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Turn to the Queen of Peace

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

March 30, 2022

Editor’s Note: The following is Bishop Terry R. LaValley’s homily and the Act of Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25.

I don’t need to tell you that ours is a troubled world. The Immaculate Heart of Mary throbs with such pain and disgust as she sees the indiscriminate slaughter and horrendous displacement of millions of innocent moms, dads and children who continue to be brutally attacked by Communist Russians invading the sovereign nation of the Ukraine. Evil is on display in all its raw wretchedness with such callous disregard for human life, even the most vulnerable among us. My sisters and brothers in Christ, we must do more than just shrug our shoulders and somehow think we are off the hook with a resigned sigh: “Well, what can I do?”

Let us not be shy in turning to the Queen of Peace for her powerful intercession. Let us not be embarrassed to get down on our knees and implore her assistance. Mary could have said “NO” to the Lord’s messenger. But she didn’t! Mary’s “YES” which the Church celebrates today, changed our world beyond belief, beyond what seemed remotely possible. Her “YES” gave a Savior to those who were poor, a Prophet to those who were voiceless. Her “YES” gave a Friend and Brother to each one of us, a Prince to the those desperately yearning for peace. Mary’s response in faith was affirmed by God who, having already worked a miracle in the life of Elizabeth, could work a miracle in Mary’s life, too.

The angel’s message to Mary reminds us of the role of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity in all our lives: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” Mary said, “YES.” She could have said, “No.” Like Mary, am I open to the promptings of God’s Holy Spirit in my life? My “yes” may not be as dramatic or as world-changing as Mary’s, but every little “yes” to love, to hope, to a more peaceful way of life has impact. My “yes” to treating every person I meet with the dignity due every child of God paves the way for an opportunity for a miracle and reminds us that our God is truly a God who makes the impossible possible.

Mary’s “YES”, an extremely simple word, brought hope and salvation into a world that waited in darkness. In so many ways, we don’t even know that we are living in a world of darkness. St. John Paul II often referred to ours as a culture of death. Pope Francis refers to it as a “throwaway culture.” We are so cavalier, reckless and disrespectful of human life.

So, at this very hour, let us join Pope Francis in Rome and the faithful throughout the world as we pray an Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on this, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord.

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbor’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs.

May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

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