by Lourdes Policarpio
Can true world peace be attained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
In the history of the world, several tremendous conflicts stand out wherein Our Lady's powerful intercession with God was sought because of the threat to Christianity. A good example was the Battle of Lepanto.
In 1571, a mighty fleet of Muslim Turks and heretics threatened to overrun all Europe. In the famous Battle of Lepanto, Pope Pius V rallied the smaller Christian army. With a miraculous change of direction of the wind, the smaller Christian fleet won and attributed the victory to Our Lady of the Rosary.
But it is in our modern world that Our Lady's role has gained prominence. The history of famous Marian apparitions reveals that for eighteen centuries after the birth of Christ there have been only two significant major Marian apparitions: Mt. Carmel (1251) and Guadalupe (1531). Then came the apparitions of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to Sister Catherine Laboure in 1830. After this, seven other church-approved Marian apparitions followed (not including other apparitions being studied), prompting observers to note that with the Miraculous Medal apparition came the dawning of a Marian Age.
It is, however, Our Lady's apparition at Fatima Portugal which heralded dramatic events of the 20th century, particularly two World Wars and the emergence of communism. But unlike previous wars and world conflicts, the global struggles of the modern world are definitely more terrifying, what with the invention of new weapons.
Is it any wonder then that our age is marked by so many Marian apparitions. It is as if the Mother of God is terribly anxious for her children, anxiously concerned with granting us the grace of peace - true world peace. For how else can one explain her numerous apparitions even in unlikely places like Vietnam and Africa?
In almost all of her apparitions, Our Lady talks of the dangers to world peace and prescribes her own solutions. During her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother informed the children that World War I was about to end. <i>"But if people do not stop offending God, another and worse one (referring to World war II) will begin."</i> The world did not listen to 0ur Lady and as a consequence, World War II occurred. In Fatima Our Lady asked for prayer (particularly the daily recitation of the Rosary), penance, the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays, and the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In 1917, she said:
If my request granted, atheistic Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much, and various nations will be annihilated... But in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
When Our Lady warned mankind about Russia in 1917, such a warning was largely ignored. Russia was not a superpower yet. But only a few months after Our Lady's apparition, Lenin and Trotsky launched the Bolshevik Revolution. Atheistic Communism subsequently spread from Russia to other territories and countries. In the 1970s, it could be said that almost half of mankind was under communist domination or influence.
Apparently, at the onset Our Lady's prescriptions for safeguarding world peace by containing atheistic Communism were again largely ignored by the majority. For several years, the threat of a nuclear confrontation between the US and USSR hung over the world, like a dark ominous cloud. Then on May 13, 1981, on the 64th Anniversary of Fatima an assassin's bullet felled Pope John Paul II. The date of the assassination attempt was not brushed off by the Holy Father as a mere coincidence. With love and gratitude, he thanked Our Lady of Fatima and consequently consecrated the world to her Immaculate Heart twice. In Mankind's Final Destiny by former Ambassador to the Vatican Howard Dee, Lucia of Fatima is quoted to have said:
The consecration made by Pope John Paul II was valid...God worked inside the conscience and hearts of persons to effectuate the change, to end communism and to avoid the danger of nuclear war among nations which were moving towards a collision.
An ordinary layman may as well pose the same question Sister Lucia of Fatima asked the Lord: "Why was the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary necessary for its conversion?" And Sister Lucia got a direct reply from the Lord Himself:
Because I want my entire Church to acknowledge this victory as coming from the Immaculate Heart of My Mother so that devotion to her Heart would be placed alongside devotion to My Sacred Heart.
Such a clear concise, and strong message to us all. In general terms, God is telling us that peace is to be sought through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. Such is clearly understood most of all, by Pope John Paul II himself who in his best-seller Crossing the Threshold of Hope says:
On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church's victories now and in the future to be linked to her.
Over the years, many Marian devotees have rejoiced with a major victory of Our Lady, the downfall of Communism in Europe (China is still Communist). The threat of nuclear war has been diminished greatly. The Holy Father declared a Great Jubilee Year 2000. Can it be said that we are enjoying a period of peace? But as the first year of the third millennium went about uneventfully, we woke up one day to watch with horror the Twin Towers in New York collapsing with the vengeful hatred of a mere handful of terrorists. The rest is known by all as America launched a new war. It seems the fight against evil is not over.
Like little children we again run to Our Lady. Isn't everything over? What remains to be done? Twenty-eight years after Fatima in 1945, Our Lady appeared to Ida Peederman and again talked of world peace. Most of us would have a simplistic definition of world peace as the absence of war. But Our Lady goes deeper. For Our Lady, true peace is reconciliation with God. True peace is brought by the Holy Spirit. Thus, she says:
I was sent here to implore the Holy Spirit to come, for the world is not saved by force but by the Spirit. Together the Father and the Son want to send the Holy Spirit, the true Spirit who alone can be peace!
She gives a short, concise prayer the essence of which is praying for the descent of the Holy Spirit who will give us true world peace and preserve nations from "degeneration, disaster, and war". The last three words immediately strike a familiar chord. With Our Lady's help, surely even disasters from terrorist acts can be averted. Remember Lepanto?
Can we ever imagine what a second Pentecost would be like? What the Lady foretells is too good to be true. Maybe a second Pentecost will not be as dramatic as the first one but it would be reasonable to expect, to a certain degree, the fruits of the Spirit like charity, joy, and peace.
However, as in Fatima the Blessed Mother again has some prescriptions:
My prophecy, "from now on all generations will call me blessed” will be fulfilled than ever before, once the dogma (Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate) has been proclaimed. When this happens - and it will be the last steep in Marian history - the Lady of All Nations will give peace, the true peace, throughout the world But the nations must say My Prayer in union with the Church.
In the meantime, what are we to do? Like the commanding general she was at Lepanto, Our Lady has already set out for us what we are to do: "Go and start with great zeal and enthusiasm this work of Redemption and peace…”
Let us fervently pray Our Lady's prayer for world peace:
Lord Jesus Christ Son of the Father,
send now Thy Spirit over all the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved from
degeneration, disaster, and war.
May the Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary,
be our Advocate! Amen.
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