"We are losing our attitude of wonder, of contemplation, of listening to creation and thus we no longer manage to interpret within it what Benedict XVI calls 'the rhythm of the love-story between God and man.'"
+ Pope Francis
Hail, Holy Queen
In 1917, the Blessed Mother appeared to three children tending their sheep in Fatima, Portugal. What happened to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and later to tens of thousands who witnessed “the dance of the sun,” has been a mystery and a mainstay of the Catholic faith since.
In recognition of the centennial anniversary of what happened at Fatima—and in light of the troubles of our age—my bishop, His Excellency, Thomas J. Tobin, has called for a Year with Mary Our Mother here in the Diocese of Providence. And so it makes sense for this blog to be consecrated this day—the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God—to the Blessed Mother.
And so it shall.
I wonder, then, if we shouldn’t all do the same for our eco-activities—our communal and individual ones. Mary, the Mother of God—the creature whose assent allowed the Creator to save humanity from within—desires that we all attain what we need to grow in holiness and in the virtues that save souls, and ecosystems. Because what we need is actually a Who—her Son, Our Lord and Savior, whom she desires that we know and give our hearts to.
In the second chapter of John’s gospel, Mary comes to the aid of a family hosting a wedding. The wine has run out—an embarrassment to be sure. Mary turns to the one person who can make things right. She approaches her son and tells him “they have no wine.” Jesus seems to resist at first, but Mary pays no heed. She instructs the servers to “do whatever he tells you,” for even she does not know what he will do.
Jesus the Christ and loyal son to his mother has the servers fill jars with water. Without fanfare or fantastic flashes of light, a miracle takes place inside those jars. There is a transformation that was not for the eye to see. Water becomes wine, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the needs of a family are met.
No wonder, then, Catholics have always flown to Mary and prayed (that is, to ask) for her to similarly make some request to her son on our behalf—so that we may be similarly changed, and our nature elevated.
Given the inner transformations needed individually and globally to change our ways for the protection of human life and all of creation, we would all do well to stay close to Mary.
And prayer is an especially potent way to do that.
There is, of course, the Hail Mary. It is comprised of the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth in Luke’s gospel, and concludes with a brief petition that Mary pray for us. More so, there is the Rosary, which I highly recommend, and its concluding prayer, the Salve Regina:
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Pray for us, oh holy mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
And then there are the prayers of consecration to Mary. This one especially may be fitting for us Catholic ecologists—and I urge us all to pray it fervently in these critical days, months, and years for the good of all people, all life, and all creation:
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and tender Mother of men, in accordance with thy ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to thy Immaculate Heart myself, my brethren, my country and the whole human race.
Reign over us, Most Holy Mother of God, and teach us how to make the Heart of thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ reign and triumph in us even as It has reigned and triumphed in thee.
Reign over us, Most Blessed Virgin, that we may be thine in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven, watch over our minds and hearts and preserve them from the impurity which thou didst lament so sorrowfully at Fatima. Assist us in imitating you in all things, especially purity. Help us to call down upon our country and upon the whole world the peace of God in justice and charity.
Therefore, Most Gracious Virgin and Mother, I hereby promise to imitate thy virtues by the practice of a true Christian life without regard to human respect.
I resolve to receive Holy Communion regularly and to offer to thee five decades of the Rosary each day, together with my sacrifices, in the spirit of reparation and penance.
So, my fellow Catholic ecologists … how about it?
On this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, let us lift our voices to the Queen of Heaven, the Help of Christians, the Cause of Our Joy, the Refuge of Sinners, Mother of the Poor, Our Lady of Fatima, and let us ask her, humbly and with urgeny, to pray for us!
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About the Blog
Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.