[Editor’s note: The messages from Fatima are not, strictly speaking, part of the Deposit of Faith. Catholics may choose to even disregard them completely, if they wish.]
“God is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Communions of reparation and for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart … In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
These are the words Our Lady of Fatima communicated to Sr. Lucia on 13 July 1917. This message has wrought all things from controversy to fear to consolation and scandal. What is it that will happen should Russia not be consecrated? Our Lady warns, “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.” Sounds pretty scary, huh? You need not worry, though, because a great length of things have been gone through in order to accomplish the request of Our Lady.
This begins, of course, as most things do: in the beginning. Our Lady makes the initial request at Fatima to Sr. Lucia and, at an unknown date thereafter, Pope Pius XI is informed of Our Lady’s wishes. At the prompting of Bl. Alexandrina da Costa, Portuguese bishops then asked His Holiness for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Later, Pope Pius XII consents and consecrates the world to that Heart on 31 October 1942, at the further promptings of Sr. Lucia, who informed him that our Lord Himself desired the consecration of Russia.
Pius even went as far as consecrating the Russian people on 7 July 1952 (Sacro Vergente Anno), and his successor, Pope Paul VI, organized a more official consecration on 21 November 1964, during which he addressed Our Lady in his own prayer: O Mary, while acknowledging Jesus Christ as the one true Savior, we entrust the whole human race to your Immaculate Heart. Deliver mankind from the scourges deserved for its sins, grant peace to all the world; a peace founded on truth, on justice, on freedom and on love.
Even after going through all of this trouble, Sr. Lucia tells the Holy Father that the conditions of the consecration are not fulfilled on the grounds that not all of the bishops were united in his intentions. And so the consecration was not seen as fulfilled in his pontificate.
However, 18 years after that, the zealous Pope St. John Paul II renewed the consecration on 13 May 1982 and invited the bishops of the world to join him. Unfortunately, many bishops did not receive the invitation in time. So, the Holy Father tried again at the Synod of Bishops in October 1938, and once more with assuring finality on 25 March 1984.
After that last consecration, Sr. Lucia confirmed that Russia was, in fact, validly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. The effects quickly showed.
In 1984, for example, two-thirds of a Soviet missile stockpile were destroyed in an explosion. Moreover, the economy had proven plummeted. And, in 1990, the Berlin Wall finally fell. These, of course, are merely some of many events that led to the Union’s inevitable demise.
Although the story of Russia’s consecration is convoluted, history and the words of Sr. Lucia herself have confirmed its accomplishment.
Now, Russia, where a solid majority of the population claims to be Russian Orthodox, has begun a spiritual revival. Vladimir Putin, the country’s president, knows that Russia is plagued by many problems, including terrible abortion rates, high suicide levels, and an entrenched sex trafficking market. He smartly sees Christianity as the solution to his nation’s problems. Under his rule, Russia has cemented relations with foreign nations, commonly with a mixture of energy guarantees and relatable morality. Watch and see: Russia will begin to dominate on the world stage.
We can reasonably hope that this increased interest in spirituality will continue to spread around the world, but only if we redouble our allegiance to Mary. In light of our current Holy Father’s renewal of the world’s consecration, as well as Benedict XVI’s instructions, let us ourselves be placed under that Holy Patroness. We, living out the messages of Fatima, must spread holiness everywhere. Say the Rosary daily! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!