The text of the prayer with which Pope Francis consecrates Russia, Ukraine, and all of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is rich in spiritual and theological significance. While many points could be highlighted, here are 1o brief aspects to consider.
1The faith of the Church, east and west, of all time
Right away, the prayer expresses the faith of the Church from the first centuries, shared by East and West. We address Mary as “Mother of God,” the Theotokos, the title affirmed for her at the Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Holy Father gives a line-up of the iniquities that have so severely wounded our world, and some in particular that are of special concern to the Pope. He speaks of the world wars, and the communion of nations; Francis has often expressed his hopes that organizations of the international community could be a force for peace and justice.
He laments the dashed dreams of youth – another of his favorite themes – and the tendency of nations to be individualistic, thinking only of their own interests.
He speaks of the suppression of innocent lives, perhaps an echo of how deeply he feels the sin of abortion, and our lack of stewardship of God’s creation.
3Affirmation that God never tires of forgiving
Perhaps one of the points that Pope Francis has most tried to emphasize for the Church is that God is always ready to forgive, that he “never tires” of forgiving. This is mentioned again in the consecration prayer.
4Always, always, always
The Holy Father repeatedly reminds us that Mary is the best of mothers, present in every situation. “You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace”; “You remind us that God never abandons us”; “You are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments”; “In every age you make yourself known to us,” etc.
5Our Lady of Guadalupe
While the consecration brings special attention to Our Lady of Fatima, the consecration prayer also refers to other of her advocations. Notably, her message at Guadalupe is quoted:
Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”
6And Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
Similarly, the prayer makes mention of one of the Pope’s favorite devotions, affirming, “You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times.”
7six specific titles
While there are countless titles of affection and devotion for Our Lady, the Pope mentions these 6, with specific requests, including “protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.”
Star of the Sea,
Ark of the New Covenant,
Queen of Heaven,
Queen of the Rosary,
Queen of the Human Family,
Queen of Peace.
8References to Mary of the Gospels
The prayer is grounded in the Word of God, noting Mary’s prayer at Cana and lamenting, “in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded.”
It speaks of the consecration Jesus himself made, of John, and through him, all of us, to Our Lady, at the foot of the cross. “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.”
And the prayer concludes with a reminder that Mary is the glory of the human race, a woman like us: “You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.”
9special mention of russia and ukraine
“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.”
10Russians and Ukrainians, our brothers
For the Pope who has written an encyclical about how all humans are brothers and sisters, children of a common Father, this prayer is an occasion to emphasize that even in war, we are still “Fratelli tutti” – brothers, all.
Here, he does this simply by noting the great devotion that Russians and Ukrainians have for Our Lady:
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.
Full text here: