitably result in defects in charity. Sadly, in our post–Vatican II era, grave defects in both virtues abound. In order to cause Mary joy by effectively laboring for the salvation of souls, it is imperative that we correct the widespread errors against faith and hope that are destroying love.
Faith not only informs us of what man’s ultimate good is, but also informs us of the only means by which that good end can be attained. Through faith we know, or at least we should know, that the Church is the only ark of salvation — extra ecclesiam nulla salus. The saints acted in accordance with this revealed truth. They prayed and offered sacrifices for the conversion of souls. Many Catholics today do not believe this dogma of the faith in the sense in which it has been infallibly defined. Consequently, many do not regularly offer prayers or sacrifices for the conversion of those outside the Church. They instead dedicate much of their time and energy to fighting “Climate Change” and other social justice issues, real or pretend. There is no true charity without true faith.
A serious lack of hope is shown in one of the most prevalent reasons modern Catholics give for their refusal to believe in the dogma of “outside the Church there is no salvation.” Those who do not believe this dogma often talk of the non-Catholics they know, whom, according to them, it would be impossible to convert because they have been raised in environments that have caused them to possess unconquerable prejudices against the faith.
The grounds of a Catholic’s hope are the omnipotence of God, His goodness, and His fidelity to what He has promised. If these liberal Catholics really believed in God’s omnipotence, then they would know that God is capable of conquering any prejudice. If they believed in God’s goodness, then they would know that it is not God’s will for any man to stay in religious darkness. Rather, God wills for all men “to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
St. John Eudes wrote about how divine sovereignty is mirrored in Mary’s heart. He defined divine sovereignty as “a perfection that gives God absolute and infinite power over all the works of His hands. He can give life or death when He pleases, in the place and manner He chooses; He can hurl us into the abyss of nothingness, or withdraw us therefrom.” God has communicated this sovereignty to Mary as the Queen of Heaven to a sublime degree . We are reminded of this privilege of Our Lady when we ask the “Virgin most powerful” to pray for us in the Litany of Loreto. The more hope we possess in Mary’s power and goodness, the more eager we will be to pray to her and ask that she obtain the conversion and salvation of those who are dear to us. Those who lack hope and think Mary is not powerful enough to obtain the conversion of their neighbors will not be as eager to seek her intercession. There is no charity without hope.
Sr. Lucia of Fatima expressed a great hope in the power of prayer to Mary through the rosary in particular: “[t]he Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families … that cannot be solved by the Rosary.” If there is no spiritual problem, no matter how difficult, that cannot be solved through the rosary, then there is no sinner, however estranged from the Church he may be, who cannot be given the graces to convert if someone is praying the Rosary for him. If we want to cause the Queen of Angels and Saints great joy, then we must strive our best to live the Fatima message of prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls.
 St. John Eudes. The Admirable Heart of Mary. Immaculate Heart Publications. Buffalo, N.Y., pg. 255.
 Ibid. 141