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: ASSOCIATION OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
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Monthly Message : 24th february 2016
Mary exhorts us to return to God and to his
We live in a situation of atheism, relativism, and paganism. Mary awakens
us and reminds us that without prayer we have no future, we cannot live,
because prayer is the link between heaven and earth. The man of today
is wrong because he puts himself in place of God. For this reason Our
Lady calls us to humility of heart, asking us to return to God, confessing
that without God we are nothing and that God is our future, our present
and our past. We cannot choose for or against God and often we want
to put ourselves in God's place. In our society we see many extreme
situations, anti-life and anti-family. People use wrongly the freedom
that God has given them to trample upon God's commandments.
The Lenten journey is a journey that invites us to conversion and to
listen to the Word, as we practise merciful love. Conversion is a process
that requires humility of heart, recognizing that we are sinners, and
not remaining hardened in pride. Today Satan attacks in particular the
family, young people and consecrated persons. Today we are missing the
joy of living and the joy of transmitting life. We ask for the gift
of conversion: that we can be new men and women, and that the triumph
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary may take place in our hearts and in
our lives. We look to the future with confidence because Our Lady is
with us, because she does not abandon us. She urges us to pray that
what is done in heaven may be done also on earth. We want to be hope
and joy to those around us who so often are depressed, and see no future.
As ADMA members we are called to be sowers and builders of hope.
Conversion means welcoming the words of Jesus and his love, because
the words of Jesus and his love are the only light and hope in the darkness
of the present time. With a pure and humble heart we restore life to
the words of Jesus. We live his word, we spread it, and we make sure
that everyone can hear it. The words of Jesus restore life to those
who listen. The words of Jesus bring love and hope. Above all, we live
the new commandment of love: l
ove one another as I have loved you. Let us love each other in his name
and in his memory. The Church progresses and grows thanks to those who
hear the words of Jesus, thanks to those who love, thanks to those who
suffer in silence and in the hope of ultimate redemption. So let the
words of Jesus and his love be the first and last thought of our day:
let us do a little meditation each morning and a brief examination of
conscience every evening.
Let us go forward together, guided by the Holy Spirit and under the
protection of the Help of Christians, in our journey towards Easter!
Tullio, President / Fr Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Spiritual Animator
Mary and like Mary. Rigenerated in his Mercy
Linda Pocher FMA
6. IN HIS MERCY GOD TESTS OUR HEART
My God, why have you forsaken me?
"The mercy of God" - says Pope Francis - "is his loving
concern for each one of us. He feels responsible; that is, he desires
our wellbeing and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful."(MV
9) The pages of the Bible are filled with this fundamental truth of
our faith, which the Pope never tires of proclaiming. To the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, who felt abandoned by God as they suffered in exile, He
responds through the prophet: "Can a woman forget her sucking child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even if these
forget, yet I will never forget you. (Is 49.15)
Yet, despite the continued reassurance that the Word of God offers us
of the faithfulness of the Father, and the closeness of Jesus in moments
of pain, and the power of the Spirit that can even restore the dead
to life (Ez 37.1-14), when our lives are touched by suffering, abandonment
and incomprehension, we too ask ourselves: if God is really good and
merciful, why does he allow all this? This question resounds, filled
with anguish, from one chapter to the next in Scripture. It is found
on the lips of the prophets and in the wisdom writings, and recurs frequently
in the book of Psalms (Ps 21.2; 41.4; 87.6). We find it even on the
lips of Jesus on the cross, when before dying he cries out: "My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk 15, 34). How is it
possible, therefore, to hold together these two realities: the continued
promise of fidelity on the part of God and man's continued experience
of being abandoned?
Let us look closely at the experience of Jesus. Certainly his agony
on the cross was the most terrible moment of his earthly life: a mystery
of love and pain so great that we will never fully understand it, not
even in Heaven! However, if in all humility we let ourselves be guided
by the Spirit and the Scriptures, we can get a sense of the fundamental
principles by which Jesus accepted his suffering and death, so that
these principles can become the key principles of our lives. The first
principle is given to us by John: the moment when Jesus was abandoned
and dying on the cross was - according to John's gospel - the highpoint
of the "manifestation of the glory" of the Trinity, that is,
of the merciful love capable of saving, healing and setting free. St
Paul adds that, of course, we need eyes of faith to see this "glory":
the cross, in fact, is "a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness
to Gentiles", but for those who believe it is "the power of
God and the wisdom of God "(1 Cor 1,22-25). The fact is that, without
the abandonment on the cross, there could be no resurrection nor outpouring
of the Spirit. If the heart of the Son had not been ripped open by the
spear (Jn 19:34), his riches could not have been poured out upon us.
But that's not all: the second principle we find in Matthew, Mark and
Luke, when they tell us that the ministry of Jesus opens with a terrible
test: forty days of solitude and hunger in the desert, during which
the Son of God submits his heart to temptation (Lk 4,1-13). Faced with
the misleading proposals of the devil, he demonstrates his full confidence
in the Father and his determination to be faithful to him unto death.
Importantly, it is the Holy Spirit who "leads" Jesus to the
trial in the desert. Again later, still guided by the Spirit, Jesus
will live all his public life as an unstoppable journey to Jerusalem,
the place of suffering and of the total gift of himself. On this journey
to the cross, his disciples will also be involved, whether they like
it or not. At the foot of the cross they will be put to the test and
will be shown up as a bunch of opportunists and cowards, the ones first
in need of forgiveness and redemption. Only when they had reached the
very depths of their poverty, could they be born again, by the Spirit,
and become authentic imitators of the Master.
Suffering, loneliness and abandonment, do not seem to be "mishaps"
for Jesus, and they are an important part of the Christian experience.
When I think back to the times of suffering and trial in my life: how
have I dealt with them? Have they left me angry, or doubting God's fidelity
Searching for you anxiously
The trial of suffering is so necessary that even Mary - the Immaculate
one who does not need to be purified! - was led by Jesus along this
path. In fact, she was the first to learn to treasure the experience
of suffering and abandonment by God. We can see her pondering deeply
on the episode of the finding in the Temple.
The family of Nazareth went every year to Jerusalem to celebrate the
Passover. When they were going back home, Jesus remained in the Temple,
"but his parents did not know it" (Lk 2:43). We can imagine
that up until then he had been a meek and obedient child, not a daredevil!
For this reason, probably, his parents did not feel the need to keep
a close eye on him. And for this very reason, they must have been scared
to death when they realized they had "lost" him.
Rene Laurentin stresses the fact that the evangelist Luke "expresses
the anguish of Mary with a very strong word, one that he uses elsewhere
to designate the sufferings of hell (Lk 16.24 to 25)." For what
is hell, if not the experience of having "lost" communion
with God, in the full knowledge that this has happened through one's
own fault? Certainly, during those three long days of searching, his
parents must have feared the worst for the boy, who had been entrusted
to them directly from God, and they must have felt crushed by the weight
of such a responsibility. The fact is that here, for the first time,
the prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:35) was fulfilled. The surprise is that
the first time the "sword" pierced the soul of Mary, it was
brandished by her Son. "Why have you done this to us?" This
was the troubled question that burst forth from the heart of the Mother,
before she discovered that her son was not lost, but had deliberately
decided not to follow his parents. In his reply, Jesus uses for the
first time, one of the more disconcerting strategies of his teaching.
He picks up a word used in the question, and repeats it in his reply
with a completely different meaning, a spiritual meaning. "Your
father," Mary said, talking about Joseph, his adoptive father.
"My Father," replies Jesus, without any explanation, but referring
to his Heavenly Father. Moreover, Jesus seems to contradict himself
because he says he must be in his Father's house, in other words, he
must obey God, but then returns to Nazareth, where he remains subject
to his earthly mother and adoptive father. In fact, we must understand
here that the youthful Jesus was making a prophetic gesture: the anticipation
of his death in obedience to the Father that will be accomplished thirty
years later in the same city and at the same feast. Even then his mother
will have to go through three days of anguish and death, before she
can get back her risen Son.
Mary and Joseph, we are told, "did not understand" the sign.
Of course they didn't, since it is only in the light of the resurrection
that the meaning of suffering freely embraced for love is revealed.
But in this sign they began to have a first taste and a very dark foreshadowing
of abandonment and misunderstanding. In the face of future trials, which
will be ever bigger and greater, Mary demonstrated through her docility
and her demeanour that she had learned the lesson: everything that the
Son does or that happens to him is part of the loving plan of the Father,
who is not a capricious God. The Father knows what is good for us, the
Son trusts and so did Mary. There is no fear, nor loss of hope, even
in the face of appearances to the contrary, because really "all
things work together for good for those who love God" (Rom 8:28).
Let us take the time to meditate on the passage of Luke 2.41-50, asking
Mary for permission to enter into the secret of her heart, to learn
from her how to live with faith in time of trial.
Prepared for temptation
Mary learns quickly, because in her there are no obstacles to grace,
even when it comes in the form of trial. This does not mean less suffering.
On the contrary: the more the heart is free, the more sensitive the
person becomes. The difference lies in the fact that she does not hold
back, as we often do, but she allows herself to be carried by the Spirit
and the Son, which can make her suffering more painful and very fruitful
right from the beginning. In our case, if we learn to be docile, the
first fruit of the trial is that it allows us to measure ourselves,
to become aware of our poverty and to deliver our lives completely into
God's hands. In the trial, in fact, we experience the remoteness of
God and, in that solitude we realize that we can do nothing without
Him. This painful discovery cleanses us from pride and relieves us from
conceit and finally allows God to remove from our hearts whatever prevents
us from enjoying his love for us to the full. The trial of suffering
and abandonment becomes an experience of God's mercy. Even in this way,
he takes care of us, nourishing our growth in faith, hope and love.
"Son," we read in the Book of Sirach, "if you come to
serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation" (Sir 2,1). Because
the trial of suffering and abandonment is so important in our growth,
the enemy of our salvation lies in wait, to take advantage of our weakness
and prevent us from reaping the benefits that God prepares for us through
it. The weapon used by the enemy is temptation: that is, an alternative
proposal that looks easier or more attractive than what we know is God's
will for us. With his proposals the enemy intends to weaken our faith,
hope and charity, and lead us to break our communion with God voluntarily.
The first temptation we must be on guard against is to think that God
has really forgotten about us, or that pain is a proof of his absence
or indifference or ill-will. On the contrary, we can be sure that when
we experience being forsaken by God, it means that He is asking us to
take a step towards Him, that he is preparing a greater good for us,
but we have to "conquer" it by collaborating with his grace.
The second temptation is to think that the situation in which we find
ourselves is impossible to overcome and totally beyond our forces. Against
this kind of thinking it is important to remember that, despite appearances
to the contrary, God never leaves us without the necessary and sufficient
grace to stand firm in the time of trial. The Holy Spirit that we have
received in Baptism does not abandon us! The third temptation is to
seek compensation neglecting one's duty (in the family, at work or in
prayer) to look for easy pleasures to deaden the pain. For example:
food, shopping, success at all costs, inappropriate emotional or sexual
relationships, etc. In the face of these temptations it is necessary
on the one hand to be patient with oneself, and on the other hand to
try to anchor oneself firmly to the rock of prayer and the exact fulfilment
of duty. At the time, it can be heart-breaking, but it brings great
serenity and joy. Obviously, relying on an experienced guide with humility
and openness is essential, if you do not want to "waste" the
occasion of the trial.
Let us ask ourselves in prayer: what are the temptations to which I
feel more exposed? In what kind of compensatory escape do I tend to
fall in times of difficulty?
ROME - SPIRITUALITY DAYS OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY 2016
The Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family were held from 14 to 17
January at the Salesianum in Rome. These days are a traditional event
that provide a time of communion, reflection, sharing and family for
about 380 participants. They represented about 20 of the 30 groups of
the Salesian Family. For ADMA, in addition to the President Tullio Lucca
and Fr Pierluigi, there were about thirty members from different countries
(Italy, Spain, Brazil, Portugal ...) who came in answer to the call
to reflect on the theme of the Strenna of the Rector Major: With Jesus,
we journey together in an adventure of the Spirit!
On the first day there was a reflection on the meaning of being pilgrims
on their way and the charm of adventure, given by Fr Francesco Di Natale,
SDB, Professor of Pastoral Theology. He presented the question from
the anthropological, biblical, theological and ecclesiological point
of view. On the second day, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández
Artime, shared with us the message of the Strenna for 2016. "With
Jesus" recalls how the pilgrimage of every Christian always starts
from an initiative of the Lord; "We journey together" highlights
the community and ecclesial dimensions of the journey; "The adventure
of the Spirit" makes it clear that the inner journey and spirituality,
far from being an escape from the world, become for the Salesian Family
an urge to respond to the profound aspirations of the young: the need
for life, openness, joy , freedom, a future, a more just and fraternal
world, development for all peoples and the protection of nature.
Sister Maria Ko, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, and a teacher
of Scripture, gave an analysis of Mary as an icon of the pilgrim Church,
guided by the Spirit. She began with the question, "How can all
this happen?", and ended with the response "let it be done
to me according to your word." Fr Bruno Ferrero, SDB, presented
the figure of Don Bosco as a modern life coach.
Next was a panel discussion on three figures of Salesian holiness. Professor
Elizabeth Casadei, postulator of the cause of beatification of Blessed
Alberto Marvelli, recounted the splendid testimony of this young man,
who died at the age of only 28. He was a passionate educator and a competent
engineer, deeply in love with God and neighbour, to the point of risking
his life several times. "My life is nothing but an act of love,"
he wrote in his diary.
Professor Maria Ludovica Zanet, collaborator of the Postulator General,
spoke about the life of the Venerable Servant of God, Fr Giuseppe Quadrio
SDB. A highly intelligent young priest, he wrote: "Either a Saint
or nothing. A saint cannot live an ordinary easy-going life giving a
bit to God and keeping something for himself. Now I have to and I definitely
want to become a saint. I do not want to fail in God's plan for me be
Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, Postulator of the Salesian Congregation, spoke
about the wonderful adventure of Mamma Margaret. The Spirit found in
her a soul full of faith and a maternal heart that knew no limits. "God
had first place in all her thoughts." She felt that she was living
in God's presence and she expressed this conviction with her frequent
statement "God sees you." Don Bosco always remembered her
teaching and all he had learned at her school, and this tradition left
its mark on his educational system and his spirituality.
On the Saturday there was a time for sharing testimonies of inner life
and spiritual life. Then Fr Rossano Sala, SDB, led the Community reflection
on the experience of faith which is expressed in the journey.
All the inputs can be downloaded from
We report the final message prepared by the
IN ORDER TO GROW IN THE INTERIOR LIFE OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY
I pledge myself
* to live my vocation with joy and gratitude witnessing to young people
the beauty of following Jesus and being a Christian in today's world
* to assume with responsibility my membership of the Church and the
Salesian Family in my daily life
* to internalize as a way of life the spiritual heritage and the pedagogy
of Don Bosco
We are committed
" to work with the diocese to meet young people on the margins
of society, bearing witness to the love of Christ that fascinated Don
" to network with other social and political bodies to respond
to new forms of poverty, in particular among young people and families
" to propose strong experiences that fully involve young people's
lives in self-giving to God at the service of others in a journey of
" to share strong moments of spirituality and apostolic commitment
in order to grow in the sense of belonging to the Salesian Family
Shared formation and shared projects
The Council of the Salesian Family
The Charter of charismatic Identity of the Salesian Family
TURIN - RETERAT FOR ADMA YOUTH
Mercy. A word, a theme. It was the theme for the three-day retreat for
ADMA Youth earlier this year. Thirty young people, from first year high
school to University, including three young couples, were accompanied
by Fr Roberto Carelli, for a time of sharing at the Monastery of the
Visitation in Pinerolo from 2 to 4 January 2016.
Mercy. A word so common in this holy year desired by the Holy Father.
At the school of the Gospel and of Mary our Help we young people of
ADMA are trying to understand more and more deeply the extraordinary
and wonderful concept of what it really means to have a poor heart full
of love, and to be compassionate, even in the face of our daily mistakes.
Mercy is the presence, providence and superabundance of the love of
God in good times and bad, which produces in us laughter and the confident
ability to entrust to God's mercy all the problems and sufferings that
afflict us. Mercy is the tenderness, compassion and forgiveness of God,
starting with our humble awareness of being small and absolutely sinful.
It is the forgiveness which takes us by the hand and reassures us and
restores in us the dignity of a child, a beloved child even in adversity,
consoled and valued at every moment of our daily lives. Mercy that is,
finally, an active life involved against old and new forms of poverty
of our day. "The measure of love is to love without measure,"
said St. Augustine, and especially when we are more aware of being recipients
of such a gift, this phrase takes on all the greatness of the human
desire to want to be and to pray to be more and more merciful every
day. "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy"
The first formation day for the ADMA Committee of Central Africa was
held on Sunday 10 January 2016 at the Cité des Jeunes in Lubumbashi,
With the intention of spreading devotion to Mary Help of Christians
and to the Blessed Sacrament, the members of the Association of Mary
Help of Christians had two formation sessions focused on these two themes.
The first talk was on the Mystery of the Church: Mary, Mother and Queen.
The second session enabled the participants to get in touch with the
ADMA Rules. These two moments of ongoing formation were led by Fr Trphon
Kalimira, Sister Euphrasia of Kasafya and Fr Albert Kabuge.
Thanks to the organizers, and may the Lord bless all those who are involved
in this project. May the Marian devotion bear fruits of courage and
perseverance in our province and in the families of members of the Salesian
Family of the Congo.
ROME - MEETING with new FMA Provincials
On Thursday 20 January, at the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help
of Christians, on the invitation of Sr Maria Luisa Miranda, Councillor
for the sector of the Salesian Family, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni had the
opportunity to present ADMA to 19 new provincials. Representatives of
the Confederation of Past Pupils of the FMA and of the Salesian Cooperators
were present. The meeting was held in an atmosphere of fraternity and
Salesian joy. The participants got to know each other personally and
were able to share the identity and mission of ADMA in the light of
the indications given by the Rector Major at the last Congress of Mary
Help of Christians and along the lines being followed in recent years.
The meeting was also a concrete response to the wishes of the last General
Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and to the desire
expressed on many occasions by Mother Yvonne, Superior General: "I
have observed how this presence in our lives brings to light potential
and resources that are capable of transforming the world, starting from
families, and to give a new impetus for vocations for the Salesian Family,
especially among the young people. As FMA we feel in great harmony with
the Association of Mary Help of Christians."
COME STELLE NEL CIELO (Like stars in the sky) - SPANISH TRANSLATION
(ANS - Madrid) - A year after the original publication in Italian, Editorial
CCS has published the book "COMO ESTRELLAS EN EL CIELO" a
Spanish translation of the book on the figures of holiness in the Salesian
Family by Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General for the Causes of
Saints of the Salesian Family.
MISSIONARY PRAYER INTENTION - February 2016
For an end to the divisions between the various Christian denominations
in South Asia in order to show to the people the one face of Christ.
SAINT OF THE MONTH - February 2016
St Louis Versiglia (1873-1930), founder of the Salesian work in China
and first Salesian martyr. In his last letter to the Mother Superior
of the Carmelites of Florence, a few weeks before his death, he wrote:
"... let us lift up our hearts, let us forget ourselves more and
speak more of God, of how to serve him better, to console him more,
of the need and the way to gain souls for him. You, Sisters, can more
easily speak to us of the subtleties of the love of Jesus, perhaps we
can speak to you of the misery of so many souls, who live far from God
and the need to bring them to Him. May we feel elevated to love God
more and may you feel driven with greater zeal."
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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
THE President OF ADMA: Signor Tullio LUCCA |E-mail: Tullio.Lucca@gmail.com
Spiritual Animator of ADMA:
Don Pier Luigi CAMERONI /Casa Generalizia
SDB - Via della Pisana 1111 - ROMA
3401452349 | E-mail: email@example.com
Websites: www.donbosco-torino.it |
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