ITALY, Maria Lucrezia Rallo •
The month of May illuminates and brings every Christian closer to Mary. Woman of strength, beautiful, and heavenly. Who would not want to be like her? Each one of us makes our life a continuous imitation of this, everyone tends to aim at a new model that bears no resemblance to what we are seeing today. This new model is Mary, and imitating this life are the lives of every man and woman who, with pure hearts accept the immense love of our Mother, and transform this in kind to a love for others.—
Who succeeds best at this task that is so arduous to those of us that are mature and maybe not so mature by peering into everyday life? How can it be for those who are not gifted and give this disinterested good, without suspecting there is a scam lurking?
Children of course, and in particular the little apostles of Mary!
A little Mary in the 21st century
It is with joy that my hometown, which is very near Palermo, has welcomed (a year ago now) this reality, new to all of us Italians, and has transformed it into a great family: that of the Girl’s Youth Apostles.
A long journey has begun, sometimes fraught with difficulty (rather the contrary, actually), rich in novelty, and more or less with positive and true tests of courage.
Without ever looking away from the Northern Star that is Mary, ten tenacious girls of 9 and 10 years have conquered the Scarf of the Little Apostles of Mary with inner strength and selfless love!
A symbol of being a little Mary in the 21st century
And what better day than the 18th of May for the official ceremony?
After these long preparation days, the young Apostles learned the joy of being community, the serenity of sharing, and the hope of a better world. They have learned another way in Mary, different from the mundane, and have struggled like true soldiers for the only true kingdom, that of God. Many activities have involved not only the 10 “Apostoline”, but also their families, that have welcomed our Movement with warmth that is uncommon today.
The power of family
I have experienced firsthand the power of family, the joy of a daughter before the support of the parents, and I have seen how even a simple sentence spoken by your daughter can change lives. Not least thanks to the help and the constant and enduring effort of Sr. Julia, our leader responsible for the first group of Mothers in Sicily that with open hearts have decided to give their yes to our Mother, to live in communion with their daughters, this motherly love that still today leaves me overwhelmed.
The scarf is not just a symbol, the scarf is much more! It is the concrete undertaking that the Apostles have accepted before God, and the community with their ear piercing “Here I am.” It is not something fleeting; it weighs as much as the responsibility it carries. The responsibility to wear it with pride and immense love, the responsibility to forgive the other without conditions, and the responsibility to do battle in the world, which is ready to destroy the fruits of God’s love.
The real striving begins outside the doors of the parish, outside of the homes and the places dearest to them.
The effort of each of them begins in more hostile places, where they can experiment even in a more sure way that the Mother will not leave them alone! With conviction I hear the prayer of being entrusted to the Blessed Mother repeated, and as with our Father and Founder, I see in them the realization that Mary is there and will never go away.
Their eyes shine with the same light as Mary’s
I can do more than Thank the Blessed Mother for this gift and responsibility, as I now know a little better the power of His love. After this first stage, our journey is not finished. Rather I would consider this goal a new beginning! The beginning of growth.
Who knows how many other surprises are reserved for us, I hope in the birth of a new group, not only in my little town, but also in the rest of Italy! Mother, take care of it!
Original Italian: 9 June 2018. Translation: Valerio Salvador, Johannesburg, South Africa. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA