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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 198 (March-April 2008)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 January 2008:
“Dear Children, With the time of
Lent, you approach a time of grace. Your
heart is like tilled soil, ready to receive
the fruit which will grow in good. You,
my children, are free to choose good or
evil. Therefore, I call you to pray and
fast. Sow joy and in your hearts will grow
the fruit of joy, for your own good; and
others will see it and receive it through
your life. Renounce sin and choose
eternal life. I am with you and intercede
for you before my Son. Thank you for
responding to my call.”
Sow Joy
If you keep my commandments, you
will abide in my love, just as I have kept
my Father’s commandments and abide in
His love. These things I have spoken to you
that my joy may be in you, and that your
joy may be full (Jn 15:10-11). Nearly two
thousand years have passed since Jesus said
these words, and many things have changed
in the world, but the essence of life has
remained unchanged. Despite the successes
in the world of science and technology, and
despite the dream of omnipotence, man
remains a creature in need of God who
cannot give or receive joy unless it is from
and in God.
So we must remain in his Love. There
are other joys, some good, others bad, but
they are fragile and passing joys; they are
partial and can never be full joy. If we
surrender to His Love, joy will no longer
be a fl eeting good; it will no longer depend
on our state of health or well-being, it
won’t be something to possess, but will be
something to live: not something one has,
but something one is. To experience this is
to know that nothing can separate us from
the Love of Christ (cf Rm 8:35-39), and that
the fruit of this Love is joy to the full.
This possibility is offered to all,
but demands the observance of God’s
commandments. God’s Love cannot be
bought, but is a free gift that awaits a tender
heart able to receive it.
The time of Lent is a favourable time,
for it is a time of grace that can help prepare
our hearts to be open and receptive. “Your
heart is as tilled soil and is ready to
receive the fruit that will grow in good,”
says Our Lady. This fruit is Jesus Christ;
who awaits to be received by us, and grow
in us. Jesus offers Himself to us; He does not
impose Himself on us, but He gives Himself
to us, just as 2000 years ago.
It is up to us, now like then, to choose.
My Children, you are free to choose good
or evil. See, I have set before you this day
life and good, death and evil… therefore
choose life, that you and your descendants
may live (cf. Dt 30:15-20). Renounce sin
and choose eternal life, says Our Lady.
Jesus is our life and our length of days; He
is our eternal life. Thus, she says, I call
you to pray and fast. Prayer and fasting
place us in the condition to know how to
choose good.
Sow joy and in your hearts will
grow the fruit of joy, for your own good,
and others will see it and will receive it
through your own life. This is a call to the
apostleship of love, not through words, not
through indoctrination, but through example
of life. Jesus isn’t an idea or a concept. He is
the Living Person whom we need to meet,
to know, to frequent. Not our lips, but our
life must speak of Him. “Rejoice in your
hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant
in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the
saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who
persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with
those who weep.” (Rm 12:12-15). This is
the way to sow and cultivate joy; to witness
and to communicate Jesus to others.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
Our Lady’s message, 25 February 2008:
“Dear Children, In this time of grace
I call you anew to prayer and renunci-
ation. May your day be interwoven
with brief ardent prayers for all those
who have not come to know God´s love.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
For Those who Don’t
Know God’s Love
If we really knew the gift of God, our
life and the world would be so different.
For God so loved the world that he gave
his only Son (Jn 3:16) Jesus is God’s gift!
Jesus is Love who took on human fl esh.
We are asked to believe that God is Love,
and to accept this truth; not just with our
“In this time of grace I call you anew
to prayer and renunciation,” says Mary
who has often spoken of the importance
of the Rosary, especially in the family. The
Rosary is a most powerful weapon, before
which Satan cannot resist. The Rosary is
easily learnt by little ones who very soon
come to appreciate it as well.
Renunciation is not only fasting. We
have to renounce Satan, and all his works
and seducing ways, sin, egoism and evil in
all its disguises. We have to renounce the
superfl uous, the abuse of power, such as
bullying or being offensive. Renunciation is
living a sober lifestyle. It is silence. Prayer
and renunciation are the smooth, sure and
fast way that take us to the Heart of Jesus.
Mary also urges us to help her: “May
your day be interwoven with brief ardent
prayers for all those who haven’t come to
know God´s love.” It does not matter that
we do not know the recipients of our prayer.
Let us pray that all might come to know
God and His Love, and let us remember to
offer up brief invocations as frequently as
possible, that the darts of our little prayers
of love might become living water for those
whom Mary has in mind, and all those we
encounter, see or think of during the day.
Ejaculatory prayers do not hinder your
work, just as the beating of your heart does
not impede the movements of the body.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá
Ejaculatory prayers (the brief ardent
prayers Our Lady refers to) can rise from
the heart in times of joy, of sadness, of trial,
simply while waiting, anywhere, anytime.
E.g. Abba - Jesus, Mary, I love you; save
priestly souls, save souls! - Jesus, I trust
in You! - Lord Jesus, Son of God, Saviour,
have mercy on me a sinner! - Mary, Mother
of Jesus, I entrust (myself/him/her/them)
to you! - My God, my Lord! - Maranatha
“Behold, I am doing a new
thing: now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?”
(Is 43:19)
March - April 2008
- Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy
Yr 24 # 2
Ph. +39 0423-470331 - www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
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(on the Encyclical Spe Salvi)
Pope Benedict XVI, as “teacher of the
faith,” aims at helping us comprehend our
Christian identity. George Weigel explains
his popularity with the people: “He is
a master-teacher, distilling decades of
research and refl ection into a body of truths
that he manages to convey in language and
imagery” accessible to all.
Spe Salvi: “In hope we were saved”
(Roms 8.24) comes to proclaim the need for
hope in modern society and the necessity for
Christians to recover its true meaning. “The
present, even if it is arduous, can be lived
and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if
we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal
is great enough to justify the effort of the
In this world of ours on the fast-track of
“use and dispose of” the meaning of hope
has become distorted and faded. Benedict
XVI, with his learning and wisdom, uses
concrete examples of the lives of the
saints, such as Josephine Bakhita, who at
the age of nine was captured and sold into
slavery. The Pope tells her story of extreme
sufferings, her rescue and her discovery of
the faith (#3-5). He speaks of Vietnamese
cardinal Van Thuan (#32) who spent 13
years in a concentration camp and nine of
these in solitary confi nement. He became “a
witness to that great hope which does not
wane even in the nights of solitude,” said
Pope Benedict. “The one who has hope lives
differently; the one who hopes has been
granted the gift of a new life.”
The master-teacher, the professor, leads
us through certain Greek terms, and various
philosophers, such as Plato, helping us along
the way, guiding us as it were through the
thoughts of men that have greatly impacted
our world. Of course, the backbone to the
entire document is the question: what is
hope? B.xvi underlines that “to come to
know God - the true God - means to receive
hope.” And Christian hope, he points out,
is different. Referring to New Testament
times, he says, “Christianity did not bring a
message of social revolution like that of the
ill-fated Spartacus, whose struggle led to so
much bloodshed. Jesus was not Spartacus,
he was not engaged in a fi ght for political
“Jesus… brought something totally
different: an encounter with the Lord of
all lords, an encounter with the living
God and thus an encounter with a hope
stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a
hope which therefore transformed life and
the world from within.” B.xvi stresses that
the world and mankind are not governed
by elemental spirits of the universe, “but a
personal God governs the stars, that is, the
universe; it is not the laws of matter and of
evolution that have the fi nal say, but reason,
will, love: a Person.”
Through the mouths of the saints and
Church Fathers, our master-teacher helps
us see that without God man does not have
hope. But hope is tightly connected to faith:
Faith is not merely a personal reaching
out towards things to come that are still
totally absent: it gives us something. It
gives us even now something of the reality
we are waiting for, and this present reality
constitutes for us a ‘proof’ of the things
that are still unseen. Faith gives life a new
basis, a new foundation on which we can
Focusing on modern day Benedict XVI
asks: How do we experience the Christian
faith in our lives? Is it a life-changing
and life-sustaining hope? And of most
importance: Does Modern Society Want
Eternal Life? Perhaps, he responds: “many
people reject the faith today simply because
they do not fi nd the prospect of eternal life
attractive. What they desire is not eternal
life at all, but this present life, for which
faith in eternal life seems something of an
impediment. To continue living for ever,
endlessly, appears more of a curse than a
gift.” This gives rise to a “contradiction in
our attitude,” he says. “On the one hand,
we do not want to die; above all, those who
love us do not want us to die. Yet on the
other hand, neither do we want to continue
living indefi nitely, nor was the earth created
with that in view. So what do we really
want?” B.xvi lets St. Augustine say it:
“Ultimately we want only one thing: ‘the
blessed life’, the life which is simply life,
simply ‘happiness’.”
Pope Benedict leads us through an
analysis of the transformation of Christian
faith-hope in the modern age and the
political implications of the new idea
of progress which resulted in historical
changes. “Two key concepts of ‘reason’
and ‘freedom’…were tacitly interpreted as
being in confl ict with the shackles of faith
and of the Church.”
Spe Salvi briefl y addresses “the French
Revolution: an attempt to establish the
rule of reason and freedom as a political
reality.” The eighteenth century society
“held fast to its faith in progress as the new
form of human hope.” However, technical
development and industrialization gave the
world an entirely new social situation: there
emerged a class of industrial workers and
the so-called “industrial proletariat.” So,
after the “bourgeois revolution of 1789,
the time had come for a new, proletarian
“Karl Marx took up the rallying call,
and applied his incisive language and
intellect to the task of launching this major
new and, as he thought, defi nitive step in
history towards salvation,” the Holy Father
explains. Yet, “Marx’s fundamental error
also became evident. He forgot that man
always remains man. He forgot man and
he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that
freedom always remains freedom also for
evil. He thought that once the economy
had been put right, everything would
automatically be put right. His real error is
materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the
product of economic conditions, and it is
not possible to redeem him purely from the
outside by creating a favourable economic
Challenging modernity
and Christianity
Modernity must enter into a “dialogue
with Christianity and its concept of hope. In
this dialogue Christians too, in the context of
their knowledge and experience, must learn
anew in what their hope truly consists, what
they have to offer to the world and what they
cannot offer. Flowing into this self-critique
of the modern age there also has to be a self-
critique of modern Christianity, which must
constantly renew its self-understanding
setting out from its roots.”
We need to ask ourselves, he says, what
‘progress’ really means; what it promises
and what it does not promise, because “the
ambiguity of progress becomes evident,”
he says. “Without doubt, it offers new
possibilities for good, but it also opens up
appalling possibilities for evil; possibilities
that formerly did not exist.” (…) “Yes
indeed, reason is God’s great gift to man,
and the victory of reason over unreason is
also a goal of the Christian life.” Benedict
XVI thus concludes: “Very simply: man
needs God, otherwise he remains without
hope.” (…) “Good structures help, but of
themselves they are not enough. Man can
never be redeemed simply from outside.”
Salvation by science?
“Science can contribute greatly to
making the world and mankind more
human. Yet it can also destroy mankind
and the world unless it is steered by forces
that lie outside it,” insists Benedict, and
then he adds: “We must also acknowledge
that modern Christianity, faced with the
successes of science in progressively
structuring the world, has to a large extent
restricted its attention to the individual and
his salvation. In so doing it has limited
the horizon of its hope and has failed to
recognize suffi ciently the greatness of its
task - even if it has continued to achieve
great things in the formation of man and in
care for the weak and the suffering.” And
he insists: “It is not science that redeems
man: man is redeemed by love.” …
“In this sense, it is true that anyone who
does not know God, even though he may
entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately
without hope.” Generally speaking man
experiences “many greater or lesser hopes,
different in kind according to the different
periods of his life. Young people can have
the hope of a great and fully satisfying
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love; the hope of a certain position in their
profession, or of some success that will
prove decisive for the rest of their lives.”
However, he says, “When these hopes are
fulfi lled it becomes clear that they were not,
in reality, the whole. It becomes evident that
man has need of a hope that goes further.
It becomes clear that only something infi nite
will suffi ce for him, something that will
always be more than he can ever attain.”
Thus, “Biblical hope in the Kingdom
of God has been displaced by hope in the
kingdom of man, the hope of a better world
which would be the real ‘Kingdom of
God’.” Summing up, B.xvi says, “We need
the greater and lesser hopes that keep us
going day by day. But these are not enough
without the great hope, which must surpass
everything else. This great hope can only
be God, who encompasses the whole of
reality and who can bestow upon us what
we, by ourselves, cannot attain.”
Learning and practicing hope
The “fi rst essential setting for learning
hope is prayer.” Prayer is “a school of
hope. (…) When no one listens to me any
more, God still listens to me.” Praying “is
not to step outside history and withdraw to
our own private corner of happiness. When
we pray properly we undergo a process of
inner purifi cation which opens us up to
God and thus to our fellow human beings
as well,” he states. “For prayer to develop
this power of purifi cation it must on the
one hand be something very personal, an
encounter between my intimate self and
God, the living God. On the other hand, it
must be constantly guided and enlightened
by the great prayers of the Church and of
the saints”.
Pope Benedict’s second area for
learning hope is action, and suffering.
“All serious and upright human conduct is
hope in action,” (…) “Yet our daily efforts
in pursuing our own lives and in working
for the world’s future either tire us or turn
into fanaticism, unless we are enlightened
by the radiance of the great hope that cannot
be destroyed,” B.xvi cautions.
“Like action, suffering is a part of our
human existence.” Man is not healed, he
says, by “sidestepping or fleeing from
suffering … but rather by our capacity for
accepting it, maturing through it and fi nding
meaning through union with Christ, who
suffered with infinite love.” A “society
unable to accept its suffering members and
incapable of helping to share their suffering
and to bear it inwardly through “com-
passion” is a cruel and inhuman society,”
the Pope warns.
Christian suffering has the deeper
meaning to suffer “with the other and for
others; to suffer for the sake of truth and
justice; to suffer out of love and in order
to become a person who truly loves - these
are fundamental elements of humanity,
and to abandon them would destroy man
Moreover, there is a “devotion that
includes the idea of offering up the minor
daily hardships that continually strike at us
like irritating ‘jabs’, thereby giving them a
meaning.” A practice he suggests we ought
to consider reviving.
Last Judgment
“In the modern era the idea of the Last
Judgment has faded into the background:
Christian faith has been individualized and
primarily oriented towards the salvation of
the believer’s own soul, while refl ection
on world history is largely dominated by
the idea of progress.” Yet, “for the great
majority of people, we may suppose, there
remains in the depths of their being an
ultimate interior openness to truth, to love,
to God.” Meditating on the Last Judgment,
Pope Benedict asks, “What happens to
such individuals when they appear before
the Judge? Will all the impurity they have
amassed through life suddenly cease to
matter?” For some, their interior openness
to the truth, in the concrete choices of
life, “gets covered over by ever new
compromises with evil, much fi lth covers
purity, but the thirst for purity remains and
it still constantly re-emerges from all that
is base and remains present in the soul,”
he says.
Our “encounter with [God],” he
continues, “is the decisive act of judgment.
Before his gaze all falsehood melts away.
This encounter with him, as it burns us,
transforms and frees us, allowing us to
become truly ourselves. All that we build
during our lives can prove to be mere straw,
pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain
of this encounter, when the impurity and
sickness of our lives become evident to us,
there lies salvation.”
Pope Benedict helps us see how we
need to live with others in mind: “Our
lives are involved with one another, through
innumerable interactions they are linked
together. No one lives alone. No one sins
alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of
others continually spill over into mine: in
what I think, say, do and achieve.”
And he leaves us this tool for growth:
“What can I do in order that others may
be saved and that for them too the star of
hope may rise?”
(sources: cna news)
Echos of Medjugorje
It is interesting to note that the
messages by the Blessed Virgin at
Medjugorje are in tune with the message
of Spe Salvi. Our Lady’s fi rst message was
“God exists!” – as if to say that man alone
is not enough; that he cannot manage alone,
despite all his progress.
Thus, Our Lady often repeats to us:
“decide”, “choose God”, “give Him fi rst
place”. And we cannot forget that she has
warned us numerous times of the presence
and action of Satan. This means that Satan
exists too, even though the modern-day
culture ignores him.
The cultural world has greatly ignored
this Encyclical; probably because when the
truth is spoken (e.g. concerning the limits
of science and progress!) you risk losing
friends. Something similar happens when
you talk about the messages of Medjugorje,
both within and without the Church.
Mary’s Calls
How often has Mary called us to pray:
Pray, pray, pray! she has urged. Why?
Because without God; without dialogue
with God we are unable to see the direction
our life needs to take. Nor can we understand
the meaning of the present time.
Then there are the calls to surrender
to God, to put our lives in His hands! Even
- and especially - during trials and trying
times. Mary says the openness of heart to
joy and hope during suffering is one of the
main forms of Christian witness. B.xvi says
in regard: “The true measure of humanity
is essentially determined in relationship
to suffering and to the sufferer… love
always requires expropriations of my ‘I’,
in which I allow myself to be pruned and
wounded. Love simply cannot exist without
this painful renunciation of myself, for
otherwise it becomes pure selfi shness and
thereby ceases to be love” (38).
“To suffer with the other and for
others; to suffer for the sake of truth and
justice; to suffer out of love and in order
to become a person who truly loves: these
are fundamental elements of humanity,
and to abandon them would destroy man
himself” (39).
And how many times has Our Lady
spoken to us of eternal life, and of how
Satan works to fool man into discrediting
the Last Things! Says the Pope on how
we can help the souls of the departed to
receive “solace and refreshment” through
the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving:
“My prayer for another is not something
extraneous (or) external, not even after
death. [M]y gratitude to the other - my
prayer for him - can play a small part in his
purifi cation. And for that there is no need
to convert earthly time into God’s time: in
the communion of souls simple terrestrial
time is superseded. It is never too late to
touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in
vain. Our hope is always essentially also
hope for others.”
Also the conclusion of the Encyclical
provides us with a profound connection
with the events of Medjugorje, when
Pope Benedict addresses Our Lady as the
Star of the Sea. Human life is a journey, he
says: “Towards what destination? How do
we fi nd the way? Life is like a voyage on
the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a
voyage in which we watch for the stars that
indicate the route.
“The true stars of our life are the
people who have lived good lives. They are
lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the
true light, the sun that has risen above all
the shadows of history. But to reach him
we also need lights close by: people who
shine with his light and so guide us along
our way. Who more than Mary could be
a star of hope for us?” (49, 50).
Fr. Nicolino Moro
Echo 198
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Christ’s Sacrifi ce
If in today’s language, sacrifice has
taken on a negative meaning, it has a very
positive signifi cance in religion, said Card.
Vanhoye, chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to
preach this year’s Lenten exercises for the
Pope and members of the Roman Curia.
“To sacrifi ce does not mean to deprive,
but to make sacred, just as to sanctify means
to make holy...” said the cardinal in his re-
fl ection of St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.
The cardinal recalled that in the Old
Testament, the purpose of sacrifice was
to change God’s disposition, to obtain his
favour, in exchange for ritual offerings.
Something else takes place in the Christian
sacrifi ce, as the Letter to the Hebrews ex-
plains: “Its author says that the purpose of
sacrifi ce is to change the disposition of man,
not of God (and) to make perfect the con-
science of the one who offers the sacrifi ce,
to give him a pure heart that is obedient to
God,” said Card. Vanhoye.
However, an effective mediation is
required: “The sinner has to be helped by
a mediator who is himself not a sinner, and
who opens the way to contact, to communion
with God - and that is the meaning of the
New Alliance.” To establish the contact, the
sinner must, “be helped by a mediator who
is not a sinner.” This is why the Father gave
us His Son: “Jesus was a worthy sacrifi cial
victim and the right priest. Worthy victim
because he had perfect moral and religious
integrity, he was spotless, as St. Paul says,
he was holy, innocent, immaculate. And he
was the right priest because he was fi lled
with the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The Eucharist is the place par excellence
for us to participate in the sacrifi ce: “When
we celebrate the Eucharist and we take
Communion, we receive in ourselves this
intense dynamism of love, which is capable
of transforming all events into a victory.”
Invincibile Weapon
True prayer is the driving force of the
world since it keeps it open to God. Without
prayer there is no hope but only illusion.
Without the dimension of prayer, man’s
ego ends up withdrawing into himself, and
the conscience, which should be an echo of
God’s voice, risks being reduced to a mirror
of the self, so that the inner conversation
becomes a monologue, giving rise to self-
justifi cations by the thousands.
Prayer is a guarantee of openness to
others. True prayer is never self-centred,
it is always centred on the other. The greater
the hope that enlivens us, the greater is the
ability within us to suffer for the love of truth
and good, joyfully offering up the minor and
major daily hardships and inserting them
into Christ’s great com-passion.
Prayer nourishes hope because nothing
expresses the reality of God in our life
better than praying with faith. Even in the
loneliness of the most severe trial, nothing
and no one can prevent me from addressing
the Father “in the secret” of my heart, where
he alone “sees.”
Benedict XVI
Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra
This title comes from the Book of the
Canticle of Canticles (Song of Solomon).
Even though there is no reference to any
particular construction, we can think of
David’s citadel, which was the highest and
most fortifi ed part of Jerusalem, where he
chose to live. To understand this title better
we must think of the importance of a tower
and its specifi c function in times of war. It
was used as a bulwark of defence, a post
from which to scan the horizon and sight
the enemy from afar. The tower was the
last defence and refuge. It was also used for
communication purposes.
In reference to Mary, the title acquires
a spiritual signifi cance. Mary is the defence
of Christians against the attacks of the devil.
She is an excellent “observatory” from
which we can contemplate God’s beauty.
Our Lady is an excellent point of reference
along the diffi cult journey of life so that we
don’t lose sight of our destination.
To give Mary the title of tower is to
acknowledge her God-granted power to
unmask Satan’s evil doings and his malefi c
and devastating presence. In Church history,
in moments of deep crisis and satanic attack,
the difficulties were always overcome
thanks to an intervention by her, and thanks
to those who turned to her for help.
This also comes from the Canticle of
Canticles, where the groom admires and
exalts the beauty of the bride. We saw how
in the previous title, the tower signifi ed a
construction for times of war. Here the tower
is symbolic for beauty, a sign of power that
attracts and fascinates. In the Mediaeval,
towers gave an aspect of elegance and
wealth to the city (think of Siena, San
Gimignano, Bologna, Pisa). They served
as an attraction and a call for travellers and
pilgrims, and now for tourists. Also our
bell towers have the task of attracting and
signalling the presence of the house of God;
and like ivory, are beautiful and precious.
The house is where we feel most at ease.
When a storm rages outside, we fi nd repair
and safety. The house is where we keep our
dearest belongings, and experience the most
intimate and important moments. Thus, it is
good to feel at home in the motherly Heart
of Mary where we can encounter her son
Jesus. Gold indicates the beauty of Mary’s
virtues. Perhaps it is for this that Christians
down the centuries have wanted to embellish
churches dedicated to her, and her images
with gold. It should be noted that the poor
are often the most generous.
And of coursse, Mary is “the house”
because she is always ready to welcome us
her children and hold us to her heart.
Father, forgive them!
A person is a Christian if he accepts
the condition his Teacher has laid down:
forgive your brother, as it has been forgiven
you. If today a Christian is unable to grant
forgiveness - and this is often asked of us
within our own family or community - it is
because he has not entirely opened his heart
to God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is
medicinal, it is able to heal every wound.
To feel forgiven by God is like an inner
explosion that makes you experience that
to “grant life” is a need.
From the cross Jesus says to the Father:
forgive them. Or, in other words: let them
experience the immeasurable love that you
have for them. Instil in them the healing and
liberating oil which is able to make a new
creation, which is able to recreate. Jesus,
with his gestures and his words – during his
Passion and death on a cross - reveals to us
the meaning of it all: Father, forgive them
Father, recreate them… make them new…
unto our own image, as you had wanted
them at the beginning of creation.
There, where there is suffering and
death; there, where the cross and everything
else speaks to us of fi nality; it is there instead
that we fi nd the beginning:
“Behold, I am doing a new thing:
now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?”
(Is 43:19)
Today, for you the Lord is working new
things; for your family, and for this society
of ours, so confused and disoriented. From
his Cross life is blossoming. Do not close
your eyes. Do not fl ee from sorrow and pain.
Do not be deaf to the prayer of Jesus. That
prayer, that Jesus addressed to the Father,
was for you. He repeats: Father forgive
them, for they know not what they do. Still
today, from the Cross a cry is heard; the
heart-rending cry of the Lord as he prays:
Father forgive them.
There truly is much for which we need
to be forgiven. No one is excluded. In one
way or another, for one thing or another, we
all need to be “delivered by God’s forgive-
ness.” His forgiveness has this liberating
power; it grants the freedom we so thirst
for, and for which we often go seeking in
the wrong places.
Also today, we continue to offend the
Lord. Unjust laws continue to deride Jesus.
Merciless wars continue to nail his hands
and feet to the wood. Violence and abuse of
power continue to gash his innocent body.
But the sweet prayer of Jesus remains:
Father forgive them, for they know not what
they do.
Fr. Gabriele Pedicino
“God, who became a lamb, tells us
the world is saved by the Crucifi ed
One, not by the crucifi ers. The world
is redeemed by God’s patience, and
destroyed by man’s impatience.”
Benedict XVI
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Portraits of Holiness
She died the year Our Lady’s apparitions
at Medjugorje began. She loved the Blessed
Virgin, and inspired by her, she adhered
to the divine will in a radical way, even
when God’s plan asked of her a degree of
immolation beyond human capacity. She
bore Christ’s wounds, and she let herself be
consumed for the salvation of souls.
Imitate, not just Admire
“Perfection is achieved through love;
holiness through humility”
T h e a f o r e s a i d w a s
pronounced by MARTHE
, a French mystic
from our recent past. She is
known for her hidden life
of suffering, a type of Padre
Pio of France. She was an
extraordinary woman who
witnessed how it is possible
with the help of Grace, to
live on love alone. Due to
a total paralysis, at the age of 28 she was
bed-ridden, blind and unable to take food
or drink, not even a sip of water. She was
able to consume only the Holy Eucharist.
Nor did she ever sleep again.
She was born on 13 March 1902 at
Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, a small village
near Lyons in south-eastern France, and
was the youngest of six children. She was
a happy and lively child who manifested a
desire for prayer and did not disdain service,
sharing the work of the house and farm.
Gradually, her love for God grew and she
felt ever more attracted to Him. “My sisters
did not want me to pray so much, but I
prayed mostly in bed. I prayed to the Virgin
Mary, but it was talking rather than praying.
I always had my Rosary beads in my pocket
and I prayed as I walked.”
“Lord, I bless you for the trials...”
When she was 16 Marthe began
to experience the first symptoms of an
extremely grave illness that would cause
much suffering until her death at the age of
79. In the beginning there were moments
of improvement during which she hoped in
a healing. It was at this early stage that the
Blessed Virgin Mary fi rst appeared to her.
Marthe was being prepared for the long
road that lay ahead of her, for an existence
that she would live entirely in her bed at her
parents’ home. It was a time during which
she would learn to appreciate silence: “…
in which one hears God.” In 1921 Marthe’s
health improved somewhat, and she was
able to walk with the aid of a stick. To Our
Lady she confi ded her desire to enter the
Carmel, to “offer everything to God” as
little Therese did, and of whom she was a
great admirer.
United to the Passion of Jesus
Not long after, however, her illness
quickly worsened despite treatments by the
various physicians that tried to help her. At
this point in time Marthe felt inspired to
offer herself totally to God “with an act of
surrender and an offer of self to the love and
will of God.” It was the 25th March 1925.
“Eternal God, infi nite love, my Father! ..
On this day I give myself and consecrate
myself to Thee, wholly and forever…” She
understood that she was called to live her
offering to Crucifi ed Jesus for the good
of the Church and the world while still
remaining in the world, as a lay woman.
Three years later her legs became
paralyzed, and only months later, also her
arms. By this time she was also unable to
eat or drink, and not even sleep. Her only
material food was the Holy Eucharist! In
1930 Jesus asked her: “Would you like to
be like me?” to which Marthe responded:
“… that I might die, so they
might live…” A few days later
He marked her body with the
marks of his Passion, in her
hands, feet, side, and brow.
“I experience how sweet it is
to love even suffering, and I
would dare to say especially
suffering; because suffering
is an incomparable school of
true love…”
Special Love for Mary
Marthe particularly loved to pray the
Rosary. A book by St. Louis Grignion de
Montfort (“Mary’s Secret”) helped her to
enter into a deep friendship with the Blessed
Virgin. Montfort writes: “When the Holy
Spirit, her Spouse, fi nds Mary in a soul, He
fl ies into that soul, and enters it fully, and
communicates to it most abundantly…”
The young “saint”, as she was called by
villagers, was prepared with years of prayer,
renunciation and suffering for a mission that
did not take long to sprout, beginning in her
parish. Through her, Jesus asked the parish
priest to create a Catholic school for girls.
When he said he didn’t have the funds to do
that, she replied: “That which God asks, He
grants.” In 1934 the fi rst Catholic school at
Châteauneuf-de-Galaure was opened.
Foyers of Charity
Jesus had also entrusted Marthe with
the founding in her parish of the “Foyers
of Charity” for the “radiation of light
throughout the whole world... They will
spread throughout the world to the most
hidden places on the earth.”
More than ever, Marthe felt herself
a daughter of the Church, and desired
working in accordance with her pastor.
He felt inadequate, but God sent a chosen
priest, specific for the vocation. On the
10th February, eve of the feast day of Our
Lady of Lourdes, Marthe received a visit by
Abbé Georges Finet, a young priest from
Lyon who promoted the Marian spirituality
according to Montfort. At the end of their
fi rst encounter she told him that God was
calling him to found the fi rst Foyer. Of
course he was hesitant at fi rst, intimidated
by the grandness of such a project, but with
Marthe’s gentle insistence, he agreed to it,
but not without fi rst seeking permission
from his superiors, which they graciously
Bound by the Love of Christ
The Foyer is a community of baptized
men and women that put their material,
intellectual and spiritual goods together.
They live, work and pray as a family.
Marthe defi ned it thus to Fr. Finet at their
first meeting: “A Foyer will be a great
family, with a priest at its head and Our
Lady as its Mother. ... They will radiate light
throughout the entire world. They will be an
answer from the Heart of Christ to the world
after the material defeat of people and their
satanic errors.” She later told members:
“The Lord has called you to great things,
and the fi rst of these is to leave yourselves.”
They do not make vows, but are united only
by the love of Christ, and with His same
love they receive retreatants for fi ve day
silent retreats.
Marthe, bed-ridden, almost totally blind,
offered herself for priests, the members
of the Foyers and all the retreatants: “My
adorable Jesus, you live in me, you direct
me, instruct me. May all the people who
come by me, leave me and fi nd consolation
when they cry, feel lifted up when they are
burdened, through the recollection of a
word, a glance a smile.”
Dispenser of Hope
The little ones, the poor in spirit, sinners
and souls in search of the truth and light:
these came to Marthe, and they experienced
the warmth of her welcome, of her ability
to listen. She had the gift of seeing into
people’s souls and was able to give them
the words they needed to hear.
She didn’t like it when people came to
see her out of curiosity or to “have their
future told”. Marthe did not have ready-
made solutions for anyone. She listened
and prayed, she invited her visitors to pray,
and she’d give them a word from Jesus that
came from her heart. Above all, she knew
how to understand and suffer in silence, so
that the other – feeling respected and cared
for - might fi nd hope. Particular cases would
be directed to the priest where through
confession they could receive God’s love
more fully. Marthe would speak to those
who suffered, and to all in general, of the
value of offering up one’s suffering to God:
“Each soul that loves will have to give to
its suffering an apostolic value, redemptive
value, eternal value… More than ever the
world needs holy and generous souls that -
as living hosts - dedicate themselves entirely
to sacrifi ce, immolation, and love.” Marthe
also experienced the devil’s attacks, which
got ever more violent, but Mary’s presence
imbued her with sweetness.
The seed that falls …
“If the grain of wheat that falls in the
ground does not die it will remain alone. If it
dies, it will bear much fruit” (Jn 12.24)…
On Friday the 6th February 1981
Marthe returned to the Father after a last
fi ght with the devil. Today she would be
happy if we look at her the way she loved to
look at Mary, to imitate her, rather than just
admire her. Her room has become a place of
prayer where prodigies have already taken
Irma Heller
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by Pietro Squassabia
If you desire remaining at peace during
trials in life, then forgive. If you desire joy
and not sadness, then forgive. If you desire
knowing how to truly love, then forgive.
However, after fl eeing from Paradise man
could no longer forgive or ask forgiveness
of the Father because the devil had enslaved
him, turning his heart to stone, making it
Thus, given that men could not ask
forgiveness, the Son took on the semblance
of man. To take on the body of man He was
born of a woman. He allowed himself to be
nailed to the cross. He did this in order to
ask forgiveness of the Father in our place.
The Father was thus able to give man a
heart of fl esh, and open up the doors of His
own Heart, and the doors of heaven for a
multitude of people whom Satan kept tied
down to the earth. Man was thus saved by a
wonderful plan of love, of the love of God,
so that man could pronounce those words:
“Father, forgive” (Lk 23:33).
And to remain on the subject of forgive-
ness, the apostle Peter one day asked Jesus
if it would be suffi cient to forgive a brother
seven times. Jesus responded that one must
forgive not seven, but 70x7 times. That was
a way of saying every time, always – and this
makes us see the importance of forgiveness.
Jesus spoke also on other occasions about
forgiving: “Love your enemies, do good to
those who hate you” (Lk 6:27).
It seems then, that forgiveness is tightly
connected to love; and indeed it is true that
one cannot love without forgiving. To be
able to forgive we must be able to see as a
gift every person, situation, and event, even
the most diffi cult ones, as Mary did. We
see that when she was told to fl ee by night
because they wanted to kill the Child, she
didn’t think how disastrous that was, but saw
the gift (of being forewarned for example),
and when Jesus remained behind in the
Temple, she didn’t lose her temper, but saw
the event as something to learn from (in fact,
she pondered it in her heart).
On another occasion Jesus responded
to his relatives that whoever did the will of
the Father was to him mother, father, brother
and sister. And on this occasion Mary didn’t
take offence, but considered His words a
gift. When they killed her Son, when they
nailed Him to a cross, she continued to love
and was able to see in His death the Gift for
Mary’s example is for us a great teaching,
and she urges us to see the gift as she did. Let
us ask her then to make us capable of seeing
the gift in our own lives. This way, perhaps,
our life will become a thanksgiving to the
Father for the gifts received, and above
all, for the Gift of Jesus which we have
received.. This way, perhaps, a constant
desire to forgive will be in us, and it will
make us able to love every person, and all
creation, with the love of Jesus.
As One Who Serves
How could a god possibly come down to
earth and serve us? Yet, the Son, who is God,
came in our midst precisely for this reason.
He himself says: “I am among you as one
who serves” (Lk 22:27). Jesus put these
words into practice to be an example for us.
He says: “Whoever would be great among
Fasting and Medjugorje
At Medjugorje Mary calls us to
collaborate with God’s salvifi c project by
heeding her calls to return to God. She calls
us so that our own lives might be fruitful, not
just for ourselves but also for others. It takes
silence and solitude to help us discover what
truly is important and essential in life.
Fasting should not be seen with the eyes
of the fl esh, as something to suffer, or be
deprived of, but with the absolute certainty
that we enter into a dimension of spiritual
light for the benefi t of our inner self. We
ought to allow ourselves to be accompanied
by Mary, “the full of the Holy Spirit.” as we
try to dominate the fl esh.
If we love our blessed Mother, our
offering becomes joy capable of transfi guring
us. It might also make us suffer; tempt us
to think we can’t go through with it, but it
will be this suffering that will please God,
and He will transform us with his wisdom
and omnipotence. If you believe in Him
you will not be disappointed: “This is the
wealth of the poor.” So let us give our
time to God, embraced by Mary, to refl ect,
meditate, await, and discover that nothing
comes by chance. We will discover, above
Messages to Mirjana
2 February 2008
“Dear Children, I am with you. As a
mother I gather you because I desire to
erase from your hearts what I now see.
Accept the love of my Son, and from
your heart erase fear, evil (sin), suffering
and disappointment. I have chosen you
especially to be the light of my Son’s
love. Thank you.”
2 March 2008
“Dear Children! I ask you, particularly
in this Lenten time, to respond to God’s
goodness, because He has chosen you
and sent me among you. Be purifi ed of
your sins, and in Jesus, my Son, see the
victim of atonement for the sins of the
whole world. May He be the meaning
of your life and may your life be at the
service of the Divine love of my Son.
Thank you my children!”
The Blessed Virgin once again asked us
to pray for all our pastors.
you must be your servant” (Mt 20:26).
Jesus thus calls us to do the same. He
washed the apostles’ feet to teach us to serve
others. He teaches that to serve is best. Here
we could ask what it means to serve, and
why Jesus would ask us to serve. Perhaps to
serve means to lose something of ourselves,
to deprive ourselves of something, for
the benefi t of another. I think it could be
compared to an emptying of the heart, or
making a space in the heart so that this space
can be occupied by the love of God, and by
God himself.
Thus, to serve doesn’t mean to lose.
Rather, it means to give up something of
ourselves so we can more fully accept God’s
love which is infi nitely more precious than
what we have given up. Jesus, in becoming
a servant, made his heart and life totally
available for the Love of the Father.
Satan knows only too well that man is
called to serve, and he also knows that if
man does not serve he will do all kinds of
evil, because his heart leaves no space for
Love. It is for this reason that he drives man
to choose not to serve. So let us choose to
serve, which is what Jesus asks of us, for it
is only this way that we can receive Love.
We know that also Mary chose to serve.
She said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of
the Lord. May your will be done unto me,
according to your word.” She humbly
submitted to God’s will and was fi lled with
the Holy Spirit, and all generations call
her blessed. So let us allow Mary to teach
us how to place ourselves at the service of
God’s plan. This way there will be space
in our heart for Love, and then perhaps
our heart will be full of joy as Mary’s. And
perhaps we will understand that the Father
is a God of Love, because He is as one who
serves. And perhaps we will understand that
man exists only because his God is as one
who serves.
all, that we are great in God’s eyes because
in our inner selves, in the depths of our heart,
there is God’s glance that tells us: I love you
my Child! I want to install in your heart my
kingdom, and transmit it to others.
The wonder and joy of having tasted
the presence of Jesus will help us respond:
“The bread I have eaten, fruit of a seed
and of man’s work, fi lls me with you, oh
Infi nite Love.” And may the wonder in our
hearts become acknowledgement, praise and
gratitude for God, the Lord of the heavens
and the earth.
Anna Fasano
“The solitude of every retreat is necessary
for personal deepening. To encounter
oneself alone before the presence of God
facilitates profound refl ection. In solitude
man becomes aware of his own intimate
aspirations, his weaknesses and of the
possibility of getting in tune with God,”
said Card. Vanhoye in a recent interview.
Are you capable of risking
your life for someone?
Do it for Christ.
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Daniele Pasini: Serving the
Faith with Music
I grew up in a family
that practised their
faith, so I’ve always
had a relationship with
Jesus. Mine wasn’t a
sudden conversion; I
never doubted God. I
always felt attracted to
the Church. Also, my
father was a Church
organist, and he took me along with him all
the time. My life was apparently tranquil.
Nonetheless, in my heart there was
much torment, and I went through some
bad moments of depression. There were
even some times when I had thought about
suicide, though I knew I would never really
do it. I now know that these depressive states
depended on the fact that I still hadn’t really
encountered Jesus. Even when I thought I
was praying well, I realize now that I wasn’t.
I had many complexes (and still have, alas),
but I know that Jesus – and His Mother –
simply wants us to surrender ourselves into
his hands, to trust our lives to him.
When we are submerged by problems
that are bigger than us, such as depression,
we are overwhelmed by feelings of panic,
uncertainty, confusion and dismay. It’s
especially then that we need to remember
God’s Word who tells us that He can help
us bear our crosses.
Amid all my problems, the Lord and our
blessed Mother surrounded me with people
who gave me so much support, and helped
me especially in my worst periods. A great
grace I received was to get through my
studies at university, and to discover many
qualities I didn’t know I had.
I have learnt that God holds us in
great esteem. I had no self-esteem, and all
God wanted was for me to throw myself
trustingly into His arms, to be able to
comprehend how much He thought of me,
and loved me. God loves us so much. In fact
He died for love of us!
He has granted me so much. One of the
best things that has happened is having met
a girl who took me to Medjugorje, and
there my heart was healed. And on Mount
Krizevac, I received the inspiration for my
fi rst recorded music. How could I not praise
and thank Him for such a grace?
Living the Messages
of Medjugorje
This is an excerpt from an interview
of Dr. Mark Miravalle by Lidija Paris for
the Info Centre of Medjugorje at http://
medjugorje.hr - Dr. Mark Miravalle is
professor of Theology and Mariology at
the Franciscan University of Steubenville
(USA). He is a permanent deacon. He and
his wife have eight children. He fi rst visited
Medjugorje in 1984.
Asked if he lived the messages in his
family, Dr. Miravalle responded:
“We try. We began by going to daily
Mass. We believe that Mass is the greatest
gift of the day for the faithful, as Our
Lady herself has told us. We believe that if
nothing else at all is accomplished that day,
we have done the greatest thing, because we
have been at the sacrifi ce of the Mass, and
we and our older children have received the
Bread of Life.
”Secondly, we try to pray the Rosary
each morning, but we most certainly pray
the Rosary every evening... and we also
recite the Chaplet of Mercy at 3:00 pm
each day. We also try to go to confession
every Saturday. We feel that confession
together as a family is very important,
because family reconciliation demands the
cooperation of all the members. If some
members of the family go to confession, but
one does not do so, one can bring discord
into the family.
“We fast on Wednesdays and Fridays,
observing at least a meatless and sweet-free
fast by all members of the family.
“When I was in Rome, I recall that at
about 7.00 pm one night, I said to my wife:
‘You take the children. I am getting too
cranky, but I don’t want to break the fast,’
and I went to bed. But I realized that I was
putting fasting before the family, instead
of using fasting as a positive means to
holiness for the family. Typically, we have
an evening meal. I try to fast until then on
bread and water, while at the same time we
try to cater responsibly for the particular
needs of our children. Obviously, we are far
from living the messages in a radical way.
Asked if he thought other people who
perhaps don’t live in a “Catholic” context,
were also called to live the Medjugorje
message, he responded:
“Our Lady gave one message for 6
billion people. When you give one message
for 6 billion people, fi rst of all, you give
the grace for each one to be able to live it
according to their individual capability.
“For example, if someone says: ‘I can’t
fast on Wednesdays and Fridays because I
am a diabetic,’ then that person is called
to a different form of fasting. to fast from
television or from gossip, which may be far
harder for many then fasting from food. We
are certainly called to fast from sweets and
such like. If you are a pregnant mother, you
fast differently from a healthy young man.
“But, there is no aspect of the message
that cannot be embraced by everyone.
Fr. Jozo said in a recent talk that Our Lady
has the prescription. We go to the doctor
when we require medicine, and we take
the medicine religiously. But Our Lady has
given us the medicine for our needs today! If
we don’t take the medicine, we can’t blame
the doctor! The Message of Medjugorje is
the medicine for everyone.” Taken with
prudence and with a sincere heart it can be
lived by all, he said.
“With adolescents, we have to be
especially patient but fi rm. Even if they
don’t understand it, fasting is a genuine
source of grace for them nevertheless.
Our Lady calls us to be faithful to the
great graces for the protection of the
Family, which is under attack. Jesus said
that nothing protects us from Satan as
powerfully as prayer and fasting.”
Cross not End of Line!
by Stefania Consoli
As we observe Christ’s cross have we
considered that His instrument of death was
a vehicle and not the end of the journey?
Every day we have to face situations in
which we feel crucifi ed, situations of evil, of
suffering and pain where our powerlessness
frustrates us. How do we live with these
crosses? Do we put up with them; are we
crushed by them? Do we fi ght against them
with anger; try to avoid them? If so, it is just
to ask ourselves: why the cross? and: Why
does Jesus ask us to carry our cross?
Servant of God, Luigi Rocchi, said that
we don’t have to love our cross, but we have
to love for the sake of the cross. His body
was immobilized, bedridden, but his spirit
was free. He used his mouth to write words
of hope to those who were free to move, but
were paralyzed on the inside.
This is the secret written on the wood
of the cross that Jesus asks us to “embrace”.
It is a love able to transcend all pain and
sorrow. To love despite the cross means
to “dare to love” despite our dislike for
someone, despite the wounds and grudges
and injustices that tell us we are right to feel
bitter, restless and angry.
To love in circumstances such as when
we feel disgust is hard because it requires
that we renounce our own ideas or inclina-
tions, and obliges us to forget ourselves and
our pride. We are called to love our enemy,
such as one who has betrayed or disappoin-
ted us. This means to love for the sake of
love alone. “Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do”, said Jesus as He
was dying on the cross. They are words of
forgiveness and mercy. Love will remain in
eternity; the sorrow of the cross will become
but a memory.
“I have come to bring a fi re to the earth,
and how I would like that it were already
alight.” Climbing Calvary that Friday to His
death, a spark was born and became a fl ame.
The wood of the cross had to be consumed
to keep the fl ame alive. The cross is as wood
thrown into the furnace of our life so that the
fl ame of love that was infused in us by the
Holy Spirit at baptism can be kept alive.
“I know it is Love who leads me, but I
don’t ask where He is taking me,” wrote Lui-
gi. “To know He loves me is suffi cient.”
“Where do I come from? From Love.
What am I doing? I love. Where am I going?
To Love. Why so much suffering? What
wrong did I do? Why, Lord? - It was then
that I felt the gaze of the Nazarene, and it
troubled me. He said: ‘Not one tear is lost.
Life passes through death, joy through
sorrow.’ - Since then my life was no longer
just pain or sorrow, for my sorrow became
a vehicle of joy, love and life.
Your joy depends on your will to love
those who suffer, so that the Kingdom of
God might come into people’s hearts, and
reach the innocents. With their suffering
they prepare the new coming of Jesus. You
can help by holding up (your own) cross, to
help dry their tears, and keep alight the hope
of the resurrection for the new heavens and
new earth.”
(Luigi Rocchi)
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children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
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Giving Mary a Hand
“I ask nothing for myself, but I ask
everything for the salvation of your souls”.
(Medju, 25.10.88). “Dear Children, you are
not aware of the messages God is sending
you through me. He is lavishing upon you
great gifts, and you do not understand.”
(8.11.84). Mary doesn’t like to force
anything on anyone. And so, it seems only
a small portion has chosen to accept her
messages. At the beginning there were many
more who recognized the importance of her
apparitions and her call.
In 1986 I went with my wife to Medju-
gorje for the fi rst time. I believed in Mary’s
presence, and I still do. I acknowledge the
gift that has been lavished on me; in particu-
lar the need for conversion. There have been
wonderful, together with painful occasions
to grow in love. After twenty years my
devotion has not waned, but over the years,
and given our human nature, and perhaps
because we are not given the powerful grace
that moved us in the beginning, a kind of
tepidity has found its place in my heart.
I think I am not the only one. I can see
the same refl ected in the Echo, which is a gift
of Mary and Providence. It began as a notice
sheet for parishioners (by Fr. Angelo Mutti,
rip), and very quickly 380,000 copies of the
(original) Italian edition were being printed.
Now only 160,000 copies per edition come
off the print.
If we know how to read into the lines, we
will see that this can become a favourable
time to grow, and witness the faith. Mary
doesn’t want to exclude us from the chance
of spreading her messages. At the beginning
she nourished us with the milk of her care, to
help us grow. Now she wants us to be strong
and become adult in the faith.
You cannot understand how great
your place in God’s plan is. I am with you
to realize it to the full.” Mary is with us!
If we heed the call to become apostles of
the Queen of Peace, we will not keep the
gift for ourselves, but will share it with our
brothers and sisters who still don’t know
Medjugorje. It has been said that these are
the last apparitions for mankind. And this is
certainly true for those who have died in the
meantime, and perhaps were able to draw
from this spring the strength to live in grace.
Instead those who didn’t know Medjugorje,
and have since died were deprived of the
sweet and living presence of Mary.
So let us not lose this occasion for our
salvation and that of others. I know fi rst hand
that it isn’t easy to propose Echo to priests or
friends; it’s hard to face refusal, misunder-
standing, even pity. However, the words of
Jesus give me strength! Rejoice when they
utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on
my account. Rejoice and be glad.
So, my friends of the Echo, Mary is
asking us to echo her voice, to spread it
by way of the pages of this little but great
instrument. Our fears and shyness must not
stop us from spreading with love and humi-
lity her message, for it is when I am weak
that I am strong.
We are on the winning side with Mary
and Jesus.
Mario Sfriso (Printer of Echo)
Teach me, Lord,
... to give thanks
Teach me, Lord, to give thanks. For
giving thanks is the fi rst, the greatest, the
most fruitful duty of one who knows he has
received everything. Teach me to thank you
for your ineffable gifts, Lord. You created
me in the womb of my mother, and watched
over me as I grew, lovingly and with so
much concern; you gave me a place amid
your creatures, so that together with the
universe I might bring honour and glory to
your name.
You defended the life you yourself gave
me, from its very beginning in my mother’s
womb when men who had forgotten your
law had decided to suppress it before it could
see the light. Suppress it – they said – to save
the life of my mother, for hers was in danger.
Instead, Lord, you watched as a loving father
over the lives of us both; you saved us both,
through the piety of my relatives, especially
my father, and thanks to the honesty of one
man who placed his science at the service
of life and not death.
Thank you, Lord. You are mercy, and
your judgements are ineffable! But who
could ever thank you suffi ciently? Your
goodness is without limits, your wisdom
without number.
Fr. Agostino Trapè
27 Years of Apparitions
Excerpt of Padre Livio’s interview
of Vicka, Radio Maria, 2 Jan. 2008
P. Livio: Twenty-seven years of
apparitions! That’s a long time; almost a
third of a person’s lifetime. After these 27
years, how do you think the response to Our
Lady’s messages has been?
Vicka: Looking back it seems a long
time, but it doesn’t seem so much to me
because time has fl own so quickly. Our Lady
has been in our midst for 27 years; and that
makes it 27 years of immense graces. We
can’t imagine the value of her presence! I
would say, rather than a long time, it’s been
too short. I say too short thinking of the
grace (of having her)! For as long as we have
Our Lady in our midst we have the certainty
of her special motherly protection.
P. Livio: Our Lady said that during this
time many have responded to her call, but
also that many have lost the way. Is this also
your impression?
Vicka: […] For my part, I want to
follow Our Lady; do as she asks of me. She
said she was happy for all the pilgrims that
come here to Medjugorje, and even happier
for all those who accept her messages after
being here, and then take it to others. Each
of us has to be a bearer of her message and
her peace. [It happens that] many times we
begin to live the messages, and after a while
we feel tired, and we stop. Our Lady says
that when we live the messages with joy
and love, we will never tire; and she says
to persevere, day by day.
P. Livio: Some object that the apparitions
are too long. Have you ever asked yourself
why they are so long?
Vicka: Also our priests objected because
of this. Once they made us ask Our Lady
how much longer she would stay with us,
and she replied: “Are you already tired of
me?” (...) On other occasions Our Lady has
said: “I am the mother of you all. I love you
all with the same love, and I have come to
save you all.” I am certain that this lengthy
presence of hers can be read in light of her
“expectancy”: she awaits us all because
she wants us all saved. She also said: “You
don’t know how many graces are given to
you,” and this goes for as long as she is with
us. Her presence is a great grace which she
obtained from her Son.
P. Livio: So it is a way of showing us
her immense motherly love.
Vicka: When Our Lady appears she
communicates serenity, inner peace and
happiness to you. And you don’t desire
anything else. I see, however, that in her
heart there is a great inner suffering. I notice
it. Even if she covers it up with a smile it
remains. I can see something is wrong.
P. Livio: Our Lady rejoices for all those
who convert, and she suffers for all those
who don’t persevere.
Vicka: Yes, I think of how very much
Our Lady loves us! We can’t imagine this
infi nite love! No one in the world has a heart
as big! With open arms she awaits all those
who want to believe. She leaves those who
are distant from believing free to believe or
not. She waits, remaining close in the hope
that one day they might accept her. *
Donations / correspondence to:
Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47,
I-31037 LORIA (TV), Italy.
Personal cheques accepted.
Postal Orders must be International!
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
As we recall the anniversary of the death
of our beloved founder, Fr. Angelo Mutti,
we implore his and the Lord’s blessing
upon you and your dear ones.
Italy, 10 March 2008