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The Original Shrine – a Shrine for Everyone

Easter is the feast of the Resurrection, the mystery of salvation, the offer of new life in Jesus Christ!

We experience the mystery in signs and celebrations, customs and encounters. They remind us of the central event in the life of our Lord and Saviour, and the importance of this event for us today. However, they are also little “prophets” that help us to dare to walk into the future.

At a time that is so marked by uncertainty about the future as ours, it does us good to get to know such prophets. What do they tell us in our present situation?

Firstly, they tell us that life in connection with God is victorious, even if it is burdened with problems and guilt. It is stronger than all problems, it penetrates more deeply than guilt, it endures beyond every confusion. It is simply guided by God.

No automatic or magical action can bring this about. The “prophets” invite us to discipleship, to walking with, to imitation. In our present situation the opportunities to do so are many and varied. They lead us out of the darkness, help us to breathe freely and to see the horizon once more, and hence to hope. Suddenly solutions appear that were invisible before. Encounters can take place that seemed inconceivable before.

We have many encounters. Let us allow the little Easter prophets to ask us: What are we doing with them? How much of what happens during these encounters becomes the content of our prayer, the occasion for meditation, matter for our conversation with the God of life? He is the one who meets us and goes with us, just as the disciples on the way to Emmaus discovered. Have we recognised him already? Has our heart been set on fire?

My wish for you is this encounter within our encounters!

I invite you to do something to prepare for these encounters, to make them possible, and to refine our own attentiveness to them. Go into the shrine – there you will encounter the Blessed Mother, the educator of our ability to encounter others! She welcomes us, sends us on our way, and in this way prepares the ground for our transformation. Our Mother and Educator can initiate this life-process if we are open – a life-process that also takes place in everyday life, if we go through life with open eyes and ears!

Easter is the school in which we learn to be attentive to those who walk with us, and for the ONE who walks with us!

Celebrating Easter today, in the Year of Mercy, means opening ourselves for the future newly gifted to us by God, because Easter is an encounter!

Fr Antonio Bracht
Rector of the Original Shrine

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