Bishop Dewane has asked all parishes to make a consecration of the parish and the whole diocese, to Mary. This will be done on Christmas Eve and there is a 33-day preparation for this, which will involve prayers each day to be said in each parish. I would like to try and explain what this means and why we would be asked to do this.
A consecration of something, or someone, means a dedication to something sacred. When a new church is built, it is consecrated, or ‘dedicated’ to God as a place of worship. When I was ordained a priest, I was consecrated to God’s service. To consecrate our parish and our world to Our Lady is to consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary. But why not just consecrate our diocese to Jesus directly? Why do we need to bring Mary into it?
God the Father chose to give his Son Jesus to us, through Mary, because He wants us to be part of his work in the world. God could fix everything in the world instantly, but God wants us human beings to be involved in his creation and his work and this is a reminder to us of how much God respects us and loves us. So, God gave us Jesus, through Mary. Mary was his instrument to bring us Jesus. He allowed his work to depend on the cooperation of a human being. This woman, Mary, who was just a teenager at the time, was invited to play this extraordinary role in history. Through her ‘yes’ to God’s invitation, Jesus, the One who would free us from eternal death, came into the world. So the most ideal way for us to come to Jesus, is also through Mary. Who is closer to God than Mary? No one. What request of Mary would be refused by Jesus? Nothing. She is the ideal vessel to bring us to Jesus. To consecrate our parishes and diocese to Jesus through her, is the ideal way to give ourselves to Jesus.
Why do we need to make this consecration at all? Don’t we already belong to Jesus? Of course we do, but in the words of John Paul II, we are living in a time of ‘unprecedented evil’, in a ‘culture of death.’ However, God’s word in the Bible also tells us that ‘where sin increased, grace increased all the more’ (Rom 5:20). This means that even where there is terrible evil, God’s help will be there even more, which means that right now, God is offering us more help than ever, to overcome what is happening around us.
When Our Lady appeared in Fatima, she warned the children that the world must turn back to God to prevent further wars and catastrophes. She said that many people had turned away from God and that the sins of the world were greatly offending God. Those apparitions took place during World War 1. Our Lady also said that if people turned back to God with prayer and penance the war (WW1) would end and a second greater war could be prevented. She said to the children:
“To prevent this [Second World War] I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and Communions of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heard, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church.”
Right now we need all the help we can get and to rededicate ourselves to Jesus through Mary, is exactly what we need to do in order to help us reduce and overcome the evil in the world.
We don’t know that much about the life of Mary, but we do know that everywhere in the Bible that mentions Mary, she was always pointing people to Jesus, bringing people to Jesus. At the wedding of Cana when the couple ran out of wine, she asked Jesus to fix the situation. Jesus said that this wasn’t his time to start working miracles, but he did it anyway because Mary asked him to. Anywhere that Mary has appeared in the world, and there have been quite a few places, it has always been about her pointing us back to Jesus. So a consecration to Mary is really about Jesus.
At the end of his life on earth, while dying on the cross, Jesus entrusted John the Apostle to Mary. ‘Son, behold your mother’ (John 19:26). Now St. John also represents the model disciple, in other words, this is what we are also called to be like. St. John was always the one who did the right thing and was faithful to Jesus to the end. He was the only one of the Apostles beside Jesus at the foot of the cross. He represents all disciples, which is us. Jesus entrusted all of us to the care of Our Lady, because she is the perfect instrument to bring us to Jesus. That is why she has continually appeared in different places, pointing us to Jesus, asking us to come back to Jesus, for our own sake.
At this time, our world has gone crazy. Just think about this country alone: all the killings for no particular reason. This wasn’t happening up to quite recently. Why is it happening now? Because there is so much evil in the world and because so many people have turned away from God. We need all the help we can get to prevent it from getting any worse. Therefore, we rededicate ourselves, our parishes and our diocese, to Our Lady, to help refocus on Jesus, rededicate ourselves to Jesus, in order to put things right again.
When we are in trouble, God always shows us what we need to do. This is what God is showing us right now.
This 33-day preparation will involve prayers during each mass starting this Tuesday. If you would like to do this in a more in-depth way, there is also a book available for private use called 33 Days to Morning Glory.
Whether you decide to do the indepth version of this 33-day preparation, or just join us at whatever mass you find yourself at, take this seriously. Each day make a private prayer for yourself and your family or loved ones, so that we all may be drawn closer to Jesus, through Mary. We really need God’s help at this time and God is offering it to us through this consecration to Our Lady.
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.