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Russia-Ukraine: The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Peace | Love Digest

Julian Paparella

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Image from iStock
As Pope Francis consecrates Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we can wonder: Why? And what does this have to do with me?
Up till now
From a historical point of view, over a century ago Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Among her messages to the children, Mary asked that the Holy Father consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. This can seem like a surprisingly specific request. It helps to put ourselves in that time period to understand its significance. The year was 1917. Humanity was three years into the grips of the First World War. Russia was in the midst of the revolution from monarchy to Soviet communism. In a situation of violence and war spread throughout the world and the upheavals occurring in Russia at that time, Mary called for conversion as a path to peace in our world.
Fast forward to World War II. Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Peace, on October 31, 1942. Ten years later in 1952, he specifically consecrated Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Thirty years later on May 13, 1982, Saint John Paul II consecrated the world anew to Our Lady of Fatima and renewed this consecration of all of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 16, 1983, and on March 25, 1984.
In our world today
Here and now in 2022, Pope Francis stands in the footsteps of his predecessors as he consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This act invokes Mary’s help and intercession for peace in those two countries and the entire world. Sadly, we see how easily the war in Ukraine can spill over across Europe and beyond.
It is particularly fitting that this consecration take place on the Feast of the Annunciation, when we celebrate Jesus being conceived in the womb of Mary. This is the moment when the peace of God came to dwell on earth. Mary is the chosen throne for the Prince of Peace. In her, God’s kingdom of peace and justice is firmly planted and grows in our midst. We can ask for Mary’s help so that Jesus’ peace can take root in us and in our world.
All of us
As Pope Francis consecrates Russia and Ukraine to Mary, this is a spiritual opportunity for each one of us. The pope has asked every bishop in the world to join him in consecrating all of humanity, and in particular Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In Francis’ words: At this dark hour, the Church is urgently called to intercede before the Prince of Peace and to demonstrate her closeness to those directly affected by the conflict.”
So how about you and me? For one, we can unite ourselves to the consecration happening this Friday, in this incredible moment when Pope Francis and the whole Church entrust the entire world once more to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. You too can entrust yourself and your loved ones to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to her motherly care, and her tender protection.
In my experience, we can receive such deep peace and spiritual strength by entrusting ourselves to Mary. Her heart is our refuge of peace. We can say to her at any time: Mary, keep me in your Immaculate Heart. Protect my family, my friends, and all those in need in your Immaculate Heart. I give myself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through you. Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you. Queen of Peace, may the peace of Jesus reign in us and across the globe. Amen.
Click here to see the words by which Pope Francis invokes Mary’s help, consecrating Ukraine, Russia, and all of humanity to her Immaculate Heart.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at [email protected].

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