Ittra Pastorali: Nintelqu f’dirgħajn Ommna Marija


Ittra Pastorali tal-E.T. Mons. Mario Grech, Isqof ta’ Għawdex fl-okkażżjoni ta’ Jum l-Omm bi preparazzjoni għall-Affidament lill-Verġni Marija li se jkun iċċelebrat l-Erbgħa 5 ta’ Ġunju, fl-okkażjoni tas-Sena Djoċesana Marjana. Test kemm bil-Malti u kemm bl-Ingliż.

NINTELQU F’DIRGĦAJN OMMNA MARIJA

Meta llum qegħdin niċċelebraw Jum l-Omm, nixtieq insellem lill-ommijiet kollha. Ma nsibx kliem biex infisser min hi l-omm! Imma biżżejjed nistaqsu lil min tilef lil ommu jgħidilna xi jħoss xħin isejħilha u jibqa’ bla tweġiba! Il-missier għandu r-rwol tiegħu fil-ħajja tal-ulied, imma l-preżenza tal-omm tisboq kollox u lil kulħadd.

Għandna djun kbar lejn ommijietna. Hija l-omm li meta nitnisslu tilqa’ ħajja ġdida fi ħdanha, u minn dak il-waqt ħajjitha ssir stennija kontinwa: l-ewwel tistenna li tarana nitwieldu, imbagħad tibqa’ dejjem wara l-bieb tad-dar tistenniena ninġabru. Min jaf kemm hawn ommijiet li jgħaddu ljieli sħaħ imħassbin u anzjużi jistennew lil uliedhom jidħlu d-dar! Ma rridu nagħmlu xejn biex nirbħu mħabbtiha, għax l-omm tħobb lil uliedha bi mħabba tal-ġenn. Hija ma tħobbx lil uliedha għax huma bravi, sbieħ jew kapaċi, imma tħobbhom għax huma sempliċement uliedha. L-omm ma titgħaxxaqx b’uliedha għax huma għandhom xi ħaġa li tagħmilhom persuni ideali, imma tħobbhom għax huma tagħha. Proprju għax huma tagħha hija tħobbhom, anki jekk mhumiex perfetti fiżikament, mentalment, moralment u spiritwalment!

Għall-ulied, il-wiċċ ta’ ommhom huwa d-dinja: f’wiċċha hemm kollox. Fil-ħarsa tal-omm l-ulied jistgħu jaqraw xi jkun għaddej madwarhom; anzi, wiċċha huwa mera fejn l-ulied jistgħu jaraw wiċċhom mingħajr irtokk!

Kemm huwa minnu li “d-dirgħajn tal-omm huma l-ewwel wiċċ tal-omm”! Għaliex huma l-idejn materni li jħaddnuna, imellsuna, iħarsuna, idewwuna, jinfaxxawna, jgħinuna nqumu fuq riġlejna, jixxuttawlna d-dmugħ, u bosta ħwejjeġ oħra. Huma dawn l-idejn li bihom l-omm tlibbes lil uliedha u tgħattihom meta jinkixfu. Fi kliem ieħor, huma l-idejn kollha tenerezza tal-omm li ħafna drabi jżommuna milli naqgħu f’xi fondoq! Kull meta tinqala’ l-ħtieġa, l-omm hija l-ewwel waħda li toffri s-sokkors tagħha.

Meta l-omm hija preżenti, aħna m’aħniex orfni. Kif jgħid il-Papa Franġisku, il-preżenza tal-omm hija mediċina kontra t-tendenzi individwalistiċi u egoistiċi tagħna li jagħlquna fina nfusna. Soċjetà fejn l-ommijiet huma assenti titlef qalbha u ssir soċjetà kiesħa; meta tirfes fuq id-don tal-maternità, is-soċjetà ssir kattiva, fejn il-kalkoli u l-ispekulazzjoni jieħdu post l-akkoljenza tal-ħajja, l-imħabba, il-ħniena u l-mogħdrija. L-omm hija dik li taf tixgħel il-fjamma tat-tama fil-qalb kollha dlamijiet; l-omm hija l-futur tas-soċjetà.

Fih tassew x’nixtarru l-kumment ta’ teologu lajk Ortodoss dwar is-soċjetà li ma tapprezzax il-maternità: “Is-soċjetà moderna, li hija profondament maskili, fejn il-kariżma tal-mara ma għandha ebda importanza, hija soċjetà mingħajr Alla, għaliex mingħajr omm Alla ma jistax jitwieled fiha”.

Jekk dan kollu u aktar jgħodd għall-ommijiet tagħna, nistgħu napplikawh ukoll għall-Omm tagħna tas-Sema, Marija ta’ Nazaret. Minn dakinhar li fuq il-Kalvarju Ġesù fdalha lid-dixxiplu l-maħbub, Marija saret Omm il-bnedmin kollha. Marija hija l-Omm li dejjem tistenna lil uliedha biex turihom lil Ġesù u tqabbadhom it-triq warajh. Ma rridu nagħmlu xejn biex nirbħu mħabbitha għax hija tħobbna lkoll, mhux għax aħna perfetti imma għax aħna wliedha. Marija għandha mħabba għal kulħadd, imma mbagħad qalbha tinħall lejn dawk li huma spiritwalment għajjenin jew imxellfin. Dirgħajha huma dawk li joffrulna t-tgħanniqa kollha żegħil, u fil-mumenti tar-reżħa ssaħħanna. Kif b’dirgħajha hija għenet lil Kristu jerfa’ s-salib, illum ukoll hija tmidd idejha biex tgħinna nerfgħu s-slaleb tqal tal-ħajja. Jekk, kif stqarr il-Papa Franġisku, il-Knisja hija bħal “sptar fil-kamp tal-battalja”, Marija hija dik l-infermiera li ma tehdiex tieqaf mas-sodda ta’ kull min huwa ferut moralment u spiritwalment. F’wiċċha naraw ir-rifless ta’ kif għandu jkun wiċċna: wiċċ seren u kalm, rifless tal-ħajja interjuri.

Nixtieq ħafna li f’din is-Sena Marjana lkoll kemm aħna nagħmlu esperjenza tal-imħabba materna ta’ Marija, Omm Ġesù. Għax aktar ma nkunu ċerti li Marija hija Ommna, allura aktar inbiegħdu minna l-mument li nkunu “spiritwalment orfni”. Fil-fatt, fil-ħajja jaf ikun hemm mumenti meta l-bniedem jgħaddi minn kriżi spiritwali: meta jħoss li Alla ma jibqagħlu ebda togħma bnina; meta jitlef kull interess f’dak kollu li għandu x’jaqsam ma’ Alla; meta jittraskura s-sagramenti għax ma jibqa’ jara fihom ebda tifsira; meta t-talb ma jibqa’ jagħtih ebda gost; u sfidi spiritwali oħra. Dik is-soċjetà u dik il-Knisja li huma spiritwalment orfni jinsabu resqin lejn il-qabar, kemm għax il-baħħ ta’ Alla huwa tqil wisq, kemm għaliex jeżisti r-riskju li, meta jonqsu l-ġenituri, l-aħwa ma jibqgħux aħwa u l-għaqda u l-armonija tal-komunità ekkleżjali jisfaxxaw.

Bl-għan li l-Knisja fuq din il-gżira Marjana tibqa’ taħt il-ħarsien ta’ Marija Ommna, u fl-istess waqt biex fuq l-eżempju ta’ Marija tkompli tinbena bħala Knisja-Omm li twennes spiritwalment u materjalment lill-bniedem tal-lum, nagħmel sejħa biex f’rabta ma’ Għid il-Ħamsin li ġej il-komunità ekkleżjali tinġabar fis-Santwarju Nazzjonali Ta’ Pinu u flimkien nagħmlu l-Att ta’ Affidament tad-Djoċesi lill-Madonna. Hekk nintelqu f’idejha ħalli twassalna għand Ġesù. Kien Ġesù nnifsu li fil-persuna ta’ San Ġwann fdana lil Marija Ommna. Kif jgħid San Lwiġi Marija Grignion de Montfort, “id-devozzjoni lejn il-Verġni Marija hija meħtieġa biss biex il-bniedem isib perfettament lil Ġesù Kristu, iħobbu b’qalbu kollha u jaqdih bil-fedeltà”. Kif dakinhar fiċ-Ċenaklu l-Ispirtu s-Santu kkonferma l-maternità ta’ Marija li kienet miġbura flimkien mal-Appostli u n-nisa “lkoll qalb waħda jitolbu flimkien” (Atti 1:14), hekk nhar Għid il-Ħamsin li ġej insejħu lill-Ispirtu s-Santu biex iżommna magħqudin ma’ Marija Ommna. Kif fl-ewwel żminijiet l-Ispirtu s-Santu nebbaħ lill-Appostli biex iwessgħu dirgħajn il-Knisja-Omm bl-għażla tas-seba’ djakni biex jieħdu ħsieb ir-romol (Atti 6), ħa nsejħulu biex idawwal lill-Knisja tagħna ħalli tagħmel dawk l-għażliet favur l-orfni tal-lum.

Bi tħejjija għal dan il-jum, inħeġġeġ lis-saċerdoti, lir-reliġjużi u lill-għaqdiet tal-lajċi, partikularment il-Leġjun ta’ Marija, biex ixerrdu aktar it-tagħlim sabiħ ta’ San Lwiġi Marija Grignion de Montfort dwar il-konsagrazzjoni tagħna nfusna lil Ġesù minn idejn Marija. Fi spirtu ekumeniku nappella wkoll lill-Insara kollha, anki lill-Komunitajiet Insara mhux Kattoliċi preżenti f’Għawdex, biex kemm individwalment u kemm bħala familji, gruppi, komunitajiet reliġjużi u parrokkjali, skejjel, klabbs, u l-bqija, jagħmlu b’mod solenni dan l-istess affidament.

Fil-Philokalia Russa – jiġifieri ġabra ta’ kitbiet ta’ għalliema spiritwali tal-Lvant – jirrakkontaw li darba San Girgor is-Sinajita staqsa lil San Massimu (Capsolivite) jekk kienx qala’ l-grazzja tat-talb. B’rasu baxxuta dan wieġbu li darba, waqt li kien qed jitlob minn qalbu quddiem xbieha tal-Madonna u taha bewsa, ħass dehxa f’qalbu u bħal nar ħiereġ mix-xbieha. In-nar ma ħarqux. Għall-kuntrarju, ħassu jiffriskah u jimlielu qalbu bil-ħlewwa. Minn dakinhar qalbu qatt ma waqfet titlob. Għamel esperjenza tal-istess sentimenti l-mistiku San Serafin ta’ Sarov, magħruf bħala dak li kien “laħam minn Marija”. Meta jitlob huwa kien isellem lit-Trinità Qaddisa billi jgħid il-Glorja quddiem ikona (xbieha) tal-Madonna, konvint li Marija bħala l-Medjatriċi tas-suppliki tiegħu kienet tressaq it-talba tiegħu fi ħdan it-Trinità.

Minn qalbi nitlob lill-Ispirtu s-Santu biex it-talb tagħna kollu fiduċja quddiem Ommna Marija jagħtina ħjiel ta’ dan il-ferħ qaddis li ġarrbu dawn il-qaddisin.

Mogħtija mill-Kurja tal-Isqof, il-Belt Victoria, Għawdex, nhar l-Erbgħa 8 ta’ Mejju 2019, Tifkira liturġika tal-Madonna ta’ Pompej.

 Mario Grech
Isqof ta’ Għawdex

 

A Pastoral Letter by His Excellency Msgr. Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo

LET US ENTRUST OURSELVES TO OUR MOTHER MARY

Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I would like to salute all mothers. Words fail me in trying to convey what a mother is. But it would be enough to ask someone who has lost his mother to tell us what he goes through when he calls his mother and gets no reply! Of course a father has a role to play in the upbringing of the children, but a mother’s presence goes beyond anything and anyone by far.

We are heavily indebted to our mother. She is the one who welcomes a new life in her womb when we are conceived, and from that moment her life becomes one continuous act of expectation: first she waits for us to be born, and then she is always at the door, waiting for us to come home. Who knows how many mothers there are who spend the night worrying, anxiously waiting for their children to come home! We don’t have to do anything to earn her love, because a mother loves her children to distraction. She doesn’t love her children because they are clever, beautiful or capable, she loves them simply just because they are her children. A mother is not enthralled by her children because they are ideal persons: she loves them because they are hers. She loves them precisely because they are hers, even if they are not physically, mentally, morally or spiritually perfect!

For children, their mother’s face constitutes the universe: everything is included in her face. In her look, her children can see what is happening around them; actually her face is like a mirror in which her children can see their faces without any make-up!

How true it is that “a mother’s arms are a mother’s first countenance” . Maternal arms and hands are the first to embrace us, to cuddle us, to watch over us, to treat our wounds, to bandage us, to help us rise up, to dry our tears, and to do so many other things. With these hands, a mother clothes her children and makes them cosy when they get uncovered. In other words, it is a mother’s tender arms which often keep us from ending up in a pit! Whenever the need arises, a mother is the first to offer her help.

When mother is present, we are not orphans. As Pope Francis says, a mother’s presence is the remedy for our individualistic and selfish drives which close us in on ourselves. Where mothers are absent, society loses its heart and becomes cold; when we tamper with the gift of maternity, society becomes wicked, and cold calculation and speculation take the place of a welcoming attitude to life, replacing love, mercy and compassion . A mother knows how to light up the flame of hope in a heart engulfed in darkness; mothers are the future of society.

One can consider with profit the comment by a lay Orthodox theologian about a society which does not value maternity: “contemporary society is profoundly masculine and the female charism is of no importance to it, it is a society without God, because He cannot be born in it without her presence,” .

If all this and more applies to our mothers, how much more can we apply it to our heavenly Mother, Mary of Nazareth. From the moment that on Calvary, Jesus entrusted his beloved disciple to her, Mary became the Mother of all men. Mary is the Mother who always waits for her children in order to reveal Jesus to them and help them follow him. We don’t have to do anything to earn her love because she loves us all, not because we are perfect but simply because we are her children. Mary loves us all, but she has a special fondness for those who are spiritually tired or who have gone astray. Hers are the arms which embrace us lovingly and which warm us when we feel cold. Just as she helped Christ carry the cross, so today she intervenes to help us bear life’s heavy crosses. If, as Pope Francis has said, the Church is like “a field hospital in battle”, so Mary is like that nurse who does not stop tending whoever is morally and spiritually wounded. In her face we see the reflection of what our face should look like: a peaceful and serene face, reflecting one’s interior life.

In this Marian Year, I would dearly like all of us to experience the maternal love of Mary, Mother of Jesus. Because the surer we are that Mary is our Mother, the more we can distance ourselves from the state of being “spiritual orphans”. Indeed, we can sometimes experience moments of crisis in our spiritual life: when we feel that God no longer exudes a good taste; when we lose all interest in all matters having to do with God; when we neglect the sacraments because we no longer find meaning in them; when we no longer find joy in prayer; and when we face other such spiritual challenges. A society and a Church which are spiritual orphans will get ever closer to the tomb, not only because God’s absence is too heavy to bear, but also because there is a real risk, once the parents are no more, that brethren will no longer remain brethren and the harmony within an ecclesial community will be dissolved.

So that our Church on this Marian Island may long remain under the protection of Mary, our Mother, and at the same time, following her example, that she may continue to grow as Mother Church, spiritually and materially supporting man in today’s age, I would like to call upon the ecclesial community to gather in the National Sanctuary of Ta’ Pinu on this coming Whitsunday, so that together we may entrust our Diocese to Our Lady. In doing so we put ourselves into her hands so that she may lead us to Jesus. It was Jesus himself who in the person of St John entrusted us to Mary our Mother. As St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort says, “devotion to the Virgin Mary is necessary only in order that one may find Jesus Christ entirely, love him with all one’s heart and serve him faithfully” . Just as in the Cenacle the Holy Spirit confirmed Mary’s maternity as she was gathered there together with the Apostles and the women “all praying together with one heart” (Acts 1:14), so on Whitsunday we will call upon the Holy Spirit to keep us united with Mary our Mother. Just as early on, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles to broaden the arms of Mother Church by choosing seven deacons to take care of widows (Acts 6), so let us call upon Him to inspire our Church to choose those options which favour today’s orphans.

So, to prepare ourselves for this day, I urge our priests and religious, together with our lay societies, especially the Legion of Mary, to spread the beautiful teachings of St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort concerning the consecration of ourselves to Jesus through Mary’s hands. And in an Ecumenical spirit, I appeal to all Christians, even to the non-Catholic Christian communities present in Gozo, so that they may similarly solemnly entrust themselves not only as individuals but also as families, groups, religious and parochial communities, schools, clubs, etc.

In the Russian collection of writings by Eastern spiritual teachers known as the Philokalia, the story is told of St Gregory the Sinaite who once asked St Maximus (Capsoliviite) whether he had obtained the grace of prayer. With lowered head St Maximus replied that once, while praying wholeheartedly before an image of Our Lady, he blew a kiss and then felt a shudder in his heart: he next saw what seemed like a fire emanating from the image. Rather than experiencing a burning sensation, he felt refreshed, and his heart was filled with gentleness. His heart never stopped praying from that day on . The mystic St Seraphim from Sarov, known as “flesh from Mary”, also experienced the same kind of emotion. When praying, he would salute the Holy Trinity by reciting the Glory be before an icon of Our Lady, convinced that as the Mediatrix of his supplications, Mary would present his prayer to the Trinity .

From the bottom of my heart I pray the Holy Spirit that our trusting entreaties to Mary our Mother may grant us an inkling of the joy experienced by these saints.

Given today, from the Bishop’s Curia, Rabat, Gozo, on Wednesday 8th May 2019, on the liturgical commemoration of Our Lady of Pompei.

+ Mario Grech
Bishop of Gozo

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