by Angelo Scuderi
Date: February 2, 2008
In 1990 I went to Medjugorje for the first time. I was curious to see for myself this extraordinary phenomena of Mary’s apparitions, and I ardently desired “perceiving” her presence, so that I too could feel accepted and loved by Mary. I have always loved our Lord, even as a child, and trusted in Him. I have also sinned much in my life, however this didn’t impede me from turning constantly to God. If He came as the Physician for the sick, why shouldn’t I have brought my ailments to Him?
I spent a few years in a seminary, because I felt the desire to become a priest. I had dreams of becoming a priest for the poor, for those who live in misery, be it spiritual or material. I would have liked to reach out to the poorest, the marginalized, the imprisoned, the drug addict, and whoever felt abandoned. Perhaps it was because I knew what it meant to be poor, that I felt for them. There’s a lot to learn from the poor; from their humility and gratitude. Scripture teaches us that God chooses his own from amongst the littlest of the world; the type of people that our society would gladly discard.
I had many projects and good intentions; I had the desire to become important for Mary. I wanted to be called by name by our heavenly Mother, for her to take an interest in me. I prayed for the interior strength to carry on with my mission, without fear, and be able to bring a word of hope to others. At Medjugorje Mary was there; she was waiting for me, and wanted my complete happiness. I have understood that God can bring good out of our errors; for instance, He can help us understand others who have fallen into the same sin. The fact that we have sinned in the same way opens our hearts and makes us feel for them, so we can carry these people in our hearts and offer them up to the Lord at Mass and in our prayer, and even offer acts of reparation for them.
So I came to understand more fully the meaning of our priestly role in the common priesthood of the faithful which is “exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace, in a life of faith, hope and charity; a life according to the Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1547). In my heart it seemed to me that the Lord was saying that it was time to stop hiding from God behind hypocrisy. Often, out of fear of God, we tend to play the same hiding trick as Adam did after the original sin, thinking that He will just want to punish us. But this is a sign that we know very little about God who instead is very loving. Out of His immense love He gave us Mary as Mother, and has allowed her to remain in our midst all these years at Medjugorje, for the good of our souls. Mary is a true Mother who wants to lead us back on the path of righteousness, the path to God. She doesn’t care about our imperfections; I’m sure she even justifi es us before God.
When we allow Mary to become our Mother, she takes us under her wing and teaches us to love God, helping us to draw into a more intimate relationship with Him. At Medjugorje I received the grace to love Mary with the heart, just as one would love one’s own family. I call upon her all the time, in good times and bad. What we often do, instead, is to keep dear ones out of our lives, and open up our hearts to false loves that only end up poisoning us. In her great love as Mother, Mary cleanses, heals, and nourishes us, making us presentable for God who wants to live in our hearts.
Years after my first visit to Medjugorje, Mary has called me to a journey of total selfdonation as a lay member in a fraternity. I am happy to be an instrument of God, and I try to respond every day, using, and trying to put into practice Mary’s own words: “Thy will be done in me.” There are so many people today who live in darkness, with a life of alcohol or drug addiction, or who suffer despair and misery for various other forms of sorrow. I know that God wants everyone with Him in His kingdom. As an instrument, I pray that I can bring His love and joy to others, and be a light for those in darkness, through prayer and reparation.
This is how I try to live my consecration: Make space for Mary, to be like her a gift for others and become a true son of the Father. I see that in doing this I receive the most joy and experience the most Love. This call requires that we learn to die to ourselves every day, and live in the certainty that this “death” of ours generates the life of God in us and others. Years after that distant 1990 my heart, with the work at Mary’s school, is now ready to accept this call by the spiritual family Kraljice Mira. In this spiritual family one is called to live out meekness, humility and obedience.
At Medjugorje I was seeking love for myself; I wanted Mary’s attention. She gave me much more, for I received the desire to follow her messages to have an open heart to receive God’s love, and to bring this love also to the least of my brothers. I understood the common priesthood, and the call to offer up my life for the sake of my brethren. I give thanks to Mary for her beautiful gift of Love.