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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 192 (March-April 2007)

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Our Lady's message, 25 January 2007
"Dear Children! Put Sacred Scripture
in a visible place in your family and read
it. In this way, you will come to know
prayer with the heart and your thoughts
will be in God. Do not forget that you
are fl eeting as a fl ower in a fi eld which
is visible from afar, but disappears in a
moment. My Children, leave a sign of
goodness and love wherever you pass and
God will bless you with the abundance of
His blessing. Thank you for responding
to my call."
Leave a Sign
"Our years are over in a breath... they
are over in a trice, and then we are gone," we
are reminded in Psalm 90. And Mary says:
Do not forget that your life is fl eeting, as
that of a fl ower in a fi eld which is visible
from afar but disappears in a moment.

It is not a secret to anyone that the human
person is frail; we all know how much man
seeks to delay the decay of life and death.
The defence of life (common to all animals)
is in itself - and within certain limits - a
good thing. But man is not a mere animal,
and whenever another tries to theorize or
act as though he were, the divine order of
Creation is unhinged, harming it seriously.
Man is created in the image of God, and is
called to fulfi l this image so as to become
a child of God. This call is a decisive one
for the entire creation, which waits with
eager longing for the revealing of the sons
of God
(Rm. 8:19), and has been groaning
inwardly till now in the act of giving birth
(cf. Rm 8:22).
With regards to one's life, to the life of
others, and to nature, man cannot behave as
an animal, but in whatever he does, he must
always be the image of the living God. Man
must valiantly defend the Life that fl ows
within him; but the true Life, which is Jesus
Christ himself, not only or not so much the
biological life that clothes his body. Do not
fear those who kill the body but cannot kill
the soul; rather fear him who can destroy
both soul and body in hell
(Mt 10:28). The
true medicine for our human frailty, for the
precariousness of life, comes when we place
our life in God through Jesus Christ; when
we safe keep the image of God that is within
us and thus become His children.
In Christ every division, separation and
seed of death is destroyed. That this might
be possible; that the Word of God might live
in us, we must open ourselves to the Word.
"Put Sacred Scripture in a visible place in
your family and read it. In this way, you
will come to know prayer with the heart
and your thoughts will be in God," Mary
says in her message. So let us do this and
remind Mary of her words, so that with her
help and of the Holy Spirit, the Word might
descend in us and live in us; and our passing
on the scene of this world, though fl eeting
as that of a fl ower, will leave a sign. And
though the sign might be weak, it will be
indelible because it will be the sign of Jesus
Himself. Though our own gestures might be
little and even insignifi cant, they can be true
signs, and His goodness and love will be
able to touch souls. Even if our "signs" are
insignifi cant God will use them to separate
those blessed by Him from the others on the
day of judgement (Mt 25:31-46).
Let us not worry about doing great
things which probably aren't even within
our reach. Rather, let us do well the little
things in our everyday life. It is these grains
of goodness and love, when blessed by
God, that will change the world. It is Jesus
who accomplishes the work at which we
are called to cooperate, and our cooperation
is not one of managerial or organizational
capacity, but must be a fiat. So, in the
amount that our "yes" is similar to that of
Jesus and Mary, God will do great things
in us and we will sanctify His Name
. There
is no authentic sign of goodness and love
without it also being accompanied by our
surrender to the goodness and love of the
Father, and to our saying: Yes, Father, Thy
will be done in me.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
If anyone wants to be a follower of
mine, let him renounce himself and
take up his cross and follow me
(Mk 8:34)
Our Lady's message, 25 February 2007:
"Dear Children, Open your hearts
to God's mercy in this time of Lent. The
Heavenly Father desires delivering each
of you from the slavery of sin. Therefore,
my Children, make good use of this time
and through the encounter with God
at confession, leave sin and decide for
holiness. Do this out of love for Jesus,
who redeemed you all with His blood,
that you may be happy and in peace. Do
not forget, my Children: your freedom
is your weakness, therefore follow my
messages with seriousness. Thank you
for responding to my call."
For Love of Jesus
"The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful
and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding
in steadfast love"
: God thus reveals Himself
to Moses to renew His covenant with His
people (Ex 34:6); and today, Mary calls
us to open our hearts to God's mercy.
Together with Moses we also are quick to
acknowledge the hardness of heart of the
chosen people exiled in Egypt. However,
we live now, 2000 years since Christ's
birth, and we call ourselves Christian. Do
we believe in God's mercy? It is easy to say
that God is Love when things go according
to our own designs and expectations; but
when everything is falling in do we still
acknowledge His Love?
This question is fundamental for our
faith journey. To not consider the Love that
God nourishes for man would mean to start
off on the wrong foot, or to tune in to the
wrong wavelength and thus heed someone
else's voice. Mary offers us precious advice
when she says, "Open your hearts to God's
mercy in this time of Lent."
This doesn't
mean to draw up plans, but to simply open
the heart so God can pour in His mercy, and
thus deliver each of us from the slavery
of sin
. God is Love; His love is for us. We
are the only ones who can impede Him
from pouring it on us. His Love has already
been given us. It is lifted up on the Cross;
it has become Bread for us; it joins earth to
Heaven, it is Jesus Christ, Man and God.
The time of Lent is a particularly
favourable time to encounter God. "Make
good use of this time, and through
the encounter with God in confession,
abandon sin and decide for holiness,"
says
Our Lady. We have before us two ways: life
and good, and death and evil
(Dt 30:15): the
way of holiness and the way of sin. It is up
to us to choose. We must decide for one or
decide for the other. Mary calls us to decide
for holiness, not our of fear, but out of love
of Jesus who redeemed us all, with His
Blood
. The love of Jesus saves the world, and
March-April 2007 - Published by Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy - Ph/fax
+39 (0)423-470331 - Yr. 23, no. 2 - Translation of original Italian: Eco di Maria - www.ecodimaria.net
192
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only His Love and all that is fruit of His Love
can earn us eternal life. "If I have prophetic
powers, and understand all mysteries and all
knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to
remove mountains, but have not love, I am
nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I
deliver my body to be burned, but have not
love, I gain nothing"
(1 Cor 13:2-3)
. There is
no need to do great or spectacular things.
Our little gestures of every day, done out of
love, may seem insignifi cant to us, but it is
these that can move the Lord and become
salvation
(Mt 25:40)
.
With Your blood, Jesus, You redeemed
us; and our greatest sin blasphemy against
the Spirit (Mk 3:29) - is not in having put
You on the cross, but in having refused Your
Love, in having not believed in it!
"Do not forget, my Children: your
freedom is your weakness, therefore
follow my messages with seriousness."
Let
us take Mary's petition seriously, and seek
forgiveness through confession and continue
on the journey of holiness. Our freedom will
no longer be weakness, but strength that will
enable us to penetrate the Heart of Christ
where every suffering fi nds consolation,
every offence fi nds forgiveness, every cross
blossoms on the Tree of Life.
N.Q.
40 Days to Live
Folly of God's Love
With this year's Message for Lent,
Benedict XVI
urges us to live Lent as a
"Eucharistic time" for God's "mad love"
expressed most highly in the Crucified
Christ. The theme is: "They shall look on
Him whom they have pierced"
(Jn 19:37).
He says:
"It is in the mystery of the Cross
that the overwhelming power of the heavenly
Father's mercy is revealed in all its fullness.
In order to win back the love of His creature,
He accepted to pay a very high price: the
blood of His only begotten Son." (...) "On the
Cross, God's eros for us is made manifest,"
explains the Pontiff as he picks up the central
theme of his fi rst encyclical Deus Caritas
Est
. "Indeed, eros is - as Pseudo-Dionysius
expresses it - that force `that does not allow
the lover to remain in himself but moves him
to become one with the beloved'.
"Is there a greater `mad eros' than that
which led the Son of God to make Himself
one with us even to the point of suffering as
His own the consequences of our offences?"
asks B.xvi. "Let us look at Christ pierced on
the Cross! On the Cross, it is God Himself
who begs the love of His creature: He is
thirsty for the love of every one of us.
(...)
"In all truth, only the love that unites
the free gift of oneself with the impassioned
desire for reciprocity instils a joy, which
eases the heaviest of burdens.
"The response the Lord ardently desires
of us, is that we welcome His love and
allow ourselves to be drawn to Him, but
accepting His love is not enough. We need
to respond to such love and devote ourselves
to communicating it to others. Christ `draws
me to Himself ' in order to unite Himself to
me, so that I learn to love the brothers with
His own love," concludes the Pope. *
More Love
The following refl ection by Benedict
XVI (Angelus, 18 Feb. 2007) is so eloquent
that it needs no comment, and so profound
that one feels moved to ask himself: `But
do I really know how to love?'
"This Sunday's Gospel contains some
of the most typical and forceful words of
Jesus' preaching: `LOVE YOUR ENEMIES'
(Lk 6:27).
But what do his words mean?
Why does Jesus ask us to love precisely our
enemies, that is, a love which exceeds human
capacities? Actually, Christ's proposal is
realistic because it takes into account that
in the world there is too much violence, too
much injustice
, and thus that this situation
cannot be overcome except by countering it
with more love, with more goodness. This
"more"
comes from God: it is his mercy
which was made fl esh in Jesus and which
alone can `tip the balance' of the world from
evil to good, starting with that small and
decisive `world' which is the human heart.
This Gospel passage is rightly considered
the magna carta of Christian non-violence.
It doesn't consist in succumbing to evil, as
a false interpretation of `turning the other
cheek'
claims, but in responding to evil
with good
(cf. Rom 12: 17-21)
and thereby
breaking the chain of injustice.
One then understands that for Christians,
non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour
but a person's way of being, the attitude of
one who is so convinced of God's love and
power that he is not afraid to tackle evil with
the weapons of love and truth alone.
Love of one's enemy constitutes the
nucleus of the Christian revolution, a
revolution not based on strategies of
economic, political or media power, but is
instead a revolution of love, a love that does
not rely ultimately on human resources but
is a gift of God which is obtained by trusting
solely and unreservedly in his merciful
goodness. Here is the newness of the Gospel
which silently changes the world! Here is
the heroism of the `lowly' who believe in
God's love and spread it, even at the cost
of their lives."
Saints Not Without Sin
At a recent General Audience, Pope
Benedict has pointed out that "Saints are not
people who have not erred or sinned." The
Holy Father specifi ed that their saintliness
lies in their capacity to mend their ways
and repent.
And if it is thought that saints ought to
get on together perfectly well, at the same
Audience B.xvi said that even saints aren't
perfect, have fall outs and disagreements
giving rise even to controversy (he mentioned
in particular that of Paul and Barnabas).
"This appears very consoling to me, because
we see that the saints did not drop as saints
from heaven. They were men like us with
problems and even with sins."
So what guidelines do we have to
become the way God desires us? "Holiness
grows with one's capacity for conversion,
for repentance, for our willingness to start
again, and especially with one's capacity to
reconcile and to forgive," which is something
all of us can do, he said. *
Prophecy by Women
Once again the Pope has dedicated to
women words of acknowledgement for
their "feminine genius" according to the
expression used by JP II in his encyclical
Mulieris dignitatem. Before a crowded
gathering on 14 February, during which
Benedict XVI quoted the document, he
said: "The Church gives thanks for all the
manifestations of the feminine `genius'
which have appeared in the course of history,
in the midst of all peoples and nations;
for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit
distributes to women in the history of the
People of God, for all the victories which
she owes to their faith, hope and charity:
She gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine
holiness."
As he focused his attention "on the many
feminine fi gures who played an effective
and precious role in spreading the Gospel
... in no way a secondary presence," the
Holy Father started from the women of the
primitive Church. Apart from the unique and
irreplaceable presence of Mary, "There are
several other women who in different ways
gravitated around the fi gure of Jesus with
the functions of responsibility," he said. "An
eloquent example of this are those women
who followed Jesus to serve him with their
properties... and unlike the Twelve, they
did not abandon Jesus in the hour of his
passion. (...) Outstanding among these
women, in particular, is the Magdalene,
who not only was present at the Passion, but
also became the fi rst witness and herald of
the Risen One
(cf. Jn 20:1,11-18)
. To Mary
of Magdala, in fact, St. Thomas Aquinas
dedicates the singular description `apostle
of the apostles'."
The Church began after the Pentecost,
and the Pope reminds us: "We owe St. Paul
a more ample documentation on woman's
dignity and ecclesial role. He begins with the
fundamental principle, according to which
for the baptized `there is neither Jew nor
Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male
nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Jesus,' that is, all united in the same nature,
though each one with specifi c functions.
"The Apostle admits as something
normal that woman can `prophesy' in
the Christian community
(1 Co 11:5)
,
i.e., pronounce herself openly under the
infl uence of the Holy Spirit, on the condition
that it is for the edifi cation of the community
and in a dignif ied manner. Thus, the
famous exhortation `the women should
keep silence in the churches' must be
relativized
(1 Co 14:34),
" leaving the problem
of the contradictory manner to these two
statements to the exegetes, he said.
On the 8th March women are honoured
the world round in varying ways, but sadly
there are still far too many women that
continue to be on the receiving end of
abuse, violence and humiliation, and too
many parts of the world where she is given
no worth at all, and treated as if she did not
have a soul.
It would do these people good to hear
and ponder these words by Pope Benedict
XVI: "The history of Christianity would
have developed very differently if the
generous contribution of many women had
not taken place"!
S.C.
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Mary's Last Residence
We know her as Mary of Nazareth and
we think of her there, within the walls where
she pronounced her fi at. However, there is
another house that witnessed the last years of
the Blessed Virgin's earthly life. That house
is in Ephesus (in present day Turkey).
When Pope Benedict XVI went to
Turkey last year, he visited Ephesus and
the House of Mary. On that occasion he
said: "In Ephesus, in a pleasant place called
`Nightingale Hill' looking over the Aegean
Sea, is the Shrine of Mary's House. It is an
ancient and small chapel that has arisen
around the little house that, according to
a very ancient tradition, the Apostle John
built for the Virgin Mary, after going
with her to Ephesus. (...) Archaeological
investigations have demonstrated that this
place has been since time immemorial a
place of Marian devotion
..."
From the f irst centuries, numerous
Christian authors have mentioned John's
and the Blessed Virgin's home in the
city of Ephesus. Local Christians had
been venerating the house "since time
immemorial" as B.xvi expressed himself,
but for the rest of the Church the story and
location of this special house was little
known; the memory seemed to have got lost.
However, this would change with the help
of Providence - and the visions of a German
nun and mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich
(d. 1824). In 1880 a French abbot, inspired
by these writings, travelled to Ephesus to
fi nd Our Lady's house, which he did, but still
there seemed little interest by authorities to
look deeper into the matter. A decade later
another priest, this time from Smyrna, read
Emmerich's Life of Mary and organized an
expedition.
The house was discovered almost by
"chance": on their search they became
thirsty and asked some local women working
in the field where they might get some
water. The women told them to go to "the
monastery" up the mountain, which resulted
in little more than a pile of stones, but upon
further investigation its construction and
layout matched Emmerich's description.
Research among the residents of the area
confi rmed the existence of a centuries-old
devotion which recognized in the ruined
chapel the place of the last residence of the
Mother, Mary.
Christians Suffer in Pakistan
"They suffer poverty, isolation and
discrimination, but are fi rm in the faith."
said the Archbishop of Lahore.
Christians are a small minority, but they
are "proud of their faith and want to keep it,"
he added. "Sadly, because of their poverty,
the children are withdrawn from schools
and sent to work." The Archbishop said they
suffer isolation and discrimination because
of social barriers that exclude Christians
from enjoying the same dignity. He said that
because of political confl icts in the Middle
East, Christians are identifi ed with the West,
which provokes attacks against our churches
and institutions.
He said followers of religious extremism
are responsible for the discrimination, of
which women are often the targets.
"Standing by the Cross of
Jesus was His Mother"
(Jn 19:25)
A woman stands before her dying son,
her whole being suffers, shocked by the
scene of her Son's Passion... and the reality
of man's cruelty. How could one even think
to impede her from suffering and crying?
Not only is crying a noble sentiment, but it
is simply human.
Mary's presence next to the cross, said
John Paul II at one of his general audiences,
shows how she totally participated in the
redemptive sacrif ice of her Son. Mary
desired participating to the very end in
Jesus' sufferings because she had not
rejected the sword announced to her by
Simeon
(cf. Lk 2:35)
, but with Christ she
accepted the mysterious designs of the
Father. She was the fi rst participant of that
sacrifi ce and would remain as the perfect
model for all those who would agree to
associate themselves without reserve to that
redemptive offering.
The motherly compassion expressed by
her presence made the drama of that death
on a cross more dense and profound. It is
the drama of many families, of mothers
and children of our own time. How much
suffering in our world! How many mothers
crying for their children, who though they
live it is as if they were dead
. Permit me to
also say how much misery is experienced by
the many children abandoned, neglected,
and disappointed by their parents when
their education is entrusted to chance, or
delegated to someone else.
Parents, begin by staying under the
cross of your children! ... the cross of
growing up, of the impact with society,
of the discovery of one's limits. Life is a
beautiful gift even for an adolescent or a
young person, but it is still a cross, and
a parent is called to remain, as Mary did,
beneath that cross.
Jesus, seeing his mother next to the
cross, most probably goes back with
his thoughts to their time spent together
at Nazareth, Cana, Jerusalem, perhaps
thinking of when he had to leave to begin
his public life, and the solitude of those last
years, of the solitude that was becoming ever
more intense. In turn, Mary most probably
thinks of all the things that for years she had
been pondering in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19-
51). At the foot of the cross she is able to
comprehend them more than ever, as sorrow
and faith fuse together in her soul.
Then, from the cross, Jesus looks at her
and says:
"Woman, behold your son" (Jn 19:26)
It is an act of tenderness and filial
compassion. Jesus doesn't want his mother
to remain alone. In his place he leaves
another. At the conclusion of his redemptive
work, Jesus asks Mary to accept defi nitively
his offering of self as a victim of expiation
by taking John as her son. Beneath the
cross Mary thus receives the gift of a new
maternity.
This fi lial gesture, however, goes way
beyond the person of the beloved disciple.
Jesus intends giving Mary a much more
numerous family. He wants to institute
for Mary a maternity that embraces every
disciple of then and of all times.
"Behold your mother!" (Jn 19:27)
Jesus turns to the disciple and asks him
to treat Mary as he would his mother. Mary's
motherly love demands fi lial love in return.
It is as if Jesus is saying to him: Love her as
I have loved her
... as if Jesus is telling us:
Love her as I have loved her.
The importance of Marian devotion
which the Church has always recommended
is understood by Jesus' words at the hour
of his death. Jesus wants us to love Mary,
that we keep her with us in our homes.
Instead of giving hospitality to vanities and
foolishness, let us take her into our homes
and adopt her as mother. She is a counsellor
that doesn't deceive, or waste time, or
disappoint...
Let's follow the example of the saints
and make space for her in our lives.
Fr. Gabriel Pedicino o.s.a.
In a Rush
by Stefania Consoli
If we stop a moment and listen to the
rhythm of life that fl ows within us, perceived
especially by the beating of the heart, we will
realize that it is slow, calm and harmonious;
unless we have forced it to fasten by a
lifestyle which makes us rush.
Our paper, the Echo, is sent to many
parts of the world, and I hope there are
still parts of the world where the folk are
not "forced" to live the anxiety of the
"developed world" who are caught up in
a mechanism of production that threatens
them not to stop.
So, for those of us who wake up with the
mind already crowded with things to do, and
go to sleep with the worry of having "done
it all", what I suggest is that we start asking
ourselves: "Have I done well the things that
matter the most? Did I do them in a way that
has enabled me to remain at peace?"
We run to guarantee our serenity, often
constructing it artificially, however, this
blinds us, so that we often miss the chance to
enjoy life and all it offers. We have the habit
of carrying out our duties mechanically,
often leaving us unsatisfi ed as if we have
concluded very little. Perhaps, then, we need
to learn to stop and refl ect to see if and how
we need to change.
One way of helping us do this is to
observe Mary. Of course, her times weren't
like ours. Palestine 2000 years ago was not
measured by the speedometers of vehicles;
maybe the only noise on the roads of then
was the sound of hooves making their way
along a dirt road. So we don't pretend to
confront our lives with hers; we rather want
to look at how she lived.
Also the Blessed Virgin, says St. Luke,
"went with haste" to the house of Elisabeth
(cf. Lk 1:39). Her concern, however, was
of a different nature. It meant this: an inner
solicitation to follow the will of God; ready
to leave one's own things to visit another;
disposed to renounce the joy of solitary
contemplation of her pregnancy to share it
with her far-away cousin. Mary went with
3
Echo 192
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haste to a city of Judah, but once there she
most certainly continued to carry out her
daily tasks immersed in the God she was
bearing, with simple gestures that took on a
regal air because they were done with care,
attention and dedication; without dispersion
of energy.
If we give the best of ourselves and think
about what we are doing, even whilst doing
banal things such as going up and down
stairs, we will see, with marvel, how things
are created with perfection and harmony,
such as our own body, or even the beauty
of human inventions. Take, for example, the
roundabouts introduced in recent years in
Italy to replace intersections with or without
lights. How marvellously they work! Praise
God for man's genius, which can turn even
the most basic objects into useful things
for our purpose and comfort: blankets,
for instance, to protect us as we sleep, or
running water, even just water! And in us
will be born a constant feeling of gratitude
that dilates the heart, and quietens our
breathing. And this will give us peace.
But if we don't manage to do everything
we were supposed to do? There is a trick:
entrust everything to God at the beginning
of the day; our projects, chores and duties...
He will help us to comprehend the essential,
and the Holy Spirit will help us see what is
urgent and what is useless, giving us the
wisdom to face everything and strength to
fulfi l it all. We will stop being so nervous
and in our hearts instead of anxiety there
will be joy.
Dust if You Must
Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be
better, to paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and
need?
Dust if you must,
But there's not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to
climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must,
But the world's out there, with the sun in
your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A fl utter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come `round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come - it's not always kind.
And when you go; and go you must,
You, yourself, will be more dust.
(Author unknown)
BENEDICT XVI (2nd Sunday of Lent):
"For a Christian, praying is not evading
reality or the responsibilities that come
of them, but is to accept these fully, while
trusting in the Lord's faithful and unfailing
love. Prayer is not an accessory, or an
option, but a question of life or death.
In fact, only one who prays (who entrusts
himself to God with fi lial love) can enter
eternal life, which is God himself.
I encourage everyone ... to give time to
silence and contemplation, to make more
space for prayer and meditation of the Word
of God."
Silence! Heaven is Speaking!
It is Lent, a time when the Church
advises us to live the experience of the
desert
, to be better prepared for Easter, with
an appropriate inner disposition: void of the
superfl uous and more open to perceive the
presence of God, who at Easter, after his
Passion and Death on the Cross, will become
for us full light, resurrection and glory. It
is precisely to this that the Lenten journey
invites us. The right tools are needed for
the journey. Amongst the means suggested
the most important one is fasting, which is
the attitude of renouncing something that is
dear to us, or good, but which is not strictly
necessary for our survival.
Our Lady at Medjugorje continues to
remind us of the value of alimentary fasting,
which she said even has the power to "stop
wars," but there are many forms of fasting
which should not be undervalued.
For our consideration, following are
some brief refl ections extracted from the
writings of monk and theologian Fr. Divo
Barsotti
regarding a form of fasting which
is fundamental for one who desires hearing
within himself the voice of Heaven. It is the
fast of
SILENCE
.
Silence: theological place for encounter
with God
"Silence is the door to God. Unless you
create silence and enter your inner desert, it
is diffi cult, even impossible, to hear God. In
this desert, in this solitude, God allures the
soul that desires following Him: "I will lead
you into the wilderness and speak tenderly to
you"
(Hos 2:14). When man wants to hear
the word of God, he must hide himself under
a mantle of silence, and plunge himself into
darkness, and leave behind him the world
- so light is God's murmur!"
From Outer Silence to Inner Silence
"In this frenetic world of hectic work
hours and unbridled activism; with the
multiplication of television and internet
images that crowd our minds, the need to
fi nd space for silence during our day has
become essential. We need to do everything
with simplicity and calm, and without
anxiety, and above all, we must cultivate
inner silence. God wrought his greatest
works in silence. In the eternal silence
the Father created the heavens and the
earth. In the night, far from the city, Jesus
was born. In the quiet and solitude of the
house of Nazareth Jesus prepared for his
mission. In the solitude of the night Jesus
distanced himself from everyone to pray. In
the dark silence of Christ's tomb the joy of
Resurrection was budding!"
Silence Unifi es
"The crowd is not outside of us, but
within us, with a multitude of thoughts,
inclinations, feelings, worries, and interests.
All this means dispersion for the soul; the
soul is impeded from fi nding God. For as
long as the thoughts of man are not of God,
man remains scattered. His thoughts are
scattered because of the various types of
news he listens to, out of the desire to know:
via the paper, the radio, the TV... Man has
his mind on one thing or another, but there is
no real core to his inner life, and no real goal
for his intellectual activities. What is the
remedy? Without doubt, prayer; and inner
silence which is already obtained through
prayer. A person used to contemplation sees
everything in the light of God. Many people
(including men of the Church) see things
only in the light of success and effi ciency.
Three types of silence
"Teachers of the spirit speak of three
types of silence as a condition for communion
with God. These three are: around self,
silence of self; silence within self.
Silence around self (means to) silence
occupations done with exaggeration, and
the superfl uous. It is the silence of futile
conversations, of mundane visits not done
out of charity. Outer silence gives back to
the body and the spirit the necessary calm to
allow it to recuperate inner silence.
Silence of self, is the silence that is
hidden to the eyes of others, and makes us
pass unobserved in our everyday life. It is the
silence that envelops our sorrows, worries
and hopes to the point of desiring that no
one's gaze might stop upon us, that no word
of praise or compassion or comfort might
be said for us.
Silence within self is the silence of the
critical spirit, of the susceptibility of the
heart, of the needs of the suffering body. We
need to hush the inner racket, the chaos of
our thoughts, the tangled knot of desires, the
restlessness and anxiety of the spirit."
Word and Silence
" S p e a k i n g i s a g r a n d t h i n g . I n
general, however, our words, instead of
communicating to others what we are, hide
it from the others. Instead of engaging us,
they place us on a plane of superfi ciality
and inner dissipation! The words that are
emitted from our mouths ought to be a true
expression of ourselves. With every word we
ought to donate ourselves totally. Precisely
for this, our words ought to be few to be
truly effi cacious.
More than this, our words must express
not only us, but Christ. We cannot pretend to
give God to others by chattering away about
our Lord. Unless we are truly engaged we
give neither ourselves nor God. The word
that gives God must rise from an abyss that
is more profound than the word that gives
you. God is more intimately close to us
than we are to ourselves. Let us ask of the
Lord this grace: to learn how to speak! I
don't mean to know how to make speeches;
there are already enough of these. I mean to
know how to speak the basic and essential
language that will allow our word to give
God to souls
."
Silence and Sobriety
"Silence is a fast, the elimination of the
superfl uous. Don't do too many things.
Everything must be marked by sobriety,
by the simplicity of our gestures and life.
In fact, outer silence does not concern
only the word, but also the hands and our
activities. This fasting of the soul, and of
human relations; this plunging the soul
into silence, does not impoverish the soul.
Rather, it makes it richer because it unites
it to God."
*
4
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That First Encounter
Simple thoughts, by Pietro Squassabia
On the Cross Jesus feels so abandoned
by everyone, including the Father, that He
says: "My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34).
I can't imagine that the Father, who is
infi nite love, would ever abandon His Son,
His Most Beloved Son. I imagine that the
Father would have always been very close
to Jesus during his earthly life, during his
Passion and even when He was crucifi ed.
This makes me think how also the Father
must have experienced the Cross. However, I
think the Son could not see the Father during
his Passion, since by divine command this
beatifi c vision was denied Him, in order for
His Passion to be complete.
So Jesus felt completely alone, deprived
of everything and everyone, including the
Father
. It was under these conditions that
Jesus lived his Passion; and as he walked up
Calvary the burden of our sins grew heavier
and heavier. It was from His Love and His
desire to save humanity, that Jesus found the
strength to fulfi l God's will to the end. And
as He made His way upwards, He humbled
Himself more and more, to become so little
as to be one with man, and having assumed
the sin of man He became, like man: worm
and maggot
according to Isaiah's expression:
"Do not fear, worm of Jacob, maggot of Israel"
(Is 41:14).
Jesus, who became like man, that is a
worm, thus went out to fi nd man and He found
him in a place of desolation, a stony and barren
place, and He told man that He had come to
cancel his sins and forget his wickedness,
and to give him a new heart, to put a heart of
fl esh there where his heart of stone was, so
he could receive love and be able to love in
turn. Since then, since that fi rst new encounter,
Jesus continues to live in
this desert of ours so He
can stay close to man, and
speak to his heart, and
establish a relationship
of love with man. Jesus
knows that in the desert
man is deprived of his own
resources and is thus able
to receive His love.
T h i s c o n d i t i o n o f
desert and solitude into
which man was forced by
Satan after the original
sin has become the ideal condition for
man to encounter Jesus
because it is here
that He came. The devil, however, given
that the condition of sin and desert has been
transformed by Jesus into an occasion of
salvation
, deceives man by convincing him
that he is worth more, and that he should
thus yearn after and occupy places similar to
his own. These are easy to recognize because
they are marked by pride, self-suffi ciency,
power, egoism and hatred (though the latter
two may not be so evident at fi rst), and by
so many earthly things that there is no space
for Jesus.
So let us not be deceived by Satan into
occupying such places. Let us rather say:
Thank you Jesus because you came to meet us
in our own situation of ruin and desert; thank
you because you defeated the devil, the old
enemy and accuser who sent us to this place
of death. Thank you because you have realized
a place where we can stay
with you and with you
rest and rejoice. Thank
you because here we can
also encounter Mary, the
Mother, for we know that
wherever you are she is
too, so she can love you
and all her children.
Let us ask Mary to
obtain for us the grace to
never distance ourselves
from the place where Jesus
came to visit us, and for us
to love this place because we know that it is
here that we can fi nd Love. May she obtain
this for us even if at times we feel tempted to
abandon it. May she obtain for us the grace
to be able to always recognize Satan's place,
and give us the strength to fl ee from it. And
may she obtain for us the wisdom to know
how to accept all the situations that divine
Providence might offer us. These will surely
lead us to the encounter with Jesus, and this
second encounter will not be similar to the
fi rst one of desert and passion but of
salvation and joy to he full.
*
Mary, Light of Eternity
by Giuseppe Ferraro
In one of Our Lady's latest messages she
spoke again of eternity: "My Children, when
you pray you are close to God, and He grants
you the desire for eternity. Do not forget that
you are pilgrims on the way to eternity"

(Message 25 Nov. 2006). On other occasions
Mary has called us to receive the gift of
eternal life being offered us to the full in this
time "I desire leading you towards eternal
life... Eternal life is my Son: to accept Him
is to accept Love"
(Message to Mirjana, 18
March 1995). Her words are a perfect echo
to the words of Scripture: "We are in Him
who is true, in his son Jesus Christ. He is the
true God and eternal life"
(1 Jn 5:20).
When we pray the Creed we say: "I
believe in eternal life." I wonder how many
of today's "practising" Christians really
believe what they profess. I imagine, instead,
that for many it would evoke inaccessible
theological thoughts, which they accept "by
faith": an expression, however, that often
hides a type of spiritual passivity before the
mysteries of God.
Our Lady, though, continues to visit the
world, in a challenge to the indifference of
the majority and the hostile frigidity of many
"authorized personnel" to tirelessly call
her children to enter, here and now, in that
life that never ends which she so ardently
desires giving us. "Dear Children, I come
to you in this time to address to you the call
to eternity"
(2 Oct. 2006).
Perhaps the time has come in which
God, through Mary's special presence, wants
to lead His Church in an epoch-making
exodus, to free her defi nitely from every
form of disastrous theological rationalism
and sterile religious formalism - fruit of a
web of secular human mediation to bring
her to experience anew the fi re of the Spirit
upon the fi rst apostolic Community.
This is the way to heaven opened by
Jesus when He returned to the Father. "This
is eternal life: that they know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has
sent" (Jn 17:3). Here the living Church
is born. Only the living Church is able to
defeat the terrifying demons of our time
and to fulfi l the great baptismal mission
entrusted to her by the Risen One which
is that of transmitting the Trinitarian Life
to the entire universe, to the multitudes of
souls that thirst for pure love and which
still today they painfully await because of
our innumerable compromises with the lies
of the world.
The Queen of Peace has come to show
us a way which is simple and concrete,
which shines with evangelical truth, where
we can come to "know" the living God.
This way that leads to eternity makes us
authentic vehicles of the Father's Love for
all creation. "This is the call of love, because
only through love can you know the love of
God... only through God's love is eternity
gained"
(Mirjana, 2 Oct. 2006).
The high road to eternity is thus love;
not any old form of human love, but that
special love that burns in the Heart of the
Immolated Lamb, which was "poured into
our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has
been given us" (Rm 5:5), to unite our lives
to Christ's Paschal offering for the salvation
of the world. It is that same eternal love that
Mary desires for us, so that the fl esh and
blood of her Son can make us become true
living Eucharists, and vehicles of His love
for our brethren.
This is the "love" that "will have no
end" (Cor13:8) of which St. Paul speaks.
And for all of us it represents the profound
truth of the call by the Queen of Peace at
Medjugorje: "Witness with your lives and
sacrifi ce your lives for the salvation of the
world"
(Mess. 25.02.1988); "do not forget
that your life is not yours, but a gift with
which you must bring joy to others, and lead
them to eternal life"
( Mess. 25.12.1992).
XII Internationl Seminar for PRIESTS
"With Mary in the Cenacle, waiting for the
Holy Spirit", Medjugorje 2-7 July 2007
conducted by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa
Registrations: contact Marija Dugandzic
: seminar.marija@medjugorje.hr
: fax +387 36 651 999
Priests are invited to organize their own
lodgings at Medjugorje, and to inform us of
full name and phone number of the family
providing lodge. Those priests without
contacts or unable to organize should say
so when they register so we can organize
it for them. Cost of Seminar: cover by 5
Mass intentions. Attending priests must
bring: celebret from their superior, alb and
stole, Bible, small transistor radio with FM
frequency and ear phones (for simultaneous
translations).
5
background image
God Alone Suffi ces!
Seven Months with Gospa
It was the 20th October 2005. I was with
two friends and prayer companions when
my Medjugorje voyage began on the day I
joined the "Kraljice Mira" community. It all
started in 1998, the year our Blessed Mother
prepared me for two special encounters with
her and her Son. The fi rst was a pilgrimage
to Spain, to the tombs of St. Teresa of Avila
and St. John of the Cross, and to Garabandal
where Our Lady appeared between 1960 and
1964, and only a few weeks later I went on
pilgrimage again; this time to Medjugorje
where I had not been before.
During the return voyage of the latter
pilgrimage my heart swelled with emotion as
I contemplated the truth of St. Teresa's words
"Slo Dios basta" (God alone suffi ces).
I returned to Medju a second and a third
time; and it was then that I encountered
Mary
, the Woman I had prayed to since I
was a child. The Queen of Heaven left her
throne to be with me, to embrace me, as
the most humble and simple of mothers. I
discovered that Mary is mother; my Mother!
And I didn't want to leave her tender
embrace.
The day I entered the Community, we
stopped in front of St. James' and entered
for a brief visit. Eucharistic Adoration was
underway, to the sound of "Nada te turbe...
slo Dios basta"
. I considered it further
motherly encouragement on Mary's part;
so delicate of her as she alone knows how
to be. It was as if a fi ne golden thread was
connecting the past with the present, and
with trepidation I responded: "Here I am!"
So began my period as a candidate in
the community which allowed me to remain
in Medjugorje for about seven months. I
found that my experience of being there
for a lengthy period
was different to what
I had experienced during my brief 4-5
day pilgrimages. There was not the down-
pouring of graces that one experiences in
a brief pilgrimage, but it was rather an
opening up to daily grace
, administered
as though in drops, and of allowing it
to penetrate through contemplation and
meditation.
I noticed Medjugorje as it changed along
with the seasons. Autumn was still full of
pilgrims, with a lot of movement, almost like
in spring and summer. The winter months,
however, were the ones that I found most
favourable since little goes on in the parish
and the town becomes unusually quiet.
I have three special memories. The
fi rst one is evening Mass. Here, I noticed
the presence of pilgrims never many but
always present. From various parts of the
globe, they profess "I believe in
ONE
...
Church", and discover that though they
come from lands far apart they belong to
the one Body, the body of Christ, and are all
gathered under the mantle of Mary, Mother
of the Church. I am certain of her presence;
one can perceive the universality of her
intercession. United to the sacrifi ce of Jesus,
she offers herself to the Father for the world,
for her Son's immense fl ock.
The second memory is the morning
Mass, at which I noticed the almost total
lack of pilgrims. In the winter St. James
belongs to its parishioners, to the women
in their dark clothes and black veils, to
the local folk whose hearts abound in
authentic faith. Also in this case Our Lady
prays and petitions together with them, and
offers herself for the people of Bosnia-
Hercegovina. She loves all of us, and each
of us. Every day and in every country of the
world Mary offers herself to God for each
nucleus of the great human family.
The third memory is tied to a Saturday
afternoon. I was standing outside the
confessional waiting for the priest. I was all
alone. Even the esplanade behind the church
was empty. With my mind I tried to imagine
the crowds that usually fi ll these spaces:
the young and the not so young... I thought
of the songs that accompany Eucharistic
Adoration, almost as if to exorcise that
feeling of abandonment that was attempting
at my heart.
Then, I began to see what it was that Our
Lady was wanting me to understand. I began
to see how Mary's motherhood is also very
much exclusive, here inside the room of the
heart, in the solitude of the dark corners of
the soul where it is diffi cult to remain with
the Lord face to face. Without experiencing
this personal love, without knowing that I
am loved personally, my prayer would have
little effect, and the offering of myself for
my family, my country, my Church and the
world would resemble a "clanging cymbal".
I can thus say without shame, and with
immense gratitude that that day Medjugorje
was all for me; the loving gaze of the Queen
of Peace was on me alone
.
I pray that this loving gaze of our blessed
Mother may be on all those who in various
ways have known and have responded to the
Gospa's call; on all those who've been to
Medju, or who live Medju within the walls
of their homes and hearts. Mary speaks
to her children through this gaze, as if to
say: `All this is for you: the goodness of
God who entrusts to me this mission, my
gestures, my messages, the twenty fi ve years
of apparitions... just for you; because God
wants you to know that all of Heaven loves
you. And you, my child; will you respond
to my Jesus in a unique and personal way?
Will you accept with courage and humility
the mission that He is entrusting you with,
and give yourself up to Him?'
Whether we spend several months or a
few days at Medjugorje, it is not important
for the Lord who can touch hearts and souls
in an instant with His love. The yearning
of the Holy Spirit within us - imploring us
to surrender ourselves to God's will - does
not go unheeded by Mary, who comes to
call us to decide to become a living miracle
of His love.
Davide Cavanna
Mladifest 18
18th Int'l Youth Festival
Medjugorje, 1-6 August 2007
This year's theme, "Just as I have loved
you, you also should love one another" (Jn
13:34) is in harmony with that of the 22nd
World Youth Day, which will take place on
April 1 (Palm Sunday) in local Churches.
For the occasion the Holy Father has
addressed young people with these words;
"Everyone feels the longing to love and to
be loved. Yet, how diffi cult it is to love, and
how many mistakes and failures have to be
reckoned with in love! There are those who
even come to doubt that love is possible.
But if emotional delusions or lack of
affection can cause us to think that love
is utopian, an impossible dream, should
we then become resigned? No! Love is
possible
, and the purpose of my message is
to help reawaken in each one of you - you
who are the future and hope of humanity
to trust in a love that is true, faithful and
strong; a love that generates peace and joy;
a love that binds people together and allows
them to feel free in respect for one another.
Let us now go on a journey together ... as
we embark on a discovery of love."
School of Fasting
at Medjugorje
Last December at Medjugorje there
was a retreat for Italians led by Fr. Ljubo
Kurtovic centred on fasting, prayer and
silence. This young Franciscan has the
charisma of making prayer penetrate the
heart. He is a gentle person with strong
convictions, clearly appreciated by the
participants, since it was easy to see how
joy radiated from their faces during the days
of the retreat; an indication that Fr. Ljubo's
prayer had defi nitely helped them encounter
the Lord
These seminars were fi rst begun by Fr.
Slavko to help pilgrims live Our Lady's
messages. "To live Mary's messages is a
means that brings healing and unites us
to God", said Fr. Ljubo. The aim of the
seminars is to give space to God within us.
Fasting opens our hearts to the Lord and to
purity of heart. This is for our own sake, so
we are purifi ed and can grow in love: "if one
doesn't love, one doesn't feel loved."
Fasting is a powerful means to discover
our inner enemy, to remove the veil from
our thoughts and desires, to reveal our
wounds and heal them. Everything is
possible when you believe, everything is
possible when you open a door to inner
peace, because its true meaning is to subject
one's will to God's.
During the days of the retreat I
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
The fi rst Sunday after Easter is the Feast
of Mercy
. "I want to grant complete pardon
to the souls that will go to Confession and
receive Holy Communion on the Feast of
My mercy.
(Diary 1109)
There must also be
deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of
love for Me. You are to show mercy to your
neighbours always and everywhere. You
must not shrink from this or try to absolve
yourself from it."
(Diary 742)
6
background image
experienced a deeper sense of knowing
myself, and the desire to get rid of the crust
of my humanity. I learnt to look at myself,
and to seek the hidden treasure, knowing
that within me there was the Lord awaiting
me with open arms so He could unite my
heart to His.
At the retreat, we not only broke the
bread together, but we shared with each
other also ourselves.
Fasting is a great gift that God gives
us; He also gives us the strength to fast.
Fasting is a prayer that involves one's whole
self which becomes an offering of love
to God, and He unites us more intimately
to Himself. Fasting demands spiritual
preparation, so that we don't end up like the
foolish virgins who were left without oil, as
we want it to become another occasion for
our spiritual growth. It is not diffi cult if we
create silence within ourselves, if we leave
our will at the altar, and if we let our soul be
the guide. It knows for whom to yearn.
We need to be resolute and to decide to
live Our Lady's messages, dare to fl y with
the eagle. Mary has given us a map for our
journey. The way leads to Jesus, to holiness.
Our Lady gave us as armour and weapons
the "fi ve pebbles" of David to defeat our
Goliath. We must, however, abandon our
human securities so we can begin this
wonderful adventure towards the new life. A
witness is credible when he has experience,
and is able to proclaim that which he has
lived. Hence, fasting must be lived so we can
enter more profoundly into the mystery
of the Eucharist
.
Now, in this time of grace, Our Lady is
calling us, and for the moment she is still
with us. She is calling us to Medjugorje to
live her messages, so that at her school we
might learn again that God exists; that God
is our Creator; that God is our love and our
peace, and that nothing else can satisfy our
need for love. "Help me; I need you to help
me attract as many souls as possible to my
Heart and to the Heart of Jesus which was
pierced out of love for you!"
Fasting is the offering of self. The
retreat helped me become aware of being
drawn by Christ Crucifi ed, who looks down
at me/you and says: "Help me; won't you at
least help me? My love is not understood!",
encouraging you to unite your sacrifi ce to
His. It isn't easy, but the Lord will help, and
in your heart you will experience true joy
and peace and love.
Anna Fasano
Message to Mirjana, 2 March 2007
"Today I shall talk to you about that
which you have forgotten.
Dear Children, my name is love; it is
for this that I have been with you for so
much of your time, and this is love because
it is a great love that sends me. I seek
from you the same. I ask for love in your
families. I ask that you recognize love in
your brother.
It is only this way, through love, that
you will you see the face of the greater love.
May fasting and prayer be your guide.Open
your hearts to love, or rather to salvation.
Thank you."
Our journey along the road of offering
one's life in union with Christ's sacrifi ce
continues
. On every altar throughout the
world Christ continues to offer His own life
to the Father for the salvation of mankind.
We know that on the Cross Jesus offered
himself totally; his sacrifi ce was total.
What is being asked of us? To lose our
lives? Not at all! We are invited, rather, to be
love that offers itself as a sacrifi ce; or love
that becomes sacred because it is offered
to God without reserve. This glorif ies
God's heart which otherwise suffers for the
indifference of His children. The sacrifi ce
of self repairs for the ingratitude of a selfi sh
world that exploits its resources for itself,
whilst ignoring and even denying the Donor.
The battle against the darkness is very strong
in our days. Being "love sacrifi ced" enables
us to defeat evil with the power of goodness
that comes from God. Our heart has to be
like a grinding stone that pulverizes the evil
in the world, a fi re that burns the negativity.
One is not really aware that through the
offering of self, and by blessing (others) and
through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
we can free souls from Satan's grip and
concretely change the situation of the world.
Here are our weapons:
"Love Sacrifi ced"
by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
ADORATION
At Adoration Jesus receives our love,
and in turn He fi lls our souls with His love.
At Adoration we accept to carry some of the
cross that He bears because of our sins; this
leaves Him freer to act in souls and can more
speedily help them advance in their spiritual
journey. Adoration, especially at night, is a
form of exorcism in which Satan is forced
to fl ee from souls and the places oppressed
by his presence.
LOVE
To love our neighbour means to love
also those who've harmed us. It is not
possible for our wounds to heal unless we
forgive those who have wounded us, unless
we become "love sacrifi ced" also for these
people. This is the only way that can allow
us to rise and be reconciled with the world.
Our love must be able to defeat every evil,
but this is possible only if we remain within
our inner space that God has reserved for His
Kingdom, and if the gifts of the Holy Spirit
in us are free to act.
THE BATTLE
When we enter the battle against evil
we are purifi ed; this enables us to rise and
to communicate strength to others. Nonethe-
less, it might happen that some people be-
come aware of evil within themselves. This
happens because when a soul opens up to
God it comes into contact with the world of
spirits. In these cases God allows the soul to
encounter evil, and He desires that the soul
drive out Satan and defeat him. Thus, it is
important to defend oneself by retaining the
joy of the Kingdom of God which is present
in us, and being serene, happy, peaceful, and
humble, and with something as simple as a
smile be able to drive out the evil that is pro-
voking us and wanting us to react negatively
in situations of our daily lives.
INSTRUMENTS
Holy water, fasting, and the prayers
of consecration to the Immaculate Heart
of Mary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
are some of the powerful instruments that
can protect us against the evil one. Living
constantly in the spirit of love, and abiding
in the "house of God" present in our depths,
is the best way to face evil and defeat it,
without being fearful, because it is God in
us who defeats evil.
INNER ORDER
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians: "We
command you, brethren, in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who
conducts himself in a disorderly way" (2 Th
3:6). Disorder is created when we daydream
about spiritual things but do not live them,
a bit like the Pharisees of Jesus' time.
Disorder is created when we read books
about the saints, or Our Lady's messages,
and we don't practise them in our own daily
lives. Daydreams, or personal theories or
explanations about divine realities make us
like Pharisees and impede us from being
inspired, because in these cases inspiration
becomes the fruit of our daydreams and
our superfi cial and incorrect interpretation.
This is why simplicity and inner opening is
so important.
THE CROSS
The pierced Heart of Jesus is the demon-
stration that His Heart contains only love,
and through His offering the purity of this
love is manifested. It is precisely on the cross
that the depth and height of love is expres-
sed, because the cross can hold nothing that
is soiled or selfi sh. On the cross our person
in its entirety is purifi ed right down to the
roots. On the cross the most inner part of
our soul is touched, and each person must
examine himself to see whether just pure
love or something else will be released from
the "open wound" on his side...
PRAYER
When we love we feel the inspiration
to pray, with a prayer that is immersed in
love. However, this prayer does not need to
be spectacular; it is not necessary to have
visions, or great ideas on how to pray well,
because prayer over-rides the limits of logic.
If we pray with love we can reach even the
ends of the world: the Holy Spirit will carry
our prayer there where it is needed. All we
have to do is through our prayer, enter the
place within us where the Spirit lives, and
receive His inspiration. And here, in our
"inner room" adore Jesus, so we can grow
in faith and hope. Then we shall begin to
become charity-love; the only power able
to give salvation.
(End part 3; to be continued)
"OFFER YOUR LIVES!"
7
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Echo can be read / downloaded
online at: www.ecodimaria.net
Mary's Meals Conference
Medjugorje 11-15 June 2007
This summer people from around the
world will gather at Medjugorje to celebrate
the work of Mary's Meals: a campaign to
provide the world's poorest children with
a daily meal at school
. In this way the
children are attracted into the classroom and
so gain the education that is their best hope
of escaping from poverty in later life. It
began in 2002 in Malawi by feeding around
200 orphaned children. Today that number
has grown to around 170,000 - mostly
in Malawi but also in Uganda, Liberia,
Kenya, India, Philippines, Albania, Ukraine,
Romania, Bosnia, Bolivia and Haiti.
Mary's Meals has grown out of the work
of overseas aid charity, Scottish International
Relief (SIR) led by Magnus MacFarlane-
Barrow. His family (parents and siblings)
were early visitors to Medjugorje back
in 1983. Their visits affected their lives
profoundly. His parents went on to turn
their guest house into a retreat centre, Craig
Lodge Family House of Prayer. Magnus and
his brother, Fergus, decided in 1992 that they
could not turn their backs on the suffering
of the refugees in Bosnia. They launched a
local appeal in Argyll and drove a Landrover
fi lled with aid to Medjugorje.
This act of charity led to the formation
of SIR as the public continued to support the
MacFarlane-Barrows in their efforts to reach
out to the poor. Mary's Meals has since
become the main focus of SIR's work and
draws support from people across the globe.
It is dedicated to Our Lady and although
the charity is non-denominational it seems
highly appropriate that this international
gathering of, supporters, employees and
overseas project representatives, should be
held in Medjugorje - the inspiration behind
all the work.
The conference promises to be an
amazing event. Most of our overseas
projects will be represented as will members
of fundraising groups from around the
world. Speakers who will share their
experiences with us include: Ibi Ungur:
Romania, Fr Albert Salvans: Kenya, Leisbeth
Glas: Liberia, Peter Nkata: Malawi, Mark
McGreevy: Ukraine, Virginia Villahermosa:
Philippines. If you'd like to participate,
please contact: info@sircharity.org
Helping Mary Help Her Children
I like to think of the Echo not just as an
instrument but as a child, a child of Mary.
Over the years this child has "expanded"
a great deal and is reaching out to many
parts of the world, which are often poor in
various ways. All the children are loved by
the Father, and of course by the Mother,
Mary. I think it is true that God's Love - and
Mary's love, who loves with God's love - is
the same for each of us.
We know that the older children are
asked to help look after the littler ones. In
this sense, we feel the call to stretch out
our hands to the littler children of Mary,
who desires that they too be touched by
God's mercy through her call of peace at
Medjugorje. It is not up to us to bring aid
in the form of food or money to these needy
peoples; there are others who do this.
The Echo, however, is a noble food able
to nurture the faith and nourish the soul.
God's word - brought by Mary into a world
that is hostile to God - is for everyone. The
differences in religion and creed is a problem
man created himself; there is no difference
for God, we are all His children. In the soul
of each person is God's mark; and every soul
thirsts for its Creator.
Our mission is to help Mary bring
the Medjugorje call of peace to all God's
children; but we cannot do this on our own.
Over the years as the Echo has grown, so
have the costs, often putting the future of
this little instrument at risk. With our trust
in God, we shall continue for as long as
Providence permits. Please remember to
pray for us; we always remember you in our
prayers. God bless!
P. Sq.
Our heartfelt thanks to all those who
have continued to show their support with a
donation; and have thus been instruments of
God's providence. May God recompensate
you for your generosity one hundred fold
with His Grace and blessings!
Through the intercession of Fr. Angelo
(whose 7th anniversary was celebrated 3
March), may God, who abounds in mercy
and steadfast love, bless you and all your
loved ones!
Italy, 11 March 2007
From the Mail
Cicily G. Eopen Luke, India: Special thanks
for the Echo which I always receive. I pray
especially for you all, that the seed sown by
your hands might multiply even more in the
world and fi nd fertile earth so that in each
heart, instead of hatred and violence there
might be love, peace and unity. I like reading
and meditating every word of Our Lady,
especially before I go to sleep, after the Holy
Rosary. A mother could not give her children
words more beautiful than these. They are
words of tenderness, love and trust.
Sr. M. Gregory Rosa, Zanzibar: I am very
grateful that you have been sending me the
Echo all these years. I recently went on my
fi rst pilgrimage to Medjugorje; it was so
touching to see the thousands of faithful
present, and the way they prayed. I pray that
everyone may have the opportunity to make
a pilgrimage to Medju, at least once in their
lives. God is so good to have let His Mother
visit us all these years! May people all over
the world respond to her call to prayer, fasting
and reconciliation!
Joachim Alfonso de Oliveira, Brazil:
Heartfelt thanks for sending me the Echo
so regularly. I pass it on to the Franciscan
monks at the Convent I attend. There is so
much beautiful news about Our Lady and
the events of Medjugorje. The comment by
Nuccio Quattrocchi helps us comprehend the
messages of the 25th. My wife and I felt the
need to write to you after all these years that
we have been receiving the Echo.
Mabel Cancino, Jujuy, Argentina: I felt I
had to write to thank you for the Echo and
for what you do. I am so happy to receive it,
but I am very poor and cannot send you a
donation... Thank you for your articles; very
worthy reading. God bless you.
A. Accardi, Italy: As one of your readers I
wanted to express my appreciation for your
paper. It is so unique, and truly Marian.
Its humble, simple format contains an
extraordinary wealth that is truly touching.
So many times I've received consolation
and light from its pages during moments
of darkness in my own life, with incredible
timing. Praise be Our Lady who clearly
inspires and leads you. I intend to help with
more frequent donations to help with the
divulgation of Echo.
Lucio Niero, cell no. 75 of an Italian prison:
"... Every Saturday I am allowed to go to the
library, and with great joy, this week I found
a copy of the Echo of Mary. (...) It sounds
strange, but it is thanks to my imprisonment
that I discovered this great strength that is
within me, a fruit of my newly found faith
and the prayer of the Rosary which I recite
two times a day, supported by a weekly fast.
I pray every day in front of a little altar I set
up next to my bed, to thank Our Lady for
the immense help she is giving me and my
family. Through prayer I have learnt to see
things differently. All I have is a couple of
stamps which I gladly send to help with your
apostolate..."
Isaac, Peace Building and Advocacy
Coordinator, Jesuit Refugee Service, Uganda
/Sth Sudan
: "... I f ind the Echo very
nourishing, especially the message our
Mother gives to guide us, her children. The
world is void of spiritual thirst. People are
submerged in world wealth, greed, political
power just to mention a few... In the northern
part of Uganda where war has ravaged the
community for over 20 years, the suffering of
the people is so immense that no one seems
to have hope. Please keep me on line for this
publication. It is a good tool to teach others,
especially the refugees among whom I work.
"Eternal Father I offer you the Body, Blood,
Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son
our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our
sins and those of the whole world. For the
sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy
on us and on the whole world."
8