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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 199 (May-June 2008)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 March 2008:
“Dear Children, I call you to work
on your personal conversion. You are
still far from encountering God in your
heart. Therefore, spend as much time
as possible in prayer and adoration of
Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of
the Altar, that He may change you and
place in your hearts a living faith and a
desire for eternal life. Everything passes,
my Children. Only God remains. I am
with you and I encourage you with love.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
God in our Heart
My soul yearns and pines for the Lord’s
courts. My heart and my flesh sing for
joy to the living God
. These words from
Psalm 84 express well the yearning in the
heart of a Christian, and would it be that
they transpired from his entire being. Our
relationship with God cannot be limited to
a formality which cannot touch the soul;
which cannot warm one’s blood. God isn’t
the miracle worker to turn to in time of need.
God is the life; He is our life, and without
Him we cannot live.
“Dear Children, I call you to work
on your personal conversion,” says Mary.
“Conversion makes my heart turn to God;
it makes me understand that God deserves
fi rst place, because with Him in fi rst place I
receive light and discernment for everything
else, so that my priorities are given proper
order. Our blessed Mother’s call to work on
our personal conversion
helps us see how
she concerns herself for us.
“You are still far from encountering
God in your heart,” she reminds each of
us. So more than nurturing good sentiment
or fulfi lling obligations, we need to look
into our heart and ponder: do we want to
encounter God? We do, of course, for the
yearning every man feels in his heart is
precisely for this encounter with God. So
we might ask ourselves: what do I have to
do? A list of the bad things we have not
done together with the good things we have
done is not suffi cient to assure our encounter
with God. Mary, who is a provident mother,
offers us also the response: “Spend as much
time as possible in prayer and adoration
of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament
of the Altar, that He may change you and
place in your hearts a living faith and a
desire for eternal life.”
This then is the remedy, it is the highway
that leads to this encounter our hearts so
desire and need. We cannot reach God unless
through Jesus, and without Jesus we can’t do
anything. So we must desire and allow Him
to act in us. To do this we need to surrender
up our lives. This is what we can do in prayer
and whilst before Jesus, truly present in the
Blessed Sacrament.
The Word of God and a sacramental life
are the essential vehicles that can conduct
us to communion with Christ, but this can
be compromised by our lack of willingness
and our closure to Love. Without a live faith
and the desire for eternity, we run the risk
of rending sterile God’s Love, and making
void Christ’s Cross (cf. 1 Co 1:17). Eternal
life is not only life after death, but is life in
Christ, and as such must begin already in this
world. Anyone who eats my fl esh and drinks
my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise
him up on the last day
(Jn 6:54), however,
anyone who eats this bread or drinks this
cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving
unworthily towards the body and blood of
the Lord
(1 Co 11:27).
“Everything passes, my Children.
Only God remains.” So instead of living
on scraps and food for swine, let us desire
this real food (cf. Lk 15:15-16). Our food is
Jesus Christ. Let us anchor our lives in that
of Jesus, to remain with Him and in Him
for eternity.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“Where the Church is,
there also is the Spirit of God;
Where the Spirit of God is,
there also is the Church
and every grace”
(St. Ireneus)
Our Lady’s message, 25 April 2008:
“Dear Children, Also today I call
you all to grow in God’s love, as a fl ower
which feels the warm rays of spring.
In a similar way, my children: grow in
God’s love and carry it to all those who
are far from God. Seek God’s will and
do good to those whom God has put on
your path, and be light and joy. Thank
you for responding to my call.”
Grow in God’s Love
A fl ower feels the warm rays of spring-
time and grows and blossoms; and the
miracle of nature is renewed. Man, however,
isn’t so receptive to the warmth of God’s
love; he doesn’t open up to this Love. Man
thinks he can do without it; he thinks he can
blossom under another sun. Mary is calling
us all to grow in God’s love as would a
fl ower that feels the warm rays of the
spring sun
. But individuals and nations
aspire after a different type of growth; they
seek economical well-being. This is true
for the majority, but when lawful objectives
are not constrained and led by love for
neighbour the growth becomes unbalanced,
giving rise to the scandal of the many who
lack prime necessities and the rich minority
which continues to get richer.
Our blessed Mother speaks, calls, urges
us to listen. But who listens? Yet the day will
come when the Son of man is revealed
(Lk
17:30), and the castle of cards in which we
have barricaded ourselves will fall. “And if
that time had not been shortened, no one
would have survived; but shortened that
time shall be, for the sake of those who are
chosen”
(Mt 24:22).
Mary is working to increase the number
of those who are chosen. These souls may
not be so many as to make our cities shine
with light and joy, but they are not so rare
that one cannot meet such souls on our
streets. They are as fl owers of love cultivated
by Mary and offered to the world so that
hope may be sown and that the desire to
return to the Father might grow. One such
fl ower was the brief existence of a child
named Tony. Born in 1998, he died in April
of this year after a terrible illness. But Mary
helped him to see how his illness became a
vehicle to commune ever more closely with
Christ and his Church.
“Seek God’s will and do good to those
whom God has put on your path, and
be light and joy.”
Tony sought and loved
God’s Will; he didn’t even ask to be healed.
Though he walked through the valley of
tears, it became for him a fount (cf. Ps. 83) of
perennial good for those whom God put on
his path, and he was light and joy for all.
We, too, are called to allow ourselves to
grow in God’s Love. Mary continues to visit
May - June 2008 - Yr. 24 # 3 - Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy.
Ph. +39 0423-470331 - www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
199
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us for this. We can grow in God’s love if
we allow Christ to live in us. He is our only
chance for redemption and salvation. “Grow
in God’s love and carry it to all those who
are far from God.”
To carry God’s love is
to carry Jesus, who is Love incarnate. So we
do carry God’s love to all whom He places
on our path when He is alive in us. There
is no need for grand or wise discourses. A
smile, a gesture of solidarity or friendship
can be worth a thousand words, and these
will allow us to carry Jesus to others; He
will do the rest. “Seek God’s will…” We
can seek this in Holy Scripture: such as the
ten commandments, the beatitudes; Church
teachings, and her precepts. If our own lives
are good and faithful to the Lord’s teachings,
we can do and bring good to those whom
God has placed on our path
.
N.Q.
>> continued from page 1:
P o p e , H e r a l d o f H o p e i n U S A
This voyage was important to him. He
had awaited it, and once there he spared
neither energy nor time for the benefi t of
the American Church. His visit went from
the 15th to the 20th April; too brief for the
vastness of the country and its peoples. Yet
Pope Benedict XVI managed to express his
thought to all, with fatherly and pastoral
concern, leaving those who heard him
enthusiastic and hopeful.
For all he had a precise message, adapting
it to each specifi c audience. The main theme
of his pastoral visit was “Christ, our Hope.”
At all the various encounters that were
organized for the Pontiff he spoke on the
importance of freedom, truth, peace, and
human rights.
Temple of baseball
He spoke of hope at the temple of
baseball: the Yankee stadium in New York
to 45,000 festive people. Here a votive
Holy Mass (dedicated to the Holy Spirit)
was celebrated with parts said in English,
Spanish and Latin. “The Church in the
United States, which has gathered in her
womb many emigrant children, has grown
thanks also to the vitality of the witness
of faith of the Spanish speaking faithful,”
said the Holy Father. “Only if you remain
united to Christ and amongst yourselves,
will your evangelizing testimony be credible
and bloom in copious fruits of peace and
reconciliation in the midst of a world many
times marked by division and confl icts.”
To UNO: a common mission
Though a different type of encounter,
the meeting with members of the General
Assembly of the United Nations Organization
was not less welcoming, and despite the
official circumstances, the atmosphere
was one of friendship and fraternity. “Your
Holiness, in many ways our mission is united
to yours,” began General Secretary Ban Ki-
moon. “The United Nations Organization is
a lay institute, composed of 192 nations. We
have six offi cial languages, but no religion.
Nonetheless, if one were to ask any one of
us who work here what it is that motivates
us, many would respond with the language
of faith. (…) Mission is the word we use the
most for the work we do in the world.”
The Holy Father spoke, among other
things, about the responsibility of protecting
the dignity of the human person and his
rights.
Pope Benedict’s discourses were more
explicit with those who live the faith:
In the Cathedral, to the Religious: “True
life can only be found in the reconciliation,
freedom and love which are God’s gracious
gift. This is the message of hope we are
called to proclaim and embody in a world
where self-centeredness, greed, violence, and
cynicism so often seem to choke the fragile
growth of grace in people’s hearts.”
At the Synagogue, with the Jewish
people: “I am here to express to the Jewish
community of New York my respect and my
esteem.”
At the ecumenical meeting, in the
church of St. Joseph with 15 different
communities: “By placing our trust in God
alone, I am trustful that we shall achieve
that ‘oneness of hope, oneness of faith, and
oneness of love’ that alone will convince the
world that Jesus Christ is the one sent by the
Father for the salvation of all.”
To rectors of Catholic Universities
in Washington: “Once their passion for
the fullness and unity of truth has been
awakened, young people will surely relish
the discovery that the question of what they
can know opens up the vast adventure of what
they ought to do. Here they will experience
‘in what’ and ‘in whom’ it is possible to
hope,” making “Universities instruments
of hope.”
YOUTH: be guiding stars for others!
Pope Benedict spoke to 20,000 young
people, who participated in the vigil at the
sports fi eld of the Seminary of New York.
The Pope held up for them six models of
life. “In front of you are the images of six
ordinary men and women who grew up to
lead extraordinary lives. The Church honours
them as Venerable, Blessed, or Saint: each
responded to the Lord’s call to a life of
charity and each served him here, in the
alleys, streets and suburbs of New York. I am
struck by what a remarkably diverse group
they are: poor and rich, lay men and women
- one a wealthy wife and mother - priests and
sisters, immigrants from afar, the daughter
of a Mohawk warrior father and Algonquin
mother, another a Haitian slave, and a Cuban
intellectual.”
The Holy Father spoke to the youth about
freedom: “a delicate value which can be
misunderstood
or misused so as to lead not
to the happiness which we all expect it to
yield, but to a dark arena of manipulation
in which our understanding of self and the
world becomes confused, or even distorted
by those who have an ulterior agenda.” …
“In truth’s place – or rather its absence – an
idea has spread which, in giving value to
everything indiscriminately, claims to assure
freedom and to liberate conscience. This
we call relativism
. But what purpose has
a ‘freedom’ which, in disregarding truth,
pursues what is false or wrong?”
Papa Ratzinger, with fatherly concern,
helps us give the right value to these
terms that are so often used without being
understood: “Dear friends, truth is not an
imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It
is a discovery of the One who never fails us;
the One whom we can always trust.
In seeking truth we come to live by belief
because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus
Christ.
That is why authentic freedom is
not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing
less than letting go of self and allowing
oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being
for others.” … Christ’s light beckons you to
be guiding stars for others, walking Christ’s
way of forgiveness, reconciliation, humility,
joy and peace.”
Personal relationship in prayer
The young people, who will meet with
the Pope again this year at the World Youth
Day in Sydney, received his invitation
with joy: “What matters most is that you
develop your personal relationship with
God. That relationship is expressed in prayer.
God by his very nature speaks, hears, and
replies…”
On the lost art of listening, he asks “Do
you leave space to hear God’s whisper,
calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do
not be afraid of silence
or stillness, listen to
God, adore him in the Eucharist.”
Celebrated at White House
Precisely on the day of his 81st birthday
the Holy Father met with President Bush at
the White House. “Usually, birthdays are
celebrated with close friends, and for this
reason the whole country feels moved and
honoured for the fact that you chose to spend
this day with us,” said President Bush to
Pope Benedict.
At the farewell ceremony Vice President
Cheney thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his
visit, saying that the pope had seen “a people
of resonating faith who affi rm that our nation
was founded under God … a country where
the torch of freedom, equality and tolerance
ill always be held high,” and “a country
where you, a herald of the gospel of Jesus
Christ and the head of the Roman Catholic
Church, will always be welcome.” “To our
diverse country you have brought a universal
message of hope and salvation.”
Mr. Cheney concluded: “…In these 57
years your wisdom and your pastoral gifts
have been extraordinary blessings to our
world. In these six days, you’ve shared those
blessings very directly with the people of the
United States. Your presence has honoured
our country.”
2
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3
The Image: faithful to the original
It was the 22nd February 1931 when,
in the silence of a convent and of a heart,
the Lord Jesus came and spoke to a nun.
Sr. Faustina (now Saint Faustina) Kowalska
describes the event in her Diary:
“In the evening, when I was in my cell,
I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white
garment. One hand was raised in the
gesture of blessing, the other was touching
the garment at the breast. From beneath the
garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast,
there were emanating two large rays, one
red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze
fi xed on the Lord; my soul was struck with
awe, but also with great joy. After a while,
Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according
to the pattern you see, with the signature:
Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image
be venerated, fi rst in your chapel, and then
throughout the world. I promise that the soul
that will venerate this image will not perish.
I also promise victory over (its) enemies
already here on earth, especially at the hour
of death. I Myself will defend it as My own
glory.”
(Diary, 47)
“The two rays denote Blood and
Water. The pale ray stands for the Water
which makes souls righteous. The red ray
stands for the Blood which is the life of
souls… These two rays issued forth from
the very depths of My tender mercy when
My agonized Heart was opened by a lance
on the Cross.”
(Diary, 299)
From Sr. Faustina’s Diary we learn that
she heard Jesus’ voice many times, and that
He often spoke to her about the image: “I
want this image, which you will paint with
a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the fi rst
Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the
Feast of Mercy.”
(Diary, 47-49)
The entire Diary is an ongoing of
revelations that lead her into an ever deeper
relationship and progressively unveil a divine
plan of unimaginable bearings. The tragedy
of WWI was still visible with its devastating
effects, and no one, except those who had
taken the message of Fatima seriously, could
have imagined that two decades later the
earth would sink into an even worse state
of chaos.
Divine Mercy, from whom nothing
is hidden and whose aim is to bring all to
good, whose ways are often unthinkable
for us, loves to work via the humblest of
instruments, such as an image.
More than one Image
St Faustina’s spiritual director, Fr.
Michael Sopo ko, commissioned a painting
of Merciful Jesus. It was painted according
to Sr. Faustina’s instructions and in her
presence, and is kept in the Shrine of Divine
Mercy at Vilnius in Lithuania.
A second image was commissioned, after
the death of the Polish nun, by the sisters of
her Congregation; meant for the chapel at
their house in Krakow. However, it was yet
another image that was chosen in its place:
this third image was painted by someone as
gratitude for a grace received. The decision
was made by the Archbishop of Krakow
who happened to be present; and it was his
successor, Archbishop Karol Wojtyla (who
later became Pope John Paul II), who became
the main instrument of confi rmation and
diffusion of the devotion to Divine Mercy.
This image was the one that became the
traditional image of Merciful Jesus; a copy
of which was blessed by John Paul II in the
Church of the Holy Spirit at Sassia on the
day the fi rst solemn Mass for the fi rst Sunday
of Divine Mercy was celebrated on the 23rd
April 1995.
Prodigious Ways
Here we have briefly mentioned the
devotion to Divine Mercy as revealed to St.
Faustina. I wish to continue with the story of
a man and his devotion to Divine Mercy.
Lia Galdiolo, an iconographer from
Padova (Italy), felt inspired to write a life-
size icon of Merciful Jesus. The work was
blessed by John Paul II during his visit to
Padova. In 1990 the image was collocated in
the shrine of Divine Mercy in the diocese of
Trento. And it was here that during a prayer
meeting something important happened.
Hugo Festa, not yet 40, was affected by
multiple sclerosis and other ailments and was
confi ned to a wheel chair. In April of 1990
he was accompanied to a General Audience
before the Holy Father. After having blessed
the icon of Merciful Jesus that Hugo had
taken with him, the Pope told him to entrust
himself to the Heart of Jesus and to the
intercession of Sr. Faustina.
Hugo decided to go to the shrine of
Divine Mercy in Trento and pray. On the
fourth day, while he was praying in front
of the icon, he experienced something
extraordinary. The fi gure of Christ came
to life
and stretched out his hands as if to
beckon him. Hugo experienced a sensation
of warmth throughout his entire body; then
he found himself on his feet, with his arms
outstretched towards the image of Jesus. Yet,
he still doubted, but Jesus called him, and
Hugo walked towards Jesus. Hugo could
walk again, his fi ts of epilepsy had ceased,
his very poor eyesight greatly improved.
Witness, missionary, martyr
From that moment on Hugo prayed
and thanked God continually. On the 19th
August he attended another Audience out of
a desire to tell the Pope what had happened.
The miracle was included in the acts of the
process of beatifi cation for Sr. Faustina. It
also confi rms the mysterious bond between
John Paul II and the Polish nun who were
united in the mission to let the world know
of Divine Mercy.
Hugo Festa’s life changed radically, and
he became a volunteer at Mother Teresa’s
missions in India and Africa, whilst back in
his home town he dedicated his life to helping
especially the migrants from eastern Europe
or northern Africa. The seal to this radical
and spectacular conversion is the murder of
Hugo
in his home in Vicenza by one of those
to whom he had extended a helping hand.
Arrival at Medjugorje!
The story of this icon has not fi nished
here. Upon the request of the then Archbishop
of Split, Mons. Frane
Franic, the painting
was sent to Split
on the occasion of
an important peace
march with destination
Medjugorje. It was
later placed in the
Adoration Chapel
and then transferred
to the Chapel of the
cemetery at Surmanci
where it remained till
the new church at
Surmanci was blessed
in April 2002.
The little town
of Surmanci is in the
Neretva valley, the other side of the hill
of Apparitions
. Coincidence, perhaps, to
suggest a sign of indissoluble union between
Divine Mercy and Mary, chosen by God to
be the Mother of Mercy?
DIVINE MERCY
by Andrea Coffa
Symbolism of the Icon
The pictured icon (by Lia Galdiolo)
represents Jesus coming to “the place
where the disciples of Jesus were gathered
and hidden for fear of the Jews” (Jn
20:19) The Risen Lord comes. The signs
of Jesus’ resurrection are his resplendent
clothes, his pierced hands, chest, and
feet; the sealed doors represent the fear
of the disciples, and the darkness in their
hearts. Jesus stands on a dais, the earth,
which is a stool for his feet, and is lit up
by his presence. With the tip of his toes
he touches the outer side of the dais;
this means that his journey is fi nished
and He is about to return to the Father.
The golden quadrangle within the dais
represents the new, eternal earth, Paradise,
where every man may fi nally enter to be
with Him (gold stands for light, eternity,
regality). On the part in the shade (faith)
are the words revealed to Sr. Faustina:
Jesus, I trust in You, and “My peace be
with you”.
Jesus dons white and gold clothes
(meaning eternal glory): a long tunic
(standing for His righteous works); the
left shoulder is covered by a mantle
(representing the pilgrim, the Messiah);
the right shoulder by a golden stole
(meaning His mission is fulfi lled); on His
sides is the priestly band (He is the only,
eternal Priest); the black that surrounds
His fi gure represents the divine darkness,
the Mystery of God revealed to man
without ever being exhausted; the gold
represents Christ’s eternity.
His left hand indicates His Mercy that
gushes forth from his pierced side. His
right hand represents His Resurrection
on the third day (indicated by the three
fi ngers together) while his pointer and
middle fi nger indicate His two natures:
human and divine.
On His forehead is a “tau”, symbol
of life for all those who adhere to Him.
The triangle within the frame of the door
is formed by rays which express the gift
of the Holy Spirit. It is pointed upwards
to indicate our ascension with Christ, or
our transfi guration in Him to whom we
are called by the Father’s will.
Echo 199
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Our meditation on the Litanies of Loreto
continue, and in particular we consider:
ARK OF THE COVENANT
This title of Mary contains two terms that
are very dear to the Old Testament: covenant
and ark. There is no other people on the earth
with which God has stipulated a pact, making
them a chosen people and the heir to His
blessing. The ark was the sign of the powerful
and elective “presence” of God; it was the
great sign that assured the people who were
fi ghting to conquer the promised land. It was
kept in the Holy of Holies within the temple
and was the object of their veneration; it was
the heart of the people of Israel.
Since Mary is a person, she is surely
more important than an ark, no matter
how precious is might be. Mary gave up
her immaculate heart entirely to God and
became the fore-chosen dwelling place, the
ark, of the upholder of the new and eternal
covenant: Jesus Christ. Thus, the blessed
Virgin becomes for the new people the living
“tabernacle” where the Son of God becomes
fl esh so He can enter history. This task has
been handed on to the Church of which Mary
is image.
In the ark of the family bread was kept.
Bread is an element that creates communion
for the foundation of the family. The Virgin
Mary kept Christ within her womb. He is the
Bread descended from heaven. She can also
be said a casket that keeps the Lord’s every
word; she meditates upon it herself, and
offers it as a gift to all her children.
GATE OF HEAVEN
This title brings our attention to the
dramatic moment for all mankind when
because of the original sin the gates to the
earthly paradise were closed to Adam and
Eve. The gates were guarded by a cherubim
with a fl aming sword.
Now, with the redemption wrought by
Christ, that closed gate has been opened; but
not only does it open upon the earthly garden,
but onto God’s very heart.
When Mary conceived the Son of the
Most High she became the royal gate through
which passed the great King and through
which passes mankind which has been
redeemed so it can enter before the presence
of God. Certainly, the gate has a fundamental
role, and being able to enter through it is a
guarantee of being accepted and not being
treated as thieves. When the gate through
which we pass is also beautifully decorated,
it makes us feel even more welcome.
MORNING STAR
This title is a “must be” in the Litanies,
both because of its beauty and because
of what it means. Stars are the object of
admiration amongst all peoples. Stars are
symbolic for various reasons: they live in
the sky, they are untouchable, they are pure
light, their light does not blind us, they are
unchanging, their light is not extinguishable,
they are immobile, they are eyes in heaven
that watch down over us. Of all the stars, the
“morning star” is most beautiful and intense.
In the Greek and Roman world it was called
Venus after the goddess of beauty. We know
that Venus is not a star, but a planet which
shines with refl ected light, but this doesn’t
matter to us; actually it gives it even more
similar to Our Lady who shines with the
light of God.
One of the main characteristics of the
morning star is that it is the fi rst to appear
at dusk and the last to disappear at dawn. It
is the star that announces the coming of the
day. Similarly, more than anyone else, Mary
comes to announce the coming of our day
that will not end. She is the morning star
who – with her Amen – came to introduce
into the world the true Light, Christ the Lord.
Mary, the “all beautiful one” does not dim
T
HE
L
ITANIES
...
by Fr. Ludovico M. Centra
the beauty of the Word, but translates it into
an accessible light which does not blind us.
If we compare her beauty to the full moon –
as did St. Anthony Abbot – Mary becomes
an instrument for the wanderer who walks
in life’s darkness. As an instrument, Mary
helps us reach our destination. The light that
emanates from Mary is a divine light and for
this reason it is refl ected in a myriad of ways
just like the rainbow. St. Anthony helps us see
how she is as a bridge between heaven and
earth because she is the way chosen by God
to descend upon the earth, and through whom
man is able to ascend into heaven.
So let us look upon her, so her beauty
can transform us and make us beautiful.
This is indeed the desire of our most blessed
Mother: that we be where she is: in the Heart
of God
.
S
IMPLE
THOUGHTS
by Pietro Squassabia
Grain of wheat
Even a normal life, made up of the everyday things, can be lived in a saintly manner.
Such was life for Amedeo, husband and father of fi ve children. Though an able and esteemed
person, much more important was his love for his wife and family, and for others. It was
from love that he drew nourishment which made him always so available for others; always
ready to forgive everything and everyone. It was from love that he drew his immense trust
in Mary and Jesus, to Whom he entrusted his entire life.
The sickness that struck him when he was at the height of his strength and which
accompanied him for nearly thirty years became the occasion for special grace. After several
operations on the brain, his life became one of suffering, which he always accepted. He knew
how to accept the grace which was granted him through his suffering, and he embarked
on a journey of purifi cation, towards a continual deprivation, accepted with generosity. To
whomever asked how he was he would respond: well, very well. It seems evident that only
wisdom would have suggested such a reply; wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit. Through
accepting with peace his situation, his life became lighter, less burdensome, till it became
such a “little thing”, nearly nothing at all – “nothing”, however, in the sense meant by Chiara
Lubich when she said that only a nothing can get into heaven.
His life was like a grain of wheat that once it had rotted under the earth it began to bear
much fruit, in the imitation of Jesus. Thus, his death bore abundant fruit, even in his wife
who had feared greatly for the imminent death of her husband, but who experienced after
his death a love so great by God that she said: Love is truly blind, and God has shown me
how blind I was.
God can do such great things with our nothingness! when we let God act
in us! As I refl ect on Amedeo’s life I have to say that his sickness – which for the world
would have seemed a curse – was instead a gift from the Father, and an immense occasion
offered to him by Providence, which allowed him to become that nothing so that he could
enter Heaven and see God and stay with Him in an eternal happiness.
Here I am!
“Glorious things are spoken of you, o city of God” (Psalm 86)
These words of the Psalm seemed written for Mary… The Spirit has shown us wonderful
things of Mary; the Church sings her marvels, such as when she calls her: glory of Jerusalem,
joy of Israel, honour of our people (She is the glory, happiness and honour of all peoples,
all generations). Mary is the city of God, precious and protected. For this, the Church calls
her: house of gold, tower of ivory, fortifi ed city, dwelling place of God.
How beautiful you are, Mary, and how precious! Thanks to you, thanks to the fruit of
your womb, Jesus, we too have become precious, we who in the eyes of God were nothing:
“[A]ll the nations are accounted as the dust on the scales… are as nothing before Him, they
are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Is 40:15-17).
All the nations, with all their capacity and their means, are accounted as nothing by God.
But Mary, poor and humble, is precious. How could the young woman of Palestine become
so precious, so full of grace? It was no doubt her response: “Behold me!”; the readiness
with which she placed herself at the Lord’s service. This made her so beautiful, more than
all the fatigue and penance. Almost as if that: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” was
what made grace explode within Her. Before such humility God fi lled her with His love. Her
readiness to love and be loved was so pleasing to the Lord that immediately upon the Angel’s
announcement, she was made the splendour of grace to become the Mother of God.
The Blessed Virgin is present at Medjugorje perhaps to make us understand how it is
important that we too offer to God a prompt response of “behold me!”. She wants to show
us the way to God; it is the same way she herself journeyed down, the same one her Son
journeyed down. So let us accept the call of our blessed Mother; and perhaps God will
work marvels also in us, for the good of many.
4
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5
The Altar, the Lamb and
the Cross
Apparitions at
K N O C K
There is a little town in the western
part of Ireland, and an extraordinary event
that not everyone knows about. However,
it was not unknown to John Paul II who
paid a visit in 1979. “I felt a strong desire
to come here,” he said, “the desire to make
yet another pilgrimage to the Shrine of the
Mother of Christ, the Mother of the Church,
the Queen of Peace. Do not be surprised by
this desire of mine. Since I was very young
in my own country, it has been a practice
of mine to make pilgrimages to Our Lady’s
Shrines…” His visit marked the centennial
of this extraordinary apparition in Ireland,
giving the shrine greater importance and an
offi cial status.
But let’s go back in time. On the 21st
August 1879, rain was battering down
on the tiny village. Mary McLoughlin, the
housekeeper to the parish priest of Knock
(County Mayo, in Ireland) was astonished
to see the outside south wall of the church
bathed in a mysterious light; there were
three fi gures standing in front of the wall,
which she mistook for replacements of
the stone fi gures destroyed in a storm. She
went through the rain to her friend Margaret
Byrne’s house.
After a half hour Mary decided to leave
and Margaret’s little sister Mary agreed to
walk home with her. As they passed the
church they saw and amazing vision very
clearly: Standing out from the gable and to
the west of it appeared the Blessed Virgin,
St. Joseph and St. John,
next to an altar
upon which were a lamb and a cross
.
The young girl remarked: “Oh, look, they
are moving!” Mary Byrne ran to tell her
family while Mary McLoughlin gazed at
the apparition. Soon a small crowd (of 15)
gathered and all saw the apparition.
The fi gure of the Blessed Virgin was
life-size, while the others seemed not quite
as tall. They (the fi gures) stood a little away
from the gable wall, and a little under two
feet from the ground.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was clothed
in white robes with a brilliant crown on her
head. Over the forehead where the crown
fi tted the brow, she wore a beautiful full-
bloom golden rose. She was in an attitude
of prayer with her eyes and hands raised
towards Heaven. St. Joseph stood on Our
Lady’s right. He was turned towards her in
an attitude of respect. His robes were also
white. St. John was on Our Lady’s left.
He was dressed in white vestments and
resembled a bishop, with a small mitre. He
appeared to be preaching and he held an
open book in his left hand.
The witnesses watched the silent
Apparition in pouring rain for two hours,
reciting the Rosary, until the fi gures, who
never spoke, disappeared. Although the
witnesses standing before the gable were
drenched, no rain fell on the gable or the
ground beneath it. They felt the ground
carefully with their hands and it was
perfectly dry as was the gable itself.
A Commission was set up within
weeks of the Apparition by the Archbishop,
and the fi fteen witnesses were examined.
Inevitably, one might say, the apparition at
Knock awoke also hostility and opposition
on the part of many. The Commission,
however, reported after its enquiry that the
evidence of the witnesses was ‘trustworthy
and satisfactory’. Devotion to the site by
the faithful was thus permitted, and with
time the little village became a pilgrimage
site. Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage in
1979 inspired an even greater devotion to
the Shrine. Today one and a half million
pilgrims visit the Shrine annually.
Explanation in Revelation
What did the Lord want to tell us with
this scene? Fr. James, a Franciscan monk
who studied the apparition, wrote: “[St.
John] held a book in his hand. However, to
discover the message of Knock one must
open the Book of Revelation; the book that
contains the interpretation of the history
of the universe. It is permeated by a great
theme of redemption in three cosmic
phases
. In the fi rst place there is the mystery
of the Lamb that is slain from the beginning
of the world.” Such is the description in the
thirteenth chapter of Revelation by St. John.
It speaks of the eternal plan of redemption,
symbolized by the simple and touching
image of the lamb that was seen at Knock.
In the second place there is the mystery of
the woman “dressed in the sun” seen giving
birth over the earth. Then, there is the City
of God which is said to possess the Glory of
God, of which the Lamb is the lamp.”
Also David M. Lindsey in his book:
The Woman and the Dragon: Apparitions of
Mary
, sees in the apparition at Knock a clear
reminder of Revelation: “The apparition
at Knock was silent, and seemed to give
no message, but in reality, this is not so.
At times silence is more eloquent than
words. One needs to carefully analyze the
apparition to uncover its silent and hidden
message. Mary appears with her earthly
husband, St. Joseph, and with her adoptive
son, St. John the Evangelist, and she wore
the golden crown of the Queen of Heaven.
At the centre of the altar was the immolated
Lamb, just as St. John saw in Revelation,
over the golden altar of heaven.”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock”
“If anyone hears my voice and opens the
door, I will come in to him and eat with him,
and he with me”
, writes John in Revelation
(Rev 3:20). Scripture tells us that Jesus
knocks at the door of our heart, calling us to
answer; but if we also look at the times we
live in we see how Jesus continues to knock
at the door of our heart, waiting for us to
open and invite Him in so that His promises
can be fulfi lled.
The Knock apparition says the times
are mature, the Mother calls us to unite
ourselves to her work as co-redemptrix
.
St. John’s book tells us how to participate
in the fi nal victory over the Dragon. Let us
hurry, and not miss the occasion to be among
those who have “conquered him by the
blood of the Lamb and by the word of their
testimony, for they loved not their lives even
unto death”
(Rev 12:11).
Editor
MEDJUGORJE
Apparitions to Mirjana
18 March 2008: “Dear children, today
I extend my hands towards you. Do not
be afraid to accept them. They desire to
give you love and peace and to help you in
salvation. Therefore, my children, receive
them. Fill my heart with joy and I will lead
you towards holiness. The way on which I
lead you is diffi cult and full of temptations
and falls. I will be with you and my hands
will hold you. Be persevering so that, at the
end of the way, we can all together, in joy
and love, hold the hands of my Son. Come
with me; fear not. Thank you.”
2nd April 2008: “Dear Children, Also
today as I am here with you in the great love
of God, I desire asking you: Are you with
me? Is your heart open for me? Do you allow
me to purify it with my love, and prepare it
for my Son? My Children, you are chosen
because in your time a great grace of God is
descended onto the earth. Accept it, without
hesitation. I thank you.”
Our Lady blessed all those present and
all the holy objects. She departed amid a
beautiful, warm, pale blue light.
2nd May 2008: “Dear Children, It is by
God’s will that I am here with you in this
place. I desire for you to open your hearts
and to receive me as your Mother. With my
love I shall teach you the simplicity of life
and the wealth of Mercy, and I shall lead you
to my Son. The way to Him can be diffi cult
and sorrowful, but do not fear, for I shall be
with you. My hands will support you to the
end, to the eternal joy. Therefore, do not
be afraid to open yourselves to me. Thank
you. Pray for priests. My Son has granted
them to you.”
Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily
apparitions from 24 June 1981 till when on
25th December 1982 she received her 10th
and fi nal secret from Our Lady. After this Our
Lady appeared to Mirjana only once a year
on the
18th March. On 2nd August 1987
Our Lady also started appearing to Mirjana
on the 2nd day of each month to pray with
her for all unbelievers. Mirjana’s 2nd of the
month meetings with Our Lady used to be
private until Our Lady told Mirjana that from
2nd February 1997 onwards they would be
public. Our Lady invites all to join them
in prayer on this 2nd day of each month
for unbelievers
. These 2nd of the month
apparitions to Mirjana are usually held at the
Cenacolo Community in Medjugorje.
background image
special encounters
willed by God that
will be engraved
eternally in the
hearts of many.
Those who pray
a n d s u ff e r f o r
pilgrims know how
many sacrifi ces it
takes to make a
small yet precious
“yes” arise in a
wounded heart.
Living the
Encounter
After break-
fast, on an errand
in the car to Citluk, I gave a lift to a young
hitchhiker. “What’s your name?” – by now
my Croatian is fairly good. “Andrija,” he
said. “Oh, this is the fi rst time that I meet
someone here with that name. That means
you celebrate your patron saint on the 30th
November. My name’s Francesco and I’m
Italian; but I bet you can tell.” Andrew is 25
years old, like me.
Usually, on such an occasion I would
think how graced I am to have been called
at such a young age into my Community.
Instead today I consider how both of us grew
up in different environments, yet here we
are, both “working” in this place of grace,
carrying out “normal” activities of day-to-
day living, which Our Lady nonetheless
receives and presents to the Lord as a
sacrifi ce of praise.
“Do you like living in Medjugorje, or
do you think there are too many pilgrims?
When there are many, do they disturb?” He
replied: “No, no, I like Medjugorje. I like the
way it is, with all the people. The pilgrims
don’t disturb.”
“Do you believe in Mary’s apparitions?”
… Obviously, everyone here believes. “How
have the apparitions changed your life?”
This is the important question. We ought to
ask ourselves how much attention we give
to our blessed Mother’s voice, and if I care
about keeping her last message in my mind
and heart, and if I put it into practice, even
in a “chance” meeting such as this one I
described.
Seasons of the soul
During winter and spring in Medjugorje
the weather is determined by two alternating
winds: the south wind and the north wind,
both commonly known as “bora”. The
south wind brings clouds and rain, and
diminishes the range of temperatures so that
daytime temperatures are more constant and
merciful. When the “bora” blows, the air and
sky are clean and clear, making mornings
crisp, but the midday sun is warm enough
to bring hope to hearts. From May onwards
into summer the north wind is pleasant,
cool and refreshing, whilst the south wind
brings hot air, alternated by summer storms
Spring brings new “fl owers”
It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday at the
end of winter. On Podbrdo are many small
groups of people, praying silently, or softly
as they climb up to the place of Our Lady’s
fi rst apparitions. Most of them are Croatian,
but there are some families from Italy and
Slovenia, and then there are the persons
belonging to the various communities
present in Medjugorje. Smiles are often
exchanged. A smile isn’t a superficial
greeting, for a brief glance suffi ciently
contains a divine blessing
, and allows one
to experience the joy of knowing we are
all there as a response to the same call, to
exchange the gift of the Sunday sun with
some of our own time on this day of the
Lord.
We reach the top almost for last, greeting
those on their way back down. As we
approach the place of Apparitions we stop
praying out loud. Silently we kneel around
the statue placed up high. It is dusk, and the
hill is not lit up by the sun. With discretion,
each person expresses an intimate prayer,
lifting and lowering his gaze; and Mary
looks down upon us with tenderness, reading
the whisper upon our lips. United to her
motherly heart I begin to experience how
the brothers and sisters God placed next to
me are a precious gift, and I thank Mary for
having called us, choosing us from every
tribe, language, people and nation
. I thank
her for having wanted this spiritual family,
and for the communion we share.
It all began here, in this place, many
years ago. The “star” of Medjugorje is the
mark of birth into grace for a multitude
of souls. Thus, Medjugorje is our rightful
birthplace, our “cradle”, and for this it is
right that this Sunday evening we come
together in simplicity to give thanks to our
Mother.
“The season begins anew”
With the return of the hot season comes
the return of the pilgrims; and of business,
and traffi c, and work. Here in Medjugorje
people say “the season begins anew.” This
is my third year here in this blessed land, by
the grace of God, and by now I am able to
pick out the parishioners from the pilgrims.
It may be that many locals see the fl ow of
pilgrims as mere business, however, there
are also many for whom work is a way to
serve God by serving one’s neighbour.
So, with the return of the “season” it
is not just business that picks up, but there
is a spiritual dynamic that involves many
people seeking help in one way or another,
and others who, with their prayer, serenity
and decision for God, are called to be vessels
of grace. So from an organizational point of
view this might be just another summer, but
for the life in the Spirit, the season about
to begin will be unique and unrepeatable,
because to this cradle of conversions will
come still more people, the lives of
whom
will change radically, and there will be
which serve to clean up and refresh the air
and nature.
Also in our spiritual journey, the soul has
alternating seasons and different currents.
Going back home from Medjugorje one
knows that life continues with its usual
routine and a variety of difficulties. At
times the Lord grants the soul signs, graces
and consolations, alternated with periods
in which our faith is tried and our spiritual
journey “verifi ed”… When a soul reaches
maturity, the person comes to realize how
these periods of trial are useful and fertile,
and mature one’s relationship with God
.
MAY: most beautiful month
May is the month of Mary, and it
is perhaps the most beautiful here in
Medjugorje. It is when the swallows return
to slice the intense blue sky, a sky that takes
on glorious hues for the delight of those at
evening Mass. The peace of this season is
profound, and most enjoyable in summer
evenings. Then, the silence becomes more
intense, and seems to sink deep into the soul,
to transform, heal, and make space for the
action of the Spirit which God transmits to
us continually.
Francesco Cavagna
Reporting from Medjugorje ...
Fr. Jozo:
I Believe in Transformation
!
Our Lady appears in these difficult
times; times in which certain people without
scruples manipulate the masses with use of
the mass-media, especially the television.
They create a public opinion by forcing upon
the people their own measure of immorality,
and by promoting false freedom, turning
egoism and pleasure into slavery.
How can we today change this negative,
world-wide situation? How can one bear
witness that God became man and redeemed
us? How can one offer others His teachings
and His way to peace? In her recent mes-
sages, the Queen of Peace has underlined
our responsibility for this world which is
without peace, without God, without faith.
In this world, we are with Her. We are sent
to be light in the darkness. We are called to
be peace amid restlessness, and apostles in
this valley of Babel. Our Lady didn’t say:
write articles, or speak to infl uence the mass
media. She calls us to respond to her call and
to be a sign and grace for others.
How can we do all this? Our Lady says
that it is possible by giving time to God, so
that He can transform us. We need to expe-
rience this transformation. I fi rmly believe
in this transformation. For me, Medjugorje
means above all a great transformation of
the human heart, of life, of family and of the
world. I know that conversion is possible.
In my heart I know that the Queen of
Peace, during the moment of the apparitions,
comes to touch all our problems,giving an-
swers to all our questions. Our Lady asks
us to live her messages, in practical ways,
in our day-to-day lives, so that our aposto-
late confi rms the experience of the Church,
because our transformation begins when we
kneel down in front of our Lord in prayer.
(excerpt, letter to Couples)
6
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7
Grace Upon Grace
by Stefania Consoli
What does our journey behind the
Lord of history reserve for us; our journey
behind the One who alone challenged and
annihilated death through the offering of
Himself? What did the Crucifi ed One pro-
cure for us when out of love and with his last
breath He breathed over His own to give life
to the Church, as the Father breathed over
Adam and gave origin to mankind? What
did we obtain from that stone that rolled
back from the sepulchre, emptying it from
corruption, allowing the entrance of hope in
an endless day?
Grace upon grace is what we receive in
this springtime, a time in which buds give
way to blossoms then to fruits in a myriad of
hues, perfumes, and tastes. A river of grace
is given us, a continual fl ow of celestial
news that gushes forth from a sequence of
liturgical feasts ever more intense with light
and splendour.
Easter has already played its part:
fi fty long days loaded with new, risen, life;
days in which the special power works to
bring light to the darkest corners of our he-
arts which are closed in upon themselves and
enslaved to one’s own love. It is a strength
able to plough deeply into the hardened
clumps of our soul to bring its contents to
the surface – things we thought long dead,
but which though hidden work in veiled and
sordid ways: old rancour, frustration, open
wounds…
In the days following that Passover,
at Jerusalem, the Teacher instructed His
disciples to prepare them for the mission.
Jesus does the same with us, each year, in
a Paschal time that is imbued with His pre-
sence. The journey to the Father demands
a continual exodus from ourselves and own
way of thinking that would prefer worldly
gratifi cation, from a false justice that rises
to defend one’s ego, from the logic of power
that would call us to stand up against even
those near us to dominate.
The Resurrection, thanks to which
death has been conquered, shows us that
a life made up of even some accommodating
and compromising blocks the possibility of
a profound inner renewal which comes with
every Passover. In fact, for fear of making a
mistake, or of not daring too much we often
close ourselves up, being content with doing
the indispensable in a “tiny existence” made
of up “tiny” things, all the time kidding
ourselves that we’re tranquil. However,
when we reduce to the minimum all our
actions in this manner we also reduce the
oxygen to our soul which is nourished on the
creative initiatives of the Holy Spirit.
This basic standstill, fruit of our un-
certainties and fears, risks stopping the
dynamic process of Christian life which
is a continual cycle of offering, death and
resurrection, able to lift us each time beyond
human horizons and draw us into a relation-
ship with the Most High. Let us admit: how
many times do we call our passivity a state
of tranquillity? Instead of fl ying high we
advance along hopping.
If we convinced ourselves to turn our
gaze away from ourselves, and from our
own needs, expectations and claims, and
let the Holy Spirit work, who in this time is
poured forth with great generosity, we would
see that the reality is far greater than our own
little vision. Many problems would disinte-
grate into the nothing that they are; needs
would be sized down because everything
will be given at the opportune moment and in
ways we could never have imagined; doubts
would go up in smoke and make room for
trustful surrender; sentiments would receive
peace, not the peace the world gives, but the
peace of the Risen One (cf. Jn 14:27): a peace
that is without worries because these have
been entrusted to God; a peace that generates
joy in hearts in the certainty that evil has no
power over us when Jesus reigns as King in
the centre of our beings (cf. Jn 14:30).
God draws us out of the confi nes of our
micro-world to make us taste the beauty of
His own. But we need to allow ourselves to
be led, and we need especially to trust! We
shall go from grace to grace through the
mystery of the Ascension, then of Pentecost.
We shall live the fullness of the feast of the
Most Holy Trinity, and then encounter Jesus
alone, who gives Himself entirely to us in the
feasts of Corpus Domini and of the Sacred
Heart.
And as a woven fabric that connects
various fi bres, the mantle of Mary, which
in May is laid out in a special way for all
her children to protect the grace that God is
distributing in this our time.
A profound silence envelops our soul,
enabling us to receive the pearls that God
wants to give us. This way they are not scat-
tered, and our thanks rises up to the Father,
our Father, provident Father.
In Your Womb …
In your womb is rekindled the love
whose warmth, in eternal peace,
thus germinated this fl ower …
These are words by Dante Alighieri,
13th century Italian poet, author of the
famous “The Divine Comedy.” The words
are part of an extraordinary prayer to the
Virgin Mary (in the third book: Paradise),
which the author puts into the mouth of St.
Bernard.
Other, not so famous words in a song
by singer-songwriter Fr. Giosy Cento, go
something like this: “In your house, Mary,
I perceived your yes. A proposal of love
God thrust into your heart. And the infi nite
became flesh. The Mystery descends in
silence…”
This makes us ask ourselves: what
happens when we make our souls available
as Mary did? What was it that the Most
High found in Her? And what must He fi nd
in us?
A womb afl ame with love! A heart,
prepared by the very Word of God, is what
He must fi nd in us. God prepares the creature
to receive Himself. A womb afl ame is what
He wants; as the hearts of the disciples
of Emmaus were afl ame after Jesus had
explained the Scriptures to them and then
they recognized Him when He broke the
bread.
A warm womb that bears
peace! St. Augustine dares to
say that Mary’s greatness was in
receiving the Word especially into
her heart, more than into her womb.
In her heart was peace, because
her heart was impregnated with
the Word. Her peace was fruit of
her obedience to God’s will. One’s
freedom is not annulled through
obedience but is exalted. Peace
comes from being faithful to God’s
project, which is based alone on
love of and for the soul. Peace is a gift for
others. Besides being in one’s heart, peace is
transmitted to others. “You can easily forget
a person with whom you’ve laughed, but not
one with whom you’ve cried”
(Gibran).
Germinate a flower! “… He hath
regarded the humility of his handmaid”
sings Mary in the Magnifi cat. Precisely!
Your womb, o Mary, is as a flowering
garden, because every virtue is contained
therein: simplicity, humility, silence, prayer,
surrender, love, faithfulness, trust… thus
blossoms the Flower that alone supersedes
time and seasons, is always full of beauty
and perfume. Mary, your life is as rich
soil, which is tilled and made ready for the
sowing by the Holy Spirit. And the Son of
God fi nds His dwelling place, and … the
Infi nite becomes fl esh!
Fr. Orazio Renzetti ofm cap
“The laity, dedicated
as they are to Christ and
anointed by the Holy Spirit,
are marvellously called and
prepared so that even richer
fruits of the Spirit may be
produced in them… and so,
worshipping everywhere
by their holy actions, the
laity consecrate the world
itself to God, everywhere
offering worship by the
holiness of their lives.”
(Catechism of the Catholic
Church, 901)
“Spiritual adoption” of priests
In a letter Benedict XVI expressed his
satisfaction for the campaign for Eucharistic
adoration and spiritual “maternity” for the
sanctification of the world’s priests. The
campaign calls especially for “women
consecrated” to “spiritually adopt priests
to help them, through their self-offering,
prayer, and penance.”
It is hoped that through this initiative
there will rise up to God from every corner
of the earth an incessant prayer of adoration,
thanksgiving, praise, supplication and
reparation, so as to give rise to a suffi cient
number of holy vocations to the priesthood.
(www.clerus.org/pregate)
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Confession is Medicinal
In the course of my practice as a medical
doctor, patients entrust me with a lot of
their intimate concerns. I have thus come to
realize how the Church is right in defi ning
man as a trinitarian creature; the three parts
of whom – body, soul (psyche) and spirit –
are closely connected. The illness of one
of these parts always effects the others.
Therefore, a true healing of the person can
come only by acting on all three levels.
Up to a few decades ago only the cure of
the body was important, then Psychosomatic
Medicine pointed out the value of the
psyche. However, man is still not well, and
his health – seen as the perfect balance of the
entire individual (made manifest through a
strong sensation of inner peace), seems still
a distant goal. There is only one solution:
to have the courage to admit that also the
spiritual side of man has necessities which
cannot be neglected.
When I ask my patients what it is that
they desire most, most of them respond that
they desire to live at peace and with serenity,
both externally (family and society) and
internally (within oneself). Even though
this need is felt very strongly, very few
come to experience it, and the reason is that
instead of seeking out and correcting one’s
errors (there are always errors), one tends
to blame others for every negative event in
their life.
Experience has taught me that the only
people who fi nd peace are those who fi nd
God
and His love and forgiveness. These
days many people talk about God, but it is
often about a god that we use to our own
advantage: an inanimate, personifi ed god
or one who is very distant from our own
world. This god is not the God of peace, but
an illusory placebo that many create to try
and tranquilize one’s conscience.
The God of peace is Jesus Christ.
It is that Jesus who was obedient to the
Father’s will to the point of dying on a
cross for our sake. It is that Jesus who loved
everyone, even his persecutors; that Jesus
that instituted the sacraments and fulfi lled
everything so that we could see, believe and
imitate Him, to reach the state of “perfect
man”
(Eph 4:13).
When man lost sight of this Jesus, he
also lost his health, his inner balance, his
peace. There is only one way to return to
Jesus and fi nd oneself: it is to ask Him
forgiveness with all one’s heart, and promise
Him – with the help of Grace that He
continually grants us – to offend Him no
longer. It is the echo of the voice of John
the Baptist that repeats down the centuries
to warn us: “Repent, for the Kingdom of
heaven is at hand!”
(Mt 3:2).
As a doctor, I have in many cases
asked patients to be reconciled with
Christ
if they wish to resolve their physical
problems. Those who have done it, and have
retained the habit of confessing frequently,
have experienced the joy of living, and have
gradually, and marvellously been healed.
Confession is a medicine for man and
for society on a whole. Today’s society has a
special need to be healed. Let us not let this
call by the Holy Father go unheeded!
Dr. Roberto Gava
(excerpt “Il sacramento della confessione”)
Lord,
Teach me to ...
… suffer
You turned suffering into the punishment
for blame and the price of redemption. As
a participant in the chastising suffering,
[I ask you to] teach me to participate in
the redemptive suffering. Lord, that I may
comprehend, and love and praise your
plan!
You left man to run his own course, to
do his will instead of yours; but you did not
abandon him to his lot. You infl icted the
punishment because you are justice, but you
promised him liberation because you are
merciful. You wanted the ills of punishment
to become the merit for liberation so that
justice could become an instrument of
mercy.
Admirable is your plan, Lord! You
fulfi lled it in your Son by willing Him to
take upon Himself – He also willed it – the
condition of the suffering and mortal man,
so that through His suffering and death, our
own suffering and death could be destroyed,
and where blame abounded, grace could
superabound.
Teach me to be united to You with
love; and I ask you most ardently, if it is
possible – but nothing is impossible to your
omnipotence – to unite me with joy to the
suffering of your Son and His Mother, Mary.
Teach me to comprehend that for the sake
of my salvation, I must complete what is
lacking in Christ’s suffering. Not that my
suffering can add merit to Christ’s merits,
but because it is part of the indispensable
condition of participation. Lord, teach
me to bear my suffering. I say to bear it,
because You do not command us to love it.
Teach us at least to bear our suffering as a
means of expiation, as proof of our love,
as an instrument of salvation, a means of
apostolate, and of the great hope of the
promised reward.
How many reasons there are, Lord, to
accept suffering, not only with resignation
– too little for a true disciple of Christ –
but with love and joy! Help us to accept it
with joy, as Your Son did who was anxious
to receive the baptism He was meant to
receive (Lk 12:50), or as his Apostle did
who was overjoyed with all his affl iction
(2 Cor 7:4).
Lord, grant that I may comprehend the
great mystery of suffering!
Fr. Agostino Trapè, o.s.a.
(to be continued)
“If you wish to go to extremes, let it
be in sweetness, patience, charity,
and humility.”
(St. Philip Neri)
The Lord bless thee and keep thee. May
He show His face to thee, and have
mercy on thee.
May He give thee peace.
Italy, 11 May 2008
WORLD YOUTH DAY
Sydney 15-20 July 2008
“In a World Youth Day first, Pope
Benedict XVI will send text messages of
hope and inspiration directly to pilgrims,
reaching young people in their social
space. (...) We wanted to make WYD08 a
unique experience by using new ways to
connect with today’s tech-savvy youth,”
said WYD08 Coordinator, Bishop Anthony
Fisher OP.
(News from www.wyd2008.org)
The EUCHARIST IS ALIVE!
“The Eucharist is alive. If a stranger who
knew nothing about the Eucharist were to
watch the way we receive, would he know
this? When you and I approach the Eucharist,
does it look like we believe we are about to
take into our bodies the living person, Jesus
Christ, true God and true man?”
Author Vinny Flynn of “7 Secrets of
the Eucharist”* compares the way we often
treat God when we receive Holy Communion
– as little more than “a dead object” – to a
very strong contrast drawn from the story of
Fatima. “An angel prostrates himself on the
ground! We stand in line with our minds fi lled
with distractions…”
The suggestion isn’t that we throw
ourselves face down on the ground before
receiving, but that we can be prostrate
interiorly, and “in our hearts, minds and souls
adore the living God in the Eucarist.”
“More and more people, feeling a need
to express reverence for Jesus in a concrete
way as they go to receive, while also trying
to avoid calling attention to themselves or
disrupt the order of Communion, make a
slight bow just
before they receive.”
*This excellent booklet to help you
understand and love Holy Mass, is a Mercy
Song Ignatius publication, and is available at:
www.mercysong.com
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