The holy shepherd children of Fatima had been forechosen from all eternity to be the recipients of one of the most wondrous messages that Our Lady has given to her children, who are yet treading upon the round orb of the earth as pilgrims, since her glorious Assumption into Heaven, that the children's innocence and simplicity may all the more confound the enemies of Christendom.
Sr. Lucia, together with her companions, may exultantly say, "Vidi speciosam" (i. ℟. I Noct., Off. in Assumptione B.M.V.), "I have seen the beautiful [Virgin Mother of God]." But we, who are unworthy to see the glorious Mother of God in this life have been enabled to hear her message, so that we may exclaim, in praise of the prodigies that Our Lord has vouchsafed to work in, with, by and through His Immaculate Mother: "O Lord, I have heard the report of Thee, and was afraid; I heard, and mine inmost parts shuddered, my lips quivered at the report" (Hab. cap. iii. 2, 16). It would be fitting to make our own the words of the Marian adaption of this Canticle, written by the Seraphic Doctor St. Bonaventure (Psalterium Beatae Mariae Virginis):
The message of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima is nothing more the celestially inspired epitome of the teaching of the Gospels, the Sacred Scriptures, the tradition of the Apostles and Fathers, the doctrines of the Councils and Roman Pontiffs of Holy Mother Church, being a practical summa
of the teachings of St. Alphonsus and St. Louis-Marie regarding the indispensable role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the economy of salvation. Fatima is but a grand echo of those immortal words that Mary Most Holy spoke (the only public pronouncement of hers recorded by the Evangelists): "Whatsoever He (that is, Our Lord Jesus) shall say to you, do ye" (S. Joann. cap. ii., 5).
How greatly to be praised is the ineffable and unfathomable loving-kindness and charity wherewith the Lord God Almighty predestined the Blessed Mary to be the ever-Virgin Mother of the Word Incarnate, and consequentially elected her to a plenitude of glory and grace superior to that of all other created or creatable persons, whether Angelic or human: so as to make us cry forth in rapt adoration with St. Paul, "O depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God: how incomprehensible are His judgments, and His ways unsearchable!" (Rom. cap. xi. 33).
Whensoever we have recourse to Our Lady, she in turn leads us to Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten of the Eternal Father and the only Son her perpetual and integral virginity. Just as St. Elizabeth praised her faith, and the Blessed Virgin in turn began intoning her beautiful Canticle Magnificat
, so whensoever we praise Mary, we are rendering a more excellent praise to Him Who chose her to be His Mother.[/size]
For what reason is there that can explain why St. Luke recorded the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her aged kinswoman, St. Elizabeth, if not to commemorate how the Incarnate Son of the Eternal Father decreed and inaugurated her office as Mediatress of the graces in the sanctification of souls? For it was thus, and in such a manner only, that Our Lord chose to sanctify and consecrate the unborn St. John as His Precursor. And in this mystery do we find revealed the inestimable and ineffable works of grace that Our Lord deigned to operate in Mary, with Mary, and through Mary.
As Rev. Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Langrange, O.P., writes regarding this mystery of the Visitation, “Mary, who was to give birth to the Savior, brought grace to Elizabeth and to the unborn precursor. Mary herself had been redeemed in an absolutely exceptional manner by the future merits of her Son and she concurred in the redemption of us all. From the moment of her immaculate conception she had been redeemed by a sovereign redemption, being preserved from original sin instead of being healed of it. It was fitting that a perfect Redeemer should accomplish a sovereign and preservative redemption in at least one soul, and in that soul more closely associated with Him than any other in the work of man’s salvation. Truly, what Jesus merited for us in justice, Mary has merited for us with Him and in Him and by Him through the merit of congruity. In this sense it has pleased our Lord that no one should be saved except in consideration of the merits of His Mother. In the same sense it has pleased Him to sanctify the precursor by Mary’s words” (The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus, “The Mysteries of the Rosary”).
Before the great Dominican theologian, St. Alphonsus in his celebrated work, The Glories of Mary, wrote, “And now, if all these first-fruits of Redemption passed through Mary as the channel through which grace was communicated to the Baptist, the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary and so many other blessings to the whole house, the first graces that to our knowledge the Eternal Word had granted on earth after the Incarnation, it is quite correct to believe that thenceforward God made Mary the universal channel, as she is called by St. Bernard, through which all the other graces that our Lord is pleased to dispense to us should pass” (Part II, discourse V).
Again, for what other reason is there that can explain why St. Luke recorded the presence of Mary Most Holy at Pentecost amongst the Apostles than the fact that Our Lord chose to associate His Blessed Mother in the work of the edification of the His Church?
The Apostles were united in prayer with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and she (so to speak) drew down upon them from her Divine Son the Lord Holy Ghost in the plenitude of all His gifts and graces. This was why she was there with them. She is the Immaculate Conception, she was already the ineffable tabernacle and most pure Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Just as the Blessed Virgin went to St. Elizabeth, that she and the Precursor St. John the Baptist would obtain the grace of the Holy Ghost and the glad tidings of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, so Mary Most Holy accompanied the Apostles for the same purpose, for she was constituted as supreme Arbitress and Mediatress of the graces won by the Passion of Our Lord, according to the command given her at the foot of the Cross, “Woman, behold thy son” (S. Joann. cap. xix. 26). This was the fulfillment of the ancient oracle of the Old Testament, wherein it is said to Most Holy Mary, “Inhabit in Jacob, and inherit in Israel, and take root in Mine elect” (Ecclus. cap. xxiv. 13).