UPDATED: 26th July 2017
Today marks forty days to go until the day of the Consecration of Scotland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Carfin Grotto by the Bishops of Scotland. There can be no doubt that this Consecration will draw down innumerable blessings from Heaven, for the Blessed Virgin will never be outdone in generosity.
Consecration by the Church, and the Five First Saturdays made by all of us, are the two forms of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which She specifically requested following Her appearances at Fatima. This Act of Consecration takes place in the centenary year of the Appearances at Fatima. Supporting and vivifying the Act of Consecration, each of us are asked to live the message of Fatima every single day, and – especially – to pray the Rosary daily.
The Rosary is the school of Mary; sitting quietly at Her feet, She takes us by the hand and gently leads us through the primary events from the life of Her Son, captured so beautifully in the various Mysteries of the Rosary.
The Gospel of St Luke tells us that “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in Her Heart”; in the Rosary, She reveals to us the joys, lights, sorrows and glories of this Immaculate Heart.
Although an Act of Consecration is a single act performed in a particular moment of time, it will produce fruits which will last long into the future; and the fruits of such a Consecration are numerous, for individuals, for dioceses, for nations, for the Church and for the entire world. The effects of this Consecration will be like the ripples moving outwards after throwing a stone into the lake; the action produces effects which persist. And this is precisely what it is hoped the Consecration of Scotland will achieve. The nature and form of these effects will only become clear in time; but as with all similar past Consecrations to the Blessed Virgin, we may be certain that She will obtain great graces for us all, as She judges best.
This Act of Consecration is primarily a spiritual act; and spiritual acts are best undertaken following a period of appropriate preparation, in the same way that we prepare ourselves for the reception of the Sacraments, and as we prepare ourselves for the joy of Easter by journeying through Lent.
As this Act will be undertaken by the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Scotland and pertains to all the faithful, for whom the Bishops speak, then it stands to reason that each and every one of us has a vital role to play in preparing ourselves and our Church in Scotland for this Act of Consecration. So how do we do this? Noting the importance of this singular Act of Consecration, Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley has today offered a suggestion on how best we can accomplish this together.
He writes –
“Today landmarks Forty Days to the Consecration of Scotland to Our Lady by the Scottish Bishops at Carfin, 3 September.
Here is a forty day programme of Spiritual Preparation, kind of like an extraordinary Lent, which was sent to me.
I shall be doing it daily and warmly invite everyone of you to join me. The Consecration depends on fervent national preparation.
Please share (I rarely ask this but this is important).”
UPDATED: 18TH JUNE 2017
A few days ago, on 14th June 2017, Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley, Scotland, announced that the Bishops of Scotland intended to consecrate the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He announced that this would take place during a ceremony on 3rd September 2017 at Carfin Grotto, the national shrine in honour of the Blessed Virgin. That day is National Pilgrimage Day. It will be a ‘collegial’ Consecration as the Scottish Bishops will take part.
The Consecration of Scotland follows on from the recent Consecration of the Diocese of Motherwell to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which took place in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Good Aid on 20th May this year and which was performed by Bishop Joseph Toal.
A little before this, on 18th February this year, Cardinal Nichols solemnly crowned the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Westminster Cathedral, London, and he re-consecrated England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The original Consecration of England was performed by Cardinal Griffin in 1948.
Ireland will be subject to a similar national Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This will be performed by Cardinal Brady, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. It will take place on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 15th August, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. Other Bishops and Priests will also attend that day.
All of these national acts of Consecration will culminate in an act of Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, performed by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in St Peter’s Square, Rome, on 13th October, centenary of the final appearance of the Blessed Virgin at the Cova da Iria in Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be brought specially from the Capelhina at Fatima, arriving in Rome on 12th October.
There is a lengthy history of consecrations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the details of which can be found in Father Andrew Apostoli’s excellent book, “Fatima For Today”. Initially, this was the Consecration of Portugal by the Portuguese Bishops, and latterly they included the various Consecrations made by several of the Holy Fathers over the years, culminating in the 1984 Consecration made by Saint John Paul, and which – as noted expressly several times by Sister Lucia herself, both verbally and in writing – was accepted by Heaven as fulfilling the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.