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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 196 (November-December 2007)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 September 2007:
“Dear Children, Also today I call
you to infl ame your hearts ever more
ardently with love for Jesus Crucifi ed;
and do not forget that out of love for
you He gave His life so that you may be
saved. My Children, meditate and pray
that your heart may open to God’s love.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
Hearts Enfl amed
with Love
For Jesus Crucifi ed
He is here for the ruin and rising of many
in Israel, as a sign of contradiction, that
thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare

(cf. Lk 2:34-35). From the moment of Jesus’
presentation at the Temple, the words with
which Simeon addressed Mary continue
to resound, day after day, in the history of
mankind, and will continue to do so till
when God will be everything in everyone
(cf. 1 Cor 15:28).
Before Crucif ied Jesus there is no
reasoning or human logic that can stand. All
our paper castles collapse; the limits of our
thoughts are laid bare. When I shall be lifted
up, I will draw everyone to me, says Jesus
(Jn 12:32). It really wouldn’t take much
to let oneself be immersed in that Love,
to allow oneself to be drawn to Him and
disappear in that open Heart. All it would
take is our
YES
, like the one pronounced by
Mary; and yet how much resistance we put
up, and changing of mind, and humming and
hawing. We raise walls of diffi culty between
us and God, between our cult and Love. Yet,
perhaps Jesus Crucifi ed still moves us, only
it is an occasional thing, tied to particular
liturgical moments, crushed by a thousand
other occupations, submersed by our duties:
social, family, even religious duties. Perhaps
there is still space for Crucifi ed Jesus in our
life; but do we know how to recognize Him
when the cross upon which Jesus is laid is
not the traditional one, or when it weighs
heavily on our own shoulders?
“I call you to inflame your hearts
ever more ardently with love for Jesus
Crucifi ed,”
Mary urges us rather strongly I
would say, as she is inviting us to burn with
love; and with that same Love of Jesus;
indeed, with Jesus Himself. Otherwise, (our
love) remains but a case of alms-giving, an
offering, a mite; and this is even worse for
it gratifi es and dulls the conscience. Jesus
Crucifi ed is a sign of contradiction for all:
for Christians, non-Christians, believers, and
non-believers alike. One can be indifferent,
or be moved; be hostile or feel admiration;
however, for as long as one remains not
converted, the differences are insignifi cant.
Vane is the death of a God if all it can wrench
from us is a tear or two that run down the
cheeks without changing us. Yet God is
being patient with us all, wanting nobody
to be lost, and everybody to be brought to
change his ways
(cf. 2 Pt 3:9).
If we believe in his Love, repentance
should come spontaneously; with sincerity:
“Do not forget that out of love for you He
gave His life so that you may be saved. My
Children, meditate and pray that your
heart may open to God’s love.”
Mindful
of this unconceivable reality, of God who
becomes man and takes upon himself the
sin of the world, dying a shameful death for
love of us, how can we remain closed to so
much Love!? Let us open our hearts with
trust; the Father awaits us, He is ready to
welcome us back and endow us anew with
the dignity of being His children.
If you think you’ve wasted all your
occasions, and you think you don’t deserve
forgiveness, run to the Father! Even if your
life has been spent sowing death, run to the
Father! Offer Him yourself, just as you are,
and you will fi nd yourself transfi gured in
Jesus Christ. And if you have spent your
life serving the Father, remain in His house.
Open your heart before Jesus Crucifi ed,
humbly imploring His Spirit to infuse you
with awe and gratitude, and especially with
love. Peace and joy in Jesus and Mary.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“In God who becomes man
for us, we all feel loved and
welcome; we discover that we
are precious and unique in the
eyes of the Creator
Benedict XVI
Our Lady’s message 25 October 2007:
“Dear Children, God sent me in your
midst out of love; to lead you to salvation.
Many of you have opened your heart and
accepted my messages, but many have
lost their way, and have never known
with all their heart the God of Love.
For this reason I call you to be love and
light where there is darkness and sin! I
am with you and I bless you all. Thank
you for responding to my call.”
Be Love and Light
In Mary God became Man; through
Mary He came amongst men. In Mary the
infinite distance between God and man
because of original sin, is annulled. Now,
God can abide in man; and the communion
between the two takes on new profundity,
it becomes real, even tangible. St. Paul
was moved to say, in fact: “It is no longer I
who live, but Christ who lives in me”
(Gal
2:20). Mary is the privileged Place for the
encounter between God and man. It is in her
that we can more easily encounter God, just
as many great saints over the centuries have
acclaimed, and as the Catholic Church has
always taught.
“God sent me among you out of love
to lead you to salvation.” These words of
Mary tells us about the role assigned to
her by God in His plan of salvation. The
moment she pronounced her fi at before the
Archangel Gabriel, Mary became the Place
of encounter between Creator and human
creature, Mother of the Man who crushes
the head of Satan (cf. Gen 3:15), the Arc of
universal salvation. In Mary man fi nds not
only his lost dignity, but he acquires a new
one, for now he is the son of God, now he can
call God Father, and receive His embrace as
a true son in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Why marvel at Mary’s apparitions and
their intensity? Wouldn’t it be normal that
her work be intensifi ed so hearts can be
prepared for when Her Son returns? It is the
Love of God that saves us, but is not Mary
the most pure expression of this Love? When
she brought God into the midst of men she
made a decisive contribution to the salvation
of mankind; and today she is still being used
by God to lead us to salvation. Once again,
it is her yes to Love that opens the way to
salvation.
Yet, despite the power of her intervention
and intercession, our will has the stupendous
and tremendous power to refuse the Father’s
Love that she offers us in Jesus. “Many of
you have opened your heart and accepted
my messages, but many have lost their
way, and have never known with all their
heart the God of Love,”
today Mary tells
November-December 2007 - Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy. Yr. 23 # 6
Ph. +39 0423-470331 - www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
196
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us. This immediately brings to mind the
parable of the sower (cf. Mk 4:1-20) which
makes us understand that it isn’t enough to
start out, not even if full of enthusiasm.
It isn’t enough to open one’s heart;
it must be kept open, and opened up ever
more so that Jesus can fi ll it with His Love.
It isn’t enough to accept Mary’s messages;
they must be lived and applied, so we can be
transformed by them. Not an easy thing to
do; it takes effort, self-denial and humility.
It requires drawing frequently from the
Sacraments, especially Confession and the
Eucharist. It takes unreserved surrender to
God’s Will.
To be love and light where there is
darkness and sin requires holiness of life,
and letting oneself be guided by the Holy
Spirit in every occasion and circumstance
to be able to repeat after Paul: “I have been
crucifi ed with Christ; it is no longer I who
live, but Christ who lives in me”
(Gal 2:20).
Then we will know God’s love with all our
heart, and the fullness of His love will pour
out onto those who grope in the dark, and
His light will disperse every seduction, cru-
sh every sinful thought, eliminate every fear
of God, and mistrust in Him, and creatures
will be reunited to the Creator, so that when
the Son of Man comes back, he will fi nd faith
on the earth
(cf. Lk 18:8).
NQ
498 Blesseds for Spain
An historical beatifi cation ceremony
took place the 28th October, when the
Church raised to the glory of the altar almost
500 martyrs killed during the religious
persecution in Spain in the 1930’s. “This
beatifi cation is an extraordinary event; a
reminder that the testimony of martyrs
is a great sign of hope,” said Fr. Camino,
spokesperson for the Spanish Episcopal
Conference. They “keep alive in us the hope
that their testimony is stronger than the
supposed power and manifest violence of the
false prophets, with their vain promises of
paradise on earth and with their atheism.”
The tremendous religious persecution
during the 1930’s in Spain is only a part of
the great persecution felt by Christians of all
confessions during the XX century all over
the world, particularly in Europe. There were
many people assassinated in Spain, during
the ‘30s, before, during and after the Civil
War. Those who were assassinated expressly
and specifi cally because they did not want
to renounce their faith and their fi delity to
Christ and the Church, are martyrs.
[Today’s blesseds] were not at war with
anyone, and they died giving a testimony
of love and forgiveness of those who were
taking their lives only because they were
Catholic,” affi rmed Mons. López, bishop of
Salamanca. By beatifying them “the Church
doesn’t want to accuse anyone. Instead, she
wants to offer them to today’s believers as
models of fi delity, and to today’s Spanish
society as a call to reconciliation and peace
through love and forgiveness.”
What was most notable in the lives of
those beatifi ed is “the mix of strength, and
at the same time humility, with which they
accepted the tragic situation of having to
choose between their lives or their fi delity to
God and the Church,” said Fr Camino.
FATIMA
:
ninety years of grace
Precisely ninety years ago at Fatima the
Virgin Mary appeared to the three shepherd
children to give them important revelations
for mankind. The events are well known
by us all. It is a story, it seems, that is only
partially concluded. We know some things
have come to be. In Medjugorje, Mary said
“I desire concluding that which I began in
Fatima.”
The celebrations this year followed
one another in a crescendo, and came to a
conclusion on the 14th October with Holy
Mass being presided over by Card. Tarcisio
Bertone, Secretary of State. He recalled the
last of the apparitions: “Conversion, change
of life, abandonment of sin, reparation for
the brethren who offend God: this is Fatima,”
he said in his homily before the thousands
of pilgrims .
At the end of Mass there was the live
telecast of the Angelus with the Holy Father
from Rome. “In Fatima, for ninety years now,
the appeals of the Virgin Mother continue to
echo, calling Her children to live their own
baptismal consecration at every minute of
their lives,” said Benedict XVI.
“Everything becomes possible and
easier if we live that entrustment to Mary
made by Jesus Himself on the Cross, when
He said: “Woman, behold Your son!” She
is the refuge and the way which leads to
God,” stressed the Pontiff who called all
the faithful “to personally renew their
consecration to Mary’s Immaculate Heart”
saying the daily recitation of the Rosary is
a tangible sign of that consecration.
At Fatima, as we know, the Virgin
presented herself as Our Lady of the Rosary,
insisting strongly that we recite the Rosary
every day
to obtain the end of the war.
For this reason, in his Angelus message of
the 7th Oct. (feast day of Our Lady of the
Rosary) the Pope invited everyone to recite
the Rosary for peace in the families and
the world. “Our Lady has asked for this in
various of her apparitions,” he explained.
“The Rosary is a means given us by the
Blessed Virgin to contemplate Jesus, and
through meditating upon His life, to love and
follow Him ever more faithfully.”
Redazione
I was there…
The name alone of Fatima probably
makes most of us think of a far-away place,
however, the mention of the White Lady of
Fatima certainly warms hearts as they think
of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother.
Personally, this year has been one of
great grace: on the 90th anniversary of the
Fatima apparitions I celebrated my 25th
priestly ordination anniversary. Being there
on the 13th October (the anniversary date
of the sixth apparition by Mary to Lucia,
Jacinta and Francisco) is to enter into a
vortex of light that calls to mind the miracle
of the sun on that same date in 1917; a vortex
that lifts the soul up to God and makes it
attentive to the needs of others.
What struck me the most during my
pilgrimage to Fatima? What remained
most impressed in my heart when I con-
templated the sweet yet sad face of the ever
Virgin Mary? I wish I knew the language
of the angels, or possessed the style of St.
Bernard to describe my impressions. I can
only speak merely as one whose heart is in
love with Our Lady, and whose heart feels
immensely loved by her in return.
I was impressed immediately by the
simplicity and sobriety of everything, from
the protagonists, to the messages, the image
of the Virgin, and even the environment.
There is sobriety everywhere, and a climate
of penitence and reparation. The Gospel
of the Mass in honour of Our Lady of
Fatima, that tells of the crucifi xion of Jesus,
concludes with: “and the disciple took her
into his own home.”
What fascinated me
the most was seeing how Jesus continues
to give us His Mother
, and continues to
entrust us to her: the sweetest of mothers. It
is often said that the way to Christ is through
Mary, and this is true, but in that blessed
place, Jesus also gave us the wonderful
gift of her immaculate heart: Mary truly
concerns herself over us and intercedes on
our behalf!
With the sobriety of the protagonists, I
mean how the three children were drawn and
fascinated by the “Lady who was brighter
than the sun” and tried to satisfy her request
for prayer and reparation
in everything,
from simply foregoing a drink, or giving
their snack to someone who was without,
to the more heroic gesture of accepting
their death at such an early age, and the
suffering it entailed, and being happy to
thereby console the hearts
of Mary and
Jesus. Then, there’s the essentiality of
the messages
and the determination and
incisiveness of the images, such as the
vision of hell, and the sacrifi ce - even to
death - of the many faithful priests and even
the Pontiff. There is also a discretion and
respec
t that accompanies everything.
The heart of it is the call to love and
honour Mary’s Immaculate Heart, and out
of love to make acts of reparation to atone
for the many offences. Devout pilgrims
making their way down the plaza on their
knees, and the revered silence at the Chapel
of apparitions speaks the message out loud.
Pilgrims’ eyes, often damp with tears, are
drawn almost magnetically to the “white
fi gure” in front of the Chapel: the Image
of Our Lady. The heart is ravished by her
humble and sad, yet motherly gaze. Though
she sits on a Queen’s throne one is drawn
by the tenderness and attentive gaze of this
Mother of humility.
What is it in the Mother that attracts so
much? What does she give that makes you
go home so full of peace? What is it that
binds you to her so tenderly? It is the chain
of the Rosary: a simple means for the simple
of heart, in Paul VI’s words. Tis the secret of
Fatima
. Tis being closely united to the Most
Holy Trinity through the intercession of the
Immaculate Heart of a Mother who desires
the good of each of her children. Thank you,
Holy Trinity, fount of every gift; thank you
for Mary, the most beautiful and holy gift
you could have given us.
Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra, Augustinian
2
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THE LITANIES
by Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra
A refl ection on the Litanies, part two.
In the previous edition of Echo I imagined
the Litanies as a lovely garden and every
title or invocation as fl owers that enhanced
Mary’s beauty. This time I want to consider
three of the titles that are found at the centre
of the long list of invocations. I have skipped
the others, not because they are not beautiful
or meaningful, but because they are more
easily comprehensible. Before I begin to
attempt to interpret these three titles, I think
a little explanation is due to help us benefi t as
much as possible from the “spiritual nectar”
they contain.
The series of invocations that make
up the Litanies are expressions of images
and symbols
to illustrate the virtues and
prerogatives of the Mother of God. I like
to make a distinction between image and
symbol. An image is a tangible or visible
representation of something. A symbol is
an object that evokes a reality that would
be otherwise diffi cult to defi ne in abstract
terms. I think we modern-day people
have lost the meaning enclosed within the
images and symbols, but it wasn’t so when
the Gospels were written or for the antique
times in general. Jesus himself used images,
though he preferred the use of parables
which are confrontations made with aspects
of everyday life.
The images in the Litanies are drawn
from the Old Testament and are thus doubly
significant. There is the meaning which
comes from the image itself and the meaning
which comes from the use or the elements
connecting it to Holy Scripture. We must
remember to keep this in mind when trying
to understand them. It should be noted that
the images and the symbols of the litanies are
accompanied by very meaningful biblical-
spiritual attributions.
MIRROR OF JUSTICE
All the virtues were refl ected in her soul
as in a mirror: humility, chastity, meekness,
patience, mercy, faith, hope, charity. She
perfectly mirrored the image of her Son.
In biblical language justice is the perfect
observance of God’s commandments. Mary
responded perfectly to God’s will, thus she
is the refl ection, or mirror, of God’s own
holiness; she is the mirror of justice.
When Mary, the all beautiful, looked
into her heart she recognized that everything
was a gift from God; she saw how He was
the fount of everything that is good and
beautiful. Thus Mary was able to say in
the Magnifi cat: “My soul doth magnify the
Lord.” Mary mirrors God: His justice, His
mercy, His love, His beauty.
SEAT OF WISDOM
“Seat” invokes the word throne. Mary
bore the King; she received and offers us
the Word. So, as the seat of wisdom, we
mean she who receives wisdom and she who
possesses wisdom.
Wisdom is the virtue that connects man’s
deeds and thoughts to God, unlike today’s
man who places his strength in the human
sciences (history, psychology, pedagogy,
sociology).
For a believer, true wisdom is to look
upon God and in his heart meditate on how to
imitate God. Mary possessed and practiced
this true wisdom in the highest degree. Mary
is the “seat” because she bore within her the
Incarnate Word, and also because, having
decided to become a disciple of the Son of
God, she acquired the wisdom that makes
one desire living according to God’s will.
May we imitate the Virgin and listen,
meditate and live the eternal Word who will
grant wisdom to our heart as we journey
along the paths of life.
CAUSE OF OUR JOY
Mary is cause, or reason, or fount of our
joy. In the Old Testament “fount” or “font”
indicates a place where an indispensable gift
(such as water) is made manifest for man,
and it is also – or perhaps we could say it
becomes - a place of encounter. The fount,
or fountain if we wish to consider water as
our example, is the visible part of something
that though it is present, is not visible. Water
that gushes from the tap is not born of the
tap, but comes from very far away. However,
the fountain is the place where water is made
manifest. Mary is the “place” where the joy
of being full of God is made manifest clearly
and abundantly.
The Christian experience of joy is not
a second rate experience; neither is it an
attempt to hide the diffi culties of life. Joy is
a reality. It’s what makes man say that God
is infi nite joy and satisfaction and well being
despite the evil and wickedness of man and
of Satan, man’s worst enemy.
When Mary gave birth to the Son of God,
she became the fount that showed the world
the “mystery hidden for centuries”, and this
is reason to warm our hearts and make
them leap for joy
, a joy that shall never
end.
SIMPLE THOUGHTS
by Pietro Squassabia
The Littlest One
Born of a woman, he became a little babe for love of us. All during his life he became
little for love of us; and he used every possible opportunity, according to a plan of love.
To come down to the earth Jesus was born of a woman, and with this he was able to be
called the son of man, even though he was the son of God. So that he could be poor, the
hotel was full, and he was born in a stable. To be proclaimed to the people he used the
mouths of shepherds, and in those days shepherds were looked down upon. To carry out his
daily life he chose to be the son of a carpenter, and in those days carpentry was a humble
occupation. During his lifetime he didn’t make a house, so that he could say: foxes have
their dens and birds their nests, but the Son of man doesn’t have anywhere to lay down his
head
. He didn’t gather up treasures on the earth, but only in heaven from where thieves
cannot steal; and he suggested to his followers to do the same.
During his lifetime he preferred humble and simple things. Even when they asked him
who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven was, he called to himself a child, saying that
unless we become like him we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven; to make us understand
that we can be similar to him through being little. One day, perhaps because he saw that
the people around him were tired and oppressed, he said: “Learn from me; I am meek and
humble of heart. And you shall fi nd rest for your souls”
(Mt 11:28). We know that meekness
and humility are qualities that belong to the little and the poor. And he made himself little
and poor all through his life, out of love for us. “He was rich but he became poor for you
sake, to make you rich out of his poverty,”
says St. Paul (2 Cor 8:9).
Jesus became the littlest and the poorest of all, so that no one could say he was littler
or poorer than Him. In this way, we can all become rich with Him. That is why Jesus is
the fi rst poor man whom we ought to serve, and for the same reason we should always see
Him in every person who is in need of material or spiritual help. Perhaps this is the only
way we can give very much to the others. Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say: “We give
too little to the others if we do not give them God.”
In this child born in a stable we see only the beginning of the goodness and sweetness
of our Lord and Saviour; of the Love that Jesus will bestow upon us for ever and ever. So
let us pray that we be granted to become similar to Jesus and know how to give Him to
others. Perhaps this is what the newborn Child desires too.
Wind Jacket
What could it be, this icy wind that gets into the heart and soul of one who seeks the
Lord? It is real, and shouldn’t be shrugged off, this contrary “wind” that freezes the spirit.
I mean strong, freezing wind, that gets into your bones and makes you feel miserable. On
days like these what you need are warm clothes and a really good wind jacket. The effect
of prayer can be compared to this wind jacket. Prayer is what makes us be able to bear the
wind. Perhaps this is why Mary continually calls us to pray.
The Rosary is like a very cosy wind racket that protects us from the cold. Its strength
should not be under-estimated. Thank you, Mary, for being the golden house with impe-
netrable walls that stop the wind from entering; and thank you for making room for all of
us. Thank you, Jesus, for teaching us to pray; and thank you because you are our Prayer,
our defence against the icy wind.
3
Echo 196
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A Life
in the Shape
of a Cross
by Stefania Consoli
The piazza is crowded. The people are
buzzing with curiosity. There’s a young
man, whom everyone knows because he’s
the son of a wealthy merchant, and very
popular of his own account with his peers:
here he is, having taken off all his clothes he
is now laying each piece of his sumptuous
garments in the arms of his father who is
astonished and confused by such an unusual,
even theatrical, gesture.
“To date I have called you my father
on earth; from now on I can say with
certainty: Our Father, who art in heaven,
for in Him I have put my every treasure; in
Him I have placed my trust and my hope.”
(Franciscan Fonts 1043) This was the fi rst
public announcement that Francis, a young
man from Assisi
, had made regarding his
radical conversion from the reckless young
man that he was to the saint we all know
and love.
Without beauty, without majesty, no looks
to attract our eyes (Is 53:2)
Francis had recently discovered those
words in the Gospel that are able to
shatter our weak human certainties. “Sell
everything and give it to the needy… love
those who persecute you…” he had read,
and he decided to follow these words to
the letter, without compromise, without
comfortable adaptations. God, and God
alone. His Word, nothing else…
Francis was generous, he always had
been, lavishing out generously upon
his friends with banquets and else. This
generosity followed him into the new life he
was about to begin, and he gave himself over
totally to his God of “beauty, justice, peace,
and security… Our fi ll of sweetness.”
It happened eight hundred years ago
and was the beginning of a way that endless
streams of people would continue to walk
along – men and women, laypersons and
religious – that over the centuries have
desired following in the steps of Francis,
to be at least a little like him.
He emptied himself to assume the
condition of a slave ... (Phil 2:7)
What was the secret of this man with
such an ingenuous and disarming attitude,
with rags on his back and bare feet? Of this
man, who though he had much had became
nothing so he could have Everything? What
shape had his life taken that made him so
popular?
It was the shape of a cross, and Francis
had sewn it onto himself. He wore it
symbolically in his tunic which was cut
out in the shape of a cross, as if to say that
he lived in the cross and took it with him
wherever he went to preach. So he wore
the cross on his back, as a sign for others
to see. Yet much more profound was his
inner degree of conformity to the cross from
which Christ himself had once spoken to
him in the antique church of San Damiano.
“Go and repair my house…” he had said;
and Francis went.
Yo u n g
Francis had
understood
t h a t t o
repair the
t u m b l i n g
walls of the
C h u r c h ,
threatened
by a spirit
o f p ow e r
and wealth
t h a t d r ew
people away
f r o m t h e
evangelical
essence of
her begin-
n i n g s , h e
would have
t o m a k e
recourse to the same means of salvation
proposed by the Messiah: the cross.
(Salvation, not foolishness!
Cf. 1 Cor 1:25
).
So he didn’t hesitate to strip himself of
everything
, but truly everything, to choose
a poverty which meant that often he would
experience hunger pangs. What mattered to
him was that people should know that being
freed of material goods meant to be able to
obtain the true Good. It was the teaching
of Jesus who became flesh: he emptied
himself of his divine wealth to become weak
amongst the weak, and bring us freedom.
They pierced my hands and my feet
The life he had embraced led Francis
ever closer to his Model; so much so that
he experienced the Passion of Christ; and
the signs of this Passion were impressed
into his body to make him similar to Christ
Crucifi ed. This profound experience was
granted him from On High, however, the
merit of letting himself be continually
crucifi ed in an invisible, but real way was
his, as he willingly handed up his own
rights to God. In whatever circumstance he
considered himself the least, which is why
with the nails of humiliation he pierced
his natural human pride and vanity and the
lusts of the fl esh. And as Jesus with arms
stretched out over the cross gathered up
into his pierced heart the decadent world,
Francis - the universal brother – overcame
his natural inclinations and to all: the good
and the bad, the beautiful and the repugnant,
he offered the embrace of Christ.
Today you will be with me in paradise
(Lk 23:43)
With his eyes fi xed on Jesus Crucifi ed,
who knows how many times Francis must
have contemplated those crucial moments
when Jesus saved the world! On the wood
where He died, Jesus had expressed the
summit of his mediation between sinners
and the Father; with the offering of his life
he created the bridge of reunifi cation that
had been destroyed by sin. Jesus wanted
every man to be with him in paradise, and
for this he offered himself in ransom.
Francis, too, burned with desire to see
everyone in paradise.
One day after bitterly
weeping over the poor,
unfortunate sinners, he
received an apparition.
He took courage and
begged the Lord that
all sinners visiting the
church (Portiuncula)
and confessing their
sins with a contrite
heart might receive full
pardon. Jesus granted it,
and ordered Francis to
present this request to
his vicar. What Francis
was asking of Pope
Honorius III was a new
kind of indulgence. The
Portiuncula indulgence
was the f irst plenary
indulgence that was ever granted in the
Church. “I do not want years, but souls…
every one visiting the church and there
confessing his sins with a contrite heart to
be as pure from all sin and punishments as
he was immediately after baptism…”
To
gain the Portiuncula indulgence is to obtain
the remission of the temporal punishments
that one would be obliged to atone for either
here or in Purgatory, and one can, if he sins
no more, go immediately to heaven after
his death. After the Pope had come to the
conviction that Jesus Christ himself wished
it, he confi rmed the indulgence. When the
church was consecrated, Francis greatly
rejoiced: “I want to send you all to heaven!”
(Indulgence subsequently extended by Popes
to all parish churches, to be gained on fi rst
Sunday of August.)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit
With these words he breathed his last:
says St. Luke in his account of Jesus’ last
earthly moments upon the cross when he
surrendered up his life to the Father and
was thus able to fulfi l the new Passover. His
surrender was total, and full of trust in the
divine plan for eternal resurrection. It was
because of this surrender and full trust that
he was able to accept divine will to the very
end, even when his body was lacerated and
he was immersed in pain and sorrow.
This same surrender and trust was
typical of the young man from Assisi, even
and especially in the face of great adversity
and contrariness. In every situation he
entrusted his own life and that of his
brethren to the Father. It is not diffi cult
to see then, how Francis could face sister
death
with song on his lips, and consider it
entirely normal. He, the “poverello” of God,
could do it because he had assimilated the
cross till it allowed his soul and heart to soar
upwards into the heavens.
“The sacrament of Baptism grants a Christian the strength to enable him to listen to and progressively comprehend the Word of God. It is
a gift from on High. Only the Word of God can heal, deter, liberate, and generate one into the life in Christ.” (G. Dossetti 1913-1996)
4
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Flow of Pilgrims continues
This past summer in Medjugorje has
seen the greatest number of pilgrims to date.
Now autumn is well underway and here in
this land blessed by Mary the number of
pilgrims does not seem to diminish. This can
be seen also by the traffi c of cars and buses,
with number plates from far and wide, and
by the amount of people seen coming and
going to St. James, especially of a morning
when Holy Mass is celebrated in various
different languages.
On the new screen set up next to the
information off ice the message of the
25th alternates with the list of Eucharistic
celebrations, which lately is particularly
long. From this list we also see the countries
of origin of the pilgrims. Lately these have
been Romania, Hungary, Poland, Latvia,
Portugal, Spain, and Lebanon, besides the
Koreans and Americans who seem to be
always present.
With summer over, the fl ow of Croatians
has also resumed, many of whom come to
visit this place of grace of a weekend. On
Saturdays, one notices the arrival of the
many buses from various parts of Croatia.
Both Podbrdo and Krizevac are particularly
busy with visiting pilgrims on Saturday
mornings: people who either alone or in
groups and with great devotion entrust to
our Blessed Mother everything that bears
down on their hearts.
We can all improve
In one of her messages Mary said how
Medjugorje was meant to be a place where
hearts could meet, and it is precisely when
pilgrims are so numerous and diverse that
extra effort is required so that each can fi nd
in this shrine a place of prayer where it is
possible to meet the living God, and Our
Lady truly present. About a year ago a sign
saying “silentium” (silence) was planted on
both Podbrdo and Krizevac. It is mostly the
big groups that perhaps don’t realize that
when they pray together aloud, they are
disturbing others in silent meditation.
It saddens me to see how some
people seem to totally ignore those next
to them, as if only their own prayer were
important. And there are some who seem
to photograph everything and everyone,
and even a monk or nun in prayer becomes
a souvenir, something to immortalize and
take back home.
The saddest thing I fi nd is the apparent
lack of respect for Holy Mass being
celebrated in foreign languages when
groups of people come in to pay homage
before the statue of Our Lady, all the time
seemingly ignoring the living presence of
Jesus on the altar. I image they think that
because the Mass is in another language
it doesn’t regard them, mindless of the
Lord’s sacrifi ce which is unveiled before us.
“What we have in the Mass is not simply a
recalling of events-gone-by. Somehow, says
the Church, in this act we fi nd the scrim
[veil] between time and eternity, or between
earth and heaven, or between the seen and
the unseen, has been drawn back; we really
are in a mystery – we really are at the Lord’s
own table, like the Disciples in the Upper
Room; and at the cross, with Mary and
John; and in the heavenlies, with the angels
and archangels and the whole company of
saints…” (Thomas Howard: “If Your Mind
Wanders at Mass”).
Bishop’s Visit
On Sunday, 23 Sept. Bishop Ratko came
to Medjugorje for the offi cial nomination
of the new parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlasic’,
who had taken over this important role
already during the summer months. Fr. Petar
renewed the promises he made at his priestly
ordination, vowing to be faithful to the holy
Gospel and to the holy Church of God.
Symbolically, he received from the hands of
the bishop the keys of the tabernacle: centre
of the life and faith of the parish.
As many pil-
grims from around
the world know,
the bishop has still
n o t o p e n e d h i s
heart to the truth
of the Medjugorje
apparitions. Also
on this occasion
he was not very
benevolent towards
t h e m o n k s o r
parishioners, but
l e f t a s e n s e o f
bitter ness. This
made everyone more aware of the need to
become an even more convinced witnesses
of Mary’s presence, knowing that God will
do the rest.
Br. Francesco
MIRJANA,
2nd of month messages
2 Oct. 2007: “Dear Children, Join me on the
mission God has entrusted me with; come
along with an open heart and total trust!
This way of mine along which I lead you
to God is diffi cult, but persevere and in the
end we shall all rejoice in God. Therefore,
my Children, do not stop praying for the gift
of the faith. Only through faith can the Word
of God be light in this darkness that wants
to envelop you. Do not fear: I am with you.
Thank you.”
2 Nov. 2007: “Dear Children, Today I call
you to open your heart to the Holy Spirit and
to permit Him to transform you. My children,
God is the supreme good and therefore, as a
mother, I implore you: pray, pray, pray, fast
and hope that it is possible to attain that
good, because love is born of that good. The
Holy Spirit will reinforce that love in you and
you will be able to call God Father. Through
this supreme love, you will sincerely love all
people and in God you will consider them
brothers and sisters. Thank you.”
With her blessing Our Lady added: “On the
way on which I lead you to my Son, those
who represent Him walk beside me”
Mary Continues to Call Us
It was full of pilgrims this year at Medju-
gorje; with persons of every sort, nationality
and tongue; some of whom had come alone,
others in groups; some had come for the fi rst
time, while others felt quite at home. “We
have never seen so many! In the summer
months alone the number of pilgrims
exceeded the usual annual presence,” said
one of the nuns who assist at the Shrine.
Despite the very high temperatures that
made climbing the hills an almost heroic
act, pilgrims moved about amongst the
“cardinal” points of the little town with
ease. What was it that made them so vital,
so ready to accept sacrifi ce? Certainly not
the promise of commodity or fl attery; they
were moved solely by the desire to encounter
Mary, the mother who had called them and
for each of whom she had prepared special
gifts of grace, healing and conversion.
You usually arrive here loaded down
with the baggage the world has thrown on
you: those ever more pressing and oppressive
demands which seem so indispensable but
in reality lead to nothing. As soon as you
arrive you become aware of “something”:
a feeling of being made welcome, of being
a child needy of comfort and shelter. Then,
gradually, as you proceed along the way
of prayer, you feel the falling away of the
junk that ties you down to the earth, and the
unfolding of inner wings that imperceptibly,
but really do lift up the soul into a dimension
of peace, serenity and love.
At Medjugorje, indeed, you feel
especially and greatly loved. You feel it
in a personal way, without the need to put
on masks to feel accepted. At last, you can
be yourself. Things seem to become more
harmonious; everything falls into place.
This feeling of profound peace - which
many “can’t f ind words to describe” -
though important, is not the most important
aspect. It would not be correct to reduce
Medjugorje
to the sphere of feelings
alone, even though these are considered as
indicators of what is happening deep down.
The most important thing to keep in mind is
the powerful touch of grace which is able to
reach the heart and begin a gradual process
of sincere transformation and conversion.
It is our Holy Mother who calls us
to that land, blessed by her presence; she
knows us one by one, she knows our life-
story, she knows what’s in our heart – the
good and the bad. Mary wants to heal the
wounds that have built up within us over
the years, and in particular to free us of all
the negative reactions that have arisen as a
defence to the open wounds. Often, those
who seem bad to us, bear deep wounds
within the heart, and their bad behaviour is
a type of defence. Mary teaches us that the
bad in us and in the world can be healed
with love,
comprehension and forgiveness.
If we respond to her call, and follow her
voice, we too will learn how to use this love
towards our neighbour whom we perhaps
have judged without truly knowing him or
his situation.
Sr. Stefania
5
Reporting from Medjugorje ...
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“TRUST ME”
It all started with a weekend in April
in 2003. It was the Sunday after Easter,
renamed by JP II: Divine Mercy Sunday.
I didn’t know that then, and I hadn’t even
heard of St. Faustina. Not that I wasn’t
living my faith; rather, I had some time
previously begun on a deeper journey
which had led me to appreciate Jesus’ real
presence in the Eucharist at Holy Mass, and
I was praying the Rosary regularly.
Having fi nished my studies, completed
military service, and feeling tired with the
world, I was seriously thinking about the
consecrated life. And it was then that I
was struck by a profound inner crisis. God
suddenly seemed so distant and everything
that for me was a certainty only days before
became as though vague ideas in my stormy
heart, and it took all my strength not to
abandon them.
It was with this inner disposition that I
found myself in Medjugorje that weekend
in April. I say “found myself ” because of
a series of apparently casual circumstances
that encouraged me to follow up on an inner
calling. I won’t go in to what I experienced
that weekend. Each person’s experience
is different, though all have in common
the same Presence, the same Divine Love
which Mary, through a special grace, makes
particularly tangible. In particular, in my
heart I was distinctly aware of this phrase:
“Trust me.” I was aware of Mary’s living
presence in my heart;
and she was asking
me to surrender myself to her, to let her take
possession of my life. I didn’t exactly know
what this would entail, but it was irresistibly
appealing. Some months previously I had
read the Treatise on True Devotion to Mary,
by St. Louis Maria Grignon de Montfort
(the same one from which JP II took his
motto, “Totus tuus”). Back home I sought
out the booklet to read it again; it seemed
to me to have a treasure in my hands.
My life continued amid various
diffi culties: an interesting job that didn’t
really overly enthuse me, my commitment
as scout leader, my interest in the religious
life that still hadn’t led to anything…
The following August I came back to
Medjugorje, and whilst here Mary prepared
me to face the very delicate moment of my
father’s death. My life at this point was,
humanly speaking, turned upside down, yet
within me burned a presence that cleared
the way for me and repeatedly told me:
“simply go ahead.”
To go ahead meant to try to live the
messages every day, and open my heart
to Mary to allow her to lead me on. It
meant accepting the everyday situations,
especially the most diffi cult ones: of the
type one would normally discard with some
sort of self justifi cation to quieten one’s
conscience. And of course I had to learn
to live a life in the light of God’s love. At
the beginning I prayed almost exclusively
to Mary.
Egoistically, with my every Rosary,
Holy Mass, and fast I hoped to relive the
sensations
I experienced at Medjugorje.
And this was the most diff icult step:
detaching myself from the emotions.
In fact, after an intense experience of
prayer, we risk attaching ourselves to
the sensations lived
and to making those
sensations a type of measure or rule.
With time then, I began to feel Mary’s
presence less and less. It didn’t make me
very happy, to say the truth, but I began to
understand that what Mary was doing was
to let go of my hand to teach me to walk; the
way mothers do with their little toddlers.
Time went by, and in the summer of
2005 I returned to Medjugorje with some
friends. Whilst there, we happened upon
a big white house. It was here that a great
peace invaded my heart, and this urged me
to ask who lived in the house. It was thus
that I learnt that it belonged to a Community
born from the experience in the prayer
group of the two locutionists. I immediately
felt the desire to meet the Community, but
due to various circumstances this could not
happen till the following year.
On the 8th December 2005 I consecrated
myself to Mary with the Montfort formula.
At the time I was still uncertain what to do
with my life, but a series of events led me
to make the decision to join the Community.
Looking back, I see how God, through
Mary, has always respected my freedom,
and granted me the awareness and clarity
to decide for this new journey that He has
prepared especially for me, and for which
each day He awaits my renewed decision;
my renewed yes.
Andrew
Jelena’s Fourth Child
Born Safely
Her name is
Benedetta, which
means blessed. She
was born under
t h e m a n t l e o f
the Queen of the
Holy Rosary,
on
the 7th October,
and is the fourth
child for Jelena
and Massimiliano.
Readers would know that Jelena had the gift
of inner locutions for several years, through
which Our Lady led the prayer group at
Medjugorje.
“It was a beautiful pregnancy, and
immersed in grace,” Jelena told me recently.
“Nearly every day, with the other three
children, I was able to go to Holy Mass.
Prayer and trust in Jesus made things go
well, despite the daily chores of a mother,
and as though a fruit of the grace that
accompanied our faith journey, Benedetta’s
birth was quick and easy.”
In the various articles that Jelena has
written for Echo, we have learnt how
she sees her motherhood as a privileged
“position” that allows her to contemplate
the mystery of life that is born in God and
is communicated to each creature:
“In my children I see the image of
God still intact. Each morning we read
together the Gospel of the day,”
continued
Jelena, “and often we even manage to recite
the liturgy of the hours. Or rather, I read
the psalms and they listen. It would be
wrong to think they were too young. For
them this daily relationship with God has
become normal, in which Jesus truly is a
very authoritative friend in their heart. If
I say that something of their behaviour
displeases Jesus, the children take it very
seriously and obey without hesitation.
Of course, this demands a great deal of
effort on the part of parents, but I do not
think there can be love without absolute
donation. However, love is like a strange
type of purse: the more you give of it, the
more it contains.”
It is edifying to hear her testimony,
to know that there are parents who don’t
fear to turn off the television to tell their
children about the greatest story of all: of
the incarnation of the Son of God. Parents
that do not let themselves be intimidated
by the customs of a society that is ever
more sophisticated and demanding and that
deprives us of the most important time: that
spent with each other, and especially with
the Father our Creator.
“We burden our children with activities,
as if they were adults even, and we don’t
realize how they are being crushed by
them, but this risks robbing them of their
spontaneity and simplicity. Even children’s
games have become so complicated these
days… I am glad that our children have
fun and are happy with the little they have,”

Jelena concluded.
We wish every blessing upon Jelena
and her family in a time when motherhood
is undermined by a hedonistic society that
encourages women to think more about
themselves to the detriment of the family,
and of course to society itself. We know
our society is the promoter of the culture
of death and that through its laws and
propaganda consciences are dulled. The
fi rst years of a child are the most delicate
and important. It is then that the foundations
are laid for a well balanced relationship with
love, giving harmony and shape to a life that
will be called to generate new life according
to God’s plan.
This is the love that is needed to heal the
many wounds of mankind; wounds which no
doubt can be traced back to a lack of love
and acceptance even in infancy. But where
there is life there is hope. And prayer will
enhance that hope. And after prayer there is
the good example which we hope will help
others comprehend the indispensable value
of parenthood for the sake of all, and for a
better world.
Stefania Consoli
6
Benedetta
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“Until You Come in
Glory…”
By Giuseppe Ferraro
There’s a vague sense of expectation,
almost as an undercurrent, in the message
of the Queen of Peace at Medjugorje. Her
surprisingly lengthy presence in our midst,
the warning that “my apparitions here at
Medjugorje are the last for mankind” (msg
17 April 1982), the repeated mention of “a
new time” that awaits us: “I am with you and
I lead you towards a new time, a time God
gives you as a grace to know Him more”
(msg. 25 Jan. 1993), tend to awaken in us
the drowsy sense of expectation for epochal
events for mankind and creation as a whole.
It is made more explicit by the part of the
message that concerns the secrets: “There
are the secrets, my children! It is not known
what they are, but when it is known, it will
be late!” (28 Jan. 1987)
We baptized Christians have said
thousands of times at Mass: “… until you
come in Glory,” but we must be sincere
and admit that perhaps only a few chosen
souls truly await “the day of the Lord,”
which Scripture assures us “will come like
a thief in the night” (1 Thes 5:2). In the early
Church, instead, the sense of expectation
for the return of Christ was more alive, and
was expressed in a spiritual tension of the
soul which ardently desired full communion
with God. In fact, the fi rst Christians awaited
the justice of the “new heavens and the new
earth” with the vigil and loving anxiety of
the Bride in the Song of Songs, and the
“blissful hope” of soon enjoying eternal
communion with the Lamb.
Down the centuries this strong awareness
became progressively weaker, though of
course the wait for the day of the Lord
remains a founding truth of our faith. With
the irruption in time of the paschal mystery
of Christ, the history of salvation is pervaded
by a new dynamism that rapidly projects
it towards its fi nality. And in fact, it is the
Church’s await of the “blessed hope, the
appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)
that allows her to continually draw new
grace and receive light and new zeal for
her salvifi c mission. “Therefore, beloved,
since you await these things, be eager to be
found without spot or blemish before him,
at peace” (2 Pt 3:14).
When the fi nal destination at the end of
the way of salvation opened by the Risen
Christ becomes vaguer in hearts, it means
there is a loss of the true sense of the
Christian vocation. The vital experience of
the mystical union of the soul with its Creator
is also necessary to the Christian vocation
to guarantee the renewal of the missionary
zeal. This “eclipse in expectation” indicates
a more profound spiritual malady, which
over the centuries, and under the infl uence
of rationalistic suggestion, has crept into the
hearts of the baptized.
It is an insidious illusion, the poisoned
fruit of the father of lies, that one can
be Christian and at the same time deny
Christ his lordship
over the soul, and
want to limit one’s
adhesion to the
Gospel on a purely
rational and ritual
level, and without
c o n s i d e r i n g
t h e i n t i m a t e
a n d p r o f o u n d
“infatuation of the heart” for the Person
and mystery of Christ (cf. Novo millennio
Ineunte
, 33). It gives rise to a presumptive
refusal of the mystical encounter with the
divine Spouse who is present within us and
ardently desires communicating to us the
living breath of the Trinitarian Love. “…
prayer can progress, as a genuine dialogue
of love, to the point of rendering the person
wholly possessed by the divine Beloved,
vibrating at the Spirit’s touch, resting fi lially
within the Father’s heart.” (ibidem)
Without this inner disposition, our faith
stagnates, and is unable to lift us up out of
the old world’s dust to generate “fruits of
eternal life,” and inevitably ends up trickling
down into a humanistic, cultural level distant
from God’s heart.
The Queen of Peace, who knows us
better than we know ourselves, and who
“loves us with the love of Christ” wants
to bring her children back to a living
communion with the heart of her Son, who
alone is the fount of truth and life for the
world. She desires healing us totally of our
spiritual leprosy to make us fully suitable
for the great mission Christ entrusted to his
Church, and thus become worthy vessels to
bring God’s Love to all people.
Mary appears in this time of ours to
accompany the world in a great passover of
recapitulation in Christ; He who shall “hand
over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty and
every authority and power” (1 Co 15:24).
That is why Mary says to her children: “may
my Heart, the Heart of Jesus and your own
heart fuse together to become one big heart
of love and peace” (msg 25 July 1999). She
wants to communicate to them the fullness
of the grace of God so that the salvation and
the new life of the Risen Lord can spread to
the entire world.
The militant Church, in opening up to
receive this pure love that already reigns in
the heavenly Church, has the task of bringing
it to others through her various tasks and
missionary witness. The mystery of the
Church is fully realized in Mary, and for this
reason God sends her in our midst so that the
militant Church is made more similar to her:
“without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
… holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27),
and be made ready for the great wedding
feast with the Lamb.
This great gift of grace comes to us
through the presence of the Queen of Peace
at Medjugorje who calls us to surrender our
lives – and offer our lives – to God, so that
our souls can become more receptive and
disposed for an intense nuptial communion
with the Risen Lord.
Then, our “wait” for him “to come in
Glory” shall become a proclamation and a
blessing for the world, as our “heart keeps
vigil” (Sg 5:2) for the voice of the Groom:
“Hark! My lover – here he comes” (Sg 2:8).
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ Let
the hearer say, ‘Come.’ Let the one who
thirsts come forward, and the one who wants
it receive the gift of life-giving water.” (Rev
22:16)
Pray, Trust, Hope
in the Cross
WYD-SYD 08 - the Cross continues
its pilgrimage (at Darwin in the photo) as
part of the preparation for a down-pouring
of grace in the Great South Land of the
Holy Spirit
“You Will Receive Power When the
Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You, and You
Will Be My Witnesses”
(Acts 1:8)
“I ask you, my dear young people, to
refl ect on this theme in the coming months
in order to prepare yourselves for the
great event that will take place in Sydney,
Australia” (Benedict xvi).
“How better to refl ect, how better to
prepare, than by joining those fi rst disciples
with all their doubts and confusions, their
awe and excitement, as they gathered in
prayer with Mary in the Upper Room and
awaited the Spirit of Pentecost? This is our
time to do the same… to
SPEND
a
WEEKLY
HOLY HOUR
of
POWER
with
CHRIST
and
Mary and the saints, awaiting the coming of
the Holy Spirit at WYD. It will give you the
quiet time, the thinking time, the praying
time, the emptying-your-head time, the
pouring-out-your-heart time, that you need.”
(Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP, coordinator
WYD
)
Photo courtesy Matt Ross WYD 2008
7
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Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8,11.86; Legal Dir. A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO Treviso
Echo is distributed freely.
It fully relies on readers’ donations.
To all who have been instruments
of Providence for Echo, enabling us
to continue to help Mary reach her
children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
prayer and at Holy Mass.
If you desire a written response for
your donation, please kindly request
it. May God reward you and your
loved ones onehundredfold
!
Donations / correspondence to:
Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47,
I-31037 LORIA (TV), Italy.
Personal cheques accepted; also
International Postal Orders.
And where convenient (within Europe)
by bank transfer (specify for Echo of
Mary Assoc):
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IT 02 Z 05024 11506 000004754018
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2) Scotland: Royal Bank of Scotland,
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Acc. no. 8326 0400 154351
A Special Summer
by Robert Prendushi
When I translate our paper, the Echo
of Mary, I always think of the distance it
will need to cover - this little yet precious
paper - to reach all the continents. I see how
letters of thanksgiving arrive from far away
Australia, Asia and South America… Instead,
the distance Echo in Albanian needs to cover
is much less, and I think less noted.
This year my wife and I were able to go
to Medjugorje. The days that preceded the
pilgrimage were as a time of preparation and
encouragement. It made a certain impression
on me to think that in a few days we would
be able to draw from the fount, where our
own little paper was born, and also to meet
up with the staff and other translators from
various parts of the world.
Pleasant surprise
I’ve been translating the Echo for 15
years, and I see how the role of translator
is secondary. For me it is a real honour, and
because I live abroad (in Italy, not Albania),
I feel indebted to my country.
I wasn’t expecting to hear talk of the
Echo at the (Albanian) wedding feast we at-
tended: “I noticed you had the Echo of Mary.
I’d like to receive it too, in the US where I
live,” exclaimed a relative of the bride on our
way out the Church. “I’d like my children to
read Our Lady’s messages…” he said, who
went on to tell me that prior to the wedding,
he had stopped over in Medjugorje with his
Croatian wife. “It seems to me,” said a third
person, “that Our Lady has already answered
your wishes,” as she went on to present me
as the translator of the Echo. At the wedding
feast I was further surprised to discover that
of the one hundred guests, forty of them were
regular readers of Echo.
Feast of the Assumption at Shkodër
When an Albanian Christian arrives in
the city of Shkodër, it is only natural for him
to stop and pray in the Church of Our Lady
of Good Counsel, at the entrance to the city,
close to the castle of Rosafa (I hope readers
recall the history of this devotion, and the
voyage of the image, in 1467, to Genazzano,
near Rome. See Echo no. 194).
We were in Shkodër the morning of the
15th August, in front of the church. Many
people had come from the surrounding villa-
ges to celebrate the feast of the Assumption,
which in Albania is not recognized by the
State, so it is an ordinary work day. Used,
as we were, to see many vacant seats when
we go to Mass, it was moving to see the
Cathedral (the largest of the Balkans) fi lled
with people who in turn were fi lled with joy.
During the few days we spent there we were
able to listen to the homilies by many young
priests. After so many years of suffering and
martyrdom, the Albanian Church is once
again enriched with new worthy pastors. I
had the opportunity to converse with them,
and it became clear that they were educated
at the school of Mary who always leads to
Our Lord Jesus.
Destination in sight …
From Shkodër to Medjugorje the distance
is about 300 km, no more. However, to get
there one must change buses frequently, and
halt at many check points even though the
Balkans are formally at peace. The journey
is therefore very long. We started off at 4
am and at 5 pm we arrived at the Bosnian
border: the country where the Queen of
Peace reigns. We arrived at Medjugorje at
9 pm. At long last! It was like stepping into
another world! We spent fi ve days at the
Kraljice Mira (Queen of Peace) Community.
This year there were many of us there (for
the annual retreat), especially from the East.
They also thirst greatly for the faith, like the
Albanians. What a blessing it was to spend
fi ve days in that blessed land to draw from
the true fount.
Now that I am back home and life is
back to normal, I often think of that time
and the others with whom we shared a
profound communion as we prayed, shared
experiences, and listened to the teachings
of Fr. Tomislav. Of course, the most special
aspect of any pilgrimage to Medjugorje is the
encounter with Mary who leads us to Jesus. It
was truly an experience that is deeply burned
into our heart.
Climb up Podbrdo
Podbrdo, where Mary fi rst appeared, is
not overly steep, but it is still a climb, and the
surface rough. It is gentle enough not to feel
tired when you are back down. No man has
set instrument or hand to this hill to make the
climb easier; only to set up the stations of the
Rosary where the faithful stop to refl ect. It is
true, however, that some paths have been “cut
out” - and there the rocks have been smoothed
over somewhat - by the passage of millions
of pilgrims from every social extract. And
one cannot help but think how much many of
them had to save up to come here to fulfi l the
dream of a special encounter with the Blessed
Mother up there on that hill. The murmuring
of prayer in so many different languages,
like a symphony in honour of the Queen,
is another memory that will accompany my
days till I am granted the grace of returning
once again to Medjugorje and experiencing
another special summer. •
From the Mailbox
A. Houtermans, Germany: I’m writing
to confi rm my desire to continue receiving
the Echo, which I fi nd excellent. I’ve been
reading it since 1991 and I would not like to
stay without. May God reward you for all the
good you do through Echo.
Fr. De Cesare, Mexico: I’ve been receiving
ECHO
for years. As a Combonian Missionary
I’ve worked in Mexico for 20 years. Echo
helps me a great deal to know what is going
on at Medjugorje. I appeal to the readers of
Echo to pray to the Lord for all the Missions
in Latin America. Blessings upon those
who work for Echo. I would appreciate it if
you could tell Fr. Jozo about the group of
Mexican pilgrims that visited Medjugorje last
year: an experience we’ll never forget!
R. Bruce, Australia: I have just returned
from a beautiful pilgrimage in Italy and
Medjugorje. The peace I found in the many
Shrines we visited gave forth to my faith,
especially Medjugorje. Thank you for the
encouragement your paper gave me to
venture on this long trip.
Mrs. Carranza, Wales: “... I contribute as
often as I can with a donation, but it can never
be as much as the great spiritual help that
comes from Echo. I always re-read itand keep
them for reference. Blessings and prayers!”
The Lord bless thee and keep thee! May He
show His face to thee, and have mercy on
thee!
Italy, 12 November 2007
Echo online: www.ecodimaria.net
“Jesus comes to me every morning in
Holy Communion; I repay Him in my very
small way by visiting the poor.”
“With all the strength of my soul I
urge you young people to approach the
Communion table as often as you can.
Feed on this bread of the angels whence
you will draw all the energy you need
to fi ght interior struggles. Because true
happiness, dear friends, does not consist
in the pleasures of the world or in earthly
things, but in peace of conscience, which
we only have if we are pure in heart and
mind.”
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (6 April
1901 - 4th July 1925)
www.piergiorgiofrassati.org
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