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11-IMMACULATE-HEART

Consecration will purify the Church in Scotland

- By BISHOP JOHN KEENAN

I am very happy to lend full support to the 40 Days of Spiritual Preparation that has been inspired by our laity after hearing the good news that our Scottish bishops will consecrate Scotland to Our Lady at our annual national Marian pilgrimage in this centenary of the apparitions at Fatima.

Their 40-day programme is like living an extraordinary Lent which, I am sure, can bring many graces of conversion and renewal to all who take part in it. One woman captured the mood clearly when she suggested that the consecration of Scotland to Our Lady will be the most significant Marian event in the history of Scotland, if prepared for well. That struck a chord with me and I am more than happy personally to sign up to complete the 40-day programme.

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis wrote that it was only after the dying Jesus had consigned the Church into the safe care of His Mother Mary that He knew it was accomplished and could now commend His Spirit to the Father and breathe His last.

In his dying breath, Jesus entrusted the Church, each nation and every single person, from the beginning to the end of time, to His Blessed Mother.

So I think it is right and necessary that we make ready for this great moment of consecration with an intense spiritual preparation, with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Scriptures also show us however that national consecrations have reparation and repentance at their heart.

Jacinta, Francisco and Lúcia, the little shepherds who saw and heard Our Lady at Fatima, teach us how to offer sacrifices in reparation for sins and in prayer for souls to be saved from Hell with their prayer: “O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, for the Holy Father and in reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

I think we now want to offer prayer and sacrifice to Our Lord for the spiritual renewal of our Church and nation.

It is not news to say that the Catholic Church in Scotland has been through times of great trial and sorrow. Our people sense some deep-seated need for reparation and purification in the Church to open up for us our Merciful Lord’s healing, and His balm to pour upon the roots of our wounds. I wonder if this reparation and consecration are not the best and only path to the renewal of the Church we all crave, so that our Church appears beautiful and humble once more.

It is also not news that Scotland puts more and more of its hope for a brighter future in the hands of our politicians and constitution. Yet Scotland does not need more political solutions so much as it needs a national spiritual regeneration, which we could do no better than to entrust to the grace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The greater the efforts we put into the spiritual preparation the greater will be the graces which Our Blessed Mother will obtain for Scotland and her Church. So I encourage everyone to take part in our 40 days spiritual preparation and see what Our Lady will do!

 

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