By Lourdes R. Policarpio
The last century has seen so many apparitions of the Blessed Mother but it is the apparitions in Fatima, Portugal which stand out because of the grave messages to mankind. The Fatima messages are so wide-ranging in scope that a single book will not suffice. Topics like consecration, the First Saturday devotion, the rise and spread of atheistic Communism, the Rosary as a weapon for peace, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the vision of Hell, the Third Secret – all these can be traced to the Fatima messages.
One prominent message was the rise of the atheistic communist system which was spread by Russia. With the collapse of the Soviet Communist Empire in 1990-91 and the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima on 13 May 2000, can we say that the Fatima Messages have come to its completion? Judging from the pronouncements of church authorities and some world events, it can be said that the Fatima Messages continue to hover over a troubled mankind.
Visiting Fatima in 13 May 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reportedly said, “One deceives himself who thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded.”
The importance of an act of consecration is seen when we remember that to obtain peace in the world and the conversion of Russia, Our Lady said that God wanted the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Here are the Lady’s words in 1917:
“To prevent it (punishment of the world by war, hunger, persecution of the Church), I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will convert and there will be peace; if not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church….”
Apparently, mankind did not listen; majority did not heed Our Lady’s requests. The First World War was already happening (1914-1918) and this was followed a mere 21 years later by the Second World War. Then Ambassador to the Vatican Howard Dee in the 1980’s wrote in his book “God’s Greatest Gift to Mankind Today”: “From Russia, the Marxist cancer spread like wildfire. One after another, territories and countries fell… Today, almost half of mankind is under communist domination and the other half is suffering from the disease in various stages of malignancy.”
In June 1929, Our Lady told Sister Lucia that “the moment has come for God to ask the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. He promises to save Russia by this means.”
Meanwhile, international apostolates like the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, sprang up spreading the Fatima Messages. For the conversion of Russia and world peace, devotees pledged to say daily the Morning Offering, offer up the sacrifices demanded by daily duty, pray the Rosary, consecrate themselves to Our Lady and wear the Scapular of Mt. Carmel as a sign of this consecration. Sister Lucia said that God will permit the collegial consecration of Russia when a sufficient number of people are fulfilling the above requests.
After several attempts, the collegial consecration was finally done on 25 March 1984 with the Holy Father Pope John Paul II writing the bishops of the world to join him in a collegial consecration to Our Lady, each bishop in his own diocese. While Russia was not directly mentioned, the Pope prayed, “We consecrate to you those men and those nations who have a special need to be entrusted to you in this way. Shed your light in particular upon those peoples from whom you yourself await our consecration.” Sister Lucia told the Papal Nuncio that this consecration was finally accepted by God.
In March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the head of the Soviet Union. He initiated reforms which later spun out of his control and led to the break-up of the Soviet Communist bloc. Following a Marian Year in the Philippines, Pope John Paul II inaugurated a special Marian Year which ended on 15 August 1988, Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.
During the years that followed – maybe due to the cumulative prayers of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima and devotees worldwide, the collegial consecration by the bishops, and the declaration of the Special Marian Year – the Soviet communist empire started to disintegrate, starting in the John Paul II’s beloved Poland. On 13 May 1991, the pope undertook a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal and publicly thanked her for the liberation of east Central Europe from atheistic Communism.
In the years that followed, the world was relatively at peace. Had the Russian menace evaporated?
It should be noted that Russia has become assertive today under the strong leadership of Vladimir Putin, the former head of the feared Soviet KGB. In world politics, it wields enormous influence and power. Russia is rich in energy resources, like oil and natural gas. In recent years, it has used these resources as political leverage in Eastern Europe.
While it can be said that the Russian military has stayed out of the news since the collapse of the Soviet Union, reports of late state otherwise. (“Why Putin’s Military is Gearing Up for Action in Russia”, www.policymic.com) Russia recently carried out its largest military combat readiness drills since the 1991 transition from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation. The exercises included 160,000 troops, over a thousand tanks, 130 planes, and 70 naval vessels. When Putin learned of alleged plans of the United States and the European Union for a massive conventional war on the North American, African and Asian continents to include the Middle East, he reportedly said “Prepare for Armageddon” when asked what Russia’s own plans were (www.eutimes.net).
Clearly, the conversion of Russia as prophesied by Our Lady is not yet complete. What Our Lady gifted us with was the collapse of the Soviet communist empire in Eastern Europe and the liberation of many nations from the atheistic yoke. But the menace is still there, and the world has another communist force to reckon with – China. What if the two Communist giants join forces?
We clearly see the threats to world peace. We are not even talking yet of the Middle East, especially Syria.
It is time to remember the Fatima Messages and Our Lady’s blueprint for peace as contained therein. With prayers, Eastern Europe was miraculously liberated from atheistic Communism. Why don’t we pray intensely, this time for world peace? Our Lady’s “weapons” are so simple. There is especially one which she has emphasized, not only in Fatima but in almost all her apparitions – the Holy Rosary.
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