Playlist of Videos on Our Lady (click here)

The Secret Of Mary of St Louis Grignon de Montfort. Important Book


Are you sure you know Jesus? 1/3

In the Roman Latin Rite we do say in each Mass this prayer, right before Communion: “Lord Jesus Christ look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church”. What a mysterious expression: “the faith of the Church”!
We believe what the Church believes. The one who baptises, baptises according to the faith of the Church. But what is the Contents of the Faith of the Church ? Some might say : – it is the Creed. To a degree, the Creed sums up all our Faith. Others would add: – it is the Faith transmitted by the Apostles. Reminding us that all the contents of the “Revelation” is given to us, until the last Apostle (John) dies. After that, there is nothing “new” to be added. All that is true.
But I would like to go further a bit, if you don’t mind. The capacity to believe is not that obvious. If we focus a little on the Apostles themselves, we’ll find that they had their own journey of growth, and they themselves acknowledge to us, many times, in the the Scriptures (the New Testament), that they couldn’t believe, that they failed.
The core of our faith
Are you struggling to follow me here? Well, let us swiftly try to sum up the essence of our Faith (the Faith of the Church). How could you sum up our creed? Or, if you prefer, what is the main point in our Creed, without it we consider that our faith is empty?
if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Co 15:14) The belief in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is the core of our faith. To go from where we are to where God is, from darkness to God Himself, this takes a journey, it needs a bridge, and without that bridge, we can’t reach God. Remember Adam’s fall. We are not living in the joy of the Presence of God! Without that “bridge”, without Christ and what he realises on the Cross, we can’t reach the Father.
We can sum up the preaching of Jesus, with a bit of exaggeration, in saying: “I will die and I will rise again”. To be true, the Lord Himself does it, and He does it, for three times. You may have a look at Matthew, chapter 16, you’ll see His first announcement of His Death and Resurrection. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Mt 16:21) This announcement is followed by two, almost identical ones: see Mt 17:22-23; 20:17-19.
As I was saying, the striking thing is that for such vital matter, the Apostles not only failed in believing Jesus, in believing His Word, His only Word that mattered in all His Message: “I will die, and I will rise again”, but they also recognised it in their teaching: we failed.
If the first part (“I will die”) was the biggest shock in their last 3 years – they were shattered – the second part of Jesus’ word (“I will rise again”) is impossible to grasp. He is dead, and He IS dead. It ends here. The concept of Resurrection itself is something really very far from their grasp. Remember the day the big-three (Peter, James and John) were coming down after the Transfiguration, He mentions His Resurrection, but they were wondering “what it meant”. “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.” (Mark 9:9-10) The concept is new. Unheard of.
Now, I leave you the leisure to go through all the accounts of the Resurrection in the four Gospels, and try to find one Apostle, or one of the holy Women, who believed in Jesus’ Resurrection.
Peter and John? They didn’t believe. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” (John 20:9)
Mary Magdalene? She didn’t believe, she was preparing during all the sabbath, in secret (you can’t show that you are working), the species in order to burry again the Lord. She saw Him Risen and thought she was speaking to the gardener who took his body. See John 20.
So, amongst the Apostles, who believed in the Resurrection? Simply: nobody.
Let us be serious here for a second. If this is “our faith”, if this is “the faith of the Church”, the “faith of the Apostles” there is a serious problem. The Apostles themselves are telling us clearly that they didn’t believe. So, in very clear terms, nobody was waiting for Him to Rise. Actually, this is what many would assume.
So all these stories of the 5 wise virgins (Mt 25:1-13), is just unbelievable: your master (any Apostle) can’t invite you (they are the ones who wrote the Gospel, of course inspired by the Holy Spirit) to do something that he himself wasn’t able to do. This is why, I don’t easily buy the fact that “the faith of the Church” is exactly “the faith of the Apostles”. There is a missing link.
Is there anybody waiting for Jesus the Risen Lord, early morning on Sunday?
To help you find the answer, let me go back in time, for a while, to the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. This we will see in the next post.

PS: You may want to watch the video of the lesson on Our Lady in our spiritual life (you may want to split it in little bits, since it is long. Here is the Link of the first part.)

Are you sure you know Jesus? 2/3

Is anybody there waiting for Jesus, the Risen Lord, early morning on Sunday?

This is a crucial question that we hardly address, while the Lord Himself, in the Gospel, urges us to address a very close issue: in Matthew, chapter 25:1-13 the Lord tells us a parable, the so called parable of the 10 virgins. The lesson of this parable is given in the end of the parable: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”.
The frame of the parable is: “meeting the Bridegroom” when He comes back. In order to “be there” when He comes back, one has to “keep watch”, to remain alert, to be ready (the oil), in order to “enter with Him”.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the Bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Mt 25:1-13)
I am not intending at all to comment or interpret this parable, this is not my aim. To me, on top of its proper intended meaning (“keep watch”), this parable sheds an intense light on the very moment of the Resurrection of the Lord, seen as a “coming back”, “from far” (from death, and hell), “victorious of death” and on the necessity to wait for Him, and be ready when He comes.
I see the Resurrection as a “meeting moment”, and an “entering in the Kingdom”. Let us just appreciate the intense Light it sheds on the Resurrection. Please don’t hesitate to re-read this Parable thinking of these hours after Jesus’ Death, and if there is anybody “waiting” for Him, when He rises.
This is why I ask insistingly: “is anybody there to greet Him, to meet Him, to “enter with Him” in the Eternal Joy of the Resurrection? Is anybody there, ready, waiting for Him until He Rises?”
I see the fact of meeting the Lord at His Resurrection as a vital fact for the future of Christianity. It is the vital and necessary bridge that reunites what happened before His Death, and what unfolded after His Resurrection. Otherwise, there is a gap, an abyss, a missing link between these two blocks. We take His Resurrection for granted. We think: “oh well, He had to rise anyway”. But in fact, it is not true. If there is no flowing communication between the realities of the Kingdom before the Resurrection and what can happen after His Resurrection, we are facing a disconnection, a very dangerous hiatus.
Therefore, I do consider the presence of somebody who waits for Him, desires his Resurrection, wants it, pray for it, the presence of somebody to greet Him at His Resurrection and “enter with Him to the Wedding Banquet” as crucial as the lesson told by the parable, if not more.
In oder to “be part of” the eternal “Wedding Banquet”, the Kingdom of God, it is important to “be there”, in order to greet the Bridegroom.
The two Annunciations
In order to answer to this question we will go back to the beginning of saint Luke’s Gospel.
The structure of saint Luke’s Gospel opening chapter is fundamental. Saint Luke offers us two annunciations made by the same very High Messenger of God: the ArchAngel Gabriel.

First, to Zachariah, priest, who represents the people of Israel, praying and waiting for the Messiah,

Annunciation to Zachariah

Second, to Mary, young girl, who prays as well, and awaits for the coming of the Messiah, God announces the “good news”, by sending His Angel, carrying the Sacred Message.
Who is ready to receive the Messiah? Both are praying, Zachariah (the whole people of Israel) and Mary. Who can believe? Who can open his heart and his whole being to the coming of God-amongst-us?
Saint Luke here is not giving us just an account, or telling a story. He is giving us a crucial element for our future: how can be we believe?
The two annunciations are put in parallel, in order to help us contemplate the difference between Zachariah and Mary. At the core we have the “capacity to believe”. Not only that, but Zachariah’s failed annunciation is redeemed by Mary’s double act: she believes “for herself”, and “for Zachariah” who didn’t believe. In the sense that she had to believe as well that her cousin, Elisabeth, is as well pregnant by the action of God who healed her infertility, at a very old age.
This diptych (twofold parallel story) is fundamental to help us understand that Mary is really the first fruit of the Redemption. She is “full of grace” by a grace of God, a grace totally coming from “Her Saviour” (as she states it in Luke 1:47), from His Salvation realised on the Cross. It is true that the Salvation on the Cross happens, in the stream of time, after Mary’s birth, but the Cross transcends time, covers all the times. Foreseeing the Salvation of the Cross, God extracts Mary from Jesus’ side, as the “New Eve”. Dante rightly calls Mary: “daughter of your son”.
Without Mary’s faith, we wouldn’t have had Jesus, this is true. But without Mary’s faith, Elisabeth and Zachariah wouldn’t be able to believe in Jesus. Both Mary’s fruits are important.
Are you with me here?
It is not enough to have “the Redeemer”, “the Divine Seed”, “the Heavenly Wine”, we need as well “the capacity to receive Him”. This is why Mary is called the “one who believed” (Luke 1:45), the “Good earth” (Mt 13), the “New Skin” for the new wine. She is as well called “Jacob’s ladder” (see John 1:51), because in Cana she is the one who can believe in Jesus, and she is the one who leads us, in her faith, to Him. We do “climb” on that Divine Ladder, given by God to us, in order to believe in Jesus, and reach his Side, and say again with Thomas: “My Lord and My God” (John 20).
In our Baptism, God gives us two things then: the “object” of our Faith: Jesus, who is everything for us, our “All”; and the “subject” of our Faith, Mary’s capacity to “believe” and follow Jesus.
Mary continues to believe throughout her life, and reaches the point, at 3 pm, Good Friday, where again and again, she is alone, and having to believe in the Core of Jesus Message: “I will die and will rise, the third day” (see previous post). She is the one who carries the “Fire” of that Promise, protects it, against the stormy attacks of death, hell, and so forth… and keeps it intact, waiting, praying, fighting, aspiring, desiring to meet the Risen Lord, when He comes back from the land of death.
And what happens at the early hours of Sunday? “At the Third Day, there was a Wedding” (John 2:1). Do you see what I see?
Do you see the wedding? Who is the Bridegroom, the Bride?
I’ll leave you with these thoughts now. Just go back to John 2:1-11 and try to see it under the light of what was unveiled above.
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”4 “Woman, what is between you and me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:1-11)


Are you sure you know Jesus? 3/3

Wrapping up what we said

The capacity to believe” in the Resurrection, we don’t have it. Nobody (except Mary) was capable of believing the Word of God in the Annunciation, nobody was capable of believing the Word of the Son of God saying that He will die and rise. So nobody (except Mary) was waiting for Him, was expecting Him, nobody was there. They all struggled to believe in His Resurrection, even when they saw Him risen, many had doubts (see .
Dear reader, you might find that all this “is normal”. That “He had to rise anyway”. That “anyway He had to do it all by Himself”. Well, with all due respect, this is not totally true.
The Marian dimension of the Church
Let us go back to a very simple (but striking) statement made by Pope John Paul II and, afterward, introduced in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (CCC). “The “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine”” (CCC 773) “Petrine” means: “of Peter”. It alludes to the hierarchical dimension of the Church. But we should ad as well: it alludes to the Apostolic dimension of the Church.
Here is what the Pope John Paul II says about that: “The Second Vatican Council, confirming the teaching of the whole of tradition, recalled that in the hierarchy of holiness it is precisely the “woman”, Mary of Nazareth, who is the “figure” of the Church. She “precedes” everyone on the path to holiness; in her person “the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27)”.” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 27)
At this point in this text, there is a “note”, note 55, that says:
This Marian profile is also – even perhaps more sofundamental and characteristic for the Church as isthe apostolic and Petrine profile to which it is profoundly united. […] The Marian dimension of the Church is antecedent to that of the Petrine, without being in any way divided from it or being less complementary. The Immaculate Mary precedes all others, including obviously Peter himself and the Apostles. This is so, not only because Peter and the Apostles, being born of the human race under the burden of sin, form part of the Church which is “sancta ex peccatoribus” (holy, but taken from sinners), but also because their triple munus (function) has no other purpose except to form the Church in line with the ideal of sanctity already programmed and prefigured in Mary. A contemporary theologian has well commented: “Mary is ‘Queen of the Apostles’ without any pretensions to apostolic powers: she has other and greater powers (von Balthasar, Nette Klarstellungen, Ital. transl., Milan 1980, p. 181).” (Annual Address to Roman Curia,
 H. H. John Paul II, 
December 22, 1987)
All this intuition and understanding of the relationship between the Apostles, the Church and Mary, has been introduced in a more formal way in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” as follows: ““the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine”” (CCC 773).

It looks simple? Maybe. To me, it should be simply mind blowing to everybody. Because it has plenty of consequences in our daily life.

In our name, Elisabeth says to Mary: “blessed is she who believed” (Luke 1:45).

This statement is not at all an isolated statement in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”. In many places the Catechism, you’ll find it speaking about “Mary’s Faith” being the Archetype of the Church’s Faith, it’s perfection. Here are few striking quotes:
“The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. […] It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.” (CCC 148)
“the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.” (CCC 149)
“The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith” (CCC 273)
Mary “because of her faith, became the mother of believers” (CCC 2676)
“The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment [of the obedience of faith].” (CCC 144)
“Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as “the bride without spot or wrinkle. This is why the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the “Petrine.”” (CCC 773)
“By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church.” (967)
I guess you’ve got the message.
Not a matter of degree, but of “another order”
After all, one can think that if Mary “is an exemplary [the best] realisation of the Church” we still have other realisations: Abraham (as stated by the Catechism, see 148 and following), Peter, the rest of the Apostles, the Martyrs, all the Saints. What I was pointing out in the previous posts, is that, while comparing Mary’s faith (and her role in our life) with other saints one (the Apostles for instance), the comparison is not at all a matter of degree. Mary’s faith, belongs to another order.

She belongs to another league: she believes where nobody can believe. It is not that somebody was able to believe a little bit. No. You may want to go back to the previous Blogs in order to perceive that sharp cut, that sharp abyss that separates her from the rest of human kind.

It is certainly related to her Immaculate Conception, related to the fact that before the Cross, but because of the Cross, she is born with no sin, coming in fact from the side of Jesus on the Cross, “New Eve”, as “the First Saved Person”, but as well as “the Mother of all the Saved”. She is made “mother” by Jesus, and with Jesus.
Practical consequences
What are the practical consequences of all that? We can’t start to believe, we can’t grow in our Faith to it’s fullness, to the total Hight of Jesus (at the level of His Side, from where we come) without the constant intervention of Mary. We have to draw our “capacity to believe” from Her… better: we have to receive Her from His Hands, as the best Gift: When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother”. From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)
We should hear Jesus’ voice to each one of us saying: “here is your mother”, you can’t reach Me without her. She’ll form in you the new “capacity of believing”, she’ll keep you “in her womb”, “in her Heart”, she’ll form you, – you “my Body” – as she formed Me in her.
We need to deeply understand how sharply, radically, vitally it is indispensable to “take Mary into our home”. Our eternal life, its quality, depend on that!
We need to have the humility not to pretend to “follow Jesus” with our own means, but with the help of Mary’s faith. Acknowledging that “she believed for me”, and using this asset, this huge Talent, received in our Baptism in order to grow. We need to discover how deeply we are “helpless” when it comes to follow Jesus till the end, till real-holiness, without the help of Mary.
Her help and presence are not something optional in our life. She is part of the structure itself of our Faith. Her faith becomes our faith (as John Paull II said in his Encyclical letter: “Redemptoris Mater”, 20)). Jesus, in our Baptism, gives us the “object of our faith” (Himself) and “the capacity to believe in Him”.
All what we have to learn is how to “receive her in our home”, in our daily life, receiving the gift of her presence, and using it for our growth.
We need to receive her from the Hands of Jesus, on the Cross, as our “spiritual Mother”.
In order to “receive Mary” in our life, we are invited to offer ourselves totally in Her Hands, to the full Action of the Holy Spirit (she is full of the Holy Spirit). This is what we want: the full action of the Holy Spirit, with no obstacles.
After that, we need constantly to let her act, show, guide, inspire us.
This way, “our poor way” of dealing with Jesus, is transformed into “her way of dealing with Jesus”. We go from a very weak, slow, radically incapable way to deal with Jesus, to a successful way, Mary’s way.
If we want to reach our own resurrection (the Union with Jesus), if we want to reach the fullness of growth of our faith, there are no other ways than Mary’s. Just don’t loose your time with dead-ends.
Please, do keep meditating on how and to which degree Mary’s action in our life is not just an optional thing, and that it is simply possible to do it in another way.
Let us have the right humility in order to accept God’s means, not ours, in order to become saints, in Mary’s womb.
Everybody accepts the fact that faith is a grace of God, something supernatural. Fine, this is right. But let us perfect this statement with the one: “all generations will call you Blessed” because you believed, and because we draw our faith in Jesus from you. Mary, you are truly our mother.
Jesus said: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1) Jesus gives us “the door” (Mary, full of the Holy Spirit, as our Mother) at the Baptism. The “sheepfold” = “to be with Jesus”. Let us not to try to reach the father out of Jesus’ way: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:16) Jesus is “the way”, He shows us the way inviting us the consider Mary as our Mother, the Woman, the New Eve. He advices us not to try to reach God without Him. “he who climbs in (through the wall) to the sheepfold, that man is a thief and a robber”
Humility, humility, humility.
Mary, thank you very much for all what you have done for us, for your Active Presence at our side… Help us, Mary, with your all-powerful intercession, to receive you from the Hands of Jesus, and give ourselves totally to Him, in your Hands. Mary, help us discover all the mysteries of our faith and reach our final destination: being united with Jesus-God, in you, with you.”

Christ’s Yoke

In one of his letters, Saint Antony says that Christ’s Yoke is the Holy Spirit. It is not difficult to accept this reading. The Jewish tradition – and St Paul is part of it – does talk about the “yoke of the Law” (“yoke of the Torah”) (see Galatians 5:1 and Acts 15:10). Our New Law is the Holy Spirit in our heart (see Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 8,…). So one can easily accept the reading St Antony advances of this image of the Yoke given by Christ.
If we look at a yoke we can see it is a piece of wood that binds together two animals. Normally one would spontaneously think that carrying Christ’s yoke means that the yoke will surround Jesus’ head and ours, so we would be walking together.
We need to understand who are the two persons put under the same yoke. One of them is Christ, who is the second? We find a couple of persons in the Song of Songs. The Jewish tradition says that if the Bible were to be compared to the Holy of the Temple [the room before the Holy of Holies], the Book of the Song of Songsshould be considered as the Holy of the Holies. The Catholic interpretation of the Song of Songs offers at least three different levels of readings: the Groom in the book is of course always seen as Christ but the Bride is either the Church, or the Soul, or the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If we put things in order: we should put the Mother of the Church (Mary) first, the one who gives birth to the Church, then the Church and its members. The Church is Virgin and Mother like Mary and because of Mary. The Church sees in Mary its Archetype (its best and highest realisation). This is why we see in Mary the perfect Disciple of Jesus, and its embodiment. Therefore, theologically, we should see the Archetype of the Groom and the Bride in the Song of Songs, as being: Jesus and Mary.
The Marian Spiritual Catholic Tradition underlines the unique relationship that exists between Christ and his Mother, Mary. As we previously explained, in Baptism, God doesn’t give us only the object of our belief, Jesus-God, He gives us, as well, the capacity and the means to Belief: Mary’s. He gives us not only the Divine Seed, He gives us, as well, the “Good soil” in order to receive that Divine Seed and bear fruit. He doesn’t give us only the New Wine, but the New Skin in order to contain it, otherwise, with our poor capacity for retention we will lose God’s graces. Mary’s capacity to believe is given to us. This teaching is the Holy of the Holies of Revelation, Scriptures and Theology. It sheds, in addition, an amazing light on the question of Christ’s Yoke.
Christ’s Yoke doesn’t consist only of Christ (as one of the animals) and the Holy Spirit (the piece of wood). No. It encompasses much more: it has Christ, the physical Yoke (the Holy Spirit) and Mary, as being the embodiment of the Perfect Disciple.
In her and with her, one becomes the Perfect Disciple of Jesus.
This would imply that taking Jesus’ Yoke means to enter into Mary, to receive Mary’s capacity to know and love Jesus. This is why, if we go back to the diagram of the Sea, we see that when we receive Jesus’ Yoke, in fact we are taking the place of Mary, or better said: we receive our New Being from her, in her image.
She is “flesh of Jesus’ flesh”, the New Eve, the Woman, taken from the Man, Jesus. She is bone of his bones, she is capable of containing all of Christ, in fullness, without losing any grace. Christ dwells in His Fullness in Her… therefore, if we want Him in His fullness, we need to take Mary to ourselves, receive her, in other words: Receive Jesus’ Yoke.
This is why, the fruitful Prayer of the Heart is indeed to receive Jesus’ Yoke, taking the place of Mary, in the sense of being transformed in her, of being transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Amazing teaching on Mary!

Monsieur Olier, one of the greatest French Catholic mystics of the 17th Century did contemplate the deep and spiritual relationship that exists between Jesus and Mary. For Olier this is the mystery of mysteries – up to now so little known, loved and respected.
For the first time in history, extracts from his letters – an incomparable treasure – are translated into English; a message with great influence for our own spiritual life and world today. You are invited to discover what Olier calls: “The Interior of Mary”, invited to dive in it. What a groundbreaking exploration!
You can find this eBook on amazon (click here), you can read it on your computer if you want, on your iPad or on many other equipments, by downloading the Kindle application for free.