ARCHBISHOP CONSECRATES NEW NATION
Saturday, August 18, 1962
FREAK STORMS, SWIRLING WINDS AND TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS FAILED TO TURN AWAY ABOUT 5,000 PILGRIMS FROM ATTENDING THE AUGUST 13 FATIMA DEVOTIONS AT LAVENTILLE SHRINE.
His Grace the Archbishop in addressing the gathering said: “No words are sufficient to thank you for coming here in spite of the very threatening weather. I am sure if we had the promise of better weather we would have a much larger number joining now in the Act of Consecration of our nation and people to Our Lady. We must remember that no nation can be free if that nation is not free from sin. So Our Lord said to the Jews. No one is free that is a slave to sin. It is important for us then to enter independence in a state of grace and holiness and with a strong determination to continue to live like that in all the days that lie before us.”
His Grace concluded by reminding his listeners to pray for the coming Council of the Church, and then led them in the recitation of the Act of Consecration of Trinidad and Tobago, the archdiocese of Port-of-Spain to our Blessed Lady. Finally, the archbishop imparted the special blessing of His Holiness Pope John XXIII to which was attached a plenary indulgence.
The special sermon for the occasion was preached by Rev Fr. H. de Loughry, O.P. parish priest of Sangre Grande. The following is the text of the sermon:
“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God” Matt. 6.
We have come here today to renew our consecration to the Most Pure Heart of Mary; to consecrate our homes and our families, our children and our schools, ourselves and our country.” Today’s consecration has, however a special significance. In less than 3 weeks from today Trinidad and Tobago will be the youngest nation in the world. There is already an atmosphere of expectation and joy, a spirit of excitement and adventure.
Today we consecrate our country–about to become of age–to the most Pure Heart of Mary–just as an expectant mother seeks the official blessing of God on her yet unborn infant.
Let us not be hasty therefore in what we do. Let us pause to examine the covenant before it is sealed. What do we understand by the Most Pure Heart of Mary? A thing is pure if it is without blemish. Gold is said to be pure if it contains no admixture of other metal, nothing that will lessen its value. To the Jewish people the heart had a special meaning. It meant, not that part of the human body which sends blood flowing to all our members, but all the powers of the soul, will, intellect, imagination, passions, emotions.
A pure heart then, describes a person of unblemished purpose of life. Someone who understands why God made him and is determined to fulfill that destiny. Mary, of course, had that knowledge and determination to a superlative degree–Hers is a Most Pure Heart–She is the mother of God–Immaculately conceived–full of grace–ever fibre of her being attuned to one aim and purpose–to know, love and serve God perfectly in this life so that one day she would enjoy God’s Presence–face to face–for all eternity.
This is what Our Blessed Lord meant when he said–‘Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God”. He uttered these words, incidentally, when He was giving what we might call the new Constitution or new Charter upon which His Kingdom would be based. He had this in mind also when He reduced all the law to one commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind” – “with all they strength”.
Consecration of our country to the Most Pure Heart of Mary means then: that in so far as is possible for each one of us as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, our nation will be specially set aside, made holy with this one purpose–to know, love and serve God perfectly–thereby reflecting in very tangible manner the determination and constancy of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.
Before such purpose can be achieved almost miraculous changes may have to come about. In fact unless such changes do come about our country is not truly independent or free. Political independence alone does not go deep enough. The moral character of Trinidad and Tobago must also taste the same liberty. In countless ways the chains of vice bind us to a very low standard of conduct.
Our native love for rhythm and music seems to be enslaved by filthy songs and suggestive dancing. Our national conscience cannot express itself freely because of bribery and perjury. A great percentage of our children are in blissful ignorance of the happiness and joy of true Christian family life. It is sad to read the statistics concerning the number of children born outside lawful wedlock. Sadder still to see the number of husbands and wives selfishly and foolishly seeking to break the insoluble bond of the Sacrament of Marriage.
It was obviously a wise inspiration that urged our Premier to ask us to discipline our lives. Discipline brings firm decisions and constant determination. Let us not be disheartened by past failures. With the help of God’s grace we are invincible, we can go forth as a youthful nation, children of God, free in the liberty of Divine Grace.
If each of us here today renews this Act of Consecration sincerely, then we can truly say that here at Laventille have been sown the seeds of great destiny for our people.
Surely our Divine Lord can look down on Trinidad and Tobago with these words: “Here is a people fashioned after My Own Heart, living in according to the Most Pure Heart of Mary my mother”.
“I will make this people a free people; I will give them a heart to know Me that I am the Lord; they shall be my people and I will be their God. Because they shall return to Me with their whole heart” (Jer. 24).