In the Old Testament, the Jewish people were waiting for an earthly kingdom. They were wrong. The kingdom Christ promised was a spiritual kingdom. The same at Fatima. Our Lady promised the conversion of Russia and peace in the world if the necessary consecration of Russia was made to her Immaculate Heart. These conversion and peace are both spiritual. Conversion is an act of grace which God alone can accomplish; and the peace which Christ mentioned was one which the world cannot give but He alone. Both conversion and peace are spiritual realities humanly unattainable.
The Benedictines made "Peace" their motto. It is written all over their monasteries. And I believe this peace, promised at Fatima, has been given to many faithful who have obtained it through a long process as described below. But many are waiting for a political, worldly peace as propagated by the United Nations. That is not the peace Mary promised.
Of the promise of the conversion of Russia, we should not expect to see a grand ceremony of mass baptism into the Catholic Faith. It is a conversion of the heart which is not visible, not even to the persons who will attain it.
Conversion is a long process. When Mary called the Church to repentance at Fatima, most Catholics could not do it. So the threatened chastisement befell men. If Catholics find it difficult to repent, the step prior to conversion, how can we expect Russia to be converted without passing through the long and difficult process of repentance?
Peace, according to St. Augustine, is the fifth stage through which the soul normally passes as it advances to the perfection of Charity. To reach that stage the soul must have virtues, the fourth stage. 'Avoid evil, do good and pursue peace' ... is an evangelical axiom that shows peace is practically the last step in the development of the spiritual life, the peace that "surpasses all understanding."
Perhaps the promise of Mary at Fatima is that when Russia is consecrated, she will help her to go through the slow process of repentance that will lead her to what spiritual writers call "the first conversion" and consequently peace. Then perhaps Russia will suddenly realize the beauty of its Christian roots and return to her communion with Rome. Thus the process towards repentance leading to conversion would then begin. A slow process that could take years, and we cannot rush it because of man's free will, but Mary will help.
As for peace, it is also a long process to attain. Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit that is given in aid of the Theological virtues for the perfection of Charity. With Repentance too difficult for most Catholics, thus preventing them from entering into the Theological virtue of Faith that leads to the "peace that no one can give but God alone," how can the world expect to easily attain the gift of peace?
If Rome seems not to have acted upon the wishes of the Virgin at Fatima, it is probably because many would expect a worldly peace to ensue wherein wars and crimes will stop, thus making Rome liable of giving a wrong notion of the peace of Christ which really is the exact opposite of worldly peace, as He has said, " I came not to bring peace . . ."
Our hope is that mankind obeys Mary's plea to Repent. If we do this, we will all be well on the way to Conversion and Peace.