1917 saw one of the bloodiest revolutions in history: the Communist Revolution in Russia. That said, communism has never limited itself to Russia. When Pope Pius XI condemned communism in the 1930s, he wrote the encyclical in Latin – for the whole world (as opposed to the two encyclicals condemning Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany were written in Italian and German respectively).
1917 also witnessed the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three poor shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. On July 13, 1917 Our Lady showed the children Hell. She also spoke to them of the sins and offenses against her Son that had caused World War I and would possibly lead to another war if mankind did not repent of its offenses against Jesus. To avoid impending suffering, Our Lady asked the children to spread the following message (which is relevant today):
Mary said, “To prevent this I come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not she will scatter her errors through the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyrized, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.” (The First Saturday Communion of reparation is to receive Holy Communion on the first Saturday of each month in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)
In other apparitions Blessed Mother asked the children to pray the Rosary for the conversion of poor sinners.
Our Lady’s promise has come true as in 1984 St. John Paul II consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. It was soon thereafter that communism in Eastern Europe fell, beginning in Poland. The Catholic Faith is free in most of the former ‘Eastern Bloc’. Communism also fell as a political party in Russia, though there are many ‘former communists’ in power. The Catholic Faith is ‘mostly free’ to operate in Russia today.
Was there bloodshed in this Revolution of Our Lady? The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe was, for the most part, a bloodless revolution led by Our Lady
Herself through Pope St. John Paul II. It was this pope who consecrated himself to Our Lady as a 20 year old. He loved to pray the Rosary daily. He was miraculously spared by an assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981 – the anniversary of the first apparition of Fatima. It was this saint who was ordained a priest in secret during the communist rule of Poland. He consecrated his papacy to Our Lady. He it was who led this revolution through the Rosary, his courageous teaching and courageous action.
In the midst of an attempt to a social revolution in our country to socialism and a removal of a government ‘by the people’, may we follow Our Lady’s words to pray the Rosary daily and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and peace! May we learn from St. John Paul II to use the weapon of Truth in action to shine on the errors of darkness that seek acceptance of immorality as well as limit our freedoms, especially our religious liberty!