As we prepare for the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with the Holy Father and the bishops of the world, we should recall the fact that this is taking place during the season of Lent, a season dedicated to greater repentance and conversion of heart and mind. We should be making a greater effort to conform our minds and hearts, not to the spirit of the world – a spirit of rivalry, greed, power-grappling, fear-mongering, and division – but to the Spirit of Christ. As St. Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans (12:2): “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The fact is that every single one of us, without exception, is in need of conversion in some way, shape, or form. We all are holding on to some sort of pride, anger, bitterness, irrational fear, resentment, negativity, unforgiveness, divisiveness, etc. All of this needs to go. The consecration next week is a tremendous opportunity for Catholics to show their true Christian character, which primarily consists of love of God and love of neighbor. This next week is an opportunity and a call for us to make an even greater effort to turn away from our sinfulness, our selfishness, our pride and egoism, and to demonstrate our desire for love and unity. Remember St. Paul’s words to the Ephesians (4:31-32): “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Let us say “enough” with the animosity and slander towards the Holy Father, “enough” with the divisiveness, backbiting, factionalism, sarcasm, and bitterness towards one another. It’s time for all of us to stand together as brothers and sisters in Christ and present to the world a voice unified with the voice of the successor of St. Peter. Let us show our love and concern for one another through fasting, prayer, and works of charity. A consecration is a wonderful thing, but it only has an effect on us to the extent that we are open to receiving its graces. Let us open our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to truly form Christ in each one of us.

– Fr. Matthew Mary, MFVA

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