On Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis consecrated Russia, Ukraine and the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although I could not follow the consecration as I was working with our patients at Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre, however I could later see it on YOU TUBE and appreciate it all the more.
To begin with, the official English translation of the Act of Consecration is of 1035 words. In other words, this Act of Consecration is rather a lengthy one although not verbose at all. The more one delves deeper into it the more one values its relevant multi-faceted aspects.
A very clear concept in this Act of Consecration is that of peace. The word peace is used some fourteen times throughout the entire text. The word peace is used in phrases like: peaceful presence, Prince of Peace, path of peace, dreams of peace, gift of peace, God’s peace to the world, Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world, thoughts to peace, peace spread throughout the world, peace will dawn once more, the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days, and paths of peace.
Already from presenting the various phrases concerning peace, Pope Francis is driving home the important point that this Act of Consecration is his peace manifesto. Can you ever fathom the Vicar of Christ refraining from preaching the Gospel of Peace? Impossible, right. And this makes perfect sense because we were created to live peacefully with God, one another and, most of all, with ourselves! That is why the Father, in his loving mercy, He sent his Son to give us his Peace! How?
The Letter to the Ephesians tells us: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end (Eph 2:13-16). Christ’s Cross is the place of our peace with God.
But Christ’s cross shows a much more important aspect which, without it, we would never have been redeemed in the first place, namely Christ’s obedience to the Father’s will. To this end the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’ as it is written of me in the roll of the book.” When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:5-10).
Jesus’ YES to the Father is the path of real peace which endures and withstands the challenges of our disintegrated world. His YES is the source of our dreams of peace. Christ is the gift of peace. And, his presence within us, makes our lives living sanctuaries of his peace that knows no end. Christ is God’s peace to our world, torn apart by sin and death.
But, if He is the Prince of Peace, then His and Our Mother, Mary, is the Queen of Peace. For seven times Mary declares in her messages at Medjugorje that She is the Queen of Peace. For instance, in her message of July 25, 1988, she says: Dear children! Today I am calling you to a complete surrender to God. Everything you do and everything you possess give over to God so that He can take control in your life as the King of all that you possess. That way, through me, God can lead you into the depths of the spiritual life. Little children, do not be afraid, because I am with you even if you think there is no way out and that Satan is in control. I am bringing peace to you I am your mother, the Queen of Peace. I am blessing you with the blessings of joy so that for you God may be everything in your life.
From this message we get to know that Mary, Our Mother, is the Queen of Peace. Of that peace which is joy simply because our lives is God, and God alone. God is the spiritual depth of our lives. Hence, in letting Him possessing our lives we can attain His Peace. By having him as the Lord of our lives we can have peace for us and our world too. Let us not forget her latest message of March 25 2022: Dear children! I am listening to your cry and prayers for peace. For years, Satan has been fighting for war. That is why God sent me among you to guide you on the way of holiness, because humanity is at a crossroad. I am calling you to return to God and to God’s Commandments that it may be good for you on earth, and that you may come out of this crisis into which you have entered because you are not listening to God who loves you and desires to save you and lead you to a new life.
Prayer is a leading catalyst for the ending of the present war in Ukraine. Mother Mary already told us so at Fatima when she said: Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them. Continue to pray the Rosary every day in order to obtain the end of the war. I want you to come on the thirteenth day of next month and to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war for she alone can help.
It is when we are rooted in prayer that we are receptive to thoughts of peace and that peace can really spread throughout the world. Yes, by prayer, God’s peace will dawn once more, and our days will, once more, be marked by that gentle rhythm of peace. The more God’s peace will take root in our lives the more available different paths of peace will be.
Can we not here see the link between Medjugorje, Fatima and Pope Francis’ Act of Consecration of Russia, Ukraine and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap