In the Shalom Community, Our Lady is known as the Spouse of the Spirit, Queen of Peace and Gate of Heaven. However, above all titles, epithets, and invocations, is the feeling we have for Her as children of a unique and incomparable Mother. The Lord desired to leave Her for us as a precious gift who is the Perfect Disciple and First Church.
Spouse of the Spirit
It is true that many relate to and know Her by the title of Spouse of the Spirit in the moment of the Annunciation. While not in any way disregarding this interpretation, for us the title has always been more connected to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and in John 20. It is Full of the Spirit, the Full of the Holy Spirit because it is the Full of Grace, the Kecharitomene, not only in the Annunciation, but throughout His life.
It is beautiful to follow the path of Mary – as Raniero Cantalamessa says, the spiritual direction of Jesus towards His Mother – and to see how She had such intimacy with the Spirit and was so loved and assisted by Him that every action, posture and word was absolutely ruled by Him.
It is this Woman Full of the Spirit and, at the same time, an instrument of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, whether as Mother, Intercessor, or as a most faithful disciple of Jesus Christ who is the model we are called to follow as souls, to the Holy Spirit and led by Him, experiencing His fruits and charisms to implant in the world the Shalom of the Father.
Queen of Peace
For us, Mary, besides being Spouse of the Spirit, is the Queen of Peace. This title of Mary evokes the apparitions of Medjugorje. These were of great importance at the beginning of our journey, as our founder states:
Along with them is the Queen of Peace, as Mary calls herself in the apparitions of Medjugorje, in Yugoslavia. Even before knowing the content of her message in these apparitions, God had already put in my heart that the Queen of Peace had a lot to say to us. How grateful and surprised I was to see in her messages what God had already inspired so strongly in our vocation. Let us be deeply and truly attached to her who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and implore her intercession so that He can generate in our hearts Spousal Love for her Son Jesus. (Writings, Spousal Love 15)
On the other hand, the title of Queen of Peace in the tradition of the Church far surpasses the appearances in Yugoslavia. For us, she became the symbol of the Mother who exhorts us to pray: “There will be no new unless there is a deep life of prayer in each one of us! This becomes more real to me each day. May the Queen of Peace (Medjugorje) speak for us!” (Writings, New Work, 8).
In addition to the unequivocal appeal to life of intense prayer, the Queen of Peace was, at the beginning of our journey, an indication that we could serve God in any state of life and that our call to Spousal Love was independent of this state, as the founder expressed in Writings, Form of Life: “If we are open to the form of life God has for us; if we seek truthfully the form of life for which He created us – not the one we have in mind and do not have the courage to place in His hands -, we are on the right track to happiness. It is very comforting for me to hear the statements of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje on this matter.” (Writings, Form of Life, 7)
This was inspired and introduced into our vocation by the icon of the Gate of Heaven at the end of 1994. Through the hands of Fr. Daniel Ange, events would teach us that in order to be a disciple and minister of peace, the Lord asks of us not only deep prayer and the life in the Spirit, not only the total surrender to Him in the deep intimacy of spousal souls, not only the awareness that Peace is the gift and fruit of the Spirit to be brought to the world through conversion, prayer and mortification, but also, when necessary, through martyrdom.
The icon of the Heaven’s Door and the oil taken from the original icon in Toulouse were entrusted to our brother Ronaldo Pereira by Fr. Daniel Ange. Ronaldo began to administer the icon that remained in the community house where he lived, the Mother House. This brother began to give extraordinary intense devotion to the icon and the Immaculate through the consecration to the molds of St. Louis Grignon de Montfort. This mysterious devotion was positively noticed by those who lived in their community home and influenced everyone in relation to Marian devotion. Having received the icon around November 1994, Ronaldo died in a car accident on February 17, 1995. Through the Easter of Ronaldo Pereira, which occurred when returning from a missionary trip, the Door of Heaven introduced us to the deep mystery of the missionary and martyrdom of the Son, and in Him, of all the holy martyrs, who gave their lives so that the Shalom of the Father is implanted in the hearts.
Mary, our Mother, is the model we want to follow, not by presumptuous imitation, but by love. By imitating her as the Spouse of the Spirit, Queen of Peace and Heaven’s Door, we are giving Her and to Her Son a beautiful proof of love. We become hers and Christ’s disciples, since she is his Perfect Disciple. To imitate Mary in her love and service to the Son and to the Church is the best way to prove to Her that we love and revere Her so much that we want to be like Her in relation to Jesus and to all men. May our life always be “yes” to Jesus and to men, as was always “yes” to the life of Mary who we love as Mother.
Translation: Jhoanna Climacosa