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  ADMA :  ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS    
         ADMAonLine        |          Monthly Message:   March 24th, 2013       

Mary Guides Us to Sanctity

We are living very particular moments in the life of the Church: the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of a new pontiff Francis; the luminous pontificate of Pope Ratzinger and the coming of his Successor whom their Eminences, the Cardinals united in Conclave and guided by the Holy Spirit, chose after having examined together the signs of the times - both of the Church and of the world. The appeal that His Holiness Benedict XVI made to all the faithful asking them to accompany him in this time of his handing over the Petrine Ministry into the hands of the Lord, and also of awaiting trustingly for the coming of the new Pontiff, is of significance to our Association which contemplates and venerates the Help of Christians as Mother of the Church, the Helper of the Apostles, and, especially, of Peter.
During this time of trial, when sin spreads like a river overflowing its banks devastating everything, Mary is present in our midst warning us not to allow ourselves to be imprisoned by earthly things and guiding us to the things of God. A war between God and Satan, good and evil, wages inside each one of our hearts. With the power of prayer, the grace of the Sacraments, and the daily exercise of virtue, our life will become a path to God. Mary invites us by means of this path of prayer to have the strength of God to decide once and for all for the Lord and His Will, leaving behind the swamp of sin and of mediocrity which paralyzes us and puts out our spiritual flame. We must overcome a Christian life that is made of giving in, of comprises, and which makes us waste our energy and our time. Instead, we must live, through the grace of God, the truth of our baptismal promises which we will renew on Holy Saturday: I renounce sin and evil and I believe in God, my only good. What a great gift and challenge for us in this Year of Faith!
We also wish to show our joy and our awe at seeing how the Help of Christians is renewing our Association through the raising up and strengthening of the Youth ADMA groups - a sign of hope and of a future. It is wonderful to see how these groups are born of different realities and stories and how the young themselves wish to see them grow and mature - a sign of hope for a Church which is reawakening in the souls of the young.
We would like to invite our entire Association to participate in a special prayer campaign for the Salesian Congregation's General Chapter XXVII. It will begin in February 2014. We wish to invite all the groups to have Masses said and to pray the rosary for this intention. This is a very special event which touches the entire Salesian Family.

Mr. Lucca Tullio, President
Don Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB, Spiritual Animator


Formation Itinerary 2012-2013: The Grace of Faith

7. Faith and Works (Don Roberto Carelli)

It is rather commonly said that faith grows through sharing it; but certainly this is a great truth: "the distinctive attitude of the Christian is precisely that of love founded on faith and molded by it." (Benedict XVI's "Message for Lent" 2013) "No faith exists which is purely a private sentiment, which does not give witness and service in words and works: the Christian is called not only to keep the faith and live of it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it." (Catechism of the Catholic Church - CCC - 1816)
Believing is not only a matter of participating in God's Wisdom, nor is it merely a matter of trusting in Him, but it is living and loving with His very Love. In fact, God does not limit Himself just to revealing His love, but also wants to draw us to Him in His love; and, because of this, faith "becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man's life: his thoughts and affections, mentality, and conduct." (Porta fidei - PF - 6)
The first Christians were aware of this and witnessed to it even in the greetings of the letters which they exchanged. In his greeting to the Thessalonians, Paul reminds them of "the work of faith, and hardship, and charity, and enduring hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thess. 1:3) In another letter He thanks God for their "faith which is increasing greatly, and because the charity of each of you toward one another is abundant." (II Thess. 1:3) In his Lenten message, Benedict XVI marvelously highlighted the operative dimension of faith, as well as the faith root of works: "Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it (cf. I Tim. 2:4); charity is "walking" in the truth (cf. Eph. 4:15). Through faith we enter into friendship with the Lord; through charity this friendship is lived and cultivated. (cf. Jn. 15:14ff) Faith causes us to embrace the commandment of our Lord and Master; charity gives us the happiness of putting it into practice (cf. Jn. 13:13-17)." (Benedict XVI)
Faith is so inseparable from the other Theological virtues that they are almost identified with each other: they are the dimensions of divine life in us; God works miracles in those who believe in Him. In fact, it is said that the road between the saying and the doing is a long one; while in faith, "it is God who works in you, both so as to choose, and so as to act." (Phil. 2:12) Faith lights a flame of hope and gives birth to works of charity. In short, he who believes, hopes and loves: he is grateful for his very roots, looks with trust to the future, and acts with courage in the present. The unity of the Theological virtues is so great that Christian hope is not reduced to a simple waiting, but is a "sure" waiting: "today you will be with Me in Paradise," Jesus assures the good thief. (Lk. 23: 43) Further, faith, before generating works, is itself the first work: "this is the work of God, to believe in Him whom He has sent." (Jn. 6:29) In any case, "if faith is not accompanied by hope and love, it does not fully unite the faithful to Christ." (CCC, 1814)
The relationship between faith and works has always been an object of great debate - from Paul's times to those of Luther. To the Jews, who were looking for salvation through observance of the Law, he had to clarify that it was not the Law that saves us, but faith; no longer the ancient rites, but love poured out in the Sacraments: "in Jesus Christ it is neither circumcision nor lack of circumcision that matters, but faith, which acts through charity." (Gal. 5:6) Similarly, when faced with Luther's objections, who was accusing the Church of obscuring Christ's merits by holding that good works are meritorious, the Council of Trent had to clarify that, indeed, it is Christ's grace which gains us our salvation, and that man is justified not only by works but also by faith. Nonetheless, works cannot be disqualified for they represent the fruit of grace and express the authenticity of the faith. For this reason, St. James, recalling Abraham's faith and sacrifice, peremptorily affirms: "do you see that man is justified on the basis of his works and not only on the basis of his faith?" (James 2:24)
The invitations not to separate faith and love, believing and acting, are more than abundant in the Scriptures. Jesus is very clear: you can't know if you don't do. It is hypocritical to say and
not to do; it does no good to call on the Lord and refuse His Will; it is not upright to listen to the Word without putting it into practice: "no one who says: Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven except those who do the will of My Father who is in Heaven." (Mt. 7:21) Unequivocally, St. James also says: "a faith which does not have works is unsustainable because faith gives rise to works and works manifest the faith" (James 2:14-18); therefore, if faith "doesn't have works, it is in itself dead" (James 2:17) and if the works don't have faith, they are ineffectual. The letter to the Hebrews confirms this where it says that faith without works is dead, and works without faith are "dead works" (Heb. 6:1) - so much so that the merits of Christ's Blood are found precisely in having "cleansed our conscience from dead works, in order to serve the living God." (9:14) Perhaps, though, the Bible passage that best captures the correlation between faith and works - as Benedict XVI maintains - is found in the Letter to the Ephesians: on the one hand it recalls that "by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves, for it is a gift of God.
And this is not of works, so that no one may boast." On the other hand, he immediately adds that "For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has prepared and in which we should walk." (Eph. 2: 8-10)
The relationships between faith and charity have been wonderfully deepened by the medieval theologians and are continually taken up again by the Magisterium. Above all, it is useful to keep in mind that "human virtues are rooted in the theological ones," inasmuch that they orient human faculties to their supernatural destination. In fact, of what use is a virtuous life if it does not render us similar to God? What do we gain from fortitude and temperance if there is no love? and what would prudence and a sense of justice be if they were an obstacle to that greater justice which is accomplished in mercy? (CCC 1812-1813) The invitations of Benedict XVI in his first encyclical not to reduce charity to solidarity can be understood well in this sense: "for the Church, charity is not a type of activity of social assistance... charity is always more than simple activity… Christians ought not be inspired by the ideologies of bettering the world, but allow themselves to be guided by faith which works through love." (Deus Caritas Est - DC - 25; 34; 33)
In the second place, the Church teaches that there exists a dynamic relationship between faith and charity: it is true that "charity is the form of faith" (St. Thomas Aquinas), but it is also true that "Christian love finds its foundation and form in faith." (Benedict XVI) Most succinctly, we can speak of the "priority of faith and primacy of charity" (Benedict XVI), in the sense that love is the profound content of faith, but it is faith that tells us in truth what love is: "faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt" (PF 14). "Just as faith is manifested in love; so love without faith would be simple philanthropy." (Instrumentum Laboris, Synod on the New Evangelization, 123) In this positive way, Benedict XVI summarizes the faith-love relationship in his Lenten message with a splendid analogy to the Baptism-Eucharist relationship: "Baptism (sacramentum fidei) precedes the Eucharist (sacramentum caritatis), but is ordered to it, the Eucharist being the fullness of the Christian journey. In a similar way, faith precedes charity, but faith is genuine only if crowned by charity." These clarifications are very important for Christian life, because if "it would be too one-sided to place a strong emphasis on the priority and decisiveness of faith and to undervalue and almost despise concrete works of charity, reducing them to a vague humanitarianism," on the other hand, "it is equally unhelpful to overstate the primacy of charity and the activity it generates, as if works could take the place of faith. The two always come together: works of charity are those moved and guided by faith, and the greatest work of charity is to announce the Gospel to bring us to faith.
How can we live this penitential time of Lent well, in view of the joy of Easter?
Taking a good look, this unity of faith and works upon which we have meditated is founded on God's very being, the perfect unity of love and of life. Even God's life, like ours, is made of work and rest, action and contemplation. This is revealed to us in the 6 days of Creation and the 7th day of rest; Jesus also gives us His example: He spends the night in prayer and the day travelling among the villages to accomplish the works of the Kingdom; we learn it in the words of the Lord, which say: "My Father works and so do I," while He says to the Apostles: "remain in Me"; we find this in the meek and humble, and yet, at the same time, courageous and resolute heart of Jesus, who boldly faces His Passion and remains recollected in prayer even on the Cross; it finds confirmation in the life of the Saints, who work great deeds with an imperturbable peace. From these we can take two suggestions for our life which will help us "transform the silver of our human affections into the gold of Divine charity": 1. Let us seek to work in the presence of the Lord, with diligence, without hesitation and anxiety, conserving in your heart that peace which is born of faith; 2. Let us work in such a way that every one of our actions be an act of charity, which flows from and witnesses to the love of God, seeking to encounter Jesus in others and others in Jesus.

Thank you, Pope Benedict XVI: a Pope Totally of Mary

"Let us follow and imitate Mary" and "all our life will become a Magnificat." Love for the Mother of God is one of the distinctive traits of the spiritual side of Benedict XVI's Pontificate. He is a Marian Pope, just like his beloved predecessor, John Paul II. His is a filial love that was born long ago. If, in fact, the Marian shrine at Czestochowa had a great role to play in the life and pontificate of Karol Wojtyla, one can say just so did the Shrine of Altötting in the Marian heart of Bavaria have for Joseph Ratzinger. In every audience, discourse, or homily, Benedict XVI entrusted the faithful to the Virgin Mary. She, with her humility, repeated on a thousand occasions, showed us the way to reach Her Son's Heart. It is Mary and Her Baby, with their "vulnerable strength," as he pointed out, who conquered the "din of worldly powers": "The glory of God is not expressed in the triumph and power of a king, it does not shine out in a famous city or a sumptuous palace, but makes its abode in a virgin's womb and is revealed in the poverty of a child. In our lives too, the almightiness of God acts with the force - often in silence - of truth and love." (General Audience, December 19, 2012) Benedict XVI was a pilgrim to the principal Marian shrines of the world: from the one most familiar to him at Altötting to the Shrines of Lourdes, Fatima, Czestochowa, and also of Mariazell in Austria and Aparecida in Brazil. He prayed to the Blessed Virgin at Pompeii and Loreto. The Pope brought out that these shrines are not "cathedrals in the desert," but oases of the spirit inserted in their land as an example of "a Civilization of love." Mary, he reminded us, is the first to have welcomed Christ and also to have lived in a special relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Church: "At Pentecost, the Virgin Mother appears again as the spouse of the Spirit, having a universal motherhood with respect to all those who are born from God through faith in Christ. This is why Mary is for all generations the image and model of the Church, who together with the Holy Spirit journeys through time invoking Christ's glorious return: 'Come, Lord Jesus.'" (close of the Month of Mary, May 31, 2009) Benedict XVI invites all the faithful, especially the young, to pray to Mary, in particular in the rosary which, he underlines, "has us retrace the events of Our Lord's life in the company of the Blessed Virgin, keeping them, as she did, in our heart." He reminded us that Mary's "yes" destroyed evil. This is why even in times of trial in life which make us waver, we can find in Her a sure support: "Dear friends, what an immense joy to have Mary Immaculate as our Mother! Every time we experience our frailty and the promptings of evil, we may turn to her and our hearts receive light and comfort." (Angelus, December 8, 2009). To the Virgin Mary we entrust the Year of Faith, on this 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II.
It is significant, also, that his final pastoral visit in Italy was to a Marian shrine - that of Loreto. Tradition tells us that in the heart of this place is found the house in which Mary lived in Nazareth. But Pope Benedict spoke to us of another house, one that goes well beyond the stones of an edifice. Mary is this 'living house' who welcomed Jesus: "where God dwells, all are 'at home'; wherever Christ dwells, his brothers and sisters are no longer strangers. Mary, who is the Mother of Christ, is also our mother, and she open to us the door to her home, she helps us enter into the will of her Son." (Visit to Loreto, October 4, 2012)

We are sons, until our final day.

We offer you this striking reflection of one of our members

In our hurry to fill up with words - almost a will to exorcise the history that is being made right before our eyes - the void which was announced by Benedict XVI, I heard and saw so many stupidities and superficialities, that, unfortunately are the hallmark of our times. And, in my confusion of heart, I made the only gesture which never fails: I took refuge in Mary, as he, too, did, first to decide what to do, and then how to do it, and when.
He who loves the Word certainly has pondered them one by one a hundred times before taking in hand those 20 lines. He said that the Church, that these times, that the throne of Peter needed a man's vigor - not just the strength of the Holy Spirit - this Church, not another; these times, not those of the past. Peter was full of vigor, a man full of life, who stood out among the Twelve even before Jesus' choosing him. Peter established the Church with the vigor of a man and with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Benedict XVI wishes a new Peter for us.
His choice of day, the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, certainly was not by chance. A man can be 86 years old and still seek the help and comfort of his Mother. We are sons, right until our last day. Planning his announcement on the occasion of the canonization of the Martyrs of Otranto and his taking leave on the commemoration of the Martyrs of Alessandria certainly could not have been by chance. We are speaking of a besieged Christianity, unarmed and massacred, which, however, never stops believing in Jesus, to the point of renouncing their lives.
I would like to be able to meet Pope Benedict XVI and embrace him, with gentleness but also with warmth, as an older brother: to thank him for his witness, with his scholarship and his life; to tell him that I love him and that I want to commit myself to become a better man; that his presence is and will always be important in my life - that I am not afraid! (Cristian)



NEWS

FIRST INDICATIONS FOR ADMA YOUTH
More and more requests for guidelines and pointers to begin or to carry forward youth groups of ADMA are coming in. First of all, we wish to recognize in the experiences that are already under way the hand of Mary Help of Christians who desires these groups. Therefore, we invite all to:
Reflect upon and write down the experience you have lived and which are underway, pointing out to us the experiences and the formative paths in the different parts of the world. Youth ADMA takes shape as a proposal of Christian life for the young, lived in the spirit of Don Bosco in the practice of the Preventive System. In particular, we are re-elaborating John Paul II's apostolic exhortation, Novo Millennio Ineunte, giving it a Salesian and youth re-reading.

Some qualifying elements:
" The two columns: "Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Mary, the Immaculate Help of Christians"
" The relationship between the Youth Pastoral and the Family Pastoral.
" The presentation and appreciation of the witnesses of youthful holiness.
" The commitment of service and animation.

HISTORICAL DOCUMENT OF ADMA IN HUNGARY
In the exhibit on display near Budapest castle on the occasion of the centenary of the arrival of the Salesians in Hungarian territory, the certificate of establishment and of aggregation of ADMA of Borsodnadasd (Diocese of Agrien) to the Primary ADMA Group of Torino, bearing the date of February 24, 1941, and signed by the then Rector Major, Don Pietro Ricaldone, also stands out. The Salesian house in the territory of Borsodnadasd- Lemézgyar was opened on December 8, 1929. It rose next to a large metallurgical mill which employed about 4000 workers. In 1934, the owner of the industrial complex had a church built, which then became an autonomous parish. With the help of the faithful, an ample cultural center was also built. The sons of Don Bosco began a vast work of catechesis, culture, and social consciousness among the young and the workers' families living there. May this discovery also be a sign of a renewed spring for the devotion to Mary Help of Christians, and also of our Association in the Hungarian land.

PRIMARY GROUP OF TORINO - A COURSE ON THE EDUCATION OF THE HEART FOR YOUNG TEENS, AGES 13 TO 16
More than 100 teens participated in this first encounter led by Don Roberto Carelli - a sign of the very present need among the boys and girls of today.

"God never gets tired of forgiving, he is a father. what is the problem? The problem is that we get tired; we don't want to but we get tired of asking for forgiveness. He never gets tired of forgiving us but many times we get tired of asking for forgiveness. He never gets tired, he is a loving father who has mercy for us all. And also we learn to be merciful with everybody. Let's invoke the intercession of Mary, who had in her arms the mercy of God made man " (Pope Francis).
We wish all members and groups ADMA in the world could witness, with the help of Mary Help of Christians, the renewing force of the Easter of our Lord Jesus! (ADMA Torino-Valdocco).

We entrust to the merciful love of Jesus Giovanni Cameroni, father of don Pierluigi Cameroni, our Spiritual Animator, called by the Lord on March 15. We offer prayers and celebrations of suffrage, through the intercession of Mary help of Christians and Saint Joseph.


                 
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     ADMA HEADQUARTERS, Torino-Valdocco:
     ADMA | Santuario Maria Ausiliatrice | Via Maria Ausiliatrice 32 | 10152 TORINO-VALDOCCO | ITALIA
    Tel.: 0039-011-5224216 / Fax.: 0039-011-52224213 |
E-mail: adma.torino@tiscali.it 
                                  THE President OF ADMA:
                                  Signor LUCCA TULLIO (until 2014) |E-mail:  Tullio.Lucca@gmail.com   
     Spiritual Animator of ADMA:
     Don Pier Luigi CAMERONI / Istituto Salesiano | Via S. G. Bosco 1 - 25075 NAVE - BS
    TEL. 030-2530262 - FAX 030-2533190 / CELL. 3401452349 |
E-mail: pcameroni@salesiani.it
                                Websites: www.donbosco-torino.it/eng/adma
                                                                www.admadonbosco.org



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