| In 1952, Our Lady said to Sr. Lucia: “Make it known to the Holy Father that I am still awaiting the Consecration of Russia. Without that Consecration, Russia cannot convert, nor will the world have peace.”At that time, in 1952, Our Lady had already been waiting 23 years for the Holy Father to act, having solemnly announced on June 13, 1929 that “the moment” had come in which God asked for him to consecrate Russia, promising to convert it by that means. Now in 2013, Our Lady has been kept waiting for more than 84 years!Why, in all this time — as wars and scandals have proliferated, to the ruin of both Church and society — hasn’t the Pope performed this simple act that carries such momentous promises? Obviously, for whatever reason, he has not yet received enough grace to do this.“I do not say this as a criticism of Pope Francis, or of any of the previous seven Popes. I simply mean to point out that Our Lady of Fatima’s Message is and always has been powerfully opposed, and this particular element of Her Message is no exception to this fact. The Consecration of Russia remains powerfully opposed to this very day, and Pope Francis will need a tremendous grace in order to accomplish Our Lady’s request.Is it possible that we have not prayed enough for this intention? Absolutely, although I know of at least 40 million Rosaries that have been offered for this throughout the years (including campaigns organized by both Our Lady’s Apostolate and the Society of St. Pius X).
Very likely, too, is the possibility that we have not prayed well enough. Before our time runs out entirely, we need to act now by some means to add to the power of our prayers.
How can we do this? Our Lord gives us the key, I believe, when He tells us that the worst sort of demons can be overcome only by prayer and fasting.
Prayer and fasting, applied together, were the powerful weapons of the Curé d’Ars by which he won from God the grace of converting his parish. And when a fellow-priest lamented the lack of success gained by his own prayers for the conversion of a certain person, St. John Vianney asked him if he had ever tried fasting to make his prayers more powerful. Having followed the saint’s advice, this priest at last found a speedy answer to his prayers.
We also know that this is what Our Lady of Fatima has asked for — joining penances to our prayers. Speaking of the Consecration of Russia, She said: “Sacrifice yourself for this intention, and pray!” And when a pilgrim asked little Lucia if Our Lady had asked us to pray for the conversion of sinners, Lucia answered, “No.” After the pilgrim left, Francisco questioned her as to why she would have made such an answer, and Lucia replied that in fact Our Lady had not said to pray, but rather to pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.
Would you please join me in redoubling our efforts now to secure this most needed grace from Heaven, for the Pope to order the Catholic bishops of the world to join him in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Four weekends remain before Sunday, October 13, when Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us continue to pray as many Rosaries as we can each day, but I ask you — if your health will allow it — to add a day of fasting in each of these four weeks, with the intention that the Holy Father will make this the occasion of consecrating Russia. You might choose either Friday or Saturday; you might abstain from food for an entire 24-hour period, or simply until 7 p.m., or 5 p.m., or 3 p.m. on the day chosen. You might allow yourself a small “collation” or two during the day, and restrict yourself to only one full meal — whatever your physical strength and your generosity toward Our Lady will make appropriate for you.
The prudent rule of choosing penances is that you do nothing that will injure your health. Persons with diabetes and other such conditions may have to look to penances other than fasting, but certainly, many of us will suffer no harm from missing a few meals. And it may save all of our lives, and even many souls. Please, let’s be realistic about our situation — in regard to our society’s desperate debt of penance before God (remember the Angel of the Third-Secret Vision, who cried, “Penance! Penance! Penance!”), and in regard also to our obligation as Christians to lead properly mortified lives. I think that even if you have never considered yourself capable of much generosity in self-denial, you may find that you have a much greater capacity for this than you realize.
Let’s begin together, then, this weekend, to fast on either Friday or Saturday, and continue in the following three weeks in this special plea to Heaven for the speedy Consecration of Russia and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!