On the advice of counsel: Weekly Message for 04-26-2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

Yesterday on the Feast of St. Mark at a small church in Italy directed by Augustinian monks, in the town of Genazzano, St. Mark’s feast day gets bumped every year. They made the move on good counsel. In 1467, at the end of a festival for the Feast of St. Mark (555 years ago yesterday), a cloud came down upon a deteriorated fifth-century church that was dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud lifted, they discovered a small, delicate image of the Madonna and Child on a thin sheet of plaster, said to have hung in mid-air, partially floating and resting on a small ledge. The church was being rebuilt at that moment, a project suspended for lack of funds.

Then miracles started happening. From April to August that year 161 miracles were documented (and still are, in two codexes). When Pope Paul II sent two bishops to study the situation they found out from two Albanian pilgrims the source of the image: it had been venerated in Scutari, Albania, and had miraculously detached from the wall there when it was in danger of falling into the hands of an invading Sultan’s troops. Two Albanians had witnessed this and accompanied the image from Albania to Italy as it traveled. Our Lady of Good Counsel is now venerated there by pilgrims from all over the world.

When Our Lady gave advice in Sacred Scripture, it was to the point: “Do whatever he [Our Lord] tells you” (John 2:6). After the Resurrection and Ascension, she was there in the upper room with the Eleven, soon to elect a new Twelfth, awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the centuries, in times of crisis for believers, she has appeared to the lowly and simple, and asked them to tell the world to pray more and sacrifice more not just for themselves, but for the world and for sinners. That doesn’t end at Lent, nor was it just confined to Lent. In the light of Easter, prayer is a delight, contemplating Our Lord’s victory over sin and death, and the littleness of our sufferings and sacrifices in our earthly life come fully to light. Our Lady’s belief in this is reflected in the loving gaze she has directed toward believers with a warm and joyful smile since Our Lord entrusted her to us at the foot of the Cross.

May we all follow Mary’s counsel this Easter season: to do whatever he tells us.

Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
Maximizing the Mass

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