For this month, Fr. Romerico Prieto opted to give way to the Annual Message of Fr. Stefano Gobbi in lieu of his regular monthly message:
Milan, January 1, 2011
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 times that await us with trust and with great hope.
In the face of the events through which we are living, that each day have become more painful and menacing, our safe refuge becomes solely the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the homily that I gave at Fatima on October 25, 2010, during the concelebration that concluded the long journey that I made in Europe for the cenacles of the MMP, I said:
“Here at Fatima, You called me to this work and You entrusted to me the task of going everywhere, to invite all priests to consecrate themselves to your Immaculate Heart. I have accomplished this mission of yours in these years, having made 1,500 flights and many other trips by car and by train. I have gone many times to the five continents, to lead my brother priests to make the consecration to your Immaculate Heart. The majority of them are already in Heaven and many others are still on this earth.
“But this year an extraordinary event occurred. On May 12, here in this Cova da Iria, before You, the Holy Father Benedict XVI consecrated all of the priests of the world to your Immaculate Heart. Therefore with this consecration, it seems as if my task might be finished and that my journey would have come to an end. Maybe yes for one part – the task of leading everyone to the consecration.
“Today, however, we need to begin a new and more important itinerary: that of living our consecration.
“If we live the consecration, our life becomes transformed by your maternal love, and we ourselves become rays of your love which spreads ever more in every part of the world. We become enlightened, sanctified and transformed by Love.”
(Homily of Fr. Stefano Gobbi, October 25, 2010, Fatima)
* * *
In 2010, I was able to take part in regional cenacles in these ten countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.
I went to Europe and America. With 30 flights, I visited 70 cities and presided over 110 cenacles, in which 2 cardinals, 45 bishops, 1500 priests and 350,000 faithful participated.
In Collevalenza [Italy], at the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] held in the form of a continuous cenacle, 1 cardinal, 21 archbishops and bishops and 300 priests from the five continents took part.
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 26 - July 2, 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).
• I invite the priests to bring with them their surplus Mass intentions to be offered as fraternal assistance to those who find themselves in financial difficulty.
• 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
Cell (Mobile): +39 333 6322248
2. REGIONAL CENACLES ABROAD:
Because of my age and my precarious state of health, this year I thought of omitting my trip to South America, after having gone 24 consecutive times in all of Brazil and Latin America.
If my strength permits, I intend to go to Slovenia on June 25, and to Canada, the United States of America (U.S.A.) and Mexico from September 15 - November 15.
I entrust to the National Directors the task of giving me a few days of rest during my very tiring journey.
3. REGIONAL CENACLES IN ITALY:
Firenze-March 22; Collevalenza-March 24; San Gabriele-March 28; Rome-March 30; Pompei-March 31; San Giovanni Rotondo-April 5; Padova-April 12; San Vito-April 14; La Spezia-May 4; Bologna-May 6; Caravaggio-May 13; Capriana-May 28; Loreto-June 9.
4. TO BE TRANSFORMED BY LOVE
g “Jesus is Merciful Love, because He wants to draw all into the burning furnace of his divine love. Allow yourselves to be drawn by Him. Do not resist his calls. Walk with me along the road of his divine love. Beloved sons, you too must make your own the sweet experience of your love for Jesus.”
(To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons (TTP), October 1, 1997, 600g)
Love for Jesus must lead us to live for him, to offer Him every beat of our heart, to let ourselves burn in the ardent fire of his divine charity and, above all, to follow him on the road that He himself was the first to travel.
The road that we must travel to arrive at the perfect imitation of Jesus is traced out with clarity in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order that He can transform us in his own Love.
a) Love in the renouncing of oneself
c “The first stage is that of renunciation and self-denial.
d It is necessary to renounce oneself, as well as all disordered attachments, passions, immoderate desires, ambitions. Even in your apostolic labors, you are never to seek success and human approval. Rather have a love for being hidden, for an apostolate carried out in silence, in humility, and the daily and faithful fulfillment of your duties.
e In this way you will mortify egoism which constitutes your greatest peril, the easiest and most customary of the snares by which my Adversary attempts to impede your journey.”
(TTP, March 5, 1983, 260c-e)
The most efficacious means of combating and of conquering one’s own pride is putting ourselves in an attitude of simplicity and of humility, following the way of evangelical littleness. This is why, at the beginning of this interior itinerary, living the experience of spiritual childhood becomes indispensable.
j “All must travel along this road [of spiritual childhood], even those who are further advanced in age, and who occupy important posts; even those who are learned, formed by years of study and experience; even those who are rich in culture and who have been called to perform tasks of great responsibility.
k Allied with your human growth, which unfolds itself over the years, I am asking you for a spiritual childhood, an interior littleness leading you to robe yourselves in the humility and in the very fragility itself of my Child Jesus.
l I want to see in you the candid hearts of children, knowing nothing of egoism and sin, open to love and to giving, expecting everything from the Heavenly Father so as to be able to give everything.
m I want to see in you the virginal hearts of children, still firmly shut to the snares of deceit and duplicity, opening like flowers to receive the rays of knowledge, truth and wisdom.
n I want to see in you the docile wills of little ones, like fragile clay ready to let themselves be formed with trust and abandonment; wills which must be molded by the good and the true, strengthening themselves by pursuing what is good and what is beautiful.
o This way of spiritual childhood must of necessity be traversed by you, beloved sons, if you wish to live in a perfect manner the consecration to my Immaculate Heart.”
(TTP, February 2, 1983, 258 j-o)
b) Love in the carrying of one’s own Cross
A priest who is formed by Mary to the renunciation and denial of himself, and to make himself little and humble of heart – he too is called to suffer always more.
The moment of suffering is precious and must be welcomed by each one of us with meekness and trust, because it assimilates us to Jesus Priest and Victim. It makes us collaborators in his work of salvation, and it is so fruitful in these times of purification.
j “In this [suffering] you are shaped into the likeness of Jesus Crucified.
k This interior crucifixion will take place each day and in every moment of your priestly day…
l …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, 260jkl)
r “Your suffering, my sons, is truly contributing to the purification of the earth.
s If the chastisement comes, it will be only as an ultimate and solemn demand for suffering to bring about the renewal of the world and the salvation of so many poor children of mine.
t But nothing contributes so much to the triumph of my Immaculate Heart as a priestly heart which suffers. In you, my sons, it is Jesus who continues his mission of redemption. Only his blood can wash away all the evil, all the hatred and all the sin of the world.
u And so, now that the moment of the purification is here, you will be called upon to suffer more and more.” (TTP, September 15, 1975, 81 r-u)
But we must not wait for great and extraordinary sufferings.
The Blessed Mother asks us for small and hidden sufferings, those that come to us from carrying well the cross of one’s own ministry and of living every moment of the day in the spirit of immolation.
k “In moments of prayer, which is so greatly necessary and which must be the center of your life; in that most precious moment of the celebration of Holy Mass, when with Jesus you too are interiorly immolated for the life of the world; in your fidelity to the priestly duties proper to the ministry of each one; in evangelization, in catechizing, in teaching, in the apostolate of charity; with each person you meet, especially the very poor, the lonely and forsaken, those who feel themselves despised and rejected by all.
l In your priestly apostolate never seek to please yourselves or to procure some personal advantage; give yourselves always with all the inexhaustible force of love, and do not let ingratitude stop you or misunderstandings stand in your way; indifference should not make you hesitate, nor should lack of cooperation cause you to become weary.”
(TTP, March 5, 1983, 260 k-l)
c) Love in following Jesus to Calvary
If we know how to suffer and to offer in this way in our life, then we travel with Jesus toward the Calvary of our perfect immolation.
o “Therefore, you, my beloved, who are his priests, you too are called to follow him each day toward the consummation of your paschal immolation for the salvation of all.”
(TTP, March 5, 1983, 260 o)
Here too, we are speaking, above all, of an interior immolation.
p “Today the voices of condemnation are for you the shouts of those who reject and challenge you. Sins, committed but then justified and no longer atoned for, are for you the painful strokes of the scourge. The errors, which threaten to estrange great numbers of souls from the faith, are for you the crown of thorns. Today, to remain faithful to your calling is to follow the stern path that leads to Calvary.”
(TTP, March 5, 1983, 260p)
But we must be ready to offer our very life because, in the conclusive times of the great tribulation, the supreme testimony of martyrdom could be asked of us.
k “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.
l 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.
m 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, 224klm)
To be able to succeed in loving Jesus with her own ardor, to imitate Him with her own fidelity, and to bring Him back to life by passing through the way of her own maternal love is the goal to which we are led by our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In this way, Jesus can live in each one of us, and the strength of his divine Love will consume us in a perfect union. Thus the mystery of our being identified in Him is realized.
My body in your Body; my blood in your Blood; my soul in your Soul; my spirit in your Spirit; my heart in your Heart; my mind in your Mind; my intelligence in your Intelligence; my will in your Will; my liberty in your Liberty.
For each one of us the same experience of St. Paul is fulfilled: “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain” (Philippians 1:21), because I go to remain with Him always.
In this way, our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary leads us to be enlightened, sanctified and transformed by Jesus-Love.
Because in actuality, what is the triumph of the Immaculate Heart if not the immaculate triumph of the Heart; if not the immaculate triumph of Love? Thus one can understand how the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary coincides with the triumph of the Merciful Love of Jesus.
With the triumph of Merciful Love, the Divine Mercy comes down as a dew to revive the aridity of this humanity that will be renewed in love and by love and, in this way, it will know a new civilization: the civilization of love. In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is we who become the artisans of this new civilization.
In the profound darkness that pervades the world and obscures the Church, we look to you, Our Lady of Fatima, Woman clothed with the Sun, to look with You toward Heaven, and in this way to understand that the great day of the Lord is close, [and] that we must prepare ourselves for the return of Jesus in glory, the radiant Sun of Justice, who will form the new heavens and the new earth.
Come Lord Jesus!
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 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,
Fr. Stefano Gobbi