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“Continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you..”

– Our Lady of Fatima, 13th July 1917

Praying for peace in the world featured heavily in the message of Fatima. The Blessed Virgin spoke explicitly of it on three different occasions during the course of Her six public appearances in the Cova d’Iria, and She spoke about it in a broader context at least twice more – She noted the effects of the lack of true peace, affecting every level of the life of the Church and of humanity. Clearly, then, the theme of peace in the world is important to Her.

But what does ‘peace in the world’ actually mean? What is ‘peace’?

Peace is more than simply the absence of war. It is perfectly possible to be without war – and yet, not to have peace. Various situations presently occuring in the world illustate this; although forces are not directly fighting each other, there is certainly not anything that might properly be called ‘peace’. Rather, there is a continual sense of tension, with particular places being very much ill at ease and with the potential for certain situations to deteriorate more than they already have. For some of those situations, the danger is that in escalating, the threat extends out and beyond the local area; and history reminds us that the past wars affecting the entire world began with seemingly smaller events in particular places.

Peace is also a condition of the human heart, will and soul. As individual persons, we need to be ‘at peace’ – with ourselves, with those around us, and (above all else) with God. Where we are not at peace with the Lord, we cannot truly be at peace with ourselves – and this will invariably lead to a lack of people between people. God is the spindle which holds the wheel together, and from which every spoke of life extends; without Him, the wheel cannot properly function and will collapse upon itself.

So if peace is a condition of the human person in his relationship to God and to the people and the world around him, how do we attain it?

Our Blessed Lady gives us the answer over and over again – prayer, and especially the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

Prayer is the bridge connecting us to the Lord, the channel through which our opened hearts can receive His grace; and when enough of us are ‘right with God’, true peace will begin to descend upon the earth. What is clear, then, is that peace is not something that comes from us alone – it is not something we can achieve by our own efforts. It comes from God alone. And it is obtained for us by the Blessed Virgin, who is the Mediatrix of every grace that God deigns to bestow; Her motherly pleadings obtain all these graces for us, for the Lord can refuse Her nothing, nor does He wish to, for dispensing grace through Her intercession conforms to His divine will. Remember, that at the foot of the Cross, the Lord gave the Blessed Virgin as a Mother to every single one of us – whether we recognise or accept this truth, or not – in the person of Saint John. And like Saint John, we are asked to take Her into our homes and our hearts and to love Her there. In coming to Fatima to speak about the need for peace, She was mindful of Her motherly role – and She asks that we be mindful of our responsibility as Her children.

The Mother of God asks specifically for the prayerful recitation of the Holy Rosary, this prayer which is so very dear to Her Immaculate Heart. At Her third appearance at Fatima, She told the children –

“Continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you..”

This was a very specific request. It was the Rosary that She asked for. Why? Because the Rosary is a such a powerful prayer, one which truly opens the heart to the Lord as we meditate upon the mysteries of His life and mission, His Passion, Death and Resurrection, and the promise that He will come again in glory. In praying the Rosary well, we imitiate the Blessed Virgin Herself, who “treasured all these things and piondered them in Her Heart”. We could have no better model.

If, as the Blessed Virgin tells us, “only She can help you” in this quest for peace, it can only be because God has entrusted peace to Her. It is in Her safekeeping; and in appearing at Fatima, She has told us what we need to do to obtain it and to live it.

May all of us, confident in Her motherly assistance, hear and answer Her request by taking up our Rosaries and praying every day for true peace – in our own hearts, between all hearts and so in all the world.

Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Holy Rosary and Queen of Peace, pray for us.