Consecration to Our Lady - AND Reparation for Sin!
As the Bishops of our nation set about to renew the consecration of our county to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, to bring about an end to the scourge of pestilence that is upon this world, it has been noted that there is a lack in one key element: a call to reparation, contrition, and penance.
The prayers that are being offered are done in supplication, petitioning Our Lady to intercede for us, and petitioning Our Lord to comfort us and bring an end to the virus. Often, the prayers are directed at strengthening the work of healthcare professionals and helping us find a cure for this outbreak.
What stands out, still, as is all too common today, is an emphasis on man, on our own efforts, on our own needs. Far too little importance is placed on God, on what we owe Him, and on what He demands of us. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” says Our Lord. Further, as the Letter to the Hebrews states, “The Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.”
To receive Our Lord’s blessing and aid, as the great St. Alphonsus Liguori states, we must pray to God in the manner that He demands: with repentance. If we are unwilling to abandon our sins, God is not inclined to answer our petitions. It is our sins, and our need for further holiness, which cause the afflictions that come upon us. The Roman Ritual states, in the Procession in Time of Epidemic, that the scourges we endure proceed from the Lord’s anger at our sins.
Citing the story of Jeroboam, St. Alphonsus states:
“When the impious Jeroboam stretched out his hand against the prophet, who reproached him with his wretchedness, the Lord caused his hand to wither up, so that he could not draw it back. And his hand which he stretched forth against him withered, and he was not able to draw it back again to him. Then the king turned to the man of God, and besought him to beg of the Lord to restore his hand to him. Theodoret says, with regard to this circumstance: ‘Fool that he was to have asked the prophet’s prayers for the restoration of his hand, and not for pardon of his sins’.”
*From Vol. XVII of the Ascetical Works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, “Miscellany”
He goes on to say that it is “accursed sin” which arms the Lord with chastisements, and it is only when we ask for the grace to abandon our sins and change our lives that the Lord will then turn to bless us and remove the evils from our land.
The saints, too, says St. Alphonsus, quoting St. John Chrysostom, do much to obtain for us mercy from Our Lord. This they do, however, only after we have done penance, suffered much in order to abandon sin, fly occasions of sin, and return to God’s favor.
Therefore, if we desire to increase the effectiveness of our prayers, we will pray correctly, remembering the admonitions of St. James, when he says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Unfaithful creatures! … He gives more grace; therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ … Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you” (James 4:3-10).
Therefore, throughout this month of May, when we cry to Our Lady for Her assistance in a special way, remembering also the great message at Fatima, let us all make a special effort to make additional acts of reparation for our sins, and the sins of others, everyday.
A good examination of conscience is sure to bring to mind sins that still, in each of our lives, demand reparation and penance. For those who need the assistance, I list the following:
- Moments of anger at God
- Moments of distrust of God
- A desire for revenge
- A desire to abandon the responsibilities of one’s vocation
- A moment of lust
- Use of pornography
- Silence in the face of blasphemous remarks
- Blaspheming the Holy Name of Jesus
- Tolerance of exposure to impurity in music or films
- Pride and resentment toward Divine Providence
- Laziness and indulgence
- Refusal to correct faults in one’s children
- Permitting one’s children to be exposed to occasions of grave sin
- Indifference toward prayer
- Lack of offering sufficient daily prayer to God
- Presumption and a prideful refusal to confess one’s sins
Consider committing to making one additional act of reparation each day for one of these sins which has appeared in your life, or that of another, at some point. Each day, make an act of reparation to atone for one of these or other sins.
With each act of reparation, offer the prayer taught to the children at Fatima:
O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Further, consider offering the other prayer taught to the children at Fatima:
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.
Finally, offer daily the prayer written by the great Pope, Ven. Pius XII:
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen.
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