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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 181 (May-June 2005)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 March 2005:
“Dear Children! Today I call you to
love. My Children, love each other with
God’s love. At every moment, in joy and
in sorrow, may love prevail and, in this
way, love will begin to reign in your
hearts. The Risen Jesus will be with you
and you will be His witnesses.
I will rejoice with you and protect
you with my motherly mantle.
Especially, my Children, I will watch
over your daily conversion with love.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
Witnesses of
the Risen Jesus
“Dear Children, I call you to love,”
says Mary in her message on Good Friday
in the year 2005, and John, the Apostle of
Love, who was with Mary at the foot of
the Cross to receive Jesus’ last breath, also
says to us: “Beloved, let us love one
another, for love is of God, and he who
loves is born of God and knows God. He
who does not love does not know God; for
God is love.”
(1 Jn 4:7-8). Love is there,
hanging on the Cross: a stumbling stone
(Rm 9:32), and sign of contradiction (Lk
2:34) so that what is hidden is revealed.
Now we know who our God is: the Death
and Resurrection of Jesus have revealed it
to us. The Light of the Spirit which flows
out from them enlightens the mystery
hidden for ages in God (Eph 3:9).
“My Children, love each other with
God’s love” specifies Mary. This is
important in today’s world where love
seems to have lost its original meaning. The
love of God is the love Jesus revealed to
us with His Life; it is the love described by
Paul in his famous ode to Love (1Co 13).
“At every moment, in joy and in
sorrow, may love prevail and, in this
way, love will begin to reign in your
hearts.”
Put love in all circumstances of
happiness and sadness. The love which
comes from God, in fact, doesn’t depend
on life’s events. Quite to the contrary, life’s
events take on meaning and value thanks
to the love with which they are lived. For
if we live events in the love of God they
will be enriched with His saving power,
evil will be disarmed, and life’s events will
be injected with good. And love will begin
to reign in our hearts; the Kingdom of God
will begin to grow in us and around us.
“The Risen Jesus will be with you
and you will be His witnesses.” To be
witnesses of the Risen Jesus means to
allow Jesus to live in us. It isn’t enough to
say you believe in God; you must say
which god you believe in. It isn’t enough
to say that you believe in the God of
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and not
even that you believe in God incarnated in
Jesus, if this then remains a mere verbal
declaration that doesn’t affect your way
of living.
It isn’t enough to say that you believe
in the God of Love if you then doubt His
Love, if you don’t love your neighbour with
the same love that God loves us, if you are
not able to love your enemies, and unable
to give and ask for forgiveness. Of course,
all this isn’t easy, and may seem beyond
our reach; but we have the Church, the
Sacraments, and the ordinary and
extraordinary graces that God never fails
to lavish on us. We have Mary; she is truly
our Mother, who guides, supports and
intercedes for us. We need to seriously
decide to let Jesus live in us. Mary will
rejoice with us and protect us with her
motherly mantle.
We can begin with small steps; the
important thing is that they are motivated
by a sincere desire to surrender oneself to
God. And we can let Mary be the guide of
our daily conversion, as we live our
baptism day by day. She will lovingly
watch over
this daily decision of ours for
the Risen Jesus, and the small things that
we are able to realize for His sake will
blossom into conversion and love, and
even if they don’t mean much for the
world, they will be infinitely pleasing to
God, for they will mature into fruits of the
Resurrection.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
... YOU ARE PETER!
Our Lady’s message of 25 April 2005 :
“Dear Children, Also today I call you
to renew prayer in your families. By
prayer and the reading of Sacred
Scripture, may the Holy Spirit, Who will
renew you, enter into your families. In
this way, you will become teachers of
the faith in your families. By prayer
and your love, the world will set out on
a better way and love will begin to reign
in the world. Thank you for responding
to my call.”
Pray and Love
We have seen great events, yet no
matter how moving they may be, they
cannot change our life. Wasn’t this so for
the tsunami? And perhaps it is so also for
the great crowds that filled the Vatican for
John Paul II’s death and for the election
of Benedict XVI. Emotion, even when
sincere, is sterile if it doesn’t bear the fruit
of conversion: much like the seed that falls
to the side of the road or amongst the stones
or thorns (cf. Mt 13:18-23). Emotion on its
own isn’t enough, though it can serve as a
starting block. No matter how lofty man’s
feelings or qualities, they are worthless if
they cause him to depart from God’s
designs. “God created man in his own
image; in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them”
(Gen
1:27).
Of all visible creatures, man (male
and female) alone is called to share, by
knowledge and love, in God’s own life
(Catechism Catholic Church, 356).
Man’s dignity lies precisely in this call.
To seek the reasons for human dignity
elsewhere would be to disfigure the divine
image of which man is bearer, and to
declass him, placing him on the same level
as other living creatures. To forget or not
acknowledge the divine origin of man is
what is behind all forms of public and
private violence, of tyranny, of injustice,
and of every sin against man and against
God. What can be done? We can take
Mary’s calls seriously, and decide for God;
choose Him, and live for Him.
“Also today I call you to renew
prayer in your families.” The call is
especially to renew prayer, which is not
only to begin again to pray, but to pray
wholeheartedly. It’s not easy, but it can
be learnt if we persist: by praying one
learns to pray. Our Lady also stresses
“prayer in the family.” This makes us think
of Jesus’ words when He said that if two
or three of us are united in His Name, He
is in our midst (cf. Mt 18:20), but it is
equally true that the family is the
fundamental cell of society, and as such it
is there that the process of social healing
must begin.
May-June 2005 - Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace, P.O. Box 27, I-31030 Bessica Treviso, Italy. Yr 21 # 3
Ph/fax +39 (0)423-470331 - Email: info@ecodimaria.net- A translation of the original Italian: EcodiMaria
181
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“By prayer and the reading of Sacred
Scripture, may the Holy Spirit, Who will
renew you, enter into your families,”
Mary
most wisely suggests, and most certainly
hopes. Prayer and reading of the holy
Scripture
cannot be separated since it is
through Scripture (OT and NT) that we
know the God to Whom we pray. Our God
is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob,
and He revealed Himself to us in Jesus
Christ, Who says: “He who believes in me
believes not in me but in him who sent me”
(Jn 12:44-45)
, and “he who receives me
receives him who sent me” (Jn 13:20).
“May the Holy Spirit enter into your
families and renew you.” If we take Our
Lady’s call to prayer seriously, the Holy
Spirit will enter into our lives and families
and will renew us in love. He will give to
us Jesus, and present us to the Father. The
family, then, will be a model of the
Trinitarian mystery of Divine Life, as JPII
said in his Letter to Families (no. 6). With
the new life that the Holy Spirit will instil
in us we shall be able to teach the faith
in our families
, and to collaborate in the
construction of the civilization of love
which JPII prophesied in his Letter to
Families.
N.Q.
Feast of Mercy
Jesus first spoke of his desire for
the feast of the Divine Mercy to Sr.
Faustina in 1931: “I desire that there be
a feast of Mercy. I want this image,
which you will paint with a brush, to
be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday
after Easter; that Sunday is to be the
feast of Mercy”
(Diary, 49). In the years
that followed Jesus spoke again about
this request in 14 other apparitions.
A great promise accompanies this
feast: “Whoever approaches the Fount
of Life on this day will be granted
complete remission of sins and
punishment”
(300), said Jesus. “I want
to grant a complete pardon to the souls
that will go to Confession and receive
Holy Communion on the Feast of My
Mercy”
(1109).
This is a special grace granted to
those who worthily receive Holy
Communion on this day: “complete
remission of sins and punishment.”
This grace, explains Fr. I. Rozycki, “is
something decidedly greater than
plenary indulgence. The latter, in fact,
consists only in remission of temporal
punishment for sins. Instead with these
promises, Christ has raised this grace
to the rank of a “second baptism.”
THANK YOU PAPA WOJTYLA!
“When I am lifted up from the earth I
shall draw everyone to me”
Jesus said this to announce that
incomprehensible and unexpected moment
of salvation when from the Cross He would
have drawn the gaze of every man to
Himself: the pagan gaze of the Romans,
the homicidal gaze of His crucifiers, the
indifferent or curious gaze of passers-by,
the repentant gaze of the thief on His right,
the contemplative gaze of His beloved
disciple, the loving and sorrowful gaze of
His Mother. And Jesus, “who had no form
or comeliness that we should look at him,”
(Is 53:2) touched hearts and changed them.
The same can be said of our former and
beloved Papa (Pope in Italian), John Paul
II, who in his last days of life, while his body
became ever more deformed by his illness,
drew the attention of the entire world. The
eyes of all were on him, on his suffering,
and on the window where at times he
appeared to grant a gesture of blessing, a
smile – with the little strength he had left.
It was on his cross which he carried with
dignity, or rather, with the mysterious
regality born from immense humility
that all eyes were turned: Christians and
non-Christians, believers and agnostics,
the elderly and the children… The world
almost came to a halt as it watched the
old Pope take the final steps to the top
of his Calvary; to see what it’s like to
die in peace from upon the cross of one’s
illness after having totally surrendered
one’s life into the hands of the Father.
Mystery of faith, mystery of the
Cross…
The Holy Father lived this mystery
to the full, and his life was a great lesson
for us all. To the young people gathered in
Rome on Palm Sunday in preparation for
the World Youth Day, he said: “My dear
young people, this combined feast possesses
a special grace, that of joy united to the
Cross, which in itself sums up the
Christian mystery
… Be witnesses
everywhere of the glorious Cross of Christ.
Do not be afraid!”
“Everywhere” Karol Wojtyla was a
witness, thanks also to the cameras
zoomed constantly in on him and on his
suffering which he bore with faithfulness.
One only needed to see him on Good
Friday as he watched the Way of the
Cross procession from his chapel, and
tightly held the cross in his hands and
with the face of Jesus just inches away
from his.
“When I shall be lifted up from the
earth I will draw everyone to me!” It
seems paradoxical that in the moment of
greatest weakness and powerlessness one
is all the more observed and admired, and
all the more powerful.
“I am glad…”
“I am glad; be glad too. Let us pray
together with gladness. To the Virgin Mary I
entrust everything gladly”:
are the words it
has been said he wrote to those who worked
with him. Like a slaughtered lamb, his
throat had been cut a few days before – and
a tube inserted to help him breathe more
easily. The operation impeded him from
speaking, from telling us how much he
loved us.
As a “mute lamb” he let himself be led
by God to the last station of his Way of the
Cross
. A pope whose voice was mutilated,
was nonetheless heard by the whole world
in a very clear and audible manner. His
silence was eloquent; sonorous I would
say. It spoke to hearts in the silent language
of LOVE – as Jesus did in the last act of
His Passion.
“I am glad,” wrote the Pope, almost
as if to say that in that moment he was
using his cross as a trampoline to dive into
the embrace of the Eternal God: his joy
and delight.
Easter of Mercy
John Paul II died on a Saturday (2
nd
April 2005, Year of the Eucharist). Saturday
is Our Lady’s day, and being a first
Saturday, even more so. When he was born
into eternal life it was Saturday evening
which liturgically is a Sunday, and that
Sunday, 3 April, was Divine Mercy
Sunday! This is not a coincidence, but
clearly a sign from God. He had always
been devoted to the message of mercy
God sent to the world through Sr. Faustina
Kowalska, the Polish nun who in the early
1900’s began spreading devotion to Divine
Mercy and had revealed that the Lord had
asked that the second Sunday of Easter
become Divine Mercy Sunday.
The then young Karol Wojtyla, on his
way back from work in the factory, would stop
every day to pray in the chapel where the
nun received these revelations from Jesus.
He took his love for this mystic with him to
the Vatican; and with courage he confirmed
the divine request. The Holy Father thus
fulfilled his dream five years ago when he
canonized Sr. Faustina and proclaimed the
second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy
Sunday. (In 1937 Sr. Faustina was granted to
“see” the institution of this feast; see her
Diary, 1044-1048.)
The Holy Father died at 9.37 pm on
Saturday 2 April. In his room, the celebration
of Holy Mass for the feast of Divine Mercy
had begun at 8 pm. After having received
Holy Viaticum, and once again, the sacrament
of the anointing of the sick, he pronounced
AMEN. He then departed for his eternal
abode. How could we not see in all this the
hand of God?!
Joseph Ratzinger, commenting these last
moments of JPII, said: “The light and strength
of the risen Christ radiated onto the Church
in that type of ‘last Mass’ that he celebrated
whilst in his agony. It culminated in the Amen
of a life totally offered, through Mary’s
Immaculate Heart, for the salvation of the
world.”
Here I am. I am the servant of the Lord
When the Pope’s corpse was carried
2
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triumphantly into St. Peter’s, passing through
the crowd that had gathered there to applaud
him, the Church was celebrating the feast of
the Annunciation. On this day the Word of
God took off His divinity to enter the womb
of the Virgin and took upon Himself our
humanity.
On this same day the Holy Father was
stripped of his humanity so he could enter
the maternal womb of the Church and the
divinity reserved for saints. Then, the divine
Word entered Mary so He could speak to
men; now, John Paul was
entering the Church, of
which Mary is Mother,
after having spoken much
to men. Italian journalist,
Antonio Socci, recently
wrote: “He committed
himself faithfully to love.
His life was a “totus tuus” to the end. Every
day of his life he renewed his declaration of
love to the eternally youthful queen: Mary.
When the operation amputated his voice, he
woke up and wrote: ‘But what have they
done to me?’ adding: ‘In any case, I remain
wholly thine’.”
The six visionaries from Medjugorje tell
that one day in their presence Our Lady
tenderly kissed an image of Pope John
Paul II
(on the wall of the room), and
said that she herself chose him for the
Church and the world.
The seed that dies bears much fruit
Many prayed. Perhaps everyone
prayed - in one way or another. Even a
thought of appreciation or affection
sounded like a prayer in God’s heart. The
first great fruit of his death is this: that
people prayed, the world prayed. The world
was talking of God, of the Gospel, of the
example of this Polish Pope’s heroic
faithfulness and courage. There was no
compromise or half-terms in this man who
spoke of Christ, who brought others to
Christ.
Wednesday: what an audience!
This was the headline spread across
the front page of L’Osservatore Romano
(newspaper of the Holy See) accompanied
by a photo of his mortal remains. Next to
this was a photo of the “river” of pilgrims
who had come to pay
homage, and who
streamed into St. Peter’s
for days. They came from
every part of the world,
and regardless of the
fatigue they lined up for as
many as 24 hours to spend
mere seconds in his
presence, to greet and thank him, and to
thank and bless God for the gift of his
papacy, and to pray for his intercession.
That Wednesday – the day John Paul
II used to hold general audiences – he held
a “universal audience.” The hall was the
world and the audience was the entire
universe. His mouth may have been sealed,
but his silence spoke out loud.
L’Osservatore Romano commented: “This
Wednesday audience will never be
published in the papers. To read it you need
to leaf through the pages of the dictionary
of the heart. To understand it, you need
the grammar of the faith.”
Recapitulated in Christ
The two million people present for
the funeral filled St. Peter’s, the side
streets of Vatican city and the major
squares of the city of Rome where maxi
screens had been set up. Two hundred
foreign delegations - sovereigns, heads
of state, and Religious dignitaries – were
as a garland to the simple wooden casket.
On its top there was an open Gospel, and
the wind blew its pages open, from
beginning to end, from end to beginning,
continuously, until it
finally closed; as if to
say: all is finished;
every word has been
said.
The world was
gathered around him.
Even the powerful of the world appeared
small and defenceless before the one true
“Great.” But it was not a lifeless body that
drew all these people to St. Peter’s, even
though this body belonged to one of the
greatest men of the 20
th
century. It was
Another One that drew them. It was the same
Person that JPII never tired of indicating:
“open wide your doors to Christ!” and in
the end, he managed to “recapitulate all in
Jesus” as they watched, attentive, over his
lifeless body.
Sainthood immediately!
Many banners were flying amongst the
faithful the day of his funeral, accompanied
by shouts of “santo subito!”, almost as if
to force the Church to make him
immediately a saint, by popular
acclamation. In his homily, Cardinal
Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI –
seemed to anticipate this possibility: “We
can be sure that our beloved Pope is now
at the window of the house of the Father.
He can see us and is blessing us. Yes, bless
us Holy Father! We entrust your dear soul
to the Mother of God, to your Mother who
took you by the hand every day and is now
leading you to the eternal glory of her Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Stefania Consoli
News from the blessed land
Our Lady to Mirjana:
“I ask you to renew the Church”
The day that the Holy
Father died - Saturday 2 April
– coincided with the day
Mirjana Soldo receives a
monthly apparition of Our Lady.
It is usual for Mirjana to pray
together with Our Lady for non-
believers during these
apparitions of the 2
nd
of the
month. The large gathering of
faithful prayed fervently for
JPII’s health on this particular
occasion.
At the end of the apparition Mirjana told
the crowd: “Our Lady blessed us all with
her motherly blessing. She told us that the
greatest blessing we can receive on the
earth is that of a priest.
She also blessed
all the objects we brought with us (for this
purpose). Our Lady then said: ‘I now ask
you to renew the Church.’
I said to her:
‘This is asking much! Am I able to do it?
Are we able to do it?’ And Our Lady replied:
‘But my dear Children, I shall be with you!
My apostles, I shall always be with you and
I shall help you! Above all, renew
yourselves, renew your families, and then
all will be easier.’ Then I said to her:
‘Mother, only remain with us!’
Mirjana said that she asked after the
Pope but that Our Lady did not
reply. Instead they prayed together
for him.
Pope appeared to Ivan
together with Gospa
Ivan Dragicevic was in the parish
of New Hampshire in the United
States on 2
nd
April, and because of the
different time zones when the apparition
took place it was a few of hours after JP II
had died. Ivan said that during the
apparition the Pope appeared to Our
Lady’s left
. He was smiling, young-looking
and radiant with happiness. He was dressed
in white with a golden cape. Our Lady
turned to look at him, and they smiled at
each other, then she said to Ivan: ‘my dear
son is with me.’
It is known that the Holy Father
desired visiting Medjugorje. What Ivan
saw was a mere glimmer of what will be
his ministry at Medjugorje. In an
autographed letter of the Pope to a friend
of his in Krakow in which she testified to
how Medjugorje had borne fruit in her life
after a pilgrimage there, the Pope replied
that every year, in his heart, he went on
pilgrimage to Medjugorje, uniting his prayer
to that of the numerous pilgrims.
Vicka in Rome for funeral
Vicka went to Rome for the funeral of
the Holy Father, and prayed intensely the
entire morning. Vicka had met John Paul
II on various occasions, including the times
she accompanied the sick and handicapped
of Bosnia to receive his blessing, and the
time she and her husband, Mario, visited
Rome shortly after their marriage. Vicka
has always invited us all to pray much for
the Holy Father and for the Church.
Sr. Emmanuel
3
Echo 181
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Habemus Papam!
It isn’t that difficult to find an affinity with
the presence of the Queen of Peace. When
the solemn announcement was made -
habemus Papam! - it was 6.43 pm which is
when
Our Lady appears at Medjugorje.
Minutes later Cardinal JOSEPH
RATZINGER
appeared to the world for the
first time in papal attire; his evident emotion
allowing his profound sensitiveness to
transpire. Not only, but it was in 1981 that the
German Cardinal was nominated by John Paul
II as Prefect for the Congregation of the
Doctrine of the Faith
where he loyally served
for 24 long years next to the Holy Father as
faithful custodian of the Catholic faith in a
period when the integrity of delicate moral
questions was being undermined. That was
a particular year, for it was also the same year
that Our Lady began appearing
in the remote
village in Hercegovina. We don’t like to force
the issue, but after a Pope who belonged
“entirely to Our Lady” it is consoling to note
traces of Her presence also in his successor.
Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, After the
great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have
elected me, a simple and humble labourer
in the vineyard of the Lord.”
These are the
words with which the new Pontiff greeted
the many thousands of faithful who literally
ran to St. Peter’s square once the chimney of
the Sistine chapel began emitting white
smoke. “The fact that the Lord knows how
to work and to act even with inadequate
instruments comforts me, and above all I
entrust myself to your prayers. Let us move
forward in the joy of the Risen Lord, confident
in his unfailing help. The Lord will help us
and Mary, his Most Holy Mother, will be on
our side. Thank you”
A humble and tranquil first urbi et orbi
appearance for a man known among the
church hierarchy as one of the humblest and
most modest of its members. The string of
names he has been labelled with, such as the
‘grand inquisitor,’ simply don’t fit him. And if
he is feared and even “hated” by some, it is
by those who seem to have mistaken the word
“liberal” for “libertine,” that is, those who
want the Church to say yes to the world, to
the flesh and to the Devil.
Wojtyla’s right-hand man
John Paul II had immense trust in
Ratzinger’s clear-sightedness and fidelity,
and his ability to deal with the threats on the
orthodoxy of the faith. In the writing-up of
numerous apostolic documents the wisdom
of the Bavarian theologian supplied the
creative and humane Polish Pope with the
framework on which to weave important
messages for the Church and the world. Their
coupled efforts bore much fruit, yet one of
the other names Card. Ratzinger was labelled
with was “the cooler for Wojtyla’s ideas” as
if to say he were less communicative and more
prudent. Of course, it doesn’t fit either, and
the demonstration that the labels were mere
labels was given us during the Pope’s last
days, and during the days between the death
of JPII and the conclave which elected Joseph
Ratzinger as Peter’s successor. Ratzinger,
deacon of the College of Cardinals,
competently saw to everything with calm,
grace, charity and humility. We also saw his
devotion to Christ and the Church, above
and beyond his own desires and will.
“Let us pray that the conclave be brief”…
… Card. Ratzinger had said to journalists,
and it was. He was a favoured candidate, but
it surprised everyone that he should be
elected so quickly, in just over 24 hours!
He is the Pope of a Church who feels
with renewed vigour that the missionary
mandate from Christ is more current than ever.
So far we know him to be extremely intelligent,
a highly appreciated theologian, writer, and
teacher. Now we shall look up to him as the
father we lacked after experiencing what it’s
like to be orphaned after our beloved John
Paul passed away. I believe the new Pope
will surprise us with sentiments that perhaps
he was unable to fully express in the role of
guardian, such as his warmth, gentleness
and friendliness, his love for simplicity, his
sympathetic character and his sensitivity for
the beautiful expressed in his passion for
piano. And of course, he is good, a quality
which Pope Wojtyla highly appreciated after
his faith and intelligence which he loyally
placed at the service of the Church.
I shall call myself Benedict XVI
His choice of name was cause for more
surprise. Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori,
explains: “Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict of
Norsia patron saint of Europe, so choosing
this name is a reaffirmation of Europe’s
Christian roots
which the EU chose to
exclude from its Constitution.”
At his first Wednesday audience Pope
Benedict referred to his predecessor Pope
Benedict XV: “a true and courageous prophet
of peace,” who sought first to avert WWI
and later to limit the slaughter. “In his
footsteps I place my ministry, in the service
of reconciliation and harmony.” He then
spoke of St. Benedict co-patron of Europe
and founder of the religious order that
“exercised an enormous influence on the
spread of Christianity throughout the
European continent,” stressing the
importance of Europe’s Christian patrimony,
“which cannot be renounced.”
Coincidence or prophecy?
The XX World Youth Day will be held in
Germany (Cologne, 16-21 August 2005, Year
of the Eucharist). Benedict XVI will be going
back to his homeland to receive youth from
all over the world. Our beloved JP II had given
them the appointment three years previously
at the last international appointment in
Toronto. That time he didn’t say “I’ll be
waiting for you there,” as he had done the
other times, but: “Christ will be waiting for
you there.” Together with Christ, Pope
Benedict will be there, “playing on home-
ground.” He will certainly find the way, with
Christ, to win over youthful hearts.
Persecuted and persecutors
The horrors of the last century left
profound scars in the memories of many
peoples. Nazism, in particular, heavily
inflicted mortal wounds in those who
suffered under its insanity and arrogance,
especially Poland. In His utter goodness, God
desired redeeming the persecuted in an
unexpected way by calling a Polish Pope to
be the guide of His Church. God’s justice,
however, goes hand in hand with His mercy,
and today the Lord has wanted to redeem
also the persecutors by choosing a Pontiff
from the Germanic land which also suffered
under the counterattacks of the Nazi fury.
The Lord has thus raised both peoples to the
same dignity, and has reaffirmed his universal
paternity. Not taking into account merits and
demerits, He is always ready to stoop down
to all His children.
The world weeps... the world rejoices…
For days, leading up to the funeral mass,
the streets of Rome leading into Via della
Conciliazione and St. Peter ’s Square
overflowed with pilgrims, saddened but
composed, who had come from all round the
world to pay homage to the mortal remains of
their beloved Pastor. Only days later, the
crowd that rushed to St. Peter’s on the
afternoon of the 19
th
April to hear the
announcement of the new Pontiff bore
expressions of joy and expectation, hope and
new life. It all happened during the period of
Easter which is time of reawakening and of
newness. John Paul II died as a wheat grain
to bear more fruit. Benedict XVI is the first
among many on this fertile branch, given to
us that we may all be nourished.
The world applauds!
The world applauds, and already he has
surprised everyone with his unexpected and
out-of-the-ordinary visits to the apartment
where he used to live as Card. Ratzinger. With
his great humanity, openness and simplicity
in dealing with people, he is conquering
hearts, and his sheep are coming to know
and love this gentle and dedicated shepherd
who has said that his programme of the
governence of the Church is to assure
obedience to God.
On the day of his installation, Benedict
was radiant, alert, aristocratic yet humble. He
continues to ask for prayers, for support and
for friendship that he might be able to meet
the responsibilities of his new mission. He is
a man who chooses his words carefully; those
in his homily are clear, even sharp, and leave
no space for compromise. For years Pope
Wojtyla attracted hearts and helped them
open up to God. Today this Pope will give
formation to these hearts through the wisdom
of his teaching which all can comprehend.
Let us welcome him into our hearts to
sustain him in this important and burdensome
task. Let us pray for him and offer him our
love. It will be our way of saying thank you
to God for not abandoning us.
S.C.
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Benedict XVI: Sustain me!
From his first homily
“Do not fear!”
“In my soul there are two contrasting
sentiments in these hours. On the one hand,
a sense of inadequacy and human turmoil for
the responsibility entrusted to me yesterday,
and profound gratitude to God Who does
not abandon His flock, but leads it
throughout time. This intimate recognition
for a gift of divine mercy prevails in my heart
in spite of everything. I consider this a grace
obtained for me by my venerated predecessor,
John Paul II. It seems I can feel his strong
hand squeezing mine; I seem to see his smiling
eyes and listen to his words, addressed to
me especially at this moment: ‘Do not fear!’
May Christ make up for my poverty
Surprising every prevision I had, Divine
Providence called me to succeed this great
Pope. If the weight of the responsibility that
now lies on my poor shoulders is enormous,
the divine power on which I can count is
surely immeasurable. The Lord wanted me as
his Vicar ... I ask him to make up for the
poverty of my strength, that I may be a
courageous and faithful pastor of His flock,
always docile to the inspirations of His Spirit.
Let not shine my light
In undertaking his ministry, the new Pope
knows that his task is to bring the light of
Christ to shine before the men and women of
today: not his own light but that of Christ.
I affectionately embrace young people
To the young people, the privileged
interlocutors of John Paul II, I send an
affectionate embrace in the hope of meeting
them at Cologne at the next World Youth Day.
With you I will continue to maintain a
dialogue, listening to your expectations in
an attempt to help you meet ever more
profoundly the living, ever young, Christ.
ON DAY OF INSTALLATION
On the 5
th
Sunday of Easter, Benedict XVI
presided over Holy Mass for the official
beginning of His Petrine ministry. There were
half a million faithful present for the occasion:
Unheard-of task: but I am not alone
And now, at this moment, weak servant
of God that I am, I must assume this enormous
task, which truly exceeds all human capacity.
How can I possibly do it? I can say with
renewed conviction that I am not alone. I do
not have to carry alone what in truth I could
never carry alone. All the Saints of God are
there to protect me, sustain me and carry me.
The Church is alive!
During those sad days of the Pope’s
illness and death, it became wonderfully
evident to us that the Church is alive. And
the Church is young. The Church is alive –
she is alive because Christ is alive, because
he is truly risen. In the suffering that we saw
on the Holy Father’s face in those days of
Easter, we contemplated the mystery of
Christ’s Passion and we touched his wounds.
But throughout these days we have also
been able, in a profound sense, to touch the
Risen One. We have been able to experience
the joy that he promised, after a brief period
of darkness, as the fruit of his resurrection.
My programme of governance is to do His
will…
At this moment there is no need for me to
present a programme of governance, because
my real programme of governance is not to
do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas,
but to listen, together with the whole Church,
to the word and the will of the Lord, to be
guided by Him, so that He himself will lead
the Church at this hour of our history.
TWO SYMBOLS AS PAPAL SEAL
The Pallium placed on my shoulders
symbolizes the authority of the Bishop and
of his union with the See of Peter. It is woven
in pure wool, with five red crosses on it to
symbolize the five wounds of the Crucified
One, and three long pins to symbolize the
nails which pierced His hands and feet.
It is the Yoke of Christ upon my shoulders
This ancient sign is an image of the yoke
of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the
Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon
his shoulders. God’s yoke is God’s will, which
we accept. And this will does not weigh down
on us, oppressing us and taking away our
freedom. To know what God wants, to know
where the path of life is found – this was
Israel’s joy, this was her great privilege. It is
also our joy: God’s will does not alienate us,
it purifies us – even if this can be painful –
and so it leads us to ourselves.
I take the sheep upon my shoulders
The lamb’s wool represents the lost, sick
or weak sheep which the shepherd places on
his shoulders and carries to the waters of
life. The human race – every one of us – is
the sheep lost in the desert which no longer
knows the way. He is the good shepherd who
lays down his life for the sheep. What the
Pallium indicates first and foremost is that
we are all carried by Christ. But at the same
time it invites us to carry one another.
So many kinds of desert
So many people are living in the desert.
There is the desert of poverty, of hunger and
thirst, of abandonment, loneliness, of
destroyed love. There is the desert of God’s
darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer
aware of their dignity or the goal of human
life. The external deserts in the world are
growing, because the internal deserts have
become so vast. The Church as a whole and
all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to
lead people out of the desert, towards the
place of life, towards friendship with the Son
of God, towards the One who gives us life.
Love, not power, redeems!
Love is God’s sign: he himself is love.
How often we wish that God would show
himself stronger, that he would strike
decisively, defeating evil and create a better
world. All ideologies of power justify
themselves in exactly this way, they justify
the destruction of whatever would stand in
the way of progress and the liberation of
humanity. We suffer on account of God’s
patience. And yet, we need his patience. God,
who became a lamb, tells us that the world
is saved by the Crucified One, not by those
who crucified him. The world is redeemed
by the patience of God. It is destroyed by
the impatience of man.
Pray that I might learn to love God
At this moment I can only say: pray for
me, that I may learn to love the Lord more
and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to
love his flock more and more – in other words,
you, the holy Church, each one of you and
all of you together. Pray for me, that I may
not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for
one another, that the Lord will carry us and
that we will learn to carry one another.
THE FISHERMAN’S RING
The Ring bears the imagine-seal of St.
Peter. The boat and the net signify in a special
way the ring-seal which authenticates the
faith and stands for the task entrusted to
Peter to confirm his brethren.
In a sea of suffering
We are living in alienation, in the salt waters
of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness
without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us
out of the waters of death and brings us into
the splendour of God’s light, into true life. In
this mission to be fishers of men, we must
bring men and women out of the sea that is
salted with so many forms of alienation and
onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is
really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal
God to men. And only where God is seen
does life truly begin. Only when we meet the
living God in Christ do we know what life is.
Do not fear that He might deprive you of
something!
Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If
we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we
open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid
that He might take something away from us?
Are we not perhaps afraid to give up
something significant, or unique, something
that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then
risk ending up diminished and deprived of
our freedom? No! If we let Christ into our
lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing
of
what makes life free, beautiful and great.
Only in this friendship are the doors of life
opened wide, and the great potential of
human existence truly revealed. Only in this
friendship do we experience beauty and
liberation. So, today, with great strength and
conviction, on the basis of long personal
experience of life, I say to you, dear young
people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes
nothing away, and he gives you everything.
When we give ourselves to him, we receive a
hundredfold in return. Yes, open wide the
doors to Christ, and you will find true life.
I renew my promise of fidelity
Like Peter, I also renew my unconditional
promise of fidelity. God alone I intend to serve,
dedicating myself totally to the service of his
Church. To support me in this promise, I
invoke the maternal intercession of Most
Holy Mary, in whose hands I place the present
and future of my person and of the Church.
May the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and all
the saints also intervene with their
intercession. Amen
5
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Ordained by Card. Ratzinger
Msgr. Bruno Forte recalls with joy and
gratitude the day Card. Ratzinger ordained
him as bishop: “He touched everyone’s heart.
The immense crowd rejoiced as he spoke of
the beauty and truth of the faith. That
evening I felt urged to say to him that if there
were an election by acclamation, that crowd
of thousands of faithful that evening would
have acclaimed him Pope.”
Mons. Forte, a theologian and esteemed
teacher, is at present the Bishop of Chieti.
Commenting Card. Ratzinger’s rise to the
Papacy, he said: “He will be the Pope of the
truth of love, of which our present world is in
so much need. It needs truth because the
wide-spread relativism – particularly in the
field of morals – is a worm in people’s
consciences; and the crowds of loners –
characteristic of the post-modern society –
are nostalgic and so in need of love.
In his homily prior to the Conclave
Ratzinger himself stressed these same two
elements, raised almost as a banner to mark
his imminent pontificate: “Card.Ratzinger’s
true self continued to shine out,” continues
Msgr. Forte. “He didn’t minimize any part of
his character. He was totally honest, to the
end. The two key words in his homily were
truth and mercy! The truth isn’t proclaimed
to strike out against someone, but out of love
for everyone. You don’t truly love the others
by discounting the Truth, for salvation and
freedom come from knowing the whole truth.
This is the theologian, the pastor, the man
and the believer to whom Providence wanted
to entrust the keys of Peter. There are those
who don’t know him and who cannot see
beyond the exterior aspects of his person,
but those who know him, see how the truth
which he loves so ardently will radiate from
him for the benefit of many. And I am certain
those whose hearts are not burdened by fears
or prejudice will have no trouble in seeing
this.”
Msgr. Forte, a disciple, son and friend
of Joseph Ratzinger, concludes: “May
God, Who called him out of love to be our
Pastor, sustain and accompany him at
every step! The sea of history needs the
boat of Peter, and the helm of Peter’s boat
is in good hands; they are hands available
and open to the provident love and direction
of the Eternal God.”
Theologians: who are they?
If I wanted to describe the task of a
theologian I couldn’t find a better image
than that of the explorers sent out by
Moses to scout the land promised by God,
and who came back from the land of
Canaan loaded with its delicious fruits to
awaken in the hearts of the Lord’s people
the desire to conquer, without hiding from
them the difficulties they would encounter.
In a certain way a theologian is the one
in a community of believers who must
search the horizon, indicate the Homeland,
awaken in the hearts of people nostalgia
for the eternal, and urge them to never tire
of seeking out the Mystery and to be
impassioned and thirsty mendicants of the
absolute.
Theology as such is not a cold and void
doctrine; it isn’t aristocratic love for wisdom
such as philosophy. Theology is the wisdom
of love
, it is the attempt to bring to the word
the experience of charity, and to make it
contagious so that love is knitted into the
daily lives of people and so it enflames
humble hearts.
A theologian speaks of God’s love.
He makes sure the memory of the love
story told by God on Good Friday is kept
alive in the heart of the Church. That is
why theology is best unfolded in an
atmosphere of silence, adoration, and
acceptance, so it can awaken the desire
for things that are to come, that are new.
St. John of the Cross writes in one of
his minor works that the Father spoke one
word, and that word was His Son. This
word He repeats in an eternal silence, and
in silence it must be heard and constantly
re-heard by the soul. Theology thus
demands silence of adoration, and that the
faithful humbly accept the Spirit within
their hearts.
In this way alone, theology reveals the
horizons in the darkness of the world, and
indicates the Homeland of our future, the
knowledge of which though certain is an
“eventide” knowledge (St. Thomas)
because what we know is like the evening
shadows compared to the full light of the
day, since the glorious day of love is yet
to come.
We live in expectation of another
time and another Homeland. We are
pilgrims marching towards God’s city, and
this gives infinite hope to our heart.
Kierkegaard, a great witness to the faith
of modern times, said that a professor of
theology is such because another died on
the cross for his sake.
The Teacher is Christ, Who is alive
in His Church, Who communes with
His pastors
. A theologian is one who
searches for the Mystery in this Church
that we love, to witness the gift received
gratuitously, to light up the desire to seek
anew so that ever again the story of love
is brought to the lives of all.
Always love the Church! and the story
of our love will be contagious and will
transform the heart of the world. Always
be a part of God’s love story, and remain
in the poor and crucified communion of
this Church which for all its faults and
lackings is the Lord’s beautiful Bride.
I wish to conclude with an image which
at first may seem odd, but which is a very
old and very beautiful image. The fathers
of the Church used to say that the Church
was the moon
. Why the moon? For just
as the moon shines not with its own light
but with the light of the sun, so ought the
Church shine not with her own light.
Instead, she must shine out in the night of
the world with Christ’s light. We do not
point at ourselves; we do not proclaim
ourselves. We indicate and proclaim Jesus,
the Lord of our lives, the crucified Love
of God who converted our hearts and
made us His witnesses. In silence we
contemplate and adore our Lord. So this
then is the Church-moon… the story of
the moon is the story of the Church!
Bruno Forte, bishop of Chieti Italy
Between Heaven and Earth
Suspended mid air; neither up nor
down; neither in heaven nor on earth,
but there, most mysteriously, in a
dimension where one lacks both earthly
support and the levity of heavenly things.
This vital point where one is detached from
everything, where the course of everything
comes to a halt, is the dwelling place of
our cross. It is here that we find ourselves
when reality leads us down a different path
to what we would have desired or
expected. There we are, “between heaven
and earth” - surprisingly suspended. What
is it that keeps us there?
What makes
this unlikely equilibrium possible? Some
hidden or unknown force? No. All it is, is
one, little, yet very powerful word: “yes.”
It is our adhesion, liberal but decisive, to
that uncomfortable position that makes it
possible; as though our yes were a hook.
But why? For how long? For whom?
cries out our heart in the hardest moments.
Indeed, it is difficult to resist when your
‘normality’ is interrupted and you have still
to ‘land,’ or attain the peace that is
admirably born from dying to self. This
malaise is beyond our control; it is not
determined by us. It is a thing of God. He
alone can control it. All we can do is wait
and hope, invoke and believe, cry and love.
For indeed, in this suspended state
it seems that only the heart is alive.
The rest of the body seems surprisingly
absent and silent, and is accompanied by
a profound sense of loneliness and a certain
detachment from everything else so that it
appears that others have their feet firmly
planted on the ground, and that heaven is
further away than usual.
It is then that a subtle form of
desolation appears at the margins of
the soul
, as a vulture ready to tear away
the last shreds of peace. What ought we
do? Give in to sadness and sorrow? Or
should we rather muster up all our faith
and turn our gaze over and beyond all our
thoughts and feelings? Yes, for all we need
do is shift our attention by a couple of
inches and we will see that at that same
elevation – suspended mid air – there is
also Someone else.
Yes, He too is there - suspended
“between heaven and earth,” and His loving
gaze is on us. He offers Himself for us
knowing that the Father will gather up His
intimate sighs and transform them into
drops of salvation – for us and for others.
He is eternally the Crucified One; the Victim
without spot or stain. At every Mass He
climbs up onto that podium of glory to
continue bringing about new
manifestations and fruit of his
resurrection… each time again… each time
alone, in a long and eternal memorial.
Relief quietens the heart, and the
pang becomes oddly sweet. It is then that
we see another foothold: the wound in His
side, wide open. Initial fear becomes
consolation; suffering: incomprehensible
delight. Our position is the same, but now
it has taken on meaning. And everything
else loses importance, while infinity dilates
the heart.
Stefania Consoli
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The Sacred Heart
Furnace of Mercy
I come from Alto Adige, a region in the
north of Italy, also known as “the land
consecrated to the Sacred Heart” because of
a vow made about two centuries ago by the
people of then. I experience this consecration
as a gift of grace, a source of protection and
a profound belonging to this land which has
its roots deeply planted in the Lord’s Heart
overflowing with mercy. The vow was made
to implore divine protection at a time of
imminent invasion, and it consists in a
promise to celebrate this annual Feast day
with solemnity.
As a child I always
thought it very significant
that the entire month of
June should be dedicated
to the Sacred Heart, and I
like to think that it is not
by chance that this month
is preceded by the Marian
month of May. It is as
though Mary were preparing us for the June
celebrations, for the Mother of God always
leads us to her Son, and we, by contemplating
the beauty, virtues and mysteries of her life
necessarily contemplate also the mysteries of
Him: both her Son and Creator.
We contemplate the Heart of Christ in
the light of faith. It is a mystery which
contains infinite facets of the sublime truth
which will be fully revealed to us only in
heaven. Here on the earth we must nurture
our thirst for and our desire to know God,
Who for first desired revealing Himself to
His creatures out of infinite love for them.
This infinite, eternal and immeasurable
love desired living in the finite, temporal and
measurable world for love of us. He wanted
to be with us on the earth, to live with us, to
make Himself visible and perceivable for us.
It was this ardent love that gave Jesus the
strength to suffer His passion, and to urge
Him to offer Himself up for those He loved,
and to remain forever in our midst under the
species of bread and wine.
The eternally burning fire of love which
flows from the Father to the Son and from the
Son to the Father in the divine Person of the
Holy Spirit is captured in the Heart of Christ.
The Sacred Heart is a well-spring offered to
us, where we can find nourishment, life-giving
water, comfort, repose, understanding.
This month of June in the year of the
Eucharist particularly helps us consider the
mystery of the Most Sacred Heart enclosed
within the Eucharist, and how this mystery
of infinite and boundless love was first
closed up and hidden in the Heart of the Man-
God, and now in the fragile consecrated host-
wafer. When we eat this Body, Christ
assimilates us into Himself; we are drawn
into His Heart, washed in the torrents of His
Blood, gently rocked with waves of amazing
grace and mercy.
In our incapacity to express the depths
of this unfathomable love by God for man,
only prayer can come to our assistance, and
the knowledge that our Blessed Mother, our
patron Saints and the Angels who drink from
the Beatific Vision praise, bless, thank, adore
and implore on our behalf.
Francesco Cavagna
“Come and Adore!”
There are definitely many special
moments to savour at Medjugorje, but
contrary to what many may think, the most
important one is not the apparition, but the
celebration of Holy Mass, and Eucharistic
Adoration. From the very early years Our
Lady taught the Parish to give central place
to Eucharistic Jesus, for He is the true heart
of the Church. It can be said that
Medjugorje has indeed become a great
Eucharistic cenacle
where Adoration is a
live experience with God. Of course there
is no sensationalism, for it all happens quite
naturally and simply: all one need do is open
his heart to Jesus.
Mary leads
In his last Encyclical John Paul II says
that it is Mary who leads us to the
contemplation of Eucharistic Jesus, and
that at Eucharistic Adoration we see more
clearly Mary’s role in our lives, which is
to take us to Jesus and teach us to live
with Him! The Queen of Peace first taught
this to the Parish and then to pilgrims.
In fact, Our Lady’s third message to
the Parish was dedicated to Adoration of
the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, if
Medjugorje has become such an important
centre of prayer it is because it discovered
the immense grace closed up within the
Tabernacle: the living, real and substantial
presence of the world’s Saviour.
Our Lady once said at Medjugorje that
she didn’t intend making of Medjugorje just
a place of prayer, but a place where hearts
could meet. She remains with us when she
says to her Son: “See, they have no more
wine!”
, and as He touches each of our
hearts she is there to say to us: “From
now on do as He tells you.”
One evening at Medjugorje
As one of the many young people who’ve
experienced many of these Adorations at
Medjugorje I’d like to share my experience.
The song, Kumbaya, begins in little
more than a whisper and gets louder as
the Blessed Sacrament is brought to the
Altar. Then, at last, He is placed on the
altar. He is here before each of us: the Sun
of Justice has come to visit us like the
dawn from on high. Within minutes an
atmosphere of intense inner concentration
and profound prayer pervades the air as
eyes close and inner gazes turn to the heart
to listen to the voice of the Divine Spouse.
And in my heart I understand: “When we
adore the Eucharist it is as though each
of us were alone with You Lord.
Just
You and I, in intimate colloquy; just Father
God with His child where the child
surrenders himself up totally to the big and
loving hands of his papa!”
The Spirit accompanies us…
“O Light of Wisdom, reveal unto us
the great mystery…” goes a Liturgical
Hymn dedicated to the Holy Spirit. This
evening Jesus is here, alive and truly
present, but for us to strongly believe we
need the Gift of the Holy Spirit Who helps
us see beyond appearances. This is why we
invoke the Divine Spirit, and when this
invocation is sung in various languages I
instinctively think of the Pentecost narrated
in Acts (2:6).: “Each one heard them
speaking in his own language.”
“Also this evening we are invoking you,
Finger of the hand of God, that You might
touch and awaken our hearts!”
Between verses, sung in various
languages, musical pauses provide the
opportunity for the heart to dive deeply
into God’s Love. The soul is filled with
His gentle presence, and the spirit is
quenched by the “living Water” which
Jesus grants in such abundance. And then
you understand the prayer of the heart to
which the Gospa calls us so tirelessly.
… and He heals us
The instruments begin to play a sweet
melody when suddenly I am aware of a
girl next to me quietly crying. I think how
wonderful it is that the Spirit really does
touch us and heal us in our most inner
depths
. He heals where no human doctor
is able to heal; and His sweet Presence
makes us feel loved; and then we know
what it is to be a child of God! and life
suddenly takes on meaning!
As I remain in the Lord’s presence and
try to Adore Him with all my being, I feel
accepted, loved and protected
. Jesus is
no longer a name, but a Person Who I am
beginning to know and Whom I desire
knowing ever more! Prompted by Fr.
Slavko I begin to consider His greatness,
His faithfulness, and His presence in my
life, and for this I give thanks and praise –
and I learn that this is adoring Him.
In the light of the Holy Spirit a new
world is opening before me, or rather, I
begin to see how God’s Love has been
actively present in my life
. It is as if
scales in my eyes begin to fall off, and the
eyes of my heart begin to see God’s
footprints left on the sand of my life.
Jesus is our life!
Here in the presence of Jesus, Light of
our lives, we understand how much He
loves us, and our trust in Him is deepened.
We learn that nothing in our lives is too
insignificant for Him, and that He desires
being our closest friend and confidant
.
Prayer, this way, will not be repetitive
because we will always have something
to bring before Him, to confide to Him.
Then, as we speak to Him, He lends us
His eyes, and our difficulties take on a new
dimension because we know that we aren’t
alone, for He, the Almighty, is with us. At
the end of Adoration, we receive
Eucharistic Benediction as a seal to the
joyful encounter with the Lord. He fills us
with Peace and He sends us out to proclaim
to the world that He is risen and is in our
midst!
The source of conversions at
Medjugorje is this profound encounter with
the greatest friend of our hearts. Here, hearts
are set on fire and are healed. Jesus desired
remaining with us in the Eucharist so He
could be part of our every moment.
All that is left to say is: Venite,
adoremus!
M.R.
7
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Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8,11.86; Legal Dir. A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO Treviso
Regenerating Parishes through
PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION
For information on how to begin contact Fr.
Alberto Pacini at the Centre for Eucharistic
Evangelization: Basilica S. Anastasia al
Palatino, Piazza S. Anastasia 1, 00186 Roma,
Italy. e-mail: alberto.pacini@tin.it
Reflecting on Love…
Our efforts to encounter God would be
in vain if God had not decided, in His infinite
mercy, to manifest Himself to us despite our
misery and our limits. For a human being the
experience of God is very subjective and
varies from one person to another.
Nonetheless, I think that some experiences
are common to us all and that certain stages
in the journey towards God are compulsory.
One of these is learning to love your
neighbour, not with human love which is
always imperfect, but with God’s love.
It is fundamental for a Christian to allow
the divine love to enter into his life, to allow
himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit so he
can pour out God’s Grace onto others.
Personally, I have managed on some
occasions to conquer my own instincts and
to behave in a “new” way towards a brother
or sister. It was a very strong experience of
God’s presence in me, because it was clear to
me that I wasn’t able to do this in virtue of
my own strength, but thanks only to the
strength God instilled in me, after having
asked for it in prayer.
An experience like this removes any
doubts you may have had regarding the
existence of Father God, or the infinite love
of Jesus, or the power of the Holy Spirit. Your
faith is strengthened because of this close-
ness and love of God, because you under-
stand that it is God Who acts in you; that He
gives you the strength to love as He does,
and you see how He loves you so much that
He helps you love others with His same love.
When we become one with Him in this
way it suddenly hits us how we are children
of the Father in Jesus Christ by the power of
the Holy Spirit. We know how to love God,
for Jesus Himself told us: “Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you”
(Mt
5:43);
“He who does not take his cross and
follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds
his life will lose it, and he who loses his life
for my sake will find it.”
(Mt 10:38.39).
Thus, God can be encountered through
forgiving, and praying for those you don’t
like, and sacrificing yourself for others, and
dying to self… which is possible only if we
look at others through the eyes of God. When
He looks at us He sees His beloved creatures,
and He loves us just as we are, with all our
wretchedness. If we look at others through
the eyes of God, we will be able to love them
unconditionally despite all their defects
because it is thus that God loves us. And we
will experience God’s loving presence in us,
and through us He will be able to reach out
to others.
Massimo Bigotto
With the word of God in our heart,
and with fear and trembling,
may the presence of the Lord Jesus
shine through us; and we will be a
blessing, and we will be blessed.
Pentecost, 15 May 2005
From the Mail: “Preparing for
WYD
“At the last World Youth Day three years
ago in Toronto, John Paul II didn’t bid
goodbye in his usual manner by saying ‘I’ll
be waiting for you in…’, but he said: ‘Christ
will be waiting for you…’, and he didn’t set
the next WYD two years ahead, as usual, but
three years ahead.,” BB reminded me, and I
couldn’t help notice the coincidence. Had
WYD been held in 2004 the Pope may not
have been there, so I’m glad it’s being held
this year as it means he will.
The Pope is a true father figure, and I see
in this marvelous continuity the seal of the
Divine Presence, of Father God Who wants
us to know how much He loves us. He’ll be
present in the person of papa Benedict XVI.
In a special way Christ will be present through
the Sacraments, and through Grace. But I’m
sure that JP II will also be present, to bless
and intercede.
Pauline Davids
An Australian journal reports on the
ever-growing presence of young Australians
at
WYD
, including a national first this time
with a past
WYD
pilgrim chosen to perform a
song written for the occasion. “In proportion
to its population Australia has been one of
the most well-represented countries at the
International WYDs,” says AD2000.
“Although separated by distance in this
great south land, Christ’s love unites us. With
thousands of others from around the world
we will come to worship the Lord. He will
continue to enflame our hearts, so we can be
light to the nations, and so His salvation can
reach the ends of the earth.”
Liz Mackney
“Don’t say I’m only a youth
The prophet Jeremiah uses this
expression, “I am only a youth,” when God
calls him to become His instrument. Scripture
teaches that God always chooses people to
proclaim his Word and to fulfil His plan of
salvation. And always the chosen people are
hesitant and fearful at first because they feel
inadequate and unworthy.
When Jeremiah said he was only a youth,
he was talking of his lack of experience and
his fragility. Perhaps he already had plans for
the future. “I am young; I can’t do it; it’s too
much for me, and besides, I have other things
planned for my life…” Even though we desire
the Lord’s Grace, consolation, and forgive-
ness; we find it hard to think that God may
need us. Never discouraged, He will continue
to call us, especially if we are young.
If we are young, and if we have
experienced His presence thanks to Mary’s
intervention, then we are called to go. Go
where? The Pope has always invited us to
go, as pilgrims, to the World Youth Day, and
there he has always spoken to our heart. For
the next WYD at Cologne in Germany, JPII
gave this word to us: “We came to adore Him.”
The wise men overcame their hesitancy, and
with youthful enthusiasm “they started off.”
Enthusiasm for the sought-after truth helped
them overcome any lack of experience. The
star, and the joy they experienced when
seeing it, are signs of the help that the Lord
grants to those who start off.
If you who read are young, and you have
been won over by Mary, then you should
recognize these same traits in your own life.
There is need to start off, to leave the ordinary,
to encounter the Grace of God.
The poverty and essentiality of this
publication is evident. It was born though it
lacked adequate means and the experience of
professionals. Yet the Lord has always made
us feel His presence and blessing. Therefore,
I am not afraid to now ask you, young readers,
to “pick yourselves up” and to depart. And
where do I want you to go?
We recall that John Paul II, at the
conclusion of the last WYD in 2002, said that
Jesus would be in Cologne waiting for you.
This year the Lord is especially waiting for
you also at the Youth Festival with Our
Blessed Mother in Medjugorje (1-6 Aug. 05).
But there is more. So many people still
haven’t heard of Medjugorje (though Our
Lady has been appearing there for nearly 24
years!). Young people like yourselves still
aren’t aware of the grace of Medjugorje; so
many don’t know that Jesus is waiting for
them in Cologne. There are still many who’ve
never seen a copy of Her little Echo with which
her Word is able to reach out and touch her
beloved children around the world.
My proposal is that you become a little
instrument of the same grace that saved you!
Give form to your enthusiasm. If you dream
of changing the world, start with small steps.
Try sharing the Echo with others: with
friends, fellow parishioners, the elderly, the
hospitalized, the imprisoned, whomever you
think. Help Mary to bring Jesus to all God’s
beloved children!
Fr. Alberto
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Our Lady to Mirjana, 2 May 2005:
Dear Children, I am with you to lead
you all to my Son. I wish to bring you all
to salvation. Follow me, because only
in this way can you find true peace and
true joy. My dear children, follow me.
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