“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (JN 19: 26-27)
We are His disciples too. What would happen if we did the same thing—“take her into our homes”? She takes care of us, she is Our Mother, and she can turn our homes into an environment of life and love. She knows how to do it. What we can do is to invite her.
“Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary; without dying you won the martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“‘Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.’ He replied, ‘Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.’” (LK 11: 27-28)
There is no doubt that the Creator of the fourth commandment didn’t reject his Mother; it emphasizes rather, that attentiveness to God’s word is more important than biological relationships. How close is Our Lady’s relationship with Jesus if the blessing is both in grace (“blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it”) and in nature (“blessed the womb and breasts”).
“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’” (ACTS 17: 25-28)
What a beautiful message for everyone we have received—“we too are His offspring.” He protects our identity, our relationships and our lives. “Indeed he is not far from any one of us.”
Our Lady who appears in so many places from Guadalupe to Lourdes brings the same message: we are beloved children of God. He loves us unconditionally. Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. She asked the children to pray the Rosary and to fast for sinners, “so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him.” This is also our role today. We can share with others our love for Him and all the signs of love we have received, “so the people might seek God.”
“I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (Gospel Acclamation)
Our Lady in Gietrzwałd spoke to the girls in the local version of the language that they understood best. It is the idea behind the whole New Evangelization. That was also the guiding idea while creating the Love and Life Programs: to tell married couples about the most important issues in a language comprehensible to them and to inspire rather than to instruct.
The Mass with the renewal of Marriage Vows is always an exceptional experience–this time it was celebrated in the atmosphere of the Passion of Christ, which gave us a fresh perspective. The testimonies session after the Program, in which so many young couples took part, demonstrated how important it is to be systematic in fostering your relationship, and that there are always areas for improvement–independent of the years passed since your wedding day. We witnessed the tears of emotion, emotional farewells and plans for the participation in Program 2 next year.
I would like to thank you, dear Friends, for your prayer and support, of which I received so many signs.
With a blessing for a fruitful Holy Week
I am so happy when the Programs are held under the special care of Our Lady. The story behind Our Lady of Gietrzwald reminds me of that connected with Our Lady of Guadalupe where the Mother of God spoke to St. Juan Diego in nahuatl–the native language of the Indians. Warmia and Gietrzwald were conquered by Prussia, and Bismarck decided that the “two eternal enemies of German-protestant Prussia,” the Roman Catholic Church and the Poles, were to be eliminated. Our Lady revealed herself in the time of “Kulturkampf” when both the pastoral activities of the Church and the Polish language were banned; every evening between June 27 and September 16, 1887, during the rosary prayers, she spoke in the local dialect of Polish. Since she appeared to two little girls (and blessed a spring whose waters later healed the ill), the shrine is called “the Polish Lourdes,” and the same as at Lourdes and Fatima, she encouraged people to pray the rosary.
St. John Paul II, when he announced the Year of the Rosary, also recommended this prayer as a rescue for families and the way to experience peace in the world.
We’re happy to take this frequently repeated invitation of Our Lady to heart, and we surround the Program and the families who are taking part in it with a devoted rosary prayer. The Holy Family wants to invite every family to their home in Nazareth, so that the couples may renew the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage.
We’re happy to host so many young couples here. It is a great joy that the young people are willing to nurture their marriages and devote a significant amount of time to discover again their depth.
Thank you for all the signs of prayer support for us.
Praying with my heart for you at Our Lady’s place
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (LK 1: 26-27)
Today we celebrate solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Our Lady became the mother of Our Lord, and after nine months,she would deliver Him on the 25th of December. On this day so many Catholics start a spiritual adoption. Sisters who take care of the “window of life” confirm that many children are born close to Christmas. It looks like this spiritual adoption saves lives.
The initiative of God the Father was: His angel, His care, and His Son, and all of this depends on the answer of Our Lady. God, who created us, gave us free will to invite us to be a part of the Redemption not just receivers of His grace.
“The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us; and we saw his glory.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mk 3: 34-35)
The first act of our adoption by God. The next one would be on the cross: “this is your mother, this is your son,” when we were adopted into Our Lord’s family by His Mother. But the first one was done here, when He mentioned all the people: “whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” The will of God is very simple: to love one another.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” (Lk 1: 38)
Our Lady’s answer to God’s invitation is “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” God always comes to us with invitations to come closer to Him, to receive a better life. Even if the invitation is difficult to understand or will change our lives dramatically, it is always better for us. Our Lady will help us to exceed our little plans to accept God’s proposal for a life full of God’s will.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people, and he will dwell among you,” (Zeh 2: 14-15)
God is close to each of us, never hidden or separated, always “coming to dwell among” us, “his people.” In these days, we are celebrating especially His presence among us in Our Lady, Mother expecting, Mother of Advent, Hers and ours.
And today we are celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas. Today Her message comes to us again: She is our Mother, she listens and responds to all our needs; no one is alone, no one is rejected; we are loved beyond understanding, we are the place of His dwelling.
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a women clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11: 28)
These words have a very special meaning here, in Mexico. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 with a very similar message: I will “give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen [there] to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows.” We say like father, like son. We can say: like Son, like Mother.
“Behold, the Lord comes to save his people; blessed are those prepared to meet him.” (Gospel Acclamation)