Scripture – Obedience Over Reason
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
“I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
With this, he turned about in anger and left. (Today’s First Reading)
With Pope Francis in union with the bishops of the world set to consecrate Russia (and Ukraine) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — according to the request made in 1917 at Fatima — no doubt many questions have arisen. What is the point? Why would this make a difference? How will this accomplish peace? And moreover, why did Our Lady also request reparation by the Five First Saturdays devotion as part of the appeal to bring about the Triumph of her heart, and a “period of peace”?
I have answered some of these questions in This is the Hour…. However, the simplest answer is “Because Heaven has asked us to.”
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways…
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
How timely, then, are the Mass readings today as we prepare for this Consecration of Russia according to Our Lady’s explicit instructions given to three children at Fatima.  The parallels are striking.
First, it was also a little girl who revealed the plans of Divine Providence to Naaman, who was afflicted with leprosy:
Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
“If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,”
she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman was then sent with a letter to the King of Israel who was perplexed by the instructions given by this child.
When he read the letter,
the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
“Am I a god with power over life and death,
that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?”
So too, the child Lucia (Sr. Lucia) wrote a letter to the Pope with the instructions of Our Lady. However, for reasons that have not been made fully explicit to us, pope after pope in the last century failed to make the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary according to her instructions: Russia, by name, in union with the bishops of the world. In fact, when Pope John Paul II was set to do so in 1984, the following exchange took place as recounted by the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth:
Sr. Lucy always said that Our Lady requested the Consecration of Russia, and only Russia… But time passed and the consecration was not done, so Our Lord was deeply offended… We can influence events. This is a fact!… Our Lord appeared to Sr. Lucy and told her: “They will do the consecration but it will be late!” I feel shivers running down my spine when I hear those words “it will be late.” Our Lord goes on to say: “The conversion of Russia will be a Triumph that will be recognized by the entire world”… Yes, in 1984 the Pope (John Paul II) quite timidly attempted to consecrate Russia in St Peter’s Square. I was there just a few feet away from him because I was the organizer of the event… he attempted the Consecration but all around him were some politicians who told him “you can’t name Russia, you can’t!” And he asked again: “Can I name it?” And they said: “No, no, no!” —Fr. Gabriel Amorth, interview with Fatima TV, November, 2012; watch interview here
But Elisha the prophet calls Naaman to come see him, giving him the instructions to wash seven times in the Jordan. But Naaman is angry. What’s wrong with my rivers? And why not wash once? In fact, why wash at all? Just wave your hand and let me go home! Here, Naaman is suffering from one of the greatest maladies to inflict the twenty-first century: rationalism.  Even many in the Church have ceased to believe in the supernatural: in biblical and modern miracles, in the existence of demons and angels, in the charisms of the Holy Spirit, in the apparitions of Our Lord and Lady and so forth. Why consecrate Russia? Why not just one First Saturday instead of five? What will this do anyway?! And so, we go away cynical, perturbed — angry.
But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
“My father,” they said,
“if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?”
As Jesus says in today’s Gospel:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place… “
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town…
Yes, we too, have driven out the prophets — mocked, censored, and maligned them. We have ridiculed their warnings, rejected their simplicity, and cast stones at anyone who would dare consider them as truth. And hence, as Fr. Gabriel said, the chilling words “They will do the consecration but it will be late!” have come true.
As I have already told you, this consecration will be made to me when bloody events are now in progress. —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, March 25th, 1984; “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Children”
While it is too late to prevent the Great Storm that has begun passing over the world, this act of obedience by the Pontiff and bishops of the world will no doubt help to accomplish the Triumph of good over evil. How? I have no idea — except that we know that God has given to this simple handmaiden, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the power to crush the head of the serpent.
At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer [the Rosary], and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation. Today I willingly entrust to the power of this prayer… the cause of peace in the world and the cause of the family. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 39; vatican.va
In my experience—so far I have performed 2,300 rites of exorcism—I can say that the invocation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary often provokes significant reactions in the person being exorcized… —Exorcist, Fr. Sante Babolin, Catholic News Agency, April 28th, 2017
One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.” —The late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of Rome, Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace, March-April edition, 2003
To be certain, Mary’s humility and obedience utterly undid the work of Satan’s pride and disobedience, and thus, she is the object of his hatred. This is why consecration to her — whether it is personally or nationally — places those named under the patronage of this “woman clothed in the sun” who has appeared in this “final confrontation” against the dragon.
Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 970
The Consecration of Russia may not make sense to our uber rationalist minds. But it doesn’t have to. It depends upon our obedience — not our understanding. If we do what we are asked, we are assured that we will see, at the appointed time, the glorification of God.
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.”
|↑2||cf. Did the Consecration of Russia Happen?|
|↑3||cf. Rationalism, and the Death of Mystery|
|↑4||Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Douay-Rheims). “…this version [in the Latin] does not agree with the Hebrew text, in which it is not the woman but her offspring, her descendant, who will bruise the serpent’s head. This text then does not attribute the victory over Satan to Mary but to her Son. Nevertheless, since the biblical concept establishes a profound solidarity between the parent and the offspring, the depiction of the Immaculata crushing the serpent, not by her own power but through the grace of her Son, is consistent with the original meaning of the passage.” (POPE JOHN PAUL II, “Mary’s Emnity toward Satan was Absolute”; General Audience, May 29th, 1996; ewtn.com.) The footnote in the Douay-Rheims agrees: “The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.” (Footnote, p. 8; Baronius Press Limited, London, 2003)|