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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 205 (May-August 2009)

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Message of March 25, 2009
“Dear children! In this time of spring,
when everything is awakening from the
winter sleep, you also awaken your souls
with prayer so that they may be ready to
receive the light of the risen Jesus. Little
children, may He draw you closer to His
Heart so that you may become open to
eternal life. I pray for you and intercede
before the Most High for your sincere con-
version. Thank you for having responded
to my call.”
Awaken your souls!
Once again today, as she has often done
in the past, Mary makes an allusion to the
beginning of spring. The arrival of spring
always brings something unexpected with it,
almost a new hope, a new life. The awake-
ning of nature also marks the reawakening
of our body, and we should not be surprised
because we too are part of nature, and in this
time of spring everything is reawakening
from the winter sleep. Everything is bloo-
ming, everything is recommencing.
In her messages, Mary often says to us
“in this time of grace”, today she says “in
this time of spring”; but the two expressions
are the same, because Mary does not stop at
the physical aspect of spring reawakening,
which is also a fruit of divine grace in itself,
she immediately enters into the heart of the
true reawakening, the reawakening of the
soul. You also awaken your souls. This is
true reawakening for humans; without this
reawakening all physical wellbeing is transi-
tory, every “bud” is destined to perish before
it ever fl owers, every expectation will be re-
voked, all hope disappointed. You also awa-
ken your souls with prayer. This invitation
is immediately followed by the suggestion:
prayer as a means, a tool, for reawakening
the soul. We cannot do it alone. We cannot
awaken the soul with formulae or exercises
or any other remedy of science or technology
or philosophy; of course, there are behaviours
and conditions that favour prayer and these
should be sought out and they may create a
suitable climate for it but cannot generate it.
Prayer is a gift from God, which is as-
sured to whoever really wants it. Prayer is
humbly listening to Him, turning to Him, to
be together with Him, in communion with
Him. Prayer is a loving meeting between
the creature and his Creator and as such it
should be experienced, whatever the form
that expresses it. Prayer is abandonment to
His action of grace, humble but fi rm trust
in Love. Awaken your souls with prayer
so that they may be ready to receive the
light of the risen Jesus. And so, prayer must
prepare the soul to welcome the light of the
Risen Jesus. And it is in this light that we
see the light (cfr Psalm 36 (35) 10) and it
is true light, the light that illuminates every
man (John 1, 9). That light that allows us not
only to perceive but also to see, not only to
note but to understand. That light that is re-
velation, knowledge, the guide of Life, like
the star that guided the Wise Men. That light
that shines over those who are in darkness
and in the shadow of death, and directs our
steps over the pathway of peace (cfr Luke 1,
79). That light that allows us to see beyond
death, to await Life beyond life, to recogni-
se the All Powerful on the Cross. That light
that is the Epiphany of Him always and eve-
rywhere. That light that is the sentinel awaits
to announce the end of the night (crf Is 21,
11). And we know that the night is over, that
the new day has already come about in the
risen Christ. It is Him – Mary says to us –
who draws us close to His Heart so that we
might become open to eternal life.
Thank you, Mother for these words of
hope, thank you for Your intercession before
the Most High, which aims at imploring our
sincere conversion. Thanks to the testimony
of so many great Saints, we know that none
of those who turn to your aid are left disap-
pointed and in this certainty we turn oursel-
ves over completely to You. We put our who-
le selves into your hands, oh Mary: take us as
a gift to the Father and the fruit of our Love
for our brothers. Hail Mary! Hail Mary!
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“My heart was cloven,
and its fl ower appeared.
And Grace sprang up in it
And it brought forth fruit to the Lord”.
(Odes of Solomon XI)
Message of April 25, 2009
“Dear children! Today I call you all to
pray for peace and to witness it in your
families so that peace may become the
highest treasure on this peaceless earth. I
am your Queen of Peace and your mother.
I desire to lead you on the way of peace,
which comes only from God. Therefore,
pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
All pray for peace!
We usually call peace the absence of war
and by war we mostly mean every armed confl ict
between nations, but these are approximate
defi nitions that stop at the consequences without
looking into the primary cause, the origin,
which resides in our relationship with God. Yet
every Christian should know that peace means
communion with God in Christ Jesus, a gift
from the Holy Spirit and our free acceptance.
Our Peace is Christ Jesus (Eph 2,14a) and in
Him we can fi nd it and in Him we must seek it,
and without Him we will only have separation
and war. Only the full acceptance of Jesus into
our soul, into our life, will generate peace in us,
in those whom we meet, in what we do, in what
we touch.
Mary says to us: today I call you all to pray
for peace and to witness it in your families, so
that peace may become the highest treasure
on this peaceless earth. This is a pressing,
urgent, unpostponable invitation: we must all
pray for peace. We must all implore Peace
from God, His Peace: that it might descend onto
each of us in His fullness, until such time as
allowing us to live, to have Jesus Christ dwell
in us, because if He does not live in us, we may
perhaps speak of Him but never be His authentic
witnesses. We may speak of peace but never be
a living expression of it, we may be witnesses
of peace in our families yet this earth will still
remain peaceless, and the highest treasure will
be missing from it.
Only the life of Jesus within us leads to
communion with the Father and therefore to
true peace (John 14, 23-27). As he approached
Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it
and said, “If you, even you, had only known
on this day what would bring you peace—but
now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will
come upon you when your enemies will build
an embankment against you and encircle you
and hem you in on every side. They will dash
you to the ground, you and the children within
your walls. They will not leave one stone on
another, because you did not recognize the time
of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19, 41-44). And
Mary does not give in; she still wants to guide
us on the pathway of peace that comes from
God alone. If peace is communion with God in
Christ Jesus, the pathway of peace is that which
leads to this communion, to the point of being
able to say with Paul: I no longer live, Christ
May - August 2009 - Year 25 # 5-8 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
205
B
ELOVEDS
READERS
,
THIS
EDITION
COMPRISES
ALSO
THE
J
ULY
-A
UGUST
NUMBER
. T
HE
E
CHO
WILL
RESUME
TO
S
EPTEMBER
.
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lives in me (Gal 2, 20a) and Mary, Queen of
Peace and our Mother will obtain this for us
if we allow ourselves to be guided by Her. For
this reason, pray, pray, pray; prayer is our
positive answer to His desire to guide us along
the pathway of peace, and if we are perseverant,
we will meet God in our hearts and our whole
lives, our lives and the lives of those near to us
will change, a new life will come about.
On the 25
th
of March of the year 2008, Mary
warned us as follows: “You are still far from
the meeting with God in your hearts and so you
must spend as much time as possible in prayer
and in adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed
Sacrament of the altar, so that He might change
you and put a living faith in your hearts, along
with the desire for eternal life”. Spending as
much time as possible in prayer means praying,
praying, praying; praying always, without ever
growing tired (Luke 18,1), praying unceasingly
(1Ts 5,17) as unceasingly as we breathe, as
unceasingly as our heart beats.
Let us learn to breathe in God and we will
never grow tired and we will no longer be able
to detach ourselves from Him, and our heart
will beat with the beats of the Heart of Jesus
and we will live in Him, and there will be
Peace.
N.Q.
J
ERUSALEM
access to the Sacred Sepulchre
is prohibited for Christians
On the eve of the Orthodox Easter, Israel
prohibited the Christians of Jerusalem from
freely accessing the church of the Holy
Sepulchre and the Old City.
On the day prior to that on which the
orthodox faithful celebrate Easter, the so-
called miracle of the descent of the Holy
Fire comes about in the church of the Holy
Sepulchre, this has been certifi ed in documents
since 1106. The Fire is then brought to
many countries, where it is received with all
honours. For the fi fth year, the Israeli armed
forces have established checkpoints in the
area surrounding the church, preventing local
Christians from praying and from following
their own traditions.
“It is obvious that local Palestinians, and
above all, Christian Palestinians, are targeted”,
affi rmed the Lay Committee in the Holy Land/
Eastern Jerusalem in a press release sent to
ZENIT.
For the Pesach celebration on the other
hand, which is the Jewish Easter, Israel
guaranteed full access for the Jewish faithful
who wanted to go into the Holy City, this was
not the case for the Christian Palestinians
who went to Jerusalem. “Jerusalem should
never be left to a single side with the power to
govern it”, explains the text. “The children and
young people were humiliated and they were
prevented from celebrating this holy day”.
“Today the price is paid dearly by the
Christians of Jerusalem, who are forced
into leaving their own homes and the Holy
Sites. These violations by the State of Israel
should cease – declares the Committee. The
steps taken against Christian Palestinians are
illegal. We would ask consulates, embassies,
Churches and Christian organisations as well
as human rights organisations to intervene
without delay, so that religious freedom
and freedom of faith in Jerusalem might be
guaranteed for all religions”.
(source: Zenit)
T
HE
LIVING
STONES
of Christians in the Holy Land
After so much media interest regarding the
situation in the Holy Land, after many voices that
are being heard day after day about the military
and political operations in the Holy Land, I felt
the desire to personally touch that Land that gave
life to the fi rst Christians who then propagated
faith in Jesus Christ from there.
The journey commenced from Peter’s
home, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee
where the fi rst followers of Jesus met to take
communion and nourish themselves on God’s
word. From there, running through Jesus’ life
between Palestine and Israel, it was not easy to
imagine how the cities, the towns, the houses
must have been…because things have now been
transformed by centuries of history. Actually,
you run the risk of feeling disorientated and a
little bit disappointed before many sites such as
the Holy Sepulchre, the Grotto of the Nativity
and many others.
Nevertheless, two thousand years later, the
only stones that remain standing are the “living
stones” of the Christians of the Holy Land. It is
from them that I drew all the topicality of the
Christian message which was proclaimed in past
times, in fact, not from the places was it possible
for me to draw from faith, but rather, from those
who incarnated it and who experience it on a
daily basis.
I experienced their extraordinary
hospitality, the evangelical logic of non-
violence that the Christians exercise every day in
the over six hundred checkpoints that fragment
their personal and family existences.
Although from Jesus’ era, the vocation
of Christians was that of the “little fl ock”, the
tragedy of their growing emigration due to
the consequences of military occupancy and
fi nancial suffocation, has led Christians to make
up less than 2% of the entire population.
For Palestinians in particular, it is a life that
is strangled by a system of permits and military
restrictions, expropriated like their native land,
walled alive by that illegal and immoral wall of
apartheid which was built over a span of more
than 700 km, not on the confi nes of the Green
Line of 1967, but mostly within Palestinian
territories, in order to steal land, water sources
and resources.
It is diffi cult for priests to be granted visas
by the Israeli military authorities. Treated
according to the same standards as terrorists, they
cannot leave their parishes to go to the patriarchy
in Jerusalem or to pray at the holy sites and on
occasion for years they are not allowed to visit
their parents (sometimes not even on the day of
their funeral), on pain of the risk of them being
denied re-entry into the site of their ministry.
Christians are impatiently awaiting the
visit of the “Saidna” (the Holy Father) during
early May, so that he might be able to personally
touch the prostration, humiliation and oppression
that Christians (mostly concentrated within
Palestinian territory) have been experiencing for
decades, especially in the occupied territories.
Many Christians will not be granted a permit
to go and meet the Holy Father and they will
not even be granted a permit to go to pray in
Bethlehem or Jerusalem.
The faith of our Christian brothers is
harshly tested by indescribable sufferings,
worn out by the desperation of a life without
dignity and without any horizons of peace.
2
Every Friday, from the 1
st
of March 2004,
there are nuns, priests and lay people who pray
the rosary under the wall that divides Bethlehem
from Jerusalem, invoking the gift of peace.
Let us join in this prayer with Mary Queen of
Peace.
Alessandro Macinai
The new Peter
in the land of Jesus
“Go to Jesus through Mary”. It is during
the month of May, the month dedicated to the
Most Blessed Virgin, that the Pope is a guest in
Palestine…
Three Eucharistic celebrations will mark
the most important moments of his pilgrimage:
in Jerusalem, in the valley of Josaphat, in
Bethlehem and then in Nazareth, at Precipice
Mountain. The objective of his journey is to pray
for peace and unity, for the Holy Land and for
the whole world. Intense prayer will therefore
take place at the Supper Room and at the Holy
Sepulchre, followed by offi cial meetings with
the political and religious authorities.
Red.
T
HE
WORDS
OF
P
OPE
B
ENEDICT
Without sacrifi ce there is no life
“Sacrifi ce and renunciation are part of
an upright life. Those who promise you a life
without this new gift of yourself, are deceiving
you. There is no such thing as a successful
life without sacrifi ce. If I take a retrospective
look at my personal life, I must say that the
moments in which I said “yes” to some form of
renunciation were great and important moments
of my life…
We too can complain before the Lord, like
Job, and present him with all the questions that
emerge within us, when faced with the injustice
of the world and the diffi culty of our self. Before
Him we must not take refuge in pious phrases,
in a fi ctitious world. Praying always also means
struggling with God, and like Jacob, we can say
to him: “I will not leave you, if you have not
blessed me!”
(B. XVI blessing the Cross of the GMG,
Sunday, 5th April 2009)
God makes us different
“Yes, my dear friends! God makes the
difference… What’s more! God makes us
different, he makes us new. Such is the promise
that He himself made to us: “Behold, I make
all things new” (Rev 2, 5). And it is true! The
apostle Paul says this to us: “If a person is in
Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are
gone, new ones have been born. But all of this
comes from God, who has reconciled us to
himself through Christ” (2 Cr 5, 17-18).
Having risen up to Heaven and having
entered into eternity, Jesus Christ became the
Lord of all times. And so, he may become our
companion in the present, carrying the book
of our days in his hand: in it he fi rmly sustains
the past, with the sources and foundations of
our being; in it he jealously houses the future,
letting us catch a glimpse of the most beautiful
dawn of all our lives that irradiates from him,
that is, resurrection in God. The future of the
new humanity is God”.
(Angola, meeting with the young people in the dos
Coqueiros stadium, 21 March 2009)
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3
Echo 205
“Women, the living God
is counting on you!”
“God entrusted the sources of life to
women: Live and bet on life, because the
living God has bet on you!” the Holy Father
exclaims fervently as he addresses the women
of Africa. In one of his recent trips to Uganda
and Angola, Benedict XVI literally immersed
himself in that portion of humanity that is
so vibrant and alive, that is even capable
of transforming situations of misery into
occasions for joy and celebration.
We never grow tired of speaking to
women and about women, because their value
is great. Nevertheless, their suffering is also
great. It is sometimes boundless, like that of
babies, little girls, women who live in countries
with strong male chauvinist cultures, countries
ranging from Africa, to China, passing through
Iran and Afghanistan, but to name a few. Yet
abuse, violence, injustice, exploitation, be it
hidden or manifest, is unfortunately a shared
inheritance for millions of women around
the world. Women suffer and pay for their
“feminine genius”.
“I would urge everyone to become
aware of the unfavourable conditions that
so many women have been and continue to be
subjected to, examining the measure in which
the behaviour of men, and on occasion their
lack of sensitivity or responsibility may cause.
God has many plans!”, continues the Pope in
his speech.
In God, being a woman was not planned
in a penalising manner, quite the opposite.
In Scripture it is said that the Creator’s work
would never have been fulfi lled if man had been
alone. How could he have been in the image
and likeness of God who is one and triune, of
God who is communion? For this reason, the
Lord created woman and he equipped her in a
special way, introducing the order of love in
her, which was not represented suffi ciently in
creation”.
“We need to recognise, affi rm and defend
the equal dignity of men and women: they
are both people! Both are called to live in
profound communion, in a mutual recognition
and gift of themselves, working together for
the common good and with the complementary
characteristics of what is male and what is
female.
Who does not feel today, the need to give
more space to the “reasons of the heart”? In
a world like this one, which is dominated
by technology, people feel the need for this
complementarity of woman, so that the human
being might live there without becoming
completely dehumanised.
“They have run out of wine” – says Mary
to Jesus. “This is how we come to know her,
from that wedding feast of Cana: as the gentle
Woman, full of maternal concern and courage,
the woman who becomes aware of the needs
of others and, wanting to fi nd a remedy, brings
them before the Lord. Before Her, men and
women alike can all recover that serenity and
intimate trust that makes us feel blessed in God
and tireless in the struggle for life”, concludes
the Holy Father.
Editorial staff
Catherine Ajok was in the second year of
middle school when she was kidnapped by the
rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, from her
school in the dioceses of Lira. In all, 139 girls
were forced to follow their kidnappers into the
woods. Risking her life, the vice-principal of
the school, Sister Rachele, set out after them,
she reached them and she managed to have
109 girls released. Nothing could be done for
the other 30 however. Sr. Rachele pleaded, she
knelt down and offered herself in exchange…
but the rebels would not give in and they took
them away, disappearing into the forest.
This is how the tragedy of these girls
came about, they were made prisoners of the
rebels, shared out as wives among the various
commanders, mothers of unwanted children,
forced to share the life and dangers of the
guerrillas, camping out and moving through
the forest, participants in ambushes, attacks
and confl icts with the Ugandan army. It was
a situation characterised by fear, suffering,
hardship and above all, violence, and it went
on for years. Four of the girls died. Others
managed to escape or were captured during
the confl icts between the rebels and the army.
Two of them still remain in the forest after
more than twelve years.
Approximately one year ago, after Easter,
I myself, the bishop of Lira, had asked one
of the delegates of the rebels to release them.
The answer I was given was that unfortunately
it was impossible, because Myriam and
Catherine had become the wives of Joseph
Kony, the head of the rebels. From that time, I
heard nothing more.
Until a few weeks ago, when Catherine
suddenly came out of the forest in Congo,
carrying with her the 21-month-old baby boy
that she had given birth to by Kony. Having
fallen in with a group of rebels in one of the
army’s ambushes, this 25-26 year old girl ran
away, then fi nding herself alone in the forest.
She wandered around for almost a month,
feeding on grass and roots, miraculously
escaping a whole series of dangers, including
an encounter with a lion…
During the offertory collection at the mass
of thanksgiving for her safe return, the symbolic
gifts brought to the altar – broken chains, grass
and bitter roots, a lighting candle held by
Catherine’s son – expressed what was already
clear to the moved crowd, that had just listened
to the Gospel of the resurrection of Lazarus.
Like Lazarus, Catherine too made her
way out of the tomb of twelve and a half
years of imprisonment, 4887 long days of
suffering and violence. Yes, in a certain sense,
she was revived, returned to her family.
When it seemed as though all hope was lost,
she was offered the possibility of a new life.
Today is truly Easter for Catherine and her
son! We celebrated her, we gave thanks and
praised the Lord for the miracle that in
his merciful love, he wanted to fulfi l today
among us. And yet, I feel that something is
still missing…
During the celebration, I managed
to look at that young woman on several
occasions: her face was often relaxed, but it
was as though she were absent, in an almost
neutral behaviour, reserved, the behaviour
of those who are there but at the same time
could be elsewhere: Catherine’s face and her
look did not betray any emotion. Even before
good sense, psychology tells us that this is a
wounded person, with deep traumas that need
to be cared for patiently and over a lengthy
period. Trained to hide, to run, to defend herself
or attack to survive, it will take years for her to
relax and behave differently, in a positive and
constructive manner. She will have to learn
and start living in a new manner again.
Like Lazarus. Risen, yet still enclosed
and bound in her bandages. For this reason
Jesus must say to his friends: “Release him!”
Alone, without their quick and caring help,
Lazarus would have remained…a living
mummy! The Resurrection is the miracle that
only God can perform, the free gift of his love
for the children with whom, through Christ,
he wants to share his very life. But this gift is
accompanied by the invitation to play our part,
that is, to walk and to grow in the new life that
is given to us as a gift. Jesus allowed Lazarus
to come out of the grave. God freed Catherine
and allowed her to return home. God plays and
has always played his part. Now it is up to us
to continue and to complete his initiative so
that it might bear fruit and be successful. We
are called to give God a hand so that he might
complete our resurrection in the pathway of
every day, making the new life that he has
sown in us and around us grow.
It is the duty of Lazarus’ friends to
release him from his bandages. The lengthy
pathway of healing and re-integration that
Catherine will have to undertake, with the
support and loving accompaniment and
gentleness of those who are alongside her.
We all understand how the occasion of Easter
puts us into play and invites us to make a
decision about our whole life. First of all it
is a question of choosing whether we want to
joyously accept the gift of the dead and risen
Jesus who pulls us out of our grave, or whether
we think that we can manage our lives alone.
And then, we must decide if we are happy to
remain immobile, living mummies, prisoners
of our limits, or whether we intend to welcome
the invitation to get to work and loosen the
knots and blocks that prevent us from walking
and following the risen Lord into a new life,
animated by his love.
All of us, without exception, are like
Lazarus and Catherine, we are still tangled,
withheld and bound in various ways by our
bandages, wounds, fears, inabilities, closures
and sins. Me, you, all of us fi rstly need to be freed
once again today and resuscitated by Christ’s
life-giving love. Then, in order to recommence
walking and living the gift received in fullness,
like Lazarus and Catherine, we need someone
to help us, friends, brothers and sisters to untie
us, to remove our bandages, to accompany us.
Aware of the fact that we will not succeed
in being free alone, we will then discover that
the others around us have the same need. We
cannot celebrate Easter and experience it alone.
It is by helping others, our neighbours – the
many Lazaruses and Catherines alongside us –
that we become freer ourselves, new and alive.
For this reason, today, at the end of the Mass,
I asked Catherine to help me and everyone
gathered around her to celebrate her return.
In Uganda nowadays (but not only here!) we
really need wisdom so as not to repeat the
errors of the past, to ensure that Catherine’s
sufferings and those of many people like her
were not in vain.
Yours, Fr. Giuseppe
Catherine, released from her bandages, like Lazarus…
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4
Being born from above,
being born from something Other
by Stefania Consoli
Let’s take a look around ourselves. Everything
seems to be bursting with life. What appeared
dead yesterday, closed within itself, is now a ju-
bilation of colours: green trees, fl owers in mea-
dows and fruits that are slowly reaching matura-
tion. From the winter sleep to the life reawakened
in spring. It is a wonder that we will never grow
accustomed to, because there is no obviousness
in beauty, it is constantly new. Like life.
The Lord inserted the great event of Easter
into this season of the year in order to help us
to understand the reawakening of the man-God
from the death that “fi rst day after the Saturday”.
If we have really allowed the resurrection to act
within our depths – to move what was buried be-
neath the winter blanket in our inner laziness –
we will realise that the buds in fl ower are within
us. Everyone in fact, including creation, is invol-
ved in a vital and very powerful movement that
allows us to “be reborn from above” (cfr. John
3,3) through the Spirit that God spreads over us
at the peak of the Easter events.
But what does being reborn from abo-
ve mean? Jesus answered this same question:
“What is born of human nature is human, what
is born of the Spirit, is Spirit….The wind blows
where it pleases; you can hear its sound but you
cannot tell where it comes from or where it is
going; So it is with everyone who is born of the
Spirit” (John 3,6). We, a population of baptised
people, have already received the Holy Spirit,
but every year we need a new Pentecost to re-
awaken its gifts, because daily life risks making
them drowsy and thus rendering them futile.
If what is born of human nature is human
and needs to be nourished every day in order to
remain in life, then the spirit that is born of the
Spirit needs to be sustained through food that is
suitable for the soul: prayer, adoration, Sacred
Scripture, sacraments…We realise immediately
when the fl esh dominates with its demands: we
are distracted, absent, never full, and in the end
never satisfi ed.
God is seeking a place to remain on this
earth. To the question that the disciples asked
Jesus: “Master, where do you dwell” today we
will hear the answer: “In you! Inside you!” We
are the living temples where God takes up his
dwelling place.
Being reborn from above so that spring might
come about within us, then means opening up
our hearts to the divine Guest, to the Other and
leaving him free to dwell within us and to act.
In the desert of a humanity thirsty for truth and
love, we will be a thriving oasis, an oasis promi-
sing serenity and life.
Easter, a passage from
old age to youth
All things that have been created are the
work of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul spoke to us
about a creation that “wails and suffers in the
pains of childbirth”. This cry in childbirth is
nowadays mixed with a cry of agony and death.
Once again “against its will” nature is subjected
to vanity and corruption, different from those of
the spiritual order intended by Saint Paul, but
deriving from the same source that is sin and
man’s selfi shness.
Are we who have received the fi rstlings of
the Spirit actually hurrying “the full liberation
of the cosmos and its participation in the glory
of the sons of God”, or are we delaying it like
all others?
But let’s come to a more personal application.
Let’s say that man is a microcosm, everything
regarding the cosmos in general is applicable
to him as an individual. The Holy Spirit is he
who makes each of us pass from chaos to the
cosmos: from disorder, confusion and despair,
to order, unity and beauty. That beauty that
consists of being conformant to God’s will and
to the image of Christ, in passing from the old
man to the new man.
The evolution of the spirit does not come
about within man like that of the body, but in the
opposite direction. We are born as “old men” and
we must become “new men”. Our whole life, not
only adolescence, is an “evolutionary age”!
According to the gospel, people are not born
children, they become children! A Father of the
Church, Saint Maximilian of Turin, defi nes
Easter as a passage “from sins to holiness, from
vices to virtues, from old age to youth: youth is
understood to be not of age but of simplicity. In
fact we were falling due to the elderly status of
our sins, but through Christ’s resurrection we
were renewed to the innocence of children”.
The Holy Spirit is the soul of this renewal
and this rejuvenation. Let’s start our days reciting
the fi rst verse of the hymn in his honour: “Veni,
creator Spiritus”: Come creator Spirit, renew in
my life the gift of the fi rst creation, stir in the
emptiness, the shadows and the chaos of my
heart, and guide me towards the full realisation
of God’s “intelligent plan” regarding my life.
Fr. Raniero Cantalmessa
(freely adapted from his homily)
W A L K I N G W I T H T H E K I N G
“There was once a King who was wealthy, wise and very good. His dwelling place was a garden brimming with delights, to be
looked at and tasted. Colours, melodies and fl avours that were combined in perfect harmony. Everything occupied its own place. For this there
was peace, joy and light-heartedness in everyone’s heart… Yes, because the King looked after each and every creature. He nourished them, he
assisted them, and he cultivated them, assuring them all peacefulness and benefi ts. All they had to worry about was living, allowing themselves
to be loved and giving that love back to that lovable and generous sovereign.
Among these creatures there was one who was different from the others, because he alone was similar to his Creator. He was called “man”,
separated into man and woman, and from the King he had received the gift of intelligence and creativity, sensitivity and the ability to love; but
above all, freedom that placed him on a very noble almost divine level.
But, alas, this was not enough for that man. He wanted to do things alone! In the depths of his being he wanted to manage his life his own
way, and so he attempted to seize the secrets from the King that had thought them up…
What happened next? It’s a sad story, because what was pure beatitude was transformed into a curse: “May this land be cursed due to you!
With great pain you will draw food out of it for all the days of your life…dust you are and to dust you will return!”
The harmony was shattered and that tremendous disobedience progressed, that disobedience that led man and his wife far from the heart of
the good Sovereign and naturally, from his beautiful garden.
Many years passed, but the King could not forget that creature whom he had loved so much that he gave him his same qualities. He missed
him. He couldn’t bear to think that that man, a vagabond, was wandering around in the dry steppes of selfi shness, risking falling into the gorges
dug out of his same arrogance. He couldn’t resign to the idea that he was poisoning himself with the roots of the idolatry because he was hungry
for happiness. The creature who was most like him was defi nitively disfi guring all beauty within himself.
The king then once again started moving, and he started to send the man who was now far away, several messengers who might “wake him
up”, entrusting them with a word that would be transformed into advice, warnings, laws, and even scorning over the centuries…but it was all to
no avail. Man seemed to be turning a deaf ear to divine warnings. Something else was needed. And so it was the Word itself that became heard,
it became fl esh, a baby.
But where could he be born? A suitable site was needed, a place as beautiful as that ancient garden where the Lord was used to walking, an
appropriate place for that new Adam, who by sacrifi cing himself might one day have made up for the disastrous disobedience of that fi rst man.
The king was used to making plans. He therefore devised a brilliant one, a garden in which nothing would be out of place. A space open to
everyone, yet closed like a “sealed fountain”. In that garden the seed would fi nd the right space to take root and sprout, then growing “in holiness
and grace”.
The garden? It was Mary, God’s Eden…”.
It is still open today, and it is not a fairytale. For many years the Virgin has attentively and insistently been offering us her Immaculate Heart.
In that garden the breeze of the Spirit always stirs up fresh and it rests quietly in the cradle of an eternal “Fiat”. It is there that our Mother invites
us to enter and remain. Our King will also undoubtedly walk alongside us too.
S.C.
background image
5
A
T
THE
S
CHOOL
OF
P
RAYER
With hands outstretched: meditate
“The word of God is something alive and
active: it cuts more incisively than any two-
edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul
is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it
can pass judgement on secret emotions and
thoughts” (Hebrews 4, 12).
From their origins and still today,
Christians fi nd themselves living in a society
where ideologies are mostly incompatible
with the evangelical message. Terms change,
masters alternate, formulae are multiplied,
communications techniques are perfected. What
remains constantly unchangeable is the need to
keep the level of attention high, along with the
level of study and assimilation of the evangelical
directives.
Obviously there is no longer any need to hide
in the catacombs, to hide behind barricades or to
fl ee into the desert. The proposal is essentially
positive: perfect your dialogue with God, discover
it, attempt to understand its intentions, throw
yourselves into the pathways of providence, take
possession of its operational mentality when
interacting with human realities.
This is the space reserved for meditative
prayer. What does this mean?
Meditation is an attempt to refl ect, to guess,
to try to discover the sense and meanings that
Divine Revelation conceals. It is a question of
immersing ourselves in the interior world of
the Master of Nazareth, allowing ourselves to
be moved, charmed, involved in its radical and
irreversible adhesion to the great Trinitarian
project of universal salvation.
This is what Jesus did. This is what his
Mother did, she learnt the art of concealing
words and testimonies in her heart.
The “outstretched hands” are the symbol of
this form of prayer that (legitimately) claims to
be familiarised with the mysterious world of God
as an essential premise to deciding the passage
to precise choices that are such that they allow
for an authentic following of Christ. In Christian
meditation, the Gospel positions itself as the
primary source of reference. I must learn to keep
it in my heart, to serve it, but not use it.
This is a job that comes about in two separate
stages: I listen to those who speak, I assimilate
the message, I answer. In disarming simplicity.
God speaks, I listen (I read peacefully, I fi lter, I
savour every word). In peacefulness of mind and
heart, like those who have established a personal
friendship with him. Christ speaks to me of the
Father. God speaks to me through Christ. A
dialogue of love is born.
I listen. I welcome the Word. I bow down
to it lovingly, as over the infant of Bethlehem. I
remain open to the Word, I allow it to exercise its
divine power. I enjoy listening to it penetrate my
soul and my body, my thoughts and feelings, my
desires. I invest everything that I have and that
I am into it: dispositions, behaviours, feelings,
choices. Present and future.
Here I can count on the Holy Spirit, who keeps
vigil in order to ensure that nothing can get in the
way of the Word that intends to make progress
and penetrate hearts, leading them to react, to
answer. The silence of listening thus becomes a
voice without a sound, and it inevitably tends to
transform itself into praise, a song of admiration,
gratitude, adoration, love…
Lorenzo Netto
All called to remain
Perhaps we sometimes ask ourselves: why do my work, my travels, and my commitments
not bear fruit? Perhaps this happens because we do not remain in the place assigned to us, we
do not remain in Jesus. The apostle Peter remains with Jesus, Judas does not remain with him,
he escapes and fi nds himself alone.
The day that Jesus goes to Bethany to the home of the sisters whom he knows, Mary
remains sitting at his feet and listens to him while Martha is dealing with other chores. Upon
seeing this, Jesus exclaims: “Mary has chosen the best part that nobody will take away from
her”. With the death of Lazarus her brother, Mary remains at home waiting for the Master until
such time as she gets up in a hurry to run towards Jesus who sends for her. Mary understood
how important it is to remain at Jesus’ feet, to remain alongside him. Her heart remains in
him, it rests in him. Her going is not her own initiative but an answer to the call of her Lord.
She knows that he alone can heal her from her wounds because she has understood that Love
is medicine and a perfume that inebriates. She knows that it is only with him that her life will
bear fruit, unlike the past.
Mary has understood the words of the Master well: “he who abides in me, and I in him,
bears much fruit…if anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered;”
(John 15, 5-6). She knows that only with Jesus, fruits will not be lacking, that Jesus is the fruit
that truly satisfi es. Mary has understood that the hidden treasure is discovered in remaining
with Jesus, in doing what he asks and not what we want. She has understood that he is a
treasure not to be lost. Mary certainly learnt from the Mother of Jesus. From her example she
has learnt the importance of remaining with Jesus and how to remain with him. The Mother
also teaches us to remain with the Son and how to remain with him. She knows that in him
peace reigns constantly in our hearts, despite the diffi culties that life throws at us; that in him
we will never exclude anyone from our heart, not even those who hurt us; that in him we will
never be lacking anything because it will be given to us in our sleep also; that in him we will
possess God.
And so Christian life is more a “remaining” than a “going”, more a welcoming the place
assigned to us than the conquering of a position, more the leaving of him to act than our
action because: “If the Lord does not build the house, then the builders will work in vain. …”
(Psalm 127). It is true. The Christian may only give after having gathered, only after having
received. Let us listen then, to the voice of our Mother. We will certainly learn to remain in
Jesus as She did and as She continues to do, to bear much fruit, to bring the most beautiful
fruit to others: Jesus.
The new Creature
After that fi rst case of disobedience, people were “dying”, lifeless, because they had
despised life, like Cain. Their actions were not good. God was very displeased about this
because he had created man for Life, not for death. He ardently wanted to remedy that situation.
And so he waited with trepidation for the right time during which at least one creature might
welcome life without scorning it, as men did freely the past. Yes, the Father’s saving work
was “infl uenced” by a creature to the extent that he sent his own Son to earth as an answer to
the “yes” of that creature to Life. We know that this is Mary.
Mary is truly the creature of the “yes” to Life, the new creature who gave God “the
possibility” of generating many new creatures through his Son, who might also correspond
to Life. From that day, the land was populated with a new humanity, with new creatures who
were no longer old like before, new like Mary, the new Eve, who became the Mother of God
and our mother. But we are also given the possibility of becoming like Mary, as long as we
welcome Life.
Thank you Mary, because with You, life is not quenched like it once was.
Thank you because with You, the Father gave man Jesus, Life.
Thank you, because with You, the Father showed men an example
of a new creature to God’s delight and to the delight of the whole of creation.
Thank you because you became our Mother as well as our Sister,
you too became a creature like us.
Make us into new creatures, on the model of Jesus.
Take us by the hand so that, walking with You, each of us might become,
like You, the Mother of God.
S
I M P L E
T H O U G H T S
by Pietro Squassabia
Oh Mary! My holy and good Mary!
Let me and everyone come to
understand
the great value of the silence in which
we come to understand God.
Teach me to remain in silence
so as to listen to eternal Wisdom.
Teach me to take from silence
everything that it contains, that is great,
supernatural, divine.
Let us come to understand the value of silence
Help me to make it into a perfect prayer,
a prayer made wholly of faith, trust
and love.
A vibrant, energetic, fertile prayer,
capable of glorifying God and saving
souls!
(Marthe Robin)
background image
6
I can still vividly recall the immense joy
of those initial days, when upon fi nding my-
self living in that place which is unique on a
worldwide scale, I incredulously repeated to
myself: “I will live here now!”
Now I do miss many things, things that
accompanied me and nourished me over
those three years: fi rst of all the silence of
Medjugorje, which is a very special gift, an
interior dimension, and then also the ever
new enthusiasm of the pilgrims, the com-
munion with all those people who, like me,
in the most different manners, placed them-
selves at the service of Mary’s plan and the
living and palpable grace that certain special
places transmitted.
Was it like a long pilgrimage? It all de-
pends on what you mean by this term…it was
not a continuous state of ecstasy, as it may be
for many pilgrims whom Our Lady gives the
gift of experiencing four days of “heaven” by
experiencing rebirth within themselves.
Nevertheless it was a lengthy pilgrima-
ge, understood to mean an inner journey in
which, by gradually leaving everything that
may have kept it bridled, the soul gradually
began its fl ight of elevation…I understo-
od that in order to embark on this journey
God’s grace is not suffi cient, we need our
daily answer where we meet the cross.
In my youth I heard Medjugorje being
described as a new Holy Land. Krizevac as
the new Mount Sinai, the mountain where
the Lord made himself known, Podbrdo as
the new Mountain of the Beatitudes, and the
valley in the middle…the battle fi eld, the
open space of the daily struggle that every
son of the light must face up to in order to
resist evil and decide within himself for the
victory of Christ. Of that Christ who humbly
allows himself to be betrayed, whipped and
crucifi ed, remaining pure love, sacrifi ced
love, and in this way triumphing over every
shadow of hate.
Three years in Medjugorje were an
inner battle to truly maintain the humble
behaviour of Christ, to not leave space for
any type of rebellion against sacrifi ce, and
to accept and love divine Will; an interior
struggle made of successes and failures, but
that led me to an inevitable interior transfor-
mation.
It is easier to pray in Mary’s arms and
it is easier to struggle, knowing that when
the trial seems to be too demanding it is al-
ways possible to return and take “refuge” on
the blessed hills from which everything se-
ems smaller and further away and where our
problems also fi nd the right dimension.
Now that I’ve been back in Italy for
many months, I often feel a longing that
brings my thoughts back to those places and
those moments that return to be so alive and
present within me.
I understand how Medjugorje is not
only a physical site, it is an interior pla-
ce, a space that has opened up within my
soul and to which it is always possible to
return. Diffi cult moments constantly mark
every single period of my life and our lives,
this will always be inevitable, but from eve-
ry place and at every moment it is always
possible to return with our thoughts and
our souls to Podbrdo and to the foot of the
Cross; to fi nd within ourselves those places
of an intimate meeting place with the Lord,
those places of grace that bring peace back
in every choice and in every action.
The heavens are nearer in Medjugorje
and life seems to be a pilgrimage along a
pathway already clearly traced out by Divine
Providence, our hearts are fi lled with grati-
tude, the soul is lifted up in true prayer, eve-
ry gaze is transformed into a blessing, every
breath becomes a hymn of praise, our life a
testimony of His Resurrection.
Francesco Cavagna
P
ILGRIMS
OR
SIMPLE
T
OURISTS
?
The warm period of the year has commen-
ced and this also marks the beginning of trips
to relax the body through nature or to come to
know populations and cultures different from
our own. However, many of these trips start
out with another intention: people travel to
“treat” their soul. They become pilgrims.
Some of them set out alone, others with
family members; mostly however they join
up with organised groups, which occasio-
nally become actual masses of pilgrims who
move towards places of prayer or Shrines, all
promising those graces of conversions, hea-
ling and salvation that everyone hopes to take
back home.
The pilgrimage used to have two mea-
nings, devotional and expiatory. In particular,
the fi rst has existed since the early-Christian
era and it was part of the conversion process:
to free themselves from the anxieties and
tensions of the world, people set out towards
Jerusalem, where they lived as “foreigners”,
as “exiles” (according to the etymology of
the term “pilgrim”).
And today? People set out on journeys for
the most wide-ranging intimate and personal
reasons and therefore they should be respec-
ted. But there are certain rules that are com-
mon to everyone, because although the rea-
son for which people leave is always a good
one, the outcome is unfortunately not always
what people could obtain.
Is it God’s fault if he betrays our expecta-
tions? No, certainly not. And so, how should
we experience the pilgrimage in such a way
as to ensure that it is truly effective, deep
and authentic above all? These are important
questions, because often, unfortunately, the
journey is in vain when people face into it su-
perfi cially, as though they were going on any
kind of trip; or it is fi lled up with exterior ac-
tivities, meetings, chats, souvenir purchases,
drawing us into chaotic settings that dissuade
us from that essential quiet that is necessary
to meet the Lord.
Medjugorje is a preferred destination by
many, in that place grace is alive and opera-
tional because Mary, who is the mediatrix, is
present in a living, visible and palpable man-
ner with the senses of the soul. For this reason
during the “warm season” many people plan
their visit to the “beautiful Lady”. We need to
then value every instant as though it were the
only one, because everything is precious in
God, and as such we must face up to it.
Pilgrimage guides know this through ex-
perience. On many occasions they have been
witnesses to authentic miracles in the hearts
of pilgrims, the majority of full conversions
are sudden and come about in the most un-
thinkable manners. Thus they are the fi rst
ones to be invited to refl ect on this subject,
because their way of planning the day and
of preparing prayer infl uences the success of
their journey enormously, and as such, the in-
terior “transfi guration” of pilgrims, which is
the true aim of the pilgrimage.
By its very nature, the pilgrimage is an
itinerary. It is movement par excellence. But
in the majority of cases this is understood on
a purely exterior level. People tend to move
from one place to another in an almost con-
vulsive manner and thus they miss out on the
opportunity to take advantage of those essen-
tial pauses to assimilate all the grace that eve-
ry place transmits.
In reality, the true movement of the pil-
grimage should be interior, a movement from
“I” to God, from my world to His world,
made of silences and prayer, of solitude and
communion; made of meetings with His Face
through the tools that God places before us:
the Word, the Sacraments, His ministers and
above all, His Mother. Yes, because you can
go to Jesus through Mary, who is the shor-
test and safest pathway: “Dear children, I wish
to renew you and lead you with my Heart to
the Heart of Jesus which is still suffering for
you today and that invites you to conversion
and renewal. Through you, I want to renew
the world…”, says the Queen of Peace in the
message of the 25
th
of October 1996.
This is the route, this is the movement,
this is the true pilgrimage to be fulfi lled: to
immerse ourselves in Mary’s heart and the-
re allow ourselves to be transported directly
into the heart of her Son. We will then fi nd
ourselves, as though by magic, in the arms of
our Father. Enjoy the journey!
Stefania Consoli
M
ESSAGE
TO
M
IRJANA
, 2
ND
A
PRIL
“Dear children, God’s love is in my
words. My children, this is the love that
wants to turn you towards justice and
truth. This is the love that wants to save
you from blunders. But you, my children?
Your hearts remain closed, they are hard
and they do not answer my calls, they are
not sincere. I pray for you with maternal
love because I want you all to rise up in
my Son. Thank you”.
Living in Medjugorje? …a lengthy pilgrimage
background image
7
Mary, our “Shepherdess” for
the last twenty-eight years
Every year thousands of priests fi ll the presb-
ytery of the Parish of Medjugorje to directly draw
from the grace that is abundantly fl owing forth
from that blessed site. Many bear witness to how
their priesthood is constantly renewed by their
meeting with Gospa, the Mother of the Church
and the mediatrix of all grace.
With the approach of the twenty-eighth anni-
versary of the apparitions, we interviewed a priest
from Italy’s Marche region, father Manlio, who is
an assiduous visitor to the Shrine.
What is Medjugorje for you?
Beginning from what I have read and from the
readings and refl ections made, Medjugorje is the
fi nal point and the completion of the message of
Fatima. John Paul II even went so far as to say
that today Medjugorje is the spiritual centre of the
world, although he did not offi cially speak about
this, in order to avoid compromising himself and
to avoid compromising a phenomenon that is still
ongoing.
Our Lady appeared a total of three times in
Fatima; in Medjugorje Our Lady has been co-
ming down from Heaven every day for 28 years!
Why such prolonged apparitions?
Because the situation of Christianity is very
critical and Our Lady is working to change it.
People still do not want to accept conversion of
the heart. Mary prays for this and she urges pe-
ople to pray; she wants to save the Church, the
family, couples, young people, she wants to save
the whole world! She has been appearing for such
a long time because she wants to create a model
of a Christian community that might know how
to welcome her messages and transform them into
life!
Why does Medjugorje continue to encounter op-
position?
Because so many bishops and priests are not
informed, they have failed to take an interest in
this phenomenon from the beginning and therefo-
re they are indifferent and apathetic, as though it
were a fact of devotionism.
What is most surprising about Medjugorje?
The rediscovery of faith, conversion. Those
who confess, personally touch this reawakening.
There people touch the miracle in various mo-
ments, under various forms. Many people who
pray and convert, countless prayer groups and
charitable associations that were founded there,
the expansion of the message everywhere. It is a
continuous miracle! The Church will have to deal
with this miracle. Medjugorje is the last step in the
work that Mary is doing in order to prepare the
coming of Jesus; because the triumph of Mary will
be the conclusion and it will come about through
the preparation of the Kingdom of Christ.
Is it right to return often to that place?
Yes, it is right, because we need to rechar-
ge ourselves and enrich ourselves spiritually.
Nowadays life is rife with problems and if we do
not refuel with graces that come to us from Mary,
it will be diffi cult for us to face up to the burdens
of everyday life.
It is known that the Church is currently under-
going a serious crisis from the point of view of
vocations, while many vocations come about in
Medjugorje from a living meeting with the Lord.
Do you think that this is meaningful?
Certainly! After the conversion of hearts, vo-
cations represent one of the best fruits.
One of the criticisms that these apparitions of-
ten come up against is that Our Lady speaks too
much. In the Gospel Mary limited herself to con-
templation, saying very few words, how can we
explain so many messages today?
I have my own opinion on this point. I had
also prepared an article in reference to the synod
of bishops which took place last October on the
Word of God. I compared the theme of the Word
of God with the word of Mary. Why does Our
Lady speak so much? In all the latest apparitions,
Our Lady has done nothing other than represent
the Gospel to us. This insistence has a precise si-
gnifi cance: Mary’s intention is to bring us back
to the essential, she wants to re-evangelise the
Church of today and I believe that She is the per-
son best suited for the job! This is why the Word
of God is not understood and accepted today; it is
as though people have become accustomed to it:
people think they already know everything! I am
convinced that Our Lady, as our Mother, wanted
to say to us that the Word as it is communicated to
us, is monotonous, cold, stale, a Word that no lon-
ger touches our hearts. We need a warmer Word,
a Word that comes from our Mother’s heart. Our
Lady wants to be today’s catechist.
First of all, she listened, she assimilated, as
saint Luke wrote. Mary listened, observed and
kept…This is because the moment was to come
when she would unveil the casket in which she
concealed God’s Word. Within the family the
father has one role and the mother has another:
she is more affectionate, she is more capable of
being understood and of sensing the needs of her
children. Our Lady wants to give this help to the
Church of today.
There is a title that Our Lady attributes to
herself during these times: she defi nes herself as
the Divine Shepherdess. If Christ is the Shepherd,
Mary is She who continues Christ’s work. Our
Lady has many titles!
How do Mary’s monthly messages enrich your
life as a priest?
I believe that we need to read them, medita-
te on them, screen them better and make them an
exegesis to come to an understanding of the logic
that connects them. They would appear to be the
same, almost monotonous. But there is something
deeper that cannot always be understood, like for
example the concept that it is only though prayer
that we can come to know God and His Will as
regards us. I refuse to say that they are simply
repetitive; they are as repetitive as the extent to
which we are unable to welcome them and expe-
rience them!
I hope that the day will come when all these mes-
sages that Our Lady gave in Lourdes, Fatima and
Medjugorje are welcomed and become the object
of a more in-depth study; I hope that an internatio-
nal committee might be established on these mes-
sages, because Our Lady cannot speak heedlessly,
and up to now she has not been given the attention
she deserves.
Jesus was “a sign of contradiction so that the se-
crets of many hearts might be unveiled”. Is this
the case for Mary today?
This goes without saying, there is no need to
be surprised about this! It is good that nowadays
there are some generous souls who diffuse her
messages and who have welcomed the invitation
to be Mary’s witnesses.
What is the future of Medjugorje?
The time will come in which the Church will
have to make a stance…
The voice that says
“My dear children…”
The pilgrims of
Medjugorje know that
“due to causes of force
majeure” father Jozo
cannot meet them,
as he used to do, in
the Church of Siroki
Brieg. But he has said
a lot over the past few
years. Let’s take a look
at some of his conside-
rations in order to cele-
brate the twenty-eighth
year of the apparitions
of the Queen of Peace
with him.
“Pilgrims come from all over the world
who have heard the voice saying “My dear
children”. How is it possible to hear this voi-
ce? Thousands of times the experts from the
committees have asked the visionaries: “Did
you hear the voice on the inside or the out-
side?” Did you hear “my dear children”, did
you hear Her voice like you hear mine?”
Our Lady is not dead, Our Lady is not
an idea, Our Lady is the Mother of God, Our
Lady knows how to talk because the Catholic
family risks collapse, and young people risk
dying…
Millions of pilgrims have been onto
Podbrdo, where Mary lives and waits…Her
presence is visible, palpable, she speaks in a
manner that we can understand, she teaches
in a manner that we can accept. Her healings,
her miracles have been great signs.
Come Holy Spirit, enable us too to an-
swer. We pray that everyone might wake up,
see, hear and answer the call. We are all cal-
led, not by chance. Let us pray to the Lord
that he might make us understand what he
wants from us, what he expects from us.
Medjugorje is not a show, it is not so-
mething strange that can replace our mission.
No! It is a set of open eyes that are meeting
what each of us is seeking: joy, peace, faith,
and love. For this great gift, let us pray that
our eyes might be opened.
(Father Jozo - from “Aiutiamoli”)
The “Mother” Jesus
“How true it is that
God is our Father,
So is it true that
God is our Mother…
Our most dear Mother Jesus.
Our Mother in nature,
Our Mother in Grace…
Because the service of the Mother
Is nearest,
Readiest and safest:
Nearest
Because it is the most natural,
Readiest because it is all love,
Safest because it is all truth”.
Julian of Norwich
English mystic (1342 -1416)
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8
“You created the universe
to spread your love over
all creatures
and to gladden them with
the splendours of your glory”.
(IV Eucharistic Prayer)
Villanova M., 10 may 2009
Echo invites you
In her messages, Mary often asks for our
help. Obviously somebody wants to impede
her work in Medjugorje, not to mention in
the world. We know that Mary’s work pas-
ses through her children, priests, and all the
people who welcome her message and her
protection. But Mary’s tools also seem to be
the object of the arrows of he who wishes to
impede her plan, a plan that we believe Echo
also expresses. For this reason, Echo needs
your help and is counting on you readers:
only in this manner will it be able to conti-
nue its work, that many people are asking for
from all parts. Mary is certainly happy to su-
stain it through you. And so you are very im-
portant for the Mother’s plan and for the life
of Echo. Yes, your prayer is essential, as is
your support. Perhaps in this manner we will
all become a vehicle of good for many.
Pietro Squassabia
Our readers write…
Evelyne Grousset from France: “I am al-
ways very glad to receive Echo so as to fi nd all
the news on Medjugorje; the articles are always
very interesting. It is a means of evangelisation.
Like your distributor, I also encounter, no
so much a refusal, although this came to me
from a person who is involved in the Church,
but a certain resistance, sometimes on the part
of Catholics and also on the part of religious
people. This pains me. Besides, other younger
people like to fi nd these teachings, especially
those who have not yet had the opportunity of
receiving a Catechist teaching. I am sending
you a modest offering, and I will renew it in a
few months. As you say, we must live in hope.
Mary always provides for us. In communion of
prayer and of heart with you. Please accept my
profound gratitude and my friendship.
Marie-Andrée Bisch from France: “I
would like to extend my thanks to you for your
admirable spiritual support, which you have
been sharing with us for many years and which
derives from the purest “Source”. Your Echo of
Mary is a pearl that all those to whom I regularly
send it are glad to receive. But your discretion
regarding your fi nancial needs has become too
great. It is easy for we readers to forget about
the “free nature” of your little magazine that we
hope to receive for a LONG TIME TO COME!
Do not lose this chain of friends that has been
created through Mary”.
Nicoletta di Salizzole -VR (Italy): I would
like to take this opportunity to thank you for
what you are doing with “ECHO”, you mana-
ge to keep me united with Medjugorje, where I
went on a pilgrimage for 3/4 consecutive years.
Then a serious car accident rendered me immo-
bile. After two years, I am slowly getting over
this period… Your little magazine, Echo of Mary,
has kept me united with that blessed land, full of
the Holy Spirit, where there is an indescribable
atmosphere and where it seems that you are in
another dimension…
A FRATERNAL EMBRACE TO THE
WHOLE WORLDWIDE COMMUNITY of the
Echo of Mary, Queen of Peace.
Tarceo Cinelli from Canada: “Echo of
Mary is a pleasure. It is as though I were recei-
ving “The Good News” addressed directly to me.
The Holy Mother is so near…I thank all of you at
Echo for this great work!!!”
Lisandro Portillo from Caracas
(Venezuela): “I would like to salute you throu-
gh this e-mail and wish you Peace in Christ and
the Blessing of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. I
am writing to you from Venezuela. My country
is currently experiencing a diffi cult period…pray
for us!”
Doober Alejandro Arias Torres da Tolima
(Colombia): “Dear friends from Echo of Mary, I
would like to humbly offer my prayers for the edi-
torial staff, the translators and the Management,
that you might continue with this precious work
of transmitting the Light that the Virgin Mary
sends us in Medjugorje with her messages of
love and peace”.
Ana María de Lourdes Zepeda de Fragoso
da León, Guanajuato (Mexico): “Dear frien-
ds from Echo, for twenty years we have been
spreading the Messages of the Queen of Peace,
we even bring Echo to the Archbishop of this
Dioceses of León and in all, we manage to di-
stribute about one thousand copies…never let it
cease!”
Rosa Hauser from Austria: “To the colla-
Echo fully relies on readers’
donations.
To all who have been instruments
of Providence for Echo, enabling us
to continue to help Mary reach her
children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
prayer and at Holy Mass.
If you desire a written response for
your donation, please kindly request
it. May God reward you and your
loved ones onehundredfold!
ECHO on line: www.ecodimaria.net
E-mail: info@ecodimaria.net
C
APABLE
OF
D
ISCERNING
THE
S
PIRITS
The guidance of the Spirit in the spiri-
tual pathway of every believer goes under
the name of discernment of the spirits. The
fi rst and fundamental discernment of the spi-
rits is that which allows us to distinguish the
“Spirit of God” from the “Spirit of the world”
(cf. 1 Cor 2, 12). Saint Paul provides some
objective criteria for discernment, the same
criteria that Jesus had given: that of the fruits.
The “works of the fl esh” reveal that a certain
desire comes from the old sinful man, “the
fruits of the Spirit” reveal that it comes from
the Spirit (cf. Gal 5, 19-22). “For the sinful
nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit,
and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful
nature” (Gal 5, 17).
On occasion however, these objective
criteria are not suffi cient because the choice
is not between good and evil, it is between
one form of good and another form of good
and it is a question of seeing what God wants,
in a precise circumstance. Saint Ignatius of
Loyola developed his doctrine on discer-
nment especially to meet this need. He invi-
tes us to look at one thing above all: our inte-
rior dispositions, the intentions (the “spirits”)
that lie behind a choice.
Saint Ignatius suggested certain practical
means by which to apply this criteria. One is
this. When we fi nd ourselves before two pos-
sible choices, we fi rstly need to linger on one,
as though we were to follow that one, then
remain in such a state for a day or more; then
assess the reaction of the heart before such a
choice: if it gives peace, if it is harmonised
with the rest of our choices; if something wi-
thin you encourages you in that direction, or
on the contrary if it leaves a veil of worry….
Repeat the process with the second hypothe-
sis. All of this in an atmosphere of prayer, of
abandonment to God’s will, of opening to the
Holy Spirit.
The danger, in certain modern ways of un-
derstanding and practising discernment, lies
in accentuating the psychological aspects to
such an extent that we forget the main agent
of all discernment, which is the Holy Spirit.
The concrete fruit of this meditation may
be a renewed decision to entrust ourselves
completely to the interior guidance of the
Holy Spirit, as though for a sort of “spiritual
direction”. We must not undertake anything
if it is not in the Holy Spirit. The brightest
example of this is to be found in Jesus’ life.
He never undertook anything without the
Holy Spirit. We need to abandon ourselves
to Him. Like good actors, we must keep an
ear out for the voice of our hidden prompter,
so as to faithfully recite our part in life’s sce-
ne. It is easier than we may think, because
our prompter speaks within us, he teaches
us everything, he educates us on everything.
Sometimes a simple inner glance is suffi cient,
a movement of the heart, or indeed a prayer.
Fr. Raniero Cantalmessa
(freely adapted from his homily)
borators at Echo: please continue with Echo. I
willingly distribute it (94 copies) because it is so
joyously received everywhere. It would be a real
pity if I were to no longer be able to distribute it.
I would like to thank you all wholeheartedly for
your commitment and your efforts. I greet you
with great affection”.