M E D I T A T I O N
When the carnival and masquerades have already entertained, disposed and made us laugh, and maybe showed us how to be happy and only entertain ourselves and it isn't real enjoyment, I would regret for us to have to be educated by what follows after than and what is closely connected with that. The truth is that today all carnival events are no longer connected, as they were at one time, with the religious events of the church calendar. But we Christians don't have to be ashamed of either the carnival or of Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season are demanding things. Demanding because they turn our attention back onto our own life to find out what our own condition is. There's too much around us of what turns our attention to others, mainly to their bad condition.
A Spanish proverb says: "Nobody is bothered by their own breath". But are others? Does it bother others? It frequently does, as we well know.
We readily consider ourselves more or less without fault, but the facts know how to say something completely different. Namely, we are not fault free neither when we maintain it ourselves nor when others suggest that to us. The opinion of others is by all means important, we are not allowed to forget that.
Ash Wednesday is just the beginning of a season. But let's not forget that is the beginning and that, as such, it serves as a test. A test of what we know or don't know about ourselves and thereby of what we are willing to undertake. A Lenten program has to clearly lead us to Easter.
The deceased Croatian theologian Josip Turcinovic used the General Intercessions of the First Sunday of Lent in order briefly to condense the directives that lead through Lent to Easter. In the prayer of the First Sunday of Lent the Church prays for God to help it get to know the mystery of Christ in order to then be able to carry it out into life. "That means it prays to come to know, to realize, to experience all of what happened with Jesus Christ. In his own person, among men, and for all of history. So that we might be able to direct our lives in that flow and on that way and in that direction." (Josip Turcinovic)
The task of Lent is, according to that, to direct our live in such a way that we get to know Jesus Christ. What happened with him and what that means for us. A few Christians will say they would not like to get to know that. And a few of us will also not want to ask, in what way? About the way "how" not much new can be said. A life that is directed by prayer and conversion, fasting and concern for others, a just disposition for what is good and the rejection of what weakens our spiritual life, is already a well tested recipe. Our Lady, for her part, wholeheartedly recommends it to us. Once more: don't delay with the beginning!
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
STATEMENT OF THE HOLY FATHER ABOUT MEDJUGORJE TO BISHOP ROBERT CAVALLER
This written testimony was sent to us October 9, 1997 by Mr. Marcello Pierucci, Via Castiglione 154, Bologna, Italy.
"During the Eucharistic Congress that was held recently in Bologna, I hosted Archbishop Msgr. Maria Rizzi, former apostolic nuncio in Bulgaria, and now stationed in Rome where he works on the cause for beatification of servants of God. During a supper in the presence of my wife Anna and Msgr. Novello Pedezzini, Archbishop Rizzi narrated the following:
'I found myself in the private chapel of the Holy Father at morning mass. At the end of Holy Mass the Holy Father approached us and personally greeted all those present. Near me was Msgr. Robert Cavallero from the Shrine of Our Lady of Chiavari. When the Pope got close to us with the intention of greeting us, Msgr Cavallero said: Holy Father I am just now coming from Medjugorje.
The Pope said; Monsignor, do you believe?
The Monsignor answered: Yes, Holy Father!
After that Bishop Cavallero asked the Pope: And You, Holy Father, do You believe?
Then after that question the Pope stopped for a moment in silence and then said at intervals: I believe. . .I believe. . .I believe. . .'
The next evening at my request Archbishop Rizzi repeated this testimony in the presence of Msgr Novello Pedezzini and the bishop of Prato, Msgr. Gastone Simoni."
I confirm the authenticity of this testimony with my own signature.
Medjugorje, October 9, 1997 Marcello Pierucci [signature]
TESTIMONY OF FATHER MICHAEL O'CARROLL
Fr. Michael O'Carroll is of Irish nationality. He is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. For many years he is a professor and well known Mariologist. He is the author of several books. Theotokos (Mother of God) is one of most well known books, and the book about Medjugorje Medjugorje, Facts, Documents and Theology. Is Medjugorje Approved?
Last year he came again with a large group of pilgrims from Ireland. This is what he told us then about Medjugorje:
"Medjugorje is a great gift to the Church of today. It is constantly growing and spreading. It is wonderful to see the zeal for prayer and the strong faith of the people, and the multitude of penitents and confessors. Our Lady's intercession and power is evident everywhere here. The Pope also acknowledges that. When, for example, Bishop Kim of South Korea told the Pope how grateful he was to him for the liberation of Eastern Europe from communism, the Pope answered: 'No thanks to me, but rather to Our Lady of Fatima and of Medjugorje.' I personally always experience a renewal of my faith and spirit of prayer in Medjugorje." To the question as to how he as a theologian interprets so much opposition in the Church to this kind of event, he answered: 'In the Church an apostasy is taking place. And I personally, like some other Mariologists also, see in Medjugorje the continuation of Fatima. With us in Ireland through Medjugorje many people have again found faith, prayer, the sacraments, especially confession and Holy mass. Our Lady leads us to Jesus. She teaches us how to be open to the Holy Spirit. Knowing all these facts, so obvious, it is also a real mystery to me why the official church does not see and acknowledge that. In the meantime, that should not be a problem for us. Let us continue to respond to the calls of Mary, Queen of Peace, and all the rest will take place at the time when Providence will it to be. Take care of Medjugorje. It is hope for everyone!"
PRAYER OF MOTHERS
The movement of mothers for peace Bedem Ljubavi (Wall of Love) organizes prayer for all the war dead, and those forcefully detained and charged in the Haag. The prayer will take place on nine last Saturdays of the month. The first prayer meeting will be February 28, 1998 in St. James Church.
The program is as follows:
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira ( Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: +387-88-651-444.
Last Modified 02/25/98