Update No. 01/2012
January 31, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the MMP,
Be apostles of the last times! This is the theme of the Marian Movement of Priests for 2012.
During the recently concluded 2nd MMP Lay Promoters’ Annual Gathering last January 27 - 29, this theme was overwhelmingly confirmed. Relying only on the messages taken at random from the Blue Book, the participants were led to a prayerful discernment through the unfolding of Our Lady’s messages.
Days of Prayer and Discernment (January 27 - 29)
Friday, January 27
At the start of the activity on Friday evening, Message 302 (I am the Beginning of the New Times) was read. Our Lady rightly placed the annual gathering under the care of her divine motherhood: “On this day, which for you marks the beginning of a new year, while all of you in the Church - bishops, priests, religious and faithful - look to me as to your Mother, I say to you if that is what I am and if you honor me as such, I must be loved, listened to, and followed by each one of you” (302 b). Announcing a message of trust and hope, of comfort and consolation, and of salvation and mercy (302 d-m), she urged the participants “to believe in her invitations, to accept her messages and to look for her signs,” asserting herself as “the beginning of the new times, the dawn of the new day” (302 q).
Saturday, January 28
The following day, the participants devoted time to prayer and went into a discernment process. Done in the form of a continuous cenacle, the whole day’s activity was significantly marked by Our Lady’s presence, unveiling a rundown of various facets of apostleship for the last times.
· During the first cenacle in the morning, done while in Eucharistic adoration, Message 270 (Mother of the Purification) was read. Our Lady’s early insinuation on apostleship was simply inspiring: “You are to go again into every part of the world to announce with power my message to all” (270 k). Anticipating the painful purification that her apostles would face, she offered herself as Mother: “These are the terrible and painful times of your purification. Never so much as now must you look to me, in order to be consoled, to be defended, and to be saved. I am the Mother for these, your times. I am Mother for you in the present hour of purification” (270 l-m).
· The second cenacle was done in the later part of the morning, in groups of six with the following messages:
- Group 1: Message 175 (The Woman Clothed with the Sun)
- Group 2: Message 436 (Paradise Will Be Joined to Earth)
- Group 3: Message 330 (Mother of the Eucharist)
- Group 4: Message 502 (The Task of the Guardian Angels)
- Group 5: Message 408 (Bear within Yourselves the Witness of Jesus)
- Group 6: Message 330 (Mother of the Eucharist)
To sum up, we find Our Lady detailing important facts about apostleship. The call for apostles of the last times is part of her maternal plan, now in the decisive phase and, therefore, must be listened to with humility and docility (Message 175). It calls for witnessing in the Lord (Message 408). Given the difficult times of purification, apostasy and tribulation, she guarantees an assured supply of help from the heavenly family of saints (Message 436) and of protection by the guardian angels (Message 502). Above all, Our Lady points to Jesus in the Eucharist as the only One on whom to rely on (Message 330).
· In the afternoon, the third cenacle was done in similar groupings, but reading new set of messages.
- Group 1: Message 248 (The Secret of My Immaculate Heart)
- Group 2: Message 316 (Blessed in the Expectation)
- Group 3: Message 123 (The Angel of Consolation)
- Group 4: Message 105 (Your Difficulties)
- Group 5: Message 594 (The Message of Fatima Is Reaching Its Fulfillment)
- Group 6: Message 282 (My Book)
In synthesis, these messages appear to be the continuation of the previous set. Here, Our Lady indicates that her plan as mentioned earlier is nearing completion (Message 594), with a clear vision for the apostles of the last times. Her entire plan is disclosed in her book (Message 282), with great expectation of the glorious coming of the Lord (Message 316). While awaiting the great trial, apostles of the last times should not be troubled by difficulties (Message 105). She, whose heart has never trembled with so much love as in these times (Message 248), gives her word that she is the Angel of Consolation for all (Message 123).
· The fourth cenacle was held in the evening with the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. The message was taken from Message 591 (I Will Draw Everyone to Myself). Quoting John 12:32, Our Lady defines the essence of being apostles of the last times – living and witnessing to the victimhood of Jesus. It is only in suffering and sacrifice that apostles can draw people to the Lord.
Sunday, January 29
On the last day, the cenacle was done also during the morning Eucharistic adoration. The message was read from chapter 293 (Mother of Faith): “And so, during these days of cenacle, I am causing extra-ordinary graces to shower down from my Immaculate Heart upon you and upon all my consecrated children. I want to obtain for you from the Holy Spirit the gift of your spiritual transformation to lead you to be courageous witnesses today (293 c). Here, Our Lady spells out another dimension of being apostles of the last times – that of being spiritually transformed and of being courageous witnesses of faith, of unity, and of true devotion to her (293 d-l).
Her words at the end are awe-inspiring and very striking : “Courage! Take leave of this cenacle with my motherly blessing. And in times of greater danger, I will be your defense and your protection. Many evils will be spared you because of your response, so generous and fervent, in consecrating yourselves to my Immaculate Heart and in walking with me” (293 n). Considering that it was the final day of the annual gathering, her parting words truly made her presence felt. What a beautiful way to conclude this activity!
Imbued with Our Lady’s inspiration, the participants adopted the MMP theme as our thrust for the year. Through a workshop, they came up with a simple plan of action, which they intend to do as soon as they return to their respective dioceses and parishes. Significant to the plan were (1) the commitment to invite and support priests for the MMP-sponsored clergy retreats, (2) the desire to continue the formation program for laypeople, (3) and the growing interest on the cenacle for the BEC program in the various parishes. Regarding this particular concern on the cenacle, we are preparing a simple module that will train lay promoters to introduce the cenacle in the context of the BEC program of the Church in the Philippines.
The New Set-Up of MMP-Philippines
With our prayers and best wishes, we welcome Msgr. Cesar Solomon, our new MMP National Responsible. Knowing well his commitment to the Movement, I personally recommended him for this task. As I turned over this responsibility, my work continues as priest-volunteer for the MMP.
I appreciate the arrangement made by Mr. Ging Roxas during our meeting with Msgr. Francisco Tantoco – for me to help in the provincial engagements, particularly for the priests’ retreats and the formation of laypeople. I also welcome what Msgr. Tantoco mentioned in his letter about Fr. Patrick Paraiso to assist in administrative concerns. Reading from his letter, a team of priests takes responsibility for the MMP-Philippines: Msgr. Salomon as the National Responsible, Fr. Patrick as the assistant responsible for administrative matters and myself as the assistant responsible for provincial engagements.
Forming a team of priests, each given a specific responsibility, is the perfect set-up for the MMP. After all, this was how Our Lady envisioned it: “I want every priest of my Movement and every priest who has consecrated himself to me to pray, suffer and work in order to bring me back once again into the midst of my faithful . . . because it is with them (the faithful), gathered around my priests, that I want to form my invincible cohort” (Message 25 a, g). So clear was her design for the MMP – a priestly movement, first and foremost. That being the case, a team of priests is simply the best arrangement for us.
Above all, however, what binds us to do the work of the MMP is not the task given in an official capacity, but the consecration we made to Our Lady. Fr. Gobbi indicated this in detail (Preface, xvi – xvii):
· The Marian Movement of Priests is not a laudable association . . . but spirit . . . something impalpable. . . It has its main purpose the living out of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
· The MMP becomes a reality . . . in the measure that one listens to Our Lady and cooperates with the work of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.
· He belongs to the spirit of the Movement who, whether inscribed or not, consecrates himself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, seeking to live accordingly and to carry on his work in obedience to, and for the good of, the Church and who helps the faithful in living their entrustment to Our Lady.
· It is a Movement open to all priests, diocesan or religious, without distinction of age or office . . . The heart of Our Lady is open to all her sons . . . without distinction or partiality. Our Lady addresses herself resolutely to everyone: "Whatever I communicate to you, my son, does not belong to you alone, but it is for all my priest-sons, whom I love with predilection." (Message 15 a)
· The choice of predilection, however, is not one made on the part of Our Lady . . . but on the part of those who voluntarily accept the motherly invitation.
Plainly said, it is our consecration that commits us to carry out the work of the MMP, and such commitment is beyond any official capacity. We should not forget that the third commitment of our consecration is to bring people (priests, religious and the laity) to a renewed devotion to Our Lady.
Concerning the leadership in the Movement, it is also good to review what Our Lady said: “MMP must be my work alone. . . Let there be no leader among you. I myself will be your Leader. You must all be brothers: loving, understanding and helping each other” (Message 5 d, h). Keeping this in mind helps us live the true spirit of the Movement.
A Call for Prayer and Discernment
I acknowledge with regret about trials that MMP-Philippines is going through. But, far from being distracted and confused, let us discern in prayer with Our Lady. “In these times of purification, many are led astray by other words. In fact, my Adversary succeeds in seducing even the good by false manifestations of the supernatural in order to bring about deception and confusion on all sides. He will succeed in working many prodigies which will beguile the minds of even the good.” (Message 173 o)
Ever since, the MMP was not spared from darkness sown by the enemy. “Never before as today has Satan done everything to ruin my project and to destroy my work of love, which I myself am carrying out in these last times of yours. The Adversary is tormenting you in every way, is placing snares upon your path, is sowing misunderstandings and divisions to bring you to discouragement and is seducing you with temptations of all kinds in order to intimidate you and cause you to halt. This is the time when his attacks against my Movement are becoming strong and continuous and when above all he is seeking to sow confusion and division among those whom I have chosen as directors in this work of mine. Do not be afraid! I am covering you with my immaculate mantle and protecting you. I am always at your side, and I am leading you along the way which I have traced out for you. I allow his snares in order to purify you, but then I personally intervene in order to help you conquer them and to overcome them. (Message 312 c-e)
Even Fr. Gobbi endured personal sufferings: “When they attack your person or my Movement, answer with prayer, with silence and with forgiveness. You will soon be called upon to struggle openly when my Son Jesus, myself, the Church and the Gospel are attacked. Then only, led by me by the hand, should you come out in the open to at last give your public witness. For now, continue to live with simplicity, by entrusting yourselves, each and all, to the care of my motherly Heart.” (Message 91 p-r)
In these trying moments, let us simply stay focused on Our Lady; in silence, in prayer and in suffering, docile and abandoned, relying only in her Immaculate Heart.
The first MMP provincial engagement for this year was the Teachers’ Retreat of the Holy Family Academy from Quezon, Nueva Ecija. Led by the School Director, Rev. Fr. Peter Albino, Jr., the retreat was held last January 3 - 4 at the Little Flower Retreat House in Baguio City. It was their first time to do a retreat in a continuous cenacle. Yet, they easily got into the rhythm of the simplicity of praying like little children in the arms of their Mother. Simplicity and littleness were the two most striking thoughts that spurred them on to entrust themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to do the cenacle prayer. One of them said: “Praying the rosary has become so ordinary, but it makes a difference now with my personal consecration and doing it in the cenacle way.” Fr. Peter was so pleased to say: “Back in school, the first thing to do is to consecrate the entire school . . . I want the same retreat for my parish.”
Schedule of Clergy Retreats
Please take note of the following schedules for the MMP Retreat for Priests:
o First Batch: May 7 - 11 (Baguio City)
o Second Batch: October 14 - 19 (Tagaytay City)
Let us join hands in praying for priests to respond to Our Lady’s invitation to these retreats. We will keep you updated on other details of the arrangement.
First Quarter Formation
In view of the new set-up in the MMP, the previously scheduled First Quarter Formation for the Laity on February 11 in Quezon City is temporarily cancelled.
I keep you all in my prayers. God bless.
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,