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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 209 (March-April 2010)

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Message of the 25
th
of January 2010:
“Dear children! May this time be a
time of personal prayer for you, so that the
seed of faith may grow in your hearts; and
may it grow into a joyful witness to others.
I am with you and I desire to inspire you
all: grow and rejoice in the Lord who
has created you. Thank you for having
responded to my call.”
Prayer is humus
for faith
The Apostles said to the Lord: “Increase
our faith!”. The Lord answered them saying:
“If you have faith as small as a mustard
seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be
uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will
obey you. (Lk 17,5-6). Dear children, may
this be a time of personal prayer for you,
so that the seed of faith may grow in your
hearts, Mary exhorts us. This is the time in
which grain and discord grow together, it is
the time of waiting for the return of Christ,
the time in which we are called to protect and
cause the good seed of faith to grow. Faith
is an immeasurably great gift from God and,
like all gifts that come from Him, it is offered,
not imposed; it is up to us to welcome and
protect the gift or refuse it. God respects
our freedom, to the utmost, but he does not
abandon us and he is always ready to come
to our aid when we turn to Him with a sincere
heart. Even if we do not know how to pray, it
will be the Spirit himself who will intercede
for us (Rm 8, 26). Let us strongly ask God
to not allow the seed of faith to die in us;
let us ask him this more than anything else
in the world; let us ask him for it for us, for
our children, for our friends, for those who
are our enemies, for the whole of humanity.
Let us ask for Mary’s powerful intercession,
She is with us, always ready to support us;
let us ask for the intercession of the Angels,
of our saints. Let our prayer be simple, alive,
faithful; let it be an elevation of the soul
to God, like the catechism of the Catholic
Church teaches us. “For me prayer is a burst
from the heart, it is a simple gaze towards
the Heavens, a cry of gratitude and love in
times of trial and in joy, it is something great,
supernatural, that dilates my soul and unites
me with Jesus” (St Therese of the Child Jesus
MA 317). What Saint Therese affi rms is an
experience that I, you, we all can truly have
if we really want to!
True prayer, from the heart, is a
communion between the creature and the
Creator, it is a meeting in Christ between the
Father and the Son that I am, you are; for this
reason, the Eucharistic liturgy, the Mass is the
highest form of prayer. Oh Father, accept our
offering on this night of light, and through
this mysterious exchange of gifts, transform
us into Christ your Son, who raised man up
alongside you in glory. This is how we pray
over the offerings at the Mass on the night
of Christmas, and the fruit of this prayer is
to become one body and one spirit in Christ.
Our faith must lead to this assimilation. Now
man is no longer kept away from the Tree
of Life so that that he might not eat from it
and live forever (Gen 3, 22-24). Now the
Tree of Life is Jesus Christ and man can
eat from him and live forever, if he does so
with the right heart. In this way our faith will
become a joyous testimony to others and it
is a testimony that is truly effi cient because
it transmits something that is not part of us
but of He who lives in us, Christ Jesus; and
it brings joy because He is the true, only,
unique, eternal Joy! And so let us grow and
rejoice in the Lord who created us and who
wanted us as his children in His Son Jesus!
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“We believed, according to our
human criteria, that he was hiding
his greatness and his glory from us,
while he was revealing to us, through
that same unveiling, the authentic
greatness, true divine glory.
This greatness and this glory
have nothing to do with our human
greatnesses and glories. They
essentially consist of the rule of a
love that ignores all distances and
triumphs in communion”.
Éloi Leclerc
Message of the 25
th
of February 2010:
“Dear children! In this time of grace,
when nature also prepares to give the most
beautiful colors of the year, I call you, little
children, to open your hearts to God the
Creator for Him to transform and mould
you in His image, so that all the good
which has fallen asleep in your hearts may
awaken to a new life and a longing towards
eternity. Thank you for having responded
to my call”.
Open your hearts
to God the Creator
There is a time when nature wakes up
from its winter sleep and it is a time of
grace, because it is the grace of God that
governs it and reawakens it. This is how it is
for the whole of creation and even more for
the human creature made in His image and
likeness. “Dear children! I invite you to open
the door of your heart to Jesus as the fl ower
opens itself to the sun, Mary said to us in the
message of the 25th of January 1995 and once
again today she repeats open your hearts to
God the Creator. God is the Creator. He was
the creator not only at the beginning of the
history of the world and of man; he was the
creator then and he still is the creator, because
God is Life and life is in Him and it does not
exist without Him. Man cannot do without
God. It is the trick of the ancient serpent that
still tempts and seduces man, that deludes
him into thinking that he can do without God,
that he can live without Him, and even against
Him. It is the root of the fi rst sin that is still
budding and will fi nish budding only when
God is everything in everyone. Like every
mother does with her children, Mary wakes
us up from our sleep, she calls us towards
Life. Open your hearts to God the Creator
for Him to transform and mould you in his
own image and likeness. This is Life: living
in God, allowing Him to continue His Work
of creation in us, abandoning ourselves to
His Love that transfi gures us and makes us
like Jesus. Mary insists; she has been at work
since, from the time she was very young,
she said Her Yes to the angel Gabriel, since
she welcomed Jesus within Herself and thus
welcomed all of us in Him to make each of
us a unique Son of the Father. This is God’s
creation, it is always underway because this
is His Work. How can we not be willing to
accept so much Love?
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the
Lord, that you must no longer live as the
Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
They are darkened in their understanding
and separated from the life of God because
of the ignorance that is in them due to the
March - April 2010 - Year 26 # 3-4 - Echo of Mary, Via Cremona, 28 - 46100 Mantova - Italy.
www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
209
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hardening of their hearts. (Eph 4,17-18).
To be made new in the attitude of your
minds; and to put on the new self, created to
be like God in true righteousness and holiness
(Eph 4,23-24). This is the reawakening that
Mary calls us towards, and proceeding in
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we will fi nd
advice that is just as useful today, as it was
yesterday, and perhaps even more than it
was yesterday, so that a new Life may be
born in each of us, that Christ conquered for
us with His Death and Resurrection. Today,
like two thousand years ago, the essence
of life is always and only Jesus Christ and
in Him, and only in Him, can we discover
it, taste it, experience it. It is not a question
of drawing up a treatise on existence but of
experiencing something. It is not a question
of inventing something new but of living the
new Life that is already present in Christ and
offered to each of us. It is merely a question
of welcoming it with a sincere heart, without
pretence, without hypocrisy.
Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and
sin because this is a time of grace which God
gives you (25.02.2000). Awaken from the
tired sleep of your soul (25.03.2001); this is
what Mary exhorts us to do and now it is up
to each of us, and above all those who have
particular responsibilities in the Church, to
accept or refuse. It is still possible, but for
how long?
N.Q.
Swim against the tide!
“We are continuously called to convert,
but we are not always sure of what this
truly means. Conversion means changing
the direction of the pathway of our lives:
not a little adjustment however, a veritable
turnaround in direction. Conversion means
swimming against the tide, where the “tide”
is a superfi cial, incoherent and illusionary
lifestyle that often drags us, dominates us
and makes us slaves of evil or in any case
prisoners of mediocrity. With conversion on
the other hand, we should aim towards the
high measure of Christian life, we should
place our trust in the living and personal
Gospel, which is Jesus Christ. His person
is the fi nal destination and the profound
meaning of conversion, he is the pathway
towards which we are all called to walk in
life, allowing ourselves to be illuminated by
his light and supported by his strength, which
moves our steps.
Every day is a favourable moment and
a moment of grace, because each day urges
us to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust in Him,
to remain in Him (…) even when there is no
lack of diffi culties and strain, tiredness and
falls, even when we are tempted to abandon
the pathway that leads to Christ and close
ourselves off, within our selfi shness, without
realising the need that we have to open
ourselves up to God’s love in Christ, to live
the same logic of justice and love.
Let us renew our commitment to follow
Jesus, to allow ourselves to be transformed
by his Easter mystery, to conquer evil and
do good, to let the old man die who was
associated with sin and let the new man be
born, transformed by God’s grace.
Benedict XVI
(General Audience 17
th
February 2010)
News from Africa
There is always the risk of “pretending
nothing” and indifferently relegating a land,
that continuously fi ghts its struggle not only
to live but also just to survive, to the oblivion
of our conscience. A land that carries the
burden of the fate of being perennially the
“third world”, not a subject with which to
relate “on equal ground”, but a third party that
is set aside and that needs to be taken care of.
For some time on the pages of Echo we
have set aside a little space to give a voice
to this continent so
that it might be the
protagonist of its own
existence; and it is the
voice of the witnesses,
of those who visit it,
inhabit it and love it
for many reasons...
In this short letter sent to the editorial staff,
Father ANDREA MESCHI, the general
father of the Stimmatini Order, tells us
something about that land, so that we might
all take it to heart, at least through the gift of
our prayer.
“Dear friends,
I returned to Italy a short time ago...I
rediscovered the Ivory Coast (I hadn’t been
there in six years) and I found it to be in
very worrying condition. It’s a country that
is regressing at an alarming rate rather than
making progress. The number of those who
are unable to survive is rising fast, those
who in the morning when they wake up
ask themselves the fundamental question:
will I fi nd something to eat today? Poverty
is spreading. The country does have some
reserves, but crumbling and corrupt politics
(the possibility of some revolutionary
movement always seems to be latent), as well
as the presence of exploiting multi-national
forces are causing this country to collapse.
As Stimmatini we have been present
here for forty years and we guide fervent
parish communities, works of charity and
education as regards young people. We also
have a powerful
radio as a means
of catechism
to be spread
throughout the
various villages
of the forest.
Laymen and
women as well
as nuns work
with us. In
Ayamè, in the hospital that was built with
us, I encountered a team of doctors from
the San Matteo in Pavia who come to Africa
periodically to offer their work. At that
time they were performing a series of eye
operations.
There are very few European missionaries,
a large group of local Stimmatini (almost
twenty) has formed over the years and they
are a source of great hope for the future, but
there are very signifi cant fi nancial needs.
Let’s hope that Africa can keep its head
high and walk on.
I brought their songs home with me,
which are mysteriously cadenced by the tam
tam, and on my clothes there is a little of that
“red earth” that I will never forget”.
Father Andrea Meschi
2
Christianity is not moralism!
“Christianity is not and cannot be moralism,
it is not up to us to do what God expects from
the world, but we must fi rst of all enter into this
mystery: God gives Himself. His being, his
love, precedes our action and, in the context of
remaining in Him, identifi ed with Him, ennobled
with His Blood, we can also act with Christ”.
“From God let us not ask for some small or
great thing, from God let us invoke the divine
gift, God himself. (…) We must learn more and
more about the things we can pray for and the
things that we cannot pray for, because they
are expressions of my selfi shness. I cannot
pray for things that are harmful for others, I
cannot pray for things that bolster my own
selfi shness, my pride. In this way, praying, in
God’s eyes, becomes a process of purifi cation
of our thoughts, of our desires. (…) Only in
this process of slow purifi cation, of freedom
from ourselves and from the will to have only
ourselves, lies life’s true journey, the journey of
joy opens up”.
Benedetto XVI
(from a Lectio Divina on John 15, 9-17)
From Uganda…
Dear friends,
heartfelt thanks for sending me the Echo
of Mary. I have often thought about writing to
you but the guerrilla warfare occupies all my
thoughts. I’ve decided to do it now…
I’ve been in Africa for many years; I
initially worked in a school and now I’m wor-
king on the youth pastoral project for human,
social and Christian promotion among young
people, with a special focus on young people
and former child soldiers.
The Mission is in the North of Uganda. For
twenty-two years I’ve experienced guerrilla
warfare with the people and I’ve seen terrible
atrocities carried out by the rebels of the “Lord’s
Resistance Army”, including the painful Via
Crucis of children who were kidnapped to
become soldiers and slaves, being subjected to
all sorts of mistreatment.
We are now in a period of peace, thanks be
to God. This enables us to live more peacefully
and therefore work more.
I distribute the Echo of Mary in English
among the young people of the various schools
that are part of the Mission. The young people
read it enthusiastically and with great inte-
rest and I assure you that it’s always a cause
for celebration when they receive it and pass it
on to each other. I’m currently working in ten
schools, so the magazine really does get around!
In all of these schools the Rosary is recited and
in prayer the young people feel Mary’s presence
quite strongly.
I also love to read the Echo, because in it
I fi nd material for the youth pastoral project
and for my own personal refl ection. The only
regret that I have is that I cannot contribute
fi nancially, and so I pray to the Mother of God
that She might see to “someone” who might
offer you the subscription for us missionaries.
And that this “someone” might be thanked in a
special way, that is, with my thanks and those
of the young people, along with a prayer of
thanksgiving from me for your generosity. For
all of you and all of your readers and supporters
I invoke the abundant blessing of God.
An affectionate embrace,
Sister Aurelia Poma (Lira – Uganda)
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3
Echo 209
What might a saint from
yesterday have to say to us today?
On Sunday the 25
th
of April the Carmelite
Father Angelo Paoli (1642-1720) will be
proclaimed Blessed. Today, many years later,
what is the meaning
of the glorifi cation
of this man who
lived such a long
time ago? Does his
story, which is made
known to everyone
with his beatifi cation,
carry an even more
valid message for
the Church and
the Carmelite order, as they enter the third
millennium? Certainly what hasn’t waned
about the life and the example of Father Angelo
Paoli is his charitable service, founded on the
contemplation of the Mystery of God, loved
and adored above all in the Holy Eucharist.
Pope Benedict XVI writes: “The saints
have drawn their ability to love their
neighbour, in an ever newer manner, from
their meeting with the Lord Eucharist and,
reciprocally this meeting has acquired
its realism and its depth in the service of
others” (Deus Caritas est, no. 18). With a
tangible truth, Father Angelo experienced
his relationship with God, remaining united
with Him in his lengthy hours of prayer and
becoming the manifestation of the presence of
the love of God in history. Intense love for the
person of Christ and for his Cross, moulded
the course of his life and for him it became
an experience of union of thought, feeling and
will with the divine mystery, so much so that
it led father Angelo to see men and the world
with the eyes of God and to love others in
God and with God.
The
beatifi cation of Father Angelo came
after many years of waiting and the Lord in
his Providence wishes to offer it at a special
time. Is it a mere coincidence that it will be
given as a gift to the Carmelite order and the
Church during the year that the Pope wanted
to dedicate to the priesthood? During this Year
dedicated to the priesthood, the beatifi cation
of father Angelo is certainly an appropriate
occasion during which to reawaken in all
priests the love for the Eucharist and the
Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the creative
service in charity.
Hilarity and humour accompanied many
moments of his life. With funny jokes he
played down diffi cult moments and he
accepted words that resounded as attacks
if not actually insults. Many aspects and
anecdotes of the life of Father Angelo reveal
to us the gentle nature of this man’s soul,
who, contemplating God’s Beauty, worked to
give beauty back to the men who approached
it, by choosing (following his example) to
collaborate with him as volunteers in the same
service of our brother or allowing themselves
to be evangelised in the experience of their
illness and their poverty.
The Church continuously asks itself
how to grow in internal communion and
how to create links between presbyters and
lay people that are characterised by co-
responsibility in the work of evangelisation.
Father Angelo, who had high-ranking people
as well as simple artisans around him, who
he rendered responsible, knowing how to
suggest to each of them their own specifi c
way of making the culture of love grow, also
invites us, his brothers and sisters of today, to
invent pathways together and new ways of
taking care of the poor and the convalescent
of today, especially those affected, as Pope
Benedict XIV says, with dryness of the soul.
Through this glorifi cation, that comes
about today and not in times gone by, through
this priest who experienced his human and
spiritual maturity in Rome, God probably
also wanted to say something to the Church
in Rome today, and to its presbyters in
particular.
Father Giuseppe Midili, Carmelite
In the year dedicated
to the Priesthood
Joseph, the holiest of saints
We can say, without fear and without a
doubt, that Joseph is the holiest of Saints and
that, even if it is not a teaching of the faith, he
is most likely already with Jesus and Mary in
body and in soul in Heaven. The three hearts
that were united on Earth, will be forever
united in heaven. It is for this reason that the
intercession of Saint Joseph as Jesus’ father
and Mary’s spouse is so powerful. Nobody
loved them like him, nobody took care of
them with such concern. Joseph is the faithful
man, always willing to do God’s will. For this
reason, his life is at the centre of the history
of the world and the salvation of humanity.
Being devoted to him is something more than
optional.
Fr. Ángel Peña
Chosen ones
We needn’t be surprised if Love, which
gives joy to our hearts, is like a fi re lit by a
“special wood”, made of thorns, because
this is how it was pleasing to the Father. It
is not necessary to seek it out because it is
offered to us every day: it is only a question
of recognising it and holding it close, without
throwing it away. Perhaps it is not diffi cult to
recognise it because it looks like that wood
that the Son carried to Mount Calvary after
having readily welcomed it from the Father.
The Father was immensely happy because of
this and felt the need to manifest His joy to men
when He said: this is my chosen (beloved) Son
in whom I am well pleased. Then the Father
thought about giving that wood as a gift to
men, through His Son, so that all those who
carried it might experience Love and Joy.
For this reason, the trials of life, that
always recall that “wood” a little, express
the Father’s benevolence and not a form of
punishment. With the annunciation of the
angel, Mary recognised that “wood”, she
joyfully went to her cousin Elizabeth to say
to her: from now on all generations will call
me blessed. Therefore the cross was thought
of by the Father to give blessing and not
punishment. Otherwise Mary would not have
gone to her cousin to express her blessing.
Yes, like the Cross was a sign of having been
chosen by the Father, as regards the Son and
the Mother, our daily torments lead us to think
of such predilection. And like Mary welcomed
the cross with such love and abandonment,
even without fully understanding it, we too
are called to welcome the sufferings of each
day lovingly and with abandonment, even if
we do not always understand them. If we do
this, then perhaps we too will experience the
beatitude of the Virgin; perhaps we too will
feel loved by the Father, chosen, like Jesus
and Mary.
Too little
In the terrestrial paradise man possessed
everything that he needed for life because he
was “rich” with God’s wealth, but when he
left that place, he became impoverished and
he ended up losing everything. Despite his
efforts, he couldn’t succeed in having anything
S
I M P L E
T H O U G H T S
by Pietro Squassabia
that he needed to live. And so the Father was
moved to pity given the misfortunate situation
that man was in and He thought about giving
him back what he had lost, actually, much
more, because He gave him the greatest
Treasure that He had: His own Son. In this
way, the Father deprived Himself of His Son
to enrich man.
Now the Father “cannot” give us to His
Son again because – so to speak – He is no
longer His but ours, seen as He gave Him to
us, and so He needs us, simple humans, to give
His Son to those who have lost him. But we
need to be careful because we risk losing the
Treasure that we are carrying in clay vases: if
we break them, we will lose their contents…
We have an important duty in God’s plan:
to bring Jesus to our brother. Mary is the
splendid creature who always brings us to
Jesus but she also asks for our collaboration,
as though she needed us to do her duty. If we
welcome Jesus, all of us can carry Him to
others because He, who is meek and humble
of heart, always allows Himself to be led
without putting up a fi ght. Perhaps Jesus
expects none other than this from us: that we
give Him as an exchange, that we give Him as
a gift to others, without distinctions, without
preferences, especially to those who do not
know that they have lost Him, to those who
are not even looking for Him. At the end of
our life, the Father will only ask us this: if we
brought Jesus to others. And so, if we do not
give Jesus, then we give too little…
Mother Teresa of Calcutta recalled this
often: we give too little if we don’t give God.
In fact man, even when he asks for “bread
alone”, in reality always seeks God because,
in the bottom of his heart, he is always
“hungry” for God. Jesus reminded us of this
many times. Also when He said: man cannot
live on bread alone, but on every word that
comes out of God’s mouth, what he meant
was that, without God, “bread” is insuffi cient
to take away our hunger. And even when He
was giving loaves and fi sh to the crowds, with
this He was also offering God’s word, to truly
take man’s hunger away... We are therefore
always asked to give Jesus to those who are in
need, so as not to give too little. And let us not
worry if we do not feel up to the task. Mary is
our model and our aid. Let us turn to Her then,
and certainly we will not fail in bringing Jesus
to others.
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4
For
the
record
When we’re far away it’s normal to want
to know what’s going on back home. In this
way, even though we’re far away, we feel like
participants in family events, in things that
friends are doing…This is what happens to
those who return to their countries of origin
after having visited Medjugorje: they expect
to fi nd news here and there that makes them
feel closer.
For a long time we provided information
about events, accounts of important visits,
simple news of those places with little news
fl ashes…But we ask ourselves: does this still
have any meaning? Given that it is possible
to fi nd news on the Internet in real time –
so if we were to write it, it would already
be old news – we also asked ourselves if
the approach towards that reality that so
profoundly infl
uenced our lives should
change somewhat.
Every day the media “bombard” us with
information of all kinds and many times facts
are reported in a mediocre manner, often in
the form of gossip; in this way only banal
curiosity is satisfi ed and nourished on the
“sensational” and we become accustomed
to superfi cially reading our time. In the
light of this, we can then come to a better
understanding of the fact that it is not
necessary to know all the “little facts” about
Medjugorje to remain updated, but it is
important to know what is happening within
souls that allow themselves to be transformed
by the grace received in that place and that
continues to be operational wherever they are.
I will therefore have news from Medjugorje if
I know how to look into myself, if I know
how to discover the fruits of a journey that is
nourished with Mary’s words, her presence
in my day, her example in these lengthy years
of the apparitions…In this way I will be the
news in Medjugorje…And if I allow the Lord
and his Mother to work freely in me, there
will be news every single day!
A project
that goes
beyond all
expectations
We’re slowly approaching another
anniversary of the apparitions; in June we
will enter the thirtieth year of Mary’s presence
among us. A long story…Every now and
again someone asks themselves: how long
more will it last? What more will happen?
In the past, many striking episodes have
left their mark on the life of Medjugorje and
its protagonists: signs, events, sensational
testimonies, and then there are the ten secrets
that still remain closed in the discretion of the
visionaries …
“Little children, do not forget that you are all
important in this great plan, which God leads
through Medjugorje. God desires to convert
the entire world and to call it to salvation
and to the way towards Himself, who is the
beginning and the end of every being. In a
special way, little children, from the depth of
my heart, I call you all to open yourselves to
this great grace that God gives you through
my presence here. I desire to thank each
of you for the sacrifi ces and prayers. I am
with you and I bless you all. Thank you for
having responded to my call.” said Mary on
the 25
th
of June 2007. It is therefore a great
plan that cannot be enclosed in our forecasts
or expectations. We cannot continue to scan
the horizon to anticipate what will happen,
nor can we look back in regret, thinking
about what was and what could have been….
according to us!
God’s plan is not only big, it is enormous,
because it is for the salvation of the whole
world: not only men, but also the whole of
creation and every living being, so that good
might be re-established for all, as it was at the
beginning of all species. Let us not waste time
running around our small projects, and above
all let us not shirk the responsibility of the
success of God’s plan: we are all important.
Let us try then to seriously discover what we
must do and let’s do it, until the end.
FASTING
offers
us such
good food
During the long winter months, it seems
that plants don’t need anything. They remain
still, their vital functions almost asleep, and
to those who don’t know them well enough
they may even appear to be dead. Yet their
life is intense, palpitating, it’s just that it’s
concentrated towards the inside to protect
itself from the rigour of the winter, but also
to allow the plants to prepare themselves to
express new life, new colours and scents. It
is therefore an important time to regenerate
themselves and to give the best of themselves.
Every once in a while they ask for some
water, perhaps a grain of fertilizer, but for the
remainder of the time the plants….fast!
It is not at all inappropriate to speak about
fasting in such terms. The idea of fasting is
often only associated with the concept of
penance, sacrifi ce, expiation: “return to me
with all your heart, with fasting and weeping
and mourning. “Rend your heart and not your
garments. Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate…..he
relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2,12-13)
we hear read in the churches on the fi rst day of
Lent. But we must personally experience this
practice in order to understand that the fasting
of Christians has a whole other value.
Let’s get back to our plants to discover
that the time of their fasting – even avoiding
essential foods – not only does not cause
their death but strengthens them so that their
blooming in spring is even more thriving. The
period of their fasting therefore represents an
emptiness but only in view of something full,
an absence that gives a foretaste of only a
presence
My food is doing the will of the Father
The most striking example of fasting
experienced as a form of preparation for a
more intense action is given to us by Jesus
himself. When preparing for his public
ministry, he withdrew into the desert for forty
days without taking any food. In silence, in
prayer, he thus created within himself the
space to meet the Father and to listen fully to
his will, to then be announced to the people.
This is the true sense of the fasting that we
are invited to: to make space for God within
ourselves, to meet him with greater freedom
and to understand his thought to be translated
into life.
The Acts of the Apostles narrates that
believers fasted before making important
decisions (Acts 13,4; 14,23), which leads us
to understand how the intention of fasting
should be to turn our gaze away from the
things of this world, to concentrate instead
on God.
Mary, a mother who leaves her children to
fast?
We know well that in Medjugorje Our
Lady invited us to fast as one of the fi ve
fundamental parts of her call, a pillar on
which to place the building of our spiritual
life. But we must be careful, this is only a
form of support, it is not the life with God
towards which we must tend! It would be too
little to stop at the means that helps us to meet
the Lord and then not enter into communion
with Him! It is in fact a form of deceit to
make do with religious practises without
penetrating the mystery of God who offers
himself continuously to us. After all, it is only
a manner in which to silence our conscience
that deludes us into believing that we’re okay
only because we have fulfi lled the “ritualistic
duties” foreseen by our religious belief. If
this is how it is for us, then it means that we
are still nourishing ourselves on the yeast of
the Pharisees….
At the table with the saints
The fasting experienced by the saints
over the centuries and the fasting that Mary
came to give us today are two different
things. What Mary gives us is a very
powerful spiritual weapon that might help
us to detach ourselves from our dependency
on material things, however necessary they
may be. If we try to fi ll our inner emptiness
by stuffi ng our stomach with food and drink
that continuously whet our appetite; if we
fi ll our head with images, sounds, television
programmes and distractions of all kinds to
avoid the weariness of the inner desert, those
nights that are necessary for the spirit to
purify it and strengthen it; if we delegate the
Reflections of light
from
Mary’s land
by Stefania Consoli
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5
Medjugorje is home
for me !
For me, Medjugorje is fi rst of all the
place of my spiritual reawakening through
an extraordinary meeting with Jesus through
faith. I refer to it as an extraordinary meeting
because I experienced not only the presence
of Christ deeply in my heart like a seraphic
penetration of that most pure Love, which
is spiritually incandescent and humanly
disturbing and that makes you discover
that you are a creature loved by God, while
also giving you the certainty of a new
and surprising call for me, married and a
mother of three children, for me, involved in
volunteer work in hospitals; for me, a person
who was always in a hurry, for me, someone
who was very active, for me who was very
sure…of myself!
I suddenly found myself alone, with my
spirit immerged in the shadows, frightened
to my very depths and stripped of all sense
of security; the victim of distressing fears,
torn to pieces by doubt, shredded by the
most terrible thoughts…In all of this interior
desert I understood only one thing: that God
was giving me His love and His blessing,
that in my spiritual desert, Jesus was free
and He was giving me His word of mercy
and telling me to be at peace in this test
because God was touching me on the inside,
in my spirit, to heal me and to teach me to
pray with faith. Yes, that is the great gift
that I received: the grace of deep prayer that
helps me to remain silent while I pray in the
secrecy of my soul. Humanly I feel incapable
of expressing anything good, but remaining
immersed in my inner silence, I feel that love
for everyone is coming out of my heart and
becoming adoration…
In Medjugorje I truly met God and from
that moment my life changed. I learnt to
be more docile, dying to myself every day,
forgiving those who hurt me, offering my life
to God, praying for those who are suffering
in the world, and for the poor, humiliated,
scorned…thanking the Lord every day for
His infi nite love. My life changed profoundly,
but only after I allowed God to heal me!
In Medjugorje I experienced – and every
time that I return there I re-experience it
– that spiritual landscape that is simply
called Easter: detachment from the shadows
through divine Light, a secret doorway to be
discovered through faith. And this doorway
was opened up to my inner gaze after I
secretly prayed to God to accept my desire
to offer my life to Him without reservation,
in my human weakness, to become capable
of giving a loving sacrifi ce through Jesus.
I met divine Love in Medjugorje in its
purest state, in no other place did I breathe in
such peace in a spiritual sense! I have visited
many other shrines but only in Medjugorje
did I clearly perceive the living presence of
Jesus as a faithful friend, close to men and
their sufferings. This is a truly unique force
of love…
I experience many trials during my
everyday life, disappointments, worries,
but I am comforted by prayer and by the
certainty that the Lord welcomes my “little”
offering as though it were a great gift of
love for Him! Only by loving God can we
become a Church; only by gratuitously
A
S
THEY
GIVE
LIFE
TO
THE
HUMAN
RACE
,
Without their maternity
It would be inhuman.
They give life to humanity
With their love, their beauty
and their tenderness,
and they nourish it with generosity
and goodness.
Without the woman-mother
The world would be more deserted
than the desert
And colder than ice.
God chose the mother
as his direct collaborator
and with her he continued the creation
of man and the world.
When man, with his sin,
broke the bond with God
he chose her as his collaborator
for his salvation (Gen 3,15).
Without the mother, the world
Would be imperfect
And man would have remained poor
or he would have ignobly returned to her.
The woman who sent us out of Eden,
the Mother who led us back to it.
In her womb
She led us to God
And, as though to a Father,
gave us to Him with a kiss.
The mother is our destiny.
In us and with us
There is nothing that is not hers.
She died when she had given
us everything,
when she had nothing more to give.
Already before death
She was dead to herself
So as to live in us,
with us and through us,
(From: The mother – L. Rupcic)
I am afraid to say yes
“I am afraid to say yes, oh Lord. Where
do you want to lead me? I am afraid to
venture out, I am afraid to sign in blank,
I am afraid of the yes that demands other
yeses…But you, o Lord, say to me: “I need
your yes, like I needed Mary’s yes to come
to Earth, because I need to be in your work,
I need to be in your family, I need to be in
your neighbourhood. I need your yes to be
with you and descend onto Earth. I need
your yes to continue to save the world!”.
Oh Lord, I am afraid of your need, but
who can resist you? So that your Kingdom
might come and not mine, so that your will
might be done and not mine, give me the
strength to answer your call with a joyful
yes, to your life plan for me…”
(Michel Quoist)
duty to keep us company, so as not to feel the
weight of solitude, to superfi cial relationships
and useless chatter…if all of this occurs,
then this means that we must seriously start
to fast! Only in this way will we be capable
of regaining control of ourselves and the
passions that do not make us happy, but on
the contrary, bind us to them like invisible
drugs. We realise this when we begin to
deprive ourselves of them, when we resist
their persuasive calling, when we feel the
pangs of hunger, thirst, need… By fasting we
are therefore able to put a barrier up against
the evil that nestles in our hearts through sin,
which is often a form of gluttony.
A window opened wide on the soul
Another image helps us to come to a
better awareness of fasting. Let’s imagine a
window open on our soul: it allows the light to
penetrate from the outside and we notice the
dust that has deposited there that we couldn’t
see before, as sometimes occurs with the
objects in a room into which we suddenly let
light in. A more sober lifestyle, less subject
to various external calls that capture our
attention, opens us up on the inside and we
can see the Mystery that lives in us, in the
depths, which is the true Light that shows
us things in the full truth of their being and
existence. Too many layers are accumulated
within us and they become hardened over
time, preventing us from clearly perceiving
God, his impulses, his desires for our life. In
this way the divine image impressed on our
soul can never emerge and show that identity
that makes us unique in God, original without
having to depend on external stereotypes that
only gratify our need for security.
Prisoners of the invisible
Have we ever asked ourselves why so
many people are overweight nowadays, and
unfortunately many children among them?
Perhaps because the world no longer
offers God as an essential, complete food,
capable of sustaining their journey through
life and of giving joy to taste and the heart. It
is wise then to welcome fasting as something
precious that once again puts us into contact
with the inner temple of our soul, to then give
it as a gift to God, in the certainty that He will
use that space in the best possible manner:
fi lling us with Himself, telling us of his
good through purer, freer and more available
channels willing to allow themselves to be
invaded by Him.
In this way we will be able to understand
that it is God who gives us life and we do
not need to see to it ourselves with greed,
fl ooding our body to “have a stock” of it.
In this way we will re-establish the right
ratio of dependency on the Father and we will
be able to appreciate every gift more, that
habit generally causes us to take for granted.
Stronger than an army
Mary has repeated this many times: with
prayer and fasting we can even stop wars. It
is true. Perhaps we should begin to believe
this…
Nevertheless, it will only be possible if
our soul becomes that point in the universe
in which confl icts are stopped between the
opposite tendencies of the spirit and the
fl esh and everything is at peace, while the
harmony foreseen by the beginning of things
is re-established.
background image
6
Without delay
When we feel called by the Lord, when
we experience His presence, we cannot
but follow Him and do what He asks of us,
without delay.
Delaying means being divided between
two callings: that which is anchored to daily
life, to our own attachments, our affections,
our plans and that greater calling that asks us
to go beyond all of this.
And so we are there, calculating whether or
not we should postpone our answer to the
Lord for fear of the unknown or whether we
should follow him straight away, without
delay.
When they heard the angel’s annunciation,
the shepherds were so taken by it in their
hearts and souls that they didn’t hesitate for
a moment to assess whether it was worth
it or not to leave the cave where they were
resting and run the risk of leaving their fl ock
unattended, but “without delay they went to
fi nd Mary and Joseph and the infant”.
Without delay….the shepherds therefore
left, they went to see the infant and then
they reported what they had seen, causing
wonder in those who listened to them; in
them all of this was a cause for great joy that
they “returned glorifying and praising God”.
Besides, Joseph too readily answered the
angel’s exhortation, who, having appeared
to him in a dream, had invited him saying:
“do not fear and take Mary as your bride,
because…” Yet humanly speaking, it must
have been very diffi cult for him to believe
such an extraordinary and unheard of event
as that which Mary found herself in, a
Big little miracles
Many times things just come to an end, we
don’t know how or why, but they fi nish. We’re
immediately led to take it out on everything
and everyone; we think that it’s always
someone else’s fault or the fault of unexpected
events: “If that had not happened…and if that
person hadn’t interfered…it would all have
gone well”, we think. But unfortunately that is
not the case.
One thing is certain however: the devil
acts by slipping into our lives and into our
families’ lives to ruin them and destroy them.
If he is the one who’s dominating, light cannot
come in. Nevertheless we must look around
well and see that, although small, there is
always a chink that lets in clean air and even a
little light.
I have a little story to tell that contains a
great miracle. The family of a friend of mine
literally crumbled about two years ago. There
wasn’t any specifi c reason, or better, there
were many reasons, like in all situations of
this kind, but there wasn’t any way out; only
a chink of pure air: prayer. Only by praying
in fact, did my friend manage to overcome
the despair that had taken her over; her only
trust was in the hope of fi nding light and of
rebuilding something that seemed to have
inexorably crumbled.
Out of love for her little son, and to survive,
she tried to have at least a civil relationship
with the man who had now become her ex-
husband; therefore for the fi rst time after their
separation, they accompanied their child to a
conception through the work of the Holy
Spirit…but Joseph trusted what he had heard
and left for the unknown without delay. If
we stop to think and to ponder when faced
with an invitation from heaven, our heart will
always be divided and we will never be able
to fi nd joy and fullness of life.
We too have received a calling to
Medjugorje: some have answered, others,
after an initial moment of enthusiasm, have let
themselves be sucked in by daily life with all
its problems, by the mentality of the world that
surrounds us, by doubts and uncertainties and
they’ve taken the road of sadness, darkness (I
know many who have embarked on this road),
while others have unreservedly welcomed
Mary’s invitation, abandoning themselves to
Her, trusting Her. They chose the road that
is more tiresome in the beginning, dealing
with those misunderstandings and sufferings
that are always felt when you don’t follow
the mentality of the world, but they received
and continue to receive graces upon graces,
especially those of peace, unconditional love
towards everyone, joy that doesn’t leave us,
not even in pain.
Without delay…we cannot serve two
masters, God and Mammon. When we live in
communion with God, our heart automatically
dilates, participating in the pain of the world,
suffering due to the mistakes of those who
love us and those who don’t love us and
we feel the birth of the desire to offer our
lives for those who are on the wrong path,
so that they might abandon the wrong path
without delay and embark on the pathway
of love. Without stopping to do calculations,
but…without delay.
Cecilia Appugliese
carnival party were I too was present with my
family.
I normally wear a little chain around
my neck with the Miraculous Medal (which
depicts the Virgin Mary). Upon noticing it
my friend said to me that she had lost hers a
short time ago. “But I have another one!” I
exclaimed. “I’m particularly fond of it because
it was given to me by an unknown man as I
was leaving the hospital having given birth to
Luca, my second born son…”. I immediately
understood that she needed it more than I did
at that time. After all, that medal had been sent
to me through the hands of an angel, with the
aim of protecting my family. And so, with the
same intention, I gave it to my friend!
Miracles don’t delay in coming. That very
evening I asked them to stay for dinner at our
house. Amidst incredulity and embarrassment,
they accepted. We had dinner and chatted in
a friendly manner while our children played
together. Her eyes were shining and he had a
smile on his face….Little Lorenzo was visibly
happy and I truly hope that both of them noticed
that look in the eyes of a child who feels safe
because he has his mother and father near him.
Three days later there was another dinner, but
this time they were on their own…
In a month’s time we’ll be going to
Medjugorje together. I don’t think it will end
here. I’m sure that Mary will make the little
miracle that her Medal generated even greater,
so that the joy of that little child and his parents
might always be truer and more durable.
Help me to pray for them; I’m already doing so.
Cinzia Vinchi
loving can we enter into true communion
with the Lord and with our brothers, but we
need to listen closely in order to be able to
serve our brothers according to God and not
according to me! In Medjugorje I understood
that true good is the fruit of divine will and
not the will of man; for this reason we must
strip ourselves of everything, depriving
ourselves of what makes us slaves and be
obedient to God, forgetting ourselves and
our reasons. All we need is a little sincerity
before Him and He will cover us with graces
and blessings…
I often return to Medjugorje because
I feel at home there and I feel that I am a
living member of the mystical Body, of the
universal Church, completely united with
Christ through the Holy Spirit. What is
happening in Medjugorje is a great mystery:
there is nothing nice to visit, actually,
sometimes even the simplest conveniences
that we are so used to are lacking there, it is
a place that is deprived of any attractions, in
the summer people suffer the heat a lot as well
as the cold in winter…The mystery of grace
that is experienced in Medjugorje comes
from Above and it can only be understood
in the measure that we open our hearts
to God! Then Medjugorje becomes “the
most beautiful place on earth”, it becomes
a place “full of everything”, it becomes an
unforgettable place. If you allow yourself
to be conquered by the divine mystery that
is present in Medjugorje, that place will
become home for you, it will become rest for
you, it will become a Mother for you. But
this is a mystery that only faith can help you
to understand!
Grazia from Milan
To remain united with You
in poverty,
to remain united with You
in obedience
to remain united with You
in humility.
This will bring many fruits.
To remain united with You
in misunderstandings,
To remain united with You
in persecution,
to remain united with You
In failure,
When we see no fruit
this will bring many fruits.
A
NONYMOUS
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7
He is not here….
Men thought that he was unreachable,
but they were wrong. God was near to his
creatures, and to convince them of this, he
became a man among men, a son, a brother
and a friend…He lived in Galilee, a region
that lies on the edge of the ancient Palestine, a
crossroads of nations, between paganism and
licentiousness. From the height of the pious
Jerusalem it was spoken about with haughty
disdain, but it is in none other than in that
land that Jesus wanted to grow up, to preach
and to show the true face of the Father…
People were accustomed at that time, to a
God who was far away and who exercised
his rule through a power that instilled fear
and He on the other hand chose to be with us;
He overturned the old conception, showing a
sovereignty made only of love.
By virtue of this love that overcame all
other love – because it was capable of true
sacrifi ce – He left Galilee and went up towards
the city of the Temple, which awaited Him
to condemn Him and hang Him on a cross.
Outside of the walls, so as not to risk dirtying
itself…
His own accompanied Him and obeyed,
although they were a little perplexed. They
tried to be faithful to Him despite the fact that
the tension was at the highest point between
disputes and judgements; while He, serenely,
continued to be sovereign.
Then a series of goodbyes within the space
of a few days found them unprepared… That
strange talk on the Thursday, for Easter; they
didn’t understand it: «“What does he mean
by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me
no more, and then after a little while you will
see me,’?» John 16,17). He was confusing
them, like that gesture of washing their feet.
The Master was no longer there: he seemed
to be only a servant…
A few hours later in the silence of the
night he had wandered away: “You stay
here, keep watch…”, while Jesus sweated
blood amidst the sleeping olive trees and
drank from a chalice of bitterness. It was the
dawn and a kiss that took him away from
their expectations. Then, in fear, only escape
offered them a way out.
It’s all over…he’s dead! …No, wait: “He
is not here. He has risen….Hurry, go and say
to his disciples: He has risen from the dead
and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There
you will see him” (Mt 28, 6-7). So many
events, so many surprises. Everything in such
a hurry, everything so unexpectedly. And then
lastly another goodbye…
An appointment in Galilee…But why
on that lake that was the backdrop for their
fi rst meeting? Why did He want to see them
there?
Éloi Leclerc writes (from Easter in
Galilee): “Galilee was their little Home.
Everything had started down there. The
shock of the resurrection risked, in the
spirit of the disciples, taking Jesus from our
humanity, from our history, to project him
into a mythical universe, of greatness that is
both fascinating and frightening at the same
time.
It was a matter of urgency to link the
event of the resurrection to everything that
had come before it in Galilee, to the humble
pathways of the Master in the company of
his disciples. They had to discover that there
was no fracture between the Jesus of history
and the Jesus of glory. And that the conqueror
of death was that man who was so near, so
marvellously human whom they had known
and frequented. (…)
In no way did Jesus deny his humanity.
He is still that humble man who is near to his
own disciples. He returns to his brothers with
the same simplicity and the same sweetness.
They found him more alive than ever and
truer than ever in their family context, on the
shores of the lake (John 21). And the wounds
on his hands, in his feet and in his side are
the signs of our destiny of weakness and
suffering, of humiliation and death. The Lord
did not refuse this destiny. He took it on in his
own heart to fi ll it with his light (…).
Down there in Jerusalem, in the house
where they were hidden, trembling in fear,
the resurrection of the Lord could only appear
Noise as
an escape route
“It seems almost as though people need
noise! We’ve become slaves of noise…The
continuous increase in deafening noise is a sign
of the culture that, seeking to escape itself, often
takes refuge in the torpor of a situation that
makes it seek to forget everyday problems!”.
These considerations are more appropriate
than ever for we who live in a society that is
mechanised from all points of view, in all
environments, but above all in the big cites,
overcrowded metropolises that have become
uninhabitable in a certain sense. And it is none
other than the Archbishop of the great Rio de
Janeiro, Monsignor Tempesta, who writes
about them in a letter released by the National
Bishop’s Conference of Brazil: “Nowadays
we are living in a world that is surrounded
by sounds and noises, and for this reason it
is very diffi cult to experience silence. There’s
the custom of always listening to one or more
electronic devices at the same time so as not
to think of life very much and to be distracted
by the bitterness of daily life. We are urged by
the incessant search for money; we are running
constantly to accumulate material things, and in
this search we are shrouded by the noise of cars,
faxes, bells, horns, radios, TVs, mobile phones,
deafening music, agitation and shouting.
Silence is necessary for personal balance and
above all to meet God and ourselves”.
Man has an innate need for silence, it is part
of his most intimate nature, where man meets
himself and God, the “Trinity that inhabits
silence”, regarding this, the Archbishop
reminds us that “Jesus too was very clear
when speaking about inner prayer, when he
underlines the importance of silence so that the
fi gure of the Father might shine in us, and for
this reason Christ advises us: to close the door
of the room, say few words, remain in silence
in His presence. This being with the Father is
nothing other than the prayer of quiet, in which
there is full joy only due to the fact that we are
before our God.
Our life needs this balance of silence,
that cries out peace…Christian silence is full
of the Word of God and it lights up our lives.
We should realise the importance of silence
for prayer and life, a form of behaviour that
promotes the contemplation of the eternal truths
and encourages the search for God’s face”
.
Our readers write…
Martine from Barcelonnette (France)
Dear friends in Christ, what a joy it is to
receive the Echo once again! Continue to
believe that the Echo is a gift from God for
all of us! Be courageous, you are not alone,
even if many obstacles have been put in your
way…May our prayer support all of you.
Sister Marie Benoît and all the sisters
of the Community (Monastery of the
Benedictines of the perpetual adoration of
Craon (France) – Dear friends of the Echo
of Mary, thank you for having once again
sent us your magazine. It was a little like a
visit from an old friend who never left our
heart…
Anne from France – Thank you for
the marvellous work that you are doing!
Continue to publish the Echo of Mary, which
does much good…
Marie Céline from France – Thank you
for your faithfulness. I have been receiving
your magazine for some time and I distribute
it to the members of my prayer group. Your
faith sustained me very much during moments
of diffi culty. Thank you once again to the
whole team of the Echo, may the Virgin Mary
cover you with her grace.
Carla Benedetto from Mathi (TURIN)
As usual, I continue to distribute the Echo
of Mary in the town where I live, Mathi,
which is approximately 30 km from Turin.
With an offer we would like to express our
joy and gratitude for the possibility that we
have of receiving and reading the Echo…
Anna Gambino from Saronno (Italy)
Heartfelt thanks for your precious Echo
of Mary. I am sending you my constant
little help. May Mary continue to bless you
and reward you for all the good that you are
doing…
Marta Vega from Adroguè (Argentina)
We are very grateful to you for sending
us the Echo every two months, its contents
allow us to be enriched spiritually and to
remain in communication with our Mother
of the Heavens through her messages. May
God bless all of those who work to spread
the word of what Mary is telling us with her
infi nite love.
to them as an oppressive event, upsetting,
a breakage with everything that they had
experienced with Jesus of Nazareth and as
such, without meaning. The event went far
beyond their ability to understand.
But in their Galilee, on the shores of
the Lake, under that free and pure sky,
they were given the opportunity to fi nd
the Master in his humanity. The event no
longer had its frightening appearance.
Without losing anything of its greatness, it
was in harmony with their simplicity. God
suddenly illuminated their hearts, making
them discover, in the glory of the Risen
One, the meaning of what they had lived by
following Jesus of Nazareth. That man whom
the disciples had known and followed is the
same one who reveals himself today as the
Lord of glory. And although He is Lord, He
remains their brother in humanity”.
S.C.
background image
Therefore my heart is glad,
and my glory rejoices;
My fl esh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One
to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures
forevermore.
(Psalm 15)
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8
Villanova M., 8 march 2010
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To all who have been instruments
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to continue to help Mary reach her
children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
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Only for love
Only for love can we give everything
without expecting anything in return. Only
for love does the seed die without knowing
whether or not it will bear fruit. Only for love
can we conceive sacrifi ce as an act that is
possible, reasonable and rich with meaning,
even when the promise cannot be seen, not
even from afar.
An emptiness to be fi lled, an investment
without any certain perspective, a blank
signature…This should be the constant
attitude of the Christian who feels God’s
invitation to give himself to Him unreservedly,
to become a “yes” to divine will that calls us
and often remains veiled in mystery, only to
then reveal itself step by step, as it walks.
Only for love can we sustain the burden
of sacrifi ce that calls for a renunciation of
goods and not Good; mortifi cation and not
death; willingness to live in a loss and not
as losers; so that in this docility we will be
an open space for God who will fi ght the
battle against Evil in us, and as always, be
victorious.
Only through love, because Love attracts
us and causes us to fall in love, it invites us to
lose sight of what is going on without hoping
to recover anything, to give us treasures that
will never grow rusty.
Only for love, because we are not heroes:
it is a road that costs us our blood, which
accumulates tears and forces us to plead…
Only for love; because there are no logics
that can support comparison, because people
lose their head when they silence reason to
give only Him a voice, Love.
S.C.
Don Angelo,
ten years of beatitude
in Heaven
It seems like yesterday but ten years
have already passed since DON ANGELO
left his body on earth and embarked on the
pathways that lead to the heart of the Trinity,
in Heaven. Illness had penalised him for
some time, debilitating his muscles
and lessening his ability to move,
to the extent that it took his
breath away. But he was there
until the very end, careful to
carry out what the Lord had
foreseen for his last earthly
season: to abandon himself
more and more to God’s will, to
his guidance, to his initiative, in
everything.
Here was a man tempered by a
sober lifestyle, disciplined, in faith as in his
daily life; a man accustomed to renunciation
and sacrifi ce, capable of self-control and of
guiding others with a sense of authority. Yet in
the fi nal months of his journey he was able to
translate this somewhat rigorous attitude into
total docility, to allow himself to be moulded
without resistance, because he trusted, he
recognised that God, who was calling him to
Himself, and who wanted to perfect him prior
to his defi nitive passage.
Those who knew him well had
experienced his goodness, his generosity,
his total dedication to others and the mission
that the Lord had entrusted to him: the
parish of Villanova Maiardina (Mantova)
and the Echo of Mary. In the essentiality
of a country rectory, surrounded by simple
folk, without any claims, often needy, Don
Angelo conveyed life to his children, without
exhibitionism, with humility, although it was
clear to everyone that he was the guide and
that it was necessary to play by the rules…
He was sometimes a little gruff and
nevertheless, as tender as only a good
father knows how to be. Our own Pietro
Squassabia, who was part of Don Angelo’s
“school” from the time of his youth and who
remained alongside him until his last breath,
recalls: “Among is favourite amusements as a
child there was the pleasure he took in fi nding
the nests of birds who had laid their eggs
along the rows of trees of his countryside.
As an adult also he had this passion: there
we are, this is the nest of a nightingale, he
would say, that’s a blackbird’s nest, I’m not
sure what this one is, perhaps it belongs to a
fi nch. Few things interrupted his prayer as an
adult, perhaps none: at times he would take a
short break, during his prayers, to listen to the
nightingale singing on the branches near the
rectory.
This search for all things real and true led
him to understand the importance of prayer
and in a special way, prayer before the
Most Blessed Sacrament, as an extension or
anticipation of the Eucharistic celebration.
He spent long hours before Jesus exposed: he
used to say to us young people to set our hearts
alongside Jesus’ heart and wait alongside
Him. From this prayer he drew a strength that
transformed his being and diffused light to
those around him”.
He had a great love for Mary, especially
since he went to Medjugorje for the fi rst
time in 1984, the Messages of the Virgin
became true beams of light for his steps and
for those who followed him on his journey.
It was from a request to write a commentary
to those messages for “his own” that the
little Echo of Medjugorje came about – and
over time it became a clearer body: it started
out as a simple cyclostyled sheet and then it
gradually became the magazine that we know
today…To say that Mary’s maternal
hand guided all of this is too little.
Don Angelo put his intelligence
into this, his unconditional
availability, his ability, his
time; but Mary did all the
rest…I imagine that it was
She who, on the 3
rd
of March
2000, went to take him from
the bed of his sickness to bring
him to Jesus, after more than
fi fty years of his priesthood spent
imitating Christ.
Pietro continues, recalling those moments:
“The last three years of his life were the most
fertile of his earthly existence, because,
given that the strength that such a dynamic
and active person as Don Angelo had relied
on, was now lacking, his soul was becoming
more and more purifi ed and he was more and
more attentive to the realities of the Heavens.
Sickness carried out the greatest work
within him. Rather than making him gloomy,
it transformed him into a more serene person:
his last days, when the illness had taken away
all of his strength, even his ability to speak,
were those richest in teachings for those of
us who were with him…He was near the
celestial realities. He felt the blessed calling
him and he told us this: “I don’t think I’ll
return to Villanova because I can hear the
blessed calling me up there, they’re calling
me towards them”. He didn’t consider his
illness to be a disgrace but rather the fruit of
a providential plan and he said this repeatedly
to those who went to visit him: “You ask me
how I am, but how I am is not important. I’m
doing what the doctors tell me but I’m not
hoping to be healed because God wants this
illness, God calls certain people to be nearer
to Him and to participate in the suffering of
the cross for the salvation of the world”.
Best wishes Don Angelo! It’s great, ten
years after your departure from here, being
able to wish you all the fullness of an ever
truer life, bright and joyous in He who created
you and who made Himself known to many
people throughout the world through you,
today, as they read the Echo of Mary, they
will undoubtedly recall you with gratitude
and bless you.
Stefania Consoli on behalf of the editorial staff
together with the Team of the Echo of Mary