by Joyce Zammit
For us it was just the usual casual visit to Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary as most Maltese visitors do when they go to Gozo for some time of rest. The first thing that struck us when we arrived there was the good accessibility for persons with special needs, and then, entering the church, we passed through the Door of Mercy to find the peaceful environment of the House of God.
Most visitors come here especially to ask for the intercession of Our Lady and later, to thank her. Her small chapel seems to have been restored to its original state. But what impressed us was that Our Lady’s picture was practically in the shadow while the spotlight was centered on the tabernacle beneath it. Indeed, as in the Gospel of John, Mary tells us to “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) she does not take centre stage but rather, she leads us to her Son.
After some time of individual prayer, we remembered the penitential attitude of this Year of Mercy and we went to see if we could go to confession. We found a small waiting room with some good material to help a person prepare for confession. It was a quiet, well-lit place where nothing would distract you.
Then you entered the confession room itself, small, lit and decorated to help with the right environment needed for this sacrament. But, as they say, the best is yet to come. The priest there, not so young anymore, has certainly understood Pope Francis’ message of Mercy. It was like talking to and then listening to the Merciful Father Himself. You left the place feeling very much loved! A wonderful feeling!
We had to share this experience. It was a soft light in the dark shadows surrounding us today. I cannot stop visualizing that kind priest waiting patiently in that small room, waiting for that someone who needed to feel the hug of our God of Love and Mercy. With Peter we can say: “Lord, it is good for us to be here (Matthew 17: 4).