Milan: January 1, 2009
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
TO THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL DIRECTORS OF THE M.M.P. :
At the beginning of this new year, I am close to you with my brotherly affection and with my prayer, so that together we can look at the time that awaits us with trust and with great hope.
In the face of such painful and difficult events through which we are living, the reason for our hope is found in the
Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“I am the Mother of Hope.
This is the theological virtue which must be especially lived in the bloody hours of the purification.
In how many ways my Adversary seeks to bring you to discouragement, in order to make you harmless and to weaken the power of my victorious cohort! (…)
If hatred still causes blood to flow in your streets, if sin chills the souls and hearts of many…if rebellion against God becomes greater every day, your trust in the mercy of your Heavenly Father must be all the greater, and you must look to me as the sign of your hope.” (To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons (TTP), January 1, 1983, 257 c-f)
“I like to invoke Mary as the star of hope (Spe Salvi, 50). On the paths of our lives, so often shrouded in darkness, she is a beacon of hope who enlightens us and gives direction to our journey.”
(Pope Benedict XVI, Lourdes, September 14,2008,
Homily on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary
of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Hope can blossom like a flower only in the spiritual garden of our love and of our suffering.
* * *
In 2008, I was able to take part in regional cenacles in these eleven countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Chile, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
I went to three continents: America, Europe and Africa. With 40 flights, I visited 52 cities and presided over 90 cenacles, in which 2 cardinals, 47 bishops, 1700 priests and 980,000 faithful participated.
In Collevalenza [Italy], at the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] held in the form of a continuous cenacle, 1 cardinal, 17 archbishops and bishops and about 300 priests from the five continents took part.
I share with you the sad news that Fr. Michael Gaughran has left us to go to the house of the Heavenly Father. Fr. Michael had helped me by conducting cenacles in many nations of Africa, Asia and Oceania. He also went many times to Russia. With the meditations that he gave in Collevalenza [at the International Retreats], he helped us to understand in greater depth the spirit of the Marian Movement of Priests. From Heaven, he surely will be close to all of us.
I feel myself spiritually close to those who are carrying the cross of moral or physical sufferings, and ask the Blessed Mother to help and console them with her maternal tenderness.
I entrust, to the Will of the Lord and to the plan of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the fulfillment of the schedule of cenacles that I have prepared for this year.
1. THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
In Collevalenza, from June 28 – July 4, at the Shrine of Merciful Love, there will take place the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] for the bishops and priests of the Marian Movement of Priests from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
I inform you of the following:
- There will be room for all in the same house. Few laypersons will be allowed to attend (only those who have a position of responsibility in the MMP).
- As always, address all inquiries and reservation requests to:P. Florio Quercia S.J.
Via Carlo Marx, 1
Centro San Francesco de Geronimo
74023 Grottaglie (TA)
Fax: +39 099 5635710
Tel. +39 333 6322248 (Personal)
Email: email@example.comPriests from the United States may contact:Rev. Albert G. Roux, National Director
Tel. (207) 398-3375
2. REGIONAL CENACLES ABROAD:
Even if the burden of my age is increasing, and my state of health is precarious, I trust in our Blessed Mother’s help to fulfill the obligations that I have undertaken.
I propose to go from January 16 to April 1 to the following countries: United States (Miami – Jan. 18), Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile; on June 27 to Slovenia; and from October 1-17 to Korea.
3. REGIONAL CENACLES IN ITALY:
Caravaggio – May 13; Ferrara – May 15; Florence – May 19; Collevalenza – May 21; San Gabriel – May 26; Rome – May 28; Pompei – May 29; Bari – June 1; Loreto – June 11; San Vito – June 16; Padua – June 18; Genoa – June 20; Sardinia -September 5-20.
4. MYSTERY OF LOVE AND OF SUFFERING:
A priest, called by Mary to become little and humble of heart, is also called to suffer always more. The moment of suffering is precious and must be accepted by each one of us with meekness and faith, because it conforms us to Jesus Priest and Victim. It makes us collaborate in his work of salvation, and it is so fruitful in these times of purification.
“In this [suffering] you are shaped into the likeness of Jesus Crucified [and] this interior crucifixion will take place each day and in every moment of your priestly day (…) It is above all in your priestly suffering that souls can be begotten by you to the life of grace and to salvation.” (TTP, March 5, 1983, 260 j-l)
5. SHARE IN THE PASSION OF JESUS
a) The agony of Jesus
“Live with me today the passion of my Son Jesus. Each day this painful passion is repeated. Enter, with me, into the depths of his divine Heart to savor all the bitterness of his chalice: the abandonment by his own, the treason of Judas, all the sin of the world which crushes Him under an impossible and deathly weight. As He is crushed in this olive-press, the drops of blood escape, trickling down his body and falling to irrigate the earth.” (TTP, April 17, 1981, 224 a-b)
b) The agony of today
“How heavily, even today, weighs on his Heart the ease with which so many turn their backs on Him, to follow the ideas of the world, or the ways of those who still reject and deny Him!
How many of his disciples daily sleep the slumber of indifference, of interior mediocrity, of doubt, of lack of faith!”
(TTP, April 17, 1981, 224 c-d)
c) The condemnation of Jesus
“Again the blow which the servant dealt to his face is repeated, and that other still more painful one, the blow which his soul receives from the High Priest, as he accuses and condemns Him: ‘You have heard the blasphemy! Since He proclaimed Himself the Son of God, He deserves death.’ (cf. Mt 26:65-66)”
(TTP, April 17, 1981, 224e)
d) The condemnation of today
“There is another secret Sanhedrin which, every day, judges and condemns Him, often made up of those who, among his people, are invested with power.
The attempt to recognize Him only as man continues: the tendency on the part of many to deny his divinity, to reduce his divine words to a purely human interpretation, to explain all the miracles in natural terms and even to deny the historical fact of his resurrection.
It is this trial which is still going on; it is the same ignoble and unjust condemnation which is being repeated.”
(TTP, April 17, 1981, 224 f-h)
e) The immolation of Jesus
“See Him before Pilate who, (…)out of cowardice, subjects Him to cruel violence: the horrible scourging, which lacerates his innocent flesh and transforms his body into a single bloody wound, the crown of thorns, the condemnation and the impossible climb to Calvary… Then the scaffold of the Cross, the agony and his death, with his Mother nearby, called to die with Him in spirit!” (TTP, April 17, 1981, 224i)
f) The immolation of today
“…live with me in silence, in prayer and in suffering these precious hours of the passion being repeated in the Church, which is his Mystical Body; it is being renewed in each one of you, called to be the ministers of his love and of his sorrow.
Together with me, suffer the judgment of the world, the rejection, the persecution and the condemnation on the part of a society which continues to deny its God and to walk in the darkness of perversion, of hatred and of immorality.
Together with me, carry your heavy cross each day. Pour out, with love, your blood. Allow yourselves to be placed on the altar of his very scaffold.
Meek as lambs, allow your hands and your feet to be also transfixed with nails: love, forgive, suffer and offer yourselves to the Father, with love, for the salvation of all.”
(TTP, April 17, 1981, 224 j-m)
6. SHARE IN THE PASSION OF THE CHURCH
The Passion is renewed in the Church which is the mystical body of Jesus.
“Participate too in the sufferings of the Church as she lives through the hour of her greatest abandonment. How ailing she is, this my most beloved Daughter!
In your hearts carry the sufferings of Jesus, and my sufferings as well, for the agonizing condition in which the Church now finds herself in every part of the world. (…) loss of faith is becoming a deluge…[and] the apostasy has now been spread into every part of a Church betrayed even by some of her bishops, abandoned by many of her priests, deserted by so very many of her children, and violated by my Adversary.”
(TTP, August 26, 1983, 270 h-j)
Today, the only help that we can give to the Church is that of love: of a faithful and merciful love, a love that above all must be concretized in a filial and impassioned presence, to share in her suffering and to carry with her [the Church] her great Cross.
“I will bring you to love the Church very much. Today the Church is going through times of great suffering because she is loved less and less by her own children.
Many would like to renovate her and purify her solely by criticism and by violent attacks on her institution. Nothing is ever renewed or purified without love!”
(TTP, November 9, 1975, 86 p-q)
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this love of ours transforms itself into the most intense suffering.
“This is how I find the Church today, the Mystical Body of Jesus Crucified. She too is climbing Calvary, carrying a heavy cross; she too is experiencing the hour of such abandonment and of betrayal; her body, also, is being tormented by the scourges of the sins which strike at her and by sacrileges which open up deep wounds in her…
This is how I find my Daughter today. I am close to her in the painful hour of her Good Friday. With John, who is living again in each of my beloved sons consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, together let us be willing to help her in this, her agony.
Let us kiss her hands, again transfixed; let us cover with love her body, again stripped bare; let us pour balm upon her numerous wounds; let us surround with prayer and hope the bloody moments of her crucifixion.”
(TTP, April 9, 1982, 244g, i-j)
With our life we want to offer to the Church a help for her complete renewal, beginning with us with humility and trust, following the road traced out for us by the Blessed Mother.
7. SHARE IN THE PASSION OF HUMANITY
Humanity also is living the hour of its sorrowful passion, because it is being lacerated by unbridled egoism, by hatred that is burning like fire, by violence that is exploding, by immorality that is spreading, by drugs that seduce, by wars that are expanding, by unhappiness that is increasing, “[by] evil, which so easily takes root in the hearts of men today and, with the incommensurable effects, already weighs upon our contemporary existence and seems to close the way toward the future.” (Pope John-Paul II, “Prayers and Devotions”, edited by Bishop Peter Canisius Johannes van Lierde, O.S.A.)
“Feel in your hearts the deep wounds caused me by the millions of infants slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers; by sin which overabounds and seduces souls; by immorality which, like a terrible cancer, corrupts consciences; by the disorientation of the youthful victims of vice, drugs and violence; by the breakdown of so many households.”
(TTP, August 26, 1983, 270g)
We must share in the great suffering of the world, making it our own, feeling all its weight and placing it in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, because it is offered by her to the Lord, as an immense cry that brings down upon humanity the dew of Divine Mercy.
“With the Heart of Jesus, have love for all your brothers and my children … How many have been wounded by sin, made into slaves of evil, victims of hate! How many there are who are poor, who are exploited, weak, suffering… All the sufferings of my children are like a desperate cry for help reaching up to me, and deeply wounding my motherly Heart.”
(TTP, September 3, 1983, 271d)
8. THE PRESENCE OF THE MOTHER
Our task is to bring everywhere the tenderness of Mary, that is placed like balm on all these open and bleeding wounds, and the presence of the Mother in the midst of such a boundless desolation. For this reason the Blessed Mother calls us to become ourselves instruments of the Merciful Love of Jesus and the expression of her maternal presence, of her love, of her help, of her comfort, of her protection and of her defense. It is for this reason alone that, with such insistence, she asks us for the consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
“I have come down from heaven to manifest myself, through you, along all the roadways of the world: along those traversed by the poor and the desperate, along those grievous roads of the sinners and the wanderers, along those of the sick, the agonizing and the dying.” (TTP, May 13, 1981, 225h)
“You yourselves be, with me, the refuge of sinners, of the poor, the sick, the desperate, the little, the abandoned.”
(TTP, August 15, 1981, 228g)
“I am with you on all the by-ways of the world.
With maternal mercy I help those of my little ones who find themselves in greater need; I save the perishing, restore health to the sick, console the afflicted, encourage the down-hearted, raise up those who have fallen, find those who have lost the way.” (TTP, September 3, 1983, 271 e-f)
“The time has come when I wish to live in you and to manifest myself to all through you.
I want to love with your heart, to gaze with your eyes, to console and encourage with your lips, to assist with your hands, to walk with your feet, to follow your bloodied footprints and to suffer with your crucified body.”
(TTP, July 1, 1981, 227 q-r)
And so, in these times of passion for Jesus, for the Church and for humanity, the presence of the Mother becomes for all “a sign of sure hope and consolation.” (Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, Pope Paul VI – Nov. 21, 1964, #68)
We are called today to be the glory of Mary because, every day, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is accomplished in our lives.
I entrust to you, who are the directors, the task of sending this letter to the members of the Marian Movement of Priests, that it may be read and well meditated upon by them.
To all of you, I offer my affectionate greeting along with my priestly blessing.
I await your response, informing me of your news.
In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Your little brother,
Don Stefano Gobbi
Movimento Sacerdotale Mariano – Via Terruggia, 14 – 20162 Milano
Official English translation
U.S. National Headquarters