Reciting my Morning Offering today, as always, I launched into my prayer intentions. For years, first on the list has been “for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”, and it automatically rolled off my lips this morning. Still foggy headed from sleep, I was jarred into alertness as soon as I heard myself say it. Whoa! I don’t have to pray for that any longer . . . or do I?
As far as I could tell, yesterday’s unprecedented Ac of Consecration went off without a hitch, and without much excitement, here in the Diocese of Jefferson City. The Mass and Consecration Prayer I attended drew only about fifty adults but was otherwise packed with the parish school kids. I prayed our small number was not the norm worldwide.
Because our diocese followed the schedule originally announced by the Vatican (90 minutes earlier than it ended up being), I was home in time to see Pope Francis live on television, entrusting and consecrating “…ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine.” Arguably, all the boxes were checked for a consecration that fulfills Our Lady of Fatima’s request.
The relentless perfectionist in me would have preferred local participation at exactly the same time as the Consecration took place in Rome; standing room only at church; and a consecration that focused solely on Russia/Ukraine without other entities — and things, i.e., “…the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.”
As for some other peculiar phrases in the prayer which I pondered here — particularly the translation of “Queen of Heaven” as a Pachamama-like “Queen of the land in the sky” — the highly esteemed Bishop Athanasius Schneider dispels any concerns. Says he: “One should not immediately see in this expression a parallel to Pachamama but interpret it in an objective, benevolent, and Catholic way, which is possible. There are traditional Catholic Marian poems and songs with quite similar expressions like ‘Mary is the heavenly garden’ or the garden of Heaven.’”
Bishop Schneider also weighed in on whether Pope Francis’ Act of Consecration does, indeed, comply with Our Lady’s request:
"In comparison with the wording of the two previous acts of consecration, made by Pope Pius XII (in 1952) and by Pope John Paul II (in 1984), the words and form of the consecration that will be used by Pope Francis on March 25 more clearly express the requests of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis has even added the word “solemnly” to “consecrate,” an expression lacking in the formulas of 1952 and 1984."
And so, on this Day After the Consecration of Everything and Everyone Including Russia/Ukraine, I believe with my whole heart that our world has been showered with graces that can bear much fruit with our cooperation.
What happens next is up to us.
Let us be open to the special graces now flowing through Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to facilitate massive conversions in Russia/Ukraine and the entire world. Let us no longer pray for Russia’s consecration in our Morning Offerings but for conversions. And wherever we are in our spiritual formation, let us resolve to step up our game in every way possible. Frequent the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. Spend more time in prayer. Pray more Rosaries!
And don’t forget about First Saturday devotions. In addition to the Consecration of Russia, Our Lady asked for “the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays” to prevent “war, hunger and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.” That box is not being checked by nearly enough of us. Indeed, First Saturday Masses are not even available in many parishes, and most Catholics are not aware the devotion exists. (Most Catholics have very little knowledge about Our Lady of Fatima and were not aware of yesterday's consecration, based on my own observance.) Spread the word, and pray for them to get with the program!
Let the Consecration of March 25, 2022, be not just Our Lady’s moment — but ours, as well.