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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 204 (March-April 2009)

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Message of January 25, 2009
“Dear children! Also today I call you
to prayer. May prayer be for you like the
seed that you will put in my heart, which
I will give over to my Son Jesus for you,
for the salvation of your souls. I desire, lit-
tle children, for each of you to fall in love
with eternal life which is your future, and
for all worldly things to be a help for you to
draw you closer to God the Creator. I am
with you for this long because you are on
the wrong path. Only with my help, little
children, you will open your eyes. There
are many of those who, by living my messa-
ges, comprehend that they are on the way
of holiness towards eternity. Thank you for
having responded to my call.”
Prayer:
a seed in Mary’s heart
God the Holy Spirit has informed Mary,
his faithful Bride, of his ineffable gifts. He
chose her as the dispenser of everything that
he possesses: so that she might distribu-
te all of his gifts and graces to whomever
she chooses, whenever she chooses, as she
chooses and when she chooses. No gift from
Heaven is granted to men passing through her
virginal hands. It is God’s will in fact, that
everything should be given as a gift through
Mary (Treatise on True Devotion to Mary,
thesis 25).
These words by Saint Louis Marie de
Montfort are suffi cient to comment today’s
message from Mary on their own, at least as
far as Her role in the salvation of humanity is
concerned. Let prayer be like a seed for you
that you shall plant in my heart, I will give
it to my Son Jesus for the salvation of your
souls. Our prayer planted in Mary’s heart is
like a seed that will bear defi nite fruits, it will
produce the salvation of our souls, because
She will deliver it to Jesus and He does not
refuse anything that He receives from Her.
Our prayer, planted in the Immaculate Heart
of Mary, shall bloom clear and pure and shall
therefore be pleasing to God.
I desire, little children, for each of you
to fall in love with eternal life which is your
future, and for all worldly things to be a
help for you to draw you closer to God the
Creator Eternal life is life in God, it is the
gift of salvation conquered for us by Jesus, it
is knowledge of God through Jesus and life in
Him (ref John 17, 2-3). Already on this earth
we can grasp something of life in Him, we can
savour a foretaste, a fi rstling of that eternal
life that we will experience in full in Heaven,
and this will allow us to fall in love with eter-
nal life, which is our future and it will make
it easier for us to orientate everything that is
part of our earthly experience in the order de-
sired by God. And so, with Mary’s help, all
things of this earth will constitute a form of
help to approach God the Creator and no
longer an occasion to wander far from Him or
to be cause for sin; to touch, to use all things
for the common good, and not to subject them
to individual exploitation or make them an
instrument of power or predominance over
other men.
To promote life and to defend it from all
forms of overpowering, violence, death; this
is approaching God the Creator, that is, the
God who creates and gives life and who does
not want death. We must use all earthly things
to grow close to God: joy and pain, health
and illness, gratifi cations and trials, succes-
ses and failures, loving rapture and spiritual
dryness, etc… I am with you for this long
because you are on the wrong path. This
is the answer that should quieten those who,
even among religious and consecrated people,
are so scandalised by this “prolonged presen-
ce of Mary” which is so “anomalous”, that it
leads them to believe that it is not true. Far
from fearing that, given its exceptional nature,
this grace could indeed be the last possibility
for reformation and salvation offered by God
to the world, rather than remaining quiet and
following the opinion of Gamaliel, they risk
fi nding themselves fi ghting against God! (Acts
5, 38-39). Only with my help, children, will
you open your eyes. And His help is also this
Presence of His, which is already bearing fru-
it: There are many of those who, by living
my messages, comprehend that they are on
the way of holiness towards eternity. May
Mary wish for those who are already on the
right road to proceed safely and those who are
on the wrong road to mend their ways as soon
as possible, so that everyone might carry Her
seal of salvation in their heads and in their he-
arts.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“Fasting is the soul of prayer
and mercy is the life of fasting,
and so whoever prays should fast.
Whoever fasts should be merciful.
Who in asking wishes to be answered,
should answer those who ask him some question.
He who wishes to fi nd God’s heart open to him,
should not close his heart to those
who plead with him”
(From Discourse by Saint Peter Christologist)
Message of February 25, 2009
“Dear children! In this time of renun-
ciation, prayer and penance, I call you
anew: go and confess your sins so that gra-
ce may open your hearts, and permit it to
change you. Convert little children, open
yourselves to God and to His plan for each
of you. Thank you for having responded to
my call.”
A time of renunciation,
prayer and penance
to open up to God
Today’s message, on Ash Wednesday, is
fully in line with the Lenten period: forty days
of renunciation, prayer and penance with
which the Church unites itself every year to
the Mystery of Jesus in the desert (Catechism
of the Catholic Church, thesis 540). Time of
Lent: a time for purifi cation, discernment, re-
turn to the Father. A time for liberation from
everything that is an obstacle to communion
with God and with our brothers; a time for re-
conciliation, reciprocal pardon, a rediscove-
ry of love in Love, immersion in the Will of
the Father which is pure and merciful Love.
A time for strong choices that require seriou-
sness and effort but that enable that birth
from on high, which is necessary in order to
see the kingdom of God, that birth from water
and Spirit, which is necessary in order to en-
ter into the kingdom of God (John 3, 3-5). It
is of no use to outwardly appear righteous to
men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and
lawlessness (Matthew 23, 28).
Today also, like then, we must be able
to distinguish between fi ction and reality,
between appearing and being; we must choo-
se between Truth and lies, between Life and
death, between God and Satan; and today, in
the era of the civilisation of the image, it is
perhaps even more diffi cult than yesterday to
implement the right choice. But You, Mother,
are with us, you do not leave us alone: Dear
children, during this time of renunciation,
prayer and penance, once again I invite
you: go and confess your sins so that gra-
ce might open your hearts and allow it to
change you.
We should take this invitation seriously, it
is not new, it is the same invitation as always
and this is one more reason to take it very
seriously: it is not an occasional exhortation
but an existential urging; it is a choice that
does not have to do with our life in a period
of time, but for the whole of its time and be-
yond, for eternity. It is a choice that cannot be
fulfi lled with our forces alone; we must draw
from the divine grace assured by the sacra-
ment of Confession. But we must be careful:
confession is not the list of sins that we pre-
sent to the priest to collect the receipt for pay-
ment; we are not at the supermarket, we are
before God! We must approach the confessor
with the repentance, the love and the fear of
March - April
2009 - Year 25 # 3-4 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
204
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the son who decides to return to his Father
(Luke 15, 18-19). We need to expose oursel-
ves to the Love of the Father, open our hearts,
our minds and our soul to Him, and enter His
Heart in order to draw New Life from it.
Time for renunciation: renunciation of
Satan, everything that comes from him, eve-
rything that is foolish, deceitful, inconsistent,
and apparent, everything that wounds Love,
that crucifi es Love.
Time for prayer: to breathe in His
Presence, to satisfy the thirst for living water,
to renew hope, to love Love, to praise, give
thanks, bless God and offer ourselves to Him
in Jesus Christ.
Time for penance: to open ourselves up
to God’s mercy, to recognise ourselves as the
dust of the earth and wait for the breath that
transforms it into a living being (Gen 2, 7)
and participant in the fullness of Christ, who
is the head of all Principalities and all Power
(Col 2, 10).
Converting, opening ourselves to God
and to his plan for each of us, so that every
only son of the Father in His Son Jesus and
God might be everything in everyone (1 Cor
15, 28).
N.Q.
Conversion is…
Conversion is “re-becoming” Christians,
by means of a constant process of inner chan-
ge and advancement in our knowledge and
love of Christ.
Conversion is never once and for all, it is
a process, an inner journey lasting throughout
our whole life.
Converting means seeking God, going
with God, gently following the teachings of
his Son, Jesus Christ.
Converting is not an effort by means of
which to achieve a sense of self-accompli-
shment, because the human being is not the
architect of his own eternal destiny. We are
not the ones who created ourselves.
Conversion is synonymous with imple-
menting the Master’s invitation: “Whoever
desires to come after me, let him deny him-
self, take up his cross
and follow me” (Mark
8, 34), because the
Cross is the defi nitive
revelation of divine
love and mercy for us
also, men and women
of this era, who are all
too often distracted by
worries and earthly
and momentary inte-
rests. God is love, and
his love is the secret
of our happiness. To
enter into this myste-
ry of love, there is no
pathway other than that of losing ourselves,
giving ourselves, the way of the Cross.
Conversion is therefore synonymous
with valuing penance and sacrifi ce more,
rejecting sin and evil in order to conquer sel-
fi shness and indifference. Prayer, fasting and
penance as well as works of charity towards
our brothers thus become spiritual pathways
to be taken in order to return to God.
Benedict XVI
(Little extracts from the General Audience
o Ash Wednesday)
T
HE
P
OPE
S
INVITATION
FOR
L
ENT
:
“May fasting make us
God’s living tabernacle”
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into
the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty
nights, afterward He was hungry.(Mt 4, 1-2).
This is the main scene that we see during
this holy time, the Lenten period that prece-
des the great central event of Easter; forty
long days that are offered to us as a time of
grace in order to train with Jesus in a sort of
“retreat”, similar to that of athletes prior to an
important sporting competition, who need to
be in the right form in order to face the com-
petition and win it. In our case, the challenge
is that against death, which will be conquered
during the days of the Passion, only to then
crown the victory with the glorious resurrec-
tion of Jesus, which we will celebrate this
year on the 12
th
of April.
As usual, the Holy Father gives Christians
a message that might guide them through this
“intense spiritual training that is meant to
celebrate Easter in the best possible man-
ner and thus experience God’s power as he
conquers evil, cleanses sins, gives innocence
back to sinners and joy to the affl icted. He
dissipates hate, bends the hardness of the po-
werful, promotes concordance and peace”
T
HE
MEANING
OF
FASTING
This year Benedict XVI lingers to re-
fl ect on the value and the meaning of fasting.
Those of us who have been at the school
of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje for
years have heard our Mother’s invitation on
several occasions: “Dear children, today I in-
vite you to begin fasting with the heart. There
are many people who fast, but they do this
because others do it…Dear children, fast and
pray with the heart! (Message 20
th
September
1984).
Let us ask ourselves sincerely: can we
answer her appeal? Many of us started out
enthusiastically, but then among the thousan-
ds of daily temptations we grew tepid, justi-
fying little concessions of superfl uous things
here and there and in the end they took root
in our hearts, generating veritable “jungles”
of desires and passions that are beyond our
control.
But we are called to freedom. And then
we can recommence with renewed energy.
For this reason the Church creates favourable
conditions for us to experience our renuncia-
2
tion in communion with all others: “There is
strength in numbers” recites a well-known
proverb, but in our case we can even say
“There is strength in communion!”.
“We may well ask ourselves what value
and what meaning it has for us Christians to
deprive ourselves of something that in itself
is good and useful for our sustenance”, wri-
tes the Holy Father in a Message, “Sacred
Scripture and the whole Christian tradition
teach us that fasting is of a great help in avoi-
ding sin and everything that it leads to. For
this reason, throughout the history of salva-
tion, the invitation to fast recurs on several
occasions”.
This then is the fi rst form of assistance in
our intention: we must not fast because food
is harmful, but because sin is nesting within
us, it is a poison for our whole being. The
fi rst fast was ordered by God to avoid the fi rst
great sin, original sin, when the Lord orde-
red man to abstain from eating the forbidden
fruit: Of every tree of the garden you may
freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the
day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(Gn 2, 16-17).
In the New Testament, Jesus sheds light
on the profound reason for which true fasting
which is aimed at eating the “true food”, is
doing the Father’s will (cfr Gv 4,34). If the-
refore Adam disobeyed the Lord’s orders “to
not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil”, with fasting, the believer’s inten-
tion is to humbly subject himself to God, tru-
sting in his goodness and mercy!”.
The force of fasting was known to the
fi rst Christian community, and following
this, also to the Fathers of the Church, who
believed it to be “capable of keeping a reign
on sin, repressing the longings of the “old
Adam”, and opening the pathway to God wi-
thin the heart of the believer”.
And today? “In a culture that is marked
by the search for material wellbeing”, writes
the Pope, “the practice of fasting appears to
have lost a little of its spiritual value and it se-
ems to have acquired the value of a therapeu-
tic measure for the care of our body. Fasting
is certainly useful for physical wellbeing, but
for believers in the fi rst place it is a form of
therapy to treat everything that prevents them
from conforming to God’s will. With fasting
and prayer, we allow Him to come and satisfy
the deepest hunger that we experience within
ourselves: hunger and thirst for God. When
we look closely, we see that the ultimate aim
of fasting is to help each of us, as the Servant
of God Pope John Paul II wrote, to give him-
self totally to God”.
redaction
The Pope to the ill:
In Christ lies the answer to the enigma of pain and death
“Man’s life is not a disposable asset, it is a precious casket to be kept and cared for with all
possible attention… Participation in the Holy Mass immerses us in the mystery of His death
and His resurrection and every Eucharistic celebration is the perennial memorial of Christ
crucifi ed and risen, who conquered the power of evil with the omnipotence of His love. It is
therefore at the “school” of Christ the Eucharist that we are given the possibility to learn and
love life always and to accept our apparent impotence before illness, death and pain, which
remain, in their meaning, unfathomable for our mind.
The Gospel shows Jesus crushing the spirits with his work and healing those who are ill”
(Matthew 8, 16), pointing out the pathway of conversion and faith as conditions in order to
obtain healing of the body and spirit. The light that comes “from Above” helps us to under-
stand and give some meaning and value to the experience of suffering and dying. Let us ask
Our Lady to turn her maternal gaze towards all ill people and towards our families, in order
to help them to carry the weight of the Cross with Christ”.
(Summary of the Message to the ill 2009)
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3
Echo 204
It is so exciting to come across a fl ower
in the midst of the desert… A fl ower that is
perfect in its structure and colour, and perhaps
also with a beautiful scent. What’s it doing
there? How did it sprout up in the midst of
that scorching heat? And before fi nding the
answers to these questions, we are fi lled with
pure wonder.
The sight of a garden brimming with
splendid fl owers would not be the same thing.
Naturally their unquestionable beauty would
win us over, yet seeing them is entirely nor-
mal. That subtle sense of wonder, capable
of transfi guring our soul, is born of the only
unique and unforeseeable pair of desert and
bud. It astonishes us. In order to be born and
to grow in fact, the fl ower certainly needed to
conquer many contrary forces that in such a
barren place would usually force the seed to
remain closed within itself. Only a tenacious
will enables that fl ower to bloom. It seems
impossible, to the point that it leaves us open-
mouthed.
We too are given the possibility to face
the challenge and to bloom, by fi rst destroy-
ing so many favourable and benefi cial condi-
tions. We are given suffi cient time to experi-
ence a veritable desert, eliminating certain
elements from within ourselves that enrich the
garden of our existence but that are not always
essential for a truly fertile life. It is only by re-
ducing the external means to a minimum that
we can experience the hidden power in the
deeper layers of our being; that innate ability
to bear fruit by using only the resources that
God gave us within ourselves.
Lent is this lengthy period given to us
as a special occasion during which to reduce
the sphere of our needs to a minimum and to
understand that we only need Him: a Father
who wants to give us the seed of his Word,
the water of his Spirit and the nourishment of
the Body of his Son to make us bear fruit. It
will then be Mary’s mantle that will shelter us
when adversities would otherwise risk dama-
ging the bud of our life.
One thing can help us to live this sea-
son of frugality. Sobriety. In everything.
Whether it is then simplicity, littleness, pover-
ty…Knowing how to make small or large sa-
crifi ces is an infallible means by which to re-
gain possession of ourselves, to take back our
dominion for ourselves and to remove power
from the passions that often, despite oursel-
ves, despotically govern our actions and make
us into slaves. If they then become habits, it is
very diffi cult to uproot them.
Forty days of patient and careful exerci-
se, in which we must test our will to become
spiritual men, weakening the arrogance of the
carnal man, spoilt by the opulent and consu-
merist mentality within which we have grown
up. Everything can be a good thing, but only
in the right measure and in the most appro-
priate manners.
We tend to accumulate, occasionally
cramming our homes full of many things that
in the long run, actually risk suffocating envi-
ronments. As psychologists affi rm, the home
is the symbol of our intimate space, and so the
weight of this accumulation will sooner or la-
ter also be felt on an interior level.
Let’s do a test. We start to empty out a
drawer, to lighten a wardrobe, to clear out a
utility cupboard and throw away that bundle
of useless papers piled up here and there….
We will feel a sense of lightness, as though it
were easier to breathe. Then if we start to get
at that forgotten dust behind furniture and we
get in deeper with a duster, we feel as if more
light has entered our homes and also our souls.
Women of other generations know this, with
“spring cleaning” they eliminate the winter
soot in order to make space for the breezes of
the new season.
The Churches are also cleared of all or-
naments during Lent, perhaps some of them
are even too austere; but this is a sign that in-
dicates the pathway towards that “minimum
amount” that is good for the soul, in contrast
with the “maximum allowed” that the world
continues to promote. It is therefore ancient
wisdom to start from the outside in order to
encourage things on the inside also: tidying up
in order to free the heart that is choked up by
feelings and desires; and then the mind that
is burdened by memories, scruples, thoughts,
but also noises, sounds, occupations…and la-
stly the soul, perhaps still tangled amidst the
chains of recurring sin that is so diffi cult to
uproot.
In our life, which has been dried out a
little by fasting, which has been made more
vigilant by sacrifi ce, freer from useless en-
cumbrances, a solitary fl ower will bloom,
unique in its beauty, because it has sprouted
in a place that seems impossible. It will leave
us feeling in awe and admiring because from
the nothingness that we are, God will give rise
to good, to beautiful…. And it will make us
into new creatures, ready to consume the Holy
Easter with Him.
In illness
I sing my Magnifi cat
“My “yes” to the Lord in suffering, which
has accompanied me since the time of my
birth, still surprises me today, I do not know
how I said it. It is always new, and it always
gives new things in which you are called to
commit, to experience your union with Him,
for his love and for the love of your brothers
and sisters. It is something that invites you
and attracts you, and you, even with your
limits, but with total trust in God, reaffi rm
and live because after all, all you need do is
have trust. It is a “yes” that invites you to no
longer look at yourself but at everything that
surrounds you and to look at it in that light
with which you were able to have your “here
I am” bloom.
Who am I? A person who will constantly
remain unhappy until I fi nd the true purpo-
se of my life. I managed to fi nd the meaning
several years ago, when I discovered a Work
in which my illness is almost a privilege, be-
cause through the offering, I can co-operate
towards the salvation of many souls who do
not need money, homes or terrestrial goods,
but progress even in the midst of many diffi -
culties. I remember when I went to a course
on Spiritual Exercises for the fi rst time, it was
held in the Community of the “Silent Workers
of the Cross”, everything around me seemed
to be black, not because it was, but because I
was unable to look beyond myself.
It was the week that broke my view in
order to give me the gift of an ever more be-
autiful one, a clearer one that is more suitable
for my expectations. It was the week of my
discovery that there was a wealth within me
that I had never appreciated: God was calling
on me to offer up my illness. I remember that
it was like being born again, fi nding myself
in the world of joy even with my suffering.
Every year I renew my “yes” that the Lord
always changes, renewing it with his love.
Even when I have to carry the Cross with Him,
my “yes” must be there also. What is the Cross
after all? It is something painful, undoubtedly,
but it detaches you from the world that is not
yours and it unites you with He who attrac-
ted you one day because he is true Love, and
through you he wants to get to those around
you. And in this manner, when it is offered,
life itself becomes an apostolate”.
Sister Nazarena Cimarelli
* The Silent Workers of the Cross live
their consecration through strong Marian
spirituality, totally dedicated to the service
of the suffering, in order to collaborate with
their integral promotion, with the objective of
putting the value of the person at the centre,
activating all the person’s potential and su-
staining them in the search for the meaning
of the mystery of human suffering.
Alongside this Community, the founder,
Monsignor Luigi Novarese, also gave life to
other communities, including the Centre for
Volunteers in Suffering, which was initially
established as a solid answer to the tragedy
of human suffering, which often leads man
to wander far from his Creator. The Centre
sees the suffering offered by the ill person
as a form of participation in the Easter my-
stery of Christ, which makes him an apostle
and therefore the primate and prophecy for
valuing all forms of suffering present in the
life of man. All of this is done in a spirit of
deep adhesion to the requests for prayer and
penance, which are part of the Marian spiri-
tuality of Lourdes and Fatima.
At the foot of the cross, the apostolate
of the CVS therefore recognises his identity,
looking at the world of suffering as the “land”
of his mission and giving each man a choice
of life that is open to salvation.
The impossible comes
about in the desert
by Stefania Consoli
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4
The Eucharist will pulsate
in the heart of Jerusalem
To the land that saw Him being born,
growing, preaching, and more precisely, to
the city that participated in His priestly of-
fering – culminating on Calvary, only to then
lead to His glorious resurrection – Jesus re-
turns in Eucharistic clothing, in a more sta-
ble and visible manner. He does so on the 24
th
of March, on the eve of the Annunciation, the
day on which the Perpetual Adoration of
the Most Blessed Sacrament commences
in a solemn manner. The site destined for
this purpose – a little chapel near the Fourth
Station of the Cross, the point where, accor-
ding to tradition, under the weight of His
Cross, Christ met the affectionate gaze of
His Mother – is particularly signifi cant, as it
was She, Mary, who inspired this initiative,
She who has been repeating these words for
years in Medjugorje: “Adore my Son in the
Most Blessed Sacrament, fall in love with the
Most Blessed Sacrament on the altar, becau-
se when you adore my Son, you are united
with the whole world” (message of the 25
th
of September 1995).
This is referred to us by Piotr Ciolkiewicz,
the young lay Polish promoter of this impor-
tant plan which is in the process of being ful-
fi lled: “Approximately two years ago, I was
in Medjugorje for a pilgrimage and while I
was in prayer in the little adoration chapel,
a thought came to me: bring this practice
to the land of Jesus. Then, during a trip to
Jerusalem, I met a conventual Franciscan
Friar, Father Kazimierz Frankiewicz, who
normally carries out his pastoral service in
the Basilica of the Resurrection and with him
the idea came about to organise a movement
of perpetual adoration”.
The “Queen of Peace Community” was
the fruit of that meeting, an association that is
presided over by Piotr and the aim of which
is to create a chain of hearts to embrace the
whole world through prayers of adoration, to
bring peace back to the Holy Land and to
the rest of the world.
“Its essential aim is the spread of
Eucharistic worship. The members are in-
vited to promote every activity for peace and
reconciliation between men”, says Piotr, and
he then adds: “In particular, I wish to point
out that the Association bears the name of the
Queen of Peace because it contains an im-
portant message: by trusting in Mary, with
Her we want to adore Christ, the Prince
of Peace”.
It is therefore natural to match
Medjugorje, where, from the beginning,
Mary does nothing other than repeat this in-
vitation, and Jerusalem - Yerushalaim, the
“City of Peace” – continuously lacerated by a
confl ict spanning many years, set within the
delicate fabric of peace.
But why is this initiative so surprising?
Because, in a certain sense, it is a novelty
for the Holy Land. In fact, the practice of
Eucharistic Adoration initially came about
in Europe, with Saint Basil of Caesarea The
Great (IV century) and it was consolidated
in a more stable manner in France at the be-
ginning of the XIII century. In the United
States this type of prayer also experienced
enormous consensus, so much so that the
Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration
have continued to pray it ceaselessly since 1
August 1878. And yet, right where the Son
of God was made man, Eucharistic adoration
is not common because the presence of the
Lord is venerated above all through the wor-
ship of holy sites.
But a monstrance was needed in order to
make the project really complete, to give the
initiative the importance that it deserves. It
was the exarch of the Catholic Church of the
Armenians, Monsignor Raphael Minassian
who came up with the idea to make an altar-
piece in a triptych shape to contain the mon-
strance and exactly one year ago, the whole
project obtained the full approval of the pa-
triarchs.
C
ELESTIAL
J
ERUSALEM
This is the name of the work of art created
by the Polish artist Mariusz Drapikowski,
who is known above all for having executed
the bright amber dress for the Miraculous
Image of the Mother of God in the Shrine
of Czestochowa in Jasna Góra – which was
created as a vow of thanksgiving for the life
and pontifi cate of John Paul II.
The passage…
It is worth lingering for a moment on the
description of this work of art, which leads us
through a large doorway to a symbolic pas-
sage from the Old to the New Alliance. Seen
from the outside, in fact, the triptych seems
to be a large bronze wardrobe, with fi gures in
relief that illustrate the Terrestrial Jerusalem.
In the cen-
tre, there is
the Christ
Crucifi ed and
John Paul II
at his side in
the act of ce-
lebrating the
Eucharist –
the Sacrifi ce that is also the promise of eter-
nal life. Above, the parousia of Christ, the
Supreme Priest, his second coming.
“I am the doorway: anyone who enters
through me, shall be saved”. It is by fulfi l-
ling this passage that we access the Sacrifi ced
Lamb, positioned in the centre on the book
with the seven seals that have now been ope-
ned, in the midst of a series of crystal icicles.
“The Angel showed me a pure river of water
of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the
throne of God and of the Lamb” (Ap 22,1).
The light and the witnesses
Upon opening the triptych we fulfi l our
passage through Christ-Door and we enter
into the Celestial Jerusalem. The atmosphe-
re of the New Land, of the New Heavens, is
immediately revealed, illuminated internally
by a source of light – an important element in
St. John’s vision.
On the wings of the triptych the Two
Witnesses symbolised by two olive trees and
two lamps recall the vocation and duty of all
Christians to provide a legible and truthful
testimony of their belief, that is, to fi rmly
confess their faith in Christ before the world.
The refusal of such a testimony shall become
one of the reasons for the last judgement over
the world. The fate of the witnesses is similar
to the destiny of their Lord, because they are
the sign of contradiction and they fulfi l the
sacrifi ce of life, but from God they receive a
new life and participation in His glory.
The Woman dressed in…amber
In the central part of the triptych there
is the monstrance. Its shape recalls the look
of the Woman
holding the
E u c h a r i s t i c
Christ in her
arms. The
Woman – Mary,
is the Mother of
the Redeemer
and of the
People of God
of all times;
but it is also the
symbol of the
Church, which
in the space of
history, amidst
great pains,
always gives
birth to Christ.
The suffering
Woman – the
persecuted Church – appears as a magnifi cent
Bride in the midst of the warm refl ection of
the amber surrounding her.
Mary is the annunciation of the New
Jerusalem where there are no longer either
tears or crying, the Jerusalem that forms the
vision of the new world, transfi gured and il-
luminated by the glory of God: “The city had
no need of the sun or of the moon to shine
in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The
lamb is its light” (Ap 21, 23).
At the end of his book, Saint John expres-
sed his last desire and his expectation: Come,
Lord Jesus! (Ap 22, 20). We too want to take
up the prayer of the “Patmos visionary” who,
along with dawning Christianity, shouted out:
Come, Lord Jesus! Come and transform the
world! Come today and win with peace!
Blessed by the Pope
By now everything is ready for the depar-
ture, we are almost at the eve of the inaugu-
ration of this new “holy place” in Jerusalem,
a point that we hope shall attract all the pil-
grims who, travelling along the painful pa-
thway, want to meet the face of the king of
Peace, who shall be exposed day and night.
But during its journey towards the Land of
the Saint, the triptych stopped off in Rome,
to be blessed by the Holy Father. All the
members of the Association accompanied it,
along with the organisers and the bishops of
their cities. This is a moment of grace that we
of Echo were able to experience, in the name
of the “Queen of Peace”.
redaction
background image
5
Our Lady is appearing in private!
The Bishop of Mostar asked that the ap-
paritions of the 2
nd
of the month should no
longer occur in public. We know that up to
now the Comunità del Cenacolo housed the
visionary and a very large number of people
gathered from the fi rst light of dawn to ac-
company her with prayer during that moment
of grace. Let us unite ourselves spiritually
with Mirjana who will receive the apparition
of the Virgin in her home with her family
every 2
nd
of the month.
Message of the Queen of Peace
through Mirjana:
2
nd
February 2009
“Dear children, today with a maternal
heart I want to remind you of or draw your
attention to God’s immense love and the pa-
tience that fl ows forth from it. Your Father
sends me and is waiting. He is waiting for your
hearts to be open and ready for his works.
He is waiting for your hearts to be united in
Christian love and in mercy in the spirit of my
Son. Do not waste time, children, because you
are not the masters. Thank you”.
2
nd
March 2009
“Dear children! I am here among you. I
am looking into your wounded and restless
hearts. You have become lost, my children.
Your wounds from sin are becoming greater
and greater and are distancing you all the
more from the real truth. You are seeking
hope and consolation in the wrong places,
while I am offering to you sincere devotion
which is nurtured by love, sacrifi ce and truth.
I am giving you my Son.”
A sabbatical year
for Father Jozo Zovko
Siroki Brijeg, 9 February 2009
“I am writing to you to inform you that,
the divine wedding. Those who experience
Jesus-Eucharist want to allow themselves to
be evangelised by Him in silence, they want
to allow themselves to be dragged by his trail
of light so as not to be corrupted by the habit
of daily evil.
In this retreat we are called “face to face”
with the great Eucharistic Mystery: Jesus is
veiled in a Piece of Bread and He urges us to
develop this great Mystery and to consolidate
our union with Him, to see him and love Him
more clearly. This is a need for our soul.
If we fast in silence and listen to the
Word, Eucharistic prayer becomes very
powerful and it strengthens us in faith, be-
cause near Him we become strength, rock…
“If they tell you that I am here or there, do
not go, because your love will attract me and
I will come to you”. Jesus invites us to come
out of our prison, to put our hands in His so
that He can lead us to where He is going.
Let us prepare for the dawn of His co-
ming with fasting, so that the offering of our
nullity might be a purifying incense for us
and for others and so that it might make us
witnesses of truth and the light of the Risen
Christ.
Learning to fast
in Medjugorje
Mary’s school in Medjugorje is an in-
fallible school for those who wish to put the
most recurrent invitations of her messages
into practice: prayer and fasting. Seminars
are currently being organised in various lan-
guages for this purpose, in order to expe-
rience these requests of the Queen of peace
in a deeper and more conscious manner (the
Domus Pacis home – for the date destined for
various nationalities please consult the offi -
cial website of the Parish http://medjugorje.
hr.nt4.ims.hr/).
Anna Fasano, the organiser of the
Seminar for Italians says: “Every year we
have the opportunity of experiencing a re-
treat in Medjugorje which is characterised by
a powerful action of grace that washes and
purifi es untidy feelings, which are hidden in
the most intimate folds of our heart. These
feelings often veil our soul: spiritual jealousy,
the desire to be at the centre of attention, con-
ceit….killing the love in us and in the heart
of our brothers. If we can succeed in leaving
all of this behind us and if we are able to en-
ter the retreat with a sense of openness and
willingness, pure love will fall like a dew into
our hearts: Jesus will pour it out abundantly
over us, so much so that we will also inevita-
bly give it to others. We can embark on many
pilgrimages, meetings, gatherings, but they
often remain merely beautiful and moving
experiences, they do not produce love! Jesus
in the Eucharist is the only one who reveals
himself within us; he reveals his Face and
Truth irradiates from the power of his Love.
He wants to make our hearts into al-
tars where the incense of prayer and the
adoring silence of the love offered burns.
This love is offered like snow that whitens
and covers everything and refl ects light alo-
ne. This light of hearts rises up to God.
This is the Medjugorje of Mary the Queen
of Peace. We must be witnesses of love, we
must experience charity in order to give joy
to others…we must be joy where there is
sadness, we must be truth and justice. The
pollution of love is criticism; we are all rea-
dy to criticise and we are less willing to love
and to teach to love. Love is the strength of
the human heart, it is the Face of God in us
and through us, it shines on earth. If we al-
low love to be quenched in us, then what will
happen?
Words are no longer convincing, we
must experience the messages that our
Mother recommends to us. Silence is often
more illuminating than words and true words
originate in the midst of lengthy silence, si-
lence leads us to contemplate the Word of
God and to be free from idols. If the heart is
bombarded by idols then the tongue talks and
talks and talks, but if the love of Jesus is in
our hearts, then silence prevails as well as the
stupor of the wonders of God. It is in silence
that the Holy Spirit gives us the fl utter of His
song! If there is too much exultance we do
not have Christian prayer. God fulfi ls great
things in simplicity, in smallness.
Silence is the renunciation of the word
to become a cry in the desert, a song, a
poem, liturgy, ecstasy; it is the custodian of
the Word of God and the preferred place of
Thank you Mother who intercedes con-
stantly for us, so that we might love Jesus in
the Eucharist. You who are the living taber-
nacle, transform us into altars where an in-
cense of love burns for the coming of Jesus.
Make haste Lord to install your kingdom
in all hearts. For always.
Anna
For ITALIANS the Seminary
of silence, prayer and fasting
will be guided by Father Danko Perutina
from the 19th to the 26th of April 2009
at Domus Pacis
Information: Anna Fasano
mobile 335 5780090
email liveloveuniversal@libero.it
for reasons to do with health, rest and conva-
lescence and the commencement of the buil-
ding works on the island of Badija (Croatia),
Father Jozo Zovko has asked his superiors if
he can live outside of his Province, his request
has been approved by the administration of
the Province. For the reasons outlined above,
the plans foreseen for the current year are he-
reby cancelled. We would kindly request all
of our co-ordinators and collaborators, orga-
nisers of pilgrimages to Medjugorje, organi-
sers of prayer meetings and also all the cen-
tres in Medjugorje and pilgrims to take this
into consideration and not to plan or request
meetings with Father Jozo during this period.
Thank you for your understanding.
(On behalf of Father Jozo) Vesna Cuzic-International
God-Parenthood for the Herceg-Bosnian Child”
Sister Emmanuel writes
on this subject:
“When the Lord allows a void, a hole, a
painful absence to be created, He knows the
reason for it and he has His plan. Abraham’s
request to give up his son Isaac was in order
to become more fertile, but he had to pass
through this apparent destruction of God’s
promise. When Saint Joseph believed that he
had to give up on marrying Mary, it was to
fi nd her even more, but he had to experien-
ce this agony in order to enlarge his heart.
When…
If Father Jozo’s absence is a painful re-
nunciation for pilgrims and for each one of
us here, nevertheless, we must welcome this
fact in a positive manner, not as a disaster but
as a gift that God will use for a greater good.
It may be the case that this change of rhythm
might enable him to grasp other aspects of
Mary’s plan for Medjugorje, only to then
transmit them to us at a later stage. We are
sure that we are not mistaken in welcoming
this trial with faith and recognition, because
this will allow God to benefi t from it over
time and in eternity”.
(“Enfants de Medjugorje” - www.enfantsdemedjugorje.com)
It’s happening in Medjugorje...
It’s happening in Medjugorje...
“The Eucharist truly is a shred of hea-
ven that opens up on earth. It is a ray of glo-
ry of the celestial Jerusalem, that penetrates
the clouds of our history and sheds light on
our pathway”.
(JOHN PAUL II Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 19)
background image
6
Poetry of the soul:
A
JOURNEY
INTO
THE
W
ORLD
OF
THE
P
SALMS
IN
S
EARCH
OF
G
OD
They resound in the heart of the Church
in all languages, sung in Gregorian, recited
with alternate choirs or murmured, to give
praise to God every day. It is a wonderful
experience to be able to venture a little into
the world of the Psalms in order to come
to some understanding of their origin and
to follow their traces throughout history
and above all in the souls of those who pray
them.
They are veritable poems. As well as in the
so-called Book of Psalms, the Psalms also fea-
ture in various biblical books. This enables us
to understand that prayers of praise, supplica-
tion and proclamation occupied an important
position among the heroes of history, in the
words of the prophets and in the refl ections
of the wise. Nevertheless, true psalm praying
mostly expresses the welcoming of the mar-
vellous presence of God who saves his people,
who wants to save them, and who can save
them if the faithful pray to him. The Psalms
are therefore an appeal to God fulfi lled by va-
rious men, in various historical situations, but
they are also God’s answer to man, or better,
his revelation through prayer. The old Israelite
marked out his life with prayer, which occu-
pied his time three times a day: “In the eve-
ning, at dawn and at midday, I cry and sigh;
He listens to my voice” (Psalm 55, 18). The
God of Israel was a God who was far away in
his holiness but near in his mercy, a God who
was always present, every day.
The secret moans delivered at the Temple
The psalms recollected the supplications
of individuals and offered each of them a
common form of language and profound theo-
logy. At that time, personal prayers were brou-
ght to the Temple and delivered to the priest,
who examined them and kept them. But some
were used in the liturgy alongside others. In
this manner, over time, the liturgical text of
Israel took shape.
The Book of Psalms forms a vast conti-
nent of 150 poetic compositions, the Psalms.
It is currently divided up into fi ve books, like
the fi ve books of the Pentateuch. We can say
therefore, that the praying Pentateuch of the
Book of Psalms was juxtaposed with the hi-
storical Pentateuch (the Torah), man’s bles-
sing and blessed answer to God the liberator.
Towards an explosion of joy
It is worth taking a look at the themes that
diversify these fi ve groups. The fi rst book (1-
41) is dedicated to the Psalms that narrate the
comparison between the righteous believer
and the godless. In the second book (42-72)
the Psalms describe the desire for God, which
lies in the heart of the exiled Israelite. The
third (73-89) is a so-called cushion book: it in-
sists on faith and meditates on the past and at
the same time, it expresses the expectation of
the last times. The fourth book (90-106) is the
celebration of the power of the Lord, Pastor
of his people. And lastly, the fi fth book (107-
150) is the book of praise that the believer
expresses after having reached the summit of
God’s mountain; defi nitively it is the book of
the explosion of joy as regards the Lord, as a
conclusion to the entire Book of Psalms that
reveals how all things must praise and reco-
gnise God.
Prophets, priests, kings, simple believers…
The book of psalms gathers together the
pieces written over a period of at least six cen-
turies, which can be classifi ed into very diffe-
rent literary genres. All the areas of Judaism
contributed to its formation - consisting of
prophets, priests, kings, learned, simple belie-
vers, poets and writers of Israel, and so it is not
a composition that was formed around a table
and fi xed in an immobile form. In Jewish litur-
gy, the Book of Psalms was in fact used, co-
pied and repeated endlessly and it arrived at us
as an ancient work, rich with human emotions
and authentic faith. Despite this, the Book
of Psalms fi nds its unity in determining key
points, that is, in certain themes that help us to
read it according to the Jewish mentality.
Without a doubt, the main theme is that of
God’s love, which also includes faithfulness,
mercy and grace. The second one is the torah,
the law, which is God’s teaching, the truth re-
vealed to Israel. But above all, the torah is
God’s gift to his people, it is His presence, it
is the creating Word. Then there is the theme
of the enemy, the antagonist, a character who
is present on the scene from the beginning, as
a negative and chaotic force that resists God’s
ordering word.
Only if we bear in mind these three rea-
lities that emerge in the Psalms, can we un-
derstand the whole dynamic of the prayer and
faith of the Psalmists, and discover the unity
of the Book of Psalms, which would not be
seen with a superfi cial reading of the text.
Christian prayer par excellence
Having taken a look at the variety and the
wealth of the Psalms, it would be a good idea
to also look at them in their relationship with
and in Christianity. From the beginning, the
Church made the Book of Psalms its book of
prayer, it gave it to the communities of every
language and people. The Psalms therefore
constitute Christian prayer par excellence, al-
though they remain a patrimony that is shared
with our Jewish brothers.
But what makes this prayer so authenti-
cally “Christian”? The simple fact that the
Psalms were the prayer of Jesus Christ!
Jesus let the “cry” towards his Father come
out of the depths of his status as a believer,
using the Psalms with great freedom, while
they illuminated his mission.
But we must be tread cautiously however,
the Psalms were not Jesus’ prayer as he was
a pious Jew, but because He was Christ, the
Messiah, appointed to give us access to the
Father through prayer.
Jesus gives the expectation expressed
in the Psalms its purpose, its culmination. If
the psalmist were to ask God to send him the
light and the truth, in Christ we have He who
is this Light and this Truth, He who walks
and guides towards the Father’s house. The
Psalms therefore pass from the synagogue to
the church, thus becoming the daily “Prayer
of the hours” and given that in baptism we be-
came “one thing with Christ”, Christ’s prayer
also becomes ours.
Reading and praying the psalms today?
The Psalms must be adapted to time, to
culture. It is not a good idea to remove them
because the Psalms always have a novelty wi-
L
EARN PRAYER
With hands outstretched: ask
“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and
you shall fi nd; knock and the door shall be
opened onto you” (Mt 7,7).
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you
ask when you pray, believe that you receive
them and you will have them” (Mk 11,24).
Prayers in
which we ask
for things,
although of-
ten used and
abused, are
still legitima-
te, personally
authorised by
the Master of
Nazareth with
the guarantee
of welcoming
and consent if every request made to God the
Father is accompanied by the meditation of
the Son. Any request for material and spiri-
tual things may be presented, as long as it is
in harmony with Trinitarian plans, in line with
the fundamental principle codifi ed in the Our
Father: “thy will be done”. My request is good
if I am not intent on, or if I do not presume that
I can mould God to my way of viewing things
(which is impossible!) but if I feel that I must
do it as what I am asking for seems necessary
or very important to me.
“Asking” seems easy…in actual fact no
prayer is easy, because it is not suffi cient to
open our mouths and believe a series of re-
thin them that surprises and nourishes man.
We must only avoid formalism and a mechani-
cal reading of the Psalms, so as to experience
God’s search each time, which is part of this
type of prayer. “Given that they are a form of
theology of prayer, the Psalms are above all an
implicit refl ection on the meeting with God”,
therefore they are a living dialogue with the
Lord. In conclusion, in the Psalms, we meet
a God in whom love, faithfulness, trust and
intimacy are experienced. Through the em-
phatic experience enabled by the Psalms, God
reveals himself, in a conjugal manner, to his
People, to the Church and to every single wor-
shipper:
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My fl esh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your loving kindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfi ed as with marrow
and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You
with joyful lips. (psalm 63).
Seeking God does not mean possessing him,
for us life has meaning if we seek God. And
the best manner in which to do this is to pray.
Pietro Di Mattia
background image
7
quests to be “prayer”. In fact, every prayer
is an act that goes beyond natural abilities. It
presupposes faith, it is born of hope, it mani-
fests the love of trust in God. It is a theological
act supported by the Holy Spirit, the animator
of all Christian initiatives.
We should never lose sight of this, espe-
cially in the type of prayer in which we hold
out our hands to ask for something. It may
easily be distorted and isolated from the ge-
neral context of relations with God. If I inter-
view a man on the street, ninety-nine times
out of one hundred he will answer me saying
that “praying” means “asking” for something
that only God – if he exists – can give us. The
risk of transforming the request into a claim is
therefore easy.
A claim, not a prayer! This often occurs
with the aggravating circumstance according
to which, in cases where there is no answer, no
fulfi lment, the man on the street confi rms his
false conviction that there is no point wasting
time in prayer, because “nothing changes any-
way!”. What a sad conclusion!
The tenaciousness of the votive candle
comes to mind. When lighting it, there are
those who believe that they are stipulating a
bilateral contract with God (or with Our Lady
or some Saint): I will pay but you must give
me back the equivalent. Seen in this manner,
the ancient devotional tradition of the lighting
candle overturns the original perception of the
gesture. The fl ame is gradually and silently
quenched, it is the alternate sign of my pre-
sence, of my praying invocation, of my wil-
lingness to accept the divine answer. But the
man on the street does not know this. In the
majority of cases it is like a hurried delegation
(I have many things to do…I don’t have time
to linger”). And so people hope that that ligh-
ting candle might exercise continuous pressu-
re to lead God to answer our request. Perhaps
on the other hand we should say before lea-
ving: “Lord, I can’t stay long but I am leaving
my heart here….welcome this fl ame as my
symbolic presence here, as an act of trust in
you, then do whatever you believe to be most
appropriate!”
The defi nite invitation to seek, to knock,
to ask, also resounds within the framework of
prayer in which we ask for things. Jesus even
puts the reputation of the Celestial Father into
play. He lets us know that infallible divine
hope has established a true relationship betwe-
en the demand and the granting of the benefi t.
When I ask for what I believe with an upright
conscience to be necessary or very useful for
the purposes of my eternal survival, then it is
certain that it will be granted.
(From: “Tirelessly” by Lorenzo Netto)
3. To be continued
The gift of freedom
Jesus came to this earth, not to bring us obligations and impositions, but to offer us free-
dom. If we were able to fully understand the importance of this gift, then perhaps we would
constantly and joyfully give thanks to our Lord.
And when Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved
you” he did not give a new prescription to be added to the many others that the Jewish people
were to respect, but rather, he offered a gift of freedom, which was by now completely lost.
The gift of being able to love our enemies and those who hate us, rather than being forced,
like before, to hate them. The gift of turning the other cheek to those who strike us, rather
than giving eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Therefore with this commandment we are not
being given an obligation, but rather, a possibility: to love everyone, like He did.
What a great gift, that must not be underestimated! The price paid is proof of the greatness
of the gift of freedom that is offered to us: the life of Jesus, the life of a God. Let us welcome
this gift then, and constantly give thanks, without ever complaining, because He made us
his friends, and no longer friends of the devil, incapable of loving because they are forced to
hate.
With the gift of freedom, Jesus did not abolish any ancient law, He made it new, and with
it, He made us all new along with the whole of creation. He gave us new eyes with which
to freely contemplate creation with God’s eyes. And so man was given the ability to see the
“Heavens” from this earth. Mary is the new creature who saw and who sees all things in a
new way because she contemplates them and loves them with the heart of God. Let us learn
then, from Her, let us trust in Her because these seem to be the times in which She is leading
her children by the hand in a special way, to teach them to see with new eyes. Perhaps these
are times in which Mary wants to take all fear away from us and make us understand how
beautiful it is to love everyone, everyone, with God’s love. Perhaps these are the times in
which Mary wants to make us see the marvels that the Father fulfi lled and continues to fulfi l
in us and in others, for the joy of many.
Lights…of mercy
Only with feelings of mercy can evil be distanced from our lives and from that of others.
Only with feelings of mercy can sin be conquered within the world. For this we cannot fi ght
hatred with hatred, violence with violence, pride with pride, because this manner of doing
things is not accompanied by mercy, it does not contain mercy.
Jesus gave us the example: He conquered sin and all forms of evil with mercy, nothing
else. We know that mercy is a single thing with Love. Mary too always operates with mercy.
This is the only manner in which she works for our good.
In the wonderful prayer, “Hail Holy Queen”, the church invokes Mary as “Mother of
Mercy” from whom “our life, our sweetness and our hope” derives, that is, all other gifts ori-
ginate from her mercy. Even our way of acting, speaking, writing, only if it is an expression
of mercy, is a form of good that lasts forever, because it becomes eternal, like mercy, like
Love. Our life is always a loss: the elderly know this because they have lost their health, their
strength, the physical beauty that they once had, but young people can also experience this
because, every day, they all experience situations of pain, be they great or small, that always
constitute a loss. Even a cold or a simple fl u are sources of pain and therefore of loss. Even a
little lack of love is a loss. But every loss of ours, if accompanied by mercy, becomes a lamp
that illuminates our pathway and that of others. This light is important for life because it is
always presented as a nighttime walk, in which light is essential for progress.
When He died, Jesus lit a great light in the world because He welcomed the loss of “life”
with much mercy. The bright light of the Resurrection certainly derived from the light of that
loss, which was welcomed with immense mercy. Men were illuminated and saved by this
light of mercy, not by anything else. And so we too always feel comfortable with feelings of
mercy to illuminate life by means of many lights…of mercy.
Let us invoke the Mother of Mercy and we will be given a merciful heart. In this way,
perhaps, nothing will harm us because we will have the light to distinguish good from evil.
Even our little journal called Echo may be a light for our pathway and perhaps, for that of
many others, if it is accompanied by the mercy of those who write it, print it, distribute it and
read it.
Father Tonino Bello wrote:
Holy Mary, ferial woman,
help us to understand
that the most fertile chapter of theology
is not that which positions you inside
the Bible or patristics,
spirituality or liturgy,
dogma or art.
But that which places you
inside the house of Nazareth,
where amidst pots and looms,
amidst tears and prayers,
amidst balls of wool
S
I M P L E
T H O U G H T S
by Pietro Squassabia
and rolls of Scripture,
in the utmost of your
natural femininity,
you experienced joys
without malice,
bitterness without desperation,
departures without returns.
Holy Mary, ferial woman,
Free us from the nostalgia of epic poems,
and teach us to consider daily life
as the construction site in which
we are building
the history of salvation.
Loosen the anchors of our fears,
so that like you, we might experience
abandonment to God’s will
in the prosaic turns of time
and in the slow agonies of the hours.
And return to walk discreetly with us,
oh extraordinary creature,
in love with normality,
who, before being crowned Queen
of the Heavens
swallowed the dust of our poor earth.
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8
Convert us to you, oh Father, our salvation
and train us for the school
of your knowledge,
so that the Lenten commitment
might leave a deep trace in our lives.
Villanova M., 25 march 2009
Easter is the celebration
of the rolled boulders
It is the celebration of the earthquake…
On Easter morning,
having gone to the orchard,
the women saw that the boulder had been
removed from the tomb.
Each of us has his own boulder.
An enormous stone
Positioned at the mouth of the soul,
that does not allow oxygen to be fi ltered,
that oppresses us in a bite of frost;
that blocks every blade of light,
that prevents communication with others.
It is the boulder of solitude,
of misery, of illness,
of hatred, of despair, of sin.
We are alienated tombs.
Each of us with his own seal of death.
May Easter then be for all of us
The rolling of the boulder,
the end of nightmares, the beginning of the
light,
the spring of new relations.
And if each of us, having come out of his
tomb,
Works to remove the
Boulder of the tomb alongside us,
the miracle that gave us the resurrection of
Christ, will fi nally be repeated.
Father Tonino Bello
Everything has
been fulfi lled!
T
HE
STORY
OF
A
PRISONER
WHO
REFUSED
TO
ALLOW
HIS
FREEDOM
TO
BE
ROBBED
According to the Christian concept, up to
the time of their death, men are called to ful-
fi l the Father’s will, and death is the last act,
the defi nitive and fi nal one, of the fulfi lment
of this will. Jesus teaches it from the cross.
He is a work concluded by the Father. He is
the most beautiful work! He has not been left
half undone! We often risk being “unfi n-
ished” each time that we turn our backs on
God and on his calling. He calls us to life and
we prefer to contemplate our deaths. He calls
us to joy, but we prefer to feel sorry for our-
selves. He calls us to holiness and we prefer
to remain swamped in the mud of our sins
and our inconsistencies.
When the creature allows itself to be
modelled by God, when it allows this artist
to fulfi l his splendid work of art, we partici-
pate in a true marvel, the marvel of holiness
that can even reach extreme testimony: the
gift of life….martyrdom.
Perhaps many people are not aware of
this, but there is a man who has a lot to teach
us about this. A Dutch Carmelite priest, Tito
Brandsma, a professor of philosophy and
“history of mysticism” at the Catholic uni-
versity of Nijmegen. It was during the Nazi
era and professor Brandsma openly accused
Nazis…He was obviously arrested by the
Gestapo, he went on trial and he was impris-
oned. In a page of his diary he wrote: “My
vocation for the Church and for the priest-
hood enriched me with so much sweetness
and so much joy that I now voluntarily ac-
cept everything that may seem unpleasant to
me…I certainly miss Mass and Communion,
but God is near to me all the same, in me and
with me…”.
On Good Friday of 1942 the guards in
the camp went crazy. They put a crown of
thorns, made of copper wire, on a priest’s
head and they forced the prisoners to sing
the hymn: “Oh head crowned with prickly
thorns”. During the evening of that terrible
day, Father Tito secretly meditated on the
mystery of suffering. A witness states the fol-
lowing: “Around him, the prisoners were in
camp beds arranged in three rows. The whole
hut smelt of rotten sewer rats, fi lthy clothes
and sweat. Those men with shaved heads
looked at him with dead and somewhat sinis-
ter eyes…right before me, standing up on top
of an empty potato box, professor Tito spoke
to us about the Passion…the words he uttered
came directly from his heart, they came up
from the deepest depths. And the whole shack
remained in silence. The silence was almost
oppressive. Each of them was struggling with
his own problems (…) and his own misery,
but father Tito gave everyone a solution: our
love for God…And then he added: on this day
there must be an atmosphere of happy rec-
ognition within us, so that we might see the
passion of Christ combined with our suffer-
ing”. Another one of his listeners says: “We
returned in silence to our huts; nobody was
speaking: the spirit of God had just skimmed
over us”. The guards sensed something of
this strange meeting and the day after, the
Carmelite father was punished.
On the 19
th
of June of the same year he
was interned in the Dachau concentration
camp, there his own true Calvary began.
The fi rst meeting was with the head of the
block who harboured a particular hatred for
ecclesiastics. He started to strike him with
a plank of wood and as he was walking he
took enjoyment in kicking him in the heels, to
the extent that he caused them to bleed. This
treatment was then reserved systematically
for him every day. Upon seeing him in such
a bad state, one of the SS guards told him not
to worry because he could soon celebrate his
Ascension, passing through the fi re of the cre-
matory oven. The work was extremely diffi -
cult, so many humiliations, so much beating,
for him they seemed to have been doubled, to
the extent that the others were saying that he
was being treated like the fl agellated Christ.
But in no manner would he criticise his
jailors. He trusted his loves: Our Lady of
Mount Carmel and the Eucharist. The sup-
port of the Eucharist was precious above
all, he managed to have it almost every day
from the German priests who were prisoners
in the camp, seen as they were allowed a little
more freedom. He would keep a little piece
of it until the day after, in his glasses case;
even up to ten people received communion
with the remainder, risking the cruellest
punishments each time. During the night
when he was unable to sleep for many hours,
Tito would adore that little piece of holy host,
entrusting everyone’s suffering to it.
Then the faithful day came in which fa-
ther Tito, like Jesus, said: Everything has been
fulfi lled! He was so exhausted that his fellow
prisoners thought it was a good idea to recom-
mend to the head of that division that he be
sent to the hospital section. The doctor was
also almost too inclined to help them. Tito was
taken away and they never saw him again.
We know everything that happened next
from an exceptional witness…She was the
one who killed Tito and she converted be-
cause the recollection of this priest never
again abandoned her. At the time that girl was
a nurse, but out of obedience she carried out
the inhuman orders given by the offi cial doc-
tor…This women told the story of how the
words of father Tito became sculpted inside
her as she was incurring terrible mistreat-
ment: “Father, let not my but your will be
done”. All the ill people insulted and hated
her, on the other hand, with the gentleness
and the respect of a father, that priest said to
her: “What a poor girl you are, I will pray for
you!” He even gave her a gift of his Rosary
beads. She told him that she did not know
how to pray. He answered: “You don’t need
to even say all the Hail Mary, simply say:
Pray for us sinners!”
On the 26
th
of July 1942, she was the one
who injected him with phenic acid. As that
woman injected that mortal serum into the
veins of the Holy martyr, he transmitted the
tenderness of God’s love and faith to her with
his beautiful testimony.
Still today, Christ continues to suffer in
his body which is the Church! What fruits of
redemption his passion still carries! Before
Jesus’ “everything is fulfi lled” and the words
of the blessed Tito, let us seriously ask our-
selves: where am I? What am I doing with my
life? Is the seed dying in me in order to bear
fruit?
Fr. Gabriele Pedicino o.s.a.
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children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
prayer and at Holy Mass.
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it. May God reward you and your
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