What Does Our Lady Want?
by John Bessarion
Q: What did Our Lady of Fatima request of all the faithful?
A: There are two very important requests of Our Lady, which are directed to all the faithful without exception. These requests are: "People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended." Our Lady also requests everybody to say the Rosary every day. One of the very first things She said to the children was, "say the Rosary each day to bring peace to the world and the end of the war." On July 13, 1917, Our Lady told the children, "Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary." She repeated this request in each one of Her apparitions.
She also asks everybody to wear the Brown Scapular — the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Sister Lucy says, "the Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable."
Our Lady asked for penance, meaning the sacrifices required by our daily duty.
Finally, Our Lady asked for the First Saturday devotion.
Q: Did Sister Lucy ever write a short formula, which sums up the requests of Our Lady?
A: Yes, she did. In answer to the question, "what must the individual Catholic do in order that peace be given to the world, Communism be turned back, and the annihilation of nations be averted?" Sister Lucy gave the following Peace Pledge formula:
Dear Queen and Mother, who promised at Fatima to convert Russia and bring peace to all mankind, in reparation to Your Immaculate Heart for my sins and the sins of the whole world, I solemnly promise:
1) To offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by my daily duty;
2) To say part of the Rosary (five decades) daily while meditating on the mysteries;
3) To wear the Scapular of Mt. Carmel as profession of this promise and as an act of consecration to you. I shall renew this promise often, especially in moments of temptation.
This is the pledge of the International Fatima Rosary Crusade and other Fatima Apostolates.
Q: Did Our Lady of Fatima ask for anything else?
A: Yes, She did ask the Holy Father in union with all the Catholic Bishops of the world to make the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in a solemn and public manner on the same day.
Q: Will God convert Russia without the Holy Father and the bishops making this act of consecration?
Q: Why won't God convert Russia without the Pope and the bishops making this act of consecration?
A: Our Lord Himself answered this question for Sister Lucy: "Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so as to extend its cult later on and to place the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart alongside devotion to My Sacred Heart.
Q: But then why is prayer and penance for the conversion of Russia so important?
A: For several reasons! First of all, because prayer is always the condition set by God before we receive any of His benefits. In another article in this issue we have already mentioned how Pope Benedict XV, on May 5, 1917, made an anguished appeal to Our Lady to show the nations the way to obtain true peace. Is it not reasonable to believe that Our Lady came to Fatima to answer this earnest request by the Vicar of Christ, the first of Her children on earth?
Secondly, although the general conversion of Russia will not take place until the consecration of Russia, individual people in Russia can be converted through prayer and sacrifice. There is evidence that a number of people in Russia are turning back to God, and we can be very thankful for this. But we must remember that the Soviet government has in no way renounced its satanic Marxist-Leninist ideology or its plans for world domination, nor will it, until the Pope and the bishops obey the command to consecrate Russia.
Thirdly, the suffering and persecuted Catholics behind the Iron Curtain can be helped by our prayers. The great confessors and defenders of the Faith, Cardinals Mindszenty, Slipyj, Wyszinski and Stepinac — were they not strengthened by the prayers, the millions of Rosaries of Fatima apostles? If more prayer is offered, may we not hope that God will raise up more heroes like these in the future?
Finally, by prayer and sacrifice we can hasten the great day of the consecration. Each Rosary is a step closer in the conversion of Russia and the world.
Q: Is it by means of the prayers and sacrifices of the faithful people that Russia will be converted and peace brought to the world?
A: In 1930, Pope Pius XI ordered the prayers after Mass to be offered for "the conversion of Russia". Thus from that time until 1964, when the prayers were dropped, literally billions of Hail Marys were offered for the conversion of Russia, not to mention the millions of Rosaries offered every day by signers of the Fatima Peace Pledge mentioned above. These insistent supplications, which are so pleasing to God, cannot possibly have been wasted, and therefore some day they will bear great fruit — greater than we can possibly imagine.
Yet, it is only the consecration of Russia that will actually convert Russia, since only "by this means" has God promised to save it. For this reason it is inexact to say that Russia will be converted by means of our prayers and sacrifices. Russia will not be saved through our merits. Jesus told Sister Lucy, "the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia. It has been entrusted to Her."
Q: But then aren't you attributing some sort of "magical" efficacy to the consecration?
A: No. When a priest, for example, pours water on the forehead of a child, and recites the formula of baptism, the child is cleansed from sin, not through the merits of the priest, but by virtue of the priest fulfilling the conditions set down by Jesus Christ and acting in the person of Christ. The effect is infallible. Does that mean we are attributing some sort of "magical" or "talismanic" effect to Baptism? No. Not even the Protestants have ever accused us of that.
Now we are not suggesting the consecration of Russia is a sacrament. Yet it will have its effect infallibly when the actual consecration of Russia as requested by Jesus and Mary is done, because God has promised it. There have been consecrations of the world but to these God did not make such a promise for those consecrations. Just as in the example mentioned above, God did not promise to cleanse the child from sin if the priest baptized with milk rather than water. The conditions set down by God must be met first.
Q: What about the prediction of Padre Pio many years ago that Russia will be converted when there are an equal amount of people keeping the peace pledge indicated above as there are Communists?
A: It is possible that Padre Pio had a special revelation or illumination from God on this subject, or perhaps it was his way of saying that the conversion of Russia will come when a sufficient number of people are listening to Our Lady of Fatima.
Russia would have been converted already in 1929 had Pope Pius XI decided to make the collegial consecration. Russia will be converted this year if only the Pope and bishops were to make the consecration this year. However, the consecration is not just an act performed by men, it is a grace from God. Why should God grant such an extraordinary grace and mercy to the world, when it is offending him more than ever? This is one reason, among others, why the consecration has been delayed so long.
Q: What relationship do the First Saturdays have to the conversion of Russia?
A: This question is best answered by Our Lady Herself:
"If My requests are heard, many souls shall be saved and there will be peace … but if men do not stop offending God another worse war (World War II) will begin in the reign of Pius XI (1922-1939). When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the sign that God gives you that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and the Holy Father."
To prevent this, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays."
Sister Lucy explains this request in the following way:
"The good God promises to end the persecution of Russia if the Holy Father deigns to make and orders that the bishops of the Catholic world equally make a solemn and public act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, His Holiness promising with the help of the end of this persecution to approve and recommend the practice of the already indicated Reparatory devotion."
Q: Will the consecration be done soon?
A: We hope that enough blood of the martyrs has been shed already to merit this marvelous grace. Until that time, prayer, especially the Rosary and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is very important, especially the five First Saturdays. Of course, fulfillment of the peace pledge is also very important. Besides our prayers we must do all we can to bring about the consecration. This includes giving public support, signing and circulating petitions for the consecration (see page 10) and spreading information regarding this consecration.
Only when the consecration is done shall we be able to say securely, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ." (Apoc. 11:15)