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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 194 (July-August 2007)

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Our Lady's message, 25 May 2007:
"Dear Children, Pray with me to
the Holy Spirit that He may lead you
in the quest for God's will on the way
of your holiness. And you, who are far
from prayer, convert and in the silence
of your heart seek salvation for your soul
and nourish it with prayer. I bless each
of you, individually, with my motherly
blessing. Thank you for responding to
my call."
Seeking His Will
Faithful to the order received by Jesus
(Acts 1:4-5) the eleven apostles remained
in Jerusalem and awaited the Holy Spirit
and with one accord devoted themselves
to prayer, together with the women and
Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his
(Acts 1:14). Today, as then, Mary
accompanies us as we await the Holy Spirit;
together with us she awaits the Pentecost.
Of course it's not exactly the same as
two thousand years ago, but the exterior
differences though very remarkable
are not the ones that make the difference
between the two events. The true difference
is in the faith with which one awaits the Holy
Spirit, and in the surrender to the action of
His transforming Fire. We can pray and do
novenas, but if we are not disposed to be at
least a little transformed by the Fire of the
Spirit, what use is there of praying? If I do
not truly desire disappearing in the Fire of
Love then I am nothing... I gain nothing
(cf. 1 Co 13).
Dear Children, pray with me to the
Holy Spirit, that He may lead you in the
quest for God's will in your journey of
With these words of our Blessed
Mother she is indicating to us what we need
to ask for from the Holy Spirit. Praying
together with Mary gives us the certainty
that our prayer is sincere. She herself invites
us: "Pray with me." Let us pray with Mary;
let us pray with her words; let us pray with
her Heart. All it takes is our yes, united to
her yes, and the Holy Spirit will work for
the fulfi lment of God's will in us, as He did
with Mary.
"Pray to the Holy Spirit, that He may
lead you in the quest for God's will,"
means to allow the Holy Spirit to fulfi l God's
will in us, and thus advance on the journey
of holiness
. Our active contribution to this
work is in the acceptance of God's will. It is
not by virtue of a personal capacity that we
can do this, for it is a grace God gives us.
This is encouraging, and at the same time it
eliminates the possibility of fi nding excuses
to delay pronouncing our "yes."
The second part of the message regards
those who are distant from prayer: those
who don't pray or do it only formally and
are careful to keep their heart out of it. "And
you, who are far from prayer, convert and
in the silence of your heart seek salvation
for your soul and nourish it with prayer,"
says Mary with clarity and resolution.
Her words are not a reproach; they rather
trace out precise and fundamental steps.
Above all, there is the call to conversion,
which means to orient one's mind, soul and
heart towards God's merciful Love and to
dispose oneself to receive it and live it.
The next step is to seek salvation of
the soul and nourish it with prayer.
Conversion moves man's attention onto
God, out of the desire to f ind his true
essence. Prayer is not an optional but a
necessity of vital importance to the soul;
prayer nourishes the soul; it nourishes it
in the silence of the heart, there in the
silence of the hidden room so dear to Mary
where the sighs of the Holy Spirit are not
smothered by worldly noises.
May Mary's motherly blessing descend
upon us all without exclusion, and help us
to convert and to receive the fullness of
God's Spirit who is waiting for our "yes"
so that the Father's eternal Love can be
fulfi lled in us.
Nuccio Quattrocchi
"In the embrace of Christ
man is born"
(Pasternak - Dr. Zivago)
Anniversary message, 25 June 2007:
"Dear Children, Also today, with great
joy in my heart, I call you to conversion.
My Children, do not forget that you are
all important in this great plan which God
carries out through Medjugorje. God
desires to convert the entire world and
to call it to salvation and to the way that
leads towards Him, who is the beginning
and the end of every being. In particular,
my Children, I call you all from the depth
of my heart to open yourselves to this great
grace that God is granting you through
my presence here. I desire thanking each
of you for your sacrifi ces and prayers. I
am with you and I bless you all. Thank
you for responding to my call."
Thank you, Mother!
Today, the 26th anniversary of Mary's
presence at Medjugorje, her message
descends on us, her people, as a benefi cial
rain that irrigates and grants life. Her words
are affectionate and powerful; they transmit
joy and awareness and hope along with a
call to conversion. Our Lady reminds us
of the importance of Medjugorje and of our
own importance in God's plan of salvation.
"My Children, do not forget that you are
all important in this great plan which God
carries out through Medjugorje."
plan passes through a universal conversion.
"God desires to convert the entire world
and to call it to salvation and to the
way that leads towards Him, who is the
beginning and the end of every being."
Conversion is letting God make us new.
"And he who sat on the throne said: Behold,
I make all things new. I am the Alpha and
the Omega, the beginning and the end. To
the thirsty I will give water without price
from the fountain of the water of life."
. Conversion is an ongoing process,
during our lifetime it never comes to an end.
It is our journey towards God; we will thirst
along the way, but He will give us without
cost the water of life.
This is the water that gushes forth from
the side of Christ (Jn 19:34) and it will
quench our every thirst, except for one,
which is our thirst for Christ (Jn 19:28).
This is the thirst felt by those who no
longer desire living for themselves but for
Christ who died and is risen. Our life has
value only if it is lived as a mission from
God and a journeying towards the Father,
together with Christ and our brethren. Our
life can no longer be aimless, or closed up
in self-pity, or oscillate between the many
sources of self-satisfaction and rare acts of
generosity. Our life is being able to say with
Paul: It is no longer I who live, but Christ
July-August 2007 - Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy.

( Yr. 23, no. 4 ) - Tel. / Fax +39 0423-470331 - A translation of the orig. Italian: Eco di Maria
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who lives in me. Conversion is the process
of transubstantiation of the human creature
in Jesus. In Him, we are called to become
a living Eucharist. In this process we have
a continual, absolutely necessary need of
divine grace, without which communion with
Jesus Christ would be impossible. It is with
infi nite mercy that God pours out this grace.
Mary's presence at Medjugorje is further
grace of exceptional grandeur.
To those within the Church that remain
doubtful of the need for her presence,
we suggest following Mary's example of
keeping in her heart that which she did not
comprehend (Lk 2:51). If this is too much,
to follow the advice of Gamaliele in Acts
5:34-39. To those, instead, who believe in
Mary's presence at Medjugorje, we ask you
to transcribe upon your heart Mary's call:
"From the depth of my heart I invite you
all to open yourselves to this great grace
that God is granting you through my
presence here."
The openness of heart that
Mary has always asked of us is essential if
we wish to live and transmit God's Love
which is revealed in Jesus. God holds the
righteous in esteem, and loves the sinner.
For the sinner, in fact, God sacrifi ced His
Son. It is this Love that we must live and
witness, with our life, not with our words,
in every circumstance.
Jesus is Passing
Once a year Jesus passes along the streets
and among the houses, in what is merely the
exterior manifestation of what happens in an
invisible way every day. For Jesus is alive and
present in the lives of men, and He walks
with them and in their midst, only we do
not see Him. Hence, the importance of the
day of Corpus Christi, when the Eucharistic
Bread is carried in procession throughout
the town. Jesus' presence in the Eucharistic
Bread is absolutely real. The Church desires
"carrying the Lord in spirit through all the
streets and neighbourhoods of Rome," said
Pope Benedict to the large crowd, "We will
immerse Him in the daily routine of our
lives, so that He may walk where we walk,
and live where we live."
If we have lived our day without Jesus,
in the evening we feel weary and empty.
"For every Christian generation," said the
Pope, "the Eucharist is the indispensable
that sustains them as they
cross the desert of this world, parched by
the ideological and economic systems that
do not promote life but rather humiliate
it... a world where the logic of power and
possessions prevails... a world where the
culture of violence and death is frequently
"The Eucharistic Mystery," concluded
the Pope, "is the gift that Jesus makes of
himself, thus revealing to us God's infi nite
love for every person. The Apostles received
the gift of the Eucharist from the Lord in
the intimacy of the Last Supper, but it was
destined for all, for the whole world. This is
why it should be proclaimed and exposed to
view: so that each one may encounter "Jesus
who passes" as happened on the roads of
Galilee, Samaria and Judea; in order that
each one, in receiving it, may be healed and
renewed by the power of his love. Red.
Peter goes to Francis
He was young like the young people
before the Pope when Francis roamed the
streets of a mediaeval Assisi with his friends,
making merry. He was genial even then in his
capacity to involve everyone with his self-
assured charm. Unaware of the social and
religious problems, he spent money lavishly,
caring only about having the best, including
the glory when he chose to depart for battle.
But he didn't go far, as in the nearby town
of Perugia, Francis was taken prisoner for
a year. Humanly speaking a disaster, spiri-
tually, it was his salvation because when he
returned to the home of his father, a wealthy
merchant of fabrics, Francis felt in his heart
a special call which tore him from the mesh
of a glittering worldliness and placed him in
the abyss of love "that exceeds high moun-
tains." It was a love that took possession of
his heart and never left him. It was this new
love that compelled the young man of Assisi
to leave all else so he could devote himself
entirely to God.
It's the story of a profound conversion,
a radical conversion, not unlike many others
really. This one, however, which happened
exactly 800 years ago in a little town in
central Italy, was decisive not only for
Francis but for a multitude of people who
in these eight centuries have followed in the
footsteps of the "poverello" of Assisi. This
very important event is being celebrated
over the period of one year, from October
2006 to October 2007. It is the memory
of a personal conversion that has become a
common patrimony because it never ceases
to produce new fruits, such as conversions
of youth, and religious consecrations.
Guest of honour in this context of
festivity was the Holy Father Benedict XVI,
pilgrim for a day at Assisi on the 17th June.
There were various occasions for the Pope
to speak to the faithful, the Poor Clares, the
monks, the politicians, etc, but the moment
which Benedict himself called the climax
of his day was his meeting with the 10,000
young people who had gathered in the square
in front of the Portiuncola, the cradle of the
Franciscan Order: "St Francis speaks to all,
but I know that for you young people he
has a special attraction," said the Pope who
was happy before the serene young people
thirsting for truth and comfort.
"We have a thousand questions," said a
young man called Marco, in the name of all,
"but we fi nd it diffi cult to fi nd convincing
answers, and we are tempted to think that
the truth does not exist, that each has his
own truth. While we like to be happy, we are
aware that pure diversion does not make one
happy. Help us, Holy Father, to understand
and to adopt Francis' experience."
The Pontiff was happy to have the
opportunity to teach the young, and eloquent
as always he spoke of the life of young
Francis who didn't hesitate to strip himself
of everything so he could robe himself
in the only Good that is necessary. "His
conversion," he said, "came about when he
was in the prime of life, of his experience, of
his dreams. He had spent 25 years without
coming to terms with the meaning of life.
In that way of living there was the desire for
happiness that dwells in every human heart.
But could that life bring true joy? Francis
certainly did not fi nd it. You yourselves, dear
young people, can verify this, starting with
your own experience. The truth is that fi nite
things can give only a faint idea of joy, but
only the Infi nite can fi ll the heart.
"Just as Christ spoke to the heart of
Francis, He also speaks to our heart. We risk
spending our whole life deafened by loud but
empty voices; we risk not hearing His voice,
the only voice that counts because His voice
alone can save."
The young people were all very attentive
to the fatherly words of papa Benedict,
desirous of capturing their young hearts: "I
make my own the invitation that my beloved
Predecessor, John Paul II, always liked
to address especially to youth: `Open the
doors to Christ.' Open them like Francis did,
without fear, without calculation, without
measure. Be, dear young people, my joy, as
you were for John Paul II." The applauses
and choruses that followed were already a
response to this request for affection and
sharing that the aged Pontiff launched to this
new generation of Christians: "It is time that
you, young people, like
Francis, take seriously and
know how to enter into a
personal relationship with
Jesus. It is time to look at
the history of this third
millennium just begun
as a history that needs
the Gospel leaven ever
Christ our Lord,
Eight centuries ago you asked Francis to
repair your house;
and in this Year of Conversion You call us to
place ourselves in his footprints.
Grant that we may be converted to You with
all our heart.
Pour out upon us Your Holy Spirit, and grant
us righteous faith, sure hope, and perfect
Just as Francis contemplated You at San
Damiano, may we also contemplate your
living gaze, oh Crucifi ed and Risen Lord.
Just as Francis encountered You in the leper,
may we encounter You in the suffering and
poverty of our brethren.
May we be the living Church, fervent in the
practice and proclamation of the Gospel, fi rm
in the unity of her family, rich in love and
generous in serving, in communion with our
Pastors and in dialogue with all.
Teach the young the way of true love,
and call many to serve You in the priesthood
and in consecrated life.
Illumine and sustain Pope Benedict XVI,
whom we await with the love of children,
ready to follow his instructions.
May Mary, your mother and ours, the "Virgin
made Church", accompany us.
May the Saints, our Patrons, sustain us.
All honour and glory to You, who lives and
reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end. Amen.
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Who is the Mother of Good Counsel?
upon herself to fund the work,
but when her money ran out -
and amid the mockery of fellow
townspeople - she continued to
trust in the Blessed Virgin and
in St. Augustine, certain that
they would intervene so the
work could be terminated. Her
prayers were answered and the
wait rewarded.
It happened that on the
evening of the 25th April
1467, feast day of St. Mark,
during Vespers, the Image
"appeared", catching everyone by surprise,
and was considered miraculous. It was also
said that the painting came from the city of
Shkoder in Albania at the time of the Turkish
invasion and that the Angels themselves had
transported it so the Holy Image could not
be profaned. There is more to the story and
its possible translation from Albania. The
Christian population of Albania have kept
the memory of Our Lady of Good Counsel
alive for centuries. The people come from all
over the country to gather by the thousands
before the cathedral where Our Lady of
Good Counsel once was. There is an ancient
hymn with the refrain: Mother of Good
Counsel, return to us. On the path of peace
lead us
. Amongst the many blesseds and
saints that have visited the shrine, it is noted
that Mother Teresa of Calcutta, originally
from Albania, visited many times.
The Image is one of an intense and
tender embrace between the Son and the
where it is obvious that the fount of
energy is God made incarnate, from whom
the Mother draws strength and light that
make her "divinely beautiful."
Devotion to the Mother of Good Counsel,
spread by the Augustinians and favoured
by Holy Pontiffs, found great favour and
following in the people, and churches, altars,
and images dedicated to Her quickly sprung
up everywhere. In 1903 Pope Leo XIII
proclaimed that the Blessed Virgin would
be invoked in the Litany of Loreto with the
title Mater Boni Consilii. The liturgical feast
day, originally on the 25th, is now celebrated
on the 26th April.
Let us now turn, as true children, to the
most tender of mothers:
"Rejoice Mary, Image of the Church and
most tender Mother of Good Counsel. You
are our model, a sign of certain hope for
our earthly pilgrimage. Our life's journey
is made arid by the devouring forces of
violence and power. With our trust in the
power of the Gospels we turn to you to learn
how to make Christ grow in the hearts of
men, and despite everything to learn to sow
Good, Truth and Beauty, and to be similar
to you, o sweet Mother of Good Counsel.
Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra O.S.A.
"...Of all the fl owers of
spring, you are the most
beautiful, Our Lady Most
..." These are the
opening words of the hymn to
the Mother of Good Counsel
that the people of Genazzano,
a small town near Rome, sing
to "their Madonna" with all
the love of their heart.
C e r t a i n w o r d s a n d
expressions are so evocative
that just the sound of them
makes the heart swell. It is
the same with the title Mother of Good
Counsel, with which the Blessed Virgin of
the Augustinian Order, and God's people
in general, is honoured. For it is the word
"mother" that evokes other terms such as
acknowledgement, affection, sacrif ice,
gratuity, oblation, and prevention. This is
because being a mother means, mainly,
to give life.
The name, then, of "Good
Counsel" completes this being mother. As
such, Mary brought divine light of counsel
in our midst. Christ is the "Counsel" of the
Father who wants to save mankind which
risks drowning and dying in its sin.
The origin of this title comes from the
Augustinian shrine of Genazzano (Rome)
where in 1467 a valuable fresco depicting
Our Lady tenderly embracing her Son
began to be venerated by the faithful. The
beginnings of the fresco are somewhat
prodigious - or at least it was considered
such by the persons of then when a much
venerated image of the Virgin Mary began
to attract the attention of all. The Provincial
of the Augustinian Order, Fr. Ambrogio da
Cori, recorded that on the 25th April 1467,
during the Vespers, "The very beautiful
image of Mary appeared on the wall
without human intervention. So great was
the number of healings that a notary was
appointed to make a register of the more
important cases."
And in a detailed study,
Joao S. Cla Dias writes, "...the fresco has
unexplainably remained suspended in the air
close to the wall of the chapel in the church
of Mother of Good Counsel for over fi ve
hundred years." Cla Dias' work contains
several documents about the miraculous
character of the image
itself, including
the amazing fact that the painting is not
mounted or attached at the back.
The spectacular tradition that developed
from this is convalidated by a people which
venerates the Image as its patron and
protector: I am talking of the people of
. However, this same title (Mother
of Good Counsel) already belonged to
this centuries old church which had been
entrusted to the Augustinians a century
before the "wonderful apparition" of the
Image. The little church was in dire need of
reconstruction, and it was the Third Order
Augustinian, Blessed Petruccia, that took
Song for Jesus
Simple thoughts
by Pietro Squassabia
When you read the Bible and not just
the Gospels you encounter Jesus many
times. You can see Him in many events
which speak of Him. More than this, you
seem to encounter Him everywhere.
The entire Bible seems to speak to us of
God's plan of love for mankind which was
fulfi lled by Jesus. It all seems an unveiling
of the mystery of God who sacrifi ces his own
Son so He can be given to us, despite our sin
and infi delity. It is as if it were a Treasure
hidden and waiting to be discovered. It all
speaks to us of Jesus.
In Moses you can see Jesus who delivers
every man from the slavery of sin. You can
see Him in the manna that came to nourish
every man who hungers after the Truth; and
in the bronze snake that saves the man who
has been bitten by the deadly sting of sin;
and in the grain of wheat that dies to bring
us the fruits of salvation; and in the little
ones, because He became little so He could
stay close to us and in us. And for every
page of the Bible the same can be said. They
all speak of Jesus. The Bible seems to have
been written for Him; as a song for Him,
"The fairest of the sons of men" (Ps 44:3)
who humbled himself for love of the Father
and of men and became, "As one from whom
men hide their faces"
(Is 53:3).
The Bible is like a song: from the Fa-
ther for His Son, of whom he is well pleased
since all eternity; the song of a Mother for
her Son whom she continues to contemplate
and from whom she draws all her Love; a
song of man for Jesus, the Lamb who was
slain for the salvation of us all. The Bible
is like a song from heaven and earth to the
Friend, and reason for jubilation for the
entire universe.
Mary invites us to read the Bible and
to keep it in a visible place in our homes
because she wants to lead us to Jesus. When
Mary invites us to read Holy Scripture, she
inevitably accompanies us as we undertake
this journey towards Jesus to help us fi nd
Him. Our blessed Mother's desire is to lead
us all to Him.
We ought, then, to keep the words of
this Book in our hearts and contemplate
them continually. If we do as Mary did,
who kept within her heart and meditated
upon all that she heard and saw Jesus do, we
would surely encounter Him. Mary desires
helping us to do precisely this; so let us ask
for her help with great trust. Perhaps then
we might experience the joy of walking
with Jesus, as we journey along the way
that inevitably leads to the narrow door. For
Jesus, the narrow door was His Passion, and
an example for us.
Thank you, Mary, for indicating to us
this instrument of salvation. Thank you,
Jesus, for being our salvation.
"A genuine prayer experience will transform you completely. True, you have learned nothing new, you have made no defi nite
resolutions, you still have problems in yourself and with others, and your outward life hasn't changed - but your heart has
been changed by the presence of God... Your renewal is not on the intellectual or moral level, but in the depths of your
heart, penetrated by the love of God. This is why you do not feel this immediately but, as your life unfolds, you will see the
benefi ts of your prayer experience." (Jean Lafrance in Pray to the Father in Secret, xxvii)
Echo 194
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Vacation, Give Time to God
At a prayer meeting some days ago the young people were asked to meditate on time
of vacation as a time for God, as a favourable time to seek Him and dedicate oneself to
Him. Amongst these one 24 year old young man told me how he plans to spend the month
of August at a Salesian mission in Kenya together with 20 other young people from our
diocese (Macerata in Italy). I was moved by his testimony. It's great, and comforting to hear
of young people who are able to discern the Voice from amongst so many voices; to discern
amongst many values the most valuable.
This is not something everyone would opt for as a way of spending one's free time, yet
there are some willing to take the risk. I know, not all of us have the possibility to do this
same thing, and the Lord doesn't ask the same thing of us all. However, one thing is certain,
and that is that we are all called to know how to live our time as His time: a time during
which He came to live and to redeem. St. Luke says: "The time is fulfi lled..." The time in
which we live is God's time; it is a full time, a fulfi lled time. Today we can perceive this
fulfi lment and fullness in the Word of God who became fl esh.
I would like readers to stop a moment and consider their holidays as a time that Providence
is offering them to encounter God. For it is only in encountering Him that we fi nd true
rest, true peace
. We all know that beautiful expression of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel at
chapter 18, verse 22: "Come to me all you who are tired and oppressed and I will restore you,
and it goes on to say: "And learn from me..." Resting with God is always constructive.
When we remain with the Lord we always learn something. Being with Him in whatever
situation of our life can only make us grow, mature and enter the "true life" according to an
expression our Holy Pontiff likes to repeat.
Christians, it is true, are those who must learn to appreciate life's every instant,
including our holidays, as a time God uses to show Himself, and to call us, heal us, and
to instil in us His Spirit which renews all things. For those who will be enjoying holidays,
my recommendation is to live them while remaining at the school of the Father which is a
school of love, and always remember that God does not go on vacation, and that we cannot
go on vacation far from Him!
Fr. Gabriele Pedicino O.S.A.
Fresh, Clean Water
by Stefania Consoli
What is more refreshing than cool
water when the heat has parched your
throat or burnt your skin! How it relieves
the body, and gladdens the heart! Water,
besides being cool, needs also to be pure. Its
clarity is a sign that it is not contaminated,
and we feel safe when the transparency of
water allows us to see
the "bottom." When
we touch it, immerse
ourselves in it or when
we drink it, it is as if
its qualities enter us
and make us similar.
Well, why not, given that we are made up
of mostly water!
But all this talk of cool, clean water
summons to mind our Blessed Mother!
She is like pure, fresh water; she is always
ready to fl ow within us to cleanse away the
residue of our sin. When we are immersed in
her we become aware of a lightness, leaving
our being free to surrender due to the lack
of gravity - like when our bodies fl oat in the
sea. But my reference is not to the force of
gravity, but to the gravity of sin and blame
(ours and of others), of the burden of the
world which oppresses us with its material
needs, so pressing and invasive.
Gushing forth from the heart of the
Father, fount of grace which is always open,
Mary comes to us with the gentleness of a
lively brook. This brook is able to overcome
every obstacle that might be within us, to
step over the stones of our obstinacy, to enter
the fi ssures of our soul, to encourage us and
refresh us. Her every touch is benefi cial;
every drop brings relief. She proceeds
surely and calmly, as a torrent flowing
from eternity that enters time, fi lling the
channels of barren life, irrigating the fi elds
of the poor made arid by the avidity of the
wealthy, fi lling the void of sudden deaths, of
unexpected mourning. Entire populations
suffer for the drought of faith, and Mary,
as benefi cial rain, pours forth calmly and
continually, to soften hearts which like clods
of the wilderness had hardened because no
one had proclaimed the Truth to them.
There's more, however. If you remain
silent, water becomes like music, bringing
calm to the cluttered mind... like listening to
the sound of waves crashing
onto the shore, or the running
water of a fountain, fi lling
you with peace, quietening
the soul.
So it is if you remain
silent while you pray, and
hear the voice of Mary; you become aware of
her song, the melody that continues to fl ow
out from her heart to speak to us, assure us,
console us... as a child is comforted by its
mother's voice.
Between the hills of a stony region, a
pure fountain began to gush 26 years ago,
and continues to give us water every day
to quench the thirst for God that each of us
perceives within his heart. At Medjugorje,
Mary is this fresh, clean water
, and she's
there for everyone. Millions of pilgrims
of every race have drawn from this water,
and have then gone home with their water
bottles full: of conversion, renewed prayer,
a new understanding of the importance of
living the sacraments. This water (Mary)
has been there for a long time but it is not
stagnant; it is always in movement because
the water table from which it gushes is
dynamic. The water table is the bosom of
the Holy Trinity.
It is easy to receive this water. You need
only to stretch out your hands. Preferably,
your hands should be empty, or rather, your
hearts should be empty. Then, she will not
leave you again.
Your Heart surrounds mine, oh Mary.
May your purity penetrate me
And your obedience guide me
Oh Mother dear,
So that when you pray, I pray with you,
And when you smile I smile with you.
At the Service
of Testimony
The number of pilgrims which continue
to ar rive in this blessed land is still
considerable. Many of them have come for
the fi rst time. They all thirst for something
more; to know God a bit more, to hear
another voice that might give them some
advice on how to pray, how to come closer
to God. It is a joy to see this desire in souls,
and I think Our Lady desires that every
pilgrim might begin a personal journey of
Only the Holy Spirit can communicate
the love of God; only Mary knows the right
way to touch a person's heart. As I fulfi l
the service of giving testimony
I realize
ever more clearly how people "absorb" a
grace which is already present - over and
above whatever words I may say. It is the
grace granted by Mary, and is protected and
communicated by means of our self-offering
and the prayer of my community. Many are
the things you can read about Medjugorje,
but pilgrims seek, above all, the direct
witness of one who "lives" Medjugorje
and its message
Often, when I prepare myself to meet
pilgrims, I feel the important thing is
not what I'll say. It is rather my desire to
communicate God to them, together with
their desire to participate inwardly in this
profound exchange. After every meeting I
feel the need and the responsibility to pray so
I can hand over to God all the people I have
come into contact with and their intentions
they entrusted me with, and I pray that the
light they received from God will not be
dispersed at the fi rst gust of wind, but may
have the strength to profoundly transform
their lives.
There are many here at Medjugorje
that fulfi l this service, and it's not always
easy as it demands the donation of self.
When a person is truly called to place his
life at the disposal of Mary's message that
person has something original to give to the
others. Communities and charismas may
differ, but the message we are called to
transmit is one
and the same because the
message of Mary is one, just as the goal
we must all reach, though we travel along
different roads, is the same.
I have noticed that when the visionaries
witness, their words are simple and always
"the same" in substance, yet how many
hearts are touched by their words, and how
many people remain convinced by their
simple words which can be understood by
all. The reason is that their persons express
and transmit hope and joy, and communicate
to souls the life of God.
Francesco Cavagna
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"A people from afar"
At the beginning of the month of May
which is consecrated to the Mother of God,
an unusual wave of pilgrims came upon
Medjugorje. It was the presence of a people
which is very faithful to Marian devotion;
a people very attached to my own heart:
"a people from afar, far but always close,
strong in its faith and Christian tradition."

Yes, I am talking of the Polish pilgrims,
who came so numerously in the fi rst week
of May. They came to thank God for the gift
of the Virgin Mary, and to lift up to God their
song of praise.
Down the centuries they have experienced
on several occasions the special help of the
Mother of God. The power and splendour
of this "motherly hand resting on their
have been seen in various occasions,
the most noted of which is the miraculous
protection of Our Lady during the Swedish
invasion. For centuries it has been possible
for all of Poland's population to see close
up this special protection of the Virgin
over their country, and various Polish kings
declared her "Queen of Poland." Pope Pius
XI instituted the feast day of the Virgin
Mary, Queen of Poland, on the 3rd May, and
Pope John XXIII proclaimed Mary as the
main patron saint of Poland after the saints,
Stanislaw and Wojciech.
So, here we had this invasion of Polish
pilgrims upon Medjguorje, and the Polish
language could be heard ringing out in
songs of praise and thanks upon the hills
that surround this blessed land. Here then:
a wave of pilgrims come from afar...
I think that whoever has been to
Medjugorje would have noticed that every
period brings a wave of pilgrims from
various countries. When you live here one
gradually learns to recognize the typical
features of the various nationalities, so that
it becomes easy for you to recognize a group
of pilgrims simply by their behaviour, their
aspect, their way of dressing, or even by their
Medjugorje truly is dynamic, and the
differences in the various peoples makes it
even more dynamic.
May, time of preparation
The tradition of devotion to the Mother
of God during the month of May goes back
to the fi fth century. It is the month during
which blossoms and blooms abound, and
the faithful of all generations have loved to
deposit fl owers at the feet of Marian images
in churches, chapels and street shrines. True
devotion to the Blessed Virgin always leads
to Jesus the Fathers teach us. In this sense,
May precedes the month of June which is
dedicated to the Divine Heart of Jesus, from
which gushed forth blood and water for our
salvation. Mary, the "humble maidservant",
is "Queen of Heaven and Earth" precisely
because her only concern about herself is
that she be a signpost for us, the sole scope of
which is to guide our steps towards God.
The beauty of the children
What a joy to see the children dressed
most solemnly for the fi rst holy communion.
They have come to receive the Lord present
in the Eucharist, and are loaded with the
innocence typical of their age, with a
sprinkling of seriousness and a dusting
of impatience. "If you do not become as
children, you cannot enter heaven's door."
Their little hearts are more easily struck
with amazement than "grown up" hearts
before the mystery of our God who is "so
great that the world cannot contain Him, yet
He makes Himself so little and humble as to
enter into our hearts."
The sight of the little ones who receive
holy communion for the fi rst time is really
quite moving and ought to incite us to
approach with greater faith and love this
Sacrament, source of life and every grace.
Mary visits us daily
I wonder if we are aware of this truth:
that the Mother of God, the Full of Grace,
visits us every day just as she visited St.
Fr. Ljubo often says to the pilgrims:
"I've been here in Medjugorje already for
seven years, but I'm afraid to say that I know
Medjugorje, because one can only know
Medjugorje if he gets down on his knees
and prays."
This expression of his came to mind one
evening on Podbrdo when I saw a group of
young people - it was the day of the Visitation
- who were at the feet of Our Lady. My heart
leapt with joy when I saw them and heard
them praying in very colloquial terms typical
of youth. In the light of the full moon they
had come to receive the Mother of God's
visit. As I looked I couldn't help thinking of
the many other young people lost perhaps
amid city night lights, and I offered them up
in prayer to their Blessed Mother.
Feast of His Body
Our Lord in person is passing along the
streets of Medjugorje: Jesus' Eucharistic
body, true body! And with His blessing He
reaches out to every corner of our abodes
and our hearts.
I couldn't help noticing, with disappoint-
ment, how quite a few of those taking part
in the Corpus Domini procession seemed to
think they were merely taking a walk through
the town... here in this place where Our Lady
has been appearing to call us to conversion
for the past 26 years!
I'm sorry about the criticism, but it is
inevitable: inevitable because our God is
so good, patient and merciful, and we men
barely ever notice Him, not even when He's
so close to us!
There were, however, many sincere
hearts which showed true love towards
the meek Lamb who, "as good as bread",
remains with us in the little wafer for ever,
as He promised.
(from notes by Sr. Halina)
It is Love that Sends Me to You
The messages that the Queen of Peace
entrusts to the visionary Mirjana on the
2nd of the month when they pray together
for non-believers, are always intense. On the
2nd June Mary said:
"Dear Children, also during this diffi cult
time the Love of God sends me to you. My
Children, do not be afraid; I am with you.
With complete trust give me your hearts so
I can help you to recognize the signs of the
times in which you live. I shall help you to
come to know the love of my Son. Through
you, I shall triumph. Thank you!"
As usual Our Lady invited all to pray for
priests and she underlined the importance of
the priestly blessing, saying: "When priests
bless you, it is my Son who blesses you."
The Anniversary!
Also this year the Anniversary of the
apparitions was rich in grace. On the 25th
June Medjugorje was literally crowded with
pilgrims who had come from the world round
to thank Mary, who for 26 years has come
every day to visit us and lead us to her Son
Hearts were festive and joyous, as they
rested in the certainty that they would go back
home with new spiritual gifts enabling them
to journey more quickly and with greater
decision along the way indicated by the
Queen of Peace. Through Medjugorje God is
carrying out a great plan, and whoever goes
there cannot but feel important!
What's Happening at Medjugorje . . .
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At Conclusion of Jubilee Year
Mystery of a Grace:
can still be discovered
by Giuseppe Ferraro
There is a message that Mary leaves us;
a message without words, that is expressed
with extraordinary intensity at
. The most precious, it gives meaning
and fertility to every other message. I am
speaking of the current of grace, that throu-
gh her living presence, is communicated to
souls with the unspeakable power of love.
This grace began to be manifest with
the start of an event that though collocated
in space and time, it gushes forth from the
mystery of God's Heart. During the second
vespers, on the solemnity of John the Baptist
26 years ago the Mother of God appeared
to six young people on a hill in an unknown
village of Herzegovina, and presented her-
self to the world: "I am the Blessed Virgin
Mary, the Queen of Peace" (message, 26
June 1981). With this unexpected irruption
of mystery in a poor farming village in a
remote corner of Christian Europe, amidst
the absolute indifference of the world's
great, including the powerful mass media
of our hyper civilized world, the Heavens
opened up and gave way to the beginning
of a mysterious spiritual dynamic that is
transforming hearts of a multitude of God's
People began to go to Medjugorje, fi rst
from the closer regions, then gradually from
every continent, bringing thousands of men
and women to the place which Mary herself
calls the fount of grace. "Dear Children, You
are responsible for the messages I give. Here
one fi nds the fountain of grace, and you my
Children, are the vessels upon which these
gifts are conveyed. Hence, my Children,
I call you to carry out this service with
responsibility. Each one in the measure of
his ability. I call you to distribute the gifts
to others with love. Do not keep them for
yourselves. Thank you for responding to my
(Mess. 8.05.1986).
Very Special Plan
These accounts are familiar to anyo-
ne who has even superfi cially come into
contact with the grace of Medjugorje. It is
clear, however, that if this was all there was
it would be an event which fascinates, but
which lacks the founding element of every
authentic spiritual grace, which is to involve
souls in Christ's great work of saving the
world. Yet many (even illustrious) workers
seem to have reduced Medjugorje to the
simple label of "Marian Shrine," to little
more than a devotion towards a Madonna
whose main task is to satisfy the requests of
pilgrims to make their life in this "valley of
tears" more bearable. If it is true that special
graces at Medjugorje have been copious and
absolutely extraordinary, it is also ever more
evident that it is all part of an incredible plan
of grace of cosmic dimensions which goes
way beyond the narrow spiritual schemes
some try to confi ne it to.
Three focal points
Careful consideration of the three im-
portant focal points chosen at the beginning
by Mary in Medjugorje (Podbrdo, Krizevac
and the Parish Church) helps us to intuit the
depth of this special grace which God is
offering to the world through the presence
of the Queen of Peace. It is a dynamic grace
bearing the seal of the Trinitarian mystery
being communicated to souls to help them
advance spiritually. The graces may vary,
but together they form an inseparable unity,
somewhat like the petals of a rose.
In particular, on Podbordo Mary makes
her presence almost tangible to involve us
in the mystery of her Immaculacy and allow
us to enjoy its fulfi lment in us. On Krizevac
Mary communicates to us her total offering
which is perfectly united to the offering of
the Lamb, in the sign of the glorious Cross.
And from the pierced Heart of the Son is
born the mystery of the Church, the peren-
nial fount of His Love that moulds together
souls so as to form the one Eucharistic Body
of Christ. The Eucharist is the sacrament of
the new creation for the entire universe and
is symbolically represented by the church,
home for the Parish Community.
It is not by chance that Mary has appea-
red for such a long time and in such a special
way at these three places of grace, as if to
lead us on a spiritual journey that brings us
to progressively participate in her mission
as co-redemptrix.
Places of Communion
However, what is becoming ever more
evident is that Medjugorje seems to be the
"mustard seed" of a far greater plan of grace
destined to involve all the souls of all crea-
tion. Many concordant signs and the clear
prophetic announcement by the Queen of
Peace seem to illumine the skies with the
defi nitive fulfi lment of that "mystery of His
will" (Eph. 1:9) announced by Scripture,
"that is, the plan to recapitulate all things
in Christ, things in heaven and things on
earth" (Eph. 1:10).
The same current of grace communica-
ted to souls in these places chosen by Mary
at Medjugorje is being made manifest with
similar, if not greater intensity in new places
of spirituality, to favour vital communion
with Her Immaculate Heart; places chosen
by her to personally guide her children even
with special gifts and charismas. These are
destined to spread and multiply all over the
world according to an unfathomable design
of grace written in the Heart of God, to
completely regenerate the members of the
Mystical Body of the Son, in the light of
the nuptial mystery of the Lamb that was
slain (Rev 19:7), "that he might present the
church to himself in splendour, without spot
or wrinkle... that she might be holy and
without blemish" (Eph. 5:27).
New Spiritual Families
For this reason, starting from the foun-
ding grace of Medjugorje, which had already
made the seed germinate through Jelena's
prayer group, Mary has been generating
new spiritual families. Through these she
multiplies her special presence in the wor-
ld, though in different ways, with the same
intensity and reality with which she began
appearing to the (Medju) visionaries. These
new communities are at times called "fruits"
of the grace of Medjugorje. They share the
same spiritual seal of the great fi res of grace
found at Medjugorje. She brings together
chosen souls called to live out the mystery
of her Immaculacy and her total offering -
in union with the sacrifi cial offering of the
Immolated Lamb, and with the fi re of the
Trinitarian love.
Through the unreserved yes of souls
chosen and called by Mary, she desires
communicating this same call to all creation:
"Dear Children, today I rejoice with you
and I call you to open yourselves to me and
to become instruments in my hands for the
salvation of the world... I desire that you
bring holiness to this world which hungers
for God and His love"
(Mess. 25.03.1994).
It is only this way that death, in all its ex-
pressions, will be defi nitely consumed by
Love, and the entire universe can be fully
recapitulated in Christ, and be offered up to
the Father: "For he must reign until he has
put all his enemies under his feet. The last
enemy to be destroyed is death... that God
may be everything to everyone" (1Cor 15:
25-26.28). **
Transforming Power
of Prayer
It will seize you if you allow it; almost
invisibly, if you immerse yourself in the
state where humanity gives way to divinity
- in a state of prayer. You can feel His touch
slipping into your soul and fi lling your being
as your prayer proceeds. It is the Holy Spirit
praying in you, exclaiming Abba Father with
inexpressible moans. To know this is one
thing; to experience it is another.
When you pray you need to be honest
and set aside everything else and dedicate
yourself to prayer. Prayer is an instrument
that can change the destinies of peoples,
even from afar, thanks to its innate omni-
potence, if said from the heart.
When you pray, you need to be humble
and let Him do everything; allow Him to
bring rise from the soul pleas, intercessions
and blessings according to the real needs of
people, and not according to our previsions.
It takes littleness to diminish ever more
while God invades you to make you become
a vessel.
If you really let yourself be transported,
as a boat going with the current, you will
gradually feel your being undergoing change
and transformation. Gradually, reality with
its disguises will become more distant as it
is replaced by the reality of heaven with its
inhabitants and lights. The mind is quieted
and the members fi nd repose. Within the
heart the walls behind which you usually
barricade yourself (as a defence) are felled.
Grace envelops the heart, softening and
moulding it, and opening it so other life
the life of God can enter, and dormant
thoughts come out.
Your inner gaze is widened; and semi-
darkness will help you catch invisible ima-
ges that communicate Heaven. Eyelids lower
spontaneously. The voice, an instrument for
the prayer we have chosen, softens and slows
down, while the silences become abysses.
Everything in you changes when you are
transformed by prayer.
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Defeating one's Egoism
Some numbers ago, together with
readers, we began a journey to understand
the meaning of the call to offer one's life as
a sacrifi ce to God for the salvation of the
world. We also called it "Love sacrifi ced
in peace" because this way helps us to be
generous in giving out the love that God
has impressed in us and to remain at peace
particularly when trials inevitably come our
way. It is then, in fact, that the authenticity of
our response is proved: when circumstances
are adverse and contrary to our expectations,
when we don't see the fruits of our sacrifi ce
and when everything around us seems to be
falling in. At times, trials come in succession
and the end is not in sight, and our ego rebels,
and we question God as to the reasons for
such unwanted diffi culty. Many before us
have experienced the same thing; it is the
Bible that bears witness to this. There is the
righteous Job who was very wealthy, then
became poor and sick. Yet despite it all, he
never ceased to praise his Lord.
Many have asked us to specify some
of the concepts expressed (in the previous
editions), which though simple, need further
consideration to be lived with greater aware-
ness. Following then, we attempt to respond
to these questions, in the hope of clarifying
the basic elements of this journey.
What ought we sacrifi ce?
To respond to this call one must fun-
damentally make an inner sacrifi ce. What
we are called to sacrifi ce is our ego and all
its disguises. In other words, that wealth of
humanity that acts as a shield to our egoism,
allowing it to act undisturbed.
Let me say it this way: some people,
though they desire undertaking a journey of
self-offering, seek refuge in their own capa-
cities and live a type of exasperated activism
whilst thinking that with their own work they
are able to resolve any type of problem. Ge-
nerally they presume they know everything
and act according to their own logic and take
pride in praises received for their work. All
the time they overlook the most important
thing, which is to sacrifi ce their ego and
allow God to act through their person.
How can we put our own talents to use
This is to be done with simplicity and
above all in the knowledge that we are all
subject to error. If we patiently put up with
our own limits without trying to camoufl age
them so as to appear clever or good, God
will use them and we will obtain the virtue
of humility which is certainly far better than
any exterior success.
Perfectionism, whether human or spi-
ritual, is a damaging product of our ego.
Wanting to be perfect at everything makes
us want everything to correspond to our ex-
pectations; we thus make great efforts not to
make any mistakes. Since this is impossible,
we become anxious about hiding them so as
not to cut a poor fi gure. But this is to live in
fear and slavery as we try to keep everyone
happy, and want everything in place, and we
only end up becoming a victim to ourselves
and make life impossible even for those
around us. Thus, we can see how wanting to
be perfect makes us put on many disguises,
behind which we are unhappy, unreal and
What other disguises ought we fear?
In the spiritual life there is another subtle
disguise to beware of: it is the divinization
of our ego. This is a very strong form of
pride present within the soul, particularly in
sensitive souls which are open to spiritual
gifts. This type of pride pushes the soul to
identify itself with God.
A spiritual experience, even if the most
perfect, is never God. It is merely a ray, a
little ray of divinity. As soon as we say that
what we experience is God we fall into the
error of pride. All that is asked of us is to be
little, and sacrifi ced, so that God can mani-
fest Himself in us as the Lord, and draw us
into His divinity. We must never divinize
our own ego.
Why is a trial considered a grace?
Normally, man either fi ghts against the
diffi culties of life, or he shuns them. How-
ever, if we want our ego to be purifi ed, we
must accept that it needs to undergo trials.
It is God who allows trials. No one can wil-
fully choose a trial because our instinct of
survival protects us. What is asked of us is to
transform a trial into an occasion of grace by
allowing God Himself to protect us.
When we recognize God as our Lord
during times of sorrow or pain, and when,
with serenity and faith, we allow offences to
pierce our heart, and we enter the wounds of
Jesus, there we will fi nd total protection. Our
wounds shall become one with the wounds
of Christ and from the open side of the heart
will fl ow merciful Love.
Why is it so diffi cult to enter into our-
It is so diffi cult because our ego is so
strong. Our ego is the place where we keep
many interests, rights, and ideas, etc. That
is why it is opportune to enter our inner
poverty where we accept to die to ourselves.
The Church teaches that the Eucharist is the
source and summit of the worship of God.
In us this must become life and reality. It is
the donation (of ourself) that makes us real.
Man becomes real when he loves and gives;
it doesn't matter that he has spiritual gifts
or not. It is important that this donation be
responsible, lively and enthusiastic. We must
be the expression of God's living and tender
love, not for the satisfaction of others as
this would be a form of slavery but for the
nourishment of God's love present in our
How can we manage the gifts God has
entrusted to us?

Every gift present in a soul comes from
God and has the purpose of activating gifts
present in others. It's like an organism where
every organ depends on the others. Spiritual
gifts are never an end to themselves, meant
for the person's own need. This would
already be egoism. When we offer our lives,
and sacrifi ce our own interests, we give life
to our brethren.
We no longer belong to ourselves, but
we live for others. It is here that our egoism
defi nitely dies. Many do not want to question
themselves, let alone die to themselves, but
then they cannot rise either!
What is the difference between exaltation
and elevation?
Exaltation means elevation of self. We
can fi nd in the world many exalted souls, but
few "elevated" souls. The only person who
truly is elevated is Mary, and she in body and
soul. Exalted people live up in the clouds.
The people whom God elevates are instead
humble, little, simple and in every situation
God is made manifest through them. For this
Jesus glorifi es the Father in the little ones,
because He makes Himself present in them.
If you want to be elevated by the Father, you
must become the least of all, like Jesus and
like Mary, because it is God that draws the
soul to Himself; God that lifts it up. All we
do is give God the chance to do it. Nobody
can be elevated if he does not fi rst sacrifi ce
everything, and surrender himself totally
to the action of God. God draws the soul
to Himself, but not only that soul. Through
this soul, He will draw to Himself also many
other souls.
At this point, Jesus' words become rea-
lity: "When I shall be lifted up, I will draw
everyone to myself." If we live this with all
our heart, we too shall enter the regal priest-
hood of Christ for the salvation of souls.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
(end part 5; to be continued)
Pope: bring lost friends to WYD
"World Youth Day is much more than
an event," Pope Benedict said. "It is a time
of deep spiritual renewal, the fruits of which
benefi t the whole of society. (...) Some of
you have friends with little real purpose
in their lives, perhaps caught up in a futile
search for endless new experiences. Bring
them to World Youth Day too!
In fact, I
have noticed that against the tide of secula-
rism many young people are rediscovering
the satisfying quest for authentic beauty,
goodness and truth. Through your witness,
you help them in their search for the Spirit of
God. Be courageous in that witness! Strive
to spread Christ's guiding light, which gives
purpose to all life, making lasting joy and
happiness possible for everyone."
Receive the Power
Receive the power, from the Holy Spirit!
Receive the power to be a light unto the
As Your Spirit calls to rise
we will answer and do Your will.
We'll forever testify
of Your mercy and unfailing love.

Lamb of God, we worship you.
Holy one, we worship you.
Bread of Life, we worship you.
Emmanuel, we worship you.
(From the theme song, WYD Sydney 2008)
"Offer Your Lives!"
background image
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8,11.86; Legal Dir. A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO Treviso
Our Readers Write...
Lucio Niero, Italy: "I'm writing to you
from the Prison of Montorio Veronese to
thank the numerous persons who wrote to
me to say they'd pray for me and my family.
I see in the numerous prayer groups and
individuals who wrote to me - even from
abroad (readers of the English edition of
Echo, editor's note) the love of the Blessed
Virgin, giving me a clearer understanding of
the immensity of God's mercy. From within
here I can't do much for the others, but there
is one thing that I do every day; and that is
to pray to the Virgin Mary to cover us with
her mantle and make us become brothers
in her love..."
Sr. Stefania Bassan, Sudan: I have
been receiving the
for several years
and I thank the Lord for the good it has
done me and many other people, especially
in the mission of Won where I used to work.
For the past year I have been in Khartoum.
There is always plenty of work to do, both
with the poor, and especially in our house. I
am in charge of the kitchen of our maternity
ward, with an average of 20-30 women
giving birth every day. We help everyone,
Christians and Muslims alike, so that "inter-
religious dialogue" is a daily event. I admire
the African women; they are so strong and
courageous, with their many children.: they
will be the ones to save this people. Thanks
for always having sent me the Echo. Please
continue to do so! As I greet you, I ask for
a prayer for the Sudanese people.
Sr. Maria del Rosario, Spain: Dear
Family of all those people who make
possible, and which gives me much
consolation. I am an infi rm nun and I can
no longer work as the others do. I look out
every day for my
hoping it will arrive
in the mail .. it does me so much good! I read
it carefully and photocopy some of the pages
so I can read them again; then I give these to
others who also gain profi t from reading it. I
give the copy of Echo that you send me to a
lady who has been to Medjugorje; she reads
it then passes it on: like a chain. I have no
money, but I offer you my constant prayer,
and my pains and limits, that God might
provide you with what you need to keep on
spreading the Gospa's message to all.
Sr. M. Rosa, Chile: It is with great joy
that we await your
, so rich in spiritual
reflections, and for which we sincerely
thank God in prayer every day. May God
reward you! May every word you write be
transformed by our beloved Mother into
many pearls for heaven where we shall live
in eternity. We entrust you all to Merciful
Br. Kraler, Austria: Thank you for your
wonderful paper. It makes me happy each
time it arrives!
Maria, Germany:
is one of the
best religious papers I know! Thanks, and
God bless!
Fr. Giorgio, Jerusalem: Amid the
many publications that I receive here in
Jerusalem I am always happy to receive
yours. I read it willingly and I ask that you
please continue to send it. Thank you, and
keep up the good work!
Our Lady is in there!
The Echo arrived today (I had been
anxiously awaiting it). It was such a joy. I
still remember how I came to know of its
existence. I had been to the old hospital to
pick up the replies to some tests I'd done.
As I was about to leave I noticed that the
chapel of
(in the old
hospital of Pistoia) was open unexpectedly,
as it was still early. The lovely little baroque
church was built over the bed of a little
room in the hospital
. The bed (from the
1400's) was of a 12 year old girl called
Maria. She was sick with tbc and was dying,
but one night was healed by Our Lady. As a
sign of her "visit" she left an image of herself
with her Son in the end of the bed. The
monks built a chapel around the bed with the
image that had appeared mysteriously. The
bed is enclosed, as though in an altar or little
crypt and is closed off by a gate.
It was here that I prayed that morning
and it was then that I found copies of the
. I took one, I read it; and a whole
new dimension opened up before me. I
immediately wrote to subscribe, and it is as
if Mary has not left me since.
One morning, back at the hospital, I
found the door to the chapel closed, though it
was only 8.30. I complained with some other
women who were there and had wanted to
go in. "I bet you were disappointed to fi nd it
closed," they said in their Tuscan infl ection,
"there's Our Lady inside there!"
Rossella Castagnini
Sergio Grisenti, Italy: I am sorry that
I came to know this publication so late. It
helps so much in the formation of Marian
spirituality. Out of the many books on
spirituality that I read for my formation,
this publication helps me a great deal to
assimilate the desires of our blessed Mother
as I read the comments of priests and the
testimonies of many pilgrims and devoted,
helping my faith and trust to grow. I thank
God for the gift of
which holds
as though in a ciborium the messages
of Mary, from which we can draw at any
moment for our reading and meditation. I see
it as a gift of benevolence and mercy on the
part of God for this troubled humanity.
Christians in Iraq Dying
This is the alarming cry that was raised
after the killing of Chaldean priest, Fr.
Ragheed Aziz Ganni on Sunday 3 June at
Mosul in Iraq, at the end of the celebration
of Holy Mass. Together with him, three
deacons were also killed.
Father Philip Najim, the procurator
for the Chaldean Church to the Holy See,
lamented the situation of Christians in
Iraq. "Closed churches, car bombs, forced
conversions ... in Iraq Christians are dying.
The Church is disappearing under the strike
of persecution, threats, violence on the part
of extremists that won't leave any option but
conversion or fl eeing," said Fr. Najim.
Fr. Ganni and three deacons were shot
in what Benedict XVI called a "senseless
killing." Fr. Najim said, "Christians have
become the scapegoat to be taken advantage
of or eliminate. They can't profess their faith
freely. Women are forced to wear the veil
and crosses are torn from the churches." He
added that today in Iraq: "the kidnapping of
priests is more frequent each day. Christians
are forced to pay taxes if they want to keep
their homes and faith. The only alternative
is to renounce one's own roots, leave one's
country, intensifying the emigration wave.
"May Fr. Ganni's sacrifi ce be an injection
of vitality for his community, his Church in
Iraq, and for the universal Church."
The Lord bless thee and keep thee! May
He show His face to thee, and have mercy
on thee! And may He give thee peace!
Italy, 9 July 2007
Mail Donations/correspondence to:
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Echo online: www.ecodimaria.net
Message of 2 July 2007 to Mirjana:
"Dear Children, In the immense love
of God I come to you today to lead you
on the way of humbleness and meekness.
The fi rst station on this way, my Children,
is Confession. Give up your pride and
go down on your knees before my Son.
Comprehend, my Children, that you have
nothing and that you can (do) nothing.
The only thing that is yours; that you
own, is your sin. Purify yourselves and
accept meekness and humbleness. My
Son could have won with power but he
chose meekness, humbleness and love.
Follow my Son and give me your hands so
that together we can climb the mountain
and win. Thank you."
Our Lady spoke once again of the
importance of Priests and of the Priestly
Quotation: Ceasing to be `in love' need not
mean ceasing to love. Love, as distinct from
`being in love,' is not merely a feeling. It is a
deep unity, maintained by the will and deli-
berately strengthened by habit; reinforced by
grace from God. They can have this love for
each other even at those moments when they
do not like each other.. `Being in love' fi rst
moved them to promise fi delity: this quieter
love enables them to keep the promise. It is
on this love that the engine of marriage is run:
being in love was the explosion that started
it. (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity)