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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 208 (January-February 2010)

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Message of the 25
th
of November 2009:
“Dear children! In this time of grace
I call you all to renew prayer in your
families. Prepare yourselves with joy for
the coming of Jesus. Little children, may
your hearts be pure and pleasing, so that
love and warmth may fl ow through you into
every heart that is far from His love. Little
children, be my extended hands, hands of
love for all those who have become lost,
who have no more faith and hope. Thank
you for having responded to my call. ”
Loving hands to give back
faith and hope
At the beginning of Advent, during
this time of grace, Mary called us all to
recommence, to begin over, inviting each
of us to renew prayer in our families. To
grasp the grace of the time that we are living
in (in this case Advent) we need to tune into
the right wavelength (the Love of the Father
who gives us his Son), we need to eliminate
reception disturbances (sin and everything
associated with it) and listen in so as to then
open our mouths at the right time (prayer).
Renew prayer in our families, because
the place of waiting in every life is family,
and therefore the family must prepare itself
to welcome Jesus who is being born. The
novenas before the crib, interwoven with
Rosaries, laments and popular songs, that
the whole family participated in, are still a
sweet, destroying memory and the cold of
the homes, heated badly or not at all, did not
discourage the extension of that simple and
small but true family liturgy. Now, in the
homes of so-called wealthy countries, which
are heated beyond all dimensions, there are
no more sounds of out-of-tune laments but
rather, persuasive words which, accompanied
by sweet Christmas melodies, rain down upon
you from a television set erected like an altar,
and the liturgy of consumerism asks you only
to consume, to consume to the extent that you
feel ill, until such time as identifying yourself
with what you are celebrating, until becoming
the object of consumption yourself.
Joyfully prepare for the coming of
Jesus, Mary says to us and these seem like
meaningless words for men of today and far
from the real needs of the person, yet they are
the keystone for the existence of the individual,
of society and the whole of humanity. If the
world still exists it is because Jesus came into
the world; if the world will be saved and not
annulled, redeemed and not dissolved, it is
because Jesus saved it already, because Jesus
conquered death. We cannot fail to await
Jesus with immense joy, great joy, eternal
joy. Even those who read these lines when
Advent is over will not be excluded from
the possibility of uniting themselves with us;
when said well, prayers reaches God’s Heart
and there, time is eternally Present, there is
no past, there is no future.
Children, may your hearts be pure (let
us turn to the Sacrament of Confession) and
welcoming (let us free ourselves from all
useless rubbish, let us make space within
ourselves; is this not a fruit of the fasting that
Mary invites us towards so often?) Pure and
welcoming hearts so that love and heat
might begin to fl ow through you in every
heart that is far from His love [from Jesus’
love]. A pure heart is necessarily similar to
Jesus’ Heart, to Mary’s Heart and is therefore
capable of welcoming every man, every
person, following the example of Jesus and
Mary. Actually, what’s more, a truly pure
heart is a heart that is totally immersed in the
Heart of Jesus, and that is nourished by His
Love and lives on it and this Love will lead
to those who are far from it. And so human
action will be the vehicle of divine action
and so it will truly be saving, and Love will
triumph as announced by Paul (1 Cor 13,
1-13) and as wished by Mary: Children, be
my outstretched hands, loving hands for
all those who are lost, who no longer have
faith and hope.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
Being-with is the deepest desire of love, it
is the only thing that counts: being with he
whom we love, being with he who loves
us. All of the rest is secondary; it is not
necessary for things to change, as long as
there is the presence of the loved one. This
is exactly what the Lord promises us and
give us. He does not change things, but he
enters into them and so, given that he is
there, everything is changed within”.
A. Vanhoye
(“Il pane quotidiano della parola”)
Message of the 25
th
of December 2009:
“Dear children! On this joyful day, I
bring all of you before my Son, the King of
Peace, that He may give you His peace and
blessing. Little children, in love share that
peace and blessing with others. Thank you
for having responded to my call”.
Share…
While the powerful man of the time
calls everyone to participate in the census,
probably to update the tax registers, and
everyone is involved in this calling, another
calling resounds in the air, which also has
to do with the entire population, but it is a
calling that does not come from the earth but
from the heavens and it is not delivered to the
army but rather, to a group of people believed
to be at the margins of the society of the time:
shepherds (cfr Luke 2, 1-20). More than 2000
years have gone by since then and this call
still resounds on earth today and, like then,
it calls people individually, one by one, to
register, not in a book made of paper, but of
divine fl esh; not to identify each of them with
a number, but to give each of them a name,
the same name, the Name of Jesus! This is
Christmas, and to reduce it to a memory is
to debase it to a feeling, perhaps still capable
of making some chords vibrate within the
heart, but incapable of changing our lives, of
becoming our lives.
Christmas is not within our grasp, it
does not depend on our merits or on our
organisation, nor does it depend on our
abilities; it is not something to do but rather to
grasp, to welcome, to live: it is an event, it is
the Event! It is “a child wrapped in swaddling
clothes and laying in a manger”; it is “the
child born for us [not of us], the son that was
given to us” (cfr Is 9,5). It is an event that
cannot be enclosed within a date, it is in fact
an event that is underway until the end of the
world and until then it personally calls on each
of us, whether we welcome it or refuse it. By
that child, we are called not to register in a list
of people, but rather, to welcome His Life in
us: as many as received him, to them he gave
the right to become children of God: to those
who believe in his name, who were born not
of blood, nor of the will of the fl esh, nor of the
will of man, but of God (John 1, 12-13).
“Dear children! On this joyful day, I
bring all of you before my Son, the King of
Peace, that He may give you His peace and
blessing. Peace is not a promise but a reality:
the Son born for us, offered to the men that
God loves, that is, to everyone; it is a gift for
this earth that does not know peace because it
seeks it as its product and does not accept to
receive it as a gift, the fruit of Love. Peace is
the fruit of the Tree of Life, now it is no longer
prohibited for man, actually it is generously
offered to those who ask for it as a gift and
January-February 2010 - Year 26 # 1-2 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
208
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do not seek it as their conquest. Jesus awaits
us; Mary brings us to Him to grasp peace and
blessing from Him and in Him. Peace and
blessing are not distinct gifts but a single gift;
they are an attribute of Jesus, actually Jesus
himself. He is our peace and our blessing and
for this reason we cannot possess him.
Peace and blessing should be shared
with others or they will wither and crumble
in our hands. Little Children, in love share
this peace and blessing with others. Love
is the atmosphere that keeps these gifts in
their original purity and freshness, this is the
humus that makes them grow until such time
as He returns, until such time as the universal
and defi nitive triumph of the Kingdom of
God. The peace and blessing of Jesus must
be shared in love; this is not a wish but an
order that Mary gives us and that summarises
the Life of Jesus, what He did and what he
said, the life of the Apostles and of the fi rst
Christians, the life of the Saints from the
origins until our time. It is not suffi cient to say
May Jesus bless you, or May Jesus give you
peace but we must bear witness to the peace
and blessing of Jesus in everyday life. In the
measure in which His Love will inhabit our
actions we will experience His Life in us and
it will be Him who speaks in us and through
us and our word will be His and it will be
effi cient and will do what it says because He
is the Word that is made fl esh. Jesus, I love
You, Thy Kingdom Come, let it be done onto
me according to Thy will!
N.Q.
“If you want to cultivate peace,
protect creation!”
This is what is affi rmed by the Holy Father
in the traditional Message for the World Peace
Day that is celebrated on the fi rst day of each
new year. In his Message for 2010, the Pope
“proposes “a cosmic vision of peace” (…)
that is brought about in a state of harmony
between God, humanity and creation” and
“within such a perspective, environmental
degradation not only expresses a rift in the
balance between humanity and creation, but
a deeper deterioration of the union between
humanity and God”.
To urgently and responsibly face the
consequences caused by this lack of harmony,
Benedict XVI invites humanity to renew and
strengthen that alliance between the human
being and the environment, which must be a
mirror of God’s creating love, from which we
originate and towards which are travelling”.
It is from here, although we often forget
it, that the peace that each man needs in order
to live and that continuously escapes us, is
generated: “If you want to cultivate peace,
protect creation!” - in fact, in his message
the Pope continues – “The search for peace
by all men of good will, shall be facilitated
by a shared recognition of the unbreakable
relationship that exists between God, human
beings and the whole of creation. Illuminated
by divine Revelation and following the
Tradition of the Church, Christians offer
their own contribution. May they consider
the cosmos and its marvels in the light of
the Father’s creating and redeeming work,
which, with his death and resurrection, has
reconciled with God “both the things that are
on earth and those in the heavens”.
Editorial staff
Me in Africa,
a bishop and…poor
Dear Sirs,
I have just returned from the experience of
the African Synod in Rome feeling encouraged
and I have decided to attempt to put the
guidelines set out to face up to the formidable
obstacles and problems that pose a challenge
to the Church in Africa, into practice. In my
meetings with priests and in my pastoral visits,
I have attempted to explain the contents and
the conclusions of this important ecclesiastical
event. A simple and effective way of doing this
is the radio programme during which, every
two weeks, on Sunday evenings I explain and
re-launch the proposals of the Synod, adapting
them to the local context of Uganda. And so I
spoke about the situation of women in Africa,
family, climate change…and I will proceed by
choosing one theme that is particularly topical
for my people on each occasion…
Is everything ok then? Not exactly. When
faced with the vastness and complexity of
the problems evoked and the inadequacy of
our forces, it is diffi cult to escape a feeling
of impotence. Listeners sometimes ask me:
“What about us, what can we do?” And the
subtle temptation suggested by “good sense”,
is to answer: “Humanly speaking, little or
nothing!” Speaking, seeking and proposing
solutions is one thing. But putting them into
practice is an entirely different matter… Not
only do the big problems of reconciliation,
justice and peace in Africa cause a sense of
impotence and discouragement, but sometimes
even simpler things are suffi cient…a little
stone in our shoe is sometimes suffi cient to
prevent us from walking properly!
Four days ago I witnessed and participated
in a truly extraordinary event: the Episcopal
ordination of the new bishop of Kotido in
Karamoja. But I was unexpectedly struck
by a deep sense of inadequacy and poverty.
Given that I was one of the three consecrating
bishops, I found myself physically near the
new bishop during the ceremony.
And so I re-experienced my own
ordination: “You have been chosen by the
Lord. Remember that the bishop must seek
to serve, more than to command… As a
father and a brother, love all those that God
entrusts to you…” And again, at the time of
the delivery of the ring and the pastoral staff:
“Take this ring, as a seal of your faithfulness.
Protect God’s bride, his Church… Watch over
and protect the fl ock that you are the shepherd
of…” Before the beauty and the greatness of
such a duty, how could I fail to feel small,
poor and inadequate? Today, actually more
than four years ago, because this is not simply
a profession to be learnt… And then, there
is faith in service, which cannot be taken for
granted.
I returned to Lira with the image of
Bishop Filippi in my eyes and in my heart
with the Gospel open and his head resting
on it. “Receive the Gospel and preach God’s
word…” It is a question of having the gospel in
your head and above all, in your heart. We are
not invited to preach our ideas but His Word.
It is not always easy, and often the outcome is
uncertain. Along with the joy of occasionally
seeing the fruits of the Spirit of God in the
works around me and through my ministry,
there is no lack of moments – that seem to be
2
multiplying during this period – during which
I experience my own inadequacy before the
duty that I am entrusted with, my poverty and
fragility.
And so? The question is not only valid for
me. I know that in different circumstances,
it also happens to you that do not reach the
desired result, that you feel inadequate and
you learn before what you would like to and
should do; to feel small and poor, incapable of
giving the love, the attention and the help that
others rightly expect from you, in your family,
at work, in society. This situation of poverty
and weakness is the right moment during
which to welcome the gift of the coming of
He who has taken on our weakness and made
it His own and who comes to bring it to us, to
fi ll it with His love and His strength!
Giuseppe Franzelli
Bishop of Lira (Uganda)
The fl ag of Europe
The European Court of human rights
has hunted the crucifi x out of schools;
nevertheless, Europe remains under Mary’s
protection. Everything is in her hands: even
the fl ag belongs to Her.
This is what happened to Chiara Lubich
in August 1999 during the report that she was
making in Strasbourg to the members of the
European Parliament: she was presented with
an article from a French magazine, signed by
the Abbot Pierre Caillon, who wrote: I would
like to tell you a beautiful story. One day in
Lisieux I met someone who said to me: “I’m
from Strasbourg and I’ve also been asked to
design the fl ag of Europe. I had an idea to put
the twelve stars of the Miraculous Medal of
Rue du Bac, in Paris, on a blue background.
Despite the fact that over one hundred
designs were submitted over a period of 5
years, it was Our Lady’s fl ag that triumphed
out of modesty, discretion and humility. It
recalls the readings of the mass of the 15
th
of
August: “A great sign appeared in the sky.
A woman dressed in the sun, with the moon
under her feet and a crown of twelve stars
on her head”. Obviously this is the fl ag of all
Europeans and, as usual, people avoid evoking
its religious meaning, by virtue of inviolable
laity. But people have the right to know how
things originated. The twelve stars never
corresponded to the number of countries.
All those who want to work for peace will be
happy to know that the fl ag of Europe is that
of Our Lady, Queen of Peace”. And so the
populations of the European Union who gather
around “Our Lady’s” fl ag have reason to be
joyful, knowing that they are beneath Mary’s
protection, she constantly watches over us and
assists us with her Mother’s heart.
Pietro Squassabia
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3
Echo 208
A Priest through Christ,
with Christ and in Christ
“And do not be called “teachers”, for
one is your Teacher, the Christ” (Mt 23, 10).
A few years have passed since my ordination
as a priest, but the awareness of the apostolate
that I must fulfi l is maturing within me
more and more: to be a priest who is called
to go through all the steps taken by Jesus
throughout my life.
Everything that is part of the Priest’s
ministry (to celebrate the Eucharist, to forgive
sins, to heal, to free from evil) is nothing
other than a repetition and actualisation of
the mission of Jesus, the Redeemer on earth.
And in order for this to be possible, the priest
must continuously work in his own soul to
look more and more like him. For this reason
I can see that it is not suffi cient to go through
what Jesus experienced on the outside, but I
recognise that I must be ready to carry and
feel what He himself carried within himself
and felt.
Pain accompanied his mission, even if
it was always united with the joy of doing
the will of the Father and giving men back
their lives. In his life on earth, Christ not
only suffered because he felt men’s sin, but
also because as a man, he had to deal with all
the consequences of sin that mark the life of
every creature. And so he suffered poverty,
humiliations, and misunderstandings. He
suffered due to the death of his putative father.
He suffered when he began his mission,
being separated from his Mother and leaving
her alone. He suffered due to all the pain that
he had to cause her and for all the pain that
struck those whom he loved.
But his greatness was expressed in free
and pure acceptance: Christ accepted to feel
and carry all of that pain in order to break the
chains created by evil that would have bound
humanity forever if He had not given his own
life, together with his Mother, to give man
back the possibility of getting back up.
This mystery is truly great and
so is the meaning of the priesthood in
which He consecrates us through the mission
of the Church! It is He who imprints the
seal of his priesthood on us. It is he who
spreads a protective cloak over us so that
this priesthood so wanted by the Father
from eternity might be holy, and so that
nothing and nobody might block the action
of grace within us. In this clarity of grace, our
willingness and our answer are integrated;
communion in prayer is inserted and it makes
this gift active. Being united with God and
experiencing communion in prayer is in fact
the basis of Christ’s priesthood because it is
born in communion.
And if the priest experiences the
unconditional offer and the union with God,
his work will become more powerful, because
his action and blessing are united with those
of Christ, Saviour of the world. It is no longer
the priest who transmits the life of God that
he possesses, but it is Christ himself who,
through him, touches souls, in order to free
them from all links to Satan and to heal them.
And it is Christ himself who struggles in him
against evil and cancels out the forces of the
shadows, protecting the souls of the weaker.
The more the souls of the priests know
how to enter into divine life and into the
mystery of the priesthood, the more Christ’s
priesthood will be able to act in them, and
thus reach many souls and make them rise up.
Only through the priesthood can God’s grace
communicate completely with men, and only
through the priesthood can every payer, every
supplication, every request for forgiveness,
every form of praise and everything that men
experience, be elevated to the Father.
I thank you “Rabbi” for the words that
I hear within my heart, those same words
that You addressed to Simon Peter: “Do you
love me more than others?”. In this question,
which is also a choice, you invite me not to
let any burden come about within me, or any
worry or fear. You ask me if I love you more
than others because you want me to discover
that your love is stronger than death, love is
strength and it can conquer all evil and all
death. Thank you because you teach me that I
must never fear any call of yours, but I should
think only of loving you with all of myself,
because it is love that unites us with You.
Lord, I pray to you for all those whom
you have placed alongside me and who
have asked for my prayers, so that they
might welcome this ability to love that You
imprint within us, and so that they might all
experience this love and bear witness to what
it means to experience the resurrection.
Father K.B.
I
N
THE
YEAR
DEDICATED
TO
THE
P
RIESTHOOD
In Prayer
“In prayer, ask for these things
and have a sense of familiarity
with them at the moment of your
supplication. Be moved by passion
and desire!
Implore God in a fi red up manner
and in your prayer let your heart burn
so that mercy might be enfl amed
and made man in you, so that the
enfl amed passion of his love might
be moved in your heart”.
(Issac the Syrian, Spiritual Discourses)
“My life, Lord,
simple and straight like a fl ute
so that you might fi ll it,
fi ll it with your music.
“My life, Lord,
soft soil in your hands
so that you might give it a shape,
the shape that you wish.
“My life, Lord,
a free seed in the wind
so that you might plant it,
plant it wherever you wish.
“My life, Lord,
a dry little twig
so that you might light it,
and that it might burn for the poor
and for you”.
(Latin-American Prayer)
Young man, are you
thirsty? …come to me!
The world is thirsty, it is thirsty for God
and it is dying of thirst without even realising
it. Every young man is seeking his own
happiness and is sensitive to values such as
freedom, truth, and selfl essness. Thirst is the
same in everyone, and those who are truly
young are looking for it. There is a sort of
inner calling, something that is awoken within.
I only realise this because the gaze of a young
man changes when I speak of happiness or
freedom, when I share my experience of God.
The gaze changes and reveals an uncontrollable
interior motor of hope…THIRST.
Then human reactions come about, like a
sort of self-defence: everyone has accumulated
many disappointments and there is a great fear
of suffering. So, once that moment has passed,
that special light seems to disappear from
the eyes of that young man: the rigid control
of rationality comes back…But at this stage
words are no longer important, it is suffi cient
to welcome those who stand before us with his
reactions; a loving gaze, a question that goes
right to the heart of that person will be worth
much more than many wise arguments.
I experienced all of this during the “street
evangelisations” organised by the “Nuovi
Orizzonti” community and by “Sentinelle del
mattino”, initiatives that provide an answer to
the most urgent need of this time: to announce
the Gospel to the new generations. This
Mission usually avails of the collaboration of
around one hundred young people who have
already met the Lord during their lifetime.
They were sent to the street two by two to
meet other young people – in squares, in
bars, in the courtyards of the universities, on
the beach, outside discos, wherever they are
– even late at night, to bring them a simple
annunciation, to present their testimony and to
propose a new meeting with the Risen Jesus.
There are many refusals and much scorn
but all those who open themselves up to listen
remain touched within, perhaps by the serenity
that they recognise in the “missionaries” and
some of them accept to try to enter a church
again after many years: Jesus the Eucharist
is there waiting for his children until late at
night, an exchange of gazes is sometimes
suffi cient to allow walls to tumble and to bring
about tears of joy. We participate in miracles,
and it is so obvious that we are not the ones
to convert others. We are merely tools and
spectators.
Why should we take the fi rst step towards
“those who are far away”? Anyone who has
touched God’s love and has changed their life,
wishes to share their joy with others, but there
are many obstacles and brakes that we put in
our own way. Perhaps the key is in the words:
“Let whoever is thirsty come to Me”. It is the
same thirst that burns in everyone, even in
those who seem closed off to any experience
of faith. Let everyone carry within themselves
that same need to love and to be loved that
fi nds full fulfi lment only in the relationship
with the fountain of pure Love.
And so it is up to each of us to
communicate the marvellous revolution of
love brought about by Christ: the Mission
is open to those who feel the desire to
participate, but we are all called, indistinctly,
to communicate silently with God in simple
everyday situations.
Francesco Cavagna
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4
The Friend
“He
who
fi nds a friend fi nds a treasure”
(Sir 6, 14). Wisdom, “man’s friend” (Wisdom
7,23) wanted, in an established time, to openly
manifest his friendship towards men, and so he
descended onto earth and took human form and
a name: Jesus. And so men discovered an all-
new friendship, that they did not know before,
because they met Jesus, the friend who loved
them to the extent of giving his own life. The
people of the time remained surprised by this
gift of His and by the trust that he had placed
in them. And so, those who believed in Him
rejoiced about having their Lord as a friend
and understood that friendship could not exist
without full trust in the Friend.
His friendship is also offered to us today, we
are also asked to trust Him; only by trusting him
in fact, will we be able to feel that he is a friend,
and not a stranger, not to mention a person to
fl ee from. And so, let us chase away all fear as
regards our Friend, fear that certainly comes
from those who do not want our happiness. In
fact the Friend only gives, without ever robbing,
and even if he were to ask for our life, he would
not do so in order to take it away from us, but
only to make it more beautiful. For this reason
Jesus is the friend in whom we can confi de
everything, to whom we can entrust everything,
to whom we can say: I am all yours; this
situation of mine is yours, this is my joy, this
is my wish, this is what I am lacking, this is my
plan; everything is yours, also my future. If we
do this, then perhaps we will discover an ever-
truer friendship, an ever-greater communion
with the Friend and among ourselves.
The Child, born in Bethlehem, appears to
say this to us: trust me, offer yourself to me
like I did for you. If you trust me you will
understand that trusting God’s love is more
important than loving, you will understand that
Mary was made the Mother of God because she
fully trusted her Lord. And so your fears will
certainly disappear and you will be able to say
with me: my yoke is gentle and my load is light,
S
I M P L E
T H O U G H T S
by Pietro Squassabia
A hidden pearl
Because Mary remained hidden during
her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and
the Church “Alma Mater”, Mother hidden
and unknown. So great was her humility
that she desired nothing more upon earth
than to remain unknown to herself and to
others, and to be known only to God.
In answer to her prayers to remain
hidden, poor and lowly, God was pleased to
conceal her from nearly every other human
creature in her conception, her birth, her
life, her mysteries, her resurrection and
assumption.
Her own parents did not really know
her; and the angels would often ask one
another, “Who can she possibly be?”, for
God had hidden her from them, or if he
did reveal anything to them, it was nothing
compared with what he withheld.
God the Father willed that she should
perform no miracle during her life, at least
no public one, although he had given her
the power to do so. God the Son willed that
she should speak very little although he
had imparted his wisdom to her.
Even though Mary was his faithful
spouse, God the Holy Spirit willed that his
apostles and evangelists should say very
little about her and then only as much as
was necessary to make Jesus known.
Mary is the supreme masterpiece of
Almighty God and he has reserved the
knowledge and possession of her for
himself. She is the glorious Mother of God
the Son who chose to humble and conceal
her during her lifetime in order to foster
her humility. He called her “Woman”
as if she were a stranger, although in his
heart he esteemed and loved her above
all men and angels. Mary is the sealed
fountain and the faithful spouse of the Holy
Spirit where only he may enter. She is the
sanctuary and resting-place of the Blessed
Trinity where God dwells in greater and
more divine splendour than anywhere else
in the universe…”.
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort
(Treatise on True Devotion
to the Blessed Virgin n°2, 3,4, 5 and 6)
because I will be the one to carry it with you and
for you. Then you will discover that you have
received the greatest treasure as a gift: Wisdom,
which descended onto earth, the Friend who
gives himself wholly to you, who trusts you.
Thank you Jesus, because you gave
yourself to us. Thank you because you trusted
us although we didn’t deserve it…. but this is
what Love does.
The signals… the signs…
Road signs are very important for those
who do not know the route yet need to reach
a destination. The signs are not the destination
but they are important for reaching it. We must
not linger too long to look at them, so as not to
arrive late or never, but nevertheless, we cannot
underestimate them, especially when taking
certain roads.
The appearance of new buds on trees
indicates that spring is near, that the season is
changing or that we will soon see the appearance
of not only leaves and fl owers, but also fruits.
The Spirit also offers us “signs” to point out the
Way to us that leads to the Destination, he offers
us “signs” that allow us to catch a glimpse of
the Fruits.
Medjugorje is not the Destination, which is
much more beautiful, it is not the Fruit, which
is much sweeter, but it is certainly a valid “sign”
that indicates the road that leads to Heaven, a
precious “sign” to enable us to see and desire
the Fruits.
This is how we should look at Medjugorje:
like a “signal”, an important “sign” to reach the
Destination, to desire to taste the Fruits. Mary,
who always indicates God as our destination,
who always shows us Jesus as the Fruit,
certainly desires this from us: for us to consider
“the signals and signs” as valid tools, made
available by Providence to reach the banquet of
Heaven, especially for those who, like us, need
special help in proceeding safely and quickly
towards our Destination.
Chronicles of a city:
poison for the heart
Mary is a sweet and reassuring presence in the heart
of Christian cities. What does Mary say to the city?
What does she remind us all of with her presence? She
reminds us that “where sin abounded, grace abounded
much more” (Rm 5, 20) – as the apostle Paul writes. She
is the Immaculate Mother who also repeats to the men
of our time: do not be afraid, Jesus conquered evil; he
conquered it from the root, freeing us from its rule.
How much we need this great news! Every day, in
fact, evil is spoken about, repeated and amplifi ed,
through the newspapers, the television, the radio,
allowing us to become accustomed to the most horrible
things, making us become insensitive and, in some ways,
intoxicating us, because the negative is not fully digested
and it accumulates day by day. The heart is hardened
and thoughts become darker and darker. For this reason,
the city needs Mary, with her presence she speaks to us
about God, she reminds us of the victory of Grace over
sin, and she induces us to hope even in situations that are
humanly more diffi cult.
Invisible people live – or survive – in the cities,
every once in a while they appear on the front page of
the newspapers or on our television screens, and they
are exploited to the last, so that the news and the
image might attract our attention. This is a perverse
mechanism, which we unfortunately have some diffi culty
resisting. The city fi rst hides and then exposes to the
public. Pitiless, or with false pity. On the other hand,
there is the desire within every man to be welcomed as
a person and considered a sacred reality, because every
human story is a holy story, and it requires the greatest
respect.
We are all the city! Everyone contributes to its life
and its moral climate, in a positive or negative manner.
In the heart of each of us there is the confi ne between
good and evil and none of us must feel that it is our right
to judge others, but rather, everyone must feel the duty
to improve himself or herself! The mass media tend to
always make us feel like “spectators”, as though evil
has to do with others only, and as though certain things
might never happen to us. On the other hand, we are all
“actors” and, in good and in evil, our behaviour has an
infl uence on others.
We often complain about the pollution in the air,
that it is impossible to breathe in certain parts of the
city. It is true: everyone must make a commitment to
make the city cleaner. And yet there is another form of
pollution, which is less perceptible to the senses, but just
as dangerous. The pollution of the spirit; this is what
makes our faces less smiley, more obscure, this is what
leads us not to salute each other, not to look at each other
in the face…The city is made of faces, but unfortunately,
collective dynamics may cause us to lose the perception
of their depth. We see everything on the surface. People
become bodies, and these bodies lose their soul, they
become things, faceless objects, that may be exchanged
and consumed.
Our Immaculate Lady helps us to rediscover and
defend the depth of people, because in her there is the
perfect transparency of the soul in the body. She is purity
personifi ed, in the sense that spirit, soul and body are
fully coherent among themselves in her and with God’s
will. Our Lady teaches us to open ourselves up to God’s
action, to look at others as He looks at them: beginning
from the heart. And to look at them with mercy, with
love, with infi nite tenderness, especially those who are
most alone, scorned, exploited. “Where sin abounded,
grace abounded much more”.
While we are busied with daily activities, let us
lend our ear to Mary’s voice. Let us listen to her silent
but pressing appeal. She says to each of us: where sin
abounded, let grace be much more abundant, beginning
from your heart and your life! And the city will be more
beautiful, more Christian, and more human.
BENEDICT XVI
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2009
background image
5
Which
Medjugorje?
One thing is certain: Our Lady does
appear in Medjugorje. She has been doing
so every day, for almost three decades. But
certain for who? You who read Echo have
probably already grasped the celestial reality
that is manifested in the land of Herzegovina.
In its tiny capacity in fact, Echo wants to
resound in the world what the Virgin is saying
in Medjugorje – not only in the messages
entrusted to the visionaries, but also in the
souls of those who have felt touched by
the grace present in that place. A light,
imperceptible touch, which is nevertheless
capable of turning a whole existence upside
down.
There is a lot of talk about Medjugorje;
there is also a lot written about it. Some people
defi ne it a “phenomenon”. This is an ugly
defi nition, but it does attract attention…Yet it
leads us to ask ourselves: what Medjugorje are
we talking about? In fact, it is not suffi cient to
go to that place, to rediscover faith and then
nourish ourselves just with “devotions”. Those
who undertake the itinerary proposed by the
Queen of Peace should be willing to partake
in an incessant, unstoppable, however gradual
change: a transformation that might cause its
true inner nature to emerge, that which makes
it unique before God and men.
We are all on a journey. Nobody can
consider themselves having arrived during
the conversion route. Nobody can presume
that they have reached a degree of purifi cation
that is such that they feel better than others.
It is not enough to be believers…we need to
be credible! The humble docility of allowing
ourselves to be led is the only vehicle that
delivers us into Mary’s hands, it is the yes
that will let her show us routes that are more
and more restricted, sometimes apparently
even inaccessible: routes that may only be
crossed if we abandon ourselves blindly to
God’s guidance, if we leave Him free reign, if
we allow Him to act in us and in place of us,
without leaving ourselves aside.
Sometimes His initiatives unsettle us and
even “scandalise us”, yet Mary invites us to
always be grateful, because God’s goodness
very often passes through routes that appear to
be twisted. This is not fatalism: it is faith. We
must merely immerse ourselves in grace and
leave all the rest.
For this reason, those who are the
spokespeople of Medjugorje and nevertheless
remain on a superfi cial level are to be feared,
because they fail to touch the deeper levels
of the mystery of man, of the relationship of
the soul with grace and with God, that Mary
wants to introduce us to almost with a sense of
trepidation, yet with infi nite patience.
Why do we fi nd comfort in the fact that
important men of the Church visit Medjugorje,
in however private a form? Perhaps we are
consoled by the idea that they too believe and
so we see the so longed for offi cial consent on
the horizon? If this is the case, let’s try to listen
on a deeper level to discern when a theme
is dealt with in a direct and clear manner or
when it is merely touched on from afar, with
allusions that would like to hint at something
but that do not actually say it…
If we believe in it, Medjugorje is a fact that
is destined to defi nitively change the course of
humanity according to God’s loving plans. It
is therefore a fact that cannot only be “hinted
at” with prudence, it must be witnessed
courageously and vigorously, like Mary, who
peacefully carried her mysterious maternity,
despite the danger of lapidation.
Obviously everyone is free to bear
witness as they choose to. But there is a risk
for we who are listening: if our consciences
fall asleep in the illusion that “something
is moving” and in reality it is buried by the
weight of compromises, of “this can be said
but not this”. Everyone is good at doing this.
But instead of ardent witnesses (in Greek:
martyres!), we only have skilful preachers
who do not help us to enter into an ever clearer
perception of what spirits are moving our
existence; that is, to whom we are entrusting
the government of our lives, more or less
consciously.
Through the action of the Queen of Peace,
the Holy Spirit wants to penetrate the deeper
layers of our existence to bring them to the
light and heal them, so that we can become
witnesses of the risen life, of the possibility
of being new creatures, transfi gured by grace.
A new people, matured in the offering of
themselves, capable of being vigilant tools of
the struggle against Evil within the Church.
Medjugorje has incurred severe blows
during these times, especially in its fi rst
witnesses. God allowed this so as to make us
grow in an ever greater personal awareness of
what is happening there and to help us to stand
up by ourselves, to walk in a fast, independent
and responsible manner along the pathway
traced out by the Holy Virgin. Perhaps the
moment has truly come in which we should
ask ourselves: “Someone says this, others
that…but what about me, what do I think, or
better: what is God saying to me?”.
Let us not waste grace; let us not risk
leaving it to grow tepid by delegating our
answer to others. If the fi re of true love
does not fuel grace, then it runs the risk of
being quenched. Let this not be the case for
Medjugorje.
A few
notes
about Podbrdo…
L
IKE
THE
W
AILING
W
ALL
Large blocks of stone, old and consumed
but above all dear to the observant Jews who
fi nd their preferred corner of prayer there, it is
chosen because they feel that it is nearest to
God. It is the only wall that remained after the
destruction of the great Temple of Solomon:
a place of faith par excellence, called “the
Wailing Wall”, not due to the tears shed there
but due to the supplications expressed with
the lips and with the whole body that sways
in an almost litany-like manner. But that’s not
all. The prayers, which are taken note of on
little pieces of paper, reach the most hidden
cracks of the great wall, as though God could
read them without anyone else realising it…
I observe the same on Podbrdo in
Medjugorje, the hill made of many quarry
stones, like caskets, where pilgrims who
have reached the summit can hide little notes
concealing intimate thoughts, brief prayers
and silent requests that only She might read,
their Mother, confi dante and friend, always
ready to welcome the secrets of the children
who place their trust in Her.
T
HERE
IS
NO
ELEVATOR
TO
BRING
YOU
UP
You must make the effort, you must be
very careful about where you put your feet.
Especially in the morning, when the Autumn
frost makes the stones slippery and slimy, you
must be doubly careful. It is not a comfortable
climb like that on the escalators of shopping
centres. To climb up the mountain that leads
to the site of the fi rst apparitions, you must
accept the effort and the discomfort of the
route. You must want it and so you must be
willing to collaborate.
It is almost an icon of the spiritual life
that the Mother proposes to us in Medjugorje:
it is not a pleasant walk to be embarked on
in a thoughtless manner with no sense of
sacrifi ce. It is a climb up the steep slopes of
the faith, where sometimes even the view of
the summit is concealed from our sight and
we must proceed with the urge of just love
and hope. But our commitment, our desire,
the generously made efforts, open the hand of
grace runs to our aid and brings us, at last, to
a place that we didn’t even dream of: lifted
up, beyond every created thing, to look at the
world with the eyes of God himself…
T
HE
JOY
OF
A
LOVELY
BATH
It happens to many, at the end of an intense
day, to want to shed the weariness of work by
desiring a lovely warm and relaxing bath…
Once immersed in the bath, the water has the
ability to make our whole body feel light and
to free our mind and our thoughts.
It may seem an irreverent comparison, we
do not want to banalize things that have to
do with God, but rather, we want to explain
them through simple images, like those that
Jesus used in his parables. Let’s get back to
the image of the bath then; it is what seems
to happen to us when we reach Medjugorje…
You arrive there and you feel immersed in
a dimension that envelopes you, it absorbs
whatever negative things you brought
with you and it gives you peace; a sense of
abandonment that invites you to hand your
problems and your worries over, that conveys
warmth and a profound sense of wellbeing. It
is not the fruit of technique, those proposals
made by so many falsely spiritual movements,
it is the product of the grace that discretely
reaches you and refreshes you.
Reflections of light
from
Mary’s land
by Stefania Consoli
background image
6
A perennial Grace
“Now Moses was tending the fl ock of
Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,
and he led the fl ock to the far side of the desert
and came to Horeb….” (Ex 3,1). This is how
the story of an episode that is fundamental in
the history of Salvation begins. In fact, it was
on that mountain that Moses saw a bush that
was burning but that was never consumed; he
became curious and approached it to try to
understand what this unusual occurrence was.
In reality, the extraordinary event had a more
important aim: to lead Moses to open himself
up to God.
The Lord often uses our human reality to
convey a message to us that might penetrate
into the depths of our hearts: “When the Lord
saw that he had gone over to look, God called
him from within the bush: “Moses, Moses”
and Moses said: “Here I am”. “Do not come
any closer,” God said, “Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy
Ground”. (Ex 3, 5).
We can associate this episode with
what has been happening for 28 years in
Medjugorje. What is extraordinary in that
place, in fact, are not the apparitions in them-
selves, but the grace that they generate in
people, a grace that continuously changes the
lives of many people.
Before this grace we can only adopt two
forms of behaviour: welcome it or refuse it.
Those who welcome it enter into an inner
process that prepares them for new times –
announced several times by Mary in her mes-
sages – but that are brought about above all
in the person who allows himself to be trans-
formed. Those who refuse grace on the other
hand, hide behind thousands of justifi cations
but remain in a vacuum, because grace cannot
be operational in them and bring those fruits
that are expressed in a spiritual vitality.
The place where Moses saw the bush
burning without ever being consumed had a
profound meaning in his life: it was sacred
and man necessarily had to take off his san-
dals…Before God and his grace there isn’t
much thinking to be done. In reality, with that
gesture, Moses took of the clothes of the old
man, his conception of the past and of the fu-
ture before the Lord who was revealing him-
self. God is God, if we can say so, and we
must adapt ourselves to him.
For this reason, Medjugorje brings news
to the fundamental point of our existence: our
relationship with God. Medjugorje does not
need interpreters, nor anyone to explain how
or what to do – God himself does this, like
he spoke to Moses that day from the bush.
He does it through Mary, Mother full of love,
immaculate creature who approaches us with
such spontaneity and introduces us to an im-
mediate, living relationship with God.
The novelty lies here, because grace takes
everything that has come between us and God
away, it causes all forms of approaching God
that are not life-giving and all passive reli-
gious habits that made us into slaves, to expe-
rience a crisis. The grace of Medjugorje does
not stop at extraordinary facts, on various phe-
nomena, it goes beyond this. Those who have
welcomed this grace, have welcomed a call to
free the people who are subjected to slavery.
Moses received the same call from God
to free his people from the slavery of Egypt
in which the pharaoh kept them. Medjugorje
Our future
in his hands
The time has come for a strong inner
dynamism; we are asked to continuously and
tirelessly walk on the pathway of faith. Every
day requires new steps to be taken and what
was going well for us yesterday must not nec-
essarily be the same today.
We are asked to leave the “old” of the day
before: the good and bad experiences that we
have lived; the painful things, the things that
we have understood and those that remain
incomprehensible; our habits, our human se-
curity that in reality is only insecurity camou-
fl aged, because our only certainty lies in God
and everything comes to us from Him at the
right time and in the right measure. We must
put our future in God’s hands, abandon eve-
rything to Him; not only what is far from us
and escapes our gaze, but also what is near and
what worries our heart.
God has given us the gift of a place in
which he sends his Mother to visit us every
day to tell us through Mary that He is worried
about us lovingly and in a concrete manner, that
he is constantly coming to seek us out wherev-
er we are and he gives us all the time necessary
(even 28 years and more if necessary) to open
ourselves up to Him through Mary’s heart.
Through her maternal words, God wants to
attract us to Him, he wants to bring us towards
an immediate and profound relationship with
Him and with the celestial reality. But the Lord
also lets us know that we must walk, grow, de-
velop a living dialogue with Him in inner life.
For us now is the right moment to see where
we are after so many years during which Our
Lady comes to visit us, during which Mary
comes to help us with her words to progress,
until such time as becoming mature, integral
Christians, who make a decision to experience
the freedom of the children of God – Holiness.
Yes, now is the right time to see where
we have stopped: in our old mentality, in the
mistaken gazes towards God, in ourselves, in
the Church; in the schemes that we made for
ourselves or that others transmitted to us, even
those that are called to guide us towards the
AN OPEN LETTER
Dear Editorial Staff,
lately there is much talk within the
settings associated with Medjugorje of
the fact that due to certain events, offi -
cial recognition by the Church is late in
coming…I have refl ected on this for a
long time and I must confess that I do not
mind at all that it has not been approved,
because when it is, it will no longer be the
Medjugorje that overturns and shapes the
soul, but perhaps it will be a “common”
place of prayer and faith somewhat like
the other more famous Marian shrines,
and we will not longer breathe in the
PURE and SIMPLE air of the LIVING
and WORKING faith in people’s hearts,
with thousands of conversions…
Have you ever asked yourself: if God
wanted it to be, it would have been rec-
ognised long ago! Why is it not? Because
recognition by men is not important for
God (and He doesn’t need it), but rather,
what is important is the concrete and con-
tinuous action of CONVERSION that
Medjugorje exercises.
I believe that the presence of luxury
hotels and shops animated by important
fi nancial interests may be a form of “deg-
radation” of the SPIRITUAL action that
is currently underway. Believe me.
Therefore, I don’t mind in the least
that approval has not come yet, I would
however ask for those who have freely
chosen to live the teachings of the Queen
of Peace to be respected…Let us not for-
get, however, that the pain of our rights
that are denied (as believers) purifi es us
and raises us up!
Hermann Zagler
then cannot be a land of pharaohs, because
it is God himself, through his Mother, who
gives us the grace that frees us….and this
grace, which is so palpable, cannot be en-
closed within a bucket because it must lead
the whole of humanity to participate in God’s
life. Man grows in this way, he is transformed
and freed from that which makes him a slave.
The call of Moses has come about, but
the heart of the pharaoh has remained closed.
Denying grace, actually means remaining in
the dark. Let us therefore welcome the grace
that the Lord gives us during this time in
Medjugorje, let us say yes to God so that he
might conquer all pharaohs that lie within us.
Hrvoje C’uric’
maturity and Christian freedom and that on
the other hand suffocate what they should pro-
mote…
Those who have been in Medjugorje and
those who, for many reasons have not yet
gone there, (Medjugorje is not only for some,
because if Our Lady is coming down from
heaven it is something that has to do with all
of us: this is an event before which nobody can
remain indifferent!), we must ask if in all these
years our Christian faith has grown visibly, if
our gaze towards God’s plans has extended, if
it has become clearer…
We must not and we cannot stop: we
must walk with Mary! It is up to us to ex-
perience her presence in a real way, in order
to bear witness to God’s face which comes to
visit us in Medjugorje in Mary’s maternal face,
so that we might all recognise it and under-
stand God’s action in that place where He has
given us so many graces. It is not up to us to
judge anyone because we are all in the same
struggle between good and evil; we are always
tempted to sit down and get lost in comfort, in
the superfi ciality of the things of the world and
to leave it up to others – whom we consider
more suitable – to discern and to decide for
us. But God came to meet us…the living God,
together with Mary and all of the celestial real-
ity, He wants to live among us. The question is
whether we are ready to welcome Him and as
such – it would always be Christmas!
Andrea Toeglhofer
background image
7
B
EARING
WITNESS
A caress from God
Spiritual experiences are a great gift, a
“Grace” that is a foretaste of the love that
we will receive and embrace fully when we
are in the greatness of God in a complete
manner.
There are signs that should also be
grasped when they seem far away and we
are immersed in daily life that plans out
how our lives unwind. God, who loves us
with a fullness that we sometimes fail to
understand, knows our solitude and for this
reason he puts spiritual friends alongside us,
strengthened by Him.
Thanks to the invitation from a couple of
dear friends during the month of August, we
shared an extraordinary spiritual experience
in Medjugorje with our eldest daughter.
During those days we felt how great
God’s love is in our personal history and our
family. A special grace accompanied us from
the fi rst steps on the rocks of Krizevac:
“Something” mysterious touched us.
We prayed together, praised the Lord and
gave thanks. Our prayer was often united
with a strong spiritual emotion, but our soul
was calm and brimming with joy.
God’s love penetrated into the depths,
it worked…and it still works. Our family
members were with us too, in spirit, along
with our dearest friends and the people who
had asked for our prayers, the ill in particular.
There was a spiritual embrace between us…a
silent and releasing cry.
As we were climbing up towards the great
Cross, beneath the sun, we stopped off at the
stations, with the Rosary in our hands and on
our lips…God’s love accompanied us. We
too, like Jesus who received the words of the
Father from the clouds “This is my chosen
Son…”, felt like we were chosen, intimately
loved by God.
The walk to Podbrdo was rich with
grace also. In the beginning we saw some
Towards the space of affection
«Now Mary arose in those days and went
into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,
and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted
Elizabeth.…» (Lk 1,39)
Mary begins her journey, the metaphor of all
the journeys of the soul and life itself. When you
open your life to God, then you must no longer
have any home.
The dynamics of existence go from the inside
towards the outside, from our home towards the
space of the world, from the I towards the space
of affection and relations.
Accompanying Holy Mary in her journey of
faith, going from one house to another with her,
we realise how much of the Gospel comes about
on our streets and in the homes of Palestine, we
realise how the story of Jesus is set within homes
– and then amidst rivers and lakes, on roads and
in villages, on the hills and in the desert…- much
more than in the synagogue or in the temple; we
realise how the home and the “profane” space are
the place where salvation happens, and daily life
is the pastry into which the yeast of the gospel is
poured.
How I love Mary’s freedom. She is free
to leave in a hurry, to not allow herself to be
infl uenced by anything, to do something that
was very far from her plans up to a minute
previously.
As free as a bird in the air, as a wild fl ower,
as a lily in the fi eld that receives pollen when
the wind blows, that takes the sun and the water
simply when they come. How I love this ability
to experience life as though it were a continuous
germination, a life made of buds. But this is the
way every life is, not a book already written,
not a plan to be carried out, complete, compact,
heavy, but the invention of roads and the care of
buds.
How I love this life of Mary where nothing
is pre-established. Where life sprouts free and
happy. Magnifi cat! It is so corroborating to
imagine life as an open system and not as a
closed system. To imagine life, faith, the Church,
God himself as open fi elds. A girl travelling over
the mountains of Judah.
(Taken from: Le case di Maria, by Ermes Ronchi)
Mary’s
words:
The annual
apparition
to Jakov
25
th
December
2009
“Dear children!
All of this time
in which God in
a special way permits me to be with you, I
desire to lead you on the way that leads
to Jesus and to your salvation. My little
children, you can fi nd salvation only in God
and therefore, especially on this day of grace
with little Jesus in my arms, I call you to
permit Jesus to be born in your hearts. Only
with Jesus in your heart can you set out on
the way of salvation and eternal life. Thank
you for having responded to my call.”
shops on the main road, as is customary for
all religious places, but this did not disturb
us, because we felt much more within
our hearts…We started the climb up to
Apparition Hill over the stones, in silence. A
peace invaded us and with a hand we touched
a truth that often, over the years, we had only
grasped through the voices, but above all, the
life, of many people near to us.
We felt the presence of Mary. An infi nite
joy…We stopped in front of the statue of
Our Lady, we knelt down and we said a
silent prayer. Around Christ on the Cross we
shared an intense prayer and presented the
wounds of our life to him and that’s not all…
We asked Mary to alleviate the suffering of
the sick and those who are under strain with
her caresses. And once again all our friends
were there, all of them…everyone who is
dear to us…
We would have liked to have remained
there for a long time. Then our gaze moved
to the spaces around there and we thought
that right there, Mary took the same route,
she spoke like us, but with new words that
caress humanity; she listened, loved, shared.
As we were going down, our gaze met the
gaze of the other pilgrims; their shining eyes,
their fraternal smiles, their shared feelings…
In an era that is so secularised, Mary’s
action is alive and it reaches the intimacy
of our hearts. For us it was not a human
experience; Medjugorje truly is a special
place, where the presence of God and Mary
is evident everywhere. Many years of
married live, the gift of children even through
adoption, trials and tests have sometimes led
us to be very rational. This is just to say that
what we experienced was not a superfi cial
sense of grandeur.
When you leave Medjugorje you feel
called towards a renewed journey, of
offering your life. All of this is a gift, a
caress from God. On the way home, our 21
year old daughter told us that Medjugorje
gave a meaning to her life, to her summer,
meaning that young people too are also in
search of something else…which can be
found.
Lidio and Mina
Messages to Mirjana
2
nd
November 2009
Dear children, Also today I am among
you to point you to the way that will help
you to come to know God’s love, the love of
God who permitted you to call him Father
and to perceive him as Father. I ask of you
to sincerely look into your hearts and to see
how much you love him. Is he the last to be
loved? Surrounded by material goods, how
many times have you betrayed, denied and
forgotten him? My children, do not deceive
yourselves with worldly goods. Think of
your soul because it is more important than
the body; cleanse it. Invoke the Father, he
is waiting for you. Come back to him. I am
with you because he, in his mercy, sends me.
Thank you.”
2
nd
December 2009:
“Dear children, At this time of preparation
and joyful expectation I, as a mother, desire
to point you to what is the most important,
to your soul. Can my Son be born in it? Is it
cleansed by love from lies, arrogance, hatred
and malice? Above all else does your soul
love God as your Father and does it love
your fellow brother in Christ? I am pointing
you to the way which will raise your soul to a
complete union with my Son. I desire for my
Son to be born in you. What a joy that would
be for me as mother. Thank you.”
2
nd
January 2010:
“Dear children, Today I am calling you
too, with complete trust and love, set out
with me, because I desire to acquaint you
with my Son. Do not be afraid, my children,
I am here with you, I am next to you. I am
showing you the way to forgive yourselves, to
forgive others, and, with sincere repentance
of heart, to kneel before the Father. Make
everything die in you that hinders you from
loving and saving – that you may be with Him
and in Him. Decide for a new beginning, a
beginning of sincere love of God Himself.
Thank you.”
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With the coming and going of the years
– of time that cyclically goes and then begins
again – we have the possibility of “zeroing
out” certain situations of our life and “starting
over” where we experienced failures, where it
seemed to us to be ugly, painful and that we
would like, in some way, to leave behind in
order to turn over a new leaf, to be able to
hope for better and give new occasions to life
through changed conditions.
In reality, life continues as the fruit of
what had been a short time before… If we re-
ally think about it in fact, a year that comes
to an end is only a social convention, but it
is also a form of psychological aid that helps
us to ignite new hope and to put a hand to
new desires. And so God, who is good, comes
to bless us so as not to leave us alone in our
dreams as children…
The year that I wish for is made of stars,
splendid in the dark and calm in the night.
The year that I wish for is made of light,
of sun and of warmth.
The year that I wish for is woven with peace,
with harmony and good news…
The year that I wish for is made
of peace-giving silence,
but also of joyful and vivacious life,
O
UR
READERS
WRITE
Agnes Hoe from Singapore: “Thank
you so much for sending me Echo, which I
distribute to several Catholics in Singapore. I
am sending you an offer to contribute to your
excellent work for the Virgin Mary. I wish
you all a holy and blessed new year”.
Antonio La Manna from Italy: “Thank
you for the service that you are providing,
may the Lord support all of your undertak-
ings. With esteem…”.
A missionary priest sends us a text
message from Africa: “The Echo of Mary
comes to me with the utmost of faith. Thank
you very much!”.
Rose Claude da Bruzac (France):
“Thank you for these publications that help
us in our lives. May peace come and may all
of us turn towards goodness, that is, towards
Jesus our Saviour. Thank you once again”.
Robert Schmitt from Michelbach-le-
Haut (France): “I have been receiving 100
copies of the Echo of Mary for more than
fi fteen years. After the issues in French that
you didn’t publish, I thought that Echo no
longer existed. I am now receiving my copies
again… I am truly happy that you still exist
and I hope to continue receiving this maga-
zine. Thank you once again!”. In communion
of prayer with the Holy Virgin”.
Maurice le Guellec from Pont-Aven
(France): “Thank you because you regularly
send us the Echo, which gives us the gift of
joy, hope and spiritual wealth. Every new is-
sue is a discovery rich with Mary’s messages
that invites us to convert our hearts. Your lat-
est September-October 2009 issue was par-
ticularly appreciated by a reader, who gave
me an offer to send to you. Thank you once
again from all the readers for your diligence.
Fraternally, in union of prayer”.
You will become
a blessing
We are not always suffi ciently aware of the
fact that the power of blessing works wonders.
It is a mysterious force, which is invisible but
nevertheless concrete in its action amidst creat-
ed things. It channels the omnipotence of God
himself, because it originates in Him; despite
this, it needs channels to meet its destination,
like a river needs a bed to reach the sea and to
enrich it with the addition of its sweet waters.
That power that is capable of transform-
ing everything that it meets passes through us,
through the priestly heart that we received with
baptism. Usually however, it remains closed
in the drawers of our ignorance, or in those of
laziness or perhaps only of indifference. And
in this way, the treasure of grace is rendered
fruitless.
The Lord has given us a gift, a precious
gift, to be administered responsibly: a “gift”
to “say”, because the word fl ies like the wind
and it rests where it is listened to, welcomed, so
as to bear fruit. A gift to be given but also to be
kept carefully because it has an immense value,
to then make it circulate again with freedom,
so that goodness might penetrate all things and
bring it to its full fulfi lment. The blessing does
not change the nature of things, it makes them
happen and causes them to explode with life…
The Lord entrusts this blessing to us at the
beginning of every new year; let us make it our
own, let us transmit it beyond words, so as to
become a blessing ourselves…
“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His
countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
So they shall put My name
on the children of Israel,
and I will bless them.”
(Nm 6, 24-27)
the fruit of free and knowledgeable creativity.
The year that I wish for is made of God,
who is all of this and not only the author.
Because God is light, God is peace,
God is warmth and harmony;
God is life and silence,
creating spirit and infi nite hope.
God is good news,
always new in his annunciation
of joy and splendour.
And God is my time,
and God is my year,
that which life gives to me as a gift
so that I might enjoy it to the full,
every instant, without growing tired of living it
with intensity and passion;
giving the best of myself in every situation,
without distinguishing between good
and bad ones.
Because God is my everything,
my living, my existence;
in Him I lack nothing…
What should we hope for therefore at
the beginning of a new year received as a
gift? The world hopes for good luck, to be
sure of this it tiresomely looks towards the
stars, seeking magical solutions to the pain-
ful efforts of daily life. The world hopes for
health, and attempts at all costs to contrast the
natural course of life, with its seasons and its
normal declines. The world hopes for money,
success, power…but then it gets disheartened
as soon as the system gets jammed and shows
its extreme weakness, which is all sent “into
crisis”, including the delicate nervous system
of those who run around all day: some to sur-
vive, some to produce wealth that immediate-
ly disappears. The world also wishes for love,
and perhaps here we are…but what love? Love
made not only of gratifi cation, pleasure, satis-
fi ed sentimental claims or love that creates us
by loving us, that makes us be ourselves and
gives us life, freedom and strength?
If this is the love that we are seeking, then
let’s wish for God at the beginning of this new
year. God is this and lot’s more. He is a whole
world to be discovered, every day, not out of
curiosity, but out of love; because He attracts
us to Him and He fascinates us, He fi lls the
day with meaning and explains every event in
truth.
Let us not seek anything more. This will
be enough for us. By desiring Him we will
fi nd ourselves, and it will be a year of grace.
Enjoy the journey!
Stefania Consoli and the editorial staff
of the Echo of Mary
The year that I wish for
The year that I wish for