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April 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – When it comes to Our Lady, there is no initiative that I would not support to bring the nation closer to the Blessed Mother, especially in our hour of need.
Thus, I felt a first movement of joy when hearing that Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles announced the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in consecrating the two countries to the Blessed Mother under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.”
In the face of the coronavirus crisis, we certainly need Our Lady’s help. By consecrating ourselves to her, we put ourselves under her care and that of her Divine Son. We are treated as if we belong to them.
A consecration that is needed
However, such a consecration presupposes some conditions. Upon further reading the news about the consecration, I felt something was missing. There is so much we should ask for that would better address the deeper problems that plague America.
This consecration should be different from other such acts. Indeed, the sudden announcement claimed that the new consecration will reaffirm previous ones done by the bishops, consecrating the United States to Mary. In 1792, America’s first prelate, Bishop John Carroll, consecrated the nation to Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Similar consecrations took place in 1846, 1959, and 2006.
The tone of this consecration and the others is notably seeking favors. Archbishop Gomez announced this re-consecration as a means to ask “Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus.”
He further states that “This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic.”
There is nothing wrong with asking for Our Lady’s help. We will always benefit from her largess. However, the sad moral state of the nation should invite us to reflect upon how we got to where we are. The consecration cannot only be a formula to obtain benefits as if they are entitlements without some commitment on our part.
Recognition of our sins
There are three things I would like to see in a consecration of America to the Blessed Mother. Sadly, I don’t believe they will be mentioned in the ceremony. They are too contrary to the times.
The first topic is a recognition of our sins. I would like to see the word sin embedded in the consecration, for we are a sinful nation. We should mention the sins of procured abortion, same-sex “marriage,” Drag Queen Story Hours for children, drug use, and other such evils that are tearing our country apart.
We must recognize our sins and how they separate us from God and each other. We should ask to be convinced of the gravity of our sins and reject our culture that ignores God and glorifies all that is sensual, secular, and material.
The foundation of a true consecration to Mary must involve trust between the two parties. In this case, we must acknowledge our iniquities and present ourselves as sinners who want to abandon their sin. We can then approach her, who is immaculate and without stain. We cannot expect Our Lady to put us under her mantle if we are constantly offending God.
Asking for pardon
The second element is a consequence of the first. The consecration should include mention of a much-needed pardon. We must ask for forgiveness. This pardon must be for our personal sins, the collective sins of the nation (like procured abortion) and those of the Church.
There should be a humble and contrite note in this re-consecration. It is a natural sentiment that comes from realizing the pain we caused to someone we love.
Although we may refuse to admit it, our sins weigh heavily upon our consciences. The asking of pardon would show our sincerity and love for God. It secures peace for the sinner. We ask pardon so that the consequences of our sins do not overwhelm us. We beg pardon for our offense against God to avoid His just punishments.
Thus, before consecrating ourselves to the Blessed Mother, we should ask pardon as a message to her that we are sincere in our desire to belong to her and her Divine Son. In this way, like the Prodigal Son, who was filled with sorrow and remorse at having abandoned the Father’s house, we will be assured of a warm welcome.
Amendment of life
The final element that would give meaning to a consecration of America would be the explicit mention of a desire to amend our lives. It is a natural consequence of the first two.
In light of the coronavirus crisis, we should manifest a desire that any return to “normal” not be a return to our sinful ways. Purified by our present sufferings, we must promise a true amendment of our lives. We must renounce the sins that dominate our culture and strive toward a society that is pleasing to Our Lady.
In this way, the consecration will not only be a request for physical health but the platform for a much-needed spiritual regeneration of the nation.
A message unheeded
Of course, I think there is little chance that these three things will be included in the consecration. It is not because I think the bishops will not listen to me, or that my three things are so important.
The reason for such little hope is that the Catholic world did not listen to Our Lady. The three measures I outlined are merely those requested by Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. Today, we see the consequences of ignoring her warnings. We are witnessing the fulfillment of her prophecies.
The May 1 consecration will be one more missed opportunity to address Our Lady’s request.
The ideal consecration
We can only dream of that ideal consecration of Catholic bishops and faithful gathered together, acknowledging their sins, asking pardon and promising amendment. Then the consecration would be truly historic. It would transform the nation.
This ideal May consecration would be done in reopened churches where the Sacraments are once more administered to the faithful. The event would usher in a renewed devotion to Mary across the country, expressing itself through tens of thousands of May crownings in churches and schools, honoring her, and covering her altars with flowers.
Such an outpouring of faith and devotion would not fail to move a mother’s heart. Our Lady from heaven would surely smile upon America.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.