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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 207 (November-December 2009)

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Message of September 25, 2009
“Dear children, with joy, persistently
work on your conversion. Offer all your
joys and sorrows to my Immaculate Heart
that I may lead you all to my most beloved
Son, so that you may fi nd joy in His Heart.
I am with you to instruct you and to lead
you towards eternity. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
Working
on our own conversion
The conversion that Mary invites us
towards (this is the fi fth appeal in these last
eight messages) is necessary for our lives. It
is essential to prevent them from becoming
attened by the physical or biological
dimension but rather, it must elevate them
to the eternity towards which God called
them. To avoid any misunderstanding, it may
be a good idea to reiterate the fact that our
terrestrial existence is not only something
that prepares us for eternal life, which is
understood to mean life after death; eternal
life begins in this world, it is life in the Holy
Spirit, life lived in the Grace of God. This
awareness must illuminate and direct our
actions, our choices, our relations, our plans,
everything that we think, that we do, that we
plan, that we fear, that we hope…
Day after day, we must walk with
God, breathe in his Holy Spirit, so that
progressively, but with continuous and
unstoppable progression, Jesus might live in
us. This is living the conversion that Mary calls
us towards. It is not an easy journey, it is not
a choice made once and for all, but a practice
that is expressed in all circumstances, and that
requires humility, vigilance, determination
and above all, faithful abandonment to the
Father’s Will. Dear children, insistently and
joyously work on your conversion. This is
how Mary exhorts us and it is an invitation
that is more accurate and anxious than ever.
We are attentive towards the work that assures
our material subsistence, but we are not so
quick to recognise the importance of the
work that Mary invites us to engage in; yet it
is this work that builds our eternity; all other
work has a much more limited aim, although
it is important or necessary. Therefore, we
must work on our conversion, but not
only this, we need to work insistently, that
is, assiduously, with determination, with
commitment and again, this is not enough,
Mary also asks us to work joyously. This
is not an exorbitant request, actually, it
underlines the characteristic of everything
that we do out of pure love. It is true joy, pure
joy, because in this case we not only savour
human love, but actually, God’s Love! And
our conversion is rooted and grows in this
experience.
Mary is with us on this journey: I am
with you to teach you and to guide you
towards eternity. What else do we expect?
Let it not happen to us that we did not know
the time of our visitation (cfr Luke 19, 41-
44)! Mary not only recalls us but she also
suggests a concrete pathway, to work towards
our conversion: Offer all your joys and your
sadness to my Immaculate heart. We offer
Mary whatever She asks us and let it be an
offering of love, a gift from loving children
and along with this, all the things that press
on our hearts, so that every part of us might
be purifi ed by her state of being Immaculate
and in this way, that she might guide all of
us to her chosen Son, so that we might fi nd
joy in his heart. In Jesus we can come to
know joy, true joy, not transient joy, because
it resides in communion with Jesus and it
cannot be corroded by the circumstances of
life. This is the joy that also accompanies us
through diffi culties and in times of sadness,
that allows us to announce God’s Love even
in the darkest night!
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“God’s eternal today descended to the
transitory today of the world and it
drags our transitory today into God’s
perennial today. God is so great that
he can make himself small. God is so
powerful that he can make himself
helpless and come towards us like a
defenceless child, so that we might love
him. God is so good that he renounces
his divine splendour and descends into
the stable, so that we might fi nd him
and so that his goodness might also
touch us, be communicated to us and
continue to operate through us. This is
Christmas”.
Benedict XVI
Message of October 25, 2009
“Dear children! Also today I bring you
my blessing, I bless you all and I call you
to grow on this way, which God has begun
through me for your salvation. Pray,
fast and joyfully witness your faith, little
children, and may your heart always be
fi lled with prayer. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
The pathway
that God has commenced
This is a message that should be listened
to and meditated on like all others, but that
should be kept in your hearts with particular
care because it carries a seed that would
appear to promise a bloom that is fi nally near:
the conclusion of the pathway that God
commenced through Mary.
As always, but this time I feel the duty to
declare it openly, I turn to Mary’s intercession
to ensure that my words are not a source of
disturbance to hers.
Dear children, once again today I bring
you my blessing and I bless all of you and
invite you to grow on this pathway that God
commenced through Me for your salvation.
First of all we have her blessing. It is a great
gift that should not be underestimated in
the least. Her blessing allows the journey to
begin for those who have not yet set out, it
allows those who are already on the road to
proceed, and for those who are already near
their destination, it allows them to run; in
fact, her blessing is for everyone and we all
need it. Because this is a road that does not
remain outside of us, but that is part of us,
of our person and our nature, which is truer,
divine and not terrestrial and eternal.
We need to grow, like God’s children,
we need to grow as God’s children. And who
better than Mary can be our Mother? I invite
you to grow on this road that God started
through Me for your salvation. This road
that was commenced by God through Her, this
road that is Mary, is the road through which
God came to the world, he was born in Man,
it is the road through which the world will
fi nd salvation. “The salvation of the world
commenced through Mary, again, through
Mary it must be fulfi lled” (Saint Louis Marie
Grignon de Montfort: A treatise on true
devotion to Mary, thesis 49). This road is the
same one that passes through Lourdes, Fatima,
Medjugorje and many other places scattered
throughout the world, which are more or less
well-known, offi cially recognised or not, but
always saving when visited by Her.
Already in the messages of the 25
th
of
August and the 25
th
of September of the year
1991, Mary refers to Fatima, declaring, in the
fi rst one, that in Medjugorje she wants to fulfi l
what she commenced in Fatima and in the
November-December 2009 - Year 25 # 11-12 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
207
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second one, asking for help in the triumph of
Her Immaculate Heart. This road, that God
commenced, will be brought to fulfi lment
by Him; Christ will return, according to
Scripture, and God Himself will be with them
and be their God. And God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes; there shall be no
more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There
shall be no more pain, for the former things
have passed away.”(cfr. Ap 21, 3-4)
Pray, fast and joyfully bear witness
with your faith, children, and your hearts
will always be fi lled with prayer. From the
fi rst days of her presence in Medjugorje,
Mary invited us to pray and fast, but many of
us neglect to engage in such activities or we
reduce them to an external tribute that does
not involve the heart. Let us ensure that we
do not reduce prayer to a verbal expression
that is born on the lips and stops there, let
us make it into a gesture of the heart that is
perhaps expressed without words but with
wailings of love. May our hearts always be
fi lled with prayer, that the words articulated
on our lips might have wings.
N.Q.
Giving a voice
to Africa
“Dear friends,
I am writing to you from Rome, where I’m
participating in the bishops’ synod on Africa.
It’s late in the evening. When I got up this
morning, in a hotel room near St. Peter’s, for
a moment I felt that I was out of
place. “On a day like this, I should
be at home, on my mission, in Lira,
in Africa!, I instinctively thought.
But then I immediately became
aware of the fact that it was Africa
that brought me to Rome. Along
with other bishops, I was in fact
chosen by the bishop’s conference
to represent Uganda at the second
special assembly of the synod of
bishops for Africa”.
This is what was written by
Father Giuseppe Franzelli, the bishop of
Lira (Uganda), who was present as he himself
recounts, at the special Assembly for Africa:
an occasion of grace to immerse ourselves
amidst the folds and the wounds of the African
continent as Father Giuseppe tells us: “it is still
affected by various armed confl icts but even
more so by poverty, adverse climatic conditions,
environmental degradation, corruption, exploi-
tation of its natural resources by foreign
multinationals, with the complicity of local
governments, extensive social injustice, illnesses
such as malaria, tuberculosis and obviously
AIDS recurrent droughts and consequent
famines which are actually the cause of further
divisions, injustice and new confl icts.
And so here I am in Rome, from the 4
th
to
the 25
th
of October, with over 240 bishops
who have joined the Pope to engage in an
intense exchange of experiences, discussions,
prayer and discernment in an attempt to
identify pathways and concrete means by
which to build peace, to re-establish justice and
to reconcile a continent that has been wounded
by too many divisions. For this reason, despite
being far from my people, I am happy to be
here, in a moment when the universal Church
is putting Africa at the centre of its attention”.
“Africa, be brave,
get up and walk!”
These words marked the end of the long
Message addressed to everyone, in which
the bishops summed up the fruit of their
refl ections and their plans to be implemented
in the dioceses from now on. We’ve included
some particularly suggestive extracts from
it so as to be participants in the fate of this
extraordinary land, which, who knows why,
has been destined for centuries to bear very
heavy crosses.
We are living in a world that is full of
contradictions and that is experiencing a
terrible crisis. Science and technology are
taking enormous steps in all aspects of life,
providing humanity with everything that it
needs to make our planet a marvellous place
for all of us. Nevertheless, the tragic situations
of refugees, extreme poverty, illnesses and
hunger are still killing thousands of people
every day.
In all of this, Africa is the hardest hit. It
is rich with human and natural resources, but
a large portion of our population is left to fend
for itself in poverty and misery, in war and
confl icts, amidst crises and chaos. Very rarely
is all of this caused by natural disasters. But
rather, it is mostly due to human actions and the
decisions of people who have no consideration
for the common good.
This is often due to
tragic complicity and
criminal conspiracy
amidst the locals who are
responsible, as well as
foreign interests.
But Africa must
not lose hope. God’s
blessings are still abundant
and they are waiting to be
taken advantage of with
prudence and justice,
in favour of his children….There is lots of
good news in different parts of Africa. But
the means of modern communication often
prefer bad news and they seem to concentrate
on our disgraces and faults, rather than on the
positive efforts that we are making. Nations
have come out of long years of war and they
are gradually moving on the pathways of peace
and prosperity. …We would indistinctly invite
everyone to collaborate in order to welcome
the challenges of Reconciliation, Justice and
Peace in Africa. Many people are suffering
and dying: there’s no time to waste.
We would invite everyone to reconcile
with God. This is what opens up the pathway
of true reconciliation between people. This is
what can break the vicious circle of offence,
revenge and counterattacks. In all of this, the
virtue of forgiveness is crucial, even before
any admission of guilt. Those who say that
forgiveness does not work, should try to
act out revenge and see what happens. True
forgiveness promotes the justice of repentance
and reparation, which lead to a peace that goes
beyond the roots of the confl ict that make
those who were victims and enemies, friends,
brothers and sisters. Because it is God who
makes this type of reconciliation possible.
2
In SUDAN
terrible massacres of Christians
The Synod for Africa dedicated special
attention to Sudan, a country divided between
the mostly Arab north, which has imposed
the law of the Koran, and the south, which is
Christian, and animist. Attacks on Christians
are on the rise, reports Monsignor Kussala,
a bishop from the country: “On the 13
th
of
August last, the rebels entered the church
of my parish and took many hostages. They
killed seven of them as they were escaping
into the forest: they crucifi ed them on the
trees”.
Living the Gospel is a diffi cult choice in
Sudan, you run the risk of martyrdom: “We
live in this sense, because they are killing
people, they are burning their homes, their
churches: this is martyrdom”. Christians are
living in fear. “But we do not want to die:
all of this strengthens people’s faith, people
continue to come to church”.
Source: ZENIT
Many sons and daughters of Africa
have left their homes to seek a life in other
continents. Many of them are happy and are
making a valid contribution to the life of their
new country of residence. Others are struggling
to survive. We would recommend to all of
them to pay adequate pastoral attention to the
Church, God’s Family, wherever they are. “I
was a stranger and you took me in” (Mt 25,
35) is not only a parable about the end of the
world, but also a duty to be fulfi lled today.
Africa is in need of holy politicians to
clear this continent of corruption, who might
work for the good of the people and know
how to bring together other men and women
of good will outside of the Church to unite
against the common evils that assail our
nations.
God’s family extends beyond the visible
confi nes of the Church, it includes the whole
of humanity. When we think of themes such as
reconciliation, justice and peace, we all meet
on a deeper level of our common humanity.
This project involves everyone and requires
common action. Let us raise our voices then
for an appeal to all men and women of good
will. In a particular way we are addressing
those with whom we profess the same faith
in Jesus Christ, and also men and women of
other faiths.
The multinationals must stop the
criminal devastation of the environment for
their greedy exploitation of natural resources.
The incitement of wars to obtain quick profi ts
from chaos is a shortsighted policy, the price of
which is human lives and blood. Is it possible
that nobody is able to or wants to interrupt
these crimes against humanity?
Africa is not impotent. Our destiny is
still in our hands. All it asks is space in which
to breathe and to prosper. Africa is already up
and running and the Church is moving with it,
offering it the light of the Gospel. The waters
may be stormy, but with our gaze fi xed on
Christ the Lord (cfr. Mt 14, 28-32) we will
certainly arrive at the port of reconciliation,
justice and peace.
Africa, rise, take up your bed and walk!
(John 5, 8).
Red.
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of wheat; if the priest does not experience this
dynamic of transformation, he risks rotting
rather than growing in the great gift that God
entrusted to him.
God does not want super men, and brother
Charles was not a super man, he wants men
who know their place. This place is the fullness
and harmony of the whole being in its totality;
and so, blessed is the man who knows how to
seek God’s will in everything, who knows how
to fl ee all falsity, hypocrisy, pride, arrogance,
all things that cause the grain of wheat to rot.
Brother Charles would say: blessed is he who
knows how to choose the last place, because
God dwells in him and whoever fi nds Him fi nds
everything.
All men are of God
Lastly, the good Charles understands that
the priesthood requires universal charity,
unconditional consecration to all men. In his
need to imitate Christ, he opens himself up
to the Muslims and in particular to the tribe
of Tuareg, so that they might be summed up
in Christ, and he does this with an example,
silence, joy, availability, trust, in total simplicity
he announced the gospel through virtues. Words
were not important, but that the Word might live
in him.
If God invites us through the Church to
refl ect on the priesthood, it is because he wants
to reawaken his priestly people (be it ministerial
or regal); he wants to free it from the spirit of
the world, to give it his Spirit; he wants to open
it up to universal charity, intended as service
to the whole of creation scattered through the
universe. May God, who is the Father, help us
to recognise and live this time of grace, and may
his saints along with the Blessed Virgin Mary
intercede for each of us, so that each of us might
utter our “yes” to God and to his works.
3
Echo 207
In the last place
by Antonio Gacioppo
In the year consecrated to the priesthood,
the Church proposes different models of
priestly life to its children. Each of
these opens up a glimmer of light
over what is the only priesthood:
that of Christ, which each baptised
person participates in, although in
a different way.
With his simple life, the little
universal brother Charles de
Foucauld can help us to grasp
some elements that are necessary
in order to experience a holy and
immaculate priesthood and thus
answer the Spirit’s voice and the
needs of the Church. A little allusion
to Frère Charles’ priestly journey
will enable us to understand what
counts in his priesthood: living
Christ’s life, imitating him in everything.
Being the last one
Initially, when faced with the proposal from
the superiors of the Trappist Order to become
a priest, he refused, because for him, being a
priest is not being in the last place; the priest
must direct, teach and be honoured, while
Charles de Foucauld wants to be hidden, he
doesn’t want to have any recognised place, he
wants to be socially the last one, always poorer
than Jesus, reproducing the silence of Nazareth
within himself. He wants to experience what
the Gospel teaches us; his only measurement
stick for relating to God and with God’s gifts:
“choose the last place”.
“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said
to them: If anyone wants to be fi rst, he shall be
last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9, 35).
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor
a servant above his master. It is enough for a
disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant
like his master” (Mt 10, 24-25).
“But do not be called teachers, for one is
your teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest
among you shall be your servant. And whoever
exalts himself will be humbled, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt 23, 11-
12).
Lastly, in Luke’s gospel, in which there is a
specifi c mention of the choice of places, Charles
de Foucauld understands three fundamental
things: “…do not sit down in the best place…
give place to this man…go and sit down in the
lowest place…” (Luke 14, 7-11).
However, it happens in Nazareth, after
some time spent in prayer and refl ection, on the
26
th
of April 1900, he accepts the priesthood.
He understands that it can be reconciled with
poverty and with the lowest place so longed
for, actually, it is the most perfect imitation of
Jesus. When Charles places himself before the
priesthood and allows himself to be interrogated
by it, a change occurs in his life, which consists
not so much in his ordination as a priest as such,
but in a deeper comprehension of the fact that
he is living for Christ.
This year dedicated to the priesthood –
during which all the faithful are involved – offers
us the possibility of turning our lives around,
like Charles de Foucauld. The grace of this
year must introduce us to the mystery of Christ
the most high priest, who helps us to celebrate
our holy and spiritual faith with him, which is
pleasing to God (cfr. Rm 12). Every Christian
is marked by priestly unction so that he might
stand before God
the Father, offering
him his life so as to
become a channel
of his merciful
love towards every
reality.
Every turning
point is a conver-
sion, a return to
the essential, and
with his experience,
Charles de Foucauld
teaches us to retrieve
some very important
parts of spiritual life
without which we
would risk living a life of faith fl attened by
devotionalism and not centred on the power of
the Risen Christ.
Victim with Jesus
The
fi rst thing that urges Charles de
Foucauld to think about the priesthood is the
Eucharist, he however does not see himself as a
multiplier of rites, but as he says: offering Jesus
to the Father on the altar for his glory and the
salvation of men in the holy Eucharist, like he
offered himself at the supper; also means that
the priests must offer themselves with Jesus on
the cross, suffering, with Jesus, the agony, the
passion and the death in the measure that Jesus
wants to call them to share his cup and to be
victims with him. Everything can be summed up
by saying that also on the altar, the priest must
take the last place, that is, that of the crucifi x,
the sacrifi cial lamb, giving himself for the fl ock
that God entrusted to him.
Charles de Foucauld refuses the fi rst place –
that many seek out of pure human ambition or
because it is a place of command, to direct the
faithful according to your own way of seeing
things – because he perceives that priestly
power that is given to him from the Spirit of
God is for the service of the poor of Jahvé, who
need the priest to offer himself as well as the
Easter victim, to open up the pathway not with
words but with the power of the sacrifi ce of
Christ working within them.
The grain that does not rot
Another thing that Brother Charles
understands well is that the priesthood requires
an absolute donation to Jesus: martyrdom.
The true martyr is he who gives his life lovingly
and the priesthood cannot be detached from this
reality, otherwise we become detached from the
Victim.
Before being killed, brother Charles
intended to write to a cousin of his, with whom
he had a very close relationship; in the letter he
made reference to the extract from the Gospel in
which there is talk of the grain of wheat. “Unless
a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,
it remains alone” (John 12,24). Being in the last
place means living the dynamics of the grain
I
N
THE
YEAR
DEDICATED
TO
THE
P
RIESTHOOD
The laypeople who are
“jointly responsible”
with the clerg
During a Conference in Rome some
time ago, Benedict XVI offered a new look
at the lay people in the Church. Recalling
the fruits of the Second Vatican Council in
his intervention, the Pope highlighted the
constant tendency to identify the Church with
the hierarchy.
In particular, the Pope identifi ed the
danger of a purely sociological vision of the
notion of God’s People, observing that the
Council did not intend to provoke a fracture,
another Church, “but a veritable renewal, in
the continuity of the only subject which is the
Church, which grows over time and develops,
remaining always identical, the only subject
of God’s People on a pilgrimage”.
“This requires a change of mentality
regarding lay people in particular – the Holy
Father underlined – going from considering
them “collaborators” of the clergy to
recognising them as truly “jointly responsible
for the being and for the action of the Church,
favouring the consolidation of a mature and
committed laity”.
Red.
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4
At the hour
of our death
by Stefania Consoli
Hail Mary! I salute you, full of every grace
and I pray to you: remember me, especially at
the hour in which I will leave my body…
We all repeat this, perhaps with a little
distraction, almost without listening to the
words that we ourselves repeat. But the Virgin
on the other hand is attentive, and each time
that we recite the Hail Mary,
she listens to our fear: do not
leave us alone when we can
no longer hold our breath,
when the unknown takes the
place of a dear and well-
known existence…
But if that moment seems
to be far away (by his nature,
man removes the idea of
death), there are many deaths
that we must deal with on a daily basis, more
or less consciously. We need to realise this.
Is the fact that we benevolently accept
situations that we are advertent to not perhaps
a death? Is it not a death leaving people we
love, safe places, and old habits, to follow
those sudden swerves that life often puts in
our way? And when we would like to shout
out our reasons before what we believe to be
unjust and rather, we choose to put disdain
aside to make space for forgiveness? Death
is also when we feel defeated, disappointed,
abandoned…
My mother, stay with me during those
Following in the
footsteps of Our Lady
It sometimes seems as though sin grips us
in a siege and that evil prospers undisturbed
everywhere. Humanity appears to be suffocated
by disorder, illnesses, despair…We know that all
of this is the bitter consequence of man’s original
sin, of his rebellion against the Creator, which
unfortunately often touches us up close. We ask
ourselves what we can do to be witnesses of a new
life in Jesus Christ, victorious over death and sin.
God’s greatest desire is for us to return to
Him, to harmony with He who preceded original
sin. This can only come about through a gradual
pathway of renunciation to ourselves, of sacrifi ce,
real communion that makes us pure, or better,
purifi ed, renewed, and reintegrated in the divine
grace that is life. In a word, it makes us God’s
immaculate children (cfr. Phil 2, 15).
The pathway towards an “immaculate” state
necessarily passes through the offering of life,
which is the culmination of our love for God,
and also the obligatory passage towards the
resurrection. By renouncing to avail of ourselves in
order to leave all interior space to God, we allow
Him to live, think, act in us and through us. And
so we purify ourselves, transforming ourselves into
new creatures, capable of overcoming logic and the
structures that the world imposes on us or that we
ourselves build for ourselves and that infl uence us.
This allows us to live “immaculately”, capable
of elevating our gaze and it opens us up to new
points of view from which to observe reality. And
so our interior life becomes acute because it is
purifi ed, rendered immaculate by God’s gaze which
scrutinizes us and knows us (cfr. Psalm 139).
The condition of being immaculate does not
make us into “supermen”. We remain weak and
in need of grace. Nevertheless, united with God
and given to Him with purity, we can conquer
our inclination towards sin and rebellion more
easily and if we make mistakes, we manage to love
ourselves and look at ourselves with mercy.
In his goodness, God gives us a gift of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, our Immaculate Mother, the
only creature to be immaculate from the time of
conception. She offers herself for us and with us,
and she opens up the road for us to become a new
humanity on a pathway towards the state of fullness
in God.
M.A.
Devotion to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary
To understand devotion to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary a brief indication here may
suffi ce. In the language of the Bible, “Heart” means
the centre of human existence, the convergence
of reason, will, temperament and sensitivity, in
which the person fi nds his unity and his interior
direction. According to Mt 5,8, the “immaculate
heart” is a heart that, beginning from God, reached
a perfect interior unity and therefore “sees God”.
“Devotion” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is
therefore approaching this behaviour of the heart,
in which the fi at – “thy will be done” – becomes
the informing core of the whole of existence.
“My Immaculate Heart will triumph”.
This is a keyword of the “secret of Fatima” which
“Queen of my heart,
how much you cried down here
to attract me to you!
Carefully meditating your life in the Gospel,
I dare to look at you and approach you.
It is not diffi cult for me to believe
that I am one of your daughters,
because I see you as mortal
and suffering like me...
You appear to me, Mary, at the summit
of Mount Calvary,
standing by the cross, like a priest
on the altar;
offering, to appease the Father’s justice,
the sweet Emanuel, your beloved Jesus.
Desolate Mother, a prophet said it:
There is no pain, similar to your pain!
Oh Queen of martyrs, remaining abandoned,
you pour out all the blood
of your heart for us!
I will soon listen
to the sweet celestial harmony:
I will soon come to see you in heaven!
You smiled at me in the morning of life,
come to smile at me again, Mother,
because evening is descending!
I no longer fear the splendour
of your supreme glory:
I have suffered with you
and I still want to sing on your knees,
Mary, because I love you
and I want to always repeat
that I am your daughter!”.
Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus
moments. Without your help, I feel lost. What
was going well before is suddenly no longer
right, and I am not…
When faced with the death that threatens
us in various aspects, we instinctively defend
ourselves: we are created for life, not for
destruction! For this reason, rebellion comes
about in all of our limbs. But it is annulment that
God chose as the main pathway; foolishness
for the human mind, and nevertheless, utmost
knowledge as it is the prelude of a risen life.
In a surprising way, Christ changed the sign
of death: removing its characteristic of being
defi nitive, he made it a simple passage. But
it is so terrible sometimes
to experience it, and what
a sense of loss, what a
struggle that is unleashed
in our whole being! It
becomes a real tragedy for
living man…
For this reason we invoke
Mary, our mother, our sister,
our friend who already
inhabits eternity with her
immaculate body. She will remain alongside
us to teach us abandonment to God, like in that
hour experienced by her Son on the cross. She
will tell us how to wait trustingly and calmly,
like in those moments when she herself died to
her own will so as to fulfi l divine will.
The new creature that asks to be born in
us needs these continuous deaths, which are
necessary in order to purify the old and prepare
the space for what will no longer be subject to
corruption. We must only believe it.
Pray for us, then, Mary! Now….because it
seems like a time of death. Remain with me, I
am afraid…Let me pass through your heart:
“And so although he existed in the form
of a God, the Son of God lowered the
heavens and descended to his servants…
fulfi lling the newest thing of all, the only
thing that was truly new underneath the
sun, through which God’s infi nite power
was actually manifested…
God wants to rest in us, he wants to
renew nature also through our conversion,
he wants to make us participants in his
divinity.”
(B. XVI, general audience 6
th
May 2009)
her state of being immaculate will transform
the abyss that is swallowing me, in a life that
no longer dies.
has rightly become famous. What does this
mean? The Heart open to God, purifi ed by the
contemplation of God is the strongest of guns and
weapons of all kinds. Mary’s fi at, the word of her
heart, changed the history of the world, because
it introduced the Saviour to this world – because
thanks to this “Yes”, God was able to become a
man in our space and he remains such now and
forever. The devil has power in this world, we
see it and experience it continuously, and he has
power, because our freedom constantly allows
itself to be deterred from God.
But since God himself has a human heart and
has therefore turned man’s freedom towards good,
towards God, freedom for evil no longer has the
last word. Since that time, these words are valid:
“In the world you will have tribulation, but be in
good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16,
33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in
this promise.
Joseph Ratzinger +
(from: A theological comment to the message of Fatima)
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5
We can give heaven
“We cannot meet Jesus to come to know him,
love him, imitate him, without a real, constant,
obstinate appeal to the gospel; without this appeal
being intimately part of our life; and so every little
action is an immense event in which we are given
paradise, in which we must give paradise. It doesn’t
matter what we must do: hold a sweeping brush in
our hands or a calligraphy pen. Speak or remain in
silence, mend or hold a conference, take care of an
ill person or type on a typewriter. All of this is not
the rind of splendid reality, the meeting of the soul
with God that is renewed every minute, that grows
in grace every minute, more and more beautiful for
its God.
Seek the roots of the Gospel amidst the needy:
what I propose is the lessening of suffering and an
increase of happiness. It is a question of approaching
the people who were “skinned alive” and so suffer
only by touching them, people who must be met
with sweetness. But what is sweetness? It is what
manages to touch without wounding, accompanied
by joy. This is that paradise that is received in
prayer and given as a gift during the meeting.
We are not asked to be strong during moments
of suffering. The wheat is not asked to be strong
when it is being ground, but to allow the grindstone
of the mill to make fl our of it”.
Madeleine Debrel (1904-1964)
God’s Face
When the Father asked the Son to come
to earth to make all things new, he said: I am
about to entrust you with a diffi cult duty, it is
true, but I am offering you a valid form of help:
you will see my presence everywhere, you
will see my likeness, my Face in the whole of
creation. In this way I will be with you in the
mission that I am about to entrust you with.
And so, the Son, who fully shared the Father’s
wish, came to earth and transformed it,
according to the Father’s will, and he made it
all new and beautiful. And then, as though by
enchantment, the wisdom of the Lord fi lled the
whole earth and a marvellous transformation
came about, which was such that the wolf also
shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall
lie down with the young goat, the calf and
the young lion and the fatling together; And
a little child shall lead them. The cow and the
bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie
down together; And the lion shall eat straw
like the ox, the nursing child shall play by the
cobra’s hole (Is 11, 5) and men will be given
the ability to do good, unlike before.
Then the people discovered God’s love
throughout the whole of creation, that they
now saw with new eyes and with a sense of
surprise, they recognised his face in others
and in creation. They understood the beauty
of the universe that they saw as God’s work,
as a marvellous gift of his love, a gift to be
welcomed and valued and to be exchanged
reciprocally. Then to his friends who asked for
explanations for this all new beauty, the Son
unveiled this secret saying: I loved the people
and the things created not for themselves, but
because I could see in them the Face of the
Father, because in them I loved the Father.
And so loving the Father in them, I loved them
with an immense love, the same love as that
which links me to the Father. It was this love
that made all things new, nothing else. Then
he added: you too will be able to do as much;
you too will be able to contribute with Me to
making all things new, if you perceive the Face
of the Father in others and in the creation, if
you love the Father in others and in creation.
Only in this manner will your trials not be in
vain, only in this way you will not take the
evil received into account. Only in this way
you will not be slaves of the idols that offer
S
I M P L E
T H O U G H T S
by Pietro Squassabia
you freedom, as they always take something
away, until such time as also taking your lives
away.
And so Jesus, we ask you to always give
us new eyes, capable of seeing the face of the
Father in people and in creation. Actually, we
ask you to give us your eyes to see the Father
and all things as you see them.
Bethlehem is in joy
How beautiful Bethlehem is today! It
is different. It seems to express a great joy.
Certainly it is the joy of God for his return to
earth thanks to a young Woman. Her joy is
endless, so much so that you can perceive it
everywhere, even beyond Bethlehem.
God rejoices for the small and humble
Woman who was fully available for his coming
and so he elected her as Mother, making her
joy complete. Yes, the Child, who became a
Mother, allows her Lord to fulfi l the “dream”:
that of returning to earth to remain with men,
to share life with them, after his distance due
to the ancient refusal. God waited for this
moment for so long because he always wanted
to return to earth from the time man refused
him, from the time man preferred to refuse the
terrestrial paradise, that paradise that the pre-
sence of God had just brought about on earth.
Now the womb of a young Woman brought
him back among us and he rests as a Child in a
manger, within a stable, made beautiful by the
presence of the Son and the Mother. But let us
not be sad if the Son was “forced” to be born
in a stable. He is certainly very happy to be in
a stable as long as he can live with us. Let us
be sad rather if our hearts no longer welcome
him, if they refuse to meet Him, who is God,
who came here especially to be with us.
His love for man will never abandon him,
not even during the most diffi cult moments,
not even on the cross, to the extent that he
says: “I am thirsty”, not for water, but rather,
for friendship from man…
The Child who comes during this
Christmas will perhaps recall us of this: God’s
constant desire to remain with us, to share his
joy with us. And so, let us not be indifferent
to his coming, let us be ready to welcome
him. May the Mother, who rejoices with the
Son and with us, help us to always readily
welcome the Child, whenever He comes.
Liturgy suggests…
Our immaculate offering makes the Word topical
The Order of the Readings for the Mass invites the faithful to give an effective answer
to the Word listened to, not only with prayer, but also with the “offering of ourselves”.
This expression recalls the words of Mary and her total availability for God’s plan:
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done onto me according to his will”
(Luke 1, 38). This fundamental spiritual disposition, which is to be stimulated during
the liturgy of the word, explodes in fullness during the second part of the Mass – the
Eucharistic liturgy – and precisely in the Eucharistic Prayer, of which the offering is
one of the main elements: “…the Church, and that gathered during that moment and in
that place in particular, offers the Father the immaculate victim in the Holy Spirit. The
Church wants the faithful not only to offer the immaculate victim, but it also wants
them to learn to offer themselves” (Principles and Regulations for the use of the
Roman Missal 55f). In the Eucharist, all the potential of the word of God, proclaimed in
the fi rst part of the Mass, thus reaches the fullness of realisation. As a consequence, the
answer to the Word also reaches the utmost expression.
(Taken from: Il rito della Messa – d. Ferdinando Cappelletti)
The Message to Mirjana
on the 2
nd
of October 2009:
“Dear children, as I am looking at you, my
heart is gripped with pain. Where are you going,
my children? Are you so immersed in sin that you
cannot stop? You justify yourselves with sin and
you live according to it.
Kneel down under the cross and look at my
Son. He conquered sin and he died so that you,
my children, might live. Let me help you so that
you might not die, but that you might live with my
Son forever. Thank you!”.
Perhaps our collective “step” is so quick that
it seems impossible to stop, so much so that Mary
is forced to ask us: Where are you going, my
children? …do you not know how to stop? It would
be honest to answer her truthfully: “No, Mother,
we cannot stop, because this crazy journey that
involves insane humanity is automatically moving
our steps and we are no longer aware of where we
are being brought…”.
What a tragedy! This is true sin: man created
in God’s image, provided with intelligence and
a spirit capable of giving him the gift of Divine
Knowledge, is no longer the master of himself and
is no longer capable of controlling the obscure
forces that move him. Sin blinds us and in addition
to this, we take it as our defender: you justify
yourselves with sin, comments Mary, tight in her
mantle of Our Lady of Sorrow. And so, while sin
makes us slaves, we continue to run towards a gulf
of alienation, of death.
But there is a place, a resting point where
Mary offers us an appointment. She is already
there, standing upright, she’s been there for
two thousand years; and she’s keeping watch.
From beneath Jesus’ cross, Mary looks at us and
proposes that we look at her Son: a game of gazes
that saves us, that creates links of communion that
evil cannot break into because pure love fl ows, the
Spirit fl ows, which is only life, life forever.
Let us ask our pride to bend its knees. It is the
only way to stop. Only in this way will we fi nally
be able to open our eyes and understand where we
are really going.
S.C.
background image
6
Approved
at
all costs
Medjugorje criticised? Just as well!
Medjugorje attacked and misunderstood?
Blessed be God! Medjugorje the object of
slander and gossip, that everyone’s talking
about? Thank Heavens!
Anyone who believes that such an
important and decisive event can have an easy
life, applause and human consent, is probably
deluded, and in any case, they haven’t given
due consideration to the pathway traced out
by Jesus, who chose to be a stumbling block,
who lived to die on the cross, to be a source
of scandal for the pagans and foolishness for
the Judeans; who proposed his persecution to
his own, dishonour for Peter himself, the head
of the apostles…Yet this is all that counts for
Christ’s disciples. Certainly not as a cause of
suffering as an end to itself, obviously, but as
the only way of salvation, of resurrection.
And so why should people be so bothered
about hearsay? Why should they be so agitated
if they are misunderstood, or worse, vilifi ed?
Why should we want the reality of Medjugorje
to be recognised at all costs, to feel alright,
instead of worrying about being recognised by
God like those who really follow the pathway
of his Son, insulted per excellence, but also
only and last Truth?
Many, too many compromises occupy
a place in the hearts and the habits of those
who welcomed the presence of Mary in
Medjugorje: just to be accepted, people agree
to remain in silence, to don a mask, to restrict
to bland devotions something that should be
a passionate and radical journey to the school
of the Queen of Peace; who is tender but
also unmoving in her requests for absolute
conversion, without half measures.
On one hand we are attracted by the
promises of the Heavens, on the other hand
we would like them to be offered to us on a
silver platter! We need to decide. The pathway
proposed by the Virgin is another one. She is
not the “celestial mummy” who wants us to
remain children, willing to go to Medjugorje
only to suck sweets and feel well; only to
experience extraordinary feelings to tell to
colleagues and friends about upon our return,
or to be part of a movement that makes us
feel less alone. Mary came to put an end to
any arrangement that manipulates grace for
human interests, for little benefi ts of power,
for affi rmation over others, and even for
fi nancial profi ts…
Do the press, the mass media spread
unfavourable assessments? Then in order
to have an easy life, we hold them out with
extreme ease as scapegoats so that they might
be lapidated: “….it would be good if one man
died for the people…”, (cfr. John 18,14), in
the hope that once the spotlight is turned off
on the victim of the moment, everyone might
return to being quiet like before and then we
could recommence being good with our little
Mummy.
Mature children, who are grown up and
tempered by trials and ready to face the battle
with Her against the shadows of Evil that
press down on humanity - this is who Mary
is calling. People willing to allow themselves
to be changed fully in their way of doing
things, in their mentality, to undertake the
style of Christ, the immolated Lamb who
offers himself unconditionally (and without
compromise) to the Father, passing through
the hands of his persecutors. His body will
be destroyed, they will try to cancel out his
memory, but nothing and nobody will be able
to silence the Truth that has been continuously
rising up for centuries and that is affi rmed on
the lies of the Evil one.
And so we too, Mary’s “dear children”.
Let us not worry about men, about what they
might say, about their approvals, their threats,
and possible condemnations. The grace of
these times is very quick and it is easily
brought about in the plans that God established
in an irreversible manner. It does not allow for
delays or rethinks. It is up to us to get in line,
to also enjoy the joy of the threshold. Let us
not risk being left behind.
The history of salvation is still being made,
and the grace that God grants us to bring it
to fulfi lment is always new: “I fi ll up in my
fl esh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s
affl ictions, for the sake of his body, which is
the church”, Saint Paul wrote (Col 1, 24). And
so, why should we lazily sit down and settle
for little religious gratifi cations, rather than
generously answering he who calls us: Here I
am Lord, send me!
The need
to
pray
Those returning from Medjugorje usually
bring a desire with them that the grace of that
place transformed into a veritable urgency:
to pray! During the time spent in church
reciting the rosary with
many others, or in silence on
apparition hill, or climbing
up the Mountain that has the
stations of the cross, pilgrims
enter a dimension that
envelopes them and attracts
them into the depths of their
soul; a dimension in which
they feel good because God
is present, a dimension in
which the bite of everyday
life tends to disappear to
make space for a calm that is
given, that has the silent taste
of paradise. And as the spirit
dilates, the mind opens up
to comprehend the reality of
the heavens effortlessly, as
though it were seeing images
fl owing on the screen, while the heart, like a
fi lm, records the visions and encloses them
within itself.
This is man at prayer. This is the man who
allows himself to be gripped by the invisible
grip that positions him on a level from which
it is easy to listen to God’s voice, in which it
is normal to consider angels, archangels, the
saints of the heavens nearby, with whom to
speak in confi dent intimacy.
Pray, pray, pray….Mary tells us. Because
she knows what it means to be experiencing
the simple reality of every day, to be
immersed in this state of grace that is capable
of transfi guring every instant, even the more
unpleasant ones, that therefore remain in their
place without capturing our attention too
much, and our time. Pray! She asks us. And
we obediently pray. Yes, but what is prayer
“according to Mary”?
As we were saying, in Medjugorje we
are almost dragged by a fl ow of prayer that
has been fl owing for 28 years uninterruptedly
through the souls and the lips of millions of
pilgrims; upon returning home however, the
initial fervour risks weakening if it is not
fuelled and guarded. Our instinct then leads
us to “form a pack”, to seek other people with
whom to share the need to immerse ourselves
in God. Or better, more than the natural
instinct, it is the Holy Spirit – the purest
principle of communion – that directs us
towards others to make a Church. Many people
therefore, throughout the world, the PRAYER
GROUPS that have formed naturally to meet
the needs of those who, upon returning from
Medjugorje, wanted to continue to pray in the
name of the Queen of Peace.
It is impossible to attempt to defi ne
common traits, given the variety and the
number; we know the source of inspiration
but not how it is interpreted. The intention is
certainly always good and praiseworthy; but it
is a good idea to ask ourselves one question:
how do people pray in these groups? Perhaps
many would reply saying what do they pray.
But it’s not the same…
“I went to a church where, every Friday
evening, there is a meeting of a “Medjugorje
group”, says Federica. “The church was full
to the brim. Many young people with musical
instruments were animating the hymns in a
very involving manner. But then, when the
rosary was prayed…it was all so fast! The
Hail Marys were prayed so
quickly, one after the other,
almost in a hail. I couldn’t
keep up….I felt anxious,
and above all, I began to
ask myself: how can we
experience prayer in this
manner? Not even a moment
of silence to enter into
ourselves and contemplate
God… What is the meaning
of all this hurry? Obviously
I am grateful to these young
people who are personally
committed to serving all of
us, but this way of praying
only gives rise to emotions,
it arouses affectivity, but
it does not facilitate our
meeting with God in the
Spirit. I spent two pleasant hours…I prayed,
yes, but I did not come out of the church
feeling transformed!”.
Pray, pray, pray…The desire is there.
Good will also. Actually, we feel the need.
And so, let’s ask Mary to pray in us with her
simple and deep style: She who dwells in the
Trinity knows the pathway for entering into
God’s heart; actually even the shortcuts! Let’s
allow ourselves to be guided like children,
with simplicity, without overdoing it. Perhaps
the churches won’t be so packed, but the
prayer will certainly be elevated up to the
Heavens.
Reflections of light
from
Mary’s land
by Stefania Consoli
background image
The sound of silence
It’s nighttime. In a silence where everything is
quite, even the birds are united in their restorative
sleep with this silence that is not a silence, but
rather, the perception of a sound that is just about
apparent and that is released from the depths of
the soul, which vibrates at the thought that this
sound might be perceived by He who generated
you. And so the heart is warmed with a heat that
is pure abandonment, and then it starts beating
crazily…and you try to compress it out of fear that
it might burst, that it might jump out of your body
to unite itself with the Lord’s palpitating heart.
But
we cannot command the heart….and so,
in this profound communion in his Holy Spirit,
God – for whom nothing is impossible – through
us, can once again create, generate, give life, enter
hearts where there is no hope and love to recreate
peace and bring them back to their original
balance.
All of this is possible through our union in
God with the offering of our life. But not alone.
Let’s think of how great it is to be a single heart
and a single soul with the brothers and sisters that
God places alongside us! The offering of life in
communion is a prayer of extraordinary power…
It is suffi cient to offer him our determined, sincere,
yes. God will use it.
Andrea Casadei
7
Who is the Pope speaking to?
I wasn’t expecting a Pope like this! Always kind,
smiling and almost shy, who gives the impression
of great fragility and on the other hand, when you
least expect it, during certain important occasions,
he shows rare courage and moral stature. He leaves
the pompous language of men of the Church aside
and speaks clearly.
The poor man! Perhaps he too, having
swallowed one too many bitter pills, loses his
patience and, as they say, “he gets a few things off
of his sacred chest”.
What is happening in the Church? Here we need
a decisive turnaround, that is called “conversion” in
biblical language; a word that is not pleasing in the
eyes of man in general and the world.
Perhaps it is for this reason, due to the fact that
in Medjugorje Our Lady always asks us above all
for conversion, that Medjugorje causes a sense of
true joy in our pastors, which is shared by many
priests and lay men and women who are involved
and illuminated?
The zealousness that many pastors put into
fi ghting the “danger” of Medjugorje is quite
singular, as though there were no other more serious
dangers…No “danger” can never come from She
who invites people to prayer, to nourish themselves
on the word of God, to frequent the sacraments of
confession and the Eucharist; from She who does
not say anything different with respect to the Virgin
of Lourdes and Fatima: prayer and penance. And if
her presence among us is so extended, it is not due
to an unusual talkativeness on the part of the Mother
of the Lord, but because the time is serious and the
material and spiritual suffering of her children is
great.
Nor can we detach the person of Mary from
the site chosen for her to show herself; because
grace follows the logic of Incarnation: it becomes
concrete and active in the time and space that God
wants and that the Holy Spirit desires. Nor is it right
to entrench ourselves behind the fact that the Church
has not yet expressed itself. This state of waiting for
the expression on the part of the Church does not
legitimise more severity and restrictions than the
Holy See, with cases of veritable free judgement.
Why are the groups of Medjugorje forced to ask
the mayors for the use of stadiums to pray instead
of asking priests for the use of churches? Why can
everyone talk about everything, but the visionaries
cannot bear witness and they are hunted out of the
Dioceses like the plague?
The people of Medjugorje (now 20 million
pilgrims) do not want any privileges, they want
the same rights as the other faithful and if there are
things that need to be clarifi ed, it is about time that
someone engaged in a fi rst and serious discernment
of the facts and the fruits of Medjugorje; without
the fear of dirtying their hands or ruining their
career. Sometimes sins of omission and “Pilate
style” solutions are more serious than many other
sins.
When
refl ecting on this, I found the answer
to my question: who is the Pope speaking to? On
the 12
th
of September last, when the Pope ordained
some new bishops, he gave them some of paternal
advice, especially to be faithful, prudent and good.
Let’s underline a few passages and each of us will
then try to draw the dutiful conclusions.
“Like the 72 disciples sent by the Lord, the
presbyter must be someone who brings healing, who
helps to heal man’s inner wound, his distance from
God”. On another occasion, the Pope explained
well that the word episcop-bishop means one who
supervises for the good of those who are entrusted
to him; not a policeman or a prison guard.
The Pope continues: “Let us not link men to us,
let us not seek power, prestige, esteem for ourselves.
Let us lead men towards Christ and so, towards the
living God”.
“In a civil society and, not rarely, also in the
Church, many of those to whom a responsibility
was entrusted, work for themselves and not for the
community”.
“Prudence is something different from
astuteness. It demands humble, disciplined and
vigilant reasoning, that is not blinded by prejudice,
but that seeks truth, however uncomfortable”.
“Only if our life unfolds in a dialogue with Jesus
Christ, if his characteristics enter us and mould us,
can we become truly good servants”.
Let us be grateful to the Holy Father for this
useful refl ection and also for the Year of Priests
called by him, which gives us the possibility
of praying more intensely for our pastors and
entrusting them to the Virgin Mary.
Don Nicolino Mori
R e j o i c e M a r y !
To understand the mystery that surpasses all knowledge, the Virgin says to the Servant of
God: “Tell me how is it possible for me to give birth to a son, when I have no knowledge
of man?” Full of respect, the angel acclaims:
Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:
Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!
Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:
Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!
Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:
Rejoice, depth un-discernible even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:
Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!
Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!
The power of the Most High rests on the Unwedded and like a Garden with beautiful
fruit, she brings Salvation to all those who want to welcome it.
Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God
attributed to Romanos the Melodist (+560)
The Medjugorje Effect
It’s strange to be talking about an effect, yet
I cannot fi nd a better term to summarise my post
Medjugorje.
It’s been almost two months since my trip and
luckily, as I had already been told by some friends
and as I myself feel, I brought a piece of my
Medjugorje home with me.
Something has changed, daily life is still full
of thousands of problems and things to do, but
there is a time in the evening when I rediscover my
Medjugorje, where I manage to once again breathe
in the peace that I found amidst those mountains.
After supper we start to get organised to go to bed,
I shout: “Marco, move it!, “Fabio, take Luca!” in
total chaos we change nappies, brush teeth, then
go to the toilet, put on pyjamas and when we’re
ready, we all get into the big bed together. Until
some time ago we had turned on the television or
I would have read the children a fairytale, but now
we all make the sign of the cross together and we
start praying, isn’t it funny? After seven years of
marriage I fi nd myself praying the rosary with my
husband…before it would never even have crossed
our minds to pray the rosary…then together, not a
hope…!!!
I recite the Hail Mary and Fabio and Marco
answer me, while little Luca sucks on his pacifi er
and listens to us in peace and silence as though he
were transported by the grace that descends on our
bedroom at that moment; precisely between the
twentieth and the thirtieth Hail Mary, I start to get
no more replies: Marco is the fi rst to doze off, then
Fabio and then Luca, while I fi nish my prayers.
During one of those many evenings I asked
myself at a certain point: The TV? Shocking…it
has always been turned off, because over the last
few years we had always been accompanied by
this electrical household appliance that relentlessly
continued to speak and perhaps sometimes not
only kept you company, but even monopolised
the entire evening. Now I listen to my children
laughing, crying, acting up and I also listen to the
silence, discovering that sometimes it says more to
you than a blaring TV set.
This is it, this is the Medjugorje that I brought
home with me and that I will try to keep with prayer
and commitment, knowing that I will be rewarded
by peace and communion with my family and with
God.
Cinzia Vinchi
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(specify for Echo of Mary Assoc):
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8
Villanova M., 1
st
november 2009
Like a family
Echo creates what is like a family that is
mostly made up of you readers, there are so
many of you and you live in many regions, of
all continents. We know that there are lots of
you because we have many requests for this
great little magazine, for each issue we print
some hundreds of thousands of copies, in many
languages.
Now Echo addresses you, like family
members, and it speaks to you as though it were
speaking within the family. Echo is pleased to
reach your homes because it knows that you
keep it well. Yes, because Echo needs to be
kept within a family: our Echo; we say kept
spiritually, with your prayers and your love,
otherwise it cannot live because Echo is made
of things of the Spirit. Moreover, Echo needs
strong legs to reach you, because you also
live far away, thousands of kilometres away,
and you need an effi cient service. Yes, Echo
needs means and resources that are adequate
for printing, packaging and distribution. Now
the equipment that manages the newspaper is
no longer able to fulfi l its role in an effi cient
manner and it must be replaced.
For this reason Echo is asking you for
help, knowing that it can count on you. And so
thank you! With your support, Echo will still
have the possibility of keeping our family alive
for the joy of many perhaps, and also of the
Mother, whom we believe to be the inspirer and
custodian of this little magazine.
Pietro Squassabia
OUR READERS WRITE
Father Franco Loddo from Contratación
(Guadalupe): “Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
for some time now I have not received your
precious publication in Spanish entitled “María
Reina de la Paz”, and I miss it... I have followed
the religious phenomenon of Medjugorje since
the beginning, according to the opinion of the
Holy Father John Paul II, this phenomenon is
the continuation of Lourdes and Fatima.
Each time I receive your news I also use it
to keep our dear ill brothers and sisters of this
lazaretto in good spirits, in which we Salesians
have been working for more than a century.
Faith in Our Lady, entitled “Auxiliadora del
Critistianos”, is so deeply embedded in the
population of our dear lepers that a monument
has been erected on the mountain that dominates
our valley. Every Saturday I go up there, to an
altitude of 1,850 metres, despite my 80 years,
to celebrate the Holy Mass at eight in the
morning.
I know that you need help, also of a
fi nancial nature to continue with your precious
publication; and for this reason I will write
to my brother in Italy to tell him to send you
something on my behalf. I am united with you
in prayer”.
Sister M. Franca from South Africa: “I
truly want to read Echo, it gives me so much
strength. I was in Medjugorje twice and it gave
me such a feeling of joy that I want to share
with everyone, together with the desire to pray
and encourage others to pray. I distribute Echo
in English and those who receive it are happy.
May the Lord reward you for all the good that
you do.
Aida Ramos from San Sebastian (Porto
Rico): “Please accept my warmest greetings. As
always, I am enclosing a cheque as a contribution
to Echo, which makes us so happy and fuels us
spiritually.
Ghislaine Bouchet from France: “Thanking
you for this precious spiritual nourishment, I
assure you my fraternal nearness”.
Geneviève Gamel from France: “Dear
friends, thank you for the Echo of Mary which
supports me on this journey towards God which
is sometimes a little arduous. We remain yours
in a union of prayer and hope”.
Berti M. De Castello from Porto Rico:
“Thank you for the great work that you do. I
lost contact with you for some time and I missed
your magazine a lot. Along with my address, I
am also sending you a little donation. I have a
little collection of the previous issues of Echo
because we use them in our prayer group”.
Sister Margaret Mary Onyema from
Nigeria: “With my heart brimming with joy I
would like to thank you for the constancy and
faith with which you send me your bi-monthly
magazine. I pray to the Lord to send you men
and women with a generous heart to fi nance
your publication.
Thank you for the opportunity that you give
me to spread devotion to Mary through your
publication. Queen of peace, pray for us!”.
Antonella Andreis from Vicenza (Italy):
“Thank you for giving me back the joy of reading
you, especially in the back issues, which I was
no longer able to fi nd in the local churches”.
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: http://www.ecodimaria.net
E-mail: eco-segreteria@ecodimaria.net
We are grateful to you!
First of all for the goodness with which you
have welcomed Echo into your homes, but also
for the faithfulness that moves you to ask for it or
seek it out, when, for some reason or other, it is
delayed or doesn’t arrive.
We are grateful to you for the trust that you
place in us and our way of transmitting Mary, her
words, her thoughts, and her messages…
And
we are grateful to those who express
their pleasure and their desire to continue reading
Echo, through letters, telephone calls, e-mails…
The Secretariat, which receives contacts from
many voices, tells us:
“Hello, is that the Secretariat of Echo of
Mary?….”
Astounded voices: “Is Echo still being
printed?”…and along with a sense of surprise, the
joy of having rediscovered it in a church, along
with the desire to receive it again;
Grateful
voices:
“We are nuns, we’ve
suffered, it was a spiritual sacrifi ce to no longer
have it!”;
Needy voices: “We’ve been touched by
the grace of Medjugorje and Echo will help us
to experience it on a daily basis, it is a form of
spiritual nourishment that is often missing in
parishes: continue, because we need Echo!”;
Confused voices: “What’s happening in
Medjugorje, we’ve been hearing a lot of negative
things…are you continuing?”.
To all these voices and to many others who
silently express their nearness in prayer or in
a more concrete manner by donations in cash
(which help us more than ever to continue), we
say THANK YOU! Yes, thank you from the heart,
because without you, Echo cannot survive, it
cannot continue to echo what Mary says to us, what
she exhorts and calls us to do in Medjugorje…
We are grateful to you, therefore, readers and
distributors, for all of this; but also for the patience
that you’ve shown during this year that is about to
come to an end, in which we’ve had to deal with
countless challenges, enormous diffi culties of all
kinds. Things did not always go our way….
We continue to believe that Echo is a spiritual
reality generated by Mary, to reach thousands of
faithful throughout the world who say that they
are happy to receive “mail” from her. And for this
reason, Echo cannot have an easy life! The Age-
Old Enemy is attempting to block the Virgin’s
plans, we experience this continuously: he wants
to cause us to waste time by creating unexpected
events and diffi culties that cause annoying delays
or useless hindrances. If we didn’t hand ourselves
over to God continuously so that He might guide
our commitment towards a good result, it would
be impossible to continue! But we believe and we
hope, and so we dare…. And so: Deo gratias!
The Editorial Staff
May the virginal silence of Mary
be our home, in which we rest
quietly to wait for
the Lord’s Advent.
Like a mother who is opened
up intimately
welcomes the creature,
may our spirit be attentive
to the grace that descends to fertilize
and generate the Son of God among
us once again,
in our yes, in our desire
to be the fl esh of the Emmanuel…
HAPPY ADVENT and
MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!