“… these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.
— The Gospel of Saint Mark, 16:17-20
It is providential that this sequel to last Sunday’s article about Marian consecration protecting the Philippines is published on the feasts of the Lord’s Ascension and Our Lady of Fatima.
As the mass reading above recounts, after Jesus ascended to heaven, He worked with His disciples in preaching and miracles for the faith. He continues to do so till today, as historical events recounted below shall attest.
And central to these events is Our Lady of Fatima, whose call for consecration to her Immaculate Heart spurred historic events instrumental in ending a world war and preventing it thrice.
Mary’s warning and promise
Did consecration really stop global wars?
That was what the Blessed Virgin promised over a century ago to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal: Lucia dos Santos, 9; and her cousins St. Francisco, 8, and St. Jacinta Marto, 6, canonized on the centenary of Mary’s first of six 1917 apparitions one year ago today.
On her third apparition on July 13, 1917, our Blessed Mother unveiled three secrets, and the second warned of the Second World War.
“The war will end,” she confided, referring to the First World War raging across Europe. “But if people don’t stop offending God, another, even worse, will begin in the reign of Pope Pius XI.”
“To prevent this,” Mary continued, “I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays [of the month]. If people attend to my requests, Russia will be converted, and the world will have peace.”
Since the Vatican had validated the Fatima apparitions, the Church should follow Jesus’ instructions relayed by His Mother for the Pope and all bishops to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
But the Pope didn’t. Reigning since 1922, Pius XI — yup, the man in whose pontificate a more destructive war was prophesied — disdained Fatima: “I am His [Christ’s] vicar on earth. If He had something He wished me to know, He would tell it to me directly.”
As Mary warned, a worse conflict erupted. Germany marched into Austria in 1938, the year before Pius XI died. And Soviet Russia, then under communist rule, spread the godless ideology to half of humanity.
Consecrations avert war and defeat communism
Fortunately, the next Holy Father, Pius XII, listened to the Holy Mother of God. On October 31, 1942, a quarter-century after Fatima, he consecrated the Church and the world to the Immaculate Heart.
Four days later, the Allies won their first major victory over German forces at El Alamein in Egypt against the greatest Nazi general Erwin Rommel. Since then, the Allies won battle after battle until final victory.
History felt more of Mary’s saving hand.
In July 1952, three-and-a-half decades after Fatima, Pius XII consecrated Russia in an Apostolic Letter.
In October that year, Soviet leader Josef Stalin plotted an invasion to establish communism across Europe, thinking America would not intervene and risk nuclear war. The following March, Stalin died of brain hemorrhage.
Pope Blessed Paul VI was next. As the Second Vatican Council closed on November 21, 1964, he consecrated the world.
That same day, the Chinese Communist Party’s “Red Flag” journal blasted Soviet leaders for continuing rapprochement with the West. That cemented the split between the communist behemoths, gravely weakening the global ideology till its final defeat in the pontificate of St. John Paul II, after his own three consecrations.
On May 13, 1981, the 64th anniversary of Fatima’s first apparition, the saint survived an assassin’s bullets in St. Peter’s Square. He thanked Mary’s intervention, and likened himself to the “bishop in white” killed in the third Fatima secret.
The Holy Father then “entrusted” the world to the Immaculate Heart on December 8, 1981, the Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, and again on May 13, 1982, one year after the attack, the 65th anniversary of Fatima.
Finally, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25, 1984, St. John Paul II consecrated the world. He omitted mention of Russia, but prayed that Our Lady “enlighten [and]bless those peoples for whom You Yourself are awaiting our act of consecration and entrusting.”
Weeks later, on the very feast of Fatima, May 13, 1984, an explosion at the Soviet arsenal in Severomorsk destroyed two-thirds of its main fleet’s projectiles. That prevented the invasion Moscow had plotted when Washington looked set to gain nuclear superiority with the planned “Star Wars” anti-ballistic-missile system.
Three years later, on December 8, 1987, the Immaculate Conception feast, Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko died. His successor Mikhail Gorbachev launched sweeping reforms, which led to the collapse of Soviet communism four years later.
On December 8, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved into several democratic states, including Russia.
Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin has restored property seized by communists from the Russian Orthodox Church, which is most fervent in Marian devotion. And Russian state enterprises are funding the building of Orthodox churches.
As Mary promised, consecration averted war and converted Russia.
One more Fatima tale: On June 5, 2017, her international pilgrim image visited the Demilitarized Zone dividing Korea, amid fears of world war over the North’s nuclear missiles < https://youtu.be/IwOFWEChyyI >. One year and one week later, on June 12, 2018, American and North Korean leaders, who had threatened war just months ago, will talk peace.
Pray daily the Act of Consecration to protect our nation and our world. Amen.