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  • Writer's pictureSr. Janine Van Tran

What Else?: Act of Consecration to Mary

It has been surreal watching images and videos of the bombs, tanks, and fires in Ukraine. It looks too much like a scene from an action movie. Sadly, I know it is all too true that there is real homes being destroyed, real families torn apart, and real blood being shed. The sisters and I have mourned this tragedy at our community meals. We have recalled the sufferings of our own families as our own country of Vietnam suffered war over 50 years ago. We have offered prayers as we gather for the Divine Office.

Political talks, economic sanctions, and public demonstrations have taken place. Blue and yellow has filled our social media space and stacks of money has poured in from all quarters. It is amazing to see leaders, children, grandparents, athletes, and business executives unite to demand peace, dialogue, and reconciliation.

For me, as I wake up in a soft bed while millions of Ukranians are fleeing by the cover of night, I ask myself, “What else can I do?” What else can I do besides pray, hope, and give alms?

Consecrate. Pope Francis is asking us to gather and consecrate the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Consecration means to be “to make holy” or “be set apart for God.” To consecrate ourselves to Mary is to “…accept her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to [God] who is holy, infinitely holy” (Pope St. Paul II, May 13, 1982).

In this act, we acknowledge that holiness is possible with our Blessed Mother’s help. We believe her motherly guidance will help us to rid ourselves of greed and hatred. We know pride and anger can be conquered with her powerful intercession. We seek to learn generosity and meekness through her humble example.

To be set apart FOR something means to be NOT for another thing. To be set apart FOR God means to be NOT for all that doesn’t belong to God. To belong to God means we are to turn away, to repent, to be converted from all that is selfish, impure, and less than whole. I can try to eat my leftovers, complain less, and smile more.

This means peace and reconciliation begins in the depths of the human heart and emanates to those we meet. I can stop buildings from falling and Molotov cocktails exploding in Ukraine by belonging to God. I can radiate more peace into the world by turning away the impulse to be petty or settle for what is comfortable.

We begin by letting God take control of our lives. We start by inviting Mary, his Blessed Mother, teach us how to be open, to listen, to follow God’s ways. We do this by praying the Act of Consecration.

Will you join Pope Francis, the bishops, priests, religious, and the faithful throughout the world in consecrating the world, especially Ukraine and Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Friday, March 25th? May we also not forget that Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and many other countries are also experiencing war and unrest. Less social media attention does not mean less suffering.

Will you consecrate the world to our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace? You can do it anywhere – in your church, home, or heart. Our sisters will.

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