Consecration to Mary is a protective force for us

by Donal Anthony Foley

Consecration to Mary can take many forms, ranging from a personal consecration, to a parish or diocesan one, right up to consecrating a country, or even the whole world, as was the case with Pope Pius XII’s consecration of Oct. 31, 1942.

The most basic level of Marian consecration involves the idea of placing the person, or group or area under the special protection of Our Lady. Such consecrations are important because they oblige the Blessed Virgin to take us “under her wing” and look after our interests, and especially our spiritual interests, with a particular concern. As regards the Fatima message, there has been an emphasis on consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The great Marian saint, St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716), developed the idea of a “holy slavery” to the Blessed Virgin, an idea that had been promoted by various French spiritual writers, including St. John Eudes. This notion of “slavery” sounds odd to modern ears, but in essence, St. Louis was referring to a state of total consecration of oneself to Jesus through Mary. Such a consecration thus leads ultimately to Jesus, to God. So in this, as in all things, Our Lady leads us to God – which is always the final aim of genuine Marian devotion.

An example of a Marian consecration of a parish in Paris became of great importance for the Church. Following the French Revolution, the parish of Our Lady of Victories in Paris was in a very poor spiritual state. In his distress, the parish priest, Father Charles Desgenettes, prayed earnestly for his parishioners. As he was saying Mass on Dec. 3, 1836, he heard a voice internally telling him to consecrate his parish to the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

After hearing the request again in the sacristy after Mass, Fr. Desgenettes decided to act. He drew up the statutes for an association in honor of Mary’s Immaculate Heart for the conversion of sinners, and this led to the founding of the famous Confraternity of Our Lady of Victories, an association that was to have a world-wide influence, and ultimately become a global arch-confraternity. The association grew rapidly and it promoted both the idea of intercession through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the principle of Marian consecration.

On a larger scale, in 1931, following the wonderful events at Fatima, the Portuguese bishops consecrated Portugal to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart; and in 1936, they made a vow to organize a national pilgrimage to Fatima, if Portugal was kept out of the Spanish civil war. In May 1938, they returned to Fatima to give thanks and to renew the consecration in the presence of half a million people.

The Portuguese bishops also petitioned the reigning Pope, Pius XI, to consecrate the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that it could be saved from war and disaster, just as Portugal had been delivered from the threat of Communism. This consecration, though, was left to his successor, Pope Pius XII.  

In December 1940, as World War II was raging, under obedience Sister Lucia wrote to him, revealing that part of the Fatima secret which concerned the consecration of Russia and the Communions of reparation. She asked the pope to extend the First Saturdays devotion to the whole world, and revealed that Jesus had made it known to her that He intended to shorten the “days of tribulation” that mankind was then undergoing. But this was on condition that the pope “consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention for Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same…”

In this letter, Sister Lucia also said that Our Lord had promised a special protection to Portugal from the ravages of the war, due to the previous episcopal consecrations of the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was a sign of the graces that would have been granted to other nations, had they also been consecrated to her. The fact that Portugal had been able to keep out of the Second World War, despite a real danger of involvement, was a sign for the pope and the bishops of the world of the power of such a Marian consecration, and no doubt contributed to Pius XII’s decision to go ahead with the consecration of the world in 1942.

On Oct. 31, 1942, the pope spoke to the Portuguese people via radio, and invited them to trust in the Blessed Virgin’s maternal protection and pray for an end to the war. Then he pronounced a formula of consecration which included these words: “To you, to your Immaculate Heart… we confide, we consecrate, we deliver, not only Holy Church… but the whole world.”

In this act, Pius XII consecrated the whole world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and this consecration was apparently sufficient for God to intervene and shorten the war. Sister Lucia indicated this in a letter to her confessor in May 1943, where she stated that God had promised that the war would soon end on account of the consecration made by the pope.

And, in fact, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill believed that the turning point of the war came shortly after the date of the consecration, a reference to the Second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, which took place between Oct. 23 and Nov. 4, 1942, and which saw the defeat of Rommel’s forces. Another crucial defeat happened in February 1943 when nearly eight hundred thousand Germans perished in the Battle of Stalingrad, and thousands more were captured. Later, if the D-day landings of June 1944 had not been attended by such calm weather, it is conceivable that the allied invasion of German-occupied Europe could have been delayed, which would have meant at least another year of war.

The lesson of these historical incidents is that we should all make a daily consecration to Our Lady; and likewise, encourage others to do this, as well as work for parish, diocesan and national Marian consecrations.

In short, Marian consecrations have an immense power, which can not only help individuals and parishes to grow closer to the Blessed Virgin and to God, but also influence events in entire countries or even the whole world.

Prayer of Consecration to Mary
My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you;
and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve.
Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me, guard me,
as your property and possession. Amen.

Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related web site at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people, and the third in the series is due to be published later this year – details can be seen at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk

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  1. Among other things I speak to Our Blessed Virgin Mother, I started saying these words to her twice a day before I ever learned that anyone else ever said anything similar; ” Oh Ever Immaculate Virgin, Holy Mother of God, you who adore and love God Almighty more than all the Angels and Saints together, you who adore His Holy Will, you who do all things for His Prescious Love sake, I am forever thy willing slave oh my Queen, I am forever thy willing captive oh my Captor, I forever thy servant oh Mother of Mercy undeserving sinner that I am. Ask of me what you will, do with me what you will. I am yours oh Ever Immaculate Virgin, without reserve. I trust in you.”

  2. Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for our vocations!

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