"...the fresco has inexplicably remained suspended in the air
close to the wall of the chapel in the church of
Our Lady of Good Counsel for over five hundred years."
The translation of the icon of Our Lady of Shkodra
One outward aspect of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is offered in and through the reverence we show to her in the veneration of her images. They re-present the glories of the Blessed Virgin accorded to her by the Holy Trinity, or emulate her appearance in her life on earth, or as she has appeared to visionaries throughout history. We also demonstrate our devotion in and through the respect shown images and sacramentals blessed by the Church. As the Catechism explains:
2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:
Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.
Today the Holy Father once again recognized the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the Madonna of Shkodra’s arrival in the Church of Genazzano near Rome, Italy.
The celebration takes place on 26 April at the National Shrine of Shkodra in Albania. It commemorates the arrival of the Madonna of Shkodra at the Madonna of Good Council Church in Genazzano after the Albanian sanctuary was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1467. - VR
The story of Our Lady of Shkodra
The history of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is available on several websites, so I will not go into great detail here.
In 1467, on the 25 of April, during celebrations for the feast of San Marco in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud was seen covering a 5th century church dedicated to Our Lady. Shortly after the cloud lifted, the townsfolk, summoned by the church bells, discovered a delicate fresco of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, it was painted upon a very thin piece of unsupported plaster, and floated in a small niche of the church. Later it was revealed the image had been transported by angels from Scutari, Albania, because the region was coming under Islamic control.
"One day during the siege of Shkodra (Scutari) two escaping Albanians stopped at the Church to pray to Zoja e Bekueme (Our Lady of Good Counsel) for their safe journey. While praying fervently, they suddenly noticed the painting moving away from the wall.... The two Albanians, Gjorgji and De Sclavis,"followed the painting, as if it were a bright star, all the way to Rome, where the image disappeared. They heard rumors that a miraculous image had appeared in Genazzano. They ran to the nearby town and there discovered the painting of their beloved Zoja e Bekueme." The two "settled down and made Genazzano their home." - Source
Happy feast day. Pray for the Holy Father as he prepares to go to Egypt.
I am all thine.
“The Blessed Virgin, mother of gentleness and mercy,
never allows herself to be surpassed in love and generosity.
When she sees someone giving himself entirely to her
in order to honor and serve her,
and depriving himself of what he prizes most
in order to adorn her,
she gives herself completely in a wondrous manner to him.
She engulfs him in the ocean of her graces,
adorns him with her merits,
supports him with her power,
enlightens him with her light,
and fills him with her love.
She shares her virtues with him
— her humility, faith, purity, etc.
She makes up for his failings and becomes his representative with Jesus.
Just as one who is consecrated belongs entirely to Mary,
so Mary belongs entirely to him.”
St. Louis de Montfort