On January 14th of this year, we reported that “Catholic Fighting Men in America Launch Crusade Against Communism.” This was a 54-day Rosary crusade beginning on January 31st and ending on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation. Pope Francis then, having consecrated his whole pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima on March 13th, 2013, responded in time of war to the requests of the Bishops of Ukraine to consecrate Russia “as requested by Fatima.” He scheduled this consecration for this great feast of the Annunciation.
On the vigil of the feast and the consecration, His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church proclaimed that this consecration would be a “victory over evil.”
The arrival of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Lviv, Ukraine, from Portugal. pic.twitter.com/5TUyDkUHpe
— Sachin Jose (@Sachinettiyil) March 18, 2022
As noted by our Romanitas correspondent Vincenzo Randazzo at St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Pontiff read the formula exactly as the text was promulgated:
The faithful joined with the Act of Consecration in St. Peter’s square pic.twitter.com/ZfyeHjszXB
— OnePeterFive (@OnePeterFive) March 25, 2022
Another OnePeterFive contributor, respected Rome journalist Diane Montagna also confirmed the same:
#PopeFrancis has made the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart according to the formula, saying: “Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust &consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine.” #ConsecrationofRussia pic.twitter.com/KJ4LC4PYhR
— Diane Montagna (@dianemontagna) March 25, 2022
Now that this consecration has been completed, what are we to think of it? And what are we to do?
As I was speaking with Vincenzo earlier in the day before the Consecration, he observed to me that the Lenten reading for that Friday (that is, the Friday of the Third Week of Lent) was the punishment of Moses for disobeying the explicit command of God (Num. xx. 1-13). God commands Moses to “speak” to the Rock and it will yield water. Moses, however, struck the rock twice, disobeying the simple command of God. Moses was afflicted for their sakes, says the Prophet, because they exasperated his spirit. And he distinguished with his lips (Ps. cv. 32-33).
For this Moses was punished and was not able to enter into the Promised Land.
This is notable for two reasons: we see here that God punished Moses for disobeying a simple command. The command of Our Lady to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in union with all the bishops is a simple command to be followed, for which God can exact punishment for “simple” disobedience, as He did with Moses.
Nevertheless, we note as well that even with this disobedience, water still yielded from the rock in great abundance. Thus we see that God brought forth His promised relief, even when His servant disobeyed His direct order and was punished for it.
This Lenten reading was superseded by the Festal reading for March 25, so I didn’t notice this until Vincenzo mentioned it to me. But I thought this was particularly significant. It shows how it is not “legalistic” to demand an exact fulfillment of Fatima’s request. But it also shows that God is merciful when things go wrong and people disobey. His Providence is sovereign.
The next bit of liturgical providence was that the consecration was announced on Tuesday, March 15th, which was in time to start the Novena of the Annunciation for the Consecration. Then began a new Novena from March 25th to April 2nd – the First Saturday. The Consecration seemed to lead straight to the observance of the First Saturdays of reparation, which is this Saturday. By contrast, the 1984 consecration took place on Sunday, March 25th, which was fourteen days before the next First Saturday, depending on how you count it.
But let’s get back to that in a moment. First, I want to note two observable facts that were shared by two respected voices before and after the consecration.
In his comments on the consecration formula leading up to the consecration, Bishop Schneider observed that:
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.
This is certainly an undeniable fact. If we assume that the amount of graces merited in any act is in proportionate to the exact fulfillment of God’s will, we might reasonably hope for more graces in this act than in the prior two. The consecrations under Pius XII (1942 and 1952) and under John Paul II (1984) certainly did something, and it is generally agreed that they did merit graces for the peril of world affairs, even if not fulfilling Fatima exactly.
The other fact of the matter was observed by Dr. Maike Hickson in a comment from last week:
I think these are words that we can all agree on. Who but God alone is the final judge of these matters?
For further analysis, we direct readers to my conversation with Catholic Family News managing editor, Matt Gaspers from yesterday:
At OnePeterFive, we plan to publish the case for and against the validity of this Consecration next week, God willing (and we welcome all submissions on this topic). But while we debate the validity, we must recognize the priority of our responsibility on this matter – we must fulfill the requests of Our Lady as well.
Our Lady gave us a role to play here too. To participate in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
These are the First Saturdays of reparation. And that begins this Saturday. If you haven’t done it yet, start now. If you’ve already done it, do it again. Do it every First Saturday and offer it up for those who have neglected this. Offer your daily Rosary. Offer more than one for souls who have not prayed the Rosary. This is our obligation now to renew our commitment to Our Lady and fulfill her requests against the errors of Russia.
If you are unfamiliar with how to fulfill the First Saturdays, read this breakdown here, or watch this video from our contributing editor, Kennedy Hall:
This is our task now to spread the message of Fatima and fulfill it in our lives.
If Russia is converted, but your soul is not, what good will that do you at your judgment?
Let us all commit to fulfilling Fatima in our own lives, families and communities.
To this we add an appeal for the Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation, which is the foundational message of Fatima. Let us give thanks to God for this consecration – whether or not it was valid – for it gives all the faithful a clear direction forward to fulfill Fatima in our lives and its fundamental message of reparation. In this we renew our hope in the coming triumph of Our Lady, and prepare ourselves in this this final week before Passiontide, to embrace with a generous heart the Holy and Live-Giving Cross of Christ.
T. S. Flanders
Feria Quinta infra Hebd. IV in Temp. Quad.
Timothy S. Flanders earned a BA in Greek and Latin from Grand Valley State University in 2010 with special studies in history, writing and Arabic. As a result of his studies, he converted from Protestantism to Eastern Orthodoxy and began working in education among ages Kindergarten to adult. He then pursued a Masters’ Degree in Christian history and theology with the Catholic University of Ukraine. In 2013, as a result of further searching, he converted to Roman Catholicism shortly after Pope Francis was elected. In 2019 he founded The Meaning of Catholic, a lay apostolate dedicated to uniting Catholics against the enemies of Holy Church. In 2021, he became the editor-in-chief of the online journal, OnePeterFive. He is the author of three books: Introduction to the Holy Bible for Traditional Catholics, City of God versus City of Man: The Battles of the Church from Antiquity to the Present and When the Gates of Hell Prevail: What Catholics Do in Dark Times, as well as a forthcoming book about Eastern Orthodoxy, published by St. Paul Center. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.