“And from that hour the disciple took Her to his own home” (Jn 19:27).
These are the concluding words of the Gospel in today’s Liturgy at Fatima. The disciple’s name was John. It was he, John, the son of Zebedee, the Apostle and Evangelist, who heard the words of Christ from the Cross: “Behold, your Mother.” But first Christ had said to His Mother: “Woman, behold, your son.”
This was a wonderful testament.
John, guardian of Mary
As He left this world, Christ gave to His Mother a man, a human being, to be like a son to Her: John. He entrusted him to Her. And, as a consequence of this giving and entrusting, Mary became John’s mother. The Mother of God became the Mother of man.
From that hour John “took Her to his own home” and became the earthly guardian of the Mother of his Master; for sons have the right and duty to care for their mother. John became by Christ’s will the son of the Mother of God. And in John every human being became her child. […]
In John, the spiritual motherhood of Mary embraces all men
From the time when Jesus, dying on the Cross, said to John: “Behold, your mother”; from the time when “the disciple took Her to his own home,” the mystery of the spiritual motherhood of Mary has been realized with unlimited amplitude in history. Motherhood means caring for the life of the child. Since Mary is the mother of us all, her care for the life of man takes on a universal scope.
The care of a mother embraces her child entirely. Mary’s motherhood has its beginning in her maternal care for Christ.
In Christ, at the foot of the Cross, She accepted John, and in John She accepted all men, and man himself completely. Mary embraces all with special solicitude in the Holy Spirit. For as we profess in our Creed, He is “the giver of life”. It is He who gives the fullness of life, open towards eternity.
Accordingly, Mary’s spiritual motherhood is participation in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the power of “the giver of life”. It is the humble service of Her who says of herself: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).
The Gospel and Fatima
In the light of the mystery of Mary’s spiritual motherhood, let us seek to understand the extraordinary message, which began on May 13, 1917 to resound from here in Fatima to the whole world, continuing for five months until October 13 of the same year.
The Church has always taught and continues to proclaim that God’s revelation was brought to completion in Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of that revelation, and that “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Church evaluates and judges private revelations by the criterion of conformity with that single public Revelation.
If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because this message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.
“Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15): these are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity. The message of Fatima, in its fundamental nucleus, is a call to conversion and repentance, as in the Gospel.
This call was uttered at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it was thus addressed particularly to this present century. The Lady of the message seems to have read with special insight the “signs of the times,” the signs of our time.
The call to repentance is a maternal one, and at the same time it is strong and decisive. The love that “rejoices in the right” (1 Cor 13:6) is capable of being clear-cut and firm. The call to repentance is linked, as always, with a call to prayer. In harmony with the tradition of many centuries, the Lady of the message indicates the Rosary, which can rightly be defined as “Mary’s prayer”: a prayer in which She feels particularly united with us. She herself prays with us. […]
Solicitude for the eternal salvation of men
When Jesus on the Cross said: “Woman, behold, your son,” He opened His Mother’s Heart, the Immaculate Heart in a new way, and revealed to it the new dimensions and extent of the love to which She was called in the Holy Spirit by the power of the sacrifice of the Cross.
In the words of Fatima, we seem to find this dimension of motherly love which, with the vastness of its scope covers every human path that leads to God; the path that leads through this world and that goes, through Purgatory, beyond this world.
The solicitude of the Mother of the Saviour is solicitude for the work of salvation: the work of her Son. It is solicitude for the salvation, the eternal salvation, of all. […]
Can the Mother who desires the salvation of all men, with all the force of her love which is nourished in the Holy Spirit, remain silent regarding that which undermines the very basis of their salvation? No, She cannot.
And so, while the message of Our Lady of Fatima is a maternal one, it is also strong and decisive. It sounds severe. It sounds like John the Baptist speaking on the banks of the Jordan. It invites to repentance. It gives a warning. It calls to prayer. It recommends the Rosary.
The message is addressed to all of humanity. The love of the Saviour’s Mother reaches wherever the work of salvation extends. And all men of our time are the object of her care, together with all societies, nations and peoples. Societies threatened with apostasy, threatened with moral degradation. The collapse of morality brings with it the collapse of societies. […]
Open appeal to new generations
The content of Our Lady of Fatima’s appeal is so deeply rooted in the Gospel and in the whole of Tradition that the Church feels that the message imposes a commitment on her. […]
Effectively, Mary’s appeal is not just for one time. Her appeal continues to be addressed to generation after generation, in accordance with the ever new “signs of the times.” It must be returned to without ceasing. It must ever be taken up anew. ◊
Excerpts from: ST. JOHN PAUL II.
Homily at the Fatima Shrine, 13/5/1982