Updates  | Medjugorje  | Messages  | News & Articles  | Videos  | Pictures & Photos | Site Map  | About  | Guestbook  | Links  | Screensaver  | Wallpaper | Web Feed

www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 197 (January-February 2008)

Other languages: English, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano
Download (0.2 MB )
background image
Our Lady’s message, 25 Nov. 2007:
“Dear Children, Today, when you
celebrate Christ the King of all creation,
I desire that He be the King of your lives
It is only through giving, my Children,
that you can comprehend the gift of
Jesus’ sacrifi ce on the Cross for each of
you. My Children, give time to God so
He can transfi gure you and fi ll you with
His grace, that you might be grace for
others. I am for you, my Children, a gift
of grace, of God’s love that comes from
Him for this world without peace. Thank
you for responding to my call.”
King of our Life
“Today, when you celebrate Christ the
King of all creation, I desire that He be
King of your lives.”
With just a few words
Mary has defi ned the sense of today’s feast.
If we celebrate Christ the King without
making Him King of our lives we rob the
feast of its deepest meaning. It also becomes
another lost occasion that we could and
should have used for our benefi t and for
the benefi t of others. The same goes for all
Christian feasts, and for all the Sacraments,
especially Confession and the Eucharist. If
we do not enter into the mystery and live
the sacred celebrations, we end up reducing
them to the level of worldliness, and we
cannot thus pretend to encounter God.
In the same way, we cannot receive holy
Communion the way we’d place an aspirin
in our mouth to counteract a headache, or
make recourse to a confessor as though
going to a friend for human consolation. To
celebrate Christ the King, without making
Him King of our very lives, is to turn the
liturgy into a recitation, sacred perhaps, but
not salvifi c.
Let us make Mary’s wish our own. Even
if the feast day of Christ the King shall be
over by quite some time when you read this,
we can all the same make it present within
our hearts, because any time is good to
acknowledge that Jesus is King of our life,
and thereby decide to live in a way that is
fi tting. I am king - Jesus says to Pilate - for
this I was born, and for this I came into the
world: to bear witness to the truth; and all
who are on the side of truth listen to my voice

(Jn 18:37). Christ the Truth bears witness to
the world that there is a regality unknown
to the world. It is a regality without worldly
power, wealth, or honour. It is rich in love:
love without reserve, without gratifi cation.
This love is given to us totally, without cost.
Christ’s throne is His Cross. It is not easy to
comprehend; not easy to accept, because we
know that if they have persecuted Him, they
will also persecute us
(cf. Jn 15:20).
The mystery of Love, however, is
revealed to him who tries to live it: “It is only
through giving, my Children, that you can
comprehend the gift of Jesus’ sacrifi ce
on the Cross for each of you,”
says Mary.
To give oneself to God means to trust Him.
Then we will come to know the salvifi c value
of the Cross, and thereby accept our own
cross (Mk 8:34). It is a serious commitment,
and diffi cult, that takes courage, self-denial
and the patience to allow His grace to work
in us. “My Children, give time to God, so
He can transfi gure you and fi ll you with
His grace, that you might be grace for
What marvellous humility of God
who waits for our response of trust so we
can be transfi gured in Jesus Christ, and in
Him become grace for others!
And let us not forget that He continues
to grant us the grace of Mary’s presence. As
Mother, she continues to generate children
in her Son Jesus, mindless of how she is
received by the world. May Mary anticipate
the time of His return and the triumph of His
Kingdom of Love and Peace!
“I am for you, my Children, a gift of
grace, of God’s love that comes from Him
for this world without peace.”
May we
receive without reserve, and with profound
trust and an open heart this gift of grace,
and of God’s love
, called Mary. May we
make her desires our own, and try to live
them (they are as oil for our lamps) so that
we do not miss the appointment with the
Lord who comes.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“God generated the world with its
foundation; Mary generated the
world through reparation.”
St. Anselm
Our Lady’s Message, 25 December 2007
“Dear Children, With great joy I
bring you the King of Peace, that He
may bless you with His blessing. Adore
Him, and give time to your Creator for
whom your heart yearns. Do not forget
that you are pilgrims on this earth, and
that things can give you small joys, while
through my Son, eternal life is given you.
That is why I am with you, to lead you
towards that which your heart yearns.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
Set Aside Time
for Your Creator
Glory to God in the highest and peace
on earth to men whom God loves (Lk 2:14)
sings the celestial choir when the angel
announces the birth of the Saviour to the
shepherds. The wish of peace is addressed
to all men; for God loves all men. However,
it is clear that not all men live, or at least
welcome, this divine wish. God offers, but
He does not impose His gifts upon us, and
this is one of the aspects of His Love that
most throws man into confusion.
Life on the earth is again marked by
division and the destructive power of human
pride. Communion with God has become
possible with the coming of Christ, but it is
not yet universal, and the peace promised
to men is still suspended between heaven
and earth. Yet, the Lord is not being slow to
fulfi l his promises, as anybody else might be
called slow; but he is being patient with you
all; wanting nobody to be lost and everybody
to be brought to change his ways
(2 Pt 3:9).
The peace promised by the angels is not late,
but awaits to be received and lived.
The promise that He gave, and continues
to give, blossoms and bears fruits of
holiness; it is a good that is present in the
world even if not universally enjoyed. Peace
amongst individuals, nations and in creation
as a whole – the Messianic peace – is within
our reach but cannot be imposed. It is to be
received and accepted, and lived. For this to
happen man’s will must conform to God’s
Will; one needs to be a man of good will.
With great joy I bring you the King
of Peace, that He may bless you with His
, says Mary on this Christmas Day,
and her words confi rm that the promise of
peace subsists still. Before our infi delity He
remains faithful because He cannot deny
himself (cf. 2 Tm 2:13). The King of Peace
is there, in Mary’s embrace, and awaits to
be received by us, in our hearts. Adore Him
and give time to your Creator for Whom
your hearts yearn.
To adore Jesus means to
assimilate his divinity, and allow oneself to
be penetrated by the rays of Love that issue
January-February 2008 - Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy. Yr 24 # 1
Ph. +39 0423-470331 - www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
background image
forth from the Holy Eucharist.
However, giving time to God is rather
dedicating all our time to Jesus; to live
every instant of our day with Him, and let
ourselves become more like Him in all that
we do, think, say and desire – it is to be
born from above; born through the Spirit
(Jn 3:1-8). Everything that is not done in
Christ, that does not pass through Him,
will quickly pass, and whatever these give
it can only be transient and fl eeting. Do
not forget that you are pilgrims on this
earth, and that things can give you small
joys, while through my Son, eternal life
is given you.
Eternal life means to live in Christ and of
Christ. He is the bread of life, and to eat this
bread is to receive eternal life (Jn 6:48-51).
Mary is with us to give us once again, as
2000 years ago, her Son Jesus, and in Him
everything to which our hearts yearn. We
know, in fact, that it is only in Jesus that
we can fi nd Peace, Love and Hope. In Him
every yearning is appeased, every fear is
dispersed, every division is overcome; and
this will surely happen if by His grace our
life is an expression of His.
Benedict XVI
“Set aside time for God”
“In some way, mankind is awaiting God,
waiting for him to draw near. But when the
moment comes, he does not have room for
him,” said the Pope at Christmas, the time of
year when we relive the extraordinary event
of God’s coming amongst men. St. John the
apostle said: “He came to his own home, and
his own people received him not”
(Jn 1:11).
“Man is so preoccupied with himself, he has
such urgent need of all the space and all the
time for his own things, that nothing remains
for others, for his neighbour, for the poor,
for God,” said the Holy Father.
These grave words could fall on our own
deaf ears if we do not open our heart and
allow them to act within as a leaven, able to
turn our heart of stone into a heart of fl esh.
“Do we have time for our neighbour who is
in need of a word from us? For the sufferer
who is in need of help? For the fugitive or
the refugee who is seeking asylum? Do we
have time and space for God? Can He enter
our lives; fi nd a space within us? Or have
we occupied all our space with our own
Heroic Virtues of Six-year-old
Antonietta Meo might become the
youngest blessed (not martyred) in Church
history. Pope Benedict XVI has authorized
the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
to acknowledge the heroic virtues of this
little girl, making it possible for her to be
later declared blessed, then a saint.
Antonietta was born in Rome on 15
December 1930, in a family of solid moral
and religious principles, who recited the
Rosary daily. She was a lively child and
always happy, and loved to sing. One day
she fell and hurt her knee, but the pain would
not subside. After a series of medical visits
she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She
was 5 at the time, and had to have her leg
amputated. She subsequently wore a heavy
prosthesis, but continued to cheerfully play
with other children.
She wrote prayers in the form of letters,
and deposited one each evening at the foot
of the cross. The fi rst were written with the
help of her mom, until she was able to write
them with her own hand. Besides her diary,
she wrote more than 100 letters which she
addressed to Jesus, Mary, God the Father
and the Holy Spirit. They reveal a life im-
bued in mysticism and amazing theological
thoughts hidden in simple sentences. “Dear
Jesus, You suffered so much on the cross. I
want to offer you many little sacrifi ces and
I want to stay close to you on the Calvary,
and close to your Mummy.”
“Dear Jesus,” says another one, “I love
you very much. I want to surrender myself
into your hands […] into your embrace. Do
with me as you wish.” And: “Help me with
your grace; help me, because without your
grace I can do nothing.” Letters to Our Lady
are full of affection: “Dear Mary, you are so
good. Take my heart and give it to Jesus.”
During her frequent stays in hospital she
asked to be taken every day to the shrine of
Mary to recite a prayer to her and deposit the
thoughts and deeds and our own lives?”
asked the Holy Father.
“The message of Christmas makes us
recognize the darkness of a closed world,”
illustrating a reality we see daily. “Yet it also
tells us that God does not allow himself to be
shut out. He fi nds a space, even if it means
entering through the stable… Whether we
are shepherds or “wise men” the light and
its message call us to set out, to leave the
narrow circle of our desires and interests, to
go out to meet the Lord and worship him...
by opening the world to truth, to good, to
Christ. (...)
The new throne is the Cross. The
new palace is the community of those who
allow themselves to be drawn by Christ’s
love and so become one body with him,
a new humanity. The power that comes
from the Cross, the power of self-giving
goodness is the true kingship. The stable
becomes a palace; and setting out from this
starting-point, Jesus builds the great new
whose key-word the angels
sing at the hour of his birth: ‘Glory to God
in the highest, and peace on earth to those
whom he loves’ - those who place their will
in his, in this way becoming men of God,
new men, a new world.” (Redaz.)
wild fl owers gathered by her mother. On the
day of the Immaculate in 1936, and as her
last Christmas was approaching, Antonietta
wrote: “I am happy that today is your feast
day,” she said to Mary. [...] I want to do little
sacrifi ces for the day we celebrate you and
Jesus. Tell Him to make me die before I
commit a mortal sin!”
Consumed by the tumour and after much
suffering Antonietta died on the 3rd July
1937, when she was 6½ years old. After her
death, conversions and graces were received,
and the fame of her holiness began to spread.
Her body now rests in a small chapel in the
Basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome where
she was baptised, and close to where she
lived her brief earthly life.
Plenary Indulgence
for Faithful at Lourdes
Benedict XVI has announced that a
plenary indulgence is available to Catholics
who travel to Lourdes during the coming
year, for the 150th anniversary of the Marian
apparitions there. The indulgence is availa-
ble to those who, under the usual conditions,
make a pilgrimage to Lourdes between 8
December 2007 and 8 December 2008. The
pilgrimage should include visits to the Mas-
sabielle grotto at Lourdes where the Virgin
Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, her
family home, and the places where she was
baptized and received her fi rst Communion.
“On each occasion they should pause for
an appropriate length of time in prayer and
with pious meditations, concluding with
the recital of the Our Father, the Profession
of Faith, ... and the jubilee prayer or other
Marian invocation.”
The usual conditions for a plenary
indulgence are sacramental Confession and
reception of Holy Communion within a
week, prayer for the intentions of the Pope,
and freedom from attachment to sin.
I have come to bring division
“There is an expression of Jesus that
always attracts our attention and needs to be
properly understood,” said Pope
(Angelus message 19 Aug. 2007)
“While he is on his way to Jerusalem,
where death on a cross awaits him, Christ
asked his disciples: ‘Do you think that I
have come to give peace on earth? No, I
tell you, but rather division.’ And he adds:
‘Henceforth in one house there will be fi ve
divided, three against two and two against
three; they will be divided, father against
son and son against father, mother against
daughter and daughter against her mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-
(Lk 12: 51-53).
“Anyone who has even the slightest
knowledge of Christ’s Gospel knows that
it is a message of peace par excellence.” If
“Jesus himself is our peace (Eph 2: 14) how
can his words be explained? (...) Christ’s
words mean that the peace he came to bring
us is not synonymous with the mere absence
of confl icts.” Instead, “Jesus’ peace is the
result of a constant battle against evil.
fi ght that Jesus is determined to support is
not against human beings or human powers,
but against Satan..
“Anyone who desires to resist this enemy
by remaining faithful to God and to good,
must necessarily confront misunderstan-
dings and sometimes real persecutions.
Thus, all who intend to follow Jesus and to
commit themselves without compromise to
the truth, must know that they will encounter
opposition and that in spite of themselves
they will become a sign of division betwe-
en people, even in their own families. In
fact, love for one’s parents is a holy com-
mandment, but to be lived authentically it
can never take precedence over love for God
and love for Christ. (...)”
background image
Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra
Meditations on the Loreto Litanies
continue in this issue with two titles:
Singular Vessel of Devotion
In the original Latin it goes like this: “Vas
insigne devozionis” where “insigne” means
singular as in outstanding, distinguished,
exceptional. Mary is the all Holy and full
of Grace; thus it is right to say she is as a
vessel that contains the Treasure of the Word
whom she bore in her womb. Jesus also
acknowledges this when He says: “happy
is he who keeps the Word in his heart and
puts it into practice.”
With the expression, “singular vessel”
our attention is drawn to Mary’s complete
disposal to divine will: a virtue in Mary
that was most endearing to the Most Holy
Trinity. The word “devotion” stresses that
Mary devoted herself entirely to the Lord.
Her person and her life were entirely a
constant praise of God. This invocation
points out the necessity to especially prepare
and protect our heart, which is the dwelling
place chosen by God on the day of our
Mary was really and totally a “crystalline
vase” and as such, worthy to be the precious
abode where the Word became incarnate.
Mary knew how to keep her Immaculate
Heart beautiful and attentive to all the Holy
Spirit’s inspirations.
In an Italian translation, the word “vas”
has been translated as “dimora” which
means dwelling, and the invocation as
“Dwelling consecrated to God.” In this
case, the profound meaning of the original
expression is not altered, however, stress is
placed on the consecration of Mary, or in
other words, on the way she gave herself
totally to the Lord where her own desires
and plans are modelled entirely on Divine
A consecrated dwelling brings to mind
the Temple of Jerusalem; the only place
for the people of Israel where God had
His dwelling and where it was possible to
have a mystical encounter with Him. All
these virtues are incarnated in Mary, and
for us Christians, she is the most beautiful
dwelling. She is the dwelling where it is
possible also for us to intimately encounter
Jesus, and feel at home with Him.
Mystical Rose
In Christian tradition there aren’t many
expressions using words from nature that
are associated with Saints or the Virgin.
Some are found in the Carmelite tradition
where the Blessed Virgin is invoked with
expressions such as “Flower of Carmel” and
“Blossoming Vine.”
The lily is often associated with Mary
since the lily is symbolic for purity; as is the
rose - which has always been considered the
queen of fl owers – and Mary is considered
as the most beautiful of all roses. There
is a more profound meaning: with the
expression, Rosa Mystica, we are invited to
consider the symbolic reference to life and
to admire the beauty of our earthly existence
which, however, does not remain without
diffi culties, concerns and sorrow.
Mary conceived without sin could have
been exempt from suffering, but the love for
her Son and for mankind made her want to
follow in the steps of Jesus along Calvary to
the Cross. She thus became a co-redeemer
of mankind.
Another aspect of the rose that we see
in Mary is its polyhedral beauty (polyhedral
meaning literally many-sided). The human
virtues and qualities of the Blessed Virgin
are perfectly in character with this fl ower so
sublime and refi ned. Thus, also the perfume
of our Mystical Flower is a sign of her own
capacity to spread the “good perfume” of
Mary as a creature possesses all the
virtues and these are founded on God, and
for this she acknowledges and sings the
Magnificat. The expression, “mystical,”
points out that her entire being is immersed
in God and that the work of the Most
High is made manifest in her with all its
by Pietro Squassabia
it is the ground which gave blossom to her
most beautiful fl ower: Jesus. It is here that
one fi nds the enclosed garden; and in her
garden wild beasts cannot enter with their
devastating action. Thus, we are all called
to accept life’s sufferings, because thanks to
Jesus they have become the fertile ground of
the enclosed garden where the most beauti-
ful fl owers can grow. In this garden fl owers
do not wilt, for they resemble Jesus and bear
his same perfume. These fl owers are well
loved by the Father precisely because they
are more like His Son.
So now I understand why the fl ower
of that sick person is so beautiful, for it
certainly grew in the enclosed garden. We
could call this garden Mary’s garden. But
more than this, this garden is Mary herself.
Thank you Mary for calling us to grow
like fl owers in the enclosed garden. Thank
you Mary for being the enclosed garden:
our defence against the wild animals. With
you we have no fears because you are our
defence and help.
The Little Boat
Have you ever seen a little boat in rough
sea? The impression is that it must be in
great danger: the boat and its occupants. It
happens at times that we feel as though we
were on a boat in rough water; a small boat,
in a dark and ominous sea… when things
get frightening. In moments like these it
is very helpful to place oneself – and feel
oneself – under the protection of the Most
High. This will instil in us sentiments of
hope and trust, and peace; and this will
allow us to fi nd rest. And perhaps we could
even fall asleep whilst in the boat, as Jesus
did during the storm at sea.
In diffi cult situations it would thus be-
come quite evident to us that the Lord does
not abandon his children in moments of
need, and despite the trial and its intensity
we could still experience the joy of realizing
how much we are loved and cared for.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall
not want. He makes me lie down in green
pastures. He leads me besides still waters.
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths
of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even
though I walk in the valley of the shadow
of death I will fear no evil; for you are at
my side. Your rod and your staff: they su-
stain me. You prepare a table before me in
the presence of my enemies. You anoint my
head with oil. My cup brims over. Surely,
happiness and kindness shall follow me all
the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the
house of the Lord for ever.”
(cf. Ps 23)
The most beautiful fl ower
How is it that a gravely ill person is
able to say such a thing as: “I am happy
because the diffi cult situations in my life
have always taught me something; made me
richer.”? I think that such a person would
have to be inspired by the Holy Spirit; that
such a person would have to be a person
of prayer.
I think it can be said without a doubt
that suffering has knocked on the door of
each of us; that we all know what it means
to experience one’s own weaknesses, and
what it means to be in diffi culty, even deeply
so. But perhaps all these situations that life
presents can become occasions whereby
Providence helps us comprehend God’s
love. Perhaps we should consider these
times of suffering as occasions of life, rather
than of death; of good rather than of bad. It
is as though the diffi cult situations in our life
become the fertile ground where the most
beautiful fl owers grow; those fl owers that
don’t grow in other types of ground.
This fertile ground is very similar to
the ground chosen by Jesus to come in our
midst; in that same ground he suffered and
died for our sake. That same ground also
witnessed his Resurrection. It is thanks to
His death and resurrection that this ground
has become fertile. Once very arid and
sterile, now – thanks to Him – it is tran-
This is the ground where Mary culti-
vated (and cultivates) her beautiful fl owers;
Echo 197
background image
Jubilee at Lourdes
Behold, another
i m p o r t a n t
d a t e w i t h t h e
Vi r g i n M a r y.
Several months
previously the 90
years of Fatima
were celebrated,
and this year the
Church celebrates
the 150 years since
the fi rst apparition
of Our Lady at
Lourdes. For the
occasion a series
of initiatives have
been organized, but in particular, the
grace of Lourdes will be showered on the
faithful during this jubilee year (8.12.2007
- 8.12.208); the 8th December being the
solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,
called so because it is the title with which
Mary introduced herself when she appeared
to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.
Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the
Vatican Congregation for Evangelization of
People, said that Mary inspires an attitude
of “permanent battle for good against the
forces of evil
which began at the beginning
of human history, and will continue until the
end,” he said. “This battle is even bloodier
than in Bernadette’s time,” because “the
world fi nds itself terribly deceived in the
spiral of relativism that desires to create
a society without God, a relativism that
erodes the permanent and unchangeable
values of the Gospel; and of religious
indifference that remains unconcerned
before the higher good of things relating to
God and the Church,” he said.
Karol Wojtyla said several months
prior to being elected Pope: “Today we
fi nd ourselves before the greatest spiritual
that mankind has ever experienced.
I do not think the Christian community has
fully understood this. We are, today, before
the fi nal battle between the Church and
the anti-church, between the Gospel and
the anti-gospel.”
Cardinal Dias said these
were prophetic words. “It is precisely for
this reason that a concerned Mother has
bent down over her children that live in sin,
distant from Christ.”
Card. Dias said Mary enters into
world history, which marks “the hostilities
between her and the devil, as described in
Genesis and Revelation.” And he pointed
out that the Virgin “is weaving a network
of her spiritual sons and daughters
in order to launch a strong offensive
against the deadly forces
and to prepare
for the fi nal victory of her divine son Jesus
Christ.” He said that the weapons to be
used for this battle
are conversion of heart,
a great devotion to the holy Eucharist, daily
recitation of the rosary, constant prayer
without hypocrisy, and accepting sufferings
for the salvation of the world. The fi nal
victory will be God’s - he stressed. “Mary
will fi ght on the front line with her army
against the enemy forces of Satan, and
the serpent’s head.”
Medjugorje Journey lit
by Mary Immaculate
by Giuseppe Ferraro
“I am the Immaculate Conception!”
This was the solemn declaration that Mary
entrusted to the simple heart of Bernardette
Soubirous on that memorable spring day in
1858 at Lourdes in France. It was not by
chance that this was the 25th March, on the
solemnity of the Annunciation, the festivity
which celebrates Mary’s “yes” to the great
project of grace closed within the Father’s
Heart for all Eternity. There is, in fact, a
very close relationship between Mary’s
“yes” and the greeting of the Archangel
with which he proclaims her real identity:
the “full of grace” or in other words the
Mary’s apparitions at Lourdes are at
the beginning of an extraordinary plan of
salvation which has progressively developed
over time through the presence of the
Blessed Virgin in various other parts of the
earth, which are no doubt all a part of the
same project of grace, however, of these
Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje represent
the most signifi cant manifestations.
At Lourdes Mary presented herself
to the world as the Immaculate Conception,
a name which seems a seal of the fi nal
victory proclaimed in the Book of Genesis
over the lord of sin and death, over our fi rst
enemy. As if to confi rm this proclamation
of victory, there followed (and follows)
a multiplication of miraculous healings,
both physical and spiritual, through the
sign - the prophetic sign - of the living water
that came as a gift from On High, and was
not of man’s making; a water able to “heal
nations” (Rev 22:1), a sign that recalls the
eternal Kingdom of the Lamb at the heart
of the heavenly Jerusalem.
To the three shepherd children from
Fatima the Mother of God appears “more
resplendent than the sun” (see Sr. Lucia’s
Diary). This is an image that explicitly
evokes the “wonderful sign: a woman
clothed in the sun,” from chapter 12 of the
Book of Revelation that guides the children
of the light in the final battle against
the dragon and its offspring. At Fatima,
Mary announces the fi nal victory of Her
Immaculate Heart, and indicates the way
for its realization to these chosen witnesses
who signifi cantly count amongst the little
of the world. This way is the consecration
to Her Immaculate Heart. “Do you want to
offer yourselves to God and accept all the
sufferings that He will want to send you
for the conversion of sinners?” (ibid. 13
May 1917).
At Medjugorje Mary comes in the
hour of fulfi lment of what was announced
or prefi gured in her previous apparitions. It
is here in this place – which is a “fount of
grace” (Mess. 8 May 1986) - that the Queen
of Peace has for more than 26 years been
calling a multitude of children to accept
her call to unite their own “yes” to her total
offering of self to God so for the salvation
of souls according to God’s will. “I want to
save all souls and offer them to God,” said
Our Lady at Medjugorje (25 Aug.1991).
Thus, there exists an essential spiritual
thread that binds together the great Marian
apparitions of the last two centuries, and
that directly connects the grace of Lourdes
to that of Medjugorje. This thread is the
spiritual gift of God’s grace; it is the
spiritual grace that was granted at Lourdes,
and is now being granted at Medjugorje to
the multitude of children being called to
freely give themselves without reserve to
God through Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
This is the great spiritual key that today
Mary grants us to triumph over every sort
of death present within us and the world.
This gift is able to transform us into vessels
to bring to all creation the Love of the
Most High.
The Queen of Peace appears at this
time so that from her Heart there might be
born a new people, that is united to her own
self-offering to the Lamb, for the salvation
of the world, that “all might receive life in
Christ” (1Cor 15:22) and all creation, fully
transfi gured in the light of the new heavens
and new earth, will at long last be “delivered
to the Father” (1 Cor 15:25), and become
true “dwelling of God with men”, where He
“will dwell with them, and wipe away every
tear from their eyes; and death shall be no
more; neither shall there be mourning, nor
crying, nor pain, for the former things have
passed away” (Rev 21:1-4).
“Oh Jesus, May this new year of mine be as a blank page offered to the Father.
May He fi ll up the page according to the dispositions of His divine will. Allow me
only to write the fi rst line and the last. At the top of the page I say with total trust:
“Lord, do with me as You please.” And at the bottom of the page I write Amen.
Amen to whatever you, Father, may dispose for me.
I say yes to all the joys, sorrows, graces and fatigue that You have prepared for me,
and that will be disclosed to me day by day. May my amen be the Paschal amen
which is always followed by hallelujah; that I may pronounce it with all my heart
and with the joy of total donation. Grant me your love and your grace, and I shall
be rich enough.”
Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit
“Prayer is realized when Christ dwells in the heart of the Christian and calls
him to the coherence of charity towards neighbour.
Prayer is accepted when it brings comfort to one’s neighbour.
Prayer is heard when it includes forgiveness of offences.
Prayer is strong when it is full of God’s strength.”
Benedict XVI
background image
Beginning Anew with Mary
If we entrust ourselves to Mary’s mo-
therly love and care she will pick us up,
clean us up, and dress us in garments “all
new, most precious and of most fragrant
odour”¹. Enclosed within her immaculate
bosom we fi nd the original dignity man was
fi rst endowed with. Mary, the littlest and the
greatest, the most beautiful and the most
hidden of all creatures; in Her the Creator
found a crib and a dwelling.
Start anew with Mary: abandon
yourself to her embrace and motherly gui-
dance. With her we won’t feel ashamed of
our nothingness and weaknesses. Her love
is active and effective, says Montfort, like
that of Rebecca for Jacob. “She loves them
not only with affection, but with effi cacy”¹.
With Mary’s help we learn to die to the life
of the old Adam, give up our self-love, our
own will¹. She helps us to get below the
superfl uous to reveal the good root, which
under her care, will sprout and blossom.
If at the beginning of a new year we
feel the need to start again and begin afresh,
with the desire to do better, then we must see
how entrustment to Mary offers immense
opportunities to do so. “She sees clearly all
good and evil, all prosperous and adverse
fortunes, the blessings and the cursings of
God; and then she so disposes things from
afar that she may exempt her servants from
all sorts of evils, and obtain for them all sorts
of blessings”¹. Mary teaches us the virtue of
prudence: to recall the past and anticipate the
future so we can act wisely in the present;
but also to look at the horizon of the future
with the expectation of a small child who
eagerly awaits shows of affection and the
little or big surprises that her beloved father
loves to bestow upon his little daughter.
We must not fear the paths we are led
along, nor the unknown. Nor should we give
in to the temptation to consider past expe-
riences and think “nothing can change,” or
that everything has already been seen. Let
it be the sensationalistic mentality of the
media to feed the widespread pessimism
that oppresses hearts and confounds minds.
And may we, instead, grasp the novelty
which Mary possesses and that she will
sow where she fi nds tilled earth, ready to
be sown with Good.
Also this year, it is the Mother of God
who opens and clears the way if we entrust
ourselves to Her. If we do not block the way
to the grace of God that she brings, we will
become as living epiphanies of the Lord. If
we remain in her, she will be in us; She will
foster and nurture us, conduct and direct us,
defend and protect us, and intercede for us¹,
and make us as beacons of light for those
who are distant and in rough waters, that
they may see the safe and sure way.
True Devotion to Mary (nos. 201-211) by
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
At the beginning of November Medju-
gorje was still crowded. Many pilgrims
were present for the solemnity of All Saints,
and for the apparition of Mary to Mirjana on
the second of the month. Once these were
over, the “low season” had fi nally begun.
Spontaneous Community
The cold of winter and the lack of
pilgrims give Medjugorje a new look,
inviting one to go out and discover parts
never before noticed. There are many
positive sides to this little town which has
been deeply transformed by the continuous
passage of people.
At the evening Mass the church is always
“full,” but one can always fi nd a place to sit.
Even though there are many people present,
one breathes a feeling of family, perhaps
because it isn’t diffi cult to recognize the
faces of those who have chosen to live
at Medjugorje for various reasons. These
are lay people and consecrated religious
of varying nationalities. Some of these
work, others dedicate most of their time to
the pilgrims. Then there are the devoted
parishioners who seriously put into practice
Mary’s messages, and persevere along the
path of grace.
It is a pleasant to look around and
see that you recognize most of those
present, and exchange a smile or sign of
acknowledgement. In many cases there
isn’t even a common language with which
to communicate, but with the grace of Mary
a small gesture of greeting is suffi cient to
create a sense of familiarity. And besides,
we are all participating in the same sacrifi ce
every day; and it is this that makes us as
though one heart and one soul.
Restful Mountains
Also Podbrdo and Krizevac are less
populated, and it is a real treat to savour
the climb up these hills completely alone;
and to walk past the many shops with
their shutters down; and feel the fresh air
fi lling your lungs and giving strength also
to your prayer. It even seems that your
prayer is deeper; more from the heart, and
you become aware that, like the season, all
must be reduced to the essential; that there’s
no time to get lost in thoughts that do not
lead us directly to the Most High. At the
top of the hills one is able to savour the
silence which helps you look inwards and
experience the grace of this blessed land,
which seems is enhanced by the absence of
the noise of the great crowds. And instead,
the murmur of the wind reigns over the
winter scene.
In the distance the shimmering Christmas
lights awaken in me happy memories of
Christmas; and in this total solitude I can
savour, as never before, the inner presence
that warms the heart: Mary is there with the
abundance of her grace.
Lights of Advent
The lack of pilgrims also means that
most of the inhabitants of Medjugorje have
Reporting from Medjugorje ...
Apparitions to Mirjana
2 December 2007: Our Lady was very
sad. For the entire duration of the apparition
she had tears in her eyes. She said:
“Dear Children, as I look into your he-
arts, my heart is fi lled with sorrow and (it)
shudders. My Children, stop for a moment
and look into your hearts. Does my son, your
God, truly occupy fi rst place? Are His laws
truly the rule of your life? I warn you again:
without faith there is not God’s nearness,
there is not God’s word, which is the light of
salvation and the light of common sense.”
Mirjana added: “With sorrow I prayed
to Our Lady not to leave us, not to remove
her hands from over us. At this request of
mine she smiled sorrowfully and left. This
time she did not say ‘I thank you’.”
2 January 2008: “Dear Children, with
all the strength of my heart I love you and
I give myself to you. As a mother fi ghts for
her children, so do I pray and fi ght for you.
I ask you not to fear to open yourselves, so
that you can love with the heart and give
yourselves to others. The more you can do
this with the heart, the more you will receive,
and the better you will understand my Son
and His self-offering for your sake. May
everyone recognize you through the love of
my Son and through me. Thank you.”
Mirjana said Our Lady also requested
prayers and fasting for our pastors.
less work. Thus, Advent is an
occasion to give more time to
God. It is an old tradition here
to celebrate a dawn Christmas
Mass. One goes to church while it is still
dark and towards the conclusion of Mass
dawn is breaking. Outside it is still freezing,
but the soul glows with the warmth of Jesus,
and the hope of facing the day with Him and
in Him, and the certainty that He will not fail
to compensate our every little sacrifi ce.
Many children are also present, together
with their bigger brothers and sisters, their
parents and grandparents. I still remember
how I was surprised the fi rst time. As I
walked to church, freezing in the cold at 6
am, I thought: “Who else would think of
doing something as crazy as this in weather
like this?” And as I came into church my
jaw dropped and my eyes popped open as I
noticed that the pews were already full!
Truly Holy Christmas
Thus the people’s favourite festivity is
celebrated in this Marian land. The fertile
ground of hearts avidly welcomes the graces
which the Lord brings. What a rare joy to
be able to live a festivity such as this one
where the gifts, well-wishes, sweets and
decorations remain mere accompaniments;
they do not take on dominant roles, because
the centre of attention is the mystery of God
who becomes man to grant us salvation and
Br. Francesco Cavagna
background image
God’s Covenant
with Us
by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
In a spiritual journey it is fundamental
that there be a purifi cation of our faith,
hope and charity. This is because all other
virtues depend on our state of purity which
is refl ected in our hope and our love.
The reading of the fi gure of Abraham
and his adventures described in the Old
Testament come to our aid: God said to
Abram: “Go from your country and your
kindred and your father’s house to the land
that I will show you”
(Gen 12:1). This same
request is addressed also to us. God asks us:
“Go from yourself, leave behind yourself,
and all that you own; all the structures and
interpretations you have built within you. I,
your God, will show you the way to take.”
This attitude is the basis of our spiritual
journey, and it is thus fundamental for us to
consider what this “going out” means.
A time of “cosmic exodus” - Jesus, the
Good Shepherd, draws us to him so that
all can be recapitulated in him. We need
to come out of our closed conceptions and
personal interpretations, from our “religio-
sity” and human regulations. When we are
being called by God to “go out,” we cannot
expect to receive help from others unless
they too are journeying within the same
movement of grace and prayer. To live one’s
faith means to live an (experience of) exodus
that leads to transformation. A person not
on the move ends up stagnating. So that a
journey advances it is important to perceive
the continuous movement within (the soul),
and at the same time allow God to lead you
onwards and bring about a transformation
within you.
When God called Abraham He didn’t
explain where he would go or who he would
meet. Abraham trusted, and departed. We
also need this same trust in God. We need
to understand when our prayer does not
introduce us into greater trust. Prayer cannot
be an activity of fi ve minutes, and not even
of fi ve hours, but must be a continuous
relationship with God. We need to be ready,
with an active faith, so that trials do not fi nd
us unprepared. When a soul is unable to
resolve the problems it encounters, it can
be likened to a course of water that comes
up against a dam, and is likely to experience
negativity, and can become destructive, and
clash with others.
Obstacles can be overcome when
we are abandoned to Jesus and to his
faithful love. Jesus is the Way that leads
to the Father; there is no other. Trustful
abandonment allows the Holy Spirit to
descend upon us, as He did on Mary, and
with Him in our hearts and lives even the
most barren soil can become fertile. So
we should not fear to accept the word that
comes to release the soul. We cannot remain
sad or worried; we cannot continue to feel
burdened by situations or problems, but
we must go on knowing that there is God.
If we remain faithful and continue to trust
in Him and His presence we will learn to
see beyond situations, and His action will
become manifest.
This offering of trust and abandonment
is as a seal, on our part, to God’s covenant of
love. Our relationship with the Lord should
be creative, and a continual exchange. All
the thoughts and worries that fi ll our days
should be presented to Him; this way we
can be sure the door of our heart remains
open, allowing Him to enter. I cannot be
fertile ground if I am continually immersed
in sadness, or if I’m continually critical
towards myself or others; or if I’m always
nervous. These negative feelings impede
redemption from being fruitful in me.
Our soul is touched by the situations
of life in and around us; by the good and the
bad. When we analyze people and situations
with our human logic we fall into a vicious
circle; but if we offer all up to God with
trust, the evil is weakened. It is weakened
when instead of judging we pray and offer
up to God all that we come into contact with
during the course of the day. This prayerful
offering up to God allows His creative action
to work in us and in others.
So our task is to give thanks to God
when we receive good; and bring the bad we
receive to God so that He can separate the
good from the bad, and drive the bad into
hell. If we lift up to Jesus Christ all that we
receive – good and bad – we will effect a
great work for the Church and mankind.
Spiritual Motherhood
Eucharistic adoration and spiritual
motherhood to support priests, Card.
Hummes said priests aren’t perfect; that they
need help to live their vocation and mission
in today’s world. The proposal has been
made to bishops to promote in their dioceses
authentic ‘cenacles’ in which consecrated and
laity - united in a spirit of true communion
- pray in the form of continuous Eucharistic
adoration so that: “from every corner of the
earth, prayer of adoration, thanksgiving,
praise, petition and reparation will always be
lifted to God; an incessant prayer in order to
raise up a suffi cient number of holy vocations
to the priesthood, and together with this, to
accompany them spiritually, with a type of
spiritual motherhood.”
Cardinal Hummes stressed that women
religious have a special role to play in
aiding priests
: They can “spiritually adopt
priests, and help them with their surrender,
prayer and penance.” However, “regardless
of age and marital status, all women can
become spiritual mothers for a priest.”
He said the commitment implies praying
for a specifi c priest and thus accompanying
him for life, usually anonymously. Cardinal
Hummes pointed out that history tells us
that this produces great spiritual fruits for
priests who spend their whole life, even with
their limits, for God and for their neighbour
preaching and cultivating the good, and
helping people.
Praying for Priests
Interesting and helpful reading on ways
to pray for a priest can be found at “Opus
Sanctorum Angelorum” website (www.
opusangelorum.org/english.html). Here we
read: “ The answer to how best go about
praying for priests and their sanctifi cation is
not a particular prayer or even a particular
form of prayer, but rather, “pray frequently
for priests and offer a variety of your good
works for their sanctifi cation
The OSA offers 12 suggestions to help
make our prayers more effective. The fi rst of
these is: ‘Adopt’ or pray for a particular priest
or bishop that you fi nd especially troubling,
rather than one you like. This requires a
greater sacrifi ce and therefore will school
us in the selfl ess love of Christ and be more
meritorious and effi cacious.”
They have a Spiritual Adoption
Program where one can sign up and
choose to spiritually adopt a priest, bishop,
seminarian, or a young man discerning
his vocation. Contact: Work of the Holy
Angels, 13800 Gratiot Ave., Detroit MI
48205, USA.
Priest not born of Angel
says Fr Jozo Zovko ofm
“A priest is not born of an angel but of
a mother. He is chosen from amongst the
people, is anointed with the Sacrament of
Priesthood and returned back to the people,
to the Church – into their care, their prayer
and their love. The priest is a sign of the
omnipotence of our God. Pray for priests.
Love them. Support them. Help them to be
holy. We are weak and fragile. If your knees
are not bent in prayer for us, we stumble and
fall. We need your prayer.”
for Priests
The Vatican’s Congregation for the
Clergy is encouraging Eucharistic adoration
for the holiness of priests and is recruiting
“spiritual mothers” to pray for priests and
for vocations to the priesthood.
With a letter to the world’s bishops and a
40-page illustrated brochure (download here:
www.clerus.org/clerus ), the project was
launched on the feast day of the Immaculate
Conception (8 Dec.) and aims to highlight
the link between the Eucharist and the
priesthood, together with Mary’s special role
as the mother of every priest.
Cardinal Hummes, congregation
prefect, and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza,
congregation secretary, said that as part
of a wider effort to address the challenges
facing priests today, they wanted to promote
perpetual Eucharistic adoration “for the
reparation of faults and sanctifi cation of
But they also hoped to promote
“a commitment on the part of consecrated
feminine souls,” who, following the example
of Mary, “might wish to spiritually adopt
priests in order to help them through their
self-offering, prayer and penance.” Card.
Hummes said that the vocation to be a
spiritual mother for priests is not well known
enough and therefore seldom practiced,
even though it is fundamental and vitally
In comments to L’Osservatore Romano
about the initiative to promote perpetual
background image
Blossoming through
Fr. Slavko witnessed fi rst hand how
the wounded hearts of pilgrims were
restored after they had been to the fount of
grace at Medjugorje, or in other words: to
confession. To help them understand and
appreciate the value of confession he wrote
the following in a book:
Visionary, Marija Pavlovic, recounts:
“As I was praying I saw a flower in a
vision for three times. The fi rst time it was
beautiful, fresh and very colourful. It made
me happy. Then I saw the same fl ower:
closed, wilted, and without a trace of its
original beauty. It saddened me. Then, a
drop of water fell on the wilted fl ower and
it immediately became fresh and beautiful
again. I tried to understand what the
vision meant for me, but I could not. So I
decided to ask Our Lady during one of her
apparitions, to know what the vision meant,
and what the fl ower represented. Our Lady
smiled and responded: ‘Your heart is like
that fl ower. Each heart is created beautiful
by God and its beauty is wonderful.
However, when you sin, the fl ower wilts
and its beauty disappears. The drop of
water that fell on the fl ower to revive it, is
symbolic for confession. When you have
sinned, you are unable to help yourselves;
you need help.’ ”
Confession, thanks to the divine power
of the Lord Jesus, makes it possible for man
to encounter the good Father who, after
having waited for so long, now rushes to
embrace the son and adorn him with new
clothes, and invites everyone to the table
of communion to celebrate the grandeur of
Divine Mercy.
Thus, confession is an encounter
between man and the divine, made possible
by the human tool of conversation and
reciprocal trust (between priest and
Confession is accepting God’s Will,
and refusing the world which imprisons and
despises. It is adhering to the fountain of
salvation, light, peace and love, and refusing
darkness, hatred and disorder.
Confession is the moment when man
returns and newly accepts the heavenly
Paradise; it is the beginning of the
constitution of the new world. It is the
moment when God has the right to enter
again into our lives and occupy fi rst place.
It is also the moment when the old man in
us is renewed in Christ’s humanity.
God the Father is infi nite goodness; He
is merciful, and always grants forgiveness
to those who ask for it with the heart.
Pray often to God with these words:
“My God, I know my sins against your love
are great and numerous, but I hope that you
will forgive me. I am ready to forgive all
others, both friends and enemies. Oh Father,
I hope in you and I desire living always in
the hope of your forgiveness.”
(Excerpt: “Give Me Your Wounded
Heart! Confession, How? Why?”
by Fr. Slavko Barbaric)
Common Priesthood
In 1990 I went to Medjugorje for
the first time. I was curious to see for
myself this extraordinary phenomena of
Mary’s apparitions, and I ardently desired
“perceiving” her presence, so that I too could
feel accepted and loved by Mary. I have
always loved our Lord, even as a child, and
trusted in Him. I have also sinned much in
my life, however this didn’t impede me from
turning constantly to God. If He came as the
Physician for the sick, why shouldn’t I have
brought my ailments to Him?
I spent a few years in a seminary,
because I felt the desire to become a priest.
I had dreams of becoming a priest for the
poor, for those who live in misery, be it
spiritual or material. I would have liked to
reach out to the poorest, the marginalized,
the imprisoned, the drug addict, and
whoever felt abandoned. Perhaps it was
because I knew what it meant to be poor, that
I felt for them. There’s a lot to learn from
the poor; from their humility and gratitude.
Scripture teaches us that God chooses his
own from amongst the littlest of the world;
the type of people that our society would
gladly discard.
I had many projects and good intentions;
I had the desire to become important for
Mary. I wanted to be called by name by our
heavenly Mother, for her to take an interest
in me. I prayed for the interior strength to
carry on with my mission, without fear, and
be able to bring a word of hope to others. At
Medjugorje Mary was there; she was waiting
for me, and wanted my complete happiness.
I have understood that God can bring good
out of our errors; for instance, He can help
us understand others who have fallen into
the same sin. The fact that we have sinned in
the same way opens our hearts and makes us
feel for them, so we can carry these people
in our hearts and offer them up to the Lord
at Mass and in our prayer, and even offer
acts of reparation for them.
So I came to understand more fully
the meaning of our priestly role in the
common priesthood of the faithful which
is “exercised by the unfolding of baptismal
grace, in a life of faith, hope and charity; a
life according to the Spirit” (Catechism of
the Catholic Church, 1547)
. In my heart it
seemed to me that the Lord was saying that
it was time to stop hiding from God behind
hypocrisy. Often, out of fear of God, we
tend to play the same hiding trick as Adam
did after the original sin, thinking that He
will just want to punish us. But this is a sign
that we know very little about God who
instead is very loving. Out of His immense
love He gave us Mary as Mother, and has
allowed her to remain in our midst all these
years at Medjugorje, for the good of our
souls. Mary is a true Mother who wants to
lead us back on the path of righteousness,
the path to God. She doesn’t care about our
imperfections; I’m sure she even justifi es
us before God.
When we allow Mary to become our
Mother, she takes us under her wing and
teaches us to love God, helping us to draw
into a more intimate relationship with Him.
At Medjugorje I received the grace to love
Mary with the heart, just as one would love
one’s own family. I call upon her all the
time, in good times and bad. What we often
do, instead, is to keep dear ones out of our
lives, and open up our hearts to false loves
that only end up poisoning us. In her great
love as Mother, Mary cleanses, heals, and
nourishes us, making us presentable for God
who wants to live in our hearts.
Years after my fi rst visit to Medjugorje,
Mary has called me to a journey of total self-
donation as a lay member in a fraternity. I am
happy to be an instrument of God, and I try
to respond every day, using, and trying to put
into practice Mary’s own words: “Thy will
be done in me.” There are so many people
today who live in darkness, with a life of
alcohol or drug addiction, or who suffer
despair and misery for various other forms
of sorrow. I know that God wants everyone
with Him in His kingdom. As an instrument,
I pray that I can bring His love and joy to
others, and be a light for those in darkness,
through prayer and reparation.
This is how I try to live my consecration:
Make space for Mary, to be like her a gift for
others and become a true son of the Father.

I see that in doing this I receive the most
joy and experience the most Love. This call
requires that we learn to die to ourselves
every day, and live in the certainty that this
“death” of ours generates the life of God in
us and others. Years after that distant 1990
my heart, with the work at Mary’s school, is
now ready to accept this call by the spiritual
family Kraljice Mira. In this spiritual family
one is called to live out meekness, humility
and obedience.
At Medjugorje I was seeking love for
myself; I wanted Mary’s attention. She gave
me much more, for I received the desire to
follow her messages to have an open heart
to receive God’s love, and to bring this love
also to the least of my brothers. I understood
the common priesthood, and the call to offer
up my life for the sake of my brethren. I
give thanks to Mary for her beautiful gift
of Love.
Angelo Scuderi
Way of Victory
There exists a sure way to defeat the
evil in the world. It is by offering oneself,
and by wanting to belong entirely to Christ,
and to follow His example, and if necessary,
even give one’s life as a sacrifi ce of love.
How can I do this? I will put it into practice
when, struck or faced by the evil and sin of
the world, I will not close myself up, will not
condemn, will not judge, but I will instead
accept the little or big crosses that come my
way in the course of my daily life (humilia-
tions, suffering, injustice, slander) for love’s
sake, and to offer them as reparation for the
sake of poor sinners, and to implore peace
for the world.
On the Cross, Jesus said yes to the Father
and thus healed the disobedience of Adam
and Eve. When I accept my little sufferings,
and as Jesus did, I accept the Father’s will,
I allow Jesus to heal also within me the
disobedience of my forefathers that have in
some way infl uenced me and my journey
in life.
Sergio Arnaldi
background image
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8,11.86; Legal Dir. A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO Treviso
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):
1) Italy: Banca Agricola Mantovana,
Agenzia Belfi ore Mantova, Italy. IBAN:
IT 02 Z 05024 11506 000004754018
Swift : BAMNIT21-185
2) Scotland: Royal Bank of Scotland,
26 George St., Oban, Argyll.
Acc. no. 8326 0400 154351
Silence is Golden
There are moments in which one desires
absolute silence to be able to hear the voice
of the heart. It is true that this voice can only
be heard by making silence in and around
oneself. This voice can be perceived through
our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
A child in the womb knows how to
listen with the heart. As he grows he learns
to communicate with speech and the senses
of the soul become weaker. Man learns that
life is full of trials. He learns that there are
words that remove the shine and delight
from good sentiments and proposals. There
are words that become opaque, arid and
wilted, like the minds that use them to hide
the instinctive and innate hopes of love,
and then, gazes take on different slants,
understanding becomes discord, kisses and
caresses become lustful, and atmospheres
impenetrable. These words block the door
of the heart, crush the soul, and impede it
from receiving the living breath of the Spirit.
There are words that offend, wound, kill and
mortify the natural dignity of every human
being, and God Himself.
Yet, God never fails to speak words
of comfort, which he pronounces with
discretion and without raising his voice. The
Father speaks softly, to express his Love
which is sincere and total. With gentleness
he declares his Love, as is befi tting a Love
that conquers without upheavals or violence.
He speaks silently. Hence the need of silence
to hear God’s voice hidden in the heart.
If man dedicated less time to cultivating
improper use of the word, and if he applied
himself instead to listening to the eloquence
of certain silences, particularly to God’s
silence, he would see how great Love is and
how sweet is God’s Mercy. In silence man
can discover the value of certain messages;
messages said with the gaze and smile of the
language of the heart and soul. In silence,
faith strengthens our hearing to hear God
who declares to us His Love, and our vision
to see His pleased gaze, knowing He is being
listened to. Silence allows us to enjoy the
intimate experience of God. (Anon.)
Fr. Joe Buffoni, Malawi, Africa: “With
great pleasure I remembered you all to the
Lord in the Holy Mass for the 50th anniver-
sary of my priestly ordination. I bless and
greet you most warmly!”
Mrs. Electa Almeida, UK: “For priests
and Religious Sisters only 400 Rosaries for
each of the following countries available
for collection and distribution: Swaziland,
Namibia, Somalia, Gabon, Egypt, Niger, Li-
bya, Algeria, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea
Mauritiana, Western Sahara, Botswana. Tel.
London 020-89470310
Lord, Teach me to Pray
Teach me to pray as you prayed on
the mount when you spent the night in
(Lk 6:12)
, and in Gethsemane when
you beseeched the Father to spare you the
(Mt 26:39)
, and on the cross when
you lamented being abandoned by the
(Mt 27:46).
Teach me to pray with the same joy you
felt when you thanked the Father for having
hidden his treasures of wisdom from the big
of the world and revealed them to the little
(Lk 10:21)
, and with the same love when in
the upper room you entrusted your disciples
to the Father and you prayed for them and
for all who would believe in you because of
their witness
(Jn 12:20)
Teach me to pray as your Mother prayed
in the secret of her house at Nazareth, where
the Angel came with the Announcement,
and in the house of Elizabeth where she sang
her canticle of love and praise to God for
bending over his humble maidservant; and
to pray as the angels and saints in heaven
pray, where they adore, praise and thank you
with pure and unfailing love.
Teach me, Lord, to pray with trust,
simplicity and perseverance. With trust,
because you are good and you accept all
those who turn to you; with simplicity,
because as Father you do not like to punish
or lose, but to pardon and save; with
perseverance, because your plans, even if
not heeded, are always wise and merciful.
Lord, teach me to pray with perseve-
rance even when you do not heed me. You
know that the prayer your Spirit has placed
in my heart is sincere, humble, mournful and
trustful. Lord, why do you not listen to me?
It is true though that you were not heeded
either by your Father to whom you pleaded
when you were in the olive grove! Confi rm
in me the conviction that your dispositions
are still fatherly even when hidden from me;
fatherly even when mysteriously sorrowful!
I know that you heal with the same stroke
that also wounds, that you are close when it
seems you are far, and good when it seems
you are severe. I know you disturb the peace
of your children only to grant them a greater,
surer peace.
Teach me to pray whilst being fully
aware of my sin that you alone can forgive,
of my terrible misery that you alone can
liberate, of my endless need that you alone
can satisfy, and my profound desire that you
alone can fi ll. Teach me to pray with the
heart even when my tongue is silent; that my
heart may cry out in the silence and yearn
for you, knowing that you alone can hear,
answer, satisfy…
Teach me to pray in a continuous and
joyful conversation with you, my invisible
interlocutor. You created me to exult in your
presence, to speak with you, listen to you,
respond to you, and to respond especially in
the moments when you summon me.
Teach me to be receptive. Lord, receive
my entire being: my mind, my heart,
my memory, my fantasy, and my senses.
You are the Holy One; I want to be lost
entirely in You and fi nd in you the unity
and peace that can make my prayer as you
want it: spontaneous, fi lial, attentive and
Fr. Agostino Trapè, osa (to continue)
Anniversary of Echo

Echo has existed for 23 years. This has
been possible thanks also to you for sup-
porting us with your prayers and donations.
We shall need to count on your help also in
the future. We think that Mary has used this
little instrument to help her form a family;
members of the big family of God.
Mary is the Little One of God; because
of her “littleness” God made her great. He
offers her to us as mother and model of
holiness. We hope that through the pages
of Echo you too might see her littleness and
holiness and beauty, and desire to be like
her. We hope that Echo inspires you to con-
secrate yourself to her Immaculate Heart,
and to trust in her quiet, yet strong guidance
so we all can learn to stand fi rm in the faith
and offer a witness of love to this world so
much in need of the peace which only God
can give. God has disposed that his little
children help and support each other with
the help of his grace, according to his plan of
love. The Echo thanks you for helping us to
help Mary’s little children round the world,
and to help her fulfi l her plan.
Quoting G.K. Chesterton
“… (A)ll the optimism of the age had
been false and disheartening (because) it
had always been trying to prove that we
fi t in to the world. The Christian optimism
is based on the fact that we do not fi t in to
the world. I had tried to be happy by telling
myself that man is an animal, like any other
which sought its meat from God. But now I
really was happy, for I had learnt that man
is a monstrosity. I had been right in feeling
all things as odd... The optimist’s pleasure
was prosaic, for it dwelt on the naturalness
of everything; the Christian pleasure was
poetic, for it dwelt on the unnaturalness of
everything in the light of the supernatural.
The modern philosopher had told me again
and again that I was in the right place, and I
had still felt depressed even in acquiescen-
ce. But I had heard that I was in the wrong
place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in
spring. (...) I knew now why ... I could feel
homesick at home.” (Excerpt. Othodoxy)
Echo online: www.ecodimaria.net
The Lord bless thee and keep thee! May
He show His face to thee, and have mer-
cy on thee! May He turn His countenan-
ce to thee, and give thee peace!
Italy, 24 January 2008