by Michaelyn Hein –
I turned the calendar to the next month and looked at the upcoming week. Piano lessons for my son on Tuesday, dance class for my daughter on Wednesday, and homeschool co-op for us all on Friday. And then I looked at Saturday.
“We need to make it to Mass,” I whispered to myself, shaking my head.
This month I recognized the need for greater effort to do this, despite our busy family life, because the world is rightly abuzz with Pope Francis’ Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With each opening of my web browser, I am hit with titles that question or acknowledge the validity of past consecrations and that do the same with this one.
Admittedly, I was tempted to get involved in the quarrel. But something I couldn’t quite name kept prompting me not to venture down that path.
The realization of what was needling me came when I turned my calendar to look at the week ahead. It was the reminder that world peace does not rest solely on the shoulders of our clergy. As Our Lady of Fatima repeatedly asserted, it requires, rather, the participation of all of us.
We can opine and criticize or celebrate and proclaim our Holy Father’s methods in this Consecration. We can do the same regarding past ones. But doing so begs the question: are we looking for a splinter in our Holy Father’s eye whilst ignoring the beam in our own? Or are we comforting ourselves with the thought that the pope has taken care of Our Lady’s requests and we can sit back and wait for world peace to wash over this world one country at a time?
If we are thinking either of these, we are moving forward from this consecration incorrectly. For Our Lady of Fatima explicitly declared that to obtain world peace would require not just the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, not just the cooperation of all the bishops of the world, but also participation from every one of us.
It is easy to forget that we all have a part to play. Our Lady made quite clear in her messages at Fatima and later to Sister Lucia, the eldest of the three children to whom she appeared, that the salvation of our world requires the works of every soul.
As St. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians, “All the parts of the body, though many, are one body” (12:12). This includes our Holy Father, our bishops, our priests and religious and the laypeople of the Catholic Church. There is no question, then, that for our body to function in its fullness, all parts must work together.
If world peace depends upon the works of all, then what must we do? What is our role? Our Blessed Mother gave us a clear instruction manual at Fatima and afterward.
First and foremost, Sister Lucia told John Haffert, one of the founders of the Blue Army, we must aim to sanctify our daily lives. It sounds lofty and trying, I know. Often, I awaken with a desire to make my day one that pleases God. I aim for perfection, but before breakfast is over, I’ve usually missed the mark.
Still, if we are ever to achieve holiness, we must at least begin each day with the intention and will to do so. Thus, when we wake, we can declare our intention through a morning offering, wherein we give to Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, all the sufferings we will endure and the sacrifices we will make that day.
In addition to these efforts, Our Lady repeatedly implored us to pray a daily Rosary for the conversion of sinners and for world peace. Do we do that? Do we even try?
My family, like most, maintains a packed calendar. It is tempting to wonder how we could fit into it the Rosary’s demand for 15 minutes (or, more realistically, 30, thanks to a host of interruptions from noisy children begging for snacks or needing to suddenly use the bathroom). But if we are honest, we know that we can do it. And if we really want to work for world peace, then we must.
And finally, though not the least of Mary’s requests, we must seek to keep the First Saturday devotions, meaning that on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, we should receive Holy Communion, go to confession, recite five decades of the Rosary, and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary for 15 minutes.
It sounds like a lot, especially for a family like mine that finds itself struggling to get out the door at an hour too early for our liking. But as Our Lady confirmed, a little sacrifice is necessary.
Thus, at this momentous hour in history, when our Holy Father has made an effort to restore world peace, I can no longer look at my calendar and pre-determine that my family will once again fail to do our part. On the contrary, the darkness of our modern world necessitates that from now on we must intend to succeed.
Michaelyn Hein is a Catholic writer, wife and mother who resides in Hopewell, NJ.
Thank you. Very insightful.
Does all different religious denominations and even atheists, agnostics need to do the first Saturday Devotions or is it only for Christian religious people to carry out ?
Mary was speaking to Catholics because we have the sacraments and you have to be Catholic to receive Holy Communion and go to confession.
Other denominations do not accept the idea of devotion and veneration of Mary. Atheists/agnostics do not believe in God or religion, so would not have any interest.
I say three rosaries a day
I can do this because I am retired
We should all pray for the people of Ukraine and the overthrow of Putin. God bless you and your family . Regards Robert Calabro
Our Lady is surely pleased with your 3 rosaries a day; what a beautiful way to honor Our Lady with the time in retirement that God is blessing you with. God bless your dedication to Our Blessed Mother!
Amen. Well said
Beautifully said. Thank you.
Thank you🙏 I often fall short in doing my part for world peace, however your words are encouraging and the reminderme of Mother Mary’s clear instructions was much needed. Thank you for sharing and being honest. As I look at my calendar, it is overwhelming BUT now I have set aside vital time to make the First Saturday Devotion again, as well as strive in continuing praying the Rosary daily.
I will pray for you Michaelyn, please pray for me.
Nadia, your comment has moved me; I am so touched by your honesty, too. I will most certainly pray for you, and I thank you so much for your prayers for me and my family. As I drag my still sleepy kids into the pew at Mass tomorrow morning, I will remember you to Our Lady and to Our Lord. God bless you!
Thank you 🙏💕
Indeed each and every Catholic Lay person should join in the consecration along with the priests, religious, Bishops and Pope. Also the family rosary should be prayed in every household daily. Nothing could be better. We will only be fulfilling our duty.
Amen, especially to the family rosary. It is such a challenge when we have little ones, but it brings so many graces and pleases Our Blessed Mother so very much. Thank you for your comment, and God bless you.
I will post this on Facebook but I have already posted something similar and, unfortunately, not one “like”. What does it take to wake people up?
If you have trouble saying the Rosary, it helps to ponder a few things. One of Mary’s promises for praying the Rosary is to take you to the throne of God when you die. Another is Her request to “keep Me company while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary” as part of First Saturday devotions. Who could refuse this request from Mother Mary, to keep Her company? Indeed, the Rosary is not only a means for world peace and converting sinners, but also a very personal relationship with Mary that brings us closer to Her and to Jesus. At the Annunciation, wasn’t She in effect the first human to receive Communion? Christ’s very Body and Blood came from Her. She once said in another of Her apparitions besides Fatima, “If you knew how much i love you, it would make you cry.” Do not be afraid, or slack in your duty. Say as another warrior, Joan of Arc, “I am not afraid, I was born to do this.”
We should also be aware that the First Saturday Devotion is to be practiced throughout our lives. Each series of five First Saturdays merits Our Lady’s promise of the graces necessary for our salvation at the time of our death. Our first series merits the promise for us. Each series of five thereafter merits the promise of another soul in need.