We are at a crossroads in history. In the past few years we have been shaken from the comfort of slumber – endured a global pandemic, seen our democracies and cherished institutions fail us, our freedoms have been eroded, our financial security exposed as a myth, our cities ruined by violence, our schools unrecognizable as centers of learning, our careers ruined, family businesses closed forever, friends and family torn apart by illness, strife, and discord. Amid this all, even our Church is under attack- both from within and from without. In this moment in history, we face yet one more unthinkable challenge- the very real possibility of a nuclear war; of World War III.
It is in this moment, at this very crossroads that we stand. As we survey the scope and magnitude of the desperate situation in which we now find ourselves, we are cognizant of just how many times we have transgressed the Two Great Commandments. Both individually and collectively, in unimaginable ways we have failed to love God and neighbor as we ought.
“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered well, asked him, ‘Which is the greatest commandment of all?’
And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is One: and you shall love the Lord your God will your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like it, name this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12: 28-21).’”
In recognition of the gravity of our sins against God and one another, and in the hope of averting the disastrous end to which humankind is hurling itself with reckless speed, Pope Francis will solemnly consecrate Russia, the Ukraine, and all of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, tomorrow, 25 March 2022, on the Solemnity of The Annunciation. This consecration is in keeping with the request of Our Lady of Fatima during her apparitions in Fatima, Portugal on 13 July 1917. During that apparition, Our Lady requested the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, stating that if her request was not granted, “Russia would spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church.” She added, “The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.”
We find ourselves at a dire moment in history, a crossroads. However, there is always hope. The message of the Annunciation is the ultimate message of Mercy and Hope, and a fitting day to implore Heaven for mercy through the intercession of She who’s fiat heralded the Incarnation.
The full text of the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been published on many Diocesan websites. I am reposting it here from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis, and a link to the pdf on the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis website be found here Consecration+of+Russia+Ukraine+to+Blessed+Virgin+Mary.pdf (archspmmainsite.s3.amazonaws.com) . It can also be found on the LifeSite News Website at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/reported-text-of-pope-francis-consecration-of-russia-ukraine-released/
Oh Mary, Mother of God and our mother, in this time of trial returned to you. As a mother you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century the sacrifice of the millions who fell into world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns.
We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbor’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves.
Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord! Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.
We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust.
We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid. That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine.” Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness.
How greatly we need your maternal help! Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer. Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war. Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation. Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world. Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness. Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons. Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love. Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity. Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.
O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.
Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son.” In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother.” Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ.
The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.
Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.
Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat,” on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God.
May you, our “living fountain of hope,” water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.
Please consider praying in unison with the Holy Father, the bishops of the world, and your brothers and sisters in humanity in humble supplication for peace in the world.