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Pope recounts miracle Mary brought in Kazakhstan

POPE-FRANCIS-meeting-with-bishops-priests-in-Our-Lady-of-Perpetual-Help-Cathedral-in-Nur-Sultan-AFP-

Photo by Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/15/22

May Our Lady similarly melt cold hearts ....

As is his custom, Pope Francis met in Kazakhstan with representatives of the local Church: bishops, religious, priests, seminarians and lay leaders.

In these addresses, he often urges the faithful to find hope in the memory of what Jesus has done for them, including in their first call, and in the history of their people.

To the small Kazakh Church, he also had a word of encouragement since they represent only 1% of the country’s population.

… the Gospel says that being “little,” poor in spirit, is a blessing, a beatitude, and indeed the first of the beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3). For once we acknowledge our littleness, we can humbly hand ourselves over to the power of God, who teaches us not to base our ecclesial activity on our own abilities.

This is a grace! I repeat: There is a hidden grace in being a small Church, a little flock, for instead of showing off our strengths, our numbers, our structures and other things that are humanly important, we can let ourselves be guided by the Lord and humbly draw close to others.

Rich in nothing and poor in everything, let us walk with simplicity alongside our sisters and brothers, bringing the joy of the Gospel into the situations of everyday life. Like the leaven in the dough and like the smallest of seeds sown in the earth (cf. Mt 13:31-33), may we immerse ourselves in the joyful and sorrowful events of the society in which we live, in order to serve it from within.

A miracle from the Queen of Peace

At the end of his address, the Pope expressed his affection as Successor of Peter: “Please know that I am close to you. I encourage you to embrace your spiritual inheritance with joy and to bear generous witness to it, so that all whom you meet may realize that there is a promise of hope meant for them as well. I accompany all of you with my prayers.”

And then he mentioned the miracle that is at the heart of the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Ozernoye, the only Marian shrine in Central Asia.

Let us commend ourselves in a particular way to the Heart of Mary Most Holy, whom you greatly venerate as Queen of Peace. I have learned of a beautiful sign of her maternal love that took place at a time of hardship when many people were deported and others forced to starve and to freeze. As a tender and caring Mother, she listened to the prayers that her children offered to her. In the midst of a bitterly cold winter, the snow quickly melted to reveal a lake full of fish, which fed many famished people.

May Our Lady similarly melt cold hearts, fill our communities with a renewed fraternal warmth, and grant us new hope and enthusiasm for the Gospel! I thank each of you and with great affection I give you my blessing. And I ask you, please, to pray for me.

Nets cast in a lake of mercy

The Pope was referring to a miracle that took place on March 25, 1941.

The year before, on February 10, 1940, the first of four massive deportations of Polish people to Kazakhstan and Siberia took place. Perhaps as many as 2 million Poles were deported, many of them elderly or children, since men were serving in the military. As many as half died on the way; the rest were forced to survive as best they could in the freezing conditions of these uninhabitable lands.

In 1941, the little food they had was taken for the men on the front lines. In their desperation, the prisoners turned to Our Lady. In the midst of temperatures reaching 40 or 50 degrees below zero, they begged for a miracle.

And it was in March that suddenly the snow began to melt, and a lake appeared. What’s more, the lake was full of fish, and the people avoided starvation. Ozernoye means the City of the Lake.

The image in the shrine, commissioned by Archbishop José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, shows the Child Jesus giving fish to Our Lady, who distributes them in the net below. “The Mother places them in the nets, which are our prayers, nets cast out in the lake of mercy,” the bishop explained.

Tags:
KazakhstanPope FrancisVirgin Mary
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