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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 183 (September-October 2005)

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Our Lady’s message of 25 July 2005:
“Dear Children, Also today I call you
to fill your day with brief and ardent
prayers. When you pray, your heart is
open and God loves you with a special
love and grants you special graces.
Therefore, make good use of this time of
grace and dedicate it to God more than
ever before. Do novenas of fasting and
renunciation, that Satan might be far
from you and that grace might surround
you. I am close to you and I intercede
before God for each of you. Thank you
for responding to my call.”
As Never Before
Amidst the ruins of a crumbling world,
darkened by scenes of brutal death in an
almost daily sequence, it seems we don’t
know how to do anything else but reaffirm
the reasons for our way of living, even if it
means sacrificing other human beings – and
thus giving momentum to the spirals of
hatred and violence. Yet, while the powerful
of this world fill our days with public
announcements and threats of death which
we passively accept as words of life,
a
VOICE
indicates the way which alone can
lead us to salvation: “fill your days with
brief and ardent prayers
.” Prayers, not
threats. Prayers, or in other words:
conversation with God where you learn to
love God and neighbour, where you find the
reasons for peace and reciprocal respect.
To pray is to remain before God with an
open heart and to breathe in His Love.
“When you pray, your heart is open and
God loves you with a special love and
grants you special graces,”
says Gospa.
Prayer is the ordinary channel through
which His Love reaches us and His graces
pour down upon us. Without prayer it is not
possible to forgive, let alone love one’s
enemies, including illnesses and sufferings.
And it is not even possible to love our
friends or ourselves without prayer. When
we pray – with the heart – the reasons for
our divisions fall apart and are replaced with
mercy. A brother is no longer placed under
a microscope to find his qualities and faults,
but we are able to accept him in his totality
since he too was made in the image of God.
The same goes for us. As a sinner I have to
stop hiding behind my sins as though they
were an excuse not to encounter God. As a
sick person I have to stop feeling sorry for
myself and instead keep my eyes on the
Crucified One. As a young person I have to
stop squandering life which impedes me
from encountering the Living One. As a man
or woman I have to stop using my success
or non-success as the reason that impedes
me from encountering Him. To miss out on
the encounter with God means to waste your
life. The encounter can change your life, as
it did with Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10), and with
Mary Magdalene, but it is not always
resolute (Mt 19:22). Even those who follow
Jesus as disciples can draw back (Jn 6:66).
Yet, it is necessary and essential that we
encounter Him. If we are parents or
catechism teachers or in any way
responsible for the transmission of the faith,
we must promote - particularly through our
good example - the sponsal encounter
between creature and Creator. “Make good
use of this time of grace and dedicate it to
God more than ever before,”
urges Our
Lady. To dedicate to Him this time of grace
means to spend it for our conversion. Mary
says “more than ever before,” and they seem
to be the anxious words of a Mother who
sees that time is running short and that we
need to urgently repent.
“The days will come when the
bridegroom is taken away from them, and
then they will fast,”
it says in Matthew
(9:15). Since the beginning of her
apparitions at Medugorje, Mary has been
calling us to pray and fast, and today she is
asking for novenas of fasting and
renunciation
. We ought to take this appeal
of hers most seriously, and commit
ourselves as never before. Single persons,
families, groups and communities: let us all
respond to this call! And Satan, who feels
repulsion for any form of sacrifice of love,
will be kept far from us, and God’s grace
will surround us
, and all those in our hearts.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“Pray especially before the Cross,
which is a fount of great graces.”
(message 12 Sept. 1985)
Our Lady’s message, 25 August 2005:
“Dear Children! Also today I call you
to live my messages. God granted you
this time as a time of grace; therefore,
my Children, make good use of every
moment and pray, pray, pray. I bless
you all and intercede before the Most
High for each of you. Thank you for
responding to my call.”
Live my messages
In the July message Mary urged us to
fill our days with brief and ardent prayers;
with prayers that gush forth from an open
heart like sparks from a fire of love, like a
spurting fount of living water. Not lengthy
talks, not refined and subtle reasoning, but
palpitations of the soul contemplating Love.
Prayer is thus a melody which expresses
communion between the Creator and His
creature, and it is a communion reserved not
for a few, but for multitudes (Mt 26:28).
How can we be part of this? Mary is with
us precisely for this: to help us find the way,
to support us, encourage us, and intercede
for us. When as a young woman she
expressed her fiat to God (Lk 1:38), when
she accepted John as her son (Jn 19:26)
Mary became the channel for the Spirit’s
presence in human creatures. So now it is
easy for every man to be born again (Jn 3:3).
Salvation is close at hand, within our reach.
God granted you this time as a time
of grace; therefore, my Children, make
good use of every moment and pray, pray,
pray,”
urges Our Lady. This is the time in
which Mary visits us, calls and urges us. It
is an extraordinarily lengthy time in
preparation of events which are decisive for
humanity. Perhaps in the wait some of us
may fall asleep, but this doesn’t matter so
much. The important thing is that we have
with us the oil for the lamp because when
we wake it will not be the time for making
purchases (Mt 25:1-13).
We must not waste this time, but rather,
we must make good use of every moment.
Time is growing short: let us dedicate it to
God as never before (cf. July message).
Extending our prayer time isn’t the answer,
as we need to live prayer. Appearing
outwardly righteous before others whilst
being full of hypocrisy and iniquity on the
inside
(Mt 23:28) can gain us nothing. We
must live out Mary’s messages in our day-
to-day lives; or rather, let the messages
transform our lives. This is possible and
relatively easy if we surrender ourselves to
God, as Mary has often requested of us. To
surrender oneself to God means to hand
oneself over to Him, willingly, joyfully and
trustfully.
Is it so difficult to hand oneself over to
the Father of goodness, to the God of mercy?
Sept.-Oct. 2005 - Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace, PO Box 27, I-31030 Bessica Treviso, Italy. Yr 21 # 5
A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria. Ph/fax +39 (0)423-470331, E-mail info@ecodimaria.net
183
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Jesus, Son of God, and God Himself, gave
Himself up for the sake of mankind out of
love, so why fear to surrender ourselves to
the God of Love? Through living Mary’s
messages we discover that the Word of God
is alive in us, and that nothing can separate
us from the love of God which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord (Rm 8:35-39).
Mary blesses us and intercedes for
each of us before the Most High. This
means that salvation is a certainty for each
of us; compromised only by our own
obstinate refusal. We are still in time;
perhaps only just in time. Decide for God,
Our Lady has many times begged us. In each
priest that receives our confession it is Jesus
Himself who forgives us and embraces us.
At each holy Mass it is Jesus who reaches
out to us and grants us His Life, Body and
Blood. If he that is the lesser in the kingdom
of heaven is greater than John the Baptist
(Mt 11:11) then the most insignificant
amongst men is infinitely more important
than all the powerful of the earth if he lets
Christ live in him. This is the reality of the
Kingdom. Become aware of your regality
as a child of God and life will blossom in
you and around you.
N.Q.
Benedict XVI
If it is difficult to believe
it is even more difficult to offer life to Christ
through this tunnel patiently, in the certainty
that Christ is the answer and that in the end,
his light will appear once more.”
Priests must live their vocation with joy
to attract young people. “It is important to
live in the reality of the community of priests
who help one another, who are journeying
on together with solidarity in their common
faith. This seems to me to be important, for
if young people see priests who are very
lonely, sad and tired, they will think: ‘If this
is my future, then it is not for me.’ A real
communion of life that shows young people:
‘Yes, this can be a future for me too, it is
possible to live like this,’ must be created.”
On the subject of Catholics who divorce
and remarry, the pontiff said. “I would say
that those who were married in the Church
for the sake of tradition but were not truly
believers, and who later find themselves in a
new and invalid marriage and subsequently
convert, discover faith and feel excluded from
the Sacrament, are in a particularly painful
situation. When I was Prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I
invited various Bishops’ Conferences and
experts to study this problem: a sacrament
celebrated without faith… to see whether or
not a moment of invalidity could be
discovered here because the Sacrament was
found to be lacking a fundamental dimension.
It is a highly-complex problem which requires
further study.”
(From Vatican Information Service)
The union of Peter with his flock, priestly
vocations and Communion for divorced
Catholics are some of the questions which
the Holy Father addressed at a meeting for
priests. “The history of the Church has always
been marked, in various different forms, by
questions that have truly tormented us... I
would like to respond briefly, but I would also
like to say that the Pope is not an oracle, he
is infallible on the rarest of occasions, as we
know. I therefore share with you these
questions. I also suffer; but let us suffer all
together for these problems, and let us also
suffer in transforming the problems; for
suffering itself is the way to transform-
ation, without it nothing is transformed
.
It is also the meaning of the Parable of the
Wheat Grain that fell into the earth:”
Benedict also referred to the ongoing
vocations crisis in the West, and pointed out
that the western world has reached a point
“in which there is no longer any evidence of
the need for God, still less for Christ...
Consequently, it becomes difficult to believe,
and if it is difficult to believe it is even more
difficult to offer one’s life to the Lord, to be
His servant... This is certainly a form of
suffering which, I would say, fits into our time
in history, and in which we generally see that
the so-called “great” Churches seem to be
dying. On the other hand, the sects that
present themselves with the certainty of a
minimum of faith are growing, and the human
being seeks certainty... We must go on
Death of Bro. Roger
slain as a lamb
It happened at Taizé, in the big Church
of Reconciliation, during the evening prayer,
when Bro. Roger, a youthful ninety years and
with the heart of a lamb, was stabbed to death.
His white habit, witness and companion of
infinite moments of peace, was stained in
blood as a seal to his “martyrdom.” On the
16
th
August a young Rumanian woman in a
moment of folly killed the man known as a
man of dialogue, a man loved by all. Surprise,
sorrow, and dismay invaded the 2500 people
who were in the church praying with him.
Taizé, in the Burgundy region of France,
is an international pilgrimage site for young
people. In 1940 Bro. Roger, a young
Protestant from Switzerland, founded a small
and fragile community with the mad hope of
reconciling Christians and all mankind
. With
time it grew and today there are
over a hundred brothers from
more than 25 different nations.
The community is a concrete
sign of reconciliation
between
divided Christians and separated
peoples. The brothers earn their
living by their work.
“Every week from early
spring to late autumn young
adults from different continents
arrive on the hill of Taizé in search of meaning
in their lives, in communion with many
others. By going to the wellsprings of trust in
God, they set out on an inner pilgrimage that
encourages them to build relationships of
trust among human beings. By meeting other
young people from throughout the world in a
climate of openness and listening, they
discover that roads to unity can be opened
up amidst the diversity of cultures and
Christian traditions.”
A wonderful intuition that accompanies
the present ecumenical commitment of the
Church; or perhaps it precedes it if we
consider that it is totally detached from forms
of superiority and power-holding. “At Taizé
each person is invited, after his or her stay, to
live out in their own situation what they have
understood, with greater awareness of the
inner life within them as well as of their bonds
with many others who are involved in a
similar search for what really matters.”
Bro. Roger’s Taizé attracts above all
young people, and it was precisely the vigil
of the WYD that he died. A grain
of wheat, he died so that much
fruit could be produced in the
world’s youth
. Benedict XVI
commented: “This news is an
especially heavy blow because only
yesterday I received a very touching
and friendly letter from Bro. Roger.
In it, he wrote that in the depths of
his heart he was intending to tell me
that ‘we are in communion with you
and with those who have gathered in
Cologne.’ ” Because of his health he had said
he could not attend but would be present in
spirit. Bro. Roger also said how he intended
going to Rome to meet the Holy Father to
tell him, ‘the Community of Taizé wants to
journey on in communion with the Holy
Father.’
The hand of God thus sealed the last
words of love of this son who for so many
years had served Him with docility and
determination; a son whose brief and ardent
prayers inflamed many hearts; a son who with
his song taught hearts to look inwards and
see Christ. Said Bro. Roger of the thousands
of youth who cross human and geographical
boundaries to attend the annual end-of-year
European meeting: “They come to fix their
gaze not on what divides them but on what
unites them, not to reinforce their pessimism
but to perceive signs of hope.” If Europe
ponders why this sea of young Christians
cross Europe in midwinter to attend a prayer
meeting and spend new year’s eve in absolute
simplicity and Gospel poverty, we know,
instead, that they seek truth and beauty; they
seek God. They seek hope for their hearts,
and they are our hope, for the youth that
respond to love – planted by God in each
person’s heart - offer hope and trust to us all.
They are God’s gift to Europe, God’s gift to
mankind. (The annual end-of-year
“Pilgrimage of trust on earth” meeting will
be held this year in Milan.)
“Bro. Roger is in the hands of eternal
goodness, eternal love. His witness urges us
to be always faithful workers in the Lord’s
vineyard, even in sorrowful situations,” says
the Holy Father. He calls us to reaffirm our
faith that sorrow can lead to joy. Bro. Roger,
a prophet of peace and non violence, offered
up his life and was violently and mortally
wounded. In this sacrifice he is now united
to Christ, and we are united to him, for it is
only in communion with Christ and His free
and wounded love that man can find the peace
and reconciliation he seeks and needs.
Stefania Consoli
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W Y D 2 0 0 5
generations: “The saints are the true
reformers. Only from the saints, only from
God does true revolution come, the definitive
way to change the world!” and he stresses:
“Absolutizing what is not absolute but
relative is called totalitarianism. It does not
liberate man, but takes away his dignity and
enslaves him. Not ideologies save the world;
true revolution consists in simply
turning to the living God who is the
measure of what is right and who is
everlasting love.”
YOUTH AND THE MAGI
In an intense week with events
in over 20 different venues in and
around the city of Cologne the young
people heard words of truth warning
them against illusions of false
powers that desire governing the
world. As with the Magi: When they
entered the house and saw the Child and
Mary his mother, they fell to the ground and
adored him
(Mt 2:11). “Dear friends, this is
not a story of long ago. It is with us now.
Here in the Sacred Host the same Child is
present before us and in our midst. As then,
also now He is mysteriously veiled in a sacred
silence; as then, it is here that the true face of
God is revealed. For us He became a grain
of wheat that falls on the ground and dies and
bears fruit until the end of the world (Jn
12.24). He is present now as He was in
Bethlehem; He invites us to that inner
pilgrimage which is called adoration. Let us
set off on this pilgrimage of the spirit and let
us ask Him to be our guide.”
YOUTH AND THE LIVING BREAD
This year is dedicated to the Eucharist,
and on Sunday, the Holy Father explained the
profound meaning of this gift of the Lord.
“The Body and Blood of Christ are given to
us so that we also are transformed. We are to
become the Body of Christ, his own Flesh
and Blood. Thus, adoration becomes union.
God no longer simply stands before us as the
One who is totally Other. He is within us
and we are in Him
. His dynamic enters into
us and then seeks to spread outwards to others
until it fills the world...” Through the
Eucharist, “the Lord draws us into Himself.
This must be evident in our lives, our capacity
to forgive, our sensitivity to others’ needs,
our willingness to share, our commitment to
our neighbours.”
The Pope spoke of an
‘intimate explosion of good conquering evil
which can trigger off the series of
transformations that little by little will change
the world... The Eucharist is the secret for
worldly renewal,
which all peoples desire.
The Eucharist must become the centre of our
lives… Do not be deterred from taking part
in Sunday Mass. The Eucharist releases the
joy that we need; we must learn to grasp it
ever more deeply, we must learn to love it...
Freedom is not simply about enjoying life
in total autonomy, but rather about living by
the measure of truth and goodness, so that
we ourselves can become true and good. Let
us go forward with Christ and let us live our
lives as true worshippers of God!” Ed.
Pope’s young guests
With love and trepidation he greeted the
young people who had been invited by
another Pope to Germany, the homeland
which he was visiting for the first time as
Benedict XVI. He met them with a smile and
open arms, as if to embrace them all. The
more than one million young
people from 190 different
countries
came to Cologne for
the World Youth Day meeting and
their joy echoed round the whole
world. Inevitably, Benedict XVI
was being compared to John Paul
II, but all were disarmed by
Ratzinger’s profound fatherly
wisdom and deep humility, and
he conquered hearts all round.
“Today is my turn to take up
this extraordinary spiritual legacy
bequeathed to us by JPII. He
loved you – you realized that and you returned
his love with all your youthful enthusiasm.
Now all of us together have to put his teaching
into practice... My particular greeting goes
to those who, like the Magi, have come from
the East. I greet with affection those among
you who have not been baptized, and those
of you who do not yet know Christ or have
not yet found a home in His Church. Pope
JPII had invited you in particular to come to
this gathering.”
YOUTH AND JESUS
Benedict XVI charters the same course:
his gaze reaches out to all, to “recapitulate” -
like his predecessor - all mankind in Christ
whom he represents in a visible manner. And
it is to Jesus Christ that he continually directs
the attention of all: “Dear young people, the
happiness you are seeking, the happiness you
have a right to enjoy has a name and a face:
it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the
Eucharist
. Only He gives the fullness of life
to humanity! With Mary, say your own ‘yes’
to God, for he wishes to give himself to you.
I repeat today what I said at the beginning of
my Pontificate: ‘If we let Christ into our
lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely
nothing
of what makes life free, beautiful and
great.” The Holy Father is urging the young
people to see more deeply into the “good
vibrations” of the event, and to make a
decisive and courageous response to God. “I
encourage you to commit yourselves without
reserve to serving Christ, whatever the cost.
The encounter with Jesus Christ will allow
you to experience in your hearts the joy of
his living and life-giving presence and enable
you to bear witness to it before others.”
YOUTH AND THE SAINTS
God gives us examples to help us shape
our lives according to God’s nature which is
different to our own. “The saints and blesseds
did not doggedly seek their own happiness,
but simply wanted to offer themselves,
because the light of Christ had shone upon
them. They show us how to be truly human
and happy.” Words of a father and teacher
who desires authentic freedom for the new
Pope’s words on Church:
I will keep in my heart!
Agostino, a young Italian, came back
from WYD richer in knowledge and love
of the Church.
“The Marienfeld esplanade, named in
honour of Our Lady (Mary’s field) was the
venue for the more than one million people
who attended the Saturday Vigil and Sunday
Mass. The Pontiff spoke about the Church,
saying ‘there is much that could be criticized
in her,’ but he compared her to a net which
contains both good and bad fish, or a field
where darnel grows together with the wheat.
He recalled how JPII asked pardon for
the wrong that was done in the course of
history through the words and deeds of
members of the Church, to show us – he
said – our own true image. ‘It is actually
consoling to realize that there is darnel in
the Church. In this way, despite all our
failings, we can still hope to be counted
among the disciples of Jesus, who came to
call sinners.’
Benedict XVI said the Church is like a
human family, and at the same time the great
family of God through which He establishes
communion and unity that embraces the
whole world. ‘So we are glad to belong to
this great family that we see here; we are
glad to have brothers and friends all over
the world. Here in Cologne we discover the
joy of belonging to a family as vast as the
world, including Heaven and earth, the past,
the present, the future and every part of the
earth.’
The Holy Father stressed the importance
of following the path undertaken by the
Magi. They followed after the real God
whom they found in Bethlehem. They
perhaps expected the new King to be in a
palace, but they found themselves adoring
the child of poor people. ‘This way they
learnt that God is not as we usually imagine
Him to be.’ They expected to find a King
that would establish order in the world, a
King with power, but they discovered that
the power of God is different to that of men.
God exercises power through love.
God’s ways are not as we imagine
them or as we might wish them to be. ‘He
does not enter into competition with earthly
powers in this world… He contrasts the
noisy and ostentatious power of this world
with the defenceless power of love, which
succumbs to death on the Cross and dies
ever anew throughout history; yet it is this
same love which constitutes the new divine
intervention that opposes injustice and
ushers in the Kingdom of God.’
When the Magi come to realize that God
is different they understand that they must
become different, and must learn God’s
ways
. ‘Now they have to learn to give
themselves… to become men of truth, of
justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of
mercy…’ We are called to become
instruments of God’s presence in the world,
and to do this we need ‘to lose ourselves in
order to find ourselves’ in Him.”
“Many speak of God; some even perpe-
trate violence in His Name. It’s important
to discover God’s true face
. Jesus, who
allowed his heart to be pierced for us, is
manifested to us by the Sacred Scriptures;
3
Echo 183
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He reveals Himself to be alive in the great
procession of the faithful called the Church.
This means we are not constructing a
private God, a private Jesus, but that we
believe and worship the Jesus who is
manifested to us by the Sacred Scriptures,
and who reveals himself to be alive in the
great procession of the faithful called the
Church, always alongside and before us.”
Medjugorje Youth Festival
“We Came to Worship Him” (Mt 2:2)
was the title of the 16th International
Youth Prayer Festival (
or Mladifest as it
is known in Croatian) which took place in
Medjugorje from 1-6 August. This
encounter, which intentionally had the same
title as WYD that united young people
around the Holy Father in Cologne, was one
of the forms of spiritual preparation for the
meeting with the Pope.
The Mladifest began with words of
welcome pronounced in about 20 different
languages just before the evening Mass
presided over by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor
of Medjugorje (recently transferred to
Switzerland, he will be replaced by Fr. Ivan
Sesar who was parish priest here some years
ago). This year’s Mladifest brought together
about 30,000 young people from the five
continents
, including young people from
China, Korea and parts of Africa. The
encounter, at the outside altar, was
simultaneously translated from Croatian
into 15 languages.
The programme began with Morning
Prayer at 9, followed by conferences,
witnesses, presentation of communities and
movements in the Church. This year almost
500 priests attended (and who spent the days
hearing confessions). On private pilgrimage
there were also several bishops. The whole
festival was accompanied by an
international choir and orchestra with 90
musicians from 20 different countries.
Rosary and Prayer of the faithful were said
in 24 languages. About 90,000 Holy
Communions were distributed.
Minister General of the Franciscans,
Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, spoke to the
youth on Friday 5 August. He gave a talk
about the meaning of life with Jesus Christ
in the Church. In the evening, he presided
over Holy Mass and gave the homily, in
concelebration with 325 priests.
On Wednesday evening, in spite of the
rain, a 2km long procession with the crucifix
wound its way through the parish. The
procession concluded with half an hour of
Adoration at the outside altar. On Thursday
evening, the “Cenacolo” community gave
a musical show called “Bread of Life” which
showed details from the life of Jesus,
culminating with the crucifixion and the
Resurrection. On Friday evening, the last
evening of the Festival, after Mass and
Adoration, there was a musical farewell,
after which young people, while praying the
Rosary, climbed the Cross Mountain where
they waited for the dawn and assisted at
Holy Mass for the Solemnity of the
Transfiguration, presided over by Fr. Ljubo
Kurtovic.
(Press Bulletin)
Take Flight young people, run to Christ!
calling us not to be afraid of life or of Him.
Ivan told us during his witness: “You are
the strength of Medjugorje! You have learnt
to pray, but now you must pray at home, be
an example for others… then there will be
no difference between a Christian and an
atheist!”
Every day of the Festival provided
further nourishment for our faith; even
the littlest thing like hands clapping to the
rhythm of the music made our hearts
proclaim: “You are the Risen One! You are
Christ!” Everything there was for us, like a
ripe fruit waiting to be picked and eaten so
that our faith could grow, and that we could
grow in love and hope.
At Mary’s feet, and within the embrace
of the Church thousands of young people
knelt before her Son; grace enabled them to
see and to rejoice in His presence.
These same young people, who came
from all round the world, who spent the days
of the festival in adoration, prayer and
singing, on the last day came together at
the feet of the white cross on Krizevac,
round the Eucharistic sacrifice
, as though
all mankind saw itself in the apostle John
and was gathered together for a sole
purpose: that of bringing salvation to the
ends of the world.
As we climbed Krizevac, sometimes
falling, sometimes running into the thorn
bushes, we awaited the new dawn to receive
the Eucharist. Two young people embraced
an icon representing St. Peter (Western
Church) and St. Andrew (Eastern Church)
and I imagined them both running the same
difficult path till they met at the foot of the
cross and in the light of the Risen Christ,
they recognized and embraced each other.
Mary, we thank you for calling us to this
place of grace and mercy; help us to keep
our faith during the trials of life, and teach
us to call out as St. Francis did: “You are
my Lord, my God, my everything.”
Alessandro Macinai
Testimonies from Mladifest …
Medjugorje, 5 August 2005
A lesson!
When I was invited to the XVI Mladifest
I barely knew anything about Medjugorje. I
had imagined a tiring pilgrimage with
lengthy formulae repeated over and over
again, totally void of real devotion. Well,
let me say that I’ve never been so happy to
be mistaken!
To my delight I discovered that the
peace and joy that I so desired is tangible
here in Medjugorje. I left my anxiety and
fear for the future behind me, and tried to
live in fullness God’s gift of faith. I learnt
to kneel down, to bow my head, I
rediscovered the joy of God’s forgiveness
and the strength that comes from prayer. The
true presence of God and the Gospa here in
Medjugorje is a great fount of energy for
me and I believe for all. I learnt to praise
the Lord not with empty words but with
songs of joy.
In this journey, one step at a time, I’ll
leave behind my expectations and
ambitions, because I know that the Father
has planned for me a life much more
beautiful than what I could manage on my
own. I am so grateful that at Medjugorje
Mary calls us so we can encounter her Son.
Elisa
I want to say “yes”
When I set out on this pilgrimage I was
going through a rough moment, and I was
glad to get away from a situation that was
draining me of all my energy. So I came to
ask for the help to be able to offer up to God
my “yes” which is often so difficult to say.
I needed new oxygen for my faith and help
to open my heart to God’s love and accept
His plan for me.
We came from all corners of the earth,
we travelled far and wide, we renounced the
commodities of the world… we came to
worship Him! Two thousand years have
passed since the Magi from the East saw
the Child with Mary his Mother, and the
heart of every man still seeks truth and
justice. In particular, the heart of the young
thirsts for true life.
We came to the Festival of
Medjugorje still wearing our masks; the
masks that make us appear more perfect.
Our external journey had ended, but our
inner pilgrimage was about to begin. Before
the Eucharist we let go of whatever was
impeding us from flying. We felt free to be
ourselves, we experienced the joy of
discovering that God loves us the way we
are and the amazing grace of being forgiven,
loved and taken up in His embrace. These
were the incomparable joys that God
granted us during the Festival which linger
still today.
In the esplanade of Medjugorje the
words of Jesus rang out: “I am with you
always!” and this cry reached into every
corner of the heart and mind as though it
wanted to pick us up in our misery which
tends to stop hoping in the most difficult of
trials. Young people need not fear, for Jesus
is not a ghost, He is alive! The disciples were
able to recognize Jesus especially when He
worked miracles, but during the storm it was
more difficult to see that it was still Him.
Then, everything was against them: the
wind, the rain, the sea, and they thought
Jesus was far away, that perhaps He was
angry, or had forgotten them. No one else
on the boat instilled courage in them. Yet
Jesus suffered to see them so agitated, and
He awoke when their faith had reached its
limit. We have all experienced something
similar; we have all been in that boat and
have tried to save ourselves with our own
strength, having forgotten about God. But
here at Medjugorje we heard His voice
4
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I didn’t expect to find so
much at Medjugorje; even
the air, the sun and the rain
were caressing me and
speaking to me of the
profound love of this Life,
Jesus, who loves me without
bounds. “Ask and it shall be given you” says
the Gospel. This is what I ask Mary: that I
may transmit this joy and hope for a better
life to others, and that I may never forget
the time I spent here.
Anna
I need not fear the storm
Medjugorje warmed my heart with the
sun, dried my tears with the wind, washed
my soul with the rain. Next to Mary the
things that were important became little, and
the unimportant things were all that
mattered. The wind of my restlessness has
calmed, and now I know that on the Lord’s
boat I need not fear the storm.
Stefano
Risen God is here!
I hadn’t planned to come to Medjugorje.
It was just one of those things, and actually,
I came to please a dear friend. I thought the
atmosphere here was strange, with all that
silence – just not used to that sort of thing
in Milan. I had to speak at least to Him,
despite the doubts and a thousand other
things I heard others saying that I didn’t
agree with.
It was a feast, a wonderful feast, and the
love I could perceive here was sincere. I had
never assisted at a Mass like the one here.
Seeing all those people coming and going,
and climbing hills, I observed that they were
all serene. God is Risen here. He isn’t dead
like us. We are full of egoism and
intolerance; we’re exasperated and nervous
and unsatisfied. I believe in love, which is
the foundation of everything. I hope this
peace never changes here at Medjugorje…
I hope it will be exported.
Francesca (Milan)
Do not fear
When you leave for Medjugorje you’re
unsettled, not well, sad and you don’t even
feel like going. When you arrive close to
that blessed village your heart leaps as it
begins to perceive the peace that it imparts.
However, you begin to understand how
special this place is after a few days. The
more you speak with Our Lady, the more
she speaks with you. Everything that made
you anxious before you came gradually
disappears; a solution is found; it becomes
joy. You become aware that you create your
own fears, and that all it takes is faith and
let Our Lady take you by the hand, and your
life takes on new light, you acquire serenity.
“Someone” speaks to you personally and
says: “I love you and I’m always with you.
Do not fear.”
This is what happened to me at the
Festival. It’s nice to change life, change
heart and feel loved. And it’s nice that this
change should happen together with
other young people. The Festival
gave me infinite love. God exists
and even though you knew it you
didn’t understand just how much.
Lidia
I wanted to see
At the beginning, perhaps because I was
tired, I was a little disappointed by the
atmosphere I found when I arrived; perhaps
because I was expecting sensational things
to happen. Now I realize that there were a
lot of sensational things going on! Our
Blessed Mother, in her loving and sweet
silence made my heart overflow with love.
I wanted to see and touch, but love and joy
can’t be touched; they must be felt!
The desire to adore Jesus in the
consecrated Bread grew stronger in me with
each passing day. Even the others’ smiling
faces, the starry sky, the joyous singing of
the young people united to Jesus at adoration
spoke to my heart. This is the true miracle,
the true apparition, for if Our Lady were not
truly present, how could all this be possible?
How could one feel all this love in the air
here if it weren’t true?
The wonder of Medjugorje is that even
if there are thousands of people from many
different parts of the world it is as though
there were only one heart beating, and it
seems to beat faster with each passing day
till it explodes with joy.
Loredana
Faith is all that counts
Where I live appearances count a lot.
Here at Medjugorje I learnt that the only
thing that counts is the faith; from faith
comes strength, the vital lymph that enables
you to go on. I learnt that whatever costs
sacrifice gives happiness. I learnt that you
need to open your heart to the world and
transmit your feelings and emotions, and not
be arid or accept a routine, meaningless life.
If we let our lives run around work and
superficial things an enormous desert is
created within us.
At Medjugorje I heard a lot of talks
about love, friendship, sincerity and
goodness, and about not centring your life
around idols because they remove you from
the faith. I want to cherish it and try my best
to put it all into practice, hoping that I shall
never abandon this journey.
Natalia
YEAR OF THE EUCHARIST
World needs people
willing to atone
We vividly recommend those who
suffer to assist at Holy Mass with
attention and fervour and to commune
frequently… The world needs people
willing to offer up their sufferings as
atonement; and there can be no
adoration more beautiful or more
precious than that of sufferers who
embrace their heavy crosses with love
and joy.
L’Osservatore Romano, 2 Sept.
2005
Style and manner
of going on pilgrimage
Fr. Enzo Berlingieri
Our Lady often asks humility of us. We
should stop and ask every now and again:
where am I going? How am I going? With
whom am I going? It takes humility to
engage reverse gear and turn back to the
right path. It takes humility to give God
every merit and victory, and recognize one’s
own limits, human weaknesses and the need
to be continually renewed.
I’ve been meditating on this for some
time, particularly after Our Lady asked us
to prepare for the 24
th
anniversary of her
apparitions, and I’d like to share these
reflections with all those - priests, religious
and lay people - who have been called by
Our Lady to take part in that special
adventure called Medjugorje
.
The Gospa, who sees, listens, observes
and seeks to help us respond to her call in
the best of ways, has been calling us to
“renewal” for some time. Even in the area
of sacred things there is the risk of habit
forming,
of not experiencing the same
initial joy, or of suiting everything to our
own rhythm, habits, weakness,
devotionalism or puerile religiosity…
I would suggest to those who lead
pilgrimages to set aside their programming
and planning to take the time to sit quietly
in a secluded spot to contemplate and make
an act of faith. In the Eucharistic style the
first thing to do is ask forgiveness of the
Lord for our failings and any obstacles we
have placed before Our Lady’s work, even
if done in good faith.
Our Lady says: “Help me to help you.”
Have we always helped Our Lady? Or have
we perhaps placed our own selfishness and
needs first?
We all hope that Medjugorje will not
become a shrine where the commercial
side of tourism prevails
. Medjugorje is an
oasis to which we make a pilgrimage in
order to find the necessary rest and
replenishment. The voyage part of this
pilgrimage is not so much to Medjugorje,
as to the Eucharist and a return to the family.
Some other points of reflection include:
how must our behaviour differ from say a
simple tour operator or “manager of the
Sacred”? What care is being taken of
pilgrims who’ve sincerely been touched by
grace, between one pilgrimage and another?
What is the role of the priest? Do organizers
of pilgrimages, guides and accompanying
priests get together to pray? Do these accept
each other as Mary’s helpers, or rather as
rivals? Where are we going, how are we
going, with whom are we going?
Personally, I thank and bless all those
pioneers who still today continue to work
to take people to the fount of grace of
Medjugorje. May the Lord reward them for
their efforts and zeal. And may they start
always anew, seeking to overcome fatigue
and beat routine with the weapons of the
Rosary, forgiveness and renewal in God.
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A new start to life!
I came to Medjugorje because a friend
invited me. She had already asked me two
or three times; and I was curious to see the
place. I teach Catholic Religion at schools
and my students often ask me about Our
Lady’s apparitions and other phenomena. I
also had a long list of prayer requests and
graces to ask for: for myself and my family
and others. When I departed I considered
the pilgrimage more of a religious tour
,
and I was bringing with me a long list of
things to ask for and see for which I expected
rational answers. However, I arrived in a
place that was totally different.
At Medjugorje one doesn’t talk, one
listens! One doesn’t give, one receives!
Medjugorje is PEACE, only peace. Here
silence speaks; it transforms you, and
teaches you to look into yourself. Silence
takes you back to the beginning
, where
you can start again.
My life has completely changed; my
plans too. Here I was, with myself, my
deepest self, laid open before me, and on
the other hand there were radical proposals
that were questioning me. I realized that my
life so far wasn’t real life (caring about
having a comfortable life, with a nice car
and nice home…). At Medjugorje I heard
the call to start again; to start anew. I felt
regenerated. At first I almost panicked – at
47 with three almost-grown up children, and
a certain position in life, re-chartering one’s
course isn’t that easy. But I understood that
God was with me and that with His help
everything is possible. So from the depths
of my heart I whispered: fiat voluntas tua!
I thank Our Lady who called me despite
of my weaknesses (ambitious and
superficial at times), and for drawing me to
her so she can take me to Jesus. Now, like a
child starting grade school, I start off on
this journey
, one step at a time, being
careful to stay tuned in with the right
frequency.
Francesca (Padua)
“Remember always the words of Jesus:
‘Abide in my love’ (Jn 15:9)…
Have recourse to Mary, often and with
confidence.” (Benedict XVI, at WYD)
Fr. Jozo :
“Live the
messages with
humbleness!”
Living the messages of
the Queen of Peace with
humbleness is a
fundamental condition
for producing fruits.
The messages are like
seeds: seeds need to be
sowed, but before they
are sowed the land must be tilled, nourished
and cultivated. The seed that we do not sow
will not bud, grow or produce fruit.
The messages of the Queen of Peace
do not represent a new theory on the
Church
or faith in God; but a call that
requires a response. The messages have
purpose and meaning only in the life of a
believer and a pilgrim. If we refuse to live
them they become useless words and a call
without a response. We would not be paying
back our debt to the Queen of Peace by just
spreading the messages, as this would be
mere propaganda, something like the tons
of publicity in our consumer and political
world. Mary places her messages in our
hearts so they can be lived in humbleness.
Humility is the condition and the
climate which provides for growth and a
rich harvest
. Humility is a virtue of the
Virgin of Nazareth. The way she humbly
served the Lord and neighbour is an
invitation to us all to do the same. Our
Lady’s plans crash against our arrogance,
like waves against a cliff. Humility is the
only secure path showed to us by Jesus with
His life. The Saints kept this constantly in
mind as their ultimate goal.
Many have undertaken the wide and
easy path, and have accepted the messages
to talk about them, and even to judge others
as disobedient Christians. Our Lady does not
permit us to argue about them. She calls us
to live them in humility and to witness them
in our day-to-day lives.
The fruits of the messages depend on
how good the tree is. With our life we
become a sign for those who are far from
God and His love! When you find yourself
on a road without signs you begin to wonder
if you’ve taken the right road. A sign on the
way, illuminated by holiness and framed in
humility is important; it represents security.
The briefest way to God is through
humble service. Everyone needs us. When
we listen to Mary, we are similar to Jesus at
Nazareth who was obedient to His Mother
and increased in wisdom and grace before
God and men!
So let us listen to our Mother and decide
to live the messages in humility; and we will
respond to the great call of Medjugorje.
Fr. Jozo Zovko (from a registration)
BELONGING TO MARY
Each time I receive the Echo I find in it
support and joy, and I am lead each time on
pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
Mary isn’t at all distant; she is not the
little statue on my bedside table. Rather,
through her words she becomes real, and
truly present. When we cling to her and to
her messages the journey towards the
Groom becomes a beautiful adventure, a
dance, where our sighs (of suffering)
become the rhythm that accompanies the
music. When I look at the difficulties in my
heart through the light of the word they no
longer appear dark, but they become the
lobby one passes through to deposit one’s
luggage; for indeed, one does not dance with
his hands full!
With her messages Mary urges us to
become more aware of God’s presence in
our lives; we are called to have an open heart
and to offer up ourselves to the Word. It is a
mystery of total and unreserved acceptance
of His gifts of love, of every single gift. All
should be handed over to the hands of God,
as He understands us and accepts us how
we are, but it is beautiful to be able to do
this through the hands of Mary.
Our Lady speaks of “daily conversion,”
and this implies placing in her outstretched
hands also past “spectres” such as old ties
and traumas, complexes, wounds and
obsessions. By giving it all over to God
through Mary we are called to joyfully yield
to Him – even though it will not be without
effort – the most intimate and dark corners
of our inner life so that He can make stable
abode in the most secret rooms of the soul
and bring us healing.
Mary, who for years has been coming
to us, speaking to us, and is in expectation
of our response, helps us cultivate patience.
She, the Blessed Virgin, was in expectation
at the beginning, and as Mother in
expectation at the end: nine months
expecting the infant Jesus; in expectation
of His “hour” which with impatience she
anticipated at Cana; in expectation of His
last breath on the cross; in expectation of
the third day.
Waiting can be painful if we concentrate
on ourselves, but not if we push aside our
own thoughts and make space for the
thoughts of God, and allow Him to lead. It
means to die to self, but Mary remains by
our side to support us as she leads us into
the love of the Creator for His creature;
where human love becomes divine, and
divine love becomes human. Though we
may fall many times, Mary, blessed Mother,
will always be there to help us back up.
She invites us to be ever trustful in God,
for He would never abandon us. God may
shut doors when our plans lead us up the
wrong path; He may disturb our sleep, but
not remove His peace from our heart. And
then when we finally accept Him into our
heart our entire being will shine with light,
and we will understand that our life –
suspended between the winter of good
Friday and the sun of the day of
Resurrection – is similar to Saturday, the day
set aside for washing the linens wet with
tears and blood and drying them in the
spring sun so they can become altar cloths.
So let’s stretch out our hands to Mary,
in the certainty that whatever we place in
her hands will be for her like another little
Jesus, for in her hands everything is
transformed into Him.
One last thing: what can we ask of
Mary? We can ask her to plead our cause,
so that when we come face to face with God
our Creator, she shall take us by the hand,
cover us with her mantle, and with the light
of mercy in her gaze shall anticipate God’s
verdict of grace. And we shall be pardoned.
God’s greatest happiness is in confirming
Mary’s decisions.
Sr. M. Luisa, Dominican
Act of Love
(Justine Klotz)
Jesus and Mary I love you!
Save priestly souls, save souls!
We beseech you: grant that we may repeat
this act of love a thousand times with our
every breath and our every heatbeat.
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...
St. Nicholas of Tolentino
A star shining bright

The 10
th
September is the liturgical
feast day of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, a well
known and much venerated saint in the
Augustinian order. This year, being the 700
th
anniversary of his death (1305), numerous
celebrations are underway, particularly in
the basilica where his body is encrypted
(Tolentino, Macerata (Marches), Italy).
St. Nicholas is commonly invoked for
the special protection of souls in
Purgatory.
There is also Church approval
for the blessing of little bread buns, which
are given to the faithful for the salvation of
the soul and health for the body. These,
however, are merely some aspects of the
great figure of St. Nicholas being part of a
much wider panorama of holiness in a soul
which responded to the grace and love of
God the Father, responded yes with all his
strength and followed in the footsteps of
Christ crucified Who offered up His life for
love’s sake.
AS CHILD, HE SAW JESUS IN HOST
Nicholas was born in response to prayer.
His mother, who was unable to have
children, prayed to St. Nicholas; he appeared
in a dream to confirm that she would have a
son whom she should call Nicholas and that
he would become a holy priest.
The child was given a Christian
education and grew up in the parish
community. He loved reciting the divine
office and listening to the Word of God.
Once at Mass, at the elevation of the
consecrated Host, Nicholas saw a beautiful
child, His face radiant with joy.
PRIEST AT SERVICE OF MERCY
Nicholas ardently desired placing
himself totally at the service of God and the
Church, and as a young man became an
Augustinian monk. After his ordination he
preached with wonderful success, notably
at Tolentino, where he spent his last thirty
years. He urged the people to repent and
forgive through his sermons and his many
hours in the confessional, and the people
quickly came to appreciate his human and
Christian virtues.
TRANSFIGURED AT ALTAR
Nicholas celebrated Mass every day
with great devotion after first confessing so
that he could be worthy to take the Lord in
his hands and heart, and offer up his own
life together with Jesus in His Passion for
the salvation of souls. Those who
participated noticed how he was
transfigured, how Christ was truly alive in
his hands. When he went to visit and
comfort the poor and the sick of the city
Christ went with him and converted hearts.
EUCHARIST, FOUNT OF PURITY
AND FREEDOM
Nicholas possessed an angelic
meekness, a guileless simplicity, and a
tender love of virginity which he guarded
by prayer and extraordinary mortifications.
It was the Eucharist that taught him to be
meek and humble of heart, to fight pride and
the desires of the world, and gave him the
strength to offer himself up completely for
the sake of his brethren.
PROTECTOR OF PURGATORY
Nicholas strongly felt the union with
Christ’s mystical body the Church: the
militant Church which continues to journey
on the earth, the triumphant Church in
heaven, and in particular the suffering
Church in Purgatory. The name of St.
Nicholas of Tolentino is particularly tied to
the latter following a vision in which he saw
a brother friar suffering the flames of
Purgatory. Brother Pellegrino said he would
be freed, together with a multitude of other
souls in need, if he would celebrate a
Requiem Mass for them. He did, and
immediately lifted up fervent prayers to the
Saviour for all those souls. A week later Br.
Pellegrino appeared to him again in a dream
to thank him. After that episode Nicholas
continued to pray very much for the
deceased. To this day a special practice
known as the “septenary of St. Nicholas” is
dedicated to the deceased with a requiem
Mass and special prayers being celebrated
each day for a week; and at Tolentino
plenary indulgence is granted to those who
participate in the concluding Solemn
Liturgy on the following Sunday, known as
the Sunday of Forgiveness.
Through his union with the Communion
of Saints, Nicholas worked for the unity of
the Church, for just as a sin disturbs the
harmony of the universe, likewise, every
good work transmits God’s life to every soul
on the earth and in Purgatory.
THE LOAF THAT HEALED HIM
The origin of the blessed loaves is
another episode. During a grave illness
Nicholas invoked the help of Mary and St.
Augustine who appeared to him in a dream
in which Our Lady suggested that he eat a
piece of blessed bread, dipped in water. He
did and was healed. He and his brothers thus
began to offer blessed bread to the sick that
they visited, and down the centuries God
has granted many graces through this
practice.
These and other miraculous healings
attributed to his intercession are a
confirmation of his holiness. The love that
burned in his heart flowed out on to others,
and he gave of it generously. A miracle
comes from an act of faith and total
surrender to the Lord to Whom all glory is
due.
LIKE THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
Celestial signs foretold Nicholas of his
imminent death, particularly the star he saw
in a dream that stopped over his home town
and then on the oratory of St. Augustine. A
brother friar helped him interpret this
recurring dream. The star stood for the
holiness of Nicholas; by stopping over his
home town it was indicating that his tomb
would be blessed by the entire world as a
fount of prodigies, graces and heavenly
favours for all Christianity. The star then
preceded him to the altar where he
celebrated Mass.
After 700 years this star still shines as
bright as ever, and Nicholas continues to
intercede for us to lead us to the fount of
Love in which everything has its beginning
and to which everything returns.
Chiara Piccinotti
Our readers write…

G. Della Vedova, Australia: “Thanks for
the Echo. My daughters and I like it very
much. I am nearly 95 and so I don’t think I’ll
be here for much longer; please pray for me.
Perhaps you might find it of interest to know
that I found my first copy of Echo many years
ago in a church in Milan.
Fr. A. Sainaghi, Ecuador: Best greetings
and thanks for faithfully sending me the Echo
of Mary. I send it to each of the Salesian
missions in the Amazon. I thank Our Lady
for being with us to teach us all these years.
Francesca Panau, PNGuinea: I enjoy
very much the Echo of Mary. I read and pray
with it, and I see what Our Lady wants from
us, and this helps me and my family. May the
Lord Jesus lead and guide you always!
Sr. M. Michael, Pomeroy RSA: The joy
of the beneficiaries is so big; the faces of one
of our nurses blossomed when she saw me
bringing her a copy of the Echo, saying: “It
lifts me up so much!”
Fr. Lino Gallina, Kenya: Many thanks
for the gift of Echo which we receive as a
blessing. Through it, many people have had
the chance to know Mary’s love, and God’s
plan for each of us. Also patients at the
Wamba hospital have asked me for copies of
the Echo, as they have seen the fruits that
come from reading it. Mary is at work! If at
all possible, we need to receive more copies
... God bless you and your apostolate.
Silvana, Argentina: Echo always arrives
at the right moment. Our Lady’s messages
are soothing, just the right medicine to heal
the wounds of the soul. The news it contains
and the hope it carries reaches this far-away
land in the deep south of Argentina. In our
difficult times Echo brings the peace of
Medjugorje. May the Most High grant His
best gifts to all of you who work to produce
the Echo. Thank you for your constancy and
faithfulness.
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Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8,11.86; Legal Dir. A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO Treviso
Echo is a free publication. Donations are
gratefully accepted; without them we
cannot continue to distribute the
Message to Mary’s little children around
the world.
Message to Ivan, 15 Aug. 2005:
Dear Children, Also today I call you with joy.
My Children, in these days pray for my
intentions. Pray for my plans that I have for
the world. Pray for peace. Peace, peace,
peace! Dear Children, pray together with your
Mother for peace in the world and in families.
Thank you, my dear Children, for having
accepted my messages.
Message to Mirjana 2 Sept. 2005:
Dear Children, I come to you as Mother to show
you how much God, your Father, loves you.
Where, my Children, are you? What has first
place in your heart? What is impeding you from
putting my Son in first place? My Children,
allow God’s blessing to descend upon you!
May God’s peace penetrate you: peace that my
Son gives, that only He (can give)!
How to donate:
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See address below.
3. If convenient by bank transfer into one
of our accounts. Specify payment for Echo
of Mary Assoc.
- Italy: Banca Agricola Mantovana (BAM),
Ag. Belfiore, Mantova. Bank coordinates:
IBAN: IT 02 Z 05024 11506 000004754018
- Britain: Royal Bank of Scotland, 26 George
St., Oban, Argyll, PA34 5SA. Acc. no.
8326 0400 154351
- USA, while we thank the Venditti’s for the
service done to date, we advise we have
opened a new direct account as follows:
JP Morgan Chase, ABA: 021000021
In favour of MPS - New York
Acc. no. 544778865
For Further Credit: Ass. Eco di Maria
Acc. no. 33753011
Our postal ADDRESS:
Echo of Mary Association, P.O. Box 27,
I-31030 Bessica TV, Italy.
Ph/fax: Italy +39 (0)423-470331
Internet: www.ecodimaria.net
E-mail: info@ecodimaria.net
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Year of the Eucharist, 12 Sept. 2005
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May God the Almighty bless us, in the Name
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
E
CHO of
M
ARY,
A
NNUAL MEETING
Transforming Grace
Grace gets under your
skin and gradually
changes you. It brings you
out of a limited condition
and inserts you into a
“space” which is ample,
gentle, abundant and
vigorous.
This may sound like the
ecstasy of who-knows
which “chosen soul,” but
instead it is what was
experienced by those present at the annual
retreat for translators and collaborators of
the Echo at Medjugorje, enclosed within
Mary’s embrace.
It is from Mary’s heart that this pure
grace is granted; it is able to transform you
in a matter of days, changing your way of
thinking, acting and relating, your way of
considering the past, and your way of
looking into the future. Grace brings you
out of the narrow boundaries of human
reasoning and opens up the boundless life
of the Spirit. But only if you allow it.
It is important that we understand the
value of our own consent, because what we
have so far said may seem like fruit of an
illusion in an effort to escape from life’s
burdens, or the effects of a drug to dull the
sting of suffering. It is important to
understand that only the action of the Holy
Spirit can guarantee an authentic experience
of grace, and that these experiences aren’t
momentary illusions, but that they penetrate
the deepest layers of our being. They
penetrate, and they change. They sanctify
and they lift us up. But they require our
own free will and adhesion, because grace
leaves us free to accept or to refuse. Hence,
we are not spectators, nor passive subjects,
but protagonists of an active and
transforming grace, collaborators of the
Spirit.
This year there were 100 of us. We came
to Medjugorje from 15 different countries,
each of us highly motivated to take a further
step forward, as individuals and as a family.
Ours is a family which Mary formed in a
mysterious way around this little paper that
reaches out to every corner of the earth. The
paper itself lives by grace, thanks to
Providence. It is providential the way it
reaches so many, providential the way it
reunites us all in the same Spirit, and
providential the means which keep it alive.
It is with this amazement that we meet
each year to admire the work God continues
to produce in us (in a material sense, but
especially in a spiritual sense), as we are
called to live with ever greater responsibility
our state of belonging to Mary’s Heart, and
our active participation in Christ’s sacrifice.
This is what makes this paper run.
Last year we reflected on spiritual
motherhood and fatherhood, and this year
with great joy we welcomed a newborn
edition of Echo in Latvian, to add to the
other 16 language editions. How can we not
see in this a concrete fruit of spiritual
generation born from communion? How
can we not see that the union of souls in
God creates the space for grace to be
incarnated?
This year’s theme was “Contemplating
the face of the Father,” and He was generous
in revealing the features of His face so that
we could become familiar with Him and
love Him even more.
Fr. Tomislav’s reflections, in between
prayer on the hills, amid an atmosphere of
attentive listening and silence, and animated
by group work were offered up to God on
the altar together with our own lives, during
the celebration of the Eucharist.
They were days of profound grace, and
capable, therefore, of changing the simplest
things into portions of Heaven – to
contemplate, enjoy and share; but above all,
to knit into the lines of this paper so that all
those who read it may also be visited by the
streams of grace that gushes forth from
Mary’s Immaculate Heart. This grace is able
to make us into new, fulfilled creatures.
Stefania Consoli
Beyond all
expectations
Hearts open, and fear
disappears. One doesn’t
really understand why, but
the fruits are easily seen:
peace, joy, trust, surrender,
and acceptance of others,
starting from those closest
to you. The feeling of fraternity is tangible.
It seems to me that here at Medjugorje
Mary wants to repeat the miracles Jesus
worked in Palestine. Even the miraculous
catch - humanly unexplainable - is repeated
beyond all one’s expectations.
I would invite everyone to draw
constantly from this abundance of grace,
particularly those who aren’t new to it.
Pietro Squassabia
8