Last week, on the 96th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The importance of this act ought not to be missed.
The act of consecration to Mary stands in line with the very first moments of his papacy. Who can forget the very night of his election as Successor of Peter when Pope Francis announced his plans to travel the following day to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to entrust his papacy to Mary? The Pope’s tender love of Mary ought to encourage all of us to see in Our Lady the model of Christian discipleship and docility to God’s will.
Pope Francis’ love of Our Lady also marks a wonderful continuity with his recent predecessors. As departing Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone explained last week: “I see today in Pope Francis not so much a revolution but continuity with Pope Benedict XVI….I cannot but stress two expressions that reinforce this continuity: the gift of spontaneous and inspired counsel…and then the fervent common Marian devotion.”
Media distortions aside, Pope Francis offers only one revolution to the Church: that of conversion. We must shake off the shackles of sin and obey God’s word. We do so with the help and under the protection of Mary. Thus, his consecration of the whole world to her marks an important step in the Church’s renewal.