I dedicate this reflection to Our Lady of Fatima. _The major ideas in this brief reflection were derived from two sources: first, Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical Letter, Divini Redemptoris [Of the Divine Redemption], and second, Barb Ernster’s interview with Dr. Victor Khroul, an associate professor at Moscow State University, who grew up under Soviet rule._ This reflection aims at showing how the consecration of Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart remains a valid means of overthrowing the plans of the Evil One to rule the world with ungodly principles, as a way of encouraging us to embrace our Heavenly Queen with perseverance in our true devotion to Her. It was in Her 1917 Apparitions at Fatima to the little shepherds, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, that the Blessed Mother appealed that Russia be consecrated to Her Heart.
This begs a serious question: What is it about Russia? Yet, somehow the answer is contained in Mary’s words: “At the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and Russia will be converted”. Before then Mary already warned that if Russia is not prayed for, it will spread its errors throughout the world. Again we ask: why this reference to Russia? What are its errors that can corrupt the entire world? Secularism means total rejection of God and everything about Him, the dethronement of religion, suppression of faith, and enthronement of human reason, placing it superior, while God and every idea about Him remain inferior, if not in oblivion.
At the time of Fatima Apparition, human history was experiencing the First World War. Russia was on a march of destruction which was to affect the whole world as its target. What happened? Prior to then, Russia was ruled by Tsar Nicholas II, whose government oppressed the lower classes. On November 7, 1917, he was overthrown by Bolshevik party led by Vladimir Lenin, and between July 16-17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas and his family were executed. Lenin’s government revolted against religion and capitalism (a system of individual ownership of property), while they imposed atheism and communism (a system of ownership of property by the state), which implies that the state’s decision is superior to God’s. On December 20, 1922, they formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
This was the gateway by which their plan was to spread to the world. Lenin died on January 21, 1924, and was succeeded by Joseph Stalin, whose rule became worse. Historians estimate that up to 60 million deaths occurred in the USSR under him. In his Divini Redemporis, Pope Pius pointed out and summarized up to ten doctrines and propaganda of the Communists. He also identified and defined the dangers of atheistic communism seen in their rule in Russia. He called it a “Satanic scourge” which “tears the very idea of God from the hearts of men”, given that “they are necessarily urged by their passions to the most atrocious barbarity”.
The Holy Father mentioned that its spread was by various means such as books, cinema, theater, radio, schools and universities, which are avenues by which they planned to de-Christianize the world. He also raised alarm that these doctrines penetrate into all classes of people, while few are aware of its poison, and that there exists a “conspiracy of silence” among large section of the non-Catholic press in the world. By the Grace of God, on March 25, 1984, Pope St John Paul II consecrated the whole (which includes Russia) to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucia confirmed this Consecration as “accepted by Heaven”.
The Communists never achieved their goal of world domination, though they were able to influence countries like China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Cambonia. One important point about this Consecration is that it can be viewed from a logical horizon – a logic that comes from God’s Wisdom. The logic is this: Since Russia possesses these Satanic errors, and given that the whole world is its target, it follows that the whole world should be consecrated, for Russia itself is part of that whole world. Therefore, if the world was consecrated to Mary, then Russia was consecrated to Mary. And if Russia was prevented by this Consecration from spreading these errors, then the whole was saved by God. What makes this logic Divine is that it is for the sake of salvation of souls.
The effect of this Consecration, therefore, is that Russia was indeed converted. Today, Russia is a state that now permits Christian values. Unlike during the reign of Communists, it now grants freedom of religion to her citizens, while some other pertinent moral/life issues are being revisited through the dialogue between the state and the Church (which includes Roman Catholics and Russian Orthodox, who even recognise the Fatima message). The devil confessed to the Roman exorcist, Fr Gabriele Amorth in one of his exorcisms that the invocation of Pope St John Paul’s name terrifies him, because during his papacy, he suppressed his plan of realization of a Communist by that Consecration.
So, even the devil confirmed the validity and effect of the Consecration of Russia and the world to Mary. In fact, here the devil recognized that Mary crushed his head (cf. Genesis 3:15) by subduing his plans. Indeed, by Her Apparition, Mary becomes She that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, and terrible as an army set in battle array (cf. Song of Songs 6:10). Let this encourage us to be always confident in Mary. True devotion is an end to all our problems, especially spiritual ones. This was why St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori said that: “True devotion to Mary consists in three things: confidence, veneration and love”. Our Lady of Fatima! Pray for us.
• Mr. Martin Umeatuegbu can be reached through email@example.com