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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 116 (December'94-January'95)

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Dec. '94-Jan. '95 - The Infancy of Jesus - Orig.Ital.Edit.: Eco di Maria Reg.d.Pace, CP149, I-46100
Mantova, Italy - Yr.11 #1 - All mail to: The Echo of Mary, Cas.Post. 27, I-31030 Bessica (TV), Italy
I do not mean anything to you. You have
nothing of the life that I live and teach to
live, even if you come to me for your earthly
needs and say you are devoted to me.
For those who do live, prayer is joy,
prayer is the heart's desire. This makes us
ask: why is prayer not joy for me? Because
you do not love, because you are full of
yourself, because your heart is caught up in
the research of carnal joys and satisfactions.
You are a slave to idols that impede you from
loving and looking at God: It is the Spirit
that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail
(Jn 6:63).
Why does my heart not desire prayer?
Without realizing it, you are like a dead man
who cannot desire life, like those whose God
is their stomach, their glory is in the shame.
Their minds are occupied with earthly things
Our Lady’s message of 25 November 1994:
Dear children, Today I invite you to
[decide for] prayer. I am with you and I
love you all. I am your mother and I desire
that your hearts be similar to my heart.
My dear little children, without prayer
you cannot live, nor can you say you are
mine. Prayer is joy, prayer is what the
human heart desires. So, my children,
draw close to my Immaculate Heart and
you will discover God. Thank you for
having responded to my call.
Draw close to my Heart
through prayer
and you will discover God!
Happy is the family where Mary dwells with Jesus
and so can desire nothing else. But our
citizenship is in heaven
(Ph 3:19). Thus:
awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light
(Eph 5:14).
Come to me, all you that yearn for me, and
be filled with my fruits
(Sir 24:18).
Let us draw close to Our Lady's Heart
and everything will change. God sent her to
us on purpose so we could be regenerated
through her pure heart which burns with
love. It possesses complete joy and could
desire nothing else for her children who are
so easily led on.
Our Advent will be commitment to enter
her Heart and thereby remain; and our
Christmas will be commitment to become the
dwelling place of God.
Fr. Angelo
Preparing for Christmas
Dear children,
In these days of Advent I am calling you to family prayer... You know that the time
of joy is drawing close (Christmas), but without love you will attain nothing. Therefore,
first of all start loving your family and everyone in the parish... I invite you to do something
tangible for Jesus. On the day of joy I wish that every family place a flower next to the
Nativity scene so that Jesus may come and see your surrender to Him.
(Advent '84)
Mary uses all her
gentleness to open the
door of our hearts. Her
words are sweet, sincere,
clear and essential, for
where they come from
there is only light and
truth. It is a place where
night does not exist,
where there is no need
for the light of the sun
or of lamps, for the glory
of God gives it light
(Rev 21). Thus her
words do not change -
they are antique, yet they
are always new
. So even
if the words are the
same, they bear a new
sense of imperativeness
which shakes the heart
from its state of torpidity
to place it before
unthought-of requests.
Which requests? I love
you all, I watch over each of you (I am with
). But do you love one another? Do you
take care of one other? Or is it that you ignore
and resent one another, that you are divided?
Know that in my heart you are as one. This
is how you must be with each other. Love
one another as I have loved you,
it seems
Jesus is saying to us (Jn 13).
So draw close to me; but not me
"apparitions," not for obtaining the graces
you desire. I want you to draw close to my
Immaculate Heart
. Let yourselves be trans-
formed by my motherly love so your hearts
may become similar to mine. Her heart is
Immaculate, it belongs entirely to God. It is
without a shadow of sin and it burns with
pure love, thus God made it His dwelling
place. God also wishes to dwell in our hearts:
When one loves me... we will come to him
and make our dwelling with him
(Jn 14:23).
Without prayer, however, you cannot
live - because we do not breathe the life that
comes from God. We are drowning in life
that is not life. we have the reputation of
being alive, but we are dead
(Rev 3:1),
therefore, you cannot say you are mine and
Towards new millennium:
Church must seek unity &
ask forgiveness for past
The apostolic letter Tertio millennio
adveniente, in preparation for the jubilee of
the year 2000, was not unexpected. Card.
Etchegaray, president of the Central
Committee of the Jubilee, said "A Pope has
never prepared for a Jubilee Year so much
in advance, and never in the past has a similar
mobilization been launched to involve all the
faithful. We see John Paul II tending towards
the year 2000 as an athlete does for a race,
planted solidly in the pauline vision of Jesus
Christ: the same yesterday, today and always
- and it is such since the beginning of his
Pontificate when Card. Wynszinski told him:
'If the Lord has called you then you must
introduce the Church into the third millenium.'
The Jubilee, which comes from an
antique Jewish tradition, reproposes the
central event of salvation to the Christian
community so that it may find new vigour
for its journey. The Pope’s letter, in fact,
begins and ends with Christ. Other religions
always portray man searching for God. In
Christianity God Himself came to the people
to show them how to go back to Him. God
searches for man to defeat evil: this is
redemption. The Word made flesh is thus the
accomplishment also of the yearning which
is present in all the religions, which is some-
thing to consider when dialoguing with them.
In what condition is the world after 2000
years? This is the question behind the letter
which first explains the meaning of jubilee.
Jubilee is returning to God and treating
all men equally. The jubilee year (yobhel
is the horn used to proclaim the year of
jubilee) fell every 50 years. This fiftieth year
you shall make sacred... when every one of
you shall return to his own property, to his
own family
(Lev 25:10).Thus it was a year
of grace, dedicated in particular to God
during which all the children of Israel were
to treat each other equally. It was a year when
land was given back to its previous owner,
when slaves were freed, when the oppressed
received justice. The wealth of creation was
considered a good thing coming from God
to be shared by all. Those who had goods
were only administrators of those goods.
Scandal of division among Christians.
For the Church, the Jubilee year is especially
a year of remission of sins and penalty for
. In this sense, the year 2000 invites
Christians to an examination of conscience
for the past 1000 years of history. Since this
is the millenium of division of Christians,
the Pope made the following entreaty on
behalf of men: among the most fervent
peititions which the Church makes to the
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Lord during this important time is that unity
among all Christians
of the various
confessions will increase until they reach full
Hence it is appropriate that, as the
Second Millenium of Christianity draws to
a close, the Church should become more
fully conscious of the sinfulness of her
children, recalling all those times in history
when they departed from the spirit of Christ
and His Gospel and instead of offering to
the world the witness of life inspired by the
values of faith, indulged in ways of thinking
and acting which were truly forms of
counter-witness and scandal... Acknowledg-
ing the weaknesses of the past is an act of
honesty and courage which helps us to
strengthen our faith, which alerts us to face
today’s temptations and challenges and
prepares us to meet them
The Pope then denounces the acquie-
scence given, especially in certain centuries,
to intolerance and even the use of violence
in the service of truth ... which cultural
conditioning can explain but not justify.
From these painful moments of the past a
lesson can be drawn for the future
(35). The
present is not without its errors either with:
religious indifference, ethical secularism and
relativism, disoriented faith and erring
theological shifts.
The Pope’s harshest words regard the
lack of social Christian doctrine: ...with
respect to the Church of our time, how can
we not lament the lack of discernment shown
by many Christians concerning the violation
of fundamental human rights by totalitarian
regimes? Should we not also regret the res-
ponsibility shared by so many Christians for
grave forms of injustice and exclusion?
The letter then gives indications for ways
of preparing for the year 2000. Christians
are invited not to forget the martyrs of these
final years of the second millennium -
"unknown soldiers" of God’s great cause
(37); to rediscover the theological virtues of
hope, and to learn to better appreciate and
understand the signs of hope
(46); to
rediscover the Church’s preferential option
for the poor and the outcast.
In a tangible
sense, Christians should raise their voice on
behalf of all the poor of the world, to propose
the Jubilee as an appropriate time to give
thought to reducing substantially, if not
cancelling outright, the international debt
which seriously threatens the future of many
The Jubilee is an occasion for dialogue
with the great religions... The crisis of civil-
ization must be countered by the civilization
of love, founded on the universal values of
peace, solidarity, justice and liberty, which
find their full attainment in Christ
Pope's plans: interreligious dialogue
on Mount Sinai for the year 2000
The events of the recent decades (the
Council, the Marian year in 1989, the Synods
and the Pope’s many pilgrimages) are seen
as preparatory events provided by God to
create this possibility of interreligious
dialogues.... Attention is being given to
finding ways of arranging historic meetings
in places of exceptional symbolic importance
like Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Mount Sinai
as a means of furthering dialogue with Jews
and the followers of Islam
(53) ... and a much
desired meeting of all Christians in the year
2000 -
all being entrusted to the maternal
intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer
and Mother of the Fairest Love. * *
Our Lady’s tears ...
In his homily during the Dedication
ceremony of the Shrine in Syracuse on the
6th November, the Pope said: "... The Gospel
stories never mention the tears of Our Lady.
We do not hear of her groaning either on the
night of Bethlehem when she gave birth to
Jesus, or on Golgotha, when she stood at the
foot of the cross. Neither do they tell us about
her tears of joy when Christ rose.
The Church,
however, as bride of the Lamb, perceives her
weeping through the intuition of faith and
rejoices with her at Christmas and suffers with
her on Good Friday.
Mary’s tears are seen in her apparitions
with which, from time to time, she accom-
panies the Church in her earthly journey.
Mary wept in La Salette last century in a time
when Christianity in France was facing
growing hostility. Mary wept again here in
Syracuse at the end of WWII ... for the
enormous loss caused by the conflict, for the
extermination of the sons and daughters of
Israel, for the threat that came from the East
and for the openly declared atheism of
Communism. The picture of Our Lady of
Czestochowa in Lublin also wept during that
period. The event of Syracuse, however, is
more widely known and attracts great crowds.
Cardinal Wyszynski came here as a pilgrim
immediately following his release from prison,
and I also came here on pilgrimage as a young
bishop during the Council.
Our Lady’s tears belong to the order of
signs: they testify to the Mother’s presence
in the Church and in the world. A mother cries
when she sees her children threatened by evil,
be it spiritual or physical. Mary weeps when
sharing in Christ’s tears over Jerusalem, at
the tomb of Lazarus, on the way of the cross.
Shrine of Our Lady of Tears, you were
erected to remind the Church of Our Lady’s
tears. It also recalls the tears of Peter, to
whom Christ entrusted the keys of the
kingdom of heaven for the good of all the
faithful. May these keys serve to bind and
loosen, for the redemption of every human
May all those who are oppressed by the
awareness of their sins, come here within
these welcoming walls and experience the
richness of God’s mercy and forgiveness! May
the tears of their Mother guide them here.
They are tears of sorrow for those who refuse
God’s love, for broken-up or troubled families,
for the young people undermined by
consumerist civilization and so often
disoriented, for the violence that still spills
so much blood and for the feelings of incom-
prehension and hate that create enormous
gaps that divide people and nations.
They are tears of prayer, of the prayer
of the Mother that gives strength to all other
prayers, that implores also for those who do
not pray because they are too distracted by
a thousand other interests or because they are
obstinately closed to God’s call.
They are
tears of hope that melt the hardness of hearts
and open them to the encounter with Christ
the Redeemer who is fount of light and peace
for individuals and families and for all
Oh Lady of Tears, look with motherly
goodness upon the sorrow of the world! Dry
the tears of the suffering, of the forgotten, of
the desperate and of the victims of all forms
of violence. Obtain for all tears of repentance
and new life which will open their hearts to
the regenerating gift of God’s love."
* *
The Pope on
his devotion to Mary
Totus Tuus: there is much more to this
formula than just an expression of faith. I was
drawn to this type of devotion during WWII
when I was working in a factory.
Prior to this, however, I thought I had to
put aside that Marian devotion that was typical
of my infancy in favour of Christocentrism.
Thanks to St Louis G. de Montfort I came
to understand that real devotion to the Mother
of God is precisely Christocentric and more
still, it is profoundly rooted in the trinitarian
Mystery of God and in the mysteries of
Incarnation and Redemption. Thus, with a
new awareness, I rediscovered the Marian
piety, and this mature form of devotion to the
Mother of God has accompanied me over the
years. The fruits of this devotion are
Redemptoris Mater and Mulieris dignitatem.
With regards to Marian devotion, it should
be clear to us all that it is not a question of
sentimental inclination, for it corresponds to
the objective truth concerning the Mother of
God. Mary is the new Eve, placed by God
before the new Adam/Christ beginning from
the Annunciation, on the night of the birth in
Bethlehem, at the wedding feast in Cana, at
the cross on Golgotha and in the Upper Room
at Pentecost - the Mother of Christ the
Redeemer is the Mother of the Church.
The Second Vatican Council is a giant step
in doctrine and in Marian devotion. In chapter
VIII of Lumen gentium I found all the things
I experienced during my adolescence, including
the special bond that unites me to the Mother
of God in ways that are always new:
The first of these ways - the oldest - has
to do with the stops before the picture of Our
Lady of Perpetual Help in the parish church
of Wadowice during my infancy. It also has
to do with the tradition of the Carmelite
scapular, particularly eloquent and symbolic,
which I first came to know about when I was
very young and began visiting the Carmel "on
the hill" in the town where I was born.
It has to do also with a tradition of
pilgrimages to the shrine of Kalwaria: one of
those places that attracts a great many
pilgrims. This Marian shrine is also profoundly
Christocentric.The first thing that the pilgrims
do when they go there is the Way of the Cross,
where man finds his own place next to Christ
through the intercession of Mary.
The solemn Marian procession held prior
to the feast of the Assumption is the
expression of faith of the Christian people in
the special partecipation that the Mother of
God has in the Resurrection and the glory of
her Son. My devotion to Mary has been
strictly connected to the Christological
dimension since my early years precisely
because of this shrine of Kalwaria.
Jasna Gòra with its icon of the Black
Madonna is another chapter... This is a place
of special evangelization...
I think that what I have said explains the
Marian devotion of the present Pope well
enough - above all, it explains his attitude
of total surrender to Mary, that Totus Tuus.
(From the book: Crossing the Threshold
of Hope, chapter 32)
* Radio Maria in Spain - For the first
time in Spain a radio station is able to transmit
a religious programme that includes the
Rosary, Holy Mass, prayers, news from the
Vatican radio, explanations from the Catechism
of the Catholic Church and various other
themes of topical interest.
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With Our Lady set aside:
clergy is in crisis an d
hearts have turned cold
After a pilgrimage to Our Lady of La
Salette with 150 young priests, Cardinal
felt inspired to write a book on
Mary’s role in the Church - entitled: From
that moment he took her into his home.
It it, he speaks of how the Church suffers
because of a diminishing familiarity with the
Blessed Virgin particularly by the "elite" of
the Church (priests, religious, etc.). Martini
goes on to relate this to affective crises or
emotional disorders that torment them,
consequently causing a diminishing Marian
spirit within the Church.
Since the Second Vatican Council the
clergy suffer from what we could call a type
of aphasia which impedes them from forming
an affective relationship with Mary, believing
such a relationship to be suitable for the man
of the street. They even excuse the Pope’s
ardent and intense devotion to Mary by
telling themselves that his behaviour is
probably typical of the Poles.
We have to admit that the Ecumenical
Movement first, then the Council, threw light
on the need for greater adherence to a well
elaborated liturgy and to a critical interpret-
ation of Scripture, including that regarding
the Marian mystery. All this recovery is
precious. Nonetheless, it is still not easy to
match this critical spirit to the ardent heart
typical of Marian devotion.
The consequence is that the ardour of
hearts has burnt out. This has caused feelings
of contrast, for example between pre-
Council and post-Council priests. The elderly
priests say the young priests do not love Our
Lady and do not pray, which I deny each
time I hear it, even though something similar
can be sensed. The damage caused by this
situation is more obvious in separatist
movements and in traditionalists worried
about the diminishing Marian devotion.
Another feeling of contrast can be detected
amid the clergy. The priests live a type of
double spirituality. Their own is more sober,
colder and more scientific. The other is that
of the people amid whom the priests carry
out their pastoral work. I believe the time
has come to take this situation into consider-
ation, to place order into the affective and
emotional lives of the clergy and of the
Christian people. The present disorder is
burning out the ardour in people's hearts.
The Virgin not a hobby - Victorio
Messori, who collaborated with the drafting
of the Pope’s book, adds: "I totally agree with
the Cardinal. I find that his pastoral sensitivity
has brought to the surface one of the most
urgent problems in the Catholic world. A
certain clerical intelligentsia seems to have
taken a dangerous turn, according to which
Mary is a hobby for sentimentalists, or a type
of optional for the traditionalists.
The Blessed Virgin, however, is the very
heart of our faith. Her womb is the carnal
root that assures us the truth of incarnation.
If you remove the Mother, then the Son
becomes nothing more than a simple "teacher"
of ethics, a wise man, an illuminate. If you
remove Mariology, Christology also falls.
Yes, in the past marian devotion had
taken on an excessively sweet form, but this
aside, marian devotion remains a duty for
all Catholics."
(Avvenire 11.11.94)
Offer your life for peace
Peace to you sister! Peace to you brother!
Politicians analyze the breeding grounds
of war. People discuss it constantly. Volunteers
help the unfortunate. Others organize peace
marches. And we unite ourselves to all men
of good will. At the same time we follow our
specific call by offering our life to give God’s
life to the world. We have decided that from
now till May 13, 1995 we shall offer ourselves
in a common intention for peace in the former
Yugoslavia and in the world. On the feast of
Our Lady of Fatima, we shall offer ourselves
together to the Queen of Peace in the
Eucharistic Celebration.
Till then, every evening, through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, I will offer to God
the sacrifice of us all. Do not see this as a
call to become nervously active. It is an
impetus for you to enter into a profound bond
with Christ’s Priesthood and thereby include
yourself in the co-redemption. St Peter invites
you: Like living stones, let yourselves be built
into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood
to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ
(1Pt 2:5).
Open yourself to a similar relationship
with Jesus. In whatever circumstance, in
whatever place, in whichever relationship or
situation, no matter what your cross is, offer
yourself in a way that is pleasing to God. Turn
your heart into an altar on which you offer
every sacrifice for mankind. In so doing, every
sacrifice is exploited and consecrated by you!
With your love, attract the sick and
suffering, that they may offer to God their
every trial. In His hands their sufferings turn
into pearls and irreplaceable instruments for
the salvation of the entire world (cf. Apostolic
letter Salvifici Doloris by John Paul II). Let
us journey together through the following
reflections which will prepare us for Christmas,
for the birth of the divine life in us. Reflect
on God’s words in this letter and on the whole
context of it, till they become part of you.
1. Possess peace within you - Jesus left
us with His promise: Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives
do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts
be troubled or afraid
(Jn 14:27). Peace within
us is a reality, though it may only be the size
of a mustard seed for Jesus gave it to us.
The Almighty develops it in us as He did for
Mary. It bears much fruit when it becomes
life. Do not look for peace outside of yourself.
Develop it within yourself, so that you may
give it, as life, to another. If you are open
to accepting this truth, you will purify yourself
and overcome the fight that often throws you
into failure, despair and nervousness.
2. Open yourself to God’s life, not to
worldly life - Peace is not fulfilled by think-
ing about creating order in world situations,
nor by finding solutions to the needs of
mankind. Peace is born from a vital bond with
God. I am going away and I will come back
to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice
that I am going to the Father
... and that I
do just as the Father has commanded me
14:28-31). He doesn't give satisfaction to
anyone, not even Himself. He doesn’t give
human replies to human questions. His reply
is to the question on true life. As a man He
enters into union with the Father - fulfillment
of life is found in Him.
Developing peace within ourselves means
entering into a vital union with God. Peace
and joy result when we are able to
overcome the limits that block our journey
to the Father. Peace is not the aim of our
research, it is life in God. The Father alone
will give us all we need! (cf. Mt 6:24-34)
Then peace will be born in us. So, open
yourself to the divine life!
3. Be sincere and humble - Jesus is
magnanimous and demanding at the same
time. If your brother sins, rebuke him; if he
repents, forgive him. If he wrongs you seven
times in one day and returns to you seven
times saying: 'I am sorry,' you should forgive
(Lk 17:3-4). The world replies:
impossible!' This impossibility of forgiving is
in all of us. Man is unable to forgive. Forgive-
ness is an act of God. Humble yourself
before God and recognize your inability
and His omnipotence!
Go down on your
knees before His omnipotence. Enter into
union with God so you may desire wanting
His will and Jesus will say in you: All power
in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all
...(Mt 28:18). If you enter into His life,
you will have His strength and His authority.
4. Make yourself free for Jesus’ coming,
for His power - When will Jesus come in
His glory and power? As soon as you are
ready! How? The same way God revealed
Himself throughout history. It's not complicated
or unclear. In Noah’s time all was as it is today
till the flood came and killed them. Also in
Sodom and Gomorrah, all was as usual till
the fire descended on them and killed them .
It will be the same on the day that the Son
of man will reveal Himself (cf.Lk 17:26-30).
You can protect nothing, not even your
own life, for everything passes except the
divine life in you. Offer it to God so your
heart may be free for the revelation of His
glory. Jesus too offered all on the cross and
God’s power was manifested in Him by
defeating death. In this sense, the law of
death will have no destructive power over
you. In you and through you the power of
God will be revealed to give life to the
. How lovely to wait for Jesus’ mani-
festation and His glory. It is so close to you!
5. Being able to forgive is being able to
sacrifice one’s ego - Many say: 'I can forgive,
but I cannot forget.' This is superficial for-
giveness. God’s forgiveness transfigures man:
he who forgives passes from a tragic memory
to a victorious memory. This is the passage
from death to resurrection! When we say: 'I
cannot forgive or forget,' we are hiding a big
I DON’T WANT TO. The person who causes
war creates 'motivated justifications' for himself
(either consciously or unconsciously) which
are preferred to the divine life in him.
Behind our every refusal lie interests that
nourish our feelings of anger, revenge, sorrow,
depression, sickness, not wanting to forget
one’s tragic experiences... and these 'important
motivations' feed our state of death and we
transmit death to the others
. When we are
ready to sacrifice all our interests and place
the divine life in us before these interests, the
power of God’s forgiveness is born in us. So,
enter the process of sacrificing your ego and
all your selfish interests, raise yourself to the
pure level of divine life. You will be God’s
forgiveness for the world.
6. Do not react to evil, just offer your
life - Reacting to evil or a stupid action is
falling into a dirty war. If we reply to evil
with evil, to injustice with human justice, to
violence with violence, we dirty and lower
ourselves. This is the start of war. Jesus
teaches us to reply to evil with the strength
of God’s salvation: You have heard that it was
said: 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a
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tooth.' But I say to you, offer no resistance
to one who is evil... love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you, that you
may be children of your heavenly Father, for
he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the
(Mt 5:38-48). When we are able to
overcome the negativeness of the world and
are able to offer a positive reply to human
evil, we nourish the world with this divine
life in us. This way we never lose God’s peace.
His peace grows in us and returns to us
even when men refuse us (cf. Lk 10:5-6).
God’s love, which is active in us and
overcomes the limits of all evil, is the only
defence we have for the divine life in us.
The mortal poison of war, on whatever level
(in our thoughts, feelings, words, works,
curses...), cannot find a way into us. The law
of death loses its strength and life wins. I
invite you to enter into this state of life. Read
St Paul (Rm 12:14-21) for your meditations
and live these words.
7. In God’s love, unite the world to you
- Man divided in himself is at war with
himself and with God, and he transmits his
division to others. By closing himself within
'his community, his party, his land' he creates
division. God loves all men and He offers His
life to each of them. Therefore, allow God’s
love in you to be free for all. Let it be above
all else. When a boundless union with God’s
love is in you there is no room for division,
and in the Triune God you will carry all the
peoples, nations and the divided groups. In
the Trinity war is impossible! If you live this
in you you will experience God’s power with
which to heal the divisions, and the real, live
face of the Church will be manifested in you.
8. A solemn and demanding call - Each
of us go to war, to fight the evil in us and
around us. When you desire taking upon
yourself this journey you will come across a
lot of opposition, both in and around you.
Satan will present you with endless
motivations, ideas and selfish habits to make
you change your mind. Defeating these,
opposing these with the divine life means
stopping the wars in the world
- because
it is in man’s heart that war begins.
This is what St Paul means when he says:
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and
from his mighty power. Put on the armour
of God so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the devil...
(cf. Eph 6:10-
20). May you be just as decisive. With the
following prayer we shall be united in God.
First pray it for yourself, then for all others
who, like you, offer their lives for the peace.
Then pray it for the whole world. May this
prayer become your life and may your life
become this prayer. May the peace of God
become life that blossoms in you!
For this reason I kneel before the Father
from whom every family in heaven and on
earth is named, that he may grant me in
accord with the riches of his glory to be
strengthened with power through his Spirit in
the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in
my heart through faith; that I, rooted and
grounded in love, may have strength to
comprehend with all the holy ones what is
the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses
knowledge, so that I may be filled with all
the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to accomplish far
more than all we ask or imagine, by the power
at work within us, to him be glory in the
church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever. Amen
(cf. Eph 3:14-21).
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Amen. May the Lord let his face shine on you
and be gracious to you. Amen. May the Lord
uncover his face to you and bring you peace.
Amen. And the blessing of God Almighty, the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit descend
on you and remain with you always. Amen.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 13 Nov. 1994
healing, and for the grace of being able to die
a Christian death." Some fellow pilgrims asked
what he meant and he replied: "It's not that
I think a lot about death, but I am prepared
and what could be a better than dying in a
place chosen by Our Lady?" This reply
surprised them even more. Concerning his
physical healing, Sergio had decided to give
up drinking and, at least during those five days
in Medj., had succeeded. With regards to his
soul, he had been purified, so Mary made
arrangements to take him with her, practically
warning him to give him time for the final
preparations. (From an article in Stella Maris,
Oct. ’94)
Why does Echo talk about
events not yet verified?
Plus other things people aren’t
happy about
There are some recurring questions that
we receive through the mail. For example:
1. It concerns us that Echo talks of the
apparitions as though they had already been
2. Why is there so much talk about the
visionaries? This star worshipping impedes
the development of true Marian devotion... it
causes doubts to arise in people’s hearts.
We thank our readers for having entrusted
their queries to us.
1. What Echo spreads is the message of
conversion which for 13 years has shaken so
many souls and communities all over the
world. This conforms to a line of clearly
ecclesial spiritual formation, the aim of
which is to help the man of the street to
persevere and not to deviate. It is true that
this is being done while the Church has still
not given a positive opinion on the super-
naturalness of the apparitions, but it is also
true that this will not be given while they are
still taking place.
No one now dares to disapprove the
people who spread the message of Lourdes
and Fatima prior to ecclesial consent being
given (respectively, 4 and 13 years later). In
the same sense, there is a renewed interest
in the world for the things of God because
of Medj. and no one can impede us from
taking advantage of this so that the spirit of
evangelical fervour is nourished.
2. The inconsistencies, controversies and
superficiality also disturb us, but it is all part
of man’s limits and weaknesses. The fact that
this takes place in a religious environment,
however, makes people notice and talk more.
On our part, we have never failed to signal
these incorrect situations and to correct them.
3. The fact that a lot of money circulates
in Medjugorje, making it a business, is not
so surprising. Did not the same happen in
Lourdes and Fatima and many other shrines?
Let us remember that the pilgrims took their
affluence and fast living to Medj., thereby
distracting the families from their simple
living and profound spirituality.
If Medj. was a business, how would it be
after three years of war!? Let us remember
that the pilgrims’ money was needed for works
of absolute necessity to maintain the thousands
of people who took refuge there and who have
been depending on the parish for some years.
4. With regards to the problem of
protagonism, we say this is difficult to avoid
in phenomena of such renown. On our part,
we have been careful not to favour it in any
way and we have always used moderation and
a critical spirit towards certain manifestations.
News from the Blessed Land
* According to Vicka, Our Lady of late
appears sad because of wars in people’s
. We must accept God’s peace in our
hearts to defuse the subtle bombs of rejection
and bitterness towards others which Satan
places in them at the first chance.
* More than with knives and granades,
Medj. and the entire region is being threatened
by the demon of money. In fact, the continual
flow of humanitarian aid is cause of great
temptation. Lately, two Croatians in Ljubuskj
lost their lives over a petty fight for the aid.
* We have learnt that Marie-Clare, the
visionary of Kibeho whom Our Lady asked
to spread the Rosary of Her Sorrows, was
killed together with her husband last summer.
The other 5 visionaries are alive. This means
that the privileges received from heaven do
not assure any special temporal protection.
The same goes for Medj., where only prayer
and fasts can stop destruction. "The blood bath
in Rwanda and Burundi could have been
avoided," it is reported Our Lady said to
Ivanka, who says Our Lady showed her the
terrible massacre during the Anniversary
apparition of 25 June ’94.
* A young woman, who was not devoted
to Our Lady came to Medj. anyway. When
the bus arrived after 2 days of travelling, Mass
was just beginning and the group guide invited
them to go first to Mass before making their
way to their guest house. The young woman
in question entered the church unwillingly. All
she desired was a shower, a meal and a bed.
She tells: "After stepping into the church,
I could feel Our Lady’s mantle around me and
I was aware of Her tender love for me. It was
as though I was encountering my Mother for
the first time. It was fantastic! Now She never
leaves me and this has changed my whole
(from Sr. Emmanuel's diary)
How Mary prepares for death
On the 13th anniversary Sergio Lepin
from Switzerland, went to Medj. with a group
of French pilgrims from Lyon. He climbed
Krizevac with the others on the morning of
the 25th. On his way back down in the after-
noon, at the 3rd station, he realized his wallet
containing his passport, money and return
ticket wasn't on him (in reality he had left them
in his room). The shock of losing them was
great. He sat down, but unlike Jesus who got
up again, Sergio did not.
To those who asked how he was, he replied
he needed a rest and would catch up to them
later. After some minutes, though, he could
not talk anymore, so they took him to the clinic
in Citluk. From there, in a coma, he was sent
to the hospital of Mostar. At 7.15 p.m. he died
"of cerebral embolism following emotional
shock," according to the doctors. Was it just
a mere accident with tragic consequences?
During the trip Sergio had told the others:
"I am going to Medj. for spiritual and physical
background image
Furthermore, we have insisted on the need of
the visionaries having a spiritual guide (see
Echo 103, page 6). We think our readers can
attest to this; there are even some who are
displeased by it. On the other hand, we cannot
question the fact that the fathers and the
visionaries have a mission in the world. The
same thing did not happen in other apparitions,
but the world of today is very different to the
world of Bernadette and that of the three
shepherd children. People are far more easily
conditioned; the influence of worldliness is
without limits and it is so easy to be infected.
From the Gospel we read: scandals are
necessary. We must admit that not only the
locals and the Parish, but all of us have
contributed to the lack of response to Mary’s
gift. We have spoken of this responsibility on
various occasions (Echo 100, 109 for instance).
The one and only reply is: Mary is always
there when man goes beyond his limits.
Those without sin throw the first stone. It’s
easy to imagine how the devil was annoyed
by such a rich crop with all that famine. Do
we really wonder then that he sowed weed
amid the crop?
Let’s be frank. Which supernatural
manifestation has not been accompanied by
defection and scandals, whether real or not
- starting from the Gospel? Fixing our gaze
on this is similar to judging the work of God
based on man’s response
. If despite the war
and other negative facts, pilgrims continue
going to Medjugorje to receive grace upon
grace and return home changed, then this
signals the presence of a force which is greater
than man’s limits.
In the case of Medjugorje there is a
superabundance of criteria that support its
credibility. The whole world can testify to
this. Why would so many bishops have gone
there - many of whom received encouragement
from the Holy Father? Many of whom are now
convinced of the authenticity of the apparitions.
To conclude, one must make a distinction
between the good branch and the useless ones;
between the messages that actualize the
Gospel and nourish an infinite number of
people and those that do not. Do as they say,
do not do as they do.
We try to resist the fatigue by looking at
the positive side and by not giving in to the
diabolic temptation to throw the washing
away with the dirty water. So we get on with
our work in the certainty that Our Lady assists
us. Her blessing is enough for us, together
with the favour of our readers from all over
the world.
Fr. A.
Aid to Orthodox priests
Help for the Church in Need, for decades
under the guidance of Fr. Werenfried, is one
of the better known institutions working for
the reconciliation of the Catholic and Orthodox
Churches. The untiring apostle writes: "It all
has to do with the Rosary crusade that both
the Orthodox and the Catholics offered for the
conversion of the materialistic western world
and the victory of Christ in Russia, and the
reconciliation of the two Churches. It is for
this reason that we are helping 6,000 Orthodox
priests (signalled by the Bishop) with $1,000
each. In the same way we are helping 58
Catholic priests."
In the many letters sent to their bulletin,
The Echo of Love, the recurring theme is:
'people go to church, but know so little about
God and His Mother and know none or very
few prayers. The priests do not have time to
take care of the people because they are
married and live hard lives. If only they could
worry less about earning a living, they’d have
more time for us...' People are searching for
God but the sects are quick to step in where
the Church is not present."
Another problem is that the Russians do
not trust the Western world a great deal. They
think that through the help we give them the
Catholic Church wants to buy the Russian
clergy and convert them. This Orthodox
phobia only makes sense when seen in the
light of the fourth crusade (1204) which ended
with the sacking of Constantinople. The
crusaders had betrayed their scope and began
taking over political and economical positions
and arriving as far as despising the Latin
traditions: sacking churches and other sacred
places and driving out the Byzantine clergy
to replace them with Catholic clergy.
This crime is still seen by the "greek"
people as irrefutable proof of the disloyalty
of the western Church which aims at latinizing
all Churches. This is why the Pope insists on
a courageous recognition of guilt and of the
default by Christians, with a proposal to make
up for it so the journey towards unity and a
new common evangelization is made easier.
In Moscow with Alexej II - "On 8 Sept.
1994, after hundreds of meetings with Orthodox
Churches and communities to show our wish
to pray and help one another, I was able to
tell Patriarch Alexej II about the joys and
graces of this voyage in a meeting that lasted
1 hours. I think I convinced him of our
loyalty, given his friendly smile as he declared
his willingness to accept our aid for the
Orthodox Church. He said: 'What you are
doing will help the two Churches get back
together. I believe that it will not remain a
unilateral aid...' " (The Echo of Love, Oct.'94)
From the Church of the Martyrs - An
extermination camp for dissidents was recently
discovered close to Omsk in Siberia, in the
middle of a silver birch wood. It had been
opened by Stalin in 1930. After his death in
1953 it was closed down and all trace of it
cancelled. It was discovered by the Orthodox
Archbishop after talking to the son of one of
the victims, who number 200,000. Many of
these were martyred for their faith. The
Archbishop wants to construct a small
monastery on the site to honour them. In the
church which has already been built, but is
still unadorned, Catholic and Orthodox priests
celebrated a Mass together for the victims.*
In Byelorus - In 1972 many religious
were driven out of their convents. They did
not give in, but continued practising their faith
in secret, keeping the Eucharist hidden and
gathering the faithful to pray. This way they
were able to keep the faith of the families
alive. For the catechism classes of the young,
they hand-copied 15,000 catechisms, with the
result of more than a few young people asking
to share this life with the religious. It has been
noted that these young vocations are the most
vigorous. (From the Synod)
»» They have 7 houses in Italy and 2 abroad,
one of which is in Medj. For information:
Oasis of Peace Community, Cas.Postale 10,
I-02036 Passo Corese (RI), Italy
Mary’s Oasis blossoms
The young Marian community, Oasis of
Peace, sees the recent Synod for Religious as
an event that crowns the fertile developments
of their community in this last year. A new
house was opened in the diocese of Quixadà
in Brazil and another on October 22 in Ancona,
Italy. During this last year, the year of the
family, the community received the gift of 4
priestly ordinations.
"Last September we received a visit by
Msgr. P. Boyle, the bishop of Mandeville in
Jamaica. The prelate made an official invitation
to the community to open a house in his
diocese which so thirsts for God. Statistics rate
the country as the second poorest country in
the world."
It was in March 1987 that Msgr. Boyle,
a Passionist, gave consent to fellow Passionist
father Gianni Sgreva to found a new
congregation. The Marian community is made
up of men, women and married couples. »»
In Fatima to thank Mary
for Her Pope
Together with a dozen other priests and
a small group of young future priests from
the House of Mary Community, Polish
Cardinal Msgr. Deskur went on pilgrimage
to that blessed land where in 1917 Mary
appeared to three young shepherd children.
Cardinal Deskur is the President of the
international Association of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary. They conduct consecrated
people to Fatima to ask forgiveness of sins
and new graces for the Church, according
to Our Lady’s request in Fatima. In particular
they ask for the grace of peace and the
cessation of persecutions. Card. Deskur is
also the president of the Pontifical Accademy
of the Immaculate.
In Fatima he blessed a new "House of
Mary" to be directed by young consecrated
people. Last November he blessed one in
Lourdes. These communities will offer
spiritual guidance for pilgrimages as wanted
by the new spirit of evangelization.
At the feet of Our Lady the pilgrims
expressed their gratitude for the miraculous
protection She offers the Pope, Her beloved
son, who carries the Word to the ends of the
earth amid threats and danger. The following
Pauline text can indeed be attributed to John
Paul II: frequent journeys... dangers among
the people and in the city and among false
brothers; in toil and hardship.. and the daily
pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the
(2 Co 11:26-28). Yes, the Pope
is the most stimulating Sign of contradiction
that Mary places before the eyes of the whole
world so that the thoughts of many hearts
may be revealed
(Lk 2:35).
The bullet that nearly killed the Pope is
embedded in the crown of this statue - a
living icon of maternal love. Before it the
group renewed the consecration of filial love
to Mary and prayed for the Pope and the
Church. Card. Deskur spoke at length with
Sr. Lucia in Coimbra who asked that her
cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, be beatified
as soon as possible.
* More sorcerers than priests in Italy
- according to Card. Piovanelli of Florence.
"The number of sorcerers in the official
register doubles that of the priests, while the
people who go to sorcerers are approximately
12 million. We can see from this how people
easily mix up faith and superstition and how
easily they fall into the nets of Satan, the
author of destruction and death."
background image
When the group is not Church
When we live God’s love,
the family, the prayer group, the
Church, the world all blossom
(...) The Church is the greatest gift given
to mankind by God through His Son, Jesus
Christ. In giving us the Church God gave us
all we needed. The Church is our mother, our
home, our country. We call the Church
"Mother," and tonight I pray that each of you
may think of her as being our "Mum," that
you may love her as you love your own
mother. I deliberately chose to speak to you
about the Church, because I feel you cannot
realize the meaning of the Virgin’s call or feel
Her presence within you unless you understand
what Church is to a Christian.
Thus, I invite you all to be in communion
with each other; those of you who belong to
groups and those who do not. In the depths
of their hearts people wish being in communion
with someone else, be it only with the priest
during confession. Being in communion with
others is only possible when we are in
communion with God.
Groups experience trouble because they
are not true Church - In recent years many
prayer groups have blossomed throughout the
world. Their progress depends on two things:
whether or not they develop the Church of
God among themselves and the others, and
on their entering into communion with God.
If members are unable to share this communion
among themselves then God is not present in
that group. Similarly, if there is little or no
understanding between groups, then God is
not present in them. At this point I need to
tell you some important things concerning this
journey of: communion in God.
Many well-established groups, even
though they believe in Our Lady’s apparitions,
have still to reach full Christian maturity
because they are not in communion with God,
with the Church and with their fellow men.
Often these groups do not get on well together,
to the displeasure of both Our Lady and the
Church. Let me tell you a story. A woman
who headed a national prayer movement
recently came to me for counselling. She
spoke about special gifts received from God,
but at the same time about troubles in her
family: her husband has affairs and her
children have rejected God and the Church.
She was asking herself how she could be
so unhappy after 16 years in God’s service.
I told her: "You have placed too many minor,
peripheral things in the centre of this
movement. You never really went into the
depth of your spirit to meet your God, to meet
life. What your husband and children saw was
a religious mask. Your husband lost his wife
and your children their mother because you
did not enter into the life of God."
Can something like this happen? Well, we
know that Jesus was put to death by priests!
Movements and groups can also wear religious
masks. When a group or movement fails to
transmit life, when one is not united to the
entire Church, then human elements are likely
to show up. To the contrary, if one goes into
true spiritual depth, he enters God’s life and
then transmits it to the others. The Gospel is
the reflection of life. In fact, it means donating
not words, charisms or songs, but the "new
life" to others. So when our inner selves are
open we feel the need to meet our brothers,
to take this life to the ends of the earth.
False religiousness that does not generate
love - What is prayer exactly? What did Jesus
say about prayer? Very little! He taught us
to live, to create a real relationship with God,
with ourselves and with our neighbours. The
message, the main law is to love God with
all our might and love our neighbours as we
love ourselves (cf. Mt 22:37-39).
We can truly love our neighbour only
when we are open to God and feel loved by
Him and truly abide in Him. Human love does
not help. You may shower toys, cars or money
on your children and smother them in hugs
and kisses, but this is not giving them the
fullness of life - the eternal life - which only
God can give.
Prayer that comes from the Gospel will
change our behaviour. The primary intention
of prayer is wanting to enter God’s love to
transmit it to others
. What happens when
during our prayer we love this way? What
happens is that the Church is born. No one
can separate us if we are in the Church. This
consideration goes for families and married
couples as well. If a wife attends a prayer
group but has no idea of her husband’s needs
and he feels her heart has hardened, and even
if she prays three rosaries a day and fasts twice
a week, but she can’t transmit the slightest
bit of love to him then her prayer is false and
worth nothing.
Genuine prayer should generate God’s
love within you and fill you so that it spills
out onto your family. They will feel it and
sooner or later it will blossom (in them). This
makes false religiousness fall.
Love changes man and makes him more
beautiful. In one of Our Lady’s messages in
Medj. she said how we become more beautiful
when we pray. Do you remember? She said:
we are more beautiful, life is more beautiful!
Falseness in the lives of people who
believe creates division and refusal. Let me
tell you another story. I used to give guidance
to a young woman who was a member of a
prayer group. One day she had a vision. She
saw a grain of corn fall from the sky onto
a desert. It sprouted and with time the desert
flourished with life. Shortly after, the young
woman entered a convent. Things began well,
but after some time she found herself in the
desert and her heart, instead of being like a
grain of corn that dies and produces many
more grains, turned to stone. I saw her again
and asked her: "Why are doing this? The Lord
doesn’t want it. He wants you to love with
His love, then you will see the grains of corn
falling onto the desert to produce a fertile land.
Withdraw into silence. All you have to do is
radiate God’s love." She listened to me and
soon life began to sprout around her.
Whether we are in the family, in the prayer
group or among our friends, our conversion
must take this approach, but this isn’t easy,
for Satan will try to stop you. He detests the
fact that love is filling a soul and tries to stop
it from happening - and we become defensive,
we try to defend what is sick in us, what
actually belongs to Satan. This is a type of
Why so many divisions? Unity based on
human relations will fail, sooner or later
- I invite all of you to enter within yourselves
and develop this divine love. Divine love
bears Life, as it bore Life in the Virgin’s womb
and in the Upper Room, thus bearing Life into
the world. This is a very important task for
us because the Church, who is the depositary
of the mysteries of God, will accept a
movement when she can recognize herself in
that movement.
What does Our Lady want for us? She
wants the real Church to be born in us; that
Church full of divine love, as taught to us by
the Gospels. This is important not only for
the Church, but also for politics and indeed,
the whole world. Why is there so much
division in the world? Why do so many
marriages break up? Precisely because people
unite, but they do not unite in God. Their
union is the fruit of a purely human choice
and sooner or later it comes to an end. If union
is based on mere convenience it will last only
as long as mutual interests last. The whole
world is in danger because authorities do not
lean on God, nations do not act according to
God’s will. If they were in God, mankind
would be a Church which is communion in
What does this mean for us? Well, let me
tell you: one day a woman came to me. She
said she needed advice, but what she really
wanted was to complain about Jesus. She had
been married three times and had only one
son. She had intended marrying again, saying
she had found real love in her husband-to-
be. She wanted to know why Jesus was
against this. I looked at her and said: "Jesus
leaves you free to do as you wish, but if you
want to accept Him as your friend, He will
tell you that you’re making another mistake,
that you will fall into perdition. Just as you
made a mistake with your first husband you
are making a mistake with your fourth one.
You’re taking the wrong step." She looked at
me for a moment and then said: "I believe."
What is the world of today looking for?
Pleasure, money, material goods, power. All
these things open the great door of selfishness
in man’s heart which draws him into the realm
of Satan. This is why the world is so divided.
If the live Church is within us it means we
have discovered the live God and we are
united in Him. This is the new Jerusalem
mentioned in the Scriptures. Prophecies talk
about new heavens and new earth, and this
is where all spiritual movements must move
Living God’s love makes it possible to
experience God’s Kingdom already among
yourselves. That goes for you all: married
couples, families, religious and prayer groups.
Everything that happens in a prayer group
should be visible and tangible. When Jesus
spoke of the Kingdom of God (It is here
among you!
) He was teaching us how it is
possible to live already God’s Kingdom.
If we help the Church to live out its sacred
deposit of faith in everyday life we will have
fulfilled the true task of the prayer group, and
no one could be happier than the Church, the
priests or the bishops when they see that we
do form the real Church. We will be happy
too, for the person who loves desires love to
spread to the whole world. A person without
this love is full of fears and insecurity.
When we live the Church in ourselves, in
our families, in the prayer group and with
other prayer groups we have realized our
Let us pray in particular for the Church
and the Pontiff who guides the Church and
who represents Christ on earth.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 22.9.94
* Mary the Mother of Eucharistic
Reparation, by Msgr. George Tutto. A little
booklet on our call to participate in the work
of salvation. Write to: Marian Spring Centre,
Unit J, Lambs Business Park, Tilburstow Hill
Road, Sth Godstone, Surrey, RH9 8JZ, England
background image
St Anthony the great.
The call of the desert
The most popular saint of the Mediaeval,
whose feast day is on January 17, was born
in Egypt on the banks of the river Nile. Up
to the age of about 20 he led an innocent
life with his parents. When they died he
inherited an immense patrimony. One day
at Mass he felt Jesus’ words were being
directed at him: If you wish to be perfect,
sell all you have, give it to the poor and
follow me.
Anthony did not hesitate to sell everything
(except a part for his sister) and he distributed
it among the poor, just as Jesus had said.
He withdrew from the rest of the world and
dedicated himself to meditation and the
psalms. At first he remained on the outskirts
of the village, then in a cave in the Libyan
Desert, then in an abandoned castle invaded
by snakes. When he arrived the snakes left.
A friend took him the little food he needed
to keep alive.
The desert is the devil’s realm and it was
here that the devil attacked him in every way
possible, even bodily fights. He also tempted
him under the forms of men and provocative
women, and even little animals and chores
which, though innocent, could easily distract
him from God if he didn’t keep watch.
Accepting our weaknesses and passions
opens a door for the devil who then enters
with ease. Anthony used to say: "A man who
lives in the desert in search of peace is freed
of three wars: the war of hearing, of speech
and of sight. One only is left for him to fight
and that is the war of the heart." He clothed
himself in the armour of God so that he could
stand firm against the tactics of the devil
(Eph 6:11) and it was this that allowed
Anthony to defeat him, but not without
effort. Once he said to Jesus after being
strongly tempted: "Good Jesus, where were
you? Why did you not come to my help
straight away?" And Jesus replied: "I was
here, waiting to see your battle; and now,
after your honest fight, I will make the whole
world remember you."
From the writings of St Athanasius, the
great bishop of Alexandria and doctor of the
Church who paid frequent visits to Anthony
in the desert, we read: "After about 20 years
some friends of Anthony broke into his
refuge. They were totally surprised by his
aspect. His body had not suffered despite his
lack of physical exercise and despite his fasts
and his fight with the devil. Also his spirit
was pure, like that of one just initiated into
the divine mysteries
. He was not perturbed
by the crowds. He did not rejoice for the
many people who greeted him. He was a man
of great common sense."
After 20 years, the old man had died and
the new man had risen. His example attracted
many other men who asked for his prayers
or who desired living a monastic life under
his guidance. Hermitages sprung up wherever
he went. He is known as the Patriarch of
monks, because he was the first Abbot to
form a stable rule.
Though he lived in the desert, Anthony
was not a stranger to his Church. St
Athanasius writes that during the "persecution
(about the year 308) Anthony served the
confessors who had been condemned to the
mines and the prisons and at the tribunals
he exhorted those who had been called to
uphold the battle, accompanying them to
their place of martydom.
When the judge noticed the courage of
Anthony and his companions, he ordered
them to keep away from the tribunal and the
city. The day after, though, Anthony placed
himself in an elevated position in front of
the tribunal so the prefect would notice him.
Everyone was astonished to see him there,
so fearless, as the prefect and his soldiers
walked by. Anthony asked to be martyred,
but the Lord had other plans for him."
He was invited a second time to return
to the city by Athanasius to make a public
intervention against Arianism. Everyone that
knew Anthony, including people that held
important positions, were drawn to him by
a mysterious force. From St Athanasius’
writings we also read: "When the emperor
Constantine and his children learnt of
Anthony’s prodigies they began writing to
him as one would write to a father. Anthony,
however, did not give a great deal of
consideration to their letters, nor did he feel
pleased at receiving them. When the letters
were delivered to him he would call the
monks and tell them: 'Do not be surprised
if a king writes to us, for he is just a man.
Rather, be surprised by the fact that God
wrote down the law for men and that He
spoke to us through His Son.' "
Anthony died in the year 356. He was
105 years old. Two of his disciples wrapped
his body in a sheet and buried him in a secret
place - as desired by him, so that no one
could bestow honours on him.
Exacting with himself, Anthony was
aware of man’s limits. Once, a hunter was
surprised to see how indulgent he was
towards some monks. Well, our saint asked
him to nock an arrow on his bowstring and
to draw his bow and to keep on drawing it.
The hunter replied that if he kept on drawing
it, it would eventually snap. "That is exactly
what will happen to the monks if they are
subjected to excessive tension," Anthony
On another occasion a monk from the
monastery in Abba Elias had fallen into sin
and had been expelled. He went to Anthony
and stayed with him for a while. Anthony
then sent him back to his monastery, but they
turned him out again. Anthony took him in
again and sent the following message to the
monks: "a ship was wrecked and lost its load.
With great difficulty it managed to reach the
shore. You, however, want to throw back to
sea even that which was saved." The monks
understood and took their brother back in.
Some other examples of his sayings:
* To a monk who asked him what he
should do, Anthony replied: do not confide
in your judgement, do not worry about the
past, dominate your tongue and your stomach.
* Anthony said: "I could see all the nets
of the enemy laid out on the ground, and
shaking, I said: 'Who can escape him?' A
voice told me: 'Humility.' "
* One of the friars asked Anthony to pray
for him. He replied: I cannot have compassion
on you, and nor will God, if you do not first
make an effort to plead God yourself.
* A monk was praised by his brothers.
Anthony put him to the test to see if he could
withstand being scorned. Seeing that he
could not, he told him: "You are like a town
that is made pretty on the front, but has been
plundered from within."
Fr. A.
"Rejoice with me"
a recurring message
"I rejoice" is a phrase that Mary has used
frequently in these dramatic times (see the
messages of 25 March, June, September and
October'94). These words on Her lips echo
the prophetic announcement of Isaiah (61:10):
I exult for joy in the Lord ... for he has clothed
me in the garments of salvation, in the cloak
of integrity. Mary brings us the joy of the
Gospel. Gospel means good news, thus: news
righteousness and peace and joy brought
by the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17) which is
rewarding and helps us overcome the sufferings
and nightmares of the present time and helps
us remain firm in the certainty of God’s love.
The first piece of good news announced
in her messages is without doubt: "I am with
you" (see Echo 101, page 4) and this runs
parallel with the
I am with you of Jesus (the
Emmanuel) which Mary experienced in
profundity during Her life time. He who
accepts the
"I am with you" of Jesus and of
Mary are capable of receiving the
"I rejoice,"
i.e. the joy and peace that the world cannot
destroy (cf. Jn 15:16). This is the object of
the second and more important message, a
reflection of which follows:
The Queen of Peace has been appearing
in Medjugorje since the 24th June 1981, and
for more than ten years She has been giving
messages to the world. She continues to
appear even in the hearts of Her "dear
children" - who joyfully believe in Her
presence and love - and She continues to put
into effect the plan of salvation that God
entrusted Her with for the man of today.
This new way of entering into the lives
of Her children makes it possible for them
to listen and accept Her voice, giving them
the strength to respond to Her call...
One of the many subjects that the Queen
of Peace talks about and that perhaps goes
unnoticed with respect to other subjects is that
of JOY. She is a true mother and as such
it is Her great desire that we each receive this
gift. It is a gift She partakes in and wishes
to share with us. Mary makes us understand
that joy - fruit of the Holy Spirit - is perceived
by one’s heart. To perceive it, though, one
must be in a state of grace and be in an attitude
of constant prayer.
Joy is the gift of God, it is God’s own life
in us, it is full communion with Him.
Therefore, it depends on His presence and on
the certainty of His love (for us). It is also
joy out of gratitude for all that He gives us.
It requires us to be detached from ourselves,
from others and from material goods. It is also
joy that comes from gradually realizing we
are "instruments” in God’s hands.
Joy has only one enemy: Satan - sin -
separation from God. Joy, like all gifts of the
Holy Spirit, is characteristically diffusive: the
more you give it to others, the more it grows
in you. It is also a faith journey to be
discovered in prayer - and bring us to a greater
knowledge of the God of joy who is the fount.
Joy should always accompany Christian
testimony, which is why the Queen of Peace
would like us to be joyful witnesses to the
God of joy. In this world so full of indifference
and anxiety, joy should be an eloquent and
convincing "sign" for those far from God.
Joy is also something to share not only
with others, but also with our Mother. She
has often invited us to a communion of joy
in God, particularly on important feast days.
background image
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8.11.86; Legal Dir: A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO, Italy, Fax: 0422-840804
A Letter from a Missionary
* Enemies of life in Third World
countries - From the many letters received
from missionaries, we have chosen to publish
the following. It is from Huaraz in Peru.
Fr. Stephen began by describing various
pastoral initiatives that provide relief for the
extremely poor families of his parish of
40,000 people and goes on to describe the
strong social pressure exerted by the rich
countries on the poor countries to weaken
their deciding power on an international
"There are 64 organizations, many of
which are financed by the UN, that distribute
artificial contraceptives. A doctor in a small
mountain village told me how the cabinets
in his state-run clinic are brimming over
with contraceptives that are sent free to him
from all over the world - but there is not
one phial of penicillin to cure a poor child.
Due to a publicity campaign many people
are feeling guilty about having extra children.
Yet, Peru, which is three times bigger than
Italy and has only 22 million inhabitants, has
many riches. They are there, just waiting to
be exploited, but no one helps us.
Yuri, a young man from the parish, was
asked to recite in a play for a UN-owned
company. He would have been paid well and
he had planned to buy a bicycle to help out
his family. The contract had already been
drawn up, but on the first day of rehearsal
he realized that the aim of the play was to
propagandize the use of contraceptives using
false and tendential information. Between
easy money and a Christian conscience, Juri
did not hesitate to choose the latter." A small
example of heroism.
* * *
ECHO IS FREE - it lives on your
donations. Personal cheques accepted. If you
are a group of friends, etc., pool your
donations into a single cheque to share the
expense, or forward it on to a distributor if
there is one near you.
We would be grateful if readers could
consider covering at least the postal
. Nearly all copies sent abroad go
by air mail, which is very expensive,
especially for the parcels. For example, the
1700 copies we send to Australia (in 2
parcels) costs nearly US$400 and the 1000
copies to California costs us about $130. A
single copy to the US costs 60c. Single
copies are sent out by the thousands.
Thank you for all you can do.
As of the 21st November 1994, we are
officially: The Echo of Mary Queen of
Peace, this being issue number 1.
A special mention for Roger Gottier
from Ottawa: he produces 2000 copies of the
English edition and 1000 of the French
edition, at his own expense. Also to Franco
who runs the Marian Centre in Rome
and distributes 22,000 copies in a network
that embraces Rome and the surrounding
district. To do this he gave up his job!
We thank everyone for supporting this
work that wishes to be ever more the echo
of the Queen of Peace
. Together with my
helpers and volunteers, near and far, we ask
God, through the intercession of Mary, to
grant you all a Christmas of grace and a new
year of peace.
These teachings by the Queen of Peace
contain two very significant and consoling
promises; two certainties which are intimately
tied to our personal commitment to prayer and
good works. One: even the difficulties and the
crosses can be transformed into joy by the
power of God. Two: we children, with the
limits of our humanity, can be reason for joy
for the Mother and for the Lord! By living
holy lives and our conversion makes this
Finally, there is another reason for being
profoundly joyful which the Blessed Virgin
(out of Her immense humility) did not say
explicitly, but which cannot be overlooked.
It is the joy of having Mary as a Mother, sister,
guide, advocate of grace, mediatrix and a
living model of every virtue. It is the joy of
having Her with us in this time of special
grace for all humanity. Queen of Peace,
remain with us! Amen, Amen!
Some of the messages of joy
I wish for each of you to be happy, but
with sin no one can be happy. That is why,
my dear children, you must pray and in prayer
you will recognize the path to happiness.
I desire that through you the whole world
may know the God of joy. I bless you with
blessings of joy. (25.5.88)
Rejoice in God the Creator for He has
created you so wonderfully. Pray that your life
may be full of joy and thanksgiving which
flows out from your heart like a river of joy.
Be on watch, that every encounter in prayer
be a joyful meeting with God. (25.11.88)
I am calling you to great joy and peace,
which only God can give. (25.3.89)
Let all that you possess be in the hands
of God. Only in that way shall you have joy
in your hearts... rejoice in everything that you
have. (25.4.89)
I am with you and I want to introduce you
continuously to the joy of life. I desire that
everyone may discover the joy and love that
can be found only in God, that only God can
give. Pray to be able to discover the greatness
and joy of life that God gives you. (25.5.89)
I am here to help you and to lead you to
heaven. In heaven is the joy through which
you can already live heaven now. (25.5.91)
Today I invite you all again to prayer, to
the prayer of joy, so that in these sad days
none of you may feel sadness in prayer, but
a joyful meeting with God your Creator.
Do not forget that your life does not belong
to you, for it is a gift by which you are to
give joy to others and guide them towards the
eternal life. (25.12.92)
May your life be a joyful witness of Jesus.
You will be happy only when Jesus is your
friend, and then it won’t be difficult for you
to pray, or offer sacrifices, or testify to the
greatness of Jesus in your lives because He
will give you the strength and the joy in this
time. (25.11.93)
* Pat Ryan from Surrey writes with a
suggestion for Pope John Paul's 75th birth-
which will fall on the 18th May 1995.
"If Our Lady has asked us to pray for the
Pope, would it not be a wonderful idea for
readers to have a Mass celebrated for him
on that day in their own parish? The whole
world could be united, not only in prayer,
but also in a visible expression of our love
for our Holy Father."
* "Obedience to God makes us
stronger" - St Maximilian Kolbe, Apostle
of the Army of the Immaculate and martyr
of Auschwitz:
"Think, my brother, how great is God’s
mercy and how great is the dignity conferred
upon us. With our obedience, we overtake
the limits of our own smallness and are
conformed to the divine will which guides
us to act righteously with His infinite wisdom
and prudence and to produce wonderful
effects. It is through accepting this divine
will - that no creature can resist - that we
become stronger than everyone else."
* SOS for Rwanda and Burundi
"These lands have been invaded by
terror. It can be read in the eyes of everyone.
The orphans are a legion by now: 150
thousand! It’s a procession of endless
sufferings, of innocent people marching
towards the unknown; they are so helpless:
nude, hungry, sick, mutilated, homeless. If
only you could see the distress of these
peoples who are dying of hunger, in silence,
on the roadsides! We are asking for help in
the name of those who have neither face nor
voice. What may be a miserly sum for us
is "vital" for them. (Fr. Ernest Tomè)
We now know that only a small part of
the thousands of tons of aid that the UN
unload every day for the refugees in Zaire
arrives at destination. The greater part of it
is going to the Hutus and the Zairese army.
* News about Joan
Many people write to Echo and to me
personally to ask about Joan. Has she been
liberated? How is she? Do we still need to
pray? Hers is perhaps the worst case of
diabolic possession I have ever known. In
Joan’s case, God has permitted this for
obvious apostolic reasons of conversion and
Considering the actual religious situation,
it doesn’t surprise us if Our Lady asked Joan
and her family to prolong her enormous
sufferings. For this we thank and encourage
all those who pray for the liberation of Joan,
who, by the way, recently lost her mother.
The best prayer is the Rosary.
(Fr. Gabriel Amorth)
* The MIR Information Centre has
been set up in the parish office of Medj. for
the reception of news and eventual
transmission of it once certified. Transmission
will be twice monthly via fax. Fr. Slavko,
Marija Dugandzic, Milona and Sr. Emmanuel
are part of the editorial team. Their fax no.
is: 0387-88-642702
* Medjugorje Online (24 hour BBS) -
Friends in Bolzano (N. Italy) have set up a
Medjugorje Information Centre for modem
connection. Various documents such as the
message and the last three numbers of Echo
in the various languages, photos, articles,
useful addresses, etc. are available for
copying. It is a meeting point open to all.
The Echo is already a registered user with
its own mailbox. The no. of the BBS is
0471-286011 (14.4 band, Mac+DOS. Fax
no. 0471-288185)