Each day the news about the war in Ukraine seems to worsen. Rather than showing any evidence of getting better, it all just seems to escalate further as time goes on. It is hard to believe that in 2023, a terrible war of aggression is raging within Europe, and with no sign of a resolution in sight.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is acutely aware of this war and of the terrible potential for destruction which it holds; and for this reason, he asks us over and over to pray hard for peace, reminding the Church and the world of the very real power of prayer.
The costs of this war are high. They could not be higher. Make no mistake – the real cost of this war is not just the many dead and injured on both sides of the conflict, nor simply the terrible destruction which has been unleashed upon a European nation; the real threat is to the peace and stability of the entire world, for this war goes far beyond Ukraine and it’s borders.
There is a very real potential for this war to move up to a globally catastrophic level, whether by accident or by design.
Heaven seems to be very well aware of this.
Appearing at Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Virgin spoke specifically of Russia and the threat it poses to the whole world; She requested the establishment of devotion to Her Immaculate Heart as the remedy and as the way to achieve peace; this devotion would take two forms – the consecration of Russia by the Pope in union with the Bishops of the Church, and a personal devotion for all of us in the form of the ‘Communions of Reparation’, often referred to as the ‘Five First Saturdays’.
Our Lady said –
“If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church, The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”
How those words are coming to fruition today.
What seems evident is that while the Church did her part with the Consecration made first by Pope John Paul II in 1984, and more recently repeated by Pope Francis, not enough of us ordinary Catholics have done the part asked of us.
It should be no real surprise to us, then, that the threat has now become very real indeed. The Blessed Virgin did not tell us what would definitely happen; rather, She gave us an option, pointing out two distinct paths, dependent on our response – “if My requests are heeded.. if not..”
Such a small word. Yet it makes all the difference to the outcome.
Fatima was not really ‘about’ the Blessed Virgin. It was about Her pointing us back to the Almighty, from Whom we have turned away. It was about Her asking us to give up sin, to be converted and to live holy lives – doing this by means of prayer and the Sacraments.
Fatima was, in essence, Our Lady saying once more exactly what She said in the Gospel – “do whatever He tells you”.
It is now very late in the day in terms of human history and in terms of our response to the words of the Mother of God. Despite this, my sense is that still there is time for us to change the course of what will follow – but only if we listen to the pleading of our Mother and do as She asks of us, and this in sufficient numbers. But I am afraid my sense is also that this will not happen, because humanity has stopped its ears and does not wish to listen – therefore, it will not respond as asked. And in this way, we have chosen our path. We do not like to talk about – or be reminded of – the reality of sin and the consequences it brings about. Sin is – simply put – the choosing of self over God. And these days, we seem to do this rather well.
Despite this, the Blessed Virgin promises us that She will ultimately succeed in what She seeks –
In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph
However, wonderful though these words most certainly are, I sense there is much yet to come before we reach the moment of the fulfilment of Our Blessed Lady’s promise. And between now and then, I fear for humanity very greatly indeed.