Fourteen Fabulous Footsteps Forward To Our Lady
When we opened our eyes in the 20th Century to the horror of war, the war that killed St. Pius X, the war throughout which Benedict XV struggled so hard to keep the Church neutral, we were opening our eyes to the horrors of which man is really capable. Our Lady of Fatima imprinted on our souls the words reparation, consecration, and the word “Russia”. Is this consecration done? Is it not done? If it is done or not done, what do we do about it? If the Holy Father in 1984, and on a previous occasion, chose to omit the word “Russia”, what does that mean? A Canadian teenager, who wishes to remain anonymous, in a Wednesday evening study class on encyclicals came to a conclusion.
“I have a solution”, he said. “In Quas Primas, Pius XI reviewed why specific and great devotions had been inaugurated throughout Church history. When Pius XI discussed the Sacred Heart, he said, “The feast of the burning love of the Sacred Heart was inaugurated to warm men's hearts that had grown cold for lack of love, lack of faith. And he instituted the Feast of Christ the King and the processional of Christ the King, so that Christ would get the acknowledgement of His Divine Kingship as He deserves.”
So this teenager said, “The solution is simple — institute a feast of the Immaculate Heart.”
He had to be told that Pius XII had instituted a feast to the Immaculate Heart and that Paul VI instituted a Feast to Our Lady of Fatima.
The teenager did not give up. He said, “Well, why don't they make an act of gratitude for all that Our Lady has done for us, every year, on this same day? Consecrate Russia every year on that day. Sooner or later, every bishop in the world will take part as Our Lady wants.”
In his fiery address, Archbishop Milingo emphasized that the bishops would co-operate if the Pope made specific demands of them. So far that has not been done.
There could be no doubt, among those watching the progress of the Mexico Conference, that Father Nicholas Gruner has access to some hidden reserve of energy and determination. He, himself, merely refers to his uncanny resiliency as the result of ‘undeserved grace’. Knowing the obstacles that had to be overcome to launch this week of bishops' talks, one would have expected him to be sidelined by the need for some peace and quiet, even perhaps to take the first day as one of rest and allow someone else to open that day's sessions. But he was at the helm from the first moment to the last, never at a loss for co-ordinating the interests of the bishops on hand. It was a member of the laity who placed the whole conference in perspective for the average Catholic in pews around the globe.
One of the great sources of beauty for the faithful in this century was the whole Fatima story, from beginning to end it had beauty, warmth, love, hope, and it was peopled by characters whose personalities stayed with you all your life.
Regarding the conference, Jean Fioretti remarked, “The first few days, there was a natural reticence — nobody wanted to say too much or make any waves. But all were very receptive to the Fatima focus. It was successful because we don't have these things being said anywhere else in the establishment Church. Being human, we know all these things but we forget them.
“It's so important to know there are others out there who believe as we do. Again, being human, it's a kind of fearful thing to feel so alone. You think, is there something wrong with me? Why am I the only one who still says my Rosary?”
The opportunity to answer that need for the laity worldwide was at hand, front and center of the conference hall. Father Gruner took full advantage of it. It was his skill in drawing upon the best in all the personalities present in the room that allowed this small beleaguered representation of the world's episcopacy to hammer out a veritable catechism of Fatima. Under his chairmanship, the bishops crafted ‘fourteen’ unique resolutions for the purpose of advancing the cause of Our Lady of Fatima. These Fourteen Resolutions, represent a new treasure for Our Lady, diamonds for Her crown, crystallized under colossal pressure. They read as follows:
The 14 Fatima Resolutions
I/We hereby agree to the Resolutions drafted and agreed to by the bishops, priests and laypeople at the Second Bishops Conference for World Peace held in Mexico City on November 8-14, 1994 as indicated below. I, the undersigned, in my personal capacity, responding to the inspiration of Our Lady of Fatima to work for peace, have read the resolutions that I have signed and agree with each one's doctrinal content and personally undertake to see that truth contained in each resolution be lived and any undertaking stated therein I shall personally do.
In order to bring about peace and proper ordering of man to God as individuals, in society and in the Church, I hereby make the following resolutions and encourage men and women of good will around the world to join us.
1. We the undersigned individual laypeople, priests, bishops, in our personal capacity, hereby profess our loyalty to the Holy Roman Catholic Magisterium and the august person of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and above all to the Catholic Faith as handed down by the dogmatic councils, tradition, and the approved creeds, not limited to but including the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, the Creed of the First Vatican Council and the Credo of the people of God of Pope Paul VI and those doctrines taught Magisterially by the Second Vatican Council.
“Magisterially” — That is, those doctrines that are taught infallibly by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church in Vatican II documents.
2. We, as loyal Roman Catholics, as expressed above in resolution number one, also believe that world peace will not be brought about except through obedience to the full meaning and message of Our Lady of Fatima.
3. We undertake to do what we can and we believe it is part of our duty of state to bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart through the specific plans and requests She made to us in the public and prophetic Message of Fatima.
4. It is our duty according to our state to do all we can and tell those we can to thereby make the full message of Our Lady of Fatima known as Jesus Himself has commanded, despite any difficulties.
5. We the undersigned, mindful of Our Lady of Fatima's request, undertake to personally pray the Rosary every day and to strongly promote this devotion to Our Lady, to those around us.
6. We the undersigned, mindful of Our Lady of Fatima's request that we, each of us, wear the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel, undertake to personally wear the Scapular and to promote the Brown Scapular among the faithful and men of goodwill that God puts on our path.
7. We the undersigned, recognizing that Our Lady of Fatima and God Himself want to establish devotion in the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and further recognizing that Our Lady and Our Lord especially want us to embrace this devotion; we therefore, personally undertake to make the personal act of consecration to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart. We will also promote it to those God puts on our path.
8. Since Jesus and Mary have so ardently desired the practice of the Five First Saturdays and Communions of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we personally undertake to do these Five First Saturdays as requested and explained by Our Lady of Fatima and Jesus Himself. We also undertake to promote the Five First Saturdays to the faithful Catholics God puts on our path.
9. Since Our Lady of Fatima wants the Third Secret to be published to the world, we the undersigned, until it is officially revealed, will endeavor to read, study and distribute knowledge of the Third Secret — from the best sources available.
10. We also respectfully petition for the release of the actual words of Our Lady's Third Secret according to Her instructions.
11. Since Jesus and Mary in the Fatima Message make it clear that it is only by means of the solemn and public Consecration of specifically RUSSIA, RUSSIA to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by all the Catholic bishops together with the Holy Father on the same day at the same hour, that true peace will be given to the world: we the undersigned undertake to bring about the long desired Act of Consecration. Such actions (to cause this Act of Consecration) are not limited to, but may include: Prayers; Rosaries; Sacrifices offered to Jesus and Mary for this intention; to attend seminars, symposiums, conferences; to hold such conferences to promote this Consecration; to circulate books, videos, audio tapes to laypeople, priests and bishops to promote this Consecration.
12. We the undersigned, will strive to make known those prophecies that as far as we can ascertain, contain parts of the 3rd Secret which are found in Sacred Scripture and in Church approved apparitions, as Cardinal Ratzinger indicated in his interview with Vittorio Messori, published in November 1984 Jesus Magazine.
13. Inasmuch as God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and inasmuch as in an approved apparition of Our Lady of 1838 — Our Lady revealed the Green Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — especially for the preservation among Catholics and the spread of the Catholic Faith to non-Catholics; and inasmuch as God wants to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart throughout the world; we the undersigned resolve when opportune to propagate as widely as possible among men, women and children of the world, the Green Scapular and encourage others to do the same and to pray the prayer indicated therein for the conversion of all non-Catholics and the preservation of all Catholics in the Catholic Faith which is so necessary in order to save one's soul.
14. That in the light of our desire to please Our Lady, that the Consecration of Russia be renewed on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception — December 8th, each year by the Pope and all the Catholic Bishops of the world; we the undersigned, respectfully ask for this Consecration of Russia to be done on the above date.
On the final day of the Conference, as its Fourteen Resolutions were printed up and distributed for all to see, there was a trace in the air of music—festive, familiar, a sound the bishops had encountered after leaving the shrine of Guadalupe to climb Tepeyac Hill—a mariachi marimba band, from somewhere within the hotel. The Virgin of Guadalupe, it seemed, was coming to them.
Before the closing of the Conference, Father Gruner was presented with a life-sized crucifix purchased on the Shrine grounds. Looking up into Christ's eyes on this crucifix gave one a small taste of His Agony and Passion: exquisitely painted, not skimping on the Blood as most modern day artists do; transparent tears fill His eyes and spill down over His cheeks; His eyes conveying an intense plea for our repentance.
The magnificent Crucifix was presented to Father Gruner with few but very meaningful words: “You have carried many crosses, Father; we felt you would not mind one more.” Perhaps Father Gruner and the Apostolate had participated in some small way in the Passion of Christ, as all Catholics are called upon to do. When he returned to Canada, Father Gruner had the Crucifix erected in the Fatima Center Chapel, literally cutting a hole in the roof to accommodate its magnificent presence.
Opposition to Our Lady throughout the Church today is formidable; but the Virgin's defenders deflect the blows gladly, because they know the blows are really aimed at Her. Yet always the question remains—how much punishment can a man absorb? Surely after Mexico anyone would decamp and rest. Take a strategic retreat. Yes, Father Gruner and the members of the Apostolate would do that. And when they were rested, then what? Surely not another campaign ...