Today Pope Francis consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Non-Catholic friends may wonder what this means. Some may be suspicious of consecration to Mary and question what is meant by her Immaculate Heart. That’s understandable. Although a cradle Catholic, I did not understand this until just a few years ago. Let me explain what I know of love of Mary followed by an explanation of Russian Consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, how consecration applies to the current situation, and what our role is in all of this.
My Mary, the Handmaid of the Lord
The first thing to be understood is Mary is not a deity. She is not God or a god. She has no power other than those given her by God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What Mary does have is the will to do what the Lord asks of her in all circumstances. It is this perfect alignment with the will of God that sets Mary apart. This perfect will is not something we should be jealous or fearful of. It is also not something we can compare to God’s Will because her will simply follows and joins with His. She follows where He leads her.
Mary simply does what Christians claim we want to do.
Mary says yes to the Lord time and time again without fail. We see how carefully God designed the Ark of the Covenant, which carried the 10 Commandments, and know He would have designed the vessel, the Ark of the New Covenant, that would carry His Son, with at least as much care. We see this from the beginning when the Angel Gabriel asks Mary to be the Mother of her own Savior and she responds, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” We see it when she unquestioningly follows Jospeh to escape Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. We see it when she brings Jesus to the temple and holds what Simeon tells her quietly in her heart. We see it as she sobs at the feet of her Son hanging on the Cross gasping for breath in what most believed would be His last moments on Earth.
Mary was obedient even unto death, the death of her Son on the Cross. Many of us say we would give our lives for our loved ones. Mary gave something much more precious and much more difficult to let go of. Mary gives us her Son’s life.
My Mary, Mother of God
If Mary’s obedience is not enough to convince you to love her, we can learn what Jesus would want from us by studying His treatment of her. His first miracle was performed in the Wedding at Cana. This was not done to save the couple from embarrassment or because He felt like starting His Ministry that day. It was not done at the bride’s parents’ request or even at His Heavenly Father’s request.
Jesus performed His first miracle at a Sacramental Marriage at His Mother’s request because He denies her nothing. Jesus knows Mary’s heart, mind, and will intimately. He knows she lives in line with the will of her Creator. He knows she asks for genuine goodness in line with the Will of God and so He delivers what she asks for to please her as any loving son enjoys doing for his mother.
As Jesus’ ministry continues, He asks a large crowd gathered around Him, “Who is my mother?” Some misunderstand this as His denial of His Mother, but Jesus does not deny His Mother anything. Jesus came to fulfill the law. He does not replace the 10 Commandments; He perfects them. To reject or embarrass His mother would have been a grave sin. Jesus does not sin so He does not turn from His Mother.
This question does mark something of a turning point in Jesus and Mary’s relationship however. At this point, He is publicly telling her, what they must have discussed in many private conversations. Here He is telling her, and others close to Him, to let go of His humanity and embrace His Divinity as her Savior. Perhaps He knew what lay ahead for Him would be too much for Mary’s Mother’s heart. She had to understand His Mission and know that His time was drawing near.
Any rejection of Mary seen in His question reflects how we, in our insecurities, would take such a question. It does not reflect how Jesus and Mary in their perfect Love for one another would have interpreted His words. Where we would have been hurt by such words, Mary cannot be hurt by God because her will is in line with His. She suffers sadness and loss but never rejection, abandonment, or humiliation at the hands of Jesus. She is secure in who she is because she is secure in who He is. She knows His immense, eternal, never changing Love for humanity, includes His immense, eternal, and never changing Love for her as well.
Try as we might, we cannot wrap our heads around that kind of Love for ourselves. To do so would be life changing. For all Christians to do so would be world changing.
Finally, Jesus looks down from the Cross and breathlessly gives Mary to John, His Beloved and loyal disciple, to be his Mother and He gives John to His Mother, the Ark of the New Covenant, to be her son. They were to love, care for, comfort, and strengthen each other. In some of His last words, Jesus gives His Mother to His Beloved disciple, the one who never left His side, the one loyal to Christ and Christ’s new Church.
This proof of Jesus Loving His mother and the world, as represented by John, is the beginning of Christianity. It is the beginning of Catholicism. Jesus sent Mary out into the world to bring His message to those who would listen to her. Mary reigns in Heaven now, not as God, but as Mother of God. There, she continues to deliver messages of Jesus’ Love and Mercy, but also warnings of the consequences of sin and Hell, to the world. She continues to carry out Jesus’ wishes to please Him just as any loving mother enjoys doing for her son.
The messages she delivered to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 are among the many true apparitions of Mary. They foretold what is happening in Russia today and have special significance in all of our lives. My next post will explain some of that. In the meantime, you can find out more about Our Lady of Fatima’s messages and miracles by watching the movie here and by going to Fatima.org.
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