Conferences given at the MMP International Clergy Retreats
Fr. Francis Geremia , c.s.
THE CONTINUOUS PRESENCE OF THE BLESSED MOTHER IN THE LIFE
OF THE PRIEST CONSECRATED TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
I want to put the two meditations of today in the prospective of the mystery of the presence of God in the life of every baptized person and in particular of every Priest. I feel, therefore, that it is necessary to quote certain passages from Sacred Scripture. Our Holy Mother does none else than to represent the maternal presence of God toward us, exactly because She, as stated by the Council, is the Mediatrix of Grace and Coridemptrics.
We do not wish to forget, then, that the saints always lived in the “presence” of the Lord and the Blessed Mother. Anyhow we will develop above all the fact of the great consolation and peace that we have, as soon as we feel and know that the Lord and Blessed Mother are always close to us and guide our life. It is in the first Message of the 7th of July, 1973, that the Blessed Mother said to Don Stefano: “ Do not be afraid. I will always be near you! ”
In the last public Message of December 31, 1997, our Mother, after having said: “ This century of yours, which is about to end, has been placed under the sign of a strong power conceded to my Adversary…: ”, will say “ …So then, the Most Holy Trinity has decreed that your century be placed under the sign of my powerful, maternal and extraordinary presence .”
Biblical quotations on the presence of God in our life
Every Priest should hear as if said to himself what God revealed to the Prophet Jeremiah: “ Before you were born I dedicated you a prophet to the nations ” (Jer.1:2). From the New as in the Old Testament, we are taught, in fact, that in our earthly pilgrimage we are never alone. Jesus, before his Ascension to Heaven made this solemn promise: “And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” (Mat. 28:20). The various presences of the Lord are very well described in the Encyclical of Paul VI Misterium Fidei. It is not necessary for us to mention them all here. We have, first of all, the presence of the Holy Spirit who is in us and therefore there cannot be a closer and more perfect presence.
He is for us: Consoler, Guest, Comforter, Rest, Light and for the little children of Mary, He is Father of the poor. Today, He uses the presence of his Most Holy bride to fulfill all this in us. We must remember that God always wants to be present in our life, but leaves us free to choose. That is why at this time the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity come into play. God always puts his people to the test and therefore his saints, because through their love, their faith and their trust even in difficulties, He lets us discover his “presence” even more perfectly.
When the Jews suffered slavery in Egypt, God called Moses from the burning bush, and said to him: “ I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians ” (Ex.3:7) Each time we read this passage, we apply it to our daily situations, but even to the situation of the Church and to souls in general. Reflecting on the words of God to Moses regarding his people in slavery, we are assured that He thinks of us and sees us continuously.
When the Apostles were on the lake, rowing throughout the night without being able to reach the shore due to the wind, Jesus, from the mountain, must have followed them in their great fatigue. And perhaps thinking about his future Church, thinking about every one of us, He wanted to go to their aid, in such a miraculous way. And as if this were not enough, we have the story of the calming of the storm: a great teaching for those in the future, as in our times, would sometimes become frightened and think that God sleeps.
Even after the resurrection, Jesus shows how He follows his Apostles in their work, when, through his intervention, after a seemingly “useless” effort of a whole night, they have the miraculous catch. In this episode we also learn to know the power of God and at the same time, his paternal goodness: Jesus, in fact, had lighted the fire and was preparing breakfast for them. Consequently now it becomes more simple to understand and believe the words that He says in the Gospel of St. Matthew: “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.”
(Mat.11:28) During the last Supper, Jesus said to his apostles, who were sad due to the announcement of his departure: “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him, w e will come to him and make a dwelling
place with him”. (John 14:23)
Jesus has given us his Mother
Before dying, Jesus has given us his Mother. Mary is the first disciple of Her Son: She remembers very well all His words. But being also our Mother, now She “puts them into practice” to our advantage. The Apostle says: “God has so loved the world, that He sent His Only Son… Therefore, it can also be said that God loves us so much that He gave us his Mother.”
God now sends us his Mother so that we may understand how much He loves us and He is close to us as a mother. Again, we read in the Gospel: “ Are not two sparrows sold for next to nothing? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted so do not be afraid of anything. You are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows. ” (Mt.10::29-30). There must be thousands of biblical quotations that confirm the Heart of God represented by his Mother. It should be enough to quote the Prophet Isaiah: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even if she should forget, I will never forget you” (Is.49:15)
God takes care of all his children, specially the little ones or all those who make themselves little. “ As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap as a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you. ” (Is.66-12-13)
Now we have the same Mother of God as our Mother. In these two meditations we will discover how she holds us in her arms, fondles and caresses us, if we know how to remain little, if we consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart and accept as her true words the Messages contained in the book “To the Priests Our Lady’ Beloved Sons”. This experience will then make us also proclaim that which the Sacred Author says in the Responsorial Psalm of the Mass of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: “Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me,”(Ps.130:2)
The MMP is a gift of the presence of the Mother of the Church for our times
On Jan. 28, `84 the Blessed Mother says: “ A gift of my Immaculate Heart to the Church is this, my Movement. It is my work alone. For 11 years I have been diffusing it in every part of the world; I call my sons; and they respond. For 11 years I have been achieving a masterpiece o f love and mercy for the triumph of my Immaculate Heart. The Church will come to an even greater realization of how the Marian Movement of Priests is a gift of my Immaculate Heart, because with it too I wish to give the Church the certainty of my perennial presence and of my maternal protection… ” (Jan. 28 ‘84). Don Stefano Gobbi said that a clear sign that the MMP is from God himself, comes from the fact that as of now, it is present in all the nations of the world. This is demonstrated by the great participation in our annual Spiritual Exercises: we have Priests and Bishops that come from at least 50 nations. The messages are translated in all the major languages of the world, even in countries where the printing of Christian material is prohibited.
During the time I spent in China, around 10 years ago, I found that all the Bishops and Priests I met, had the booklet of messages. In some Dioceses many Catholics have their own daily family Cenacles. They would tell me that in prison or in the midst of torture and persecution, they would feel a great comfort in the Messages of the Blessed Mother. During the Cenacle-Retreat for the Priests, by their questions to me, I realized that they took the messages much more seriously than we do.
In the 25th anniversary of the birth of the MMP, Don Stefano, was at Fatima. On that day the Blessed Mother said:
“You are here in the very same place, before the little Chapel of the Apparitions, where I have revealed to your heart the great plan of love and mercy of my Immaculate Heart. Now my plan is about to be completed. With my Marian Movement of Priests, I have called all my children to consecrate themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is the message of Fatima which is reaching its fulfillment and is being realized everywhere, through the merciful action of your heavenly Mother. Through it I have asked for the consecration to my Immaculate Heart, as a sure means of obtaining conversion of heart and of life, and of leading humanity back along the road of its full return to the Lord. By means of my Marian Movement of Priests, this consecration, willed and requested by me, has now been made in every part of the world.” (May 8, 1997).
In the last public Message of December 31, 1997, our Mother speaks of the importance of the MMP for the whole Church. “In order to give the suffering and crucified Church of your time my motherly help and a safe refuge, I have brought the Marian Movement of Priests into being and have spread it through every part of the world by means of my book…”
The Priest is “Alter Christus”: he needs, then, the same Mother
The MMP is in existence because God wants the Virgin Mary to be able to exercise the role given to her by Jesus himself before dying. Using the thought of John Paul II, at the foot of the Cross, the Blessed Mother had a second annunciation, when Jesus made Her our mother. On February 5, 2005 the same Pope spoke to the students of the Roman Seminary, in occasion of the Feast of Mary Mother of the Church: Dear Seminarians, how meaningful Jesus’ gesture is in the icon of Our Lady of Trust that you venerate at your Seminary! Pointing to his Mother, the Child seems to anticipate silently what, at the end of his life, he was to say to his disciple John from the Cross: “Behold your mother!” (Jn.19:27) I would like to repeat to you today: here is your Mother, to love and to imitate with full trust, so that you may become priests who can speak the crucial words of faith, not only once but always: “Here I am”, “Fiat”.
In one of the Prefaces that we find in the Missal of the Masses dedicated to the Blessed Mother, this is how the Church teaches us to pray: “At the foot of the cross of Jesus, by his solemn and dying wish, a deep bond of love is fashioned between the Blesses Virgin Mary and his faithful disciples: the Mother of God is entrusted to the disciples as their own mother, and they receive her as a precious inheritance from their Master. She is to be forever the mother of those who believe, and they will look to her with great confidence in her unfailing protection. She loves her Son in loving her children, and in heeding what she says, they keep the word of their Master.” (Mass # 13).
She began the MMP in order to exercise more easily this mission: “The Marian Movement of Priests must be my work alone. I myself will be leader of this Army. I am now forming it as my own in silence and in hiddenness just as, for nine months, I formed Jesus in my womb, and for many years in silence and hiddenness I brought Him up day by day. This is the way it is now for the Marian Movement of Priests: like the little Jesus, I am forming it in silence and hiddenness; this is the time of its infancy and its hidden life. What is needed now is much silence and humility, much confidence and prayer… Let there be no leader among you, I myself will be your leader.
The only thing that matters is that you let yourself be formed by me: for this it is necessary that each one of you offer himself and consecrate himself completely to me just as Jesus entrusted Himself totally to me; and then I will take care of everything. (July 16, 1973). Many of us, reading the messages of the Blessed Mother and participating in the Cenacles, especially together with Don Stefano, have experienced that our most Holy Mother loves, understands, takes us by the hand and guides us. It is an invisible presence, almost secret, that only we and She know. I have discovered all this, especially when I am reading the messages of the book “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”. Once you discover the love of the Mother, you discover the meaning of life. There is no longer fear: you are happy. Life becomes filled with hope and joy, because we discover that the love and support of the mother will never leave us. In fact, we experience that the mother of Christ is our Mother, and her love surpasses the love of all Mothers. She is happy with us, and She suffers with us.
The Presence of Mary in the life of the Priest
The first time I met Don Gobbi in a Cenacle in Buffalo, NY, approximately 30 years ago, I remember very well that he said to me: “The Blessed Mother loves you. For me it was a great consolation to hear this. Obviously, as a Priest I knew already that the Blessed Mother loved me. But to hear this from Fr. Gobbi, it meant a lot to me, because he helped me to understand that the Blessed Mother loves me with a personal love, and therefore She was present in my priestly life. Later I would understand that the more we make ourselves little, the more she can guide us. “To be consecrated to me means to let yourself be led by me. It means to entrust yourself to me, like a child who lets itself be led by Its mother… Why do you not wish to entrust yourself to me? Let it be I who build -moment by moment- your future. It is enough for you to say just as a little child: “Mother, I trust you, I let myself be led by you. Tell me: what must I do?” (July 21, 1973)
In these messages the Blessed Mother does not tell us to give up our free will or to let everyone else run our life. She only wants to help us to learn and exercise in a heroic way the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. We trust that God himself will guide us through our Heavenly Mother.
Precisely in the message just quoted, the Blessed Mother concludes: “ And also, let it be I who act through you. For this, how necessary it is for you to die to yourself! ” Therefore She teaches us heroic virtue. Actually, through her presence, She teaches how to live each moment in the presence of God himself. “ Be ever in my Heart, and at each moment, you will find peace. Do not be worried about what you are about to do. One who has consecrated himself to me belongs totally to me. He cannot, at any moment of the day, decide freely what he is to do with himself. If you remain with me, I myself will tell you at every moment what I would like you to do, and then whatever you do will always be according to my will. I myself will take you by the hand, and together we shall do everything. With you, I am like a mother who is teaching its child to take its first steps… How necessary it is that I stay with you! … I am so very much a mother for you! ”
(July 29, 1973).
If we are consecrated to the Blessed Mother, and if – using the words of the Gospel- we have placed our hands on the plough, we can no longer stop because of the obstacles that we daily face. The Mother tells us: “It is not given to all to understand my plan, but only to those whom I call. My beloved sons, for how long have I been forming you, following you and leading you to prepare yourselves to answer this call! From your very mother’s womb, I have received you into my Immaculate Heart, and in life, I myself have arranged everything for you. Your whole life has been a tapestry of my love. And now this design must be completed as quickly as possible for the good of all. Few have been called to this: but through them, the Mother wants to offer the possibility of salvation to all her children. (1-19-’77)
The presence of the Blessed Mother in the Cenacles
In 1983, Father Gobbi came to Canada: during a Cenacle for Priests someone asked him what is meant when he said that the Blessed Mother is present at every Cenacle. I remember very well the answer that he gave 26 Years ago: “As the Blessed Mother is present in Heaven with her glorious body, so too, in the same way, is present with her glorious body every time we are united for a Cenacle”. From then on, at the beginning of every Cenacle, I have always made sure to help the faithful to experience the presence of our Mother, by reading right at the beginning, at least one message that confirmed this beautiful truth.
On June 28, 1990, during the Spiritual Exercises at St. Marino, the Blessed Mother told us: “You are here so that you yourselves may undergo the sweet and powerful experience of the cenacle, where I make myself particularly present among you, in order that you may become apostles of cenacles in every part of the world.”
On February 11, 1978, She said: “Never forget the recitation of the Holy Rosary, this prayer which I hold so dear and which I came down from heaven to ask of you to recite it well, by passing the beads of the Rosary through my fingers, as I joined in the prayer of my little daughter to whom I appeared in the grotto of Masssabielle. When you recite the Rosary, you invite me to pray with you, and each time, I truly join in your prayer. And so you are children who pray together with your heavenly Mother.”
Here we are at the heart of these two Meditations: we are, in fact, speaking of a presence most insistently promised by our Mother. Now we quote one final message: “When two or more priests of my Movement are gathered together on my account, I also am in the midst of them. I manifest myself to them and through them, especially when these priests are joined in prayer. In the Cenacle, there were the Apostles with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In these cenacles, I want the priests of my Movement to be gathered with me, the Mother Jesus, and Mother most special for them.
Why do I want them to come together in cenacles with me? To remain with me, so that I myself can nourish and form them and cause them to grow in perfect consecration to me, so that they may truly be my priests alone, and in them and through them, I may once again manifest myself”. (Jan 17,’74)
The Blessed Mother offers her chalice of comfort through us.
I said that through Don Stefano Gobbi Our Lady’s comfort was made present in my priestly life. We read in the message of April 4, 1996: “ My Immaculate Heart becomes today the chalice of comfort, which I want to offer to the Church and to all my children in the moments of their greatest suffering. I want to make of you today, my beloved sons my chalice of comfort ”. In another message She says: “ Never so much as at the present time have I wanted to assist and save, through you, all my poor sinful children…Today, through you, I want to encourage and console my children. At the time of the great tempest, the Mother wants to gather her children in her arms, that they may be consoled. Together, we will live through the agonizing hours of purification; together we will pray, suffer and trust in the mercy of the Father. ”
(Feb. 2, 1982)
In another message, She tells us: “T he Church today has need to feel itself loved by me. Humanity today has need to feel itself loved by me. My poor sinful and wandering children have need today of feeling themselves loved by me. I want to love through you. I want to help humanity, the Church and all my children through you who are called to enter into the mystery of my Immaculate Heart. For this, I am bringing about an ever deeper union between my motherly Heart and your hearts, my beloved priests. ” (June 30 1982) On June 28, 1990, She tells us: “ Take into your priestly arms this poor ailing humanity and bring it to the maternal clinic of my Immaculate Heart, that it may be healed by your heavenly Mother ”.
I would like to quote a testimony of the Cardinal Angelo Comastri regarding Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “One day, during a trip with Mother Theresa of Calcutta, I was a witness to this enchanting episode. A Patrolman with a distraught face came to me and said. Father, I do not know what is happening to me. It seems that God is looking at me through the eyes of that woman. And pointed at Mother Theresa, who, sitting in a corner, was praying. I told mother Theresa these words, and she, with a disarming simplicity, commented: Tell him that God was looking at him for a long time. Before he did not realize. Today instead he made an act of humility. We can become the eyes and the heart of the Blessed Mother.
The look of Mary is the caress of the mother, the caress of God
“ Whoever meets you must be aware of the presence of their heavenly Mother who, through you, again caresses and consoles, who again helps, even materially, who encourages and saves and who embraces and defends.” (Nov.20,1982).
On March 27/ 74 the Blessed Mother said to Don Stefano and therefore to us priests: “You are in me, and when you speak in these gatherings I am truly present in the midst of you. Even though you do not see me, I am not only spiritually, but really and truly present, and I will give you sure signs of this presence of mine. Each one will be aware of it and his life will be gently changed and his soul will be delicately touched with my motherly caress. Therefore, my son, you should not seek anything else; you should not be concerned about anything, but remaining ever in my Immaculate Heart. What joy and comfort you give to your mother, O my son, bring to me all these beloved sons of mine. ” (Mar.27, 1974)
So that others may feel themselves watched over by the Mother or also receive her caress, we must, first live in her Immaculate Heart. I remember, as a seminarian, that I would go by the place where there was a beautiful picture of Our Lady. It was one of those pictures where it seems that the eyes of Our Lady are following you from wherever you look at her. Her look would remain in my heart even when I was going away from there. I remember also that a few years ago, this statue that Don Stefano always brings to the Retreat, would give extraordinary signs from her eyes, of perfume and of colors of the face and of her mantle. In a message she said: “ By the sign I give you in the eyes, I want to show you that your heavenly Mother, never so much as in these times, is watching you with her merciful eyes. She is not far from you; She takes cognizance of you in all the difficulties in which you find yourselves, in the difficult moments you are living through, with all the sufferings which are awaiting you, with the great cross you must carry. In a particular way I look at you, my beloved, objects of my maternal complacency… I look at you, and I illumine you with my own beauty.”
(Jan. 24, 1984)
We must take note that Our Lady, in her messages, does not make a treatise of philosophy or theology to have us understand how the relation between the supernatural world and our world functions. But almost like certain passages from the Bible that we have quoted at the beginning of these two mediations, she speaks as any other mother would speak to her children; but with an enormous difference. She herself explains: “ Also a gift of my Immaculate Heart – O yes, a most particular gift! Is the book containing my messages. Read it, my beloved sons; meditate on it; live it! Have no doubt; I am speaking to you. Through these words I am present in it and manifest myself. When I speak to you, I use your human words, but whereas you speak in virtue of the experience you have from your earthly life, I speak to you in the virtue of the light of paradise. In the heart of my Son Jesus and in the profound mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, a single reality is comprised. In the vision of the divine communion that now unites you, I speak to you always in the vision of eternity, so that for me there is no difference between my children living here in paradise, between those still in purgatory, and those yet walking upon the earth… ” (Jan 28, 1984).
Effective presence in darkness and in trials
The Blessed Mother is also our spiritual teacher: in fact an infinitely greater teacher than all the famous teachers of the spiritual life. She knows that no one can have an advanced life in prayer and a profound communion with God, without ever having suffered much. In fact we cannot be different from Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, who was sent by the Father to offer himself in the holocaust for us. Last year we saw how Our Lady brought the children of Fatima to the highest sanctity and therefore to a great union with God, helping them to endure heroic sufferings. But, for one who is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the darkness will never be so dense, because he will always feel her very close. Saint Bernadette, at the end of her life, speaking of her long suffering, said: ” The Lord has grinded me as you would do with the wheat ” In another occasion she said: “ Suffering is like a caress from God ”.
Already at Fatima, to the question of Lucy, “ Am I going to be left alone?” The Blessed Mother answered: “No daughter, I will never abandon you. ” In the life of those three children, everything was foreseen by Our Lady: for Lucy her mission, for Francisco and Jacinta their sickness-martyrdom. Everything was part of God’s plan. And so it is for us. To the Prophet Jeremiah God said: “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. ” (Jer.1:5)
Even for us, the Most Blessed Virgin has arranged, since our birth, every detail of our life. “…Everything in life has been arranged for you, in every particular, by the providence of God the Father and of your heavenly Mother: the moments of suffering, those of spiritual trial and interior difficulties, the moments of joy and of consolation, the moments of special fervour and of union with me.” (Jan. 28, 1984).
Our Mother not only arranges all the details of our existence, but also I would say, above all, helps us to accomplish our mission: “My task is that of following, as a Mother, throughout the course of history, the lifelong events of all my children.
My Immaculate Heart contains all my virginal and maternal love for you. My Immaculate Heart opens itself to give you assistance, comfort and protection.” (1-1-96).
Whoever knows these messages, must never be depressed, or have fear of persecution, of crosses and least of all, of the future. In another message, the Mother says: “ With immense hope look to me, my little children, so afflicted, wounded and stricken by the impetuous wind of the great tribulation. Come to me, all of you, my little children. Come to me, because you have need of being consoled, encouraged, protected, defended and saved by your heavenly Mother .”
(Dec. 8, 1996).
I do not know how we can ever have any doubts after these so incessant words of our Mother. I like to quote once more a preface of the Mass ‘Mary help of Christians’: You chose the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son, to be the Mother and help of Christians, so that under her protection, we might be fearless in waging the battle of faith, steadfast in holding the teaching of the Apostles, and tranquil in spirit, in the storms of this world, until we reach the joy of your heavenly city. (Mass # 42).
Even when we cry with Jesus on the Cross: Father, why have you abandoned me? Our Mother will stay at the foot of our cross, not as someone who is powerless or incapable to help her child, but as a true Co-redeemer, who associates herself both, with the sacrifice of her Son, and of her children.
In the message of Good Friday, 1989, Our Blessed Mother says: “I am here with the Apostle John who represents all of you beneath the Cross on which my Son Jesus is living out the bloody hours of his atrocious agony… I, through my motherly presence, must today help Him to remain on the Cross, that the Will of the Father be accomplished and that you might be redeemed and saved by Him. Beloved Sons, on this day of Good Friday, permit that I might repeat also to you: Remain with Jesus, on the Cross. Do not give in to the subtle temptations of my adversary, to the facile seductions of the world, to the voices of those who again today repeat to you: “Come down from the Cross!” No! You also like Jesus, must understand the divine plan of your personal priestly offering. ” (23-3-89).
Our presence to and with the Mother
1. Our presence to the Mother
On Holy Saturday 1987, Our Blessed Mother said: “ It is the day when your Mother too has such need of comfort. It is the day when the Mother has need of the love of all her children. ” This loving presence before her, is not only accepted by her, but also greatly desired by her. In almost all the messages given during these annual Spiritual Exercises, our Mother says how She is happy to see us together with her in the Cenacle: “ Beloved sons, how it comforts my sorrowful Heart to see you here, all together for a week of continuous cenacle! I am uniting myself always with your prayer, which you are making with me and by means of me. The time of the eyes raised to Mary is now beginning, as my Pope, John Paul II, has said to you! ” (Aug. 31’88).
We know very well that in these difficult times, through our Consecration to the Blessed Mother, we enter into the secure refuge of Her Immaculate Heart. Following the interpretation that She herself gives on verse 14 Chapter12 of the book of Revelation, I have the courage to conclude, that even we, in some way, today become a small refuge, to the “Woman clothed with the sun”, as she herself tells us in the following message: “ To take flight from this great torrent of water, the ‘wings of a great eagle’ were given to the Woman, and thus she was able to find a place for herself in the desert. ” (Rev. 12:14). What is this desert if not a place which is hidden, without noise, set apart and arid? This place, hidden and silent and made arid by so many struggles and so many wounds, in which the Woman now finds a place for herself, is the soul and heart of my beloved sons and of all who have consecrated themselves to my Immaculate Heart.” (14/6/’80).
All of us, it does not matter how poor we are, actually, precisely because we are little, can always open our hearts to the Mother. In one of Her messages Our Lady complains that She is not wanted in certain houses of her Priests. When I traveled full-time to make Cenacles for the MMP, I noticed that Our Lady was removed not only from many Churches, but, worst, from the life of many Priests.
In these meditations we have spoken on the presence of Our Lady in the Church, in the life of the Priest and in every baptized person. We are free to accept this maternal closeness or even to refuse it. Of course, like God, also Our Lady is always faithful to her promises that She has made over the years. Therefore, She is always there, waiting for us, forgiving us and welcoming us back.
With our Consecration, it is as if we were living in the same house as our Heavenly Mother. Consequently, a little bit at a time we are able to make our own, her way of thinking. We are able to share her thoughts of joy or of apprehension, of preoccupation for her children or even of sorrow. She is, in fact, our Sorrowful Mother. “ How can a child not be moved before its mother who is weeping? How can you, my beloved children, not be moved before your Heavenly Mother who is weeping tears of blood?”… At least you, my beloved ones, remain with me beneath the Cross, together with your brother John, to give comfort and consolation to your sorrowful Mother, pierced once again by the sword of such a vast rejection. And unite your sorrow with mine, to implore once again the miracle of divine mercy upon the world. ”(14-4’95).
When I was in China, in many cities, I heard of miracles about the extraordinary presence of Our Lady. When I was in Shanghai, they gave me a picture of the Blessed Mother who weeps blood. She suffers with her children and for her children. Let us respond with our love.
2. With the Mother, Our Presence to Jesus:
Our Lady associates us with her presence in the Mystery of our Redemption. Every person consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must reach this point: that is, we must learn from Our Mother, her love for Jesus, and therefore for everyone in the world. This concept may be summarized by two lines taken from the message just quoted of Aug. 31-’88: “The eyes raised to Mary: thus you are been enlightened with the virginal light of my prayer. Always recite the Holy Rosary…”
Many people ask us how to pray the holy Rosary: are they supposed to meditate on the words of the different prayers they recite, or on the mysteries? We can answer with the teaching of the last two Popes: they suggest to take Mary as our Teacher, by loving Jesus with her own heart and by accompanying Him together with her, in the various moments of his work of Redemption. In the Encyclical “The Church lives of the Eucharist”, Pope John Paul II tells us that this happens even in the Sacraments: “ Experiencing the memorial of Christ’s death in the Eucharist also means continually receiving this gift. Behold your Mother. It means accepting – like John – the one who is given to us anew as our Mother. It also means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us. Mary is present, with the Church and as the Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. In the Eucharist the Church is completely united to Christ and his sacrifice, and makes her own the spirit of Mary. ”
(#57-58). I think that all the members of the MMP have already reached this spirituality. In other words, the MMP has this Christological spirit par excellence. Our Blessed Mother, through the years has led us along this path.
Benedict XVII, during the World Youth Day in Germany said to the Seminarians: “The young seminarian no longer sees the Church “from the outside”. But rather, as it were, “from the inside”, and he comes to sense that she is his “home”, inasmuch as she is the home of Christ, where “Mary his mother dwells ”. It is Mary who shows him Jesus her Son; she introduces him and in a sense enables him to see and touch Jesus, and to take him into his arms. Mary teaches the seminarian to contemplate Jesus with the eyes of the heart and to make Jesus his very life.
Each moment of seminary life can be an opportunity for a loving experience of the presence of Our Lady, who introduces everyone to an encounter with Christ in the silence of meditation, prayer and fraternity. Mary helps us to meet the Lord above all in the celebration of the Eucharist, when, in the Word and in the consecrated Bread, he becomes our daily spiritual nourishment”. We find these words and the teachings of the Popes spread all over the book: “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”.
We conclude our meditation, quoting one of many Massages, where Our Lady suggests, in a very simple way, how to put into practice the teaching of the Holy Father: “ Together let us look into his eyes, which open to bring upon the world the light of the truth and of divine wisdom. Together let us wipe away his tears, which run down to bring compassion upon every suffering. Together let us clasp his hands, which open themselves to bring the caress of the Father upon human miseries, to bring help to the poor and the little, support to the weak , assurance to the discouraged. Together let us warm his feet which will follow the barren and insecure roads to search out the straying, to find the lost, to give hope to the despairing. Together let us kiss his little Heart, which has begun to beat with love for u s. It is the very Heart of God. It is the Heart of the only-begotten Son of the Father. It is the Heart which beats to renew the heart of every creature. It is the new heart of the world. It is the Merciful Love which comes down from the bosom of the Father, to bring Redemption, salvation and peace to all humanity. ” (24/12/95).