Fatima for Beginners

Did Pope Francis Just Mitigate or End the War in Ukraine with a Consecration?

In Saint Peter’s, Pope Francis has led many of the planet’s one billion Catholics “in a consecration of Russia, Ukraine, and humanity.” Broadcast live on Friday March 25 from the Vatican, the ceremony was a global prayer for peace in Ukraine

Photo: Lucy Dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto /Wiki Commons

The Consecration

According to the Catholic Church, the Mother of God, Mary, called on the Pope to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. 

The Vatican claims the call for the consecration came when Mary appeared to three poor children at Fatima, Portugal in 1917. They began on May 13 and ended on October 13. Today, Pope Francis adds, her warnings have a new urgency.

“We need to reject war, a place of death where fathers and mothers bury their children, where men kill their brothers and sisters without even having seen them, where the powerful decide and the poor die,” he said.

At Fatima, Mary told Lucia Dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto, that humankind must pray fervently and turn from evil, using the tools of penance and sacrifice to do so. 

Pope Francis Consecrating Russia and Ukraine, March 25, 2022 : Source: Youtube

The Warning 

The Queen of Heaven added our failure to do so would result in unparalleled planetary suffering, especially from devastating wars. The Vatican has investigated the apparitions and approved them and their content as genuine. The message of Fatima has been comforting the afflicted and afflicting the powerful for over a century. What follows is a short primer on Fatima’s instructions and prophecies. 

 Fatima’s Backstory 

1917 was year three of the industrial slaughter that saw the trenches of World War One overflow with blood – the lifeblood of a generation, the flower of Europe. Take the month-long battle of Arras, for example. It ended just days after Fatima’s first revelation on May 16, 1917. Within weeks, 256,000 British and German men, locked in hellacious combat, lost their lives on the battlefield of Arras.

The Battle of Arras took a greater daily death toll than any other battle fought by the British Empire in the First World War.

All together, the First World War saw 40 million civilians and soldiers killed. The “War to End All Wars” was nothing of the sort. It laid the foundations for an even greater calamity just two decades later. 

The Second World War claimed 56 million lives. The Nuclear Terror of the Cold War was its malformed progeny. 

After the relative respites of the Cold War and the Collapse of Euro Communism, Ukraine has again become the fulcrum for Europe’s Death Wish.

But this iteration threatens us with a new global conflagration that makes its predecessor pale in comparison. If the Ukrainian President is to be believed, World War Three may already have started.

Harvey Will Fill You In 

A number of popular movies have wrestled with the unsettling messages and prophecies of Fatima. Mary’s apparition immediately became highly charged during the war years in Portugal, and continues to be so to this day. Harvey Keitel will take that up after a few more basics.

Harvey Keitel in “Fatima” 2020 Source: Official Trailer/ Youtube

So who is Mary? She is known as the “Queen of Heaven.” 

Mary lived during the Second Temple Era in Judea under the Roman Occupation. The Church teaches God chose the Jewish teenager to bear His Son in human form. When She accepted this role, She became the Co-Redemptrix of the Universe, second only to the Holy Trinity. Also a Mediatrix, Mary mediates between heaven and earth, hence her many earthly visitations.

In Portugal, she spoke with three shepherd children.  

She told them our planet must unite in prayer and sacrifice. Global supplication, she promised, would move the people of Russia and Ukraine to love instead of hatred. Forgiveness will replace vengeance. Hope will replace despair. And not just among the combatant nations. For all of us.

Prayer, so the heavenly instructions go, coupled with fasting and penance, can change the human heart. The courage of love replaces fear. When that occurs, a nation moves to a Reign of Peace and submits itself to God’s law, not man’s. Eventually, all countries follow. The result is world peace.

For those interested in Piercing the Veil, Harvey Keitel does an excellent job of bringing new audiences closer to the mystical encounter behind the Fifth Consecration. He plays a non-believing priest in the latest cinematic representation of the miracles at Fatima. If you’re new to the world of Marian apparitions, you might want to watch this trailer.

“Fatima” (2020, Picturehouse )wrestles with the challenges of juxtaposing the natural and supernatural for the modern mindset. 

Photo: “Fatima” Official Trailer/Youtube

                                       Fatima: Exploring the Message 

At Fatima, Mary chose rural children in an impoverished nation to save us from ourselves. The Path to Peace, She taught, travels through the human heart. Peace reigns when we reject anger and hate. Not mentally. Spiritually. Not in our heads. In our hearts.

Here are Her instructions for traveling that path:

1.) forego food and drink (fast)

2.) make personal sacrifices of comforts you enjoy (do penance)

3.) petition God for His forgiveness for your sins (pray)

It’s a call to fasting, penance, and prayer (emphasizing the daily rosary) as reparation for our cruelty and violence. This self-abnegation is an alien concept for many in a modern world of Instant Everything. And it undermines cultures and lives that prioritize materialism, egotism, and self-absorption.

As a daughter of Israel, Mary was steeped in the efficacy of fasting and penance. Indeed, communal fasting was often the key to surviving as a nation and a people of God. Moses established and taught fasting after the exodus from Egypt, a tradition followed by Jews and Christians for thousands of years.

The Mediatrix at Fatima poses questions for us today: How often do we manage to call ourselves to account for our daily shortcomings? Do we take our hearts to task, even in small ways, when we torture, murder, and destroy that which is good, true and beautiful around us? Or inside us? 

Do I confess my violence to those I’ve wronged? Do I offer reparation? Even if it’s simply saying, “I’m sorry”?

At Fatima, the Mother of God calls us to atone. In the process, we have the chance to heal ourselves and the world.

Whether or not you are willing to offer Fatima any credence, there is wisdom in this. And taken to heart by enough of us, this seemingly rigorous path would surely change us, our families, and our communities. If all of Russia and Ukraine were to walk this path, might the killing end? Or are we impervious to improvement and condemned to a history dripping in the blood we shed, or beg others to shed for us?

                           The First Consecration: A Conditional Success?                            

The first of what are now five consecrations came during World War II. Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through a radio message on Oct.31, 1942. 

On November 19, 1942, the Red Army, under Marshal Georgy Zhukov, mobilized one million men to surround Stalingrad. Zhukov’s victory there came on February 3, 1943. That day is considered the turning point in the war against the Nazis. After Stalingrad, the Third Reich’s destruction was a matter of time.

Yes, the connection is not necessarily causality. Similarly, no amount of miracles will convince the skeptic, while no miracles are necessary for the believer.

Let’s review this connection in light of the timing of the end of the Battle of Arras.

Just three days separate the first apparition at Fatima in 1917 from the end of the Battle of Arras during World War One.

Just three weeks separate Pope Pius XII’s consecration of Russia from the start of the offensive that marks the turning point of World War Two. A stetch? The parallels between the first apparition and the first consecration are intriguing.

Might Pope Francis’s consecration be followed by a similar providential turn? Causality or concidence will be up to the viewer.

                       Was the Papal Friday for the Future Successful?

The “Theotokos” (God-bearer) gave simple instructions at Fatima for ending our unbroken cycle of global warfare. Pope Francis’s Consecration was central to fulfilling those instructions. Was the consecration successful? And could it mitigate or end the war in Ukraine and prevent an even worse war? 

For the faithful, the answer is: Pray, Fast, Do Penance. 

For skeptics, a response can be: Give it a go. 

All we have to lose is a war.

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