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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 202 (November-December 2008)

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Our Lady’s message, 25
“Dear children! May your life, anew,
be a decision for peace. Be joyful carriers
of peace and do not forget that you live in a
time of grace, in which God gives you great
graces through my presence. Do not close
yourselves, little children, but make good
use of this time and seek the gift of peace
and love for your life so that you may beco-
me witnesses to others. I bless you with my
motherly blessing. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
The gift of peace and love
Peace and love are words that are used
very much by everyone but their meaning
is not the same for everyone. Perhaps also
for this reason, after 27 years of messages,
exhortations, teachings, and after such a leng-
thy presence in Medjugorje, Mary still invi-
tes us to seek out the gift of peace and love.

Perhaps also those who have spread her mes-
sages throughout the world should humbly
ask themselves if they are invited to still seek
the gift of peace and love. Perhaps, certainly
in good faith, we have spoken too much about
peace and love in our own language, accor-
ding to our own mental schemes, according to
our own logic and we have thus blocked out
the intrinsic light contained in it. We do not
know, but we are certainly all invited to spe-
ak less, to limit the fl ow of our words and to
give more space, perhaps all space, to the te-
stimony of life: may your life be once again
a decision for peace;
and again: do not close
yourselves little children, but take advan-
tage of this time and seek the gift of peace
and love for your lives so that you might
become witnesses for others.
Let us try not to close up into our certain-
ties, into the small temple of our I; let us try
not to retreat into our positions and let us ex-
pose ourselves to the rain of grace that still
descends abundantly over the world: you are
living in a time of grace during which God
gives you great graces through my presen-
If we remain closed into our egoism, into
our arrogance, we cannot grasp the peace and
love that come from God. How can we spe-
ak of love when our words have the taste of
scorn and not of charity? We all know and we
say that we appreciate the hymn to charity of
the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 13), but we all need
to experience it in order to bear witness to it
in truth.
We must not however, let ourselves be
tormented or discouraged by our limits; ac-
tually, in a certain sense, it is the awareness of
these limits that must give us courage because
it induces us not to seek in ourselves what we
can only obtain in God. For when I am weak,
then I am strong
(2 Cor 12, 10). And Mary
encourages us: Be joyful bearers of peace
and never forget that you are living in a
time of grace…We truly have everything,
actually more than everything. If we do not
allow ourselves to get lost in the thoughts of
our heart
(ref Luke 1, 51) we no longer have
to look but just grasp the gift of peace and
that God the Father mercifully gives to
us in Mary and through Her, the Queen of pe-
ace and love. This gift was already given to
us over two thousand years ago: it is Jesus!
Now, as we did then, we can receive him from
Mary, we can experience him in ourselves if
we welcome Him as She welcomed Him. He
is not seeking knowledgeable hearts, nor no-
ble nor illustrious hearts nor conventional he-
arts. He will not refuse the sinner; he doesn’t
only seek pure hearts but hearts that want to
be such. He who being in the form of God
did not consider it robbery to be equal with
(Phil 2, 6). He the uncreated needs to be
generated. He the innocent one takes on all
of our sins. For this reason, Jesus, I can come
to You and, in Your Name, present myself
to the Father. Thank you Jesus, my life and
my hope. Thank you Mary, for Your humble
and continuous presence. Thank you for Your
patient and merciful work. Mary, Mother of
Jesus, give us your most beautiful heart that
is so pure and so full of Love and humility,
so that we might love Jesus like you loved
him. Keep us close to Him, like you were clo-
se to Him on the Cross and help us to serve
him in the similarities of the poorest of the
poor. Immaculate Heart of Mary, source of
our joy, pray for us
(Blessed Mother Teresa
of Calcutta).
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“Love, only love is credible.
For this reason Jesus Christ is the centre
of all history, even contemporary history,
because he represents God’s
profound love”.
Benedict XVI
Our Lady’s message, 25 October 2008:
“Dear children! In a special way I call you
all to pray for my intentions so that, throu-
gh your prayers, you may stop Satan’s plan
over this world, which is further from God
every day, and which puts itself in the pla-
ce of God and is destroying everything that
is beautiful and good in the souls of each of
you. Therefore, little children, arm yoursel-
ves with prayer and fasting so that you may
be conscious of how much God loves you, and
carry out God’s will. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
Let’s put a stop to
Satan’s plan!
Dear children, I invite you all in a special
way to pray for my intentions so that through
your prayers Satan’s plan on this earth might
be stopped.
The reason that Mary came and the
reason for her lengthy presence in Medjugorje
is to stop Satan’s plan and to stop it through us.
She, the fi rst human creature to welcome God
into herself, is with us to teach us to welcome
him and she shall remain with us until the last of
the calls has answered the appeal. Even though
this earth grows further and further way from
God every day
, even if the powerful seem to
be stronger and the weak ever more miserable,
marginalized, excluded, even if the laws of the
economy seem to hold up the fate of the world,
and injustice prevails over justice, and war over
peace, there is already a world that is unknown
to the wise, or to the great media, a world that
is varied and composite, that blooms in silence
and opens up to grace and Love.
It is a world that does not put itself in God’s
place, but that seeks and fi nds life in Him. A
world that promotes everything that is beauti-
ful and good in man’s soul
, a world into which
Satan cannot penetrate because its atmosphere
is stifl ing for him. It is a world that rises up day
after day, that is not edifi ed with opulence nor
does it impose itself with violence, that does not
devour, but creates space, that does not subtract
itself but that gives the gift of freedom, that does
not subjugate but glorifi es: it is the Kingdom of
God. Satan is still working against this Kingdom
and for this reason Mary urges us to pray for
Her intentions, so that through our prayers
Satan’s plan on this earth might be stopped.
This invitation is so consoling! She is at
the helm; we do not have to implement who
knows what strategy; we must only pray for
Her intentions. But we must be careful not to
underestimate our prayer: it is not a question of
expressing a simple delegation. Prayer is suppli-
cation, invocation, and a scream from the soul,
an ardent desire. Prayer means moving God to
compassion, attracting him to ourselves, waiting
for the crumbs that fall from His table to be nou-
rished by them (ref Mt 15, 27), taking refuge
in Him, being in His presence, absorbing his
word (Luke 10, 39). Praying means seeking in
Him the words that we say, the behaviour that
2008 - Year 24 # 6 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
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we adopt, the decisions that we make, the fee-
lings that we have, the desires that we hope for.
Fasting means an austere lifestyle, a refusal of
the superfl uous, chastity in terms of gluttony,
thoughts and words.
Arm yourselves with prayer and fasting
so that you might become aware of how much
God loves you and that you might do God’s
Prayer and fasting are weapons that allow
us to conquer the awareness of God’s Love and
so to be strong in the Lord and in the power of
his might so as to be able to stand against the
wiles of the Devil
(ref Eph 6 10-11). It is from
the awareness of His Love that we draw the for-
ce to renew our life in Him. It is not an easy
battle and often the enemy is not outside of us
or extraneous to us, but within us, at the root of
our thoughts, at the base of our judgements, and
he brings division into us and outside of us, and
he speaks, and sometimes preaches, in our place
and this will be the way things are until the great
dragon, the ancient snake, Satan, the accuser of
our brothers, shall have fallen
(ref Ap 12, 9-10).
While we are waiting, let us place our trust in
Mary, let us abandon ourselves to God with full
and absolute trust; let us leave all the space in
ourselves to Him. He shall fulfi l in us what he
established from eternity and Jesus shall live in
us and with us, in Him and with Him, we shall
continue His Work (John 14, 12-14).
Let’s listen to what the
Synod has to say
The Word has a face, that of Jesus Christ,
the Word incarnate who steeped the whole of
Scripture in this carnality which makes it alive,
real, constantly up-to-date. A face that asks to
be met through the reading of that book, which,
as Mary says in Medjugorje, should be positio-
ned in
a visible place in our homes, but what’s
more, it must be welcomed every day as essen-
tial daily nourishment for our “inner man”.
This is the essence of the conclusive messa-
ge that crowned the immense work of the 253
synodal Fathers who met in Rome from the 5
to the 26
of October last, the theme of which
was: “The Word of God in the life and in the
mission of the Church”
– chosen for the 12
Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of
Bishops – it expressed the Pope’s desire to re-
launch one of the strongholds of the Council,
the establishment of Dei Verbum. “It was a
school of listening. It consisted of reciprocal li-
stening” said the Pope at the end of the meeting
and “it is in listening to one and other that we
have learnt to better listen to the Word of God.
By listening to others we also listen to the Lord
himself better”.
But what is a Synod? In general it may be
defi ned as an assembly of bishops who represent
the Catholic episcopacy and whose duty it is to
help the Pope to govern the universal Church
by giving their advice. On this occasion also the
contribution given was fertile, through various
interventions of the representatives from fi ve
continents: such different lands and cultures in
which a single Word must fi nd the right terrain
in which to take root and translate into life. “It
is not easy to understand this Word. There is
always the temptation for everyone to take it in
their own way, even within the Church”, com-
mented a prelate.
In an era where communication avails mo-
stly of images, those appointed to summarise
the shared thoughts in a document, chose four
aspects: The Voice, the Face, the Home and the
“Today you will be
with me….”
Addressing the man crucified at his
side, before dying, Jesus exclaimed:
“Today, you will be with me in paradise”
(Luke 23, 43). The Lord had in fact accep-
ted the repentance of the wrongdoer and
his profound desire for redemption, and
so he reassured him on his final destina-
tion. And this is clear to everyone. But we
ask ourselves: what did Jesus mean when
he said today? We know in fact that befo-
re returning to the Father, Christ descen-
ded into hell. It could not have therefore
been that day, as we understand it. God’s
today, then, refers to something different
with respect to our human conception of
time. Let’s try to understand it.
In our era we are seeing a quick suc-
cession of events on a worldwide scale
that shake man to his inner soul. There is
progress underway that leads to evident
dehumanisation and there is a fundamen-
tal thought that does not allow the indivi-
dual to ask himself questions that would
help him to really listen to himself and to
reach a deeper understanding of reality.
If man loses contact with himself and
if he fails to respect his own need for in-
finity, he gets lost. It is only by starting
from an intimate nearness to our hearts
that man can understand time and reali-
ty. Our heart, in fact, rebels against any
imposition that encloses it within a “fini-
shed” perspective: it infallibly wants the
There is no true awareness of oursel-
ves without the discovery of owing our
existence to an Eternal Being who is at
the origin of reality and who created us so
that we might relate to Him. If man fails
to answer the question “who am I?”, he
cannot understand or participate in the
saving capacity that God fulfilled in a
well-determined time, that is, when Jesus
became incarnate “in the fullness of time”
– to start out towards the fullness that will
distinguish all subsequent time. When
Jesus came onto the earth, he interrogated
the men of the time about whether or not
they had recognised that time, if they had
perceived that something eternal had en-
tered into “finished” time. Among them,
very few of them recognised the Event,
the Mystery that was being revealed.
What does it mean then that God sent
his Son in the “fullness of time” and that
when we were still sinners Christ died for
us? We can only understand this throu-
gh an interior awakening of the soul that
allows itself to be touched by the grace
foreseen in a given historical moment.
God’s today, is not external to man, but
it comes about in the man who is touched
by grace, and in the measure in which he
allows himself to be penetrated on the in-
side by it, man enters eternity.
In the light of all of this, we can the-
refore understand that when Jesus said to
the repentant thief: “Today you will be
with me in paradise” he simply wanted to
let him know: “at this moment your soul
is meeting the grace that forgives and that
places you in God’s time: eternity”.
Daniele Benatelli
Road of the Word. “The divine voice resoun-
ds at the origins of Creation, giving origin to
the wonders of the universe. It is a Voice that
then penetrates into history, wounded by hu-
man sin and upset by pain and death”, explains
Monsignor Ravasi, who presided over the com-
mission, “but also the strength of the Word that
was made fl esh, that enters into space and time
and takes on a human face, Jesus Christ. For
this reason then, the berthing place of the Bible
comes about in the meeting with a Person who
gives life a new horizon. It is important therefo-
re to re-emphasise the commitment to avoid fal-
ling into exegetic fundamentalism which denies
the incarnation of the divine Word in history”.
These words echo those of a Belgian bi-
shop: “Christians must not become “professio-
nals” but “lovers” of Sacred Scripture, or better
still “amateurs”, in the sense of those who take
delight in something….Sacred Scripture reve-
als what God wants as regards men. And God
does not express this in concepts, in philoso-
phies, in thoughts but in facts. God’s revelation
lies in these facts”.
It is for this reason that – as the Holy Father
underlines – the approach of the Word of God
must be warm and not only exegetic or theo-
logical. In short, the Pope wanted to recall the
Church so that the reading of the Bible might
be rooted in human history with a supernatu-
ral perspective; the Bible must be read with the
eyes of faith: “Like a man in love reads a letter
from his loved one, this is how you must read
Sacred Scripture”, wrote the Danish philoso-
pher Kirkegaard.
The third fundamental point of the conclu-
sive message is the House of the Divine Word,
that is, the Church, where the Word must be
proclaimed and broken up for everyone so that
with the Eucharist, it might constitute nouri-
shment and teaching. Lastly, the last image of
the spiritual map of this virtual journey that
must bring the Word from the eternity of the
infi nity of God to our homes is the Road, that
is, the mission through which God’s Word sets
out. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, teaching them to observe all things that
I have commanded you….What you hear in
your ear you shall preach on all terraces”. (Mt
28, 19-20).
When faced with the Word of God, the
Synod was like a parable that Jesus told to
make diffi cult teachings simple. A lengthy and
binding refl ection that was also supported by
a simple yet very signifi cant initiative without
precedent: “The Bible day and night”, a sort
of marathon in which the sacred text was read
before the television cameras without interrup-
tion, for seven consecutive days and nights, by
1200 people from 50 different countries who
alternated, including Pope Benedict and other
important religious representatives of different
The work of the Synod may defi nitely have
an ample wake in the life of the local Churches
and in the groups that are committed to giving
substance to the impulses that the Holy Spirit
inspired in the bishops: “Create silence so as
to be able to effectively listen to the Word of the
Lord”, the Shepherds exhort at the end, “and
keep silence after you listen, so that it might
continue to dwell, live and speak to you. Let
it resound at the beginning of your day so that
God might have the fi rst word and let it echo in
you in the evening so that God might have the
last word. “We commend you to God and to the
word of his grace (Acts 20, 32).
Editorial staff
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Uprooted Christians
It was the risky undertaking of the apostles,
along with those who walked in their footsteps,
that brought the seeds of the new life that Jesus
had given to his Church to the East. This cou-
rage is rewarded with good and durable fruits,
which have grown thanks to the sacrifi ce of
many, known and unknown, who experienced
martyrdom in those lands so as to ensure that
Christianity would be rooted there.
Although they were only minorities
among the other dominant religions, over the
years Christians handed down the light of the
Revelation and the annunciation of the eternal
Easter from generation to generation. Now ho-
wever something very serious risks making the
offering of the martyrs and the commitment
of the apostles futile: Christians are hunted
from their homes and often cruelly crushed in
their dignity or actually killed.
In the land of Abraham
This is what has been happening for many
months in India and Iraq, not to mention the
other countries in which a conspiracy of col-
lective silence risks concealing a shameful
reality. The situation of serious legal limita-
tions to religious freedom in fact includes 14
countries: Bhutan, China, Cuba, Iran, North
Korea, Laos, The Maldives, Myanmar, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan
and Yemen.
In giving a voice to the emergency regar-
ding the persecution in Iraq, the Director of the
Press Offi ce of the Vatican, Father Lombardi
says: “Threatening messages of this kind are
often launched: “you must leave your home
and get out of the area in 24 hours, otherwise
you will be punished and castigated justly and
you will be killed like our Islamic religion has
ordered us to do with those like you who wor-
ship the cross!”
The Christians of Mosul, the second lar-
gest city in Iraq, have been reduced to just 500
after the wave of persecutions that has struck
one of the world’s oldest communities; during
the last month almost 10,000 Christians have
abandoned the city and nobody wants to return
to their own homes. There were also 15 people
killed and an intimidation campaign was im-
plemented to force people to choose between
conversion to Islam and being killed.
The fi gures speak for themselves
The same dramatic situation is being ex-
perienced in India. 60 Christians have already
been assassinated since the wave of violence
commenced, on the 24
of August last, after a
Hinduist leader and four of his associates were
killed. Although Maoists claimed responsi-
bility for the attack, violence soon escalated
against Christians. Apart from the dead there
are also more than 18,000 injured, 178 chur-
ches destroyed, over 4,600 homes burnt and
13 schools and social centres damaged. More
than 50,000 Christians also fl ed from their
villages and took refuge in fi elds or forests…
Even one of the homes of the Missionaries of
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was set fi re to by
Hindu fundamentalists, but the most alarming
thing is the total indifference of the local
and national authorities
, despite the conti-
nuous urging of the Church.
“Why are people more worried about
the fate of polar bears than men and women
who are only guilty of having chosen the
Christian faith” Cardinal Caffarra, archbishop
of Bologna asked a public assembly, thus
speaking out against the deafening silence
of the media. And yet to ensure that his war-
ning would not be limited to speaking out, he
invited those present to join him in “fasting
and prayer”
to share the same passion of
those who were persecuted in the name of the
The fi rst Indian saint
At the very moment when Christians are
suffering a diffi cult and unjust persecution,
the sainthood of Alphonsa of the Immaculate
Conception is proclaimed, she was a nun of the
Clarisse of the Third Order of Saint Francis, a
physically fragile woman but tenacious in her
“obstinate” donation to the Lord, to which she
remained faithful, considering her whole life
to be a holocaust to God, and offering up all
suffering for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This example of saintliness in India pro-
ves right the sacrifi ce of the “persecuted bro-
thers and sisters who are giving us the greatest
teaching about man, his dignity, his highest
vocation” – in conclusion we can say, once
again drawing inspiration from the words of
Monsignor Caffarra – for this “let nothing
trouble us any longer, but adoring only Christ
in our hearts, let us always be ready to answer
whomever asks about the reason for the hope
that lies in us”.
Editorial staff
Echo 202
Time for Bread
We hear nothing else in the West apart from talk of economic crises, the collapse of the
stock markets and fi nancial disasters. People are complaining about the cost of living and
the rise in unemployment. The population of poor people is growing more and more, as well
as those who fi nd it diffi cult to come by what they need for their own existence, this upsets
the sleep of those whose pockets are full of money and who live in the terror of losing it. In
short, an air of suffocating apprehension is pressing down on the souls of many and this is
a signal of the anxiety that people are feeling about what tomorrow will bring. All of this is
happening on a planet that is breaking up day after day because it is altered in terms of its
natural and climatic laws, by utilitarian usage by man.
This is a inauspicious picture, but by now we have become almost accustomed to loo-
king at it because the Media are doing nothing other than dishing it up to us in all kinds of
sauces. For this reason many people fi nd themselves asking the question: “But where is God
in all of this?” We should answer this question with another question: “But you, mankind,
where have you put God?”
The core of the matter lies here. If man doesn’t sincerely answer this question, he will
never be able to uproot the muddle of his worries about the upcoming destiny of the world.
We seek solutions on a solely human level, we hypothesise wonder-working interventions
relying on techniques, calculations, and plans, but we leave out He who has measured the
waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of
the earth in a measure, weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance…” (Is 40,
12-13). In fact, we totally ignore the action of the Author of life himself and, at most, we
consider him as an outlet point for our sorrows and distress.
“Idiots!”, Jesus would say. And perhaps he is already saying this, but we are unable to
listen to his voice. And so in his patient and provident goodness, God continues to make
himself the bread, the good food that feeds our deepest and truest needs: the atavistic need
for love, friendship, respect, justice, truth. But it does not stop at this alone, because the daily
arrives on our table if we also truly pray to the Father, if we place our trust in Him. All
we must do is simply believe.
We need to know how to stop eating other foods however, foods that we stuffed oursel-
ves with and that poison the spirit, like the rush to own, to possess, to consume, to the point
of nausea: an excessive impetus born of the desolation of an inner emptiness and the sensa-
tion of a miserable nonsense.
“All things are in your power, Lord, and nobody can resist your will. You made all things,
the heavens and the earth and all the marvels enclosed within them; you are the Lord of the
whole universe” (Entrance antiphon to the 27
week of Ordinary Time). It is therefore worth
giving up that which clogs up our hearts in order to make space for Jesus, for the only Lord
who will be born for us once again in Bethlehem, the Home of bread, as its Hebrew meaning
suggests. During the time of Advent, Mary will prepare this good Bread, that is silent and
attentive and that nobody should be without. Yet we need to leave some space within oursel-
ves, because the Lord never imposes, he simply knocks.
Stefania Consoli
Mary bare
The silent babe
While in him were hidden
All tongues!
The High One became as a little child,
and in Him was hidden
a treasure of wisdom
suffi cing for all!
Though Most High,
yet He sucked the milk of Mary,
and of His goodness
all creatures suck!
When He sucked
the milk of Mary,
He was suckling
all with Life..
While He was lying on
His Mother’s bosom,
in His bosom
were all creatures lying.
(Ephriam the Syrian 300 A.D.)
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Benedict XVI in Lourdes:
“Mary’s smile
is for everyone”
“The wealthiest of the people shall seek
out your smile “ (Psalm 44,13). Seeking
Mary’s smile is not a question of devout or
antiquated sentimentalism; but rather, it is the
correct expression of a living and profoundly
human relationship that links us to She whom
Christ has given to us as a Mother. Scripture
itself unveils this smile to us on Mary’s lips
when she sings the Magnifi cat: “My soul
doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices
in God, my Saviour” (Luke 1, 46-47). When
the Virgin Mary gives thanks to the Lord, she
takes us as her witnesses: every proclamation
of the Magnifi cat makes us witnesses of her
Here in Lourdes, during the course of
the apparition of the 3
of March 1858,
Bernadette contemplated Mary’s smile in an
entirely special manner. This was the fi rst an-
swer that the Beautiful Lady gave the young
visionary who wanted to know her identity.
Before introducing herself a few days later as
“the Immaculate Conception”, Mary fi rst of
all showed her smile, almost as though this
were the most appropriate access gate to the
revelation of her mystery.
In the smile of the most eminent of all cre-
atures, addressed to us, there is a refl ection of
our dignity as the children of God. That smi-
le, the true refl ection of God’s tenderness, is
a source of invincible hope.
There are battles that man cannot sustain
alone, without the help of divine grace. When
words can no longer fi nd adequate expres-
sions and the need for a loving presence is
affi rmed: turn to Mary! The Virgin’s smile
mysteriously hides the strength to go onward
in the battle…
Seeking the smile of the Virgin Mary is
not a form of pious infantilism; it is the inspi-
ration, says Psalm 44, of those who are “the
wealthiest of the people” (v. 13). “The we-
althiest” is intended in terms of faith, those
who have the highest degree of spiritual ma-
turity and therefore know how to recognise
their weakness and their poverty before God.
In that very simple manifestation of ten-
derness that is the smile, we perceive that
our only wealth is the love that God has for
us and that passes through the heart of she
who has become our Mother. Seeking out
this smile means fi rst of all welcoming the
gratuity of love, it also means being able to
stir up this smile with our commitment to live
according to the word of her chosen Son, like
the child tries to provoke a smile in his mo-
ther by doing what she likes. And we know
what Mary likes thanks to the words that she
herself said to the servants at Cana: “Do wha-
tever he tells you” (Ref John 2,5).
Mary’s smile is a source of living water.
“Whoever believes in me, Jesus said, streams
of living water shall fl ow from within him”
(John 7,38). Mary is she who believed and
from her breast, streams of living water fl o-
wed forth that come to irrigate the history of
men. In actual fact, a free love that encoura-
ges a fi lial answer fl ows forth from Mary’s
heart and it is incessantly called to be refi ned.
Like every mother, or better than every mo-
ther, Mary is the educator of love.
by Pietro Squassabia
In the fullness of time
In the fullness of time, God the Father let men know his merciful love, by sending his
Son. In the fullness of time God also showed his Beauty through the human creature who let
himself be completely involved by the gift of the Spirit. It is true: creation shows us God’s
beauty, but Mary alone shows us it fully in all of its splendour. It would almost appear that
God, wishing to show himself to men, gave himself to Mary, thinking of Her as the most
appropriate tool with which to welcome Her beauty and show it to us. Perhaps for this reason
God made Mary so marvellous: so that She might become His manifestation to men, as a Son.
In this way, we cannot contemplate Mary without contemplating God.
I ask myself: why did God make Mary so beautiful to the extent that she became His wor-
thy dwelling place? Certainly because he wanted to give humanity a great gift, which Mary is
part of. Certainly because the Father wanted to openly show men, not only through his Son,
but also through his Mother, how great his love is for man and for creation. Certainly because
the Most High was pleased to offer us powerful help though a humble and “fragile” creature
in the same way as us. For this reason Mary is an endless source of grace. Everyone can access
her because she is a Mother and a Mother does not refuse any of her children.
One day Jesus said: whoever sees Me, sees the Father. And about Mary we could say:
whoever sees Her, sees the splendour of God, and sees God. In Medjugorje also Mary cer-
tainly came to show us the face of God because this is her mission: to show us God in all of
his beauty. Mary however defi nitely came also to help us to become the refl ection of God
ourselves so that many people might be able to savour the wonder of his presence. And so let
us ask the Mother, who brings us the Child this Christmas, to make us bearers of this Beauty,
for our good and for the good of many others.
Then love
Do you really want to know the people and the things that are around you? Then love. Do
you want to understand others and make yourself understood, speak to people’s hearts and
know how to listen to them? Then love. If you do not love you cannot understand others be-
cause you don’t “see” them. A lack of love is a little like the fog that prevents you from seeing
people and things clearly. And the more love is lacking, the more the fog becomes thick, to
the extent that it completely prevents the view of what is around you. And so, without love,
man cannot have positive relationships with his neighbour, even if he wants to, because he is
incapable of “seeing” him: he cannot see him for what he is, he cannot see his true face, his
true features, the good that he possesses nor the suffering that he carries around within him-
self. In short, when love is missing, we cannot see others or we see them differently: for this
reason they escape our comprehension.
On the other hand, with love, the light that illuminates the whole of reality is given to us,
in order to truly understand it. And so let us look at others in the right light, for what they truly
are: a gift from God, without any distinction between people. And so we will certainly avoid
misunderstandings, breakdowns, useless and unreal relations and we will be given the ability
to fulfi l what is good for us and for others. Our work will be fruitful, our commitment and our
being with others will be rich in grace, and our language will never be offensive.
It is true: love alone lets us see everything with the eyes of God so as to grasp in other
people what the Lord put there and what he didn’t put there. God Certainly knows everything
about us, he also knows our deepest reality, because he loves us deeply. This is also the case
for us: the more we love, the more we know and understand others and also ourselves. Let us
ask Jesus then, who was born in a manger, to always keep in us, the Love to understand others
better. Perhaps in this way we will have the illumination to know how to see and love him in
every person, without distinctions.
A humanity of saints
and immaculates
“God the Father chose us in Jesus Christ
before the creation of the world, to be holy and
immaculate in his presence in love”. We are all
called therefore to be holy and immaculate; it
is our truest fate, it is God’s plan for us. A little
further on, in the same letter to the Ephesians,
Paul contemplates God’s plan, relating it no
longer to men taken individually, each in his
own right, but as the universal Church as the
bride of Christ: “Christ loved the Church, he
gave himself for her, that he might sanctify
and cleanse her with the washing of water by
the word, that he might present her to himself
a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle
or any such thing, but that she should be holy
and without blemish” (Ephesians 5, 25-27).
A humanity of saints and immaculates:
this is God’s great plan in creating the Church.
A humanity that might fi nally appear before
him, that must no longer fl ee from his sight,
with its face full of shame, like Adam and Eve
after sin. A humanity above all, that he might
love and grasp in communion with him, throu-
gh his Son, in the Holy Spirit.
In Mary, the entire future splendour of
the Church already shines brightly, as thou-
gh in a drop of dew, on a peaceful morning,
the entire blue face of the sky is refl ected. We
were not born immaculate like she was throu-
gh God’s unique privilege, evil is actually
nestling in us in all fi bres and forms. We are
full of “wrinkles” to be smoothed away and
of “stains” to be washed. It is in this work of
purifi cation and recovery of the image of God
that Mary stands before us like a powerful re-
(From homily of Father Raniero Cantalamessa
December 2006)
background image
Transform yourself,
do not
become deformed
by Stefania Consoli
There are moments in our life when we are
almost forced to change the way we look in or-
der to be more suitable for what history puts in
our way. After all, it’s natural, from the moment
of our conception up to the time of our death an
unstoppable process changes our body: in the
beginning we were embryos and then babies,
children, adults and elderly people. Spiritual
laws also follow this principle. Jesus often recal-
ls this in the gospel when he speaks to us about
rotting grain, about shoots to be pruned, seeds
transformed into trees. And so, in the measure
of our spiritual growth, the form that in some
way expresses it, is in a certain way forced to
But you know, man in general becomes at-
tached to old things, making them a habit that
he fi nds it diffi cult to separate himself from: due
to laziness, comfort or fear before the unknown
novelty. And so he ends up identifying himself in
a certain form, barring himself from the benefi ts
of a normal and profi table evolution.
“You cannot put new wine into old wine-
skins”, Jesus warns us (Mt 9,17); the fermen-
tation process of new wine would actually risk
splitting the wineskin that is already worn out by
time and therefore causing the precious drink to
be wasted. In other words: if we do not accept
that we must replace the container, then sooner
or later we are going to lose its contents.
This is why, when the moment comes for a
benefi cial renewal, the Lord assists our weakness
with a tool that gives us the strength to abandon
the “old skin” to which we are often attached.
It is the cross. The cross alone is capable of
putting a whole series of balances into crisis,
balances to which we grasp on to in order to
obtain support, but that are suddenly revealed to
be inadequate or surpassed. Like a double edged
, the cross breaks what still binds us, so as
to make us free in God, or better said, to allow
God to act freely without anything in us being
able to infl uence or limit him.
The Lord knows, for man every detachment
represents a little death, a separation from what
is dear to him. Affection however, or feeling
good in a certain circumstance, does not neces-
sarily mean that that is the good. For this reason,
God proposes that we should abandon our ex-
pectations, our future prospects, to Him, in the
certainty that death experienced in God is the
prelude to a better life. Only in this way will we
succeed in facing the “jump into the darkness”,
the unknown abyss of what is not yet.
In its different aspects, the cross is offered
to us to elevate ourselves to a higher order of
ideas, of feelings, of actions. If we welcome it
willingly, it will give us a better form, because
the cross transforms us and does not deform us.
In fact, the process of transformation ennobles
the substance, it fulfi ls it, respecting its identi-
ty. Deformation on the other hand is a typically
human work: it deforms nature, it causes it to
decay, it depreciates it, and it alters it to the point
that it no longer looks like itself.
This is what men thought they were doing
with the Crucifi x: “Let’s eliminate it, let’s get
it out of the way because it is not operating as
it should…”. And they furiously lashed out at
him, until such time as “His visage was marred
more than any man, And His form more than the
sons of men” as Isaiah had already announced
(52,14). But he whom they were attempting to
deform in the attempt to deny the truth that He
was, was on the other hand transformed by the
invincible force of the resurrection that changed
death into eternal life.
The difference lies here. The cross always
carries our true essence on the surface, it pro-
motes us by transforming us for the better: “And
I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all
peoples to myself”, the Master used to say to his
disciples (John 12,32). Vice-versa, judgement
moved by purely human interests always attem-
pts to impose the yoke of conformism, with the
risk of irreparably deforming the only image of
God within us.
But Jesus kept silent
(Mt 26, 63)
Silence is Meekness.
When you do not defend yourself against offences;
When you do not claim your rights;
When you let God defend you;
Silence is Meekness.
Silence is Mercy.
When you do not reveal the faults of your brothers to others;
When you readily forgive without inquiring into the past;
When you do not judge, but pray in your heart;
Silence is Mercy.
Silence is Patience.
When you accept suffering not with grumbling but joyfully;
When you do not look for human consolations;
When you do not become too anxious, but wait in patience
for the seed to germinate;
Silence is Patience.
Silence is Humility.
When there is no competition;
When you consider the other person to be better than
When you let your brothers emerge, grow and mature;
When you joyfully abandon all to the Lord;
When your actions may be misinterpreted;
When you leave to others the glory of the enterprise;
Silence is Humility.
Silence is Faith.
When you keep quiet because you know that the Lord will
When you renounce the voice of the world to remain in the
presence of the Lord;
When you do not labour yourself to be understood;
because it is enough for you to know that the Lord
understands you;
Silence is Faith.
Silence is Adoration.
When you embrace the cross without asking “Why?”;
Silence is Adoration.
From silence to Silence
The action of the Virgin consists of re-
maining in silence and listening. It is her con-
dition, her voice, and her life. Hers is a life
of silence that adores the eternal Word. On
seeing before her eyes, in her breast, in her
arms, this very Word, the substantial Word of
the Father…
She remains silent, reduced to silence du-
ring the childhood of the Infant Jesus, Mary
immerses herself in a new silence and she
transforms herself into silence, following the
example of the Word made fl esh, which is her
Son, her God, her only love.
And her life goes from silence to silence,
from the silence of the Adoration to that of
the Transformation.
Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629)
Learning prayer
It is often the case that in the desire to pray
“without ever growing tired” as Jesus asks us
in his Gospel (Luke 18,7) we do not know
how to decide on the best form that is suita-
ble for prayer prolonged over time and that
articulates our day without weighing down
on it with an infi nite quantity of orations that
we occasionally repeat mechanically without
ever entering into true prayer.
As a form of help, we have proposed an
itinerary that will help us to understand the
characteristics of complete prayer, capable of
involving all the levels of our being without
oppressing it or leaving it without the neces-
sary spiritual nourishment. This is an itinera-
ry outlined by Lorenzo Netto to show us that
it is indeed possible to pray TIRELESSLY.
Prayer, an imposition
or a gift?
According to the Gospel of Jesus, praying
means seeking God obstinately, tiring
ourselves in our effort to establish a vital con-
tact with the Most High, to show him that he
is considered wholly worthy of all most intel-
ligent attention and care. Praying correspon-
ds to following God. Passionately wanting to
meet Him is the principle and end of every
created reality.
Jesus loved and practised prayer so much.
He left us some fundamental directions, mo-
dels of reference, inspirational
elements for the Christian pra-
yer of the Church, which may
be summarised as: glorifying
the name of God; asking for
daily “bread”; interceding; im-
mersing ourselves and explo-
ring the truths that have been
revealed; loving silence and so-
litude as preliminary conditions to come into
harmony with the wave of the Trinity.
These points are similar to the musical
notes of a sublime essence that is shared
and through which the person engaging in
prayer recognises, sings, meditates, praises
the primate, the glory, and the love of God.
These are forms of prayer that the disciple
of Christ is called to practice, to develop, to
perfect along the pathway of his growth and
Christian maturity, cultivating in his heart the
ambition to reach integrated prayer.
What is integrated prayer? It is the abi-
lity to pass from one note to the other with
the surprising self-confi dence of the musi-
cian who plays on the keyboard or with the
cords of an instrument. With his eyes closed,
his soul immersed in the harmony that expert
hands, guided by an admirable musical ge-
nius, are calling to life.
All Christians can (should?!) legitimately
aspire to this. We arrive at integrated prayer
after lengthy training, making ourselves avai-
lable to the Holy Spirit, to whom the Master
of Nazareth has entrusted the direction and
conduction of the school of prayer.
How do we succeed? Here too, like in all
other undertakings of the Christian experien-
ce, the evangelical law reported by Luke is to
be considered valid (16, 10): “he who is fai-
thful in what is least is also faithful in much”.
Precisely, tirelessly!
1. To be continued
background image
was inevitable”
We got married after a year-long engage-
ment when I was 22 years old and my husband
was 24. We had a rosy vision of life and lots
of dreams and hopes to fulfi l, but unfortuna-
tely for us, they had no foundations. Our pa-
rents, who were of simple origins, had taught
us certain values such as the simplicity of life,
to live frugally, to make sacrifi ces, they taught
us about the importance of Mass, but we thou-
ght that these were things that belonged to the
past, we felt part of the world and so we were
interested in work, beautiful things, clothes of
a certain kind and friends.
All of this brought an amount of aridity
into our lives, misunderstandings began to
surface, along with instances of selfi shness,
which became stronger, each of us blamed the
other and expected everything from the other
person without giving. It was so sad. We had
become two strangers living under the same
roof, only ever speaking about superfi cial
During that period, the apparitions in
Medjugorje had started and we had heard
about them. I left for a pilgrimage on the bus
with my two children, who were still young;
my husband couldn’t join us because he had
some problems at work. I still carry that fi rst
experience around in my heart given the gift
that Mary gave to me in my soul.
Despite this gift, the breakdown was so
strong that separation became inevitable. We
thought that with the children having grown
up they would understand; only afterwards we
realised that children are never old enough to
be able to experience the separation of their
parents, they are victims who are forced to in-
cur bad choices; even if they seem at peace
and apparently live a normal life, their heart is
broken and they are experiencing many fears
and sufferings.
We were separated for ten years and during
all that time we never thought about a possible
reconciliation because we hadn’t solved any
problem and we couldn’t forgive each other.
In our humanity, we tried to live in apparent
normality, but this created a lot of tension.
Aware of having done nothing with his
own strength, and conscious of the time we
had wasted with lawyers, my husband went
on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and put our
diffi cult family situation into Mary’s hands.
Our Heavenly Mother embraced us.
In the meantime our son approached God
and also thanks to his offering, our healing
commenced. Together with him, we took the
fi rst steps, we shared our sense of closure, our
fears, our joys and our pains of the last years.
We started to pray together as a family, ini-
tially very awkwardly and then more natural-
ly, respecting everyone’s times. We managed
to forgive each other from the depths of our
hearts, not forgetting our past experience, but
beginning from it to grow and experience our
With a sense of opening in our hearts we
also felt our children’s breath, their possibility
of being able to love freely, fearlessly, with a
sense of peace in their hearts that illuminated
their faces. Everything happened naturally, we
approached each other without any obligation
or sense of forcedness; on certain occasions
the past cropped up again, but we were be-
ginning to have the base on which to sustain
Sharing, prayer and offering are funda-
mental steps that allow us to know ourselves
in depth, to help each other and to sustain each
other reciprocally.
We ignored so many things for many ye-
ars! The pathway of offering of our life allo-
wed our souls to open up and to live like new
people, to heal and to experience our marriage
with Love for God. Mary denied us nothing,
she gave us the possibility of continuing to
grow spiritually in communion with other
brothers and sisters.
We now thank the Blessed Trinity through
Mary with our life for having given us this se-
cond chance, for our children who, with their
prayer and silent suffering, helped our growth,
for the people whom she placed on our path-
way and who helped us to experience conver-
sion and our marriage truly.
Clelia G.
It’s happening in Medjugorje...
It’s happening in Medjugorje...
From Halina’s notes
From Halina’s notes
Despite the fact that the time for holidays
has already passed, from every corner of the
world there are people coming continually to
this place that is blessed by the presence of the
Queen of Peace. It would appear that Mary
is making herself heard from the ends of the
earth, calling “for the return to a life in God and
with God”, as is the case for the sound of the
bell of the church of Saint James (protector of
pilgrims) which can be heard as far as the con-
fi nes of the countryside around Medjugorje and
which invites men “to the Lord’s banquet”.
The tolling of the bells in itself has the
strength of calling people back and entering
into harmony with the beat of the human heart.
The profound invitation that the bells launch
with their melody appears to attract people to
approach this place and enter into the mystery
that it announces. Yes, the bells of Medjugorje
enter people’s ears and their hearts…
Like rays of sunshine, the ministries de-
scend from the alter of the Lord, bringing with
them and distributing “the Bread that has de-
scended from Heaven”, “the Pledge of future
glory” among the people, and then they return
to holy mass again. This is a daily image here
in Medjugorje at the time of holy communion,
that of the numerous priests who act at the ser-
vice of the sole and supreme priest Jesus Christ,
that Sun that comes “….. which the Dayspring
from on high has visited us; to give light to tho-
se who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
1, 78-79).
Priests are the rays of that blessed Sun, the
rays that bring the light, the heat and the life of
the living God, chosen and consecrated by Him
to be at his service. “Pray for priests…” Our
Lady often reminds us through the messages
delivered to Mirjana, so that they might be true
mediators, profound and worthy of the Lord.
But in baptismal grace we were all immersed in
the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, we are all
called to become the “sentinels of the morning
at the dawning of every day that force themsel-
ves with all their might to make this earth ever
more inhabitable for everyone…”
Some time ago, one of the brothers of the
parish said in his sermon: “praying the holy ro-
sary with its mysteries is actually a concentra-
ted gospel”.
That good brother wasn’t wrong
at all.
We all know that October is the month of
the Holy Rosary, but those who have come to
Medjugorje at any time of year can confi rm that
here the rosary is a prayer that is constantly lo-
ved by people. It is a pleasure to see people me-
ditating in the company of the Blessed Virgin
on divine life, the Lord’s plan for salvation, his
living and current action…
Our hearts are enlivened and a blessing is
spontaneously born when on our pathway we
encounter a young man with a set of rosary be-
ads in his hand or an old lady with her eyes
radiant, passing the beads of the rosary through
her fi ngers; or indeed a father who helps his
little daughter to join her hands in prayer and
while he exclaims the Hail Mary in her place,
the little one opens herself up in a smile….
The rosary is the meditated gospel, it is a
powerful weapon, it is nearness to the Virgin
Mother, it is an intimate prayer yet a prayer of
great communion…
At the end, the same brother said: “you can
pray the rosary even if you have nothing, no-
thing at all, because you always have your ten
fi ngers”.
“I had opened the door
to the Virgin!”
Let’s get back to the testimony of Davide
P., who found the strength to abandon the
road of drug addiction and who found the
way that leads to God (see Echo 201)
“Finally, the destination: Medjugorje, after
a long journey lasting no less than 13 hours!
Upon our arrival we immediately go to the little
chapel at Vicka’s house, where the priest who
was accompanying us celebrated the Mass. I
didn’t receive the Eucharist because I hadn’t
been to confession since Christmas!
On the fi rst evening two beers were the
only company that my friend and I had. But
the news that the day after we were to go to
participate in the apparition of Our Lady to
fi lled me with enthusiasm, a sense of
excitement mixed with curiosity.
Already in the early morning there was a
large crowd of people; I tried to make some
space for myself to approach the visionary,
but it was impossible. People were reciting the
rosary with Mirjana, and she was on her kne-
es praying. All of a sudden I saw this young
woman looking towards the heavens with her
eyes shining like diamonds and speaking to
something that was above her….She was spea-
king to Our Lady….while there was an atomic
silence all around!
Nobody could see the Virgin apart from
her, but you could feel a sensation of absolute
peace and there was an atmosphere full of love
towards those who were present. We all under-
stood that we were participating in something
unique, I felt myself vibrating! When the ap-
parition ended, Mirjana said that Our Lady
had blessed all those present, asking to pray
to her always and promising that she would
be alongside everyone who invoked her. It was
background image
incredible that the Virgin looked at me in my
heart and blessed me, me, not someone of great
virtues! It was a dream and I immediately came
to understand the exceptional nature of it.
The caresses of children
Later on we went to a large house where we
offl oaded some foodstuffs. When we entered, a
nun explained to us that it was an orphanage
for children who had been orphaned by war or
who had been abandoned by families that were
too poor. I had never been in an orphanage….
We said a few prayers with the nun and the
children and then we left.
It was then that something truly moving oc-
curred. All the children of the orphanage came
out and harassed us just to receive a caress.
One of them linked himself onto our driver
with a hug as though he was his father! What
suffering and what a desire those children had
to be loved! We who have lived with our pa-
rents in idleness and with all gifts from God
cannot even imagine it. We left them unfortu-
nately with a sense of mortifying regret. In the
society in which we live we don’t even think
about these realities, we pretend that they don’t
exist but we must see them with our own eyes
to believe!
I had to open up to her
During the afternoon I wandered around
the streets of Medjugorje alone and arrived in
front of a hill that led up to the statue of Our
Lady on the summit. It was the hill called
Podbordo where the fi rst apparitions occurred.
And so I began to climb up in slippers and I
noticed that as they were climbing up, everyo-
ne else was praying the rosary. I said nothing,
I sat on a stone around half way up and there
I tried to enter into harmony with Our lady but
I couldn’t feel anything at all! Medjugorje and
the Virgin hadn’t yet unveiled their faces to me.
As soon as I returned to the hotel I knew that
people were going onto Podbordo where I had
just been. What boredom, again…!
We went up along this jagged mountain
of steep stones like everyone else and we also
recited the rosary; but I wasn’t so enthusiastic
about it because it was so hot and I was thin-
king more about the heat than about prayer!
Having arrived at the summit, I sat down for
a few minutes before the white statue of Our
Lady and then I came back down on my own
through a little laneway called the laneway of
silence. But I felt an enormous sense of anger
and disappointment
because I couldn’t throw
away the evil that was within me; I remember
that I hurled the bottle that I was carrying in my
hand on the ground several times in frustration.
I still didn’t understand that I had to open up to
the Queen of Peace!
A single light in the darkness
During the evening time there was to be
the adoration of the Eucharist and I had no idea
what it was about. All I saw was that in the
square behind the church lots of young people
were also gathering to go to this thing.
I isolated myself from my group and sat
down there at a distance of about ten metres.
The square was brimming with young people
and there was an enormous silence. At the bot-
tom, on the large altar, there was a light that
illuminated the Most Blessed Sacrament, that
was the only light on, around it the whole squa-
re was in darkness. In various languages and
with brief prayers, a priest guided the adoration
to Jesus, the Most Blessed Sacrament.
It was all new to me. In that darkness, the
light of Most Blessed Sacrament rendered the
idea that he alone is the Light and whoever
does not live in him shall live in darkness.
was moved. Being there was just beautiful!
Nevertheless, due to a series of misunder-
standings, I ended the evening in a bar with
some friends of mine. The group leader came
to look for us all over Medjugorje and gave out
to us, because he was very worried: where had
we gone?! To tell you the truth, he treated us
harshly and at the time I was furious because it
had been ten years since anyone had given out
to me like that.
I was really angry because I found eve-
rything to be absurdly exaggerated. Refl ecting
then during the night, I understood that perhaps
he had done it for our own good because we
were throwing away a great opportunity to be
united with Our Lady: we would never have
met the Blessed Virgin in any bar! Having un-
derstood this I managed to relax.
“But do you want to change or not?”
The next day, the person responsible took
me aside and asked me if I really wanted to
change or not, because in his view I hadn’t the
slightest intention. I immediately understood
that I was getting it all wrong and that I needed
to open up more towards Our Lady: I didn’t
want to throw away this opportunity, because
if Our Lady had called me there, she certainly
wanted to talk to me and I wanted to talk to her.
We went back to the square where the church
for the Mass is…..
Around the church there were tens and
tens of priests from all over the world who
were confessing all the faithful who wanted
to confess. I thought about the fact that since
Christmas I hadn’t “emptied the bag” full of
bitterness, defeats and disappointments. And
so I decided to go to confession. I found a very
tactful priest and when I told him my story we
cried together and he thanked me for having
given my testimony; then we parted our ways
and he gave me his blessing.
Mass was on but I didn’t go; I had fi nally
freed myself….I walked around for a long time
aimlessly and I cried about all the suffering
and pain that I had accumulated.
was truly a lot of pain that I had been carrying
around, really a lot and I cried for a long time.
Normally I never cry, but the sensations that
I felt during those moments are indescribable.
I felt free and the time had come to meet the
Queen of peace. It was an emotion that split me
in four… I cried and cried and cried for about
an hour. I felt like a new spirit, I had never felt
that type of relief after a confession. There was
something strange: I had opened the door to the
(2. To be continued)
Apparition to Mirjana
of October
“Dear children! Once again I invite you to
faith. My maternal heart wants your heart
open to be able to say to it: “believe!” My
children, in the trials of life faith is the only
thing that will give you strength. It will re-
new your soul and open the pathways of
hope to you. I am with you. I gather you
around me, I want to help you so that you
to might be able to help your neighbour in
the discovery of faith, the only joy and hap-
piness of life. Thank you”.
“I am the
Immaculate Conception”
It seems more appropriate than ever to
speak about the Immaculate Conception du-
ring the jubilee year that Lourdes is celebra-
ting, which is set to come to a close on the
of December. It was during that far off
year of 1858 in Lourdes, to that little girl who
repeatedly asked who she was, that the Holy
Virgin fi nally revealed: “I am the Immaculate
, thus confi rming the truth of the
dogma proclaimed by Pope Pious IX four ye-
ars earlier. Bernadette had no idea of the signi-
fi cance of that name said in the Provencal dia-
lect, the only language that the girl knew how
to understand and could speak. Before that in
fact, she referred to the beautiful Lady simply
as “Aquero” (That one). This revelation there-
fore made her testimony believable, especially
in the Church that was meant to support and
protect her.
“Thus Mary reveals to her the extraordi-
nary grace that she received from God, that
of being conceived without sin, because she
“looked upon the humility of her servant”
said pope Benedict XVI in his pilgrimage to
Lourdes at the beginning of September; “This
is the pathway that Mary also opens up to man
– observed the Pope - To put ourselves com-
pletely into God’s hands and fi nd the pathway
of true freedom. By turning to God, man beco-
mes himself. He fi nds his original vocation as
a person created in his image and likeness”.
Our Lady therefore did not come to the
small French suburb only to endorse a dog-
ma, but to leave an inheritance to her chil-
dren, a place
where they could literally im-
merse themselves in the immaculate natu-
of Mary
: “Go and drink from the source
and wash yourself”
, she once said to little
Soubirous. Go means start walking, to go on
a pilgrimage to seek out and fi nd the source
of grace: there it is Mary herself who gives us
Jesus. The invitation to wash ourselves is part
of the symbolism of the Baptism in which,
through water, we immerse ourselves in the
death and resurrection of Christ, to be born
again to a new life, or to be a new creature,
purifi ed by the stain of origin, like Mary.
In Lourdes the Lord wanted to leave living
and working signs of his plan for Salvation:
the Immaculate Mother, through whom the
Incarnation of the Saviour and the water came
about, fl owing forth from the side of Christ
crucifi ed, it gave life to the Church, in which
the resurrection is operational. Every year six
million pilgrims are invited to immerse them-
selves faithfully in those living waters, in the
hope of being healed: some even physically,
but without a doubt all spiritually, to be healed
of the deep wounds that sin leaves in the weak
soul, and washed of the scum that sin deposits
on our spirit, making it heavy and feeble.
“This water is not medicine”, Bernadette
used to say when she was a nurse in Nevers,
“you must have faith and pray”. This water
would have no virtues without faith”
, it is a
fresh grace that restores that which gushes out
in Lourdes, but it also has a profound theo-
logical and ecclesiastical capacity that says
how the Church of the Heaven is so close to
that of earth that it makes it more and more
one in She whom God thought and created
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Echo fully relies on readers’ do-
To all who have been instruments of
Providence for Echo, enabling us to conti-
nue to help Mary reach her children, goes
our heartfelt thanks, whom we remember
especially in prayer and at Holy Mass.
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by bank transfer (specify for
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Echo thanks you
Echo is about to reach the end of this
year thanks also to you, readers of these
pages, thanks to your spiritual communion,
your prayers and your support. As is the case
with God’s things, Echo is small and needs
help: it needs its brother. Yes, support pas-
ses through our brother because this is what
Divine Wisdom has arranged in his divine
plans. And so Echo is relying on you for the
future, as was the case in the past. Echo con-
siders your help like a sign that Mary conti-
nues to be pleased that many of her children,
who live in so many parts of the earth and
who have different languages and customs,
are united around Her through this humble
instrument. And so, if this is the case, you are
contributing to the realisation of Mary’s plan,
and your work becomes Mary’s.
Echo is called
to answer….
t o w h a t ?
It is with a certain sense of pain that I
feel an air of mistrust and suspicion as re-
gards our little magazine. From several sides I
hear the demand to enlighten, but to enlighten
what? On Father Tomislav? On the fact that
members of the community founded by him
write in our little magazine? I am absolutely
certain of one thing, that strange affi rmations
were never published in Echo.
If there is disciplinary action being taken
as regards Father Tomislav, I believe that it is
right to allow the Spirit to guide the Church.
It is not by speaking about it from here that
we can enlighten anyone. It is not our duty. In
actual fact, as is often the case regarding the
work of the press, we would only complica-
te things more. At this time I think of simpler
people, who are far from the western world.
The missionary world or the world of young
and poor churches to whom this publication is
sent. I am thinking about their bewilderment,
their disappointment.
For me silence and confi dentiality are im-
portant ways of behaviour if we want to arrive
at the truth. Echo did not receive any measure
or notifi cation from the competent authorities.
An important reason for its survival is the re-
quest made to readers, which is also manife-
sted through fi nancial support. On many occa-
sions we asked ourselves if it was a good idea
to continue when it seemed that we no longer
had suffi cient material resources and then, all
of a sudden our balance sheets made us believe
that we could. This criteria still remains valid
today. Therefore this could be the last issue. It
is up to the readers and collaborators to let us
know whether or not we should continue.
I know that I didn’t release any extraordi-
nary news because I am not aware of any. That
is, I cannot take “hearsay” into considera-
. Those who are certain of being able to tell
the truth should do so, taking all the responsi-
bility for the same. The duty of this magazine,
it seems to me, is to spread Mary’s message
, and to support the faith of those who
use this means faithfully. It is not the only tool
or the only necessary tool, but we give thanks
to God for having been able to operate as you
have seen us do.
Fr. Alberto Bertozzi
“If you follow Mary you will never get lost;
pray to Her and you will not know desperation,
think of Her and you will not be wrong.
If She guides you, you will not fall;
if She protects you, you will be afraid of nothing”.
(Saint Bernard)
Italy, 25 november 2008
Open letter from a distributor
Echo of Mary, always respectful and faithful
to the inspirations of its founder Father Angelo
Mutti, whom I knew and esteemed highly.
I’ve been distributing Echo in Varese for over
20 years now and wherever I go, initially for work
and now that I am retired. To see evil and disorde-
red attacks that it is the victim of by ecclesiastical
realities, attacks that have not highlighted the vir-
tues and fraternal sense of uprightness that they
should be inspired by, has saddened me deeply,
not for Echo, which is - as it is – Our Lady’s and
she will deal with protecting it, but for my bro-
thers in faith who throw away the living baby with
the bathwater that they believe to be dirty while
the baby is not so.
In fact, nothing criticisable has been written
and published over these last few years: only Our
Lady’s messages with their wise commentary,
profound teachings, respectful summaries of the
interventions of the Teaching in the life of the
Church and precise and punctual reports about
the presence of Our Lady in Medjugorje as well
as the fruits that she brought to maturity.
Even the reports about the pathway of the
Offertory written by father Tomislav Vlasic over
the years were always magisterial, constantly
containing a pastoral, ecclesiastical register, in the
orthodoxy of the Church, it suffi ces to re-read
them with a clean heart free of prejudice.
I would like to thank the Lord and the Queen
of Peace for having walked alongside my bro-
thers, now in the time of their trial, faithful in the
justice and mercy of the Lord. By the Grace of
God the Church takes its time in discerning, but it
asks us for prudence and love.
Romano Zangarini
Father Lorenzo from RWANDA:
The Mission is
a question of love!
Dear friends,
I am writing to you today on the day of my 85
birthday…My conversion began in 1938 in the
country of my birth, in Italy, when my Chaplain
spoke to Aldo, a young friend of mine, to dissuade
him from his intention to offer himself as a vic-
tim of immolation to the Merciful Love for the
salvation of souls, because he was an only child.
Aldo thought about it and answered: “Jesus was
an only son too and his Father immolated him”.
The greatest glory that we can give to God is
precisely in the mysterious secret of redeeming
suffering, supported and desired with love for our
brothers, exactly like Jesus did!
I understood that the “mysticism of repa-
ration” cannot be limited to prayer but that it is
sacrifi ce above all: the “pretium sanguinis” that
Father Divo Barsotti invites us to do: “Everything
for your glory Lord! In exchange for all sins, all
blasphemy, all offences that men bring on you,
take me: I offer you my whole self. Put the bur-
den of human sin wholly on me, but may you be
glorifi ed with my death, as you were with the
sacrifi ce of your Son”. You can understand then
why I am always smiling: this is a beautiful way
to live!
As a Missionary I want to invite all of you
to refl ect on the urgency of continuing to pro-
claim the Gospel to everyone.
The Missionary
Mandate continues to be an absolute priority for
all the baptised, called to be servants and apostles
of Jesus Christ.
It is beautiful to admire Saint Paul during
this Paulian year, how he experienced Jesus’
invitation: “Go! it is to the far off ones, it is to
the pagans that I want to sent you”. And Saint
Paul went to bring the Good News to everyone,
which may be summed up as follows: “We are all
sinners, but God loves everyone; Jews and non-
Jews can become righteous by believing in Jesus
Christ, who gave up his life for them. Saint Paul
had understood well: humanity could not fi nd the
Redemption and the Hope that is in Jesus, the
Promise of life and our Hope. The Mission is a
question of LOVE: it is the answer to the Love
with which God loves us!
May prayer be intensifi ed among everyone,
it is an essential spiritual means for spreading the
Light of Christ, entrusting the apostolic work of
the Missionaries to the Lord, invoking the inter-
cession of Saint Paul and the Virgin Mary, the li-
ving Arc of the Alliance.
The little polio-affl icted children of the Heri-
Kwetu Centre of Bukavu recite the Holy Rosary
for all of you, friends and benefactors, every eve-
ning, so that our Mother might be near to you.
Every evening at 9.00 p.m. I entrust you to Mary
so that she might give you her Heart.
With her, I smile at you, I embrace you and
I bless you.
Father Lorenzo Caselin
Those who wish to may send Father Lorenzo
their contribution to the bank account in
Ing. Bank – Avenue Marnix, 25 – B 1000
Brussels Belgium
IBAN 3101 1803 7568 BIC (Swift)
Pour P. Lorenzo Caselin comme SUBSIDES
HUMANITAIRES pro Heri-Kwetu à Bukavu
A/N° 310-1180375-68