“I have come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.”–Our Lady of Fatima to the three children of Fatima: St. Jacinta Marto, St. Francisco Marto, and Sr. Lucia Santos
The children of Fatima had no idea that Russia was a country; they thought that “Russia” was a sinful woman who was in need of conversion. Although the consecration to the Immaculate Heart had been fulfilled, according to Sr. Lucia, the Communions of Reparation on First Saturdays perhaps have not, since poor Russia has not yet converted. The “errors” of communism have certainly grown and spread “throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. In fact, like a malignant cancer, the speed at which communist ideology has spread here in the United States is alarming. The battle is not over, and it must be fought – but how?
Pope St. John Paul II was perhaps the greatest obstacle threatening the existence of communism in the past century. On the anniversary of the first apparition of Fatima, May 13th, 1981, an assassination attempt was made to kill him, and almost did, but the bullet that was meant for his heart was deflected by the hand of the Blessed Mother. That bullet now rests in the crown of her statue in Fatima. Great strides were made by “tearing down the wall” in his lifetime, but much remained to be done…
In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II asked for an International Congress for studying the words on the Holy Face Medal and Devotion to the Holy Face as a preparation for the Millennium, which he later placed under “the Radiant sign of the Face of Christ.” The medal of the Holy Face of Jesus was made by Bl. Mother Marie Pierina De Micheli, following the request of Jesus and the Blessed Mother in 1936. One side of the medal bears a replica of the Holy Face image and an inscription based on Psalm 66:2: “Illumina, Domine, vultum tuum super nos”, that is: “May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us.” On the other side of the medal, there is an image of a radiant Sacred Host, the monogram of the Holy Name (“IHS”), and the inscription “Mane nobiscum, Domine” or “Stay with us, O Lord.”
Being a good shepherd, Pope St. John Paul II did not leave this world without giving the Church the weapons needed to fight atheistic communism. For this purpose, he directs our eyes to the Face of Jesus as he placed the new Millennnium under “the radiant sign of the Face of Christ.”
“To contemplate the Face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the ‘program’ which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium…It is the Church’s task to reflect the light of Christ in every historical period, to make His Face shine also before new generations of the new Millennium. Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated His Face.”–Pope St. John Paul II
Lies, disinformation, propaganda, and fake news that multiply at every click of a computer, must be fought with the “Splendor of the truth shining on the Face of Christ:”
“As a result of that mysterious original sin, committed at the prompting of Satan, the one who is ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (Jn 8:44), man is constantly tempted to turn his gaze away from the living and true God in order to direct it toward idols (cf. 1 Thes 1:9), exchanging ‘the truth about God for a lie’ (Rom 1:25). Man’s capacity to know the truth is also darkened, and his will to submit to it is weakened. Thus, giving himself over to relativism and scepticism (cf. Jn 18:38), he goes off in search of an illusory freedom apart from truth itself...
But, no darkness of error or of sin can totally take away from man the light of God the Creator. In the depths of his heart there always remains a yearning for absolute truth and a thirst to attain full knowledge of it… No one can escape from the fundamental questions: What must I do? How do I distinguish good from evil? The answer is only possible thanks to the splendor of the truth which shines forth deep within the human spirit, as the Psalmist bears witness:
“There are many who say: ‘O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord’” (Ps 4:6)
“The light of God’s face shines in all its beauty on the countenance of Jesus Christ, “the image of the invisible God” (Cor 1:15), the “reflection of God’s glory” (Heb 1:3), “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Consequently the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ himself, as the Second Vatican Council recalls: “In fact, it is only in the mystery of the Word Incarnate that light is shed on the mystery of man. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of the future man, namely, of Christ the Lord. It is Christ, the last Adam, who fully discloses man to himself and unfolds his noble calling by revealing the mystery of the Father and the Father’s love.”
— Pope St. John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor
The Church was warned about the threat of communism on March 7, 1847, when Our Lord spoke to a cloistered Carmelite nun, Sr. Marie St. Pierre, “Rejoice, my daughter, the hour approaches of the truth of the most beautiful work which may be under the sun.” “That is,” said Our Lord, because “it is the essence of charity” — like the act of the compassionate woman, known as “Veronica,” who tradition tells us wiped the Face of Jesus on His way to Calvary.* The “most beautiful work” is devotion to the Face of Christ.
At that time in France the seeds of atheistic communism were being planted. Communism wasn’t well known then, and went by many other names, such as socialists, liberals, and communists. Jesus told Sr. Marie “that the sectarians called communists had only made an attempt to blindfold us. Oh! If you only knew their secrets and diabolical machinations! If you could comprehend their anti-Christian principles! They are only waiting a favorable moment to set France in flames, therefore, be earnest in your supplications for the Work of Reparation.” (Devotion to the Holy Face) Sr. Marie St. Pierre wrote, “France is asleep at the mouth of a volcano… They [Communists] usurped the control of the press. They numbered among their party the most distinguished men of the day.” Jesus “commanded to “cross swords with the communists, who as He told me, were the sworn enemies of the Church, and of her Christ.”
Jesus then presented her with the weapons she need to “wage war.” Her “weapons,” of course, were the Holy Name of God, the instruments of the Passion, prayers for the conversion of communists, and the enemies of the Church, all through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
“May God arise and may His enemies be scattered,
and may all those who hate Him flee before His Face.
May the thrice Holy Name of God overthrow all their plans.
May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements.
May the terrible Name of the God of eternity annihilate all their impiety.
Lord, You do not desire the death of a sinner,
but that he may be converted and live.
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.“
Conversion is turning back to God. In your charity, please pray with all the means the Church has given us, not only for Russia, but for all those who have turned away “for they know not what they do.” So that they “will be converted, and there will be peace”– Our Lady of Fatima.
“May the Lord bless and keep you; may He make His Face shine upon you and be merciful to you; may He turn His Countenance toward you and give you His Peace!” (Num. 6:22-27)
*Pope St. John Paul II wrote this beautiful meditation on the tradition of St. Veronica in 2000, the same year in which he dedicated the millennium to the Face of Christ:
Veronica does not appear in the Gospels. Her name is not mentioned, even though the names of other women who accompanied Jesus do appear.
It is possible, therefore, that the name refers more to what the woman did. In fact, according to tradition, on the road to Calvary a woman pushed her way through the soldiers escorting Jesus and with a veil wiped the sweat and blood from the Lord’s face. That face remained imprinted on the veil, a faithful reflection, a “true icon”. This would be the reason for the name Veronica.
If this is so, the name which evokes the memory of what this woman did carries with it the deepest truth about her.
One day, Jesus drew the criticism of onlookers when he defended a sinful woman who had poured perfumed oil on his feet and dried them with her hair. To those who objected, he replied: “Why do you trouble this woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me . . . In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial” (Mt 26:10, 12). These words could likewise be applied to Veronica. Thus we see the profound eloquence of this event.
The Redeemer of the world presents Veronica with an authentic image of his face. The veil upon which the face of Christ remains imprinted becomes a message for us.
In a certain sense it says: This is how every act of goodness, every gesture of true love toward’s one’s neighbor, strengthens the likeness of the Redeemer of the world in the one who acts that way. Acts of love do not pass away. Every act of goodness, of understanding, of service leaves on people’s hearts an indelible imprint and makes us ever more like the One who “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7). This is what shapes our identity and gives us our true name.
This is the deep meaning and call to every Christian revealed in the presence of the unknown woman we call “St. Veronica”– each act of charity, every act of compassion will leave the imprint of the Face of Jesus in our souls, transforming us into His own Image.
— Pope St. John Paul II Pray for us!