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Father Stegfano Aragno - chatechisms  | 

Saturday, July 14, 2007

                                  Morning Introduction of Mother Elvira
   What a joy it is to sing, dance, smile, love and embrace life.  Each one of us has this awesome gift of life that brings us together.  It is God’s gift to us. We feel good with one another because we all want to know that we have been thought of, loved, and wanted by our God.
Do not come to me and say, "I was made by my mother and my father".  Who made your mother and your father?  We must have the courage to believe what we see, who we are, because if not, we are always on the outskirts of life.
  How important it is to take our life into consideration because it is the first thing that we see, touch, experiment, love or hate.  We watched with our own eyes in wonder, joy and marvel the rebirth of your children.  When we saw them become more kindhearted than us, we said:  "This life does not come from the flesh, but from love and from God; and we have mistreated them sometimes!" And so we must work on reconciling ourselves with our lives, we want to ask for this day to be a special memory for the Christian people, a memorial for Mary, the Mother of Jesus, our Mother.

   The first time we walked up this hill, the first thing we found was the Madonna.  We invited Her and brought her home with us:  She was our first guest; she was loved and bonded together with us.  This is why you are all here today because we invited Mary into our home.  When there is difficulty in a family it is because the Madonna has not yet been embraced, like John did at the foot of the cross. 

   If we take a moment to reflect we will see that the Mother of God, our Mother, has an endless power.  This small, simple creation of God whom we call Mary is our Mother and without her, there is nothing.  We try to accomplish the impossible but find ourselves with empty hands.  The proposition that our community has made from the beginning, that we still make and that we will continue to make is that our first moment of the day is for Her, in Her, and with Her through the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  Let us invite Mary into our homes.  Look how humble God is: he passes through her. Even He passes through her! he was incarnated through her.  If you invoke Mary’s intercession, your miracle has been done!  We have seen these and we are contemplating them.  And so we do not speak to you with words but with our life experience.  We are not here to teach you something but to reveal to you what is Life.

   Our story is a delightful one because it is concrete, it is real, it is planted firmly in the ground, it is a mad love that derives from sweat, fidelity, sacrifice, a love of joy and dance. Come close to Mary.   She approaches each one of us gently, like a breeze…. Today she tells us that it is the day of God’s infinite mercy.  She tells our hearts that which we must say during our confession.  She tells us not to be afraid of the things we have never said; otherwise they remain a shadow on our hearts that does not allow us to live joyfully, it does not allow us to see the sun and splendor of life.

   There are many priests ready to welcome us and our poverty, our sins, our wounds…. If we do not put them in the fire, our lives become altered and false. Why does this cause us to be false?  Because we have to put on a mask!  Why can't we admit to our sins, our abuses, our confrontations, our violence… we try to hide our sins; making ourselves out to be something that we are not.  The moment has arrived; let us go to the confessionals with simplicity.

   I want to give you some advice and I’ll give it even to the priests: make it so that the penitents can speak to Jesus before speaking to you because we go so we may speak with Him.  I often recommend to the men and women in community to close their eyes during their confession:  we are talking to Jesus, our Savior and his Mother is close by; we do not come to confession to chit chat or have an interview.

   If the priest would also close his eyes, the person that comes to confess will be freer to express their sins that are deep down.  Look inside you, Jesus wants to heal it all and tear out the roots.  Confession is something extraordinary and great; it is liberation.  Jesus told Peter to forgive ALWAYS.  Penance is born from within.  When you take your sin and look at it face to face, it cannot scare you anymore although you feel remorse:  I took advantage of that situation, I was selfish, or I preferred money.  To be penitent we have to get to know who we are on the inside.

   Confession is not something from this world; it comes from above, from God.  He has become total mercy for us.  This morning we must move towards the Mercy of God and repent.  You must say to yourself: “. . . was I even for one moment sorry for having lied to and cheated on my wife?” and maybe you come home with a long face looking for pity when instead you are carrying a heavy weight inside. We must remember all of the moments of darkness that we have brought among ourselves for our selfishness, are interests, our passions, our pleasure and for power.  There are times when we have even stepped on our brothers.  All of this is evil, walls, chains that tie us down and now the moment of liberation has come, finally you can open your arms, laugh and joke in truth, without putting on a mask.  We are always trying to be the "center of attention" because the others don’t respect you but in reality it is because you don’t respect yourself!  Because you do not love yourself, you don’t value yourself.  This is our trash that we need to clean up and get rid of.  You’ll see that one of the greatest things in the world is to got to confession and start off with the little things.

   It is important to look into the eyes when we talk because dialogue starts from within and not from the mouth.  To go deeper inside of us we have to look at one another in the eyes.
Life is beautiful when we get to know it!   Think about all of the colors, the sunlight, the tenderness of life and every so often a tear, but they are tears that we shed with joy in our hearts and with a smile on our face.  No matter what we are living we can always continue to smile and live life in a new way because there is not one day that passes the same as another.  The older we become the more wrinkles we get which are the windows that allow the sun to enter our homes.

   We must become like children; it is the children who will enter into the Kingdom, that Kingdom in which you will enter today.  Today is the Kingdom, today we can enter into that infinite space of God's endless embrace.  God wanted to be seen and so He made it that Mary, through the Holy Spirit, became pregnant.  Jesus came to be, just like any other child, in the uterus of His mother. He was born in Bethlehem and remained with his parents.  Jesus had a family, worked and was obedient.  Then the moment came when he grew up and told his mother that it was time for him to leave home.  Think about all of the youth that have to tell there mother it is time to leave home and the mother doesn't let them leave. 

   Jesus had to leave his home, he was not afraid to leave the Madonna alone.   It was time, he was a man. If your children had been raised with an honest upbringing, learning and living values such as comprehension, forgiveness, faith, why should you be afraid?  They will be the light that brings peace wherever they go.

   Let’s get back to a powerful and extraordinary moment which is the absolution of our sins.  We do not speak just with words.  Understand that we do not want to show off or even preach.  We say these things first off to ourselves.   We want the youth to see this.  The youth of today do not listen anymore: you can give them a good talk but their thoughts are elsewhere.  They hear you but they do not listen, they do not consider you, because the things you say you have not put into practice.   When there is incoherence it is humiliating for those that listen.  This is also true for children!  When a child has five or six years there is no need to preach because they need to be educated through the powerful voice of your actions and your choices.

   Let us live this moment to its fullest!  Know that we have these things within us.  We are not here to teach anything to anybody, but we want to demonstrate life and you have come for this, because what we say, we live.

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