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Apostolic Movement

St. Paul teaches me to be a witness of hope

Father Carlos Padilla, Spain

I see how much I have yet to grow. I see myself as small and I need a miracle. Yes, I need to convert, to change inside, to let myself be made by God. Mary works this miracle in the Shrine. There she welcomes me with love and her mercy transforms me until I become an instrument of her love, a witness of her hope.

When I arrive, Mary welcomes me as I am, with a smile, an embrace full of tenderness and peace

The Shrine is the place where Mary wants to make me her child. She calls me by name and makes me feel that I am hers. She knows my innermost self, she has seen my dreams, she  cherishes the purity of my soul. And as I feel loved by her, I let myself be carried by her voice. I hear her call within me, her clear and firm voice. When I arrive, she welcomes me as I am, with a smile, an embrace full of tenderness and peace.

And then She begins to educate my heart with patience. I am so far from what I can give, from what I can become. I need so many miracles in my heart. Those daily miracles which I need to change my soul inside. That’s why I go to the Shrine. Not just to feel at home, but because I long for some order in my heart.

I try a thousand ways to overcome my weaknesses

I do not want my passions, my instincts, my weaknesses to rule over me. I do not want to be enslaved. How is it possible that my weakness is stronger than my strength? My tendency to love myself improperly, to love myself in the wrong way, to give myself in a selfish way, imposes itself on my heart. I try a thousand ways to overcome my weaknesses. I even unmask my mistakes when I try to justify everything with crafty excuses. Because it is true that I do not want to see myself as sinful, as dirty. When I am confronted with my sin, I like to look for culprits far away from me to take the blame for my responsibility. Someone to justify my negative attitudes. I think the world is guilty, others are guilty. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was ignorant. And so, I constantly justify myself in front of myself, in front of God.

God wants me not to be afraid and to show myself as I am, fragile

Who knows the whole truth? Who knows the whole story of my life? Who has seen my hidden intentions? No one knows everything, no one has seen how poor I am. Only God knows. Only God and I stand before the same truth. Me attempting to cover my nakedness to no avail. And God wanting me not to be afraid and to show myself as I am, fragile and unpretentious. Why do I insist on seeming perfect, on not showing cracks? Why so much stress to save my life if it is God who saves me and sustains me? How much frailty, how poor am I! I tell God a story, embellishing my behavior, justifying my pettiness, concealing my mistakes.

It doesn’t matter how I arrive. Mary looks at me tenderly and embraces me

This is how I arrive each day at the Shrine. Broken, wounded, confused, dirty. No matter how I arrive. Mary looks at me lovingly and embraces me in silence. And I, on my knees, ask her to work miracles of grace in me and to change my outlook. And so, little by little, day by day, Jesus acts in the power of the Holy Spirit. He works small miracles, insignificant in appearance, but enormous for me who am so small.

She sends me because she loves me and needs me to be her willing instrument

And so, suddenly, a change begins in my heart that I hardly notice and the Blessed Mother whispers in my ear: Go, go out into the world, do not be afraid, they are waiting for you. I try to find excuses not to expose myself, not to give everything I have. I am ashamed, I am afraid. Who am I to be sent to others? I lack faith in Mary’s word. It is she who wants to send me. I do not want to go. But she needs me. My emptiness and my weakness are enough for her to work miracles. She needs only my unfocused attention, my bad temper, my pride, my pettiness. She even takes advantage of my sins; I don’t know how. And she wants to send me to others to save them. How ostentatious of me to pretend I am important and believe that they need me! I cannot save anyone. I can raise no one who has fallen. But neither can I refuse to go. She sends me because she loves me and needs me to be her transparent, docile instrument. She wants them to see Mary when they look at me. She wants them to hear her voice when they listen to me. She wants them to feel that she is with them when they are in my presence.

By being weak, her strength will be seen

I know that by being transparent everything will be possible in my life. I know that being weak will show her strength. By being a child, God’s power will be manifested. The Blessed Mother sends me to proclaim the wonders God has done in me. She wishes me not to look back in fear. That I do not dwell on my troubled past. Not to dwell on my failures. She wants me to trust again and smile with great joy. Mary will work miracles; she is the great missionary. And I only have to allow myself to be led where she asks me to go. Without fear, without anguish. It is her work, and I am only an instrument in her hands. This way of looking at my life gives me peace. Mary looks at me as her precious child. And I let myself be carried in the strength of her embrace. Her infinite love makes me an apostle, capable of announcing Mary’s wonders. I am sent as a witness of her love.




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