This topic of conversion through the consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary can be very well treated if it is based on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is because the union of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary forms the core of all the messages of Mary during all her apparitions>which goes to prove that the two Hearts are inseparable.
During the summer of 1916, a year before Mary appeared at Fatima to the 3 seers, Lucia, Francisco & Jacinta, an angel who described himself as guardian angel of Portugal appeared to them and said: "Pray! pray a great deal. The Heart of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs on you".
Again the angel prayed as follows in the prayer of the Eucharistic offering: "It is by the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the (intercession of) the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that I beg the conversion of poor sinners".
With the happenings at Tsevie in Togo, especially the Great Miracle of the Sun occurring on two different days at Tsevie and several times in Accra, Cape Coast, Buoho and other places in Ghana, people may now believe that Mary is real and alive and not dead as our critics claim. The miracle of the Sun is a sign from God to prove the authenticity of Mary's apparitions, to prove that Mary's apparitions are true.
We know from our Catholic Faith that God works miracles, everyday and that real miracles worked in favour of God's message are certain proofs that in fact that message comes from God. This miracle of the Sun as happened in Fatima, and now happening in our own eyes in Togo and Ghana is indeed apocalyptic in its dimensions, as predicted in Luke 21:25: "There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea".
At Fatima, God confirmed Mary's messages, by the Miracle of the Sun, which was watched by more than 70,000 people. In the same way, Mary's apparitions at Tsevie, Togo, and miracle of the sun which took place on 13th and 25th July 1999, was also watched by about 200,000 people from Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Togo itself. Here too God confirmed the presence of Mary and the authenticity of her messages by the same miracle of the sun just as the one which took place at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917.
In our recent times, there have been numerous reports of Marian apparitions around the world. Only few of these have received official Church approval. Among all these Marian apparition sites of the 20th century, six of them are the ones most talked about, but only two of these six have received most attention. These are Fatima and Medjugorje. The other four are Paris, La Salette, Lourdes and Portmain all in France. The others which have not received much attention are Banneux (Belgium), Kibeho (Rwanda), Amsterdam (Holland).
At Amsterdam, Mary, calling herself the Lady of All Nations, appeared many times to Ida Peerdeman. Promising world peace, Mary told Ida to petition the Pope for the "Last Dogma in Marian History", including the titles: Co-Redemptrix with the Redeemer, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate for the people of God.
I do not yet know whether Ida actually petitioned the Pope. But within the past six years or so there has been a movement called Vox Populi, Mariae Mediatrici in America, led by Prof. Mark Miraville, a lay theologian of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. The aim of this Movement is to put pressure on the Holy Father the Pope, John Paul II, through a series of petition drive, for him to proclaim a new dogma, of the Roman Catholic faith; that the Virgin Mary is "Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate for the People of God".
In pursuance of this aim about 4.50 million signatures from about 157 countries throughout the world, supporting the proposed dogma. Among the notable supporters are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, of blessed memory, nearly 500 bishops and about 42 Cardinals, and about half a dozen Cardinals from the Vatican itself.
If this drive succeeds, Catholics would be obliged, as a matter of faith to accept three extraordinary doctrines; (1) that Mary participates in the redemption achieved by her Son; (2) that all graces that flow from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ are granted only through Mary's intercession with her Son; and (3) that all prayers and petitions from the faithful on earth must likewise flow through Mary, who then brings them to the attention of Jesus.
Mother angelica, 74, a nun whose Eternal World Television Network, reaches 55 million homes in 38 countries from her convent studios in Birmingham, Ala, has said that: "if we refuse to define the Marian dogmas, I think trial and persecution and tragedy will follow" It is believed that: "If the Holy Father would define this dogma, it would save the world from great catastrophes and loosen God's mercy even more upon this world".
A papal definition of Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, will effect a great outpouring of grace upon the Church today in giving honour to the Mother of Jesus, and this also will be in complete fulfillment of Mary's own prophecy, "All generations will call me blessed" (Lk. 1:48). Another editor of a magazine called "Signs of the Times" called Maureen Flynn and her husband Ted, have also pieced together a scenario from all the messages of Mary in her apparitions, dating back a century. They foresee a supernatural warming, the world's greatest miracle, followed by three days of darkness which they call "the great chastisement". This "three days darkness prophecy" has been confirmed by Our Lady herself at Tsevie, Togo in 1999.
The Fatima apparitions and messages received the official Church approval in 1930. In giving her official approval to the Fatima events, the Church tells us that what took place at Fatima involving the three young visionaries or seers is worthy of belief. The Church's investigations of the events at Medjugorje and other places like Tsevie are still going on.
It is interesting to note that Mary's apparitions at any place has been made basically because of some moral evils or some serious errors or sins that are being committed in the world or in that particular locality. This is the reason why the apparitions of Our Lady in the nineteenth century took place in France.
In all these apparitions and the messages all what Our Blessed Mother is asking from us, and also the Church and the Gospel is a return to God, a Renewal, complete change over, which is also a complete change of hearts. This is why she has been repeating in all her apparitions for the praying of the rosary, for we believe that the rosary renews hearts, changes people, and when people change society will also change, or convert or surrender completely to God i.e. PERSONAL CONVERSION.
The word 'to convert' by dictionary definition means change from one religion to another, or change from paganism to Christianity, or changing ones beliefs; also a man changing from atheism to Christianity. But in our context conversion means complete COME BACK TO GOD.
There are two basic types of personal conversion that Mary is calling for in all Her apparitions. The first type involves those who have seriously strayed from God or those who do not know God at all, pagans, or those who do not believe in God - atheists. For these, the message of conversion is calling them back, or calling them to the path of basic and essential Christian living. The other type of conversion concerns those who are in an essentially correct relationship with God, but are not doing much. Our Blessed Mother is calling these people to a deepening of their spiritual lives in Christ.
In Our Lady's apparitions at Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje, and recently Tsevie, she has been calling for a distinct or special type of personal conversion, a life full of holiness. Her call to conversion at these apparition sites centers on our personal consecration or our total surrender to God, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Her own Immaculate Heart. In order to emphasise on this she said at Medjugorje:
"Dear children, today again, I am calling you to complete conversion. I am inviting you, dear children, to convert fully to God" (Medjugorje Jan. 25, 1988).
Again in July 25, 1988, Mary said:
"Dear children, today I am calling you to complete surrender to God. Everything you do and everything you possess give over to God so that He can take control of your life as the King of all that you possess. That way, through me, God can lead you into the depths of the spiritual life " This is a serious warning to me and to you, to all of us in the world. Are we responding to Our Lady's requests, for conversion which will give us peace? My brother my sister, we must convert. Here to convert, Our Lady means, we should do more than what we have been doing, as baptised Catholics. (Rosary, confession, attendance at church, etc. love, humility etc.). This call to conversion goes to all - even Priests, Bishops and even the Pope.
We are not doing enough at all and that is why there is no peace in our world today. Even in our own country here today, some people think that we have peace, because there is no physical war going on in our country. Please let us not deceive ourselves we have no peace at all. In the face of these bribery and corruption, murders, rapes, armed robberies and things, we cannot say that we have peace. NO SIR!! Let us heed Our Lady's call, let us convert. If we fail to respond to her call then we must be prepared to face more of these tragedies.
Our Lady tells us that peace will only come when many more people will respond to her requests; when many more people will consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The word to 'consecrate' means to make holy. Only God can make a person or a thing holy. Our fundamental consecration takes place at the time of our Baptism. In Baptism we are sealed with the holiness of God. The Three Persons of the Trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost - communicate themselves to us in a most intimate manner - that is they dwell within us and give us a share in Their own holiness. Through Baptism, we truly receive a participation in the divine life, and this sharing is our life of Sanctifying Grace, our Christ-life - our sharing in Christ's character as King, Priest and Prophet (1 Pet. 2:9).
This sharing in Christ life gives us an enormous privilege and responsibility. We do not belong to ourselves anymore. We belong to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and through Christ we are called to help in the work of the redemption. This privilege and responsibility that we accept requires our subjective act of personal consecration.
To aid us in a special way in living this responsibility, God has given us the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the centre of these devotions, is a specific act of consecration. This act of consecration, which should be made personally and individually, is a very special and attractive way to live out our baptismal consecration.
Now at this point someone may ask; "Act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we accept, but why the act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a mere creature like anyone of us? This has been explained beautifully by Bro. Bossard: Author of a book entitled "Dictionary of Mary". Thus: "If, in the strict sense in question here, consecration makes one belong to God - and Christ is God - how is it possible to speak of consecrating oneself to Mary? It is possible because, by God's will, Mary has something to do with our Christian life, and with our sanctification. She is certainly not, like Christ, the source of our salvation, but she is maternally ordered to our life as children of God - always, subordinate to Him. Hence, in the full sense of the word, a consecration to Mary includes, at least implicitly, a real and essential reference to Christ and to the Baptism that binds us to Him". Jesus Christ Himself has told us that He wishes us to entrust, and to consecrate -ourselves to Mary in that striking, touching and sorrowful scene on Calvery in Jn. 19:25-26.
"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son'. Then to the disciple he said, This is your mother'. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home". (Jn. 19:25-26).
Of course, the beloved disciple is John the Evangelist, who represents all of us. In giving Mary to John as his spiritual Mother, Jesus gave Mary to all of us as our spiritual Mother also. Mary as our Mother, and as any mother will do to her children, She assists us, as Her darling children, in living our baptismal consecration, - the consecration which makes us belong entirely to God.
St. Louis De Montfort, says that "as Christ came to us through Mary, He desires that we come to Him through Mary". The Saint emphatically reminds us that by consecrating ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; for the two Hearts are one; they are inseparable. All that we do for Mary, we do for Jesus; all what we ask of her, we ask of Him; and Our Lord cannot refuse to grant what His Blessed Mother will intercede for us.
Personal consecration to the Heart of Jesus and Mary constitutes the most important part of Our Lady of Fatima's Message, because Our Mother is looking for people willing to become cells of prayer and sacrifice through consecration to her.
This personal consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary can take many forms.
To conclude I have stated earlier that Mary's call for conversion in all Her apparitions has been a call for world peace through prayer, especially the prayer of The Rosary, Penance and sacrifice. She has concluded that this peace will come only when human hearts are united with God, in loving conformity with the will of God. Our Lady's call to conversion also has a very distinguishing characteristic. She calls us to conversion by means of our consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to her own Immaculate Heart. The complete point of convergence and the intimate connection in all the messages of Mary in all her apparitions; is CONVERSION THROUGH PERSONAL CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY. In other words Mary's messages in all her apparitions are connected with our consecration to the Heart of Jesus and to her own Immaculate Heart.
Now let us take this advice from St. Paul: as found in Paul's letter to the Philippians 2:12-18: "So then, my dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did as I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation, 'in fear and trembling'. It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining, or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life"