The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta

The
Crown of Sanctity
On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta
Two Thousand Years Later,
The Greatest Prayer
Will Not Go Unanswered.

Daniel O’Connor
Foreword by Mark Mallett
This book follows Daniel’s last, The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity (published March 4, 2015), as a more thorough treatment of the same matter.
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was a 19th and 20th century Italian mystic whose messages from Jesus (encompassing thousands of pages of material) reveal a new, definitive gift of sanctity for the Church—the Gift of Living in the Divine Will—and trumpet its impending universal reign. Here you will find an introduction to just what this Gift entails (after a foundation for this introduction has been laid in accord with Church doctrine), an explanation of how to receive this Gift yourself, a description of the nature of its universal reign (along with how you can hasten this reign), and a theological analysis of the orthodoxy of these revelations as perfectly and beautifully harmonious and compatible with Catholic faith and morals.
The top cover image shows the mystery of the Annunciation—the greatest event in history—because the essence of Living in the Divine Will is contained within this most sublime moment. Though countless renditions exist, I have chosen the painting by Leonardo da Vinci because it is among the few that rightly depicts Our Lady as higher than the Archangel Gabriel—who, though referred to as an Archangel, nevertheless belongs to the highest (Seraphic) choir, and even still is immeasurably below the Immaculate Queen. The middle cover image is an actual photograph from NASA (with color optimization) of the sun rising over the earth. The rear cover image is the original [Vilnius] Divine Mercy Image Jesus gave to St. Faustina along with the promise that whoever venerates it, “will not perish.”
In this book you will see that from Our Lady’s Fiat, and our own modeled after it, the Reign of the Divine Will shall dawn first in our own hearts, and then over the whole world, in fulfillment of what was both the greatest prayer and greatest prophecy, for it was uttered by the Son of God Himself: Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, and the total fulfillment of what Pope St. Pius X foretold as both a prophecy and a Magisterial teaching in his Encyclical E Supreme—The Restoration of All Things in Christ.

Moratorium Notice: As of the publication of this book, the official Church-approved and footnoted Critical Edition of Luisa’s Volumes is not yet published, and as such a temporary Moratorium continues to exist, limiting the open publication of the unofficial manuscript translations of Luisa’s works, but not preventing the dissemination of these translations among prayer groups dedicated to Luisa’s spirituality. (It is important to note, however, that at least two of Luisa’s works may already licitly be openly published in their entirety: “The Hours of the Passion” and “The B.V.M. in the Kingdom of the Divine Will”.) Despite several false claims to the contrary found scattered about the internet (including on some otherwise trustworthy websites), this Moratorium does not prohibit lay people from writing and speaking on Luisa’s writings, nor does it prohibit individual excerpts of the writings from being used in publications with great theological care for Catholic orthodoxy (which I have painstakingly ensured in each case throughout this book); indeed, such publication has already been done many times (fully licitly) to date since the Moratorium’s issuing, sometimes even with full Ecclesiastical approbation. Daniel’s last book used only quotes from Luisa’s writings found in Fr. Iannuzzi’s Doctoral Thesis only because he wished to provide a resource for even the most overly cautious of Catholics; not because this approach was in any way in itself necessary. Nor does this Moratorium imply any form of reservation or “unapproved status” from the Church regarding Luisa’s writings; in fact, every relevant consideration points to the opposite conclusion: that Ecclesiastical Authority earnestly desires that these revelations be believed and promulgated (this conclusion is definitively demonstrated within the pages of this book; for now, suffice it to say that the very Archbishop from whom this Moratorium came was—he has since died—an avid Divine Will devotee and zealously promoted Luisa, her cause, and her revelations). More details on this matter can be found in the corresponding Appendix.

Published March 4, 2019
© Daniel O’Connor
ISBN 9781795766197

To the four women of my life: The Blessed Virgin Mary, my heavenly mother; my dear wife, Regina, whose support and help made this book possible; my daughter, Mary Faustina; and my own earthly mother, Eileen.
Readers of my first book may remember its own dedication page, in which I shared that my mother had just been diagnosed with malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, a particularly lethal cancer of the lungs with a prognosis generally allowing for only 6-12 months to live, even with aggressive treatment (although in my mother’s case, the doctors thought she might even have 1-3 years).
That was over 4 years ago. Since then, we have been praying nightly for her healing through the intercession of Luisa Piccarreta.
According to my mother’s last CT Scan, she is completely cancer free.
ALL FOR THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, THROUGH THE IMMACULATE
HEART OF MARY, UNDER THE PROTECTION OF ST. JOSEPH, TERROR OF
DEMONS AND PATRON OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH.
1) Brief Contents

Broad Description of Contents
Pages
Introduction
Preface, Foreword, and Important Introductory Notes
9-23
Part One: The Gift
Necessary Foundations: God’s Existence, Christianity, and Catholicism; Private Revelation in General, and on How It is Properly Discerned
24-68

The Validity of Luisa’s Revelations Demonstrated
69-109

The Gift Itself and its Foreshadowing in Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and the Development of Catholic Spiritual Theology
110-145

The Gift Found Elsewhere in 20th Century Catholic Mysticism
146-173

The Gift and the History of the World
174-197
Part Two: Receiving & Growing in the Gift
Preliminary Items, Desiring the Gift, and Asking for the Gift
198-223

Acting in the Divine Will and Grow Growing in the Virtues and Knowledges
224-304

Growing in the Gift with Mary, the Passion of Jesus, and the Rounds
305-350
Part Three: The Era of Peace or the Reign of the Divine Will on Earth
Introduction to the Era, and Millenarianism Concerns Addressed
351-395

The Era in the Fathers of the Church, Other Private Revelations, and Elsewhere
396-455

The Chastisements and The Nature of the Era
456-481
Appendices
Theological Answers to Objections and Concerns, Divine Will prayers, and other Items
482-561
Pages to Read for a Quick Introduction to Luisa’s Revelations
16-23 (“Introduction”—to the introduction); 69-86 (“The Validity of Luisa’s Revelations”), 110-122 (on The Gift Itself), 207-230 (Part of “Receiving and Growing in the Gift”), 351-355 and 457-481 (On the Era of Peace)

Table of Contents

1) BRIEF CONTENTS 3
PAGES TO READ FOR A QUICK INTRODUCTION TO LUISA’S REVELATIONS 3
2) PREFACE: MY JOURNEY IN THE DIVINE WILL 9
3) FOREWORD BY MARK MALLETT 14
4) THIS BOOK’S VIEWPOINT 16
100% CATHOLIC 16
ABBREVIATIONS, FORMATTING, STYLE, ETC. 16
5) INTRODUCTION 19
THE ESSENCE OF THE MESSAGE IN ONE PAGE 20
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD 21
PART I: THE GIFT 23
6) THE CERTAIN LOGICAL FOUNDATIONS 24
I) THE CERTAINTY OF GOD’S EXISTENCE 24
LIFE 25
“BUT WHO MADE GOD?” WON’T WORK 27
THE ERRORS OF TODAY’S MOST FAMOUS ATHEIST 28
THE NATURE OF TODAY’S MOST COMMON FALLACY 30
THE ULTIMATE QUESTION FOR THE ATHEIST 33
II) THE FACT THAT GOD BECAME MAN 35
UNDENIABLE HISTORICITY 35
CLEAR DIVINITY 36
THE NATURE OF EVIDENCE 38
LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN WORLD HISTORY 40
III) THE FACT THAT THIS MAN FOUNDED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 41
PETER, THE ROCK WITH THE KEYS 41
NO VIABLE ALTERNATIVES 42
THE MIRACULOUS PARADOX 46
THE TRUTH OF THE MODERN CRISIS 46
OUR PRESENT DUTY GIVEN THESE FOUNDATIONS 47
7) ON PRIVATE REVELATION IN GENERAL 48
AGAINST THE SOWERS OF DISCORD 50
THE TERM “PRIVATE REVELATION” 51
HOLY CURIOSITY AND LOVE 52
THE ROTTEN FRUIT OF DISMISSING PRIVATE REVELATION 53
THE ONLY SURE GUARD AGAINST MODERNISM 55
GREAT MINDS ON PRIVATE REVELATION 56
POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II 56
ST. MOTHER TERESA 57
ST. PADRE PIO 57
MOTHER ANGELICA 57
FR. RENE LAURENTIN 58
FR. EDWARD O’CONNOR 59
DR. MARK MIRAVALLE 59
BISHOP PAUL KIM 60
FR. JOHN ARINTERO 61
A WORD OF CAUTION AND COMFORT 62
8) DISCERNING ALLEGED PRIVATE REVELATIONS 64
OFFICIAL CHURCH SANCTIONED NORMS 64
ADDITIONAL NORMS FOR DISCERNMENT 65
LUISA AND THE INDEX OF FORBIDDEN BOOKS 67
9) THE AUTHENTICITY OF LUISA AND HER REVELATIONS 69
GENERAL OVERVIEW 70
TIMELINE OF EVENTS RELEVANT TO HER CAUSE 72
PROVIDENCE IN THE EWTN MONASTERY: THE STORY OF MOTHER GABRIELLE 75
LUISA’S OWN DOUBTS ADDRESSED 79
THE LIFE OF LUISA HERSELF 80
HER LIFE ACCORDING TO ST. HANNIBAL 85
THEOLOGY TOO DEEP FOR HUMAN ORIGIN 86
THE WILL CONSTRAINED BY THE GOOD 87
JESUS AND FAITH 87
THE EXALTATION OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY 87
ON THE BODY 89
ON EXAGGERATION 89
PERFECT ORTHODOXY IN MARIOLOGY 89
PASSIONS IN JESUS 90
LIMBO AND PARADISE 91
FREE WILL AND BEATIFIC VISION 91
LIMITS OF THE HUMANITY OF JESUS 92
THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT 92
WISDOM IN HER LETTERS 94
EASE OF LIVING IN THE DIVINE WILL 95
ON FEELINGS 95
ON SUFFERING 96
ON PEACE 96
PROPHECIES FULFILLED 98
WORLD WAR II 99
GLOBALIZATION 101
MIRACULOUS KNOWLEDGE OF CURRENT EVENTS 101
MUSSOLINI’S MARCH ON ROME 102
THE “CENTURY OF PRIDE” 103
ST. HANNIBAL DI FRANCIA’S EXALTATION 104
THE LAW OF DIVORCE (HAGUE CONVENTION OF 1902) 105
EARTHQUAKES 108
SOCIALISM AND THE ITALIAN PEOPLE’S PARTY 109
10) THE GIFT ITSELF 110
WHAT IT IS 110
AGAINST THE MOST PERVERSE INCLINATION OF FALLEN HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY 114
11) THE GIFT FORESHADOWED 115
THE FOUR GREAT INVITATIONS 116
UNIFICATION OF WILLS 116
DIVINIZATION 117
MYSTICAL MARRIAGE 118
MARIAN CONSECRATION 122
THE OLD TESTAMENT 123
THE NEW TESTAMENT 125
ST. PETER 125
ST. PAUL 125
ST. JOHN 126
THE CHURCH FATHERS 127
ST. MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR 128
ST. ATHANASIUS 129
STS. AUGUSTINE, AMBROSE, AND GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS 129
JUSTIN MARTYR, IRENAEUS, CLEMENT, THEOPHILUS, HIPPOLYTUS, GREGORY 131
THE GREAT SPIRITUAL WRITERS 132
ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX 132
RICHARD OF SAINT VICTOR 133
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 134
ST CATHERINE OF SIENA 135
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES 135
PIERRE DE BÉRULLE 137
ST. JOHN EUDES 138
JEAN-JACQUES OLIER 139
JEAN PIERRE DE CAUSSADE 139
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI 141
ST. THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX 143
VARIOUS TEACHINGS 145
12) THE GIFT ELSEWHERE IN PRIVATE REVELATION 148
ST. FAUSTINA 149
LIVING HOSTS: THE “UNPRECEDENTED” GRACE OF UNION WITH GOD 151
TRANSCONSECRATION OF SELF 153
FAUSTINA’S “GREAT SECRET” 153
CANCELLATION OF THE SELF-WILL: EXCLUSIVELY LIVING BY THE WILL OF GOD 154
SERVANT OF GOD ARCHBISHOP LUIS MARTINEZ 155
VENERABLE CONCHITA 156
THE MYSTICAL INCARNATION: “MUCH MORE” THAN SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE 157
BLESSED DINA BELANGER 160
DIVINE SUBSTITUTION: THE SAME STATE AS THE ELECT IN HEAVEN 160
ST. ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY 161
PERSONAL POSSESSION OF THE TRINITY 162
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE 163
TRANSUBSTANTIATION OF THE SELF INTO THE CREATED IMMACULATE CONCEPTION 163
SERVANT OF GOD SR. MARY OF THE HOLY TRINITY 165
FUSION OF WILLS: APOSTOLATE OF JESUS’ EUCHARISTIC LIFE 165
VERA GRITA 167
LIVING TABERNACLES 167
13) THE GIFT IN TODAY’S CATHOLIC VOICES 168
14) THE GIFT AND THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE WORLD 173
THE ORIGINAL GLORY 173
THE FALL (~ 4000 BC) 175
THE PROTOEVANGELIUM 176
UP TO THE FLOOD (~ 2000 BC) 177
UP TO REDEMPTION (~ 0 AD) 178
REDEMPTION ITSELF (26 AD) 180
THE CHURCH 183
THE PROPHETIC EXPLOSION OF THE MODERN ERA (1900S) 186
THE GIFT ATTACKED BY SATAN (1900S) 190
VOLUNTARISTIC EXISTENTIAL NIHILISM 190
DISTORTED TEACHINGS ON “DIVINIZATION” IN MORMONISM 191
THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT AND “GENDER THEORY” 191
THE CULTURE OF DEATH 192
THE TIME FOR THE CORONATION (~ 2000 AD) 193
PART II: RECEIVING AND GROWING IN THE GIFT 197
15) PRELIMINARY NECESSITIES 198
EXAMINE YOUR CONSCIENCE 198
ADDRESS THE LOOMING ISSUE 200
DESIRE SANCTITY ABOVE ALL THINGS 203
A DESIRE FOR SANCTITY EXAMEN 206
16) RENOUNCE THE SELF WILL 207
RENUNCIATION VIA CROSSES 209
MISCELLANEOUS WAYS TO RENOUNCE THE SELF-WILL 210
HOLY INDIFFERENCE TO CIRCUMSTANCES 211
17) DESIRE THE GIFT 211
IN ITS GRANTING OF ALL YOUR WISHES 212
PERFECT HAPPINESS 212
MORE POWER THAN A SAINT IN HEAVEN 213
UNMATCHED TREASURES IN HEAVEN 213
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION 216
DELIVERANCE FROM ARIDITY, TEMPTATION, RESTLESSNESS, AND THE LIKE 216
DELIVERANCE FROM ANY PURGATORY 216
TRANSFORMATION OF YOUR PAST 217
IN THE EUCHARIST 217
ST. FAUSTINA’S REVELATIONS 218
18) ASK FOR THE GIFT 219
IN MARIAN CONSECRATION 220
IN PUTTING IT TO USE AS A DIVINE WILL MISSIONARY OF MERCY 221
IN YOUR CURRENT SPIRITUAL REGIMEN 222
ASK AGAIN 223
19) DO ALL OF YOUR ACTS IN THE DIVINE WILL 223
VARIOUS HELPS 226
MANUAL LABOR 228
20) GROW IN KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTHS 229
21) GROW IN THE FOUNDATIONAL VIRTUES FOR THE GIFT 233
PERFECT LOVE 233
SELF-FORGETFULNESS AND HUMILITY 236
THE NEED FOR NOTHINGNESS 237
DO NOT THINK ABOUT YOURSELF 238
AGAINST PRIDE 241
ATTENTIVENESS 242
DISCERNMENT 244
CONSTANT PRAYER AND A PREFERENCE FOR SILENCE 245
DETACHMENT 248
…FROM WORLDLINESS 249
…FROM OUR TIME WASTERS 250
…FROM OTHER PEOPLE 251
ABNEGATION 252
EVEN IN OUR PURSUIT OF SANCTITY 252
PERENNIAL PEACE AND TRUST 255
CHOOSE PEACE 257
SINS AGAINST TRUST 257
OBEDIENCE 259
COURAGE AND FEARLESSNESS 262
NO FEAR OF ANYTHING 264
NO FEAR OF THE DEVIL 265
NO FEAR OF DEATH 265
NO FEAR OF PAIN 267
NO FEAR OF PURGATORY 269
NO FEAR OF JESUS 270
MORTIFICATION AND SACRIFICE 271
LOVE OF THE CROSS 273
AGAINST DISTORTED VIEWS 275
ON AILMENTS 276
OUR REACTION TO PAIN 277
DEMEANOR 278
GENTLENESS 278
JOY 279
DIGNITY 280
MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY 281
MODESTY AND PURITY 283
CONSTANCY 286
DAILY INVOCATION FOR THE VIRTUES 289
22) HEED THE HARD WORDS OF JESUS FOR THE CHURCH 290
THE STORY OF JOE 292
ON THE “DEVOUT” 295
THE ABUSE CRISIS 296
ON SACRILEGE AGAINST THE SACRAMENTS 297
23) BE A NEW EVANGELIST OF THE THIRD FIAT 298
24) PRAY THE HOURS OF THE PASSION AND FUSE WITH JESUS IN HIS SUFFERINGS 304
25) GROW IN THE GIFT THROUGH MARY 322
TRUTHS ABOUT MARY REVEALED TO LUISA BY JESUS 323
THE ENMITY BETWEEN THE WOMAN AND THE SERPENT 323
OUR LADY, THE MOTHER OF SORROWS 323
NEVER AT ODDS WITH CHRISTOCENTRIC PIETY 325
OUR LADY, QUEEN OF THE CHURCH 326
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: THE GREATEST FEAST 327
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY IN THE KINGDOM OF THE DIVINE WILL 327
WITH JOACHIM AND ANNE 328
HER SERVICE IN THE TEMPLE 330
THE MARRIAGE TO JOSEPH 331
THE INCARNATION AND NATIVITY 332
THE CIRCUMCISION AND THE PROPHECY OF SIMEON 335
THE HOLY HOME OF NAZARETH 337
HER SON’S PUBLIC LIFE 338
26) DO THE ROUNDS 339
PART III: THE ERA OF PEACE 351
27) WHY THE ERA? 352
28) ON THE HERESY OF MILLENARIANISM 356
REFUTATIONS OF THE ANTI-ERA INQUISITORS 357
PROMOTION OF AN ESCHATOLOGY OF DESPAIR 358
HERESIES IMPLICIT IN ACCUSING THE ERA OF A MESSIANIC DUPLICATION OF HEAVEN 361
ERRONEOUS EXTRAPOLATIONS OF STATEMENTS ABOUT THE WORLD’S IMPERFECTIONS 362
IGNORANCE OF THE HISTORY OF MILLENARIANISM 365
IGNORANCE OF “MODIFIED” OR “MITIGATED” MILLENARIANISM 367
MISUSE OF RATZINGER’S WORKS 368
ABUSE OF THE CDF NOTIFICATION ON VASSULA RYDEN 372
FALLACIES REGARDING THE ANTICHRIST AND THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS 374
ABSURD TEACHINGS ON FATIMA’S PROMISED PEACE 376
MILLENARIANISM AND THE CATECHISM 379
LETTER VS INTENT 383
DOGMATIC VS. NON-DOGMATIC 385
AUGUSTINE & AMILLENNIALISM: NO BLOW TO THE ERA, UNDER ANY SCENARIO 387
AUGUSTINE HIMSELF DECLARED THE ERA ORTHODOX 389
NOW BEING THE COMPLETE MEANING OF THE “1,000-YEAR” CHAINING IS NO LONGER TENABLE 390
THE CLEAR SENSE OF SCRIPTURE 392
JOACHIM OF FIORE: RADICALLY DIVERGENT FROM TEACHINGS ON THE ERA 394
ON DISPENSATIONALISM 395
29) THE ERA OF PEACE ELSEWHERE 396
THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH 396
POPES & THE CHURCH’S MAGISTERIUM 399
POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II ON THE MILLENNIUM 401
POPE FRANCIS ON THE KINGDOM 403
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCES 404
AGAINST THE NEO-MARCIONITE HERESY 405
20TH CENTURY PRIVATE REVELATIONS ON THE ERA OF PEACE 406
OUR LADY OF FATIMA 407
ST. FAUSTINA (DIVINE MERCY) 411
LADY OF ALL NATIONS (IDA PEERDEMAN) 412
VENERABLE CONCHITA 412
VENERABLE MARTHE ROBIN 413
EDSON GLAUBER (ITAPIRANGA, BRAZIL) 414
GLADYS QUIROGA (SAN NICOLAS) 416
OUR LADY OF NGOME 417
PEDRO REGIS 417
ELIZABETH KINDELMANN 419
OUR LADY OF ZARO 420
SERVANT OF GOD MARIA ESPERANZA 422
MEDJUGORJE 423
LUZ DE MARIA 424
FR OTTAVIO MICHELINI 425
BARNABAS NWOYE (PRECIOUS BLOOD REVELATIONS) 426
SERVANT OF GOD CORA EVANS 427
OUR LADY OF AMERICA 428
ALICJA LENCZEWSKA 429
FR. ADAM SKWARCZYNSKI 430
IN SINU JESU 432
APOSTOLATE OF HOLY MOTHERHOOD 433
SR. NATALIA OF HUNGARY 433
FR. STEFANO GOBBI (MARIAN MOVEMENT OF PRIESTS) 435
JESUS KING OF ALL NATIONS 437
JANIE GARZA 438
JULKA (YUGOSLAVIAN VISIONARY) 438
TRADITIONAL PROPHECIES ABOUT THE ERA 439
OUR LADY OF GOOD SUCCESS (QUITO) 440
SACRED HEART 440
MIRACULOUS MEDAL (ST. CATHERINE LABOURÉ) 441
LA SALETTE 441
VARIOUS PROPHECIES THROUGHOUT CHURCH HISTORY 442
AUTHORITATIVE VOICES 446
CONFLICTING INTERPRETATIONS OF PROPHECIES ABOUT THE ANTICHRIST AND THE ERA 450
MOST THEOLOGICALLY FITTING 453
A TIME FOR NECESSARY PURGATION BEFORE THE END 453
“LEAD ALL SOULS TO HEAVEN” 454
INTIMATIONS OF THE ERA OUTSIDE OF CATHOLICISM 455
30) THE CHASTISEMENTS 457
31) ON THE ERA ITSELF 463
IT IS ALL ABOUT HEAVEN 463
THE GLORY OF THE ERA 465
CLARITY OF FAITH 466
MULTIPLICITY OF SANCTITIES 468
PHYSICAL AND BODILY TRANSFORMATION 469
AUDIBLE CELESTIAL MUSIC 470
DEATH AS MERE TRANSITION 470
ABUNDANCE OF ALL GOODS 471
UNIVERSAL HAPPINESS 473
SACRAMENTAL REIGN 473
HASTENING THE COMING REIGN OF THE DIVINE WILL 474
IT’S COMING IS A GUARANTEE 478
“WHEN WILL ALL OF THIS TAKE PLACE?” 481
PART IV: APPENDICES 483
32) THE MORATORIUM AND THE STATUS OF LUISA’S WRITINGS IN THE CHURCH 483
THE ONLY PRESENTLY BINDING CHURCH NORMS—ABP. PICHIERRI’S 2012 NOTIFICATION 486
33) ANSWERS TO OBJECTIONS 488
ISN’T IMPORTANT CATHOLIC CONTENT MISSING FROM LUISA’S WRITINGS? 489
WHY, THEN, DOES THE OUR FATHER SAY THY WILL BE “DONE,” NOT “LIVED”? 490
ISN’T THIS MILLENARIANISM, MODIFIED MILLENARIANISM, CHILIASM, DISPENSATIONALISM, OR JOACHIMISM? 491
ISN’T THIS “NEW SANCTITY” HERETICAL—SIMPLY TOO GREAT? 491
THE FIFTH MARIAN DOGMA 493
ISN’T TOO MUCH GREATNESS ASCRIBED TO SOMETHING AS “EASY” AS LIVING IN THE DIVINE WILL? 495
ISN’T THE EUCHARIST THE GREATEST THING? 499
ISN’T CHRISTIAN HOLINESS ALREADY GREATER THAN ORIGINAL HOLINESS? 501
THE NATURAL END OF MAN 505
ISN’T ORDINARY HOLINESS ENOUGH? HOW COULD NOT “LIVING IN THE DIVINE WILL” BE AN EVIL? 507
BUT WHAT ABOUT ST JOSEPH? 508
THIS IS A NEW REVELATION? ISN’T THAT HERETICAL? 510
NOVELTY-PHOBIA AND NOVELTY-PHILIA: BOTH ARE TRAPS 511
THIS IS ONLY PRIVATE REVELATION; CAN’T I IGNORE IT IF I WISH? 513
ISN’T THIS AT LEAST AN ARTIFICIAL DEVELOPMENT OF TRADITION? 513
DOESN’T THE SHEER MAGNITUDE OF THESE REVELATIONS IMPLY THEY CLAIM TO SURPASS PUBLIC REVELATION? 514
PUBLIC REVELATION IN CHRIST VS. PRIVATE REVELATION THROUGH LUISA 515
ISN’T LUISA HERSELF TOO HIGHLY EXALTED IN THESE WRITINGS? 517
DON’T THESE REVELATIONS ESPOUSE THE HERESY OF MONOTHELITISM OR QUIETISM? 518
ISN’T ASSERTING PRIMACY OF WILL (AND NOT INTELLECT) THE ERROR OF VOLUNTARISM? 522
HEAD VS. HEART 525
DOESN’T THIS CONTRADICT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION? 526
34) A FEW WORDS FOR SCHOLARS 532
35) MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES 535
LIST OF THINGS THE GIFT IS NOT 536
THE CHAPLET OF THE DIVINE WILL 537
PRAYER FOR THE BEATIFICATION OF LUISA 537
MORNING OFFERING IN THE DIVINE WILL 537
PRAYER OF CONSECRATION TO THE DIVINE WILL 538
“ORDINARY” HOLINESS VS. LIVING IN THE DIVINE WILL 538
A ROUND IN THE DIVINE WILL 539
36) SOME ADVICE FOR CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE FOLLOWERS OF LUISA 549
BE AN ORDINARY CATHOLIC 550
DO NOT COMPARE LUISA TO JESUS 551
ON READING THE VOLUMES 552
37) QUICK ANSWERS TO THE BIGGEST CRITICISMS 553
38) AN EPILOGUE FOR THE UNCONVINCED 557
39) A BRIEF CHECKLIST FOR LIVING IN THE DIVINE WILL AND HASTENING THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM 560
40) ABOUT THE AUTHOR 561

2) Preface: My Journey in the Divine Will

I begin by sharing some history of my own life’s journey in the Divine Will in hopes that readers will pause and, upon reflection, come to realize that their own lives, too, have truly been journeys in the Will of God. But I hasten to add that there is no need for anyone to read this preface; it is not important for understanding anything in this book, for it pertains only to its unworthy author. I include this preface, also, recognizing that some readers may wish to understand the inspiration and motivation of the authors of books they read (a justifiable wish in these days of rampant ulterior motives), and this motivation will be made clear in the following few pages.
My journey began in the Year of Our Lord 1986, on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, when I came forth from my mother’s womb—or, rather, it began nine months earlier, for as Jesus says to Luisa, “as soon as a baby is conceived, My Conception goes around the conception of the baby, to form him and keep him defended.”1 But I have no memories to share until around my 3rd birthday, when my first memory was formed as I stood at my deeply repentant uncle’s death bed, moments before his particular Judgment, as he prayerfully clutched Rosary beads in his hand and succumbed to the AIDS that he contracted from his former wayward lifestyle. Though my 3-year-old understanding could not grasp it at the time, imprinted upon my soul nevertheless was the potency of a clear impression: the ugliness of life apart from the Will of God, and the beauty of a return to the same, no matter what had transpired in the ugly time.
But sadly, the spiritual seeds sown in me by that event took many years to sprout, for, although I indeed grew up a believing and mostly practicing Catholic, I was lukewarm, and in the behavior of my youth I blended in quite well with the average promiscuous, intemperate, wild partying teenager of the day. While living that lifestyle, I began studying Mechanical Engineering at RPI, for I was dead-set on saving the world through my ideas for inventions relating to better energy generation and transportation technology that I had already begun designing.
Upon entering I did not know that it would ironically be at this institution—which, in its very motto, urges its students to “change the world”—that I would discover that the change this world needs has nothing to do with technology. For it was there, at RPI of all places, that I realized no invention would save the world, but only something much simpler. My path to this recognition began when, shortly after enrolling, I finally saw that my sins were tearing my soul to shreds, and vowed to radically change my life forever. I still remember the precise moment of incredible clarity dawning upon my mind like the rising sun; it presented itself without invitation as I was merely amid my ordinary daily endeavors, and seared into my soul forever the recognition of one simple fact that took no heed of the rationalizations I had hitherto concocted: I knew the Will of God (for I did at least know the basics from my Confirmation classes), and I was not doing it; thus, there was absolutely nothing left to wait for. It was I who had to change, not God, and no delay could be justified. The vow followed immediately in the very spot I was standing.
The foundation of my awakening to a genuine life of Faith now being laid, I nevertheless wandered about for some time in affairs far below my calling as a Catholic. At that time, what bothered me most about my fellow students was their slothfulness and obsession with video games. So, along with two friends, I started the “RPI Up Sluggards,”2 essentially an adventure club of sorts. If some endeavor was painful, embarrassing, fearful, exertion-requiring, or disgusting, we pursued it and encouraged all in the group to do the same; jumping into iced-over ponds in January, doing “tough mudders” and triathlons, scaling mountains, cliffs, and caves, hunting for wild rattlesnakes to eat for dinner while camping, and the list goes on with plenty of absurdities (I will be sure to leave our “embarrassing” endeavors to the imagination). Although I soon thereafter realized that much of what we did lacked the virtue of prudence, a noble theme did at least exist in our inspiration: leading a life dedicated to satiating the self-will is one doomed to failure, therefore that which the self-will universally tends towards (comfort, pleasure, safety, and the like) must be zealously opposed by deliberately and regularly engaging in activities opposite them.
Thankfully God continued guiding me and I realized that video game obsession—and the vice of sloth in general—though lamentable, was only one small part of a much bigger battle that could only be won by Christ. I received the grace of this recognition thanks to the apartment I moved into before my junior year, or rather, its proximity to a perpetual adoration chapel and daily Mass (located only one block away). I began to frequent both—and as a student at a University known for its enormous workload for engineering undergraduates, I was used to getting little sleep, and thus became a go-to sub to call for the nocturnal adoration hours. This precious time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament made me realize that, ultimately, all that matters is becoming a saint.
Pursuant to this new end to which I decided I must dedicate my life, I attended World Youth Day in Australia the following summer and, deeply impacted by an exhibit there on the life of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and by praying next to his incorrupt body, I had another moment of great clarity; one that, though it did not result in a vow, did result in a firm decision. I recognized that God certainly deserved at least one hour of each of my remaining days’ twenty-four, and I then took on as a commitment those two great gifts that have ever since served as the foundation of my daily life (and will, please God, until the day I die); daily Mass and daily Rosary.
Now, in this time I was devouring knowledge of the Faith. I can relate to the many conversion stories one often hears of Protestants coming into the Catholic Church and then, being blown away by the Sacred Tradition we are blessed with, proceeding to bury themselves in books. From this era of my life I recall most fondly my time reading the Imitation of Christ and the works of St. Louis de Montfort, St Francis de Sales, and St. Alphonsus Liguori (books I still love and strive to live by; long before I knew anything of Luisa, God lead me to St. Alphonsus’ Uniformity with God’s Will and convicted me that it above all contained the ultimate key to sanctity). But I also stumbled upon many other works; some found through my lengthy perusal of Traditionalist websites, which did not leave such holy impressions upon my heart, but instead inclined me to a servile fear in the spiritual life due to the “fewness of those saved.” I became obsessed with avoiding the possibility of damnation, and my preferred methods of combating this possibility were mortification and scrupulosity.
I spent years of my life around this time sleeping each night on a wooden board, taking only full-blast cold showers, taking little or no pleasure in food, and sometimes wearing a cilice all day (although I had earlier undertaken some of these practices for other reasons, their continuation was due to this newfound servile fear). More problematic,3 I became afraid of approaching Jesus in the Eucharist thanks to the scrupulosity which accompanies this servile fear.
You see, I had already poured over as many readings as I could find on the matter of the number of the elect, but nothing satisfied me, for all the apologists and theologians I read had themselves spoken only with human authority (and I did not know of any Magisterium broaching the issue). How can human words heal a wound seemingly inflicted by Divine Words? (As it then wrongly seemed to me that the near impossibility of my being among the elect was a consequence of the words of Scripture). They cannot. But it dawned on me that there was another authority to consult: Heaven itself. Thus, I asked God for my first ever sign; and, although I will spare you the details, suffice it to say that He gave me “neon lights,” and in this incredibly clear sign, my scrupulosity and servile fear finally began to die (although the process still took time).4 If my life thus far had been a journey in the Divine Will, this was the point I realized that there is nothing formulaic about such a journey, as if one could merely discover a few dogmas to live by and rest assured of the sufficiency thereof; rather, it is more personal than even a marriage, and requires constant Communion with the Holy Spirit to hear His voice speaking to you, directly, in everything, and a corresponding commitment to heed that voice, come what may.
Immediately after graduating the next year, I began working as an engineer for GE Global Research. One day there, I became a “world record holder;” having successfully run a test resulting in the greatest quantum emission of electrons off a carbon nanotube surface yet achieved. It also so happened that the same evening, after work, I accepted an invitation to participate in a local radio show with a friend to defend the Right to Life in a debate on abortion. At the end of the day came the epiphany that I had done incomparably more good for the world by simply speaking up for our unborn brothers and sisters than I did by contributing to further the technological advancement of our technology-obsessed culture. Furthermore, around that same time, what I already had grown to understand in the preceding year (in my moments of honesty at least) became abundantly obvious to me in this job: the corporate engineering world was simply not my calling, and I was delaying obedience to the Divine Will by remaining in it. I realized at that moment in my life that, no matter how many “experienced Catholics” told me I really had to remain in it for at least five years given my circumstances, I simply knew it was not where God wanted me.
This knowledge tore at me and rendered me unbearably restless. But, thankfully, I now had a new weapon in my arsenal for precisely such times: asking God for His direct and clear guidance. One morning, when my restlessness was extreme, I went to the adoration chapel early in the morning before work, and I suddenly found myself asking Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to simply remove me from this job somehow if remaining in it not be His Will. That very day at work, I was told by my boss’ boss that I needed to “promise to never again talk about religion at work if I were to keep my job.” Knowing that was a promise I could not in good conscience make, I quit on the spot. (At that time, I was the Outreach Coordinator for the local 40 Days for Life campaign and had been zealous in both praying and sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood and going door-to-door in nearby neighborhoods to spread word. I decided to distribute invitations at work as well, which is what GE found intolerable, along with a pro-life comment I made on their online employee portal).
Later that year, on the Vigil of the Solemnity of All Saints, I was sitting in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, listening attentively to the great scholar, Dr. Scott Hahn, sharing his wisdom with a group of eager ears. Incidentally, I did not then know that I would marry my wife in that very Church less than four years later; indeed, I did not even know her then, nor would I meet her for two more years, for on that day I thought I had merely driven hours from my home in order to visit a parish I had never before been to or heard of, but that I had coincidentally been told was hosting a great speaker, and this simply was an opportunity I did not want to miss.
Most ingrained in my memory from these talks was one astounding observation in particular that Dr. Hahn made: what if, he pondered, just as Satan has always tried to squelch God’s greatest plans by slaughtering innocent children—seeking to eradicate Moses through inciting Pharaoh’s murderous rage against the newborns in Egypt, and doing the same for Our Lord through Herod—so too today, through the greatest slaughter of innocents in history (indeed, the greatest evil in general, namely, abortion) Satan is trying again to prevent some new great Divine Intervention? This observation could not possibly have been more pertinent to the calling that God would send my way in mere minutes.
For during a break after one of Dr. Hahn’s talks, I was approached by a fellow attendee of the event—an older man I also did not know at the time, but whom I now know to be very pious and devout. I soon learned that his intention was not to make small talk, but to share an important message with me. “There is something big coming your way, and you need to be open to it,” he relayed to me with conviction. Though he did not know what exactly “it” was, he assured me, as confused by the mystery as he was certain of its reality, that there was “something special here” that he had “never seen before.” Somehow I knew, and never once forgot, that this message was not of human origin, but rather truly constituted a Divine Message to which I had no choice but to humbly submit.
***
Exactly one year later, I moved out to the old, dilapidated, and abandoned St. George’s rectory in Utica, New York, to begin a new apostolate and job living there alone while working with several others during the day to convert it into a transitional home for homeless young men (it was to be called the John Bosco House, and once we had it ready, I served there as the live-in house father or big brother to the residents we welcomed). Friday of that same initial week was a particularly grueling day of manual labor spent preparing the house’s floors, and I was eager to take a break from work and head off to daily Mass at the nearby parish that I was blessed to live an easy five-minute walk from; a Church in which I could not only attend daily Mass but also visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament any time, night or day, in its Perpetual Adoration chapel. As God would have it (as I learned much later on), my wife’s family, too, had lived in Utica several years before, and she frequented this very chapel which was so instrumental to my journey.
So off I was, as I thought, to attend daily Mass as I did each ordinary, uneventful day. But as I entered the Church, instead of seeing the usual priest, I saw whom I now know to be Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi in the Sanctuary. After an announcement was made, I realized that I had come not to the ordinary Friday evening Mass, but had rather stumbled upon the beginning of a weekend-long retreat on a topic I had never formerly heard of: the Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. What followed were two days of utter holy amazement as I had never before experienced.
“Something big” that I “needed to be open to” could not have been more accurate a prophecy—indeed, there is nothing greater, nothing more essential that we be open to—than the Divine Will.
The adventure of life went on, and I continued to both study the Gift of Living in the Divine Will and strive to receive this Gift myself. About ten months later, I embarked upon another rather epic journey that God had placed on my heart: to purchase a 60-day unlimited ride Greyhound Bus pass and, with only a small backpack on my person, travel from one corner of the country to the other and back; making of it a true road-trip-pilgrimage. My goals were three-fold: to discern my vocation, to visit holy sites throughout the country, and to listen to an audiobook of all of Luisa’s revelations as I spent hundreds of hours sitting on buses, waiting at bus stops (often overnight in some less than inviting places), and walking. In the midst of this pilgrimage—between sleeping on the wood floor and waking at midnight to pray the Divine Office with a holy Franciscan order in Indiana, stumbling upon moose while trekking through the remote Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, and participating in a Eucharistic Procession outside a Planned Parenthood in Albuquerque—I received amazingly clear guidance of Providence, through the intercession of St. Francis on the Feast of the Portiuncula, that I was to begin studying as a seminarian at Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT—even though God had made it equally clear that He was not yet revealing my ultimate vocation to me at that time. Alas, knowing at least the next step is enough.
Though it was technically too late in the game for such a large move so quickly to go forward “by the book,” I knew I was called to at least try—and try I did. Faithful as He always is when we follow His guidance, God opened the door, and that same month I found myself at this Institute, in the midst of hundreds of wonderful seminarians, priests, religious brothers and sisters, and lay students. (I later discovered that my wife, too, as a completely last-minute maneuver, had felt called to totally change her preexisting plans to the contrary and instead apply to Holy Apostles. And although her application should not have been feasible to accommodate either, God intervened, and she began studying there the same semester.)
Now, one day each month at Holy Apostles was set aside as a “Day of Recollection,” in which the seminarians kept total silence as they prayed and attended a retreat given by a priest. It was my first day of recollection as a seminarian, and I entered the Chapel that morning eager to receive whatever edification it might be God’s Will to impart through the priest’s lips, though I was entirely uninformed as to whom it would be or what would be the topic. As I looked towards the sanctuary, I saw to my great surprise a familiar face. I immediately knew I would not be disappointed, for the holy amazement on the Divine Will that I had received from this priest ten months earlier was alive and well.
I left the Chapel knowing that there was no way to deny God had called me to dive head first into these most sublime revelations on His Most Holy Will, given to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, and to do my humble best to introduce others to the same. Ever since then it has been the overarching passion of my life, and I pray it may become the same for yours as well.
God’s clear guidance to me did not end that day, and He revealed that—as blessed and grace-filled a time as my one semester as a seminarian was—His Will for me was not priesthood, but marriage. I continued studying at Holy Apostles as a lay student, proposed to my wife on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception the following year in that same Chapel at Holy Apostles after we together re-consecrated ourselves to Mary, and I received my Diploma for a master’s in theology in this chapel as well the year after that. Two months after graduation—on the 96th anniversary of Our Lady’s promise at Fatima that her Heart would Triumph, and an Era of Peace would be granted to the world—my wife and I were married. We moved into a 400 square-foot plumbing-free pond house (which my father and I had built several years earlier) before embarking upon our honeymoon road-trip-pilgrimage around the holy sites of the country.
In the years that have followed, the Will of God has led me still, in many ways: founding an apostolate (the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy—DWMoM.org), buying and renovating a 100-year-old broken down house, a run for U.S. Congress, becoming a Philosophy Professor, beginning my doctoral studies in Philosophy, and many other things. Above all, the Will of God has blessed me and my wife with three beautiful children (with a fourth who departed for Heaven after a brief time in the womb) and, we hope, will bless us with many more. Amid all this, I’ve learned that if there’s one thing the Divine Will is not, that one thing would be boring. I remain as dedicated as ever to doing my small part in helping to make the Divine Will known and loved, that it may reign on earth as It does in Heaven.
Please join me in this Greatest of All Missions and read on to learn more about it.

1)
3) Foreword by Mark Mallett

There is a mysterious passage in the Book of Daniel that speaks of a time to come that will be unsurpassed in distress. He is given visions of beasts and battles, trials and triumphs. But an angelic messenger then says to him: “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall wander aimlessly and evil shall increase” (Dan 12:4).
Several hundred years later, St. John would pen his “Apocalypse” using remarkably similar symbolic language. But now the Christian community would be beneficiaries of not only hindsight, but the Divine prism of the New Covenant through which the writings of the prophets and patriarchs could pass. Christ, the “light of the world”, would illuminate that which was written in shadows and types of things to come. The “secret” was beginning to unfold.
Still, the early Church’s understanding of the eschaton was limited, evidenced by the imminent expectation by some of Christ’s return in glory. St. Paul, like St. John, was given glimpses of the travails that would assail the Church and the appearance of Christ in judgment. Still, he admitted; “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror… At present I know partially; then I shall know fully…” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Now, as the Church crosses the threshold of the third millennium, we are the beneficiaries of 2000 years of hindsight, doctrinal development, and prophetic revelations that enable us to “see” more clearly. And this especially, as Pope St. Paul VI attested, with “signs of the end” clearly emerging. And yet, few scholars have undertaken a proper study of the Book of Revelation that isn’t restricted to a mere allegorical sense, or that edits out (as rationalists tend to do) those “private” revelations or Marian apparitions that, in fact, do not threaten or correct the “deposit of faith” but further illuminate it.
The word “apocalypse” means “unveiling,” which is a reference, in part, to the unveiling of a bride. Just as a bride’s face is partially hidden, as her veil begins to lift, her beauty comes more into focus. In a word, St. John’s Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) is not so much about the persecution of the Church by her infernal enemy, the “red dragon” and “the beast.” Rather, it is about the purification and unveiling of a new and internal beauty and holiness of the Bride of Christ, the Church. “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure.” (Revelation 19:7-8) This affirms the teaching of St. Paul who compared Christ and the Church to a husband and wife, “that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
Clearly, a brief examination of the “signs of the times” reveals a Bride who is anything but spotless and unblemished, anything but prepared for Christ’s return. Who could have envisioned the kind of scandals that have made the Church’s bridal garments so filthy? Nonetheless, the prophet Daniel and Saints Paul and John all foretold a future period when apostasy would cause a massive falling away from the Faith and “abomination” would enter her sanctuary. The reason God permits the “son of perdition” or “Antichrist” comes into view: he is the instrument the Lord permits to humble and purify the mystical Body of Christ.
But clearly, according to a straight forward reading of Revelation 19 and 20 (and how the Early Church Fathers read it), this persecution of Antichrist is not the end of the world. After the destruction of the beast and its followers, there ensues a period of what St. John calls a “thousand years” (Rev 20:6) and what the Fathers would affirm as being the “Day of the Lord.” Says Lactantius, “…this day of ours, which is bounded by the rising and the setting of the sun, is a representation of that great day to which the circuit of a thousand years affixes its limits. (Fathers of the Church: The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Chapter 14, Catholic Encyclopedia; www.newadvent.org). And again, “Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years.” (Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15) It is a day of both judgment and vindication, but most especially, of preparation for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
If indeed the mysteries of Daniel’s vision would be “unsealed” toward the end times, then The Crown of Sanctity in The Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta is unquestionably lifting the veil higher. This may, in fact, be one of the most important books in recent times. For within its pages are explained, in a precise, orthodox, and practical manner, what exactly the “thousand years” entail and how we can and must prepare for the Day of the Lord. But unlike other “end times” literature that are rife with speculations, wild conspiracies, myopic interpretations, and even heresies, Daniel O’Connor has merely unpacked for the reader what was taught from the beginning (even if the “father of lies” has tried his best to distort those teachings).
The main protagonist of this work is Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta to whom Christ “unveiled” the theological framework of precisely how God is going to restore and purify the Bride of Christ. As Daniel masterfully weaves Sacred Scripture, private revelation, philosophy, apologetics, and careful theology throughout the book, something begins to emerge from between the lines that will startle and even overwhelm the reader: Hope. At a time when the Church is suffering under the weight of her sin and all signs point toward the imminence of her own Passion, this book has the potential to bring supernatural encouragement, joy and strength. It has for me.
At one point, Jesus gives Luisa and us a hint as to when these times might come: “The time in which these writings will be made known is relative to and dependent on the disposition of souls who wish to receive so great a good, as well as on the effort of those who must apply themselves in being its trumpet-bearers by offering up the sacrifice of heralding in the new era of peace…” (Jesus to Luisa, The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, n. 1.11.6, Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi). Daniel O’Connor is one of the privileged few among Christ’s flock to be the herald of so great a triumph that lies beyond this present Storm. As you read each page, then, and dispose your soul to God’s plan, you too will be hastening the coming of the Christ’s Kingdom that we pray for each day: “Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
When St. John Paul II prophetically called the youth to “be the watchmen of the morning who announce the coming of the sun who is the Risen Christ! (Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World, XVII World Youth Day, n. 3) he added that “The young have shown themselves to be for Rome and for the Church a special gift of the Spirit of God… (Novo Millennio Inuente, n.9). Daniel O’Connor is such a soul. He is not only completely faithful to the Church’s magisterium through his rare gift of theological clarity that is both deep and yet accessible; he is also a true servant to his students, family, and friends. Those who know him respect Daniel not only for this authenticity but for his zeal and bravery. I am reminded of St. John Paul II’s words that “holy people alone can renew humanity.” (World Youth Day Message for 2005, Vatican City, Aug. 27th, 2004)
In that regard, Daniel and this work form an integral part of the “signs of a new springtime” that continue to unexpectedly appear in the midst of this present Winter.
Mark Mallett
Author of The Final Confrontation and “The Now Word” blog
http://www.MarkMallett.com
4) This Book’s Viewpoint

100% Catholic
Let there be no confusion at all: I write this book as, above all else, a 100% faithful, orthodox, and obedient Roman Catholic. I absolutely submit—without question, reservation, or hesitation—to every single one of the teachings of the Church, and I always will. Rest assured that each word in this book is coming from one who would rather shed every drop of his blood than deny a teaching of the Catholic Church. And I wish to state from the onset, without any hesitation or ambiguity: I submit the entire contents of this book, unconditionally, to the judgment of Holy Mother Church.
Furthermore, I write this book as one fully cognizant of the fact that Public Revelation is already complete, and that Jesus’ revelations to Luisa are private revelations. As such, they have no right to add to, much less correct, anything contained in the Deposit of Faith. Rather, their role is to further explicate this Deposit of Faith, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 66-7, teaches is its role.
And yet I write this, as well, as a Catholic fully committed to Luisa’s revelations, completely convinced that they are thoroughly authentic, and deeply convicted that they constitute the greatest mission in history and the greatest private revelation that ever has been given or ever will be given (while not in the least detracting from the enormous importance of the many other private revelations Heaven has blessed us with, especially in the past two centuries).
Therefore, we must begin by considering that much (if not most) error which infects our minds arises from either failing to see a contradiction where one exists, or insisting upon seeing a contradiction where none exists. While the former trap especially ensnares the worldly (i.e. the Dictatorship of Relativism), it is the latter trap that is most dangerous for religious people; especially those who are subtly proud or too sure of themselves—that is, those whose sense of security comes not primarily from trust in the Divine Mercy, but from a vain confidence in their own intellectual grasp of Doctrine. It is by this latter error that the Pharisees condemned Our Lord; for they refused to see how the words of Jesus Christ in no way contradicted God’s Revelation to Moses. And it is this same trap that a faithful Catholic must be zealously on guard against in learning about Luisa’s revelations. Be assured that there is not a single contradiction between them and Catholic Faith and Morals. This has already been settled by multiple theologians appointed by the Vatican to this very task. But just as it can sometimes require patience and prayer to see how—to give another example—there is no contradiction between the Documents of the Second Vatican Council and the older Magisterial Documents, so too it will no doubt require the same to see how some more astounding teachings in Luisa’s writings are fully orthodox.
Likewise here, it is important to commit to remaining patient, prayerful, and humble; otherwise there is no point in continuing, and you might as well put this book down—but first, do at least ask yourself this question: “When, in His infinite wisdom, God decrees that the time has come to bless the world with the Greatest Private Revelation, will it not perhaps be more than a mere confirmation of all of my opinions and current understandings? Will it not, rather, at once confirm the essence of my Faith and all its true teachings while also correcting my own limitations I have placed upon it, revealing its full glory like the rising sun, when previously I searched about with only a lamp?” If you have prayed sincerely for humility before asking that question, you will easily find the grace to answer it in the affirmative immediately after it is posed.
“There are more things in Heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”—Shakespeare
Abbreviations, formatting, style, etc.
As with all books, the best way to read this one is from cover to cover, as I have carefully and deliberately laid out the order of the various chapters and sections. But there is no strict necessity to read it so thoroughly; this book may simply be used as a reference to answer individual questions when the need arises. For the latter use, I have made the Table of Contents particularly detailed and comprehensive, and I encourage any reader to jump freely to whatever section he wishes to know more about. Those who do read this book from cover to cover will need to forgive a small bit of repetitiveness, as I needed to resort to this style at times in order to ensure that certain sections could reasonably stand on their own; however, my repetition, where it is found, is only for this single intent, and you can be confident you will not find in this book that patronizing form of repetition wherein authors refuse to trust their readers to remember and take note of important things the first time they are presented, and consequently say the same thing over and over again.
Miscellaneous points:
* Whenever a footnote contains only a date (Month, Day, Year), or a quotation is attributed only to a date, this is a reference to the entry that corresponds to that date in Luisa’s Diary.
* For the sake of brevity, I will regularly use the phrase “Luisa’s revelations” in this text. It must be understood that what I mean by this is “the private revelations given by Jesus and Mary to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.”
* With respect to the quotes themselves from Luisa’s Revelations, emphasis may be added (by way of bolding, italicizing, or underlining), but understand that all such emphasis has been added by me and was not found in the original, unless otherwise noted. This is true for all quotes in this book; not just those from Luisa’s writings.
* Please note that “CCC” is a reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
* Most Bible quotations will be taken from the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition; although other translations will be used, including the Douay Rheims and the New American Bible.
* Whether you are reading this book as a PDF (on a computer or printed out) or as a purchased paperback, its dimensions are the same in order to ensure that page numbers may be referenced identically, no matter what version is being used.
* Footnotes may include information which is particularly important to the content they correspond to, so whenever time allows, they should be read. Needless to say, if any confusion or concern arises after reading a sentence in this book, be sure to read the footnote if the sentence has one; as the footnote will hopefully address the concern. Relevant information which is important but somewhat less urgent is placed in Appendices.
***
For the sake of brevity, I make heavy use of ellipses (that is, the abridging “…”) when quoting Luisa’s revelations. I do this in order to not give anyone the impression that this book’s brief sample of Jesus’ words to Luisa is sufficient. No, it really is necessary to dive headfirst into the writings themselves; hence the quotes I do provide are generally carefully picked through so that only the gist of the teaching is presented—this way, I hope, no one will be even tempted to suppose that I think this unworthy book I have written, which is nothing but an introduction, is actually any sort of substitute for the Book of Heaven itself; the actual 36 Volumes (and other writings) Jesus gave to Luisa.
Some veterans in Divine Will spirituality may criticize this book as inadequate; especially when it comes to the highest and greatest modes of Living in the Divine Will. I completely agree with them; this book is radically inadequate. I often refer to my task with this book as to “introduce,” but a better way of looking at this book is perhaps to consider it as nothing but an invitation or a preview, just like a movie preview is only an invitation to watch the film. And just as no one begrudges a preview for only giving glimpses, I hope no one will be offended that I do the same in this book, now that my intention with it is clear. Luisa’s writings themselves contain the necessary truths for real growth in continuously living and acting in the very center of the Divine Will in the highest degree. In this book, on the other hand, all you will find is the heartfelt plea of Luisa’s weakest and most unworthy follower beseeching others to at least begin to take the first steps. Tasks beyond these first steps are far beyond my meager talents. I would much rather merely invite people in from the highways and byways, so that, upon entering, they may learn these truths from Luisa’s writings themselves, but also—if they seek additional commentary—from teachers far worthier than myself. And there are many of them: I think of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, Fr. Robert Young, Thomas Fahy, Hugh Owen, Fr. Gabriel Barrera, Mother Gabrielle, Fr. John Brown, Robert Lozano, Robert Hart, Tony Hickey, and many others. If these teachers of the Divine Will and others like them are the main act, then I am not even a warm-up act. Quite the contrary; I am just a man out in the streets going up to as many souls as I can find and begging them to come inside.
Scattered throughout this book is material that I have previously published: much of my previous book, The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity, is republished here in the corresponding sections. I have also republished here and added to some of my own material from several of my blog posts (at http://www.DSDOConnor.com), my Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy website (www.DWMoM.org), and my evangelization website (www. PrepareToSeeHim.org). Finally, I wrote some of Part Three of this book (on the Era of Peace) originally as a research paper for a graduate theology course on Eschatology in 2017. Needless to say, any and all work created by others is presented and cited clearly as such. However, if reading this book as an “ebook,” one should be careful to ensure that it is appropriately displayed with the block-quote formatting, as the absence of such formatting would mean that quotations from other authors might not appear to be quotes. (Formatting can be verified by checking other versions of the book which can be found through DSDOConnor.com)
My last book

5) Introduction
I have a confession to make. Having read many spiritual, theological, and philosophical books over many years, I have observed a common theme in these situations. My reaction after putting them down is often:
“Oh, what wonderful things I have just read! I have just learned hundreds of excellent pieces of advice that I should really live my life by … but how on earth am I to even begin to do this? I could scarcely at this moment pass a pop-quiz on the contents of these pieces of advice, much less succeed in, first, remembering them all; second, holding them all continually before my mind; third, realizing when I am in a situation that they apply to; and, fourth, succeeding in applying them to these situations!”
Perhaps you sympathize with my sentiments, in which case you will be relieved to hear that Living in the Divine Will is the answer to all such anxieties. It is the simplest thing you will ever learn about the spiritual life, while also being the most endless, beautiful, deep, wide, and intricate a thing you will ever learn about the same. And the truly great thing is that the simplicity enfolds within itself the intricacy, while the intricacy is permeated throughout by the simplicity. What this means for you, practically, is that after you have read this one single page which follows, you can rise to the same height as one who has spent his whole life studying Luisa’s writings. And if at any point during your journey in the Divine Will the greatness and diversity of what you are exploring overwhelms you, you can always return to the following page to be reminded of the great simplicity of the journey you have embarked upon, and thus be reassured that you have nothing to fear and nothing to even suffer the slightest anxiety about. You are already where you need to be. For it is as simple as this:

The Essence of the Message in One Page
At this unique moment in the history of the world, the fitting time has at long last arrived in which God wishes to give us His Own Will—the Gift that contains every imaginable gift—the true Crown and Completion of all Sanctity both in Heaven and on earth. This Gift entails not only the grace to do God’s Will perfectly but also the total immersion of your human will within His Will, so that this Divine Will becomes the life principle of your soul even as your soul is the life principle of your body.
Within this Gift is all love, invincible joy, and perfect peace. Within It is absolute assurance of salvation. Within It is total deliverance from Purgatory. Within It is God’s infinite pleasure. Within It is the complete victory of every noble mission in one simple principle. Within It alone is the full realization of man’s creation in the Image and Likeness of God. Within It is the Culmination of Deification, the fruitfulness of Mystical Marriage, the aspiration of the Unification of Wills, and the essence of Marian Consecration. Within It is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima.
You cannot earn this Gift or merit It—you can only allow God to give It to you, and in exchange for His Divine Will, He asks only for your loving and trusting relinquishing of the tiny pebble of your own human will.
Whoever you are, no matter what, it is easy to allow Him to give His Will to you: simply say with sincerity, “Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done. I give you my will, and in return I want to live only in Your Will.” If you strive to converse with Him continually in this manner, then rest assured that He has given you His Will. Though your journey is not yet over, the victory already permeates your every step.
God wishes also to give this Gift to the whole world. Pray unceasingly, therefore, for the Coming of the Kingdom of the Divine Will, by way of which God’s Original Design for the world and for mankind will at last be realized. Pray with the joy and confidence that comes from knowing that the arrival of this reign is a guarantee, for it is nothing other than the full realization of the Fiat Voluntas Tua of the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus Himself prayed, and thus bears the absolute certainty of being fulfilled. Its arrival is only a question of time, but you can—and now are called to—hasten this time.
Entrust yourself completely to Our Lady, who lived more perfectly in the Divine Will than any other creature ever has or ever will, and she, who loves you—her dear child—will ensure that you Live in the Will of her Son. Especially let her sorrows and the Passion of her Son be always before your mind.
Finally, rejoice always in the invincible and continuous peace that will inevitably inundate the soul of anyone who really believes these truths.
“Do you want that My Will Reigns and Lives in you as Life? If you truly want it, everything is done… not too much is needed to Live of My Will…if [your volition] decides and strongly and perseveringly wants it, already [you have] conquered Mine and made It [yours].”—Jesus to Luisa. Solemnity of St. Joseph, 1935.
“See then, how easy it is to live in Our Will: the creature does not have to do new things, but whatever she does—that is, to carry out her life as We gave it to her, in Our Will.”—Jesus to Luisa. May 17, 1938.
“O! how I would Love everyone to know that if they want to Live in My Will, they have a Queen and a Powerful Mother who will compensate for all they lack. She will raise them on Her Maternal lap … ”—Jesus to Luisa, from the very last paragraph of Luisa’s writings, the Fourth Day of Christmas, 1938.
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Let the preceding page stand as a perennial reminder of the essence of this message, and what the essence of our response must be.
And now, we proceed to consider more deeply what God is doing in these amazing revelations, and let us begin—where else—at the very beginning.
All Christians know how it all began, and even Pagan religions usually teach the main thrust of the nature of creation somewhat correctly: The Universe, the World, and most importantly man himself came out of God’s Creative Hands perfect in every way. Whatever was essential to the nature of man was not lacking in man as God created him, for if it were lacking then God would have created an evil,5 which could never be. But what is essential to the nature of man? Certainly, his perfect happiness, perfect health, and perfect safety are all essential… but, above all else, his perfect holiness is that which is truly called for by man’s nature itself; made in the image and likeness of God.6 And if one now were to behold how creation was issued forth from God, one word would ring out: beauty.
But beauty, the Angelic Doctor7 rightly teaches, “consists in due proportion.”8 Therefore, we call something “beautiful” if it contains within itself the symmetry necessary for the recognition of its proportionality. For example, a beautiful sanctuary never contains an off-center altar with a collection of only icons on the right side, and a collection of only statues on the left side. The greatest thing—the altar (and tabernacle)—must be in the center, and both sides of it must be symmetric, though not identical. This symmetry, as an essential characteristic of beauty, applies not only to spatial considerations but, of utmost importance, to chronological ones. The greatest authors all know that to write a great story, they must begin writing it knowing that they will, after the story’s trial has been endured and conquered, return the setting in some manner to where it began. The Lord of the Rings, written by the devout Catholic scholar J.R.R. Tolkien, and often considered the greatest novel of modern times, gives a prime example of this symmetry. It begins in the green and peaceful land of the Shire, only to return to this same setting after the great adventure, the tremendous trial, and the vanquishing of the evil antagonist. Likewise, Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo begins with the blissful life of the betrothed Edmond Dantès and Mercédès, only to return to this bliss after enormous trials, with the final words of the book reminding us that “all human wisdom is summed up in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’”
Nothing could be more germane to the question at hand, for in reading this book you will see that God, as the Greatest Author, will not fail to ensure that His own story contains this symmetry between its beginning and ending. This story—the greatest one ever told—is history itself; therefore, if we wish to understand how God will ensure that it returns to Himself at the end of time, we need only look to its noble beginning. In the Mass, the priest prays:
… you call human nature back to its original holiness … 9
This, indeed, as the Church teaches in her liturgy—and as Jesus repeatedly tells Luisa—is a call: that is, an invitation to which we must respond; not an acknowledgement of some achievement already finished (in which case the prayer would instead say “you have, through Redemption, placed our human nature back in the position of its original holiness”). The revelations Jesus has given to Luisa constitute the instructions of that response.
“[Man] must enter once again the Divine Fiat from which he came. There are no ways in the middle; not even my very Redemption is sufficient to make man return to the beginning of the happy era of his creation. Redemption is means, way, light, help—but not the end. The end is my Will, because my Will was the beginning and, by justice, one who is the beginning must also be the end. Therefore, humanity must be enclosed in my Divine Volition to be given back her noble origin, her happiness, and to place the marriage with her Creator in force once again … True love never contents itself; only then is it content, when it can say: ‘I have nothing else to give him.”
-Jesus to Luisa. June 16, 1928
“…just as Creation started in an Outpouring of Love, in the same way, we will close it with Our children-in an Outpouring of Love.”
—Jesus to Luisa. March 22, 1938
But before we set out to read and heed these instructions, I propose that we first take a moment to remind ourselves of just how very sure our footing is now, as we begin this task, by examining again our Faith’s “Certain Logical Foundations.” After examining these foundations, we may proceed to consider the nature of private revelation, and how any alleged private revelation is to be properly discerned in light of the Deposit of Faith. Then we will apply these Church-sanctioned methods of discernment to the case of the private revelations Jesus and Mary have given to Luisa, after which we will see that there is simply no room for any reasonable doubt as to their validity. Once this has been settled, we will be ready to do what we have come for: delve into the revelations themselves that Jesus gave to Luisa to receive the Gift contained within them.
Part I: The Gift

Luisa
“… if [your will] wants the life of Our Will into its own—[which is] wanted, commanded by Us with such great longing … it will have the great good of possessing Our Will as life. And if it were not so, the sanctity of living in my Will would be a difficult sanctity, and almost impossible, while neither do I know how to teach difficult things, nor do I want impossible things. On the contrary, it is my usual way to make easy, as much as it is possible for the creature, the most difficult things and the hardest sacrifices…
And my love is so great, that in order to facilitate her even more, I whisper to the ear of her heart: ‘If you really want to do this good, I Myself will do it together with you, I will not leave you alone, I will place at your disposal my grace, my strength, my light, my sanctity; it will be the two of us doing the good you want to possess.’ Therefore, it does not take too much to live of my Will; the ‘too much’ is in wanting it, but if the creature makes up her mind and wants it, firmly and perseveringly, she has already won my Will and has made It her own…
The human will possesses, with indelible characters, everything it does and wants to do; and if the memory forgets, the will loses nothing, it contains the deposit of all of its acts, unable to disperse anything. Therefore it can be said that the whole of man is in his will: if the will is holy, even the most indifferent things are holy for him; but if it is evil, maybe even good itself changes for him into a perverted act. So, if you truly want my Divine Will as life, it does not take too much; more so, since united to yours there is Mine that wants it, there is a power that can do anything; and on your part it will show by deeds if in all things you will conduct yourself as the possessor of a Divine Will.”
-Jesus to Luisa. March 19, 1935.

1)
6) The Certain Logical Foundations

Before proceeding to construct a sturdy house, which we will do throughout this book, let us first, as Jesus teaches in the Gospel,10 dig down deep and lay the foundations upon the bedrock itself. Let us not fret that we will be spending some time reviewing what we already know; for these essentials undergird our every belief in the Faith and, consequently, every action that follows from them. A worthier thing to review cannot be imagined.
Therefore, three rock-solid pillars must be set down on this bedrock first. But before examining the three pillars, let us first acknowledge why we must say that there is indeed a truth which demands that we seek and follow it once we have found it, no matter what.
Why do we know there is a truth? Because to even attempt to contradict the existence of truth (whether through Relativism, Subjectivism, Radical Skepticism, Agnosticism, or any other popular “-ism” that has made its way into pop pseudo-philosophy since the dawn of Modernism) is immediately and utterly self-refuting. For to attack the notion of truth is to make a truth claim; to attack objective reality is to attempt an objectively real assertion; to insist upon radical skepticism is to fail to be skeptical toward that insistence. We simply cannot avoid the fact that there are facts; that there is a real difference between a lie and a truth. And even if we spend ourselves in a life dedicated to comical intellectual acrobatics to strive to escape this clear either/or, our hearts know better than our minds. For our hearts know with unshakeable certainty that when someone lies to us, a real injustice has been done, for truth has been neglected.
Why do we know we must seek the truth? Because our existence itself thrusts this demand upon us so powerfully that no one human can dare claim exemption. That “all men by nature desire to know” was the first observation, in the first line, of history’s greatest philosopher, Aristotle, in his most fundamental treatise, Metaphysics. Our rationality, which separates us from the beasts (who needn’t seek truth—not because it is irrelevant to them, but because they are constrained to follow the truth automatically), drives us on to this end with such compulsion that, if it were capable of envy, the sun itself would wish it had similar power over the earth. It takes a true mad man, a true mental delinquent, a true sad and sorry excuse for a human, to say along with Nietzsche “why not truth? Why not, rather, untruth?” That “philosopher” showed the world, with his own life, what it is to reject knowingly the duty to seek truth: it is to become insane, to declare oneself the antichrist, and to die alone in superlative misery in an insane asylum; all of which, in fact, Nietzsche did.
Why do we know we must follow the truth once we have found it? Because just as clearly as every integer is either even or odd, so also two and only two options present themselves to us: Follow known truth or live a lie. Given these options, the one we must follow is at once obvious to anyone. One who is content with living a lie has condemned himself, and we need not bother addressing such a person in this text, for writing a book to achieve what only a Divine Intervention can solve would be like treating a hewn-off leg with a small band aid. But since any man worthy of the name will refuse to live a lie, we can rely on this refusal, with the following three pillars of truth, to see clearly what we must do. So, let us go forward now and consider the Three Pillars.
I) The Certainty of God’s Existence
First. God exists. Of the truths—the very existence of which we have settled in the previous section—which demand our assent, the Existence of God is foremost.
Although His existence is confirmed and known with certainty by supernatural Faith, which is a gift from God Himself and not a product of human effort, this Faith is not needed to know that He exists, for reason alone tells any serious thinker, in many ways, that there is no possible way to escape the rational necessity of a Being whose essence is existence itself; a Being who created the universe, a Being who designed all the order we see in living things, a Being who imbues with transcendent meaning all of those things that we simply intuitively know are more than mere matter.
But I have told you that reason demonstrates these conclusions with clarity, and I do not want to leave to a poem what is the proper job of a good argument. Therefore, let us briefly consider only a few of the many ways that God’s existence can be quickly and easily known, with reason and with certainty, by anyone who has the courage and the honesty to follow his intellect wherever it leads.
Life
There is simply no other way to explain the functional order that all forms of life contain without acknowledging the existence of a Divine Author of that order. Although most atheists seek to explain this order away by appealing to the Theory of Evolution, the fact is that even if we grant the validity of all the claims of the evolutionists, this still says nothing about how life came to be in the first place. For under their own premises, the starting point of evolution (which, then, obviously cannot itself be explained by evolution) is a single cell with DNA capable of reproduction: a masterpiece of design that never has been matched by even the most impressive feats of human innovation.
Even the recently published and authoritative Encyclopedia of Evolution from Oxford University Press has the honesty to admit “…how the ancestral cell11 originated, some 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago, remains an issue of intense speculation…”12 before proceeding to dedicate a whopping one page (of its overall 1,326) to pondering how this may have happened—in this one page, giving a meditation which would qualify as a nice fairy tale if it were not so utterly scientifically and logically absurd (for the author of a fairy tale can justify including some scientific absurdities, but not logical absurdities).

I note the incredible brevity with which they treat this matter of the so-called “ancestral cell”—totaling less than 0.08% of the entire encyclopedia—because precisely this question of its origin must be settled in order to give the atheistic evolutionary hypothesis any credence whatsoever; yet, it is systematically the most ignored question in all evolutionary biology. An atheist might protest that the treatment is minuscule in the encyclopedia only because there isn’t yet enough of substance to summarize. But this protestation only proves the point even more clearly, for Darwinism has had well over 100 years to explain the “origin of the ancestral cell,” devouring entire careers of generations of countless scientists—not to mention mountains of money—in the process. If, after all this monumental effort, there has not been enough substantial progress on the question to merit more than one page of summary in the Encyclopedia of Evolution, then what conclusion any reasonable person should draw from this categorical failure of progress is too obvious to be worth stating. For these efforts make those of a little boy trying to jump up and touch the moon look rather reasonable and even achievable.
Realizing he must simply despair of ever giving a rational, scientific account of the origin of the “ancestral cell,” an atheist may then resort to platitude and assert “Ah, but given enough time, it is still bound to come into existence by chance,” followed with the remark, “even a monkey smashing away at a typewriter would eventually create Shakespeare, you know,” as if merely conjuring up such an image proves its validity.
Of course, mere illustrations of a point never by themselves prove what they depict; they are only useful in helping one understand a point he already grants—therefore, the monkey-typewriter hypothesis is one that requires testing against reason, which we will presently commence. Let us suppose only one work of Shakespeare’s need be completed13 in order to validate the monkey-typewriter theory: Hamlet. Hamlet consists of over 150,000 characters in their proper configuration. When these 150,000 characters have been properly arranged, viola, there you have Hamlet in front of you. An easy task for a Monkey and a typewriter with several billion years, one might suppose.
Well, let us give the monkey-typewriter hypothesis every benefit of the doubt; for our opponents’ arguments deserve no less. Let us suppose that even only half of the characters (75,000) being chosen correctly will be sufficient for successfully creating the work in question. Thus, even if the monkey produces a work in which every other character is a blatant typo, we will still grant that it has succeeded in producing Shakespeare. To give the hypothesis even more undeserved benefit of the doubt, let us also ignore capital letters and punctuation, as getting these correct would make the monkey’s task vastly more difficult.
Given these extremely generous criteria, we can now proceed with a simple calculation: each character has only 26 options: the letters from “a” to “z.” The chance of choosing the first letter correctly at random, therefore, is 1/26. The chance of choosing the second letter after that correctly as well is (1/26)^2. The chance of choosing the third letter after that one correctly again is (1/26)^3, and so on. Therefore, we need only do a simple calculation to know the probability of Hamlet being typed at random: (1/26)^75,000.
I urge you at this moment to type that calculation into the first calculator you can find; it is important that you see the results for yourself and not merely take my word for it. Your calculator will tell you, rightly, that this probability you have calculated is equal to zero. That’s right—there isn’t even a mathematical possibility for something so relatively simple as Hamlet to come to be from mere chance. But a single strand of DNA (itself contained within the single cell that is needed as the starting point of the theory of evolution) dwarfs Hamlet in its detailed complexity—containing not a mere 150,000 pieces of information but, rather, billions in a precisely necessary configuration.
Now, the most ardent atheists will still protest that, although minuscule, the probability is not literally the exact same thing as zero. And this mathematical fact we must indeed grant; but the calculation can easily be continued to show that even if we give the monkey-typewriter argument every possible, imaginable benefit of the doubt and suppose that each atom in the universe is a monkey with his own typewriter, ferociously pecking away at the keys at a rate only achievable by an expert typist, and having had the entire history of the universe to execute this task, the probability still works out to zero.14 When an argument has been given every possible benefit of the doubt and still falls flat on its face, only a fool can continue to hold it. (This benefit we have given here, mind you, is infinitely more generous than any conceivable “primordial-soup-bubbles-collisions-causing-RNA on the surface of the earth billions of years ago” scenario could ever be.)
Here an anecdote is necessary. I still recall vividly when, as an undergraduate engineering student in a top engineering University (which also happens to be the oldest technical University in the Western Hemisphere and was founded 25 years before Darwin published his famous On the Origin of Species), I sat down for an “Origins of Life” class which I had signed up for because I was curious to see what the supposed best and brightest scientific minds of the modern world had to say about the matter. In the midst of all manner of convoluted theories swirling about during the class, the actual crux of the matter was conveniently glossed over and written off as “emergence.” We were hurriedly told that just as one may sometimes observe a pretty pattern of ripples emerge on the sands of a beach, so too that first cell necessary to initiate the process of evolution “emerged” out of the primordial soup that, hypothetically, was the surface of the earth billions of years ago. I then recognized openly what I in fact already knew before signing up for the course: the so-called scientific geniuses heralded by today’s atheists and agnostics hadn’t themselves even the faintest clue how it is possible to reconcile their views with the fact of the existence of life. For emergence, which is all they can appeal to, was just tested against real reason in the preceding paragraphs and was demonstrated to be a total failure in explaining what it proposes to explain.
Let us remind ourselves of the inescapable mathematical facts. Absurdly generous benefits of the doubt always give even the most basically impossible but perhaps conceivable scenarios a virtual statistical guarantee of occurring. For example, the notion of a small toddler who has never even seen a gun nevertheless outperforming an expert marksman in a target shooting competition is ridiculous. And yet, if we take any reasonable estimate of the probability of that occurring (let’s say one in a million—that is, .0001%), and give it a billion-trillion attempts, it has now become an utter guarantee; rising from a .0001% chance of occurring to essentially a 100% chance. Similarly, all computer scientists agree that 128-bit encryption is logically unbreakable. As the name implies, this method of encrypting (or “coding”) data entails scrambling it by means of a key of 128 pieces of information (it is as if your ordinary house key, instead of having several distinct notches, had 128). If somebody succeeds in decrypting data that was encrypted in this manner, you can be certain he had access to the encryption key and did not merely guess it correctly with the help of a “brute force” software attack; as the world’s greatest supercomputers are utterly powerless against 128-bit encryption.15 Nevertheless, if we give the would-be-breakers of this unbreakable situation the same absurd benefit of the doubt we just gave the monkey-typewriter-Shakespeare argument, this impossibility also becomes a veritable guarantee.16
Now, the chance-producing-Shakespeare argument has not merely been given an absurdly generous benefit of the doubt; no, we have gone much farther and have given it every imaginable, conceivable benefit of the doubt. It makes the billion-trillion chances given to the child sharpshooter look like a downright miser’s benefit of the doubt. You see, a billion-trillion is nothing compared to the number of chances we gave the order-from-randomness scenario to work. These givens, therefore, as shown, should turn any mere possibility into a veritable guarantee. Not only have they failed to do that, but they have failed to make it even likely … not only have they failed to make it likely; no, indeed, the probability is still zero. In brief: The most absurdly generous, greatest imaginable benefit of the doubt, instead of rendering the practically impossible scenario a guarantee, as such concessions are supposed to do in all cases, still gives the scenario a zero percent chance of happening. Briefer still: even given every imaginable chance, functional order without God remains categorically impossible; even when applied to an ordered thing nowhere near the complexity of that which is required, such as the alleged starting point of evolution.
It is now obvious that there is no possible way for life to exist without a God Who made it.
“But Who Made God?” Won’t Work
Once any conclusion—no matter how certain—has been definitively demonstrated by reason or science, anybody (even a toddler, or a parrot for that matter) can always mindlessly retort “But why?”
And this, indeed, usually is the atheist’s recourse: “Okay, fine: God made life. But who made God, then?” While superficially similar to the believer’s response when the Big Bang Theory is given as an explanation for the existence of the Universe (that is, the believer asking, in response to being told that the Big Bang “made” the universe: “Well, who caused the Big Bang?”), it in fact is radically divergent.
Recall, first, that the “Big Bang Theory” itself was created by a Catholic priest,17 and even if true, says nothing about how the Big Bang itself happened; it only speaks of what would have happened immediately after and since. Consequently, believers have long appealed to the existence of something rather than nothing as a clear proof of a Creator, with atheists responding, “Well, then who created God? If you can say that He just exists, then we can say that the Universe just exists.” The atheists proceed to insist that this is just another question that science is still working on and eventually will answer.
But the plain truth is that the existence of something rather than nothing—how anything at all came to be—is simply a mystery radically beyond the capability of the human mind to grasp. Continuing the tit-for-tat, the atheist says that he is allowed to appeal to mystery if the believer is. But this is not the case. Any believer can authentically proclaim, without undermining his own premises, “I don’t know how God can simply exist. I don’t know how He can be uncreated, and I could not possibly ever understand.” An atheist cannot. For this response is perfectly acceptable with regard to God (the argument against Him by atheists that reference His inherent intangibility allow for it), but this is the one response that empirical science and materialist mindsets do not have the authority to give.
Nothing that pertains to the merely physical (which, by definition, is all that an atheist believes in) could be inherently unknowable. Though some areas remain to be discovered, there is no room for mystery in mechanics. Without God, “it is unknowable” is simultaneously the only possible response to the universe’s creation and the existence of life, and an impossible response. This paradox then can only be solved by the introduction of a non-, or super- natural, element, or in other words, God.
We return to the issue with which we began the section. Any atheist could easily and cheaply pretend he has rebutted any argument for God by simply responding “Well, what _______ God, then?” (putting “created,” “caused,” “ordered,” or whatever else, in that blank); similar to how a criminal who knows he is guilty of a certain offense invariably responds to any accusation with the words “where’s your proof!?” even when he knows full well that what has been presented already constitutes proof.
But when one has succumbed to such obstinacy that he employs methods that could just as easily be undertaken by a two-year-old or a parrot—arbitrarily and thoughtlessly continuing to say “why?” or “how?” even when the question has already been answered—he should consider what brought him to such a lamentable state. For no believer in God pretends that he has an answer as to how exactly God can be a Cause Who Himself Needs No Cause or a Designer Who Himself Needs No Designer; believers simply realize that such a Being is necessary given the hard data; that is, given what we already know with certainty about the brute facts of the universe.
For just as no story explains itself, but rather its existence can only be explained by an author who himself is outside of the story, so too matter can only be explained by something outside of material being—at the very minimum as its first cause and designer. Now “outside of” matter simply means extra-material; or, better put, “super-natural,” which is simply a reference to God.
The point here is that the whole material, natural universe—that is, the entirety of the domain of empirical science and the entirety of that which an atheist believes in—is categorically incapable of giving answers to questions which the material, natural universe itself demands that we answer, including: how did it begin, and how did the functional order we see in it come to be? It is only possible to answer those questions by appealing to the existence of some Being Who radically transcends corporeality itself; that is, existing in a realm in which “it is a mystery” is a legitimate answer to a question pertaining to, as opposed to any question pertaining to the material universe, for which “it is a mystery” is never licit, and whenever it is given it automatically undercuts materialism itself.
The Errors of Today’s Most Famous Atheist
We turn now to address the arguments of perhaps the most appealed to giant of atheistic science today: the recently deceased Stephen Hawking. For if the best methods of the best mind in support of a given thesis are shown to be absurd, this speaks volumes to any earnestly inquiring seeker of truth about the thesis itself.
In his posthumous work, Brief Answers to the Big Questions (a magnum opus in brief of Hawking’s “most profound”18 reflections, carefully extracted from “half a million” words from his writings and speeches), Hawking began his argument against God by repeating the slander Christians are used to hearing: “Science is increasingly answering questions that used to be the province of religion,”19 which in turn is reminiscent of the tired “God of the gaps” argument against God’s existence. One wonders if Hawking and the other atheists who promote this old know-nothing view have ever bothered to open a Bible—which, of its tens-of-thousands of verses, has scarcely a handful that concern themselves with matters overlapping with the proper domain of modern empirical science, thus rendering the attack of these atheists about as meritorious as that of a frustrated High School student who, not wanting to learn the laws of Geometry, complains that Euclid and Pythagoras have been increasingly shown incorrect in their medical, political, or religious views, and thus should be ignored, abandoned, and rejected. Just as any teacher would see straight through this complaint, so too should we all see through the “gaps” attack against God.
Knowing that he could not back up that statement as it pertains to Christianity (which was clearly the primary object of his attack), Hawking diverts the reader’s attention with irrelevant examples, bringing up an ancient Greek astronomer, Aristarchus, who argued well that eclipses were not the direct effects of gods (and later, bringing up an African creation myth wherein a god named Bumba vomited out the world after a stomach ache). Confident that he has assured his readers that the time has come for science to replace religion, he proceeds to attempt to explain scientifically what, in fact, only religion can address; namely, the existence of the Universe. He said, “ … I think that actually you can get a whole universe for free.”20
In seeking to justify the manifest absurdity, Hawking refers to a man creating a hill with the dirt he excavates from a hole. This, Hawking teaches, is all the Big Bang was; an explosion of “positive energy” (the hill) along with an equal and opposite precipitation of “negative energy” (the hole); thus, since these amounts allegedly negate each other perfectly, no further explanation need be given for their existence and separation.
(How stupid I feel even bothering to refute in this book an argument that no four-year-old would fall for! Nevertheless, I must, for this type of “argument” is what passes for logical discourse today.) We must first acknowledge that Hawking was speaking here of science fiction—or at best little more than conjecture—not of empirical science properly so-called, which has yet to even produce a consistent and convincing theory about “negative energy,” much less has it ever observed or proven it. Though such inadequacy should be more than sufficient to reject a scientific hypothesis, we needn’t limit ourselves to pointing it out, for the theory itself is absurd even as it is stated and reminds me of the various “Free Energy” scams I analyzed as an engineer.21
Hawking is of course only using an analogy, but his analogy is in fact perfectly chosen to refute his very own argument. For a hole cannot be dug unless there already is a substrate in which to dig it. A hole—or, in this case, “negative energy”—as a privation, can only be spoken of, or even have any existence whatsoever, in relation to the already existing reality to which it is opposed (a “hole” can only be a hole in something). One, for example, cannot identify or speak of a shadow without referring to the boundary of light to which this shadow is adjacent. In other words, in striving to prove the Big Bang came from nothing, Hawking appeals to an already-existing something from which it came. Is there anybody who finds this argument of his even remotely insightful, much less convincing?
But perhaps Hawking does not realize the emptiness of his own words; like many other popular atheists, he sneered at good philosophy, once claiming “philosophy is dead” (Richard Dawkins also, for example, admits he has no idea what an essence is22—a basic philosophical teaching that one should not even need any formal training in philosophy to grasp23); which is unfortunate for Hawking, because it could have saved him much effort, just as knowledge of the laws of algebra could save those who play the lottery much money. (In his defense, Hawking went through school long after good logic and philosophy became unpopular).
Studiously and sincerely, dear reader, consider well what we have seen here. A scientist lauded by the world like no other, a veritable intellectual giant, dedicating much of his career to answering these questions of origins, can come up with nothing better, even in the final work of his life, for an atheistic explanation of the existence of the Universe, than an argument that has already manifestly refuted itself before one has even finished reading it.
The absurdity of this text does not end there. In one breath, Hawking says that his beliefs boil down to nothing more than the assertion that there are laws of nature, and that these laws are absolute and immutable. Shortly after, he says that particles can randomly pop into existence for no reason (which is precisely, he says, what the Universe conveniently did in accord with the aforementioned hole-hill principle). It doesn’t even occur to him that he has just asserted blatant contradictions: if something can happen randomly, then either there are not laws of nature, or they are not immutable and absolute; for an event cannot be both by a “law” and by “randomness,” as these predicates are contraries, and therefore cannot be said of the same thing.
Hawking ventures further in his babbling, arguing that because time did not exist before the Big Bang, it does not even “make sense” to ponder if God caused it, because there was no time before it in which there could have been a God to cause it. Here he continues to reveal his baffling ignorance of the most basic teachings of philosophy and theology. For anyone who has graduated from Catechism 101 knows that God is timeless; to argue that there wasn’t a time in which God could cause the Big Bang to try to prove God couldn’t have caused the Big Bang is to beg the question:24 to assume that there is no timeless Being in striving to prove there is no timeless Being.
And what have we seen here in the “scientific” atheism of Hawking? Nothing but contradiction, theories that neglect the axioms on which they are built, straw men, ignorance, and fallacy. Behold, dear reader, the hero of the atheists. A man whose best arguments would flunk if used in an essay written by a middle school student.
The Nature of Today’s Most Common Fallacy
It seems there is one fallacy that defines virtually all the common attacks made against Faith and the faithful: the Fallacy of Conflated Premises.
By this fallacy, one proceeds from his own premises to condemn the actions of somebody else, and this condemnation takes the form of pointing out how very absurd the other’s behavior is if compared to the premises that the condemner himself holds. But this approach, of course, is just as foolish as a morbidly obese man who rebukes a man of a healthier weight for buying a shirt made to fit an ordinary body. Certainly, this shirt will not fit the large man, but that is irrelevant to the one buying it.
This fallacy is, of course, rarely employed in so explicit a fashion; rather, it is as subtle and unrecognized as it is pervasive. In its common use, the errant attackers condemn someone simply for being consistent with his own premises; whereas in their condemnation all they have accomplished is the highlighting of the virtue of their chosen object of scorn! When it is pointed out, the nature of this fallacy is obvious; but it is almost never pointed out, hence people everywhere constantly fall into it.
Consider, for example, what is often said about Saudi Arabia. In that country, the practice of all its citizens dropping everything five times a day to pray is institutionalized and carefully observed. But the practice is certainly a burden, and many are therefore quick to condemn: they point out how difficult it is for traffic and business to stop five times a day, and how much of an economic impact there is, how much more money could be made each day without this frequent stopping of trade; and on the list goes. But all these complaints are themselves absurd and irrelevant. If Muhammad is a true prophet, and if the Quran25 is truly God’s word, and if the Hadith26 truly bears the same authority, and if the Hadith truly commands this practice, then the only absurd thing would be to fail to implement it as diligently as Saudi Arabia does. If one wishes to take issue with this practice, then he ought not waste his breath bringing up economic considerations, or anything of the sort, but should instead argue either that the Quran is not from God, that Muhammad is not a true prophet, or that the Hadith is not of sufficient authority to command in the name of Muhammad or the Quran. Any other argument completely misses the point.
Similarly, the whole point of Faith in God is that believers hold that He is giving us this very small window of time; wherein there is suffering, there is sin, and there is a veil obscuring the clarity of His presence, in order to allow us to merit by our faith; that this is not how it will be for the vast, vast, vast majority of our existence (almost all of which will be in either Heaven or Hell where there will be no more possibility for doubt), and that we are only given a relatively brief few moments before our deaths to take advantage of this once-in-an-eternity opportunity.
Returning to the Fallacy of Conflated Premises, we can now clearly see how it is succumbed to. The most common “arguments” one hears against the life of Faith have nothing to do with carefully constructed attempts to show that life or the universe could exist without God; nor do they make any serious attempt to refute any of the various clear proofs of His existence. Rather, they usually amount to nothing but an application of this very fallacy, lamenting how ridiculous the faithful are if there is no God, usually sounding something like this:
1. “Look at this miserable sheep, going about submitting to the arbitrary commands of a 2,000-year-old book instead of doing as he pleases.”
2. “Look at those parrots, mouthing prayers every day and going to Church; taking up so much time that could be better spent enjoying life.”
3. “These ridiculous believers; every time something good happens, they thank God for it, but they never blame the bad things on God!”
4. “Stop wasting your life thinking about where you’re going to wind up after you die! Live your life now!”
5. “What fools! They won’t even think for themselves; with all their subjecting themselves to myths.”
6. “How convenient! Their ‘God’ won’t work miracles to make His existence clearer, and they say He has a reason for that without thinking that this is just what it would look like if there wasn’t a God!”
7. “Imagine no religion! No God to fight over, no afterlife to worry about, no man in the sky to obey…”
8. “We should believe in science above all! Why resort to old outdated myths used by primitive peoples to explain things when we now have a better way? Why not get rid of all that and let hard science be our sole guide?”
9. “Faith is an intellectually bankrupt cop-out; it’s very assertion demonstrates the emptiness of its object, for one would not appeal to Faith if he were supporting something reasonable.”
10. “Foolish believers! They have just made-up a God in their own image, and in so doing have only revealed their anthropocentrism.”
11. “Blindly trusting masses! They always credit God with their answered-prayers, but they never bother to consider that their not-answered prayers indicate the opposite.”
12. “Most people are already atheists with respect to Zeus and Thor and all such other gods—we atheists just go one God further than most and do not believe in any God!”
Few, I think, will deny that the statements listed above are drastically more common than attempts at reasonable refutations of the proofs for God’s existence, or reasonable attempts at positive proofs against the same. Frankly, atheists know that they don’t have much of a chance in that arena and they realize that they are way out of their league when they try to wade into it, so it is almost always these shallow soundbites that they rely on and promulgate—tweeting them, posting them on billboards, and the like.
And yet, when we understand the nature of the Fallacy of Conflated Premises, we see how absurd all these soundbites are; how, in its own way, each one castigates believers with admonishments that are totally irrelevant if the believer’s premises (premises ignored by these soundbites) are true.
1) If the Bible really is the Word of God, then its age has nothing to do with whether it should be obeyed; for if God exists, He is all-knowing, and cannot be so ignorant as to give commandments and teachings which would have an expiration date due to future and unanticipated advancements of human knowledge.
2) If there really is an all-powerful Being, then it is difficult to imagine a better use of one’s time than speaking to Him and worshipping Him.
3) If there really is an all-good and all-powerful God, then it does not take a genius philosopher to conclude that whatever happens can only be according to His Will, which is always ultimately for the best, and that all that happens is part of His perfect plan which will in time be seen.
4) If we really are going to live forever either in Heaven or in Hell, then it is difficult to imagine a worthier consideration than pondering which of these two places one will wind up in, and, in accordance with this consideration, to direct one’s actions towards attaining the former and avoiding the latter.27
5) Even the most arrogant of men usually will admit they do not have it all figured out; if there really is an all-knowing God who occasionally reveals a few glimpses of His Truth to His creatures, then it would obviously be absurd to contradict these revelations merely because our flimsy attempts at reason have trouble at first understanding them.
6) A reality being “convenient” is not a mark against its validity. If there really is a God then it is easy to imagine Him allowing a period of time during which, only for the eternal benefit of His creatures, He largely veils His presence from them. The whole fundamental premise of most religions is precisely that we are in this time right now; merely acknowledging that and condemning it as “convenient” does not refute its truth.
7) Children play pretend, and that is okay, because they are children. Adults are expected to do their best to discover the truth and act in accord with their discovery, no matter how much they might enjoy imagining things being another way.
8) If there really is a God—Who created us and gave us our intellects by virtue of which we undertake scientific investigation—then we should of course zealously use the tools He gave us, but we should also never be so stupid as to suppose that the effect can refute the cause (in other words, that science—the tool to discover truths empirically—can refute other Truths directly revealed by the very One Who made the tool and therefore already knows everything it can, and cannot, do).
9) No believer worthy of the name supposes that Faith replaces reason; rather, believers understand that it is a God-given gift which confirms and fortifies their knowledge of the truth: a truth already confirmed (or, at the minimum lead to) by reason. If indeed there is a God, and if many are constantly arguing against Him and striving to get others to reject Him as well, then it only makes sense that, if one indeed understands by reason also that He exists, then one would benefit greatly from a supernatural gift (Faith) directly from God, both confirming the fact of His existence (and thus safeguarding the benefits of this belief against the inevitable fluctuations and doubts in ordinary human knowledge), and revealing, with certainty, truths about Himself and His creation that reason alone would not be capable of discovering.
10) If indeed there is a God Who made man in His own image, then the likeness between man and God cannot be merely arbitrarily accused of an anthropocentric formation of the latter by the former. As usual—as with all 12 of these points—the atheist here is purely looking at how absurd the believer’s creed and practice is compared to the atheist’s own premises; furthermore, the atheist erroneously supposes that the believer uses arguments for God that, in fact, almost never have been used in this fashion: no believer claims he believes in God because of God’s similarity to man (for obviously if one were to invent a religion, he would do just that). But if there was a God; why wouldn’t He make creatures like Himself? And if indeed He did so, these creatures would be perfectly capable of, upon observing this similarity, accuse the Creator of being a creation of the creature; just as even now a flat-earther who observes a photograph of the earth from orbit would accuse it of being Photoshopped in the image of a fiction.
11) In moments of honesty, most believers readily admit that their prayers of petition are often more or less self-centered, and they do not hold it against God for not answering them exactly in the way, and in the time, they wanted them answered; they are sorely aware of their own weaknesses (both moral and intellectual) in contrast to God’s perfection, and they rightly recognize that, given such a stark contrast, the whims of the weaker would often fail to correspond to the Providential Will of the Perfect. Even this aside, it is only reasonable (especially considering point number 6 above) that, given what has already been demonstrated about the nature of God and the nature of this brief time in which we now live, that God would choose to act in a usually hidden, subtle, and mysterious (but no less real) way in answering prayers. Nevertheless, most believers have clear examples of their prayers being answered in a way that is difficult if not impossible to chalk up to any reason other than God’s intervention: all it takes is one such example to prove the believer’s point, notwithstanding any number of supposed “not answered” prayers which, wrongly, are considered by atheists and agnostics as reasons to not believe in Him.
12) The vast majority of believers in the world hold that there must be one Supreme Being above all others; in stark contrast to a few brands of ancient pagan polytheism which held that there were many such Beings (but even most brands of paganism themselves hold that the many ‘gods’ are really all inferior beings to some other absolute, supreme, transcendent One). To suppose that this monotheism can be refuted merely by accusing it of lacking sufficient boldness to take its own quest of rejecting pagan gods “one step further” is as absurd as saying a good husband must become celibate, since his monogamy is nothing but a tepid and arbitrary stopping point foisted upon his endeavor to be celibate with respect to all women other than his wife. One is a completely unique and exalted reality, radically distinct from both the many and the none between which it stands. This will be readily attested to by any mathematician worth his salt (many of whom admirably, to distinguish one as not merely another number among equally important numbers, refer to it as “unity” in the more advanced mathematical textbooks they produce). Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in particular were distinguished from the start by their zealous rejection of pagan ‘gods,’ and it would even today be laughable for any atheist to suppose that he has been bolder in this rejection “merely by going on god further.”
Therefore, these twelve attacks—and the many others like them—should simply be given up on by anyone who wishes to act in accordance with reason. Such a person must, instead, simply strive to discover—as honestly as he can—through the rigorous application of his intellect, whether God exists; a question which has nothing to do with these twelve protestations. And if there is any doubt about God’s existence aside from these twelve soundbites, please simply re-read this chapter.
In brief: Dear atheist, if you wish to criticize someone’s conclusions, you must either refute his premises or reveal the fallacy in his logic. For you are only making a fool of yourself if you undertake this criticism by merely complaining about those conclusions of his which do clearly follow from his premises, and are instead only questionable under your own premises, succumbing as you are to the Fallacy of Conflated Premises.
The Ultimate Question for the Atheist
I conclude the philosophical and logical portion of this section with a simple question to the atheist:
So you are firm in your disbelief. Well and good. What would it take for you to change your mind?
If you just answered, “Nothing—there is nothing that would change my mind,” then you have just shown your true hand: you have just revealed yourself as an unscientific and prejudiced fanatical ideologue. For any scientific view to even begin to qualify as such, it must at least be falsifiable. That is, there must be a conceivable scenario in which what actually transpires proves it to be wrong. To assert anything as scientific in nature but declare it to be unfalsifiable (which is implied in saying that you will always hold a view, no matter what), is to succumb to pseudoscience by rejecting the cornerstone of science itself. And how tragic it would be to, in an attempt at a heroic effort of rising above old, mythical faith, only succeed in falling into pseudoscience!
But, if you gave a different answer: if you did give some criteria under which you would revise your unbelief and choose Faith instead, then I in turn have a different response for you. And perhaps you are now wincing in anticipation since you are used to others castigating you for this very thing; perhaps some believers have rebuked you for putting conditions on your response to God. And although there is merit in this rebuke, that is not what I wish to do now. Instead, I have a radically different message for you: God will give you that. Yes, He truly will. He will eliminate any excuse; He will leave your doubt with no more recourse.
He may, however, wait until the moment of your death to do that; hoping beyond hope that, in His delay, you will finally listen to the countless invitations He has already given you. Because you lose so much—incalculably much—by waiting so long for the satisfaction of the arbitrary prerequisites you have placed on Faith. You miss the entire purpose of life. You turn your whole earthly existence, with which God wanted to write an amazing story to tell all of Heaven about for all of eternity, into a long, drawn out, boring preface to a story that turned out to be nothing but a sentence or two. You turn your whole life into one of those miserable jokes that meanders about agonizingly as the clock ticks loudly and guest after guest sneaks out of the room, only to give a half-hearted punchline, seeming like centuries after it should have been given. In a word, you render the object of that glorious prayer useless in your case: “Lord, save me at death from the agonizing memory of a wasted life.”
Dear brother, dear sister: do not waste your life.
***
To end this section, let us leave aside the logical arguments and instead simply be honest and open about what all humans just know—what they always have known, and always will know about the most important experiences they have had—experiences of transcendent and spiritual love, beauty, truth, and goodness.
For truly there can be no love for an atheist, only neuron firings. No music, only noise. No beauty, only varying light wavelengths. Would you allow your eye to command your nose to deny an aroma since it knows it not? Neither then should you allow the tempests of your mind, even if you find them doubting God, to insist the heart deny what it knows to be true; meaning, music, beauty, love…and the source of all these: God.
And so, I have a personal message for all atheists: I know that you have loved—looking into the eyes of a spouse. Embracing a child. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness. Do you really believe that was nothing but chemical reactions? True atheists do. Surely you have enjoyed true beauty- a symphony beyond description. A movie that leaves you speechless. A landscape that took your breath away. Do you really believe that was no more than the triggering of a certain part of your brain via sensory input? True atheists do. There must have been many times when you helped another person and felt God’s presence in you with a happy conscience—a time when you rejected selfishness and gave up something you had a right to for the sake of a friend. When you cared for someone who was suffering. When you gave without expecting anything in return. Do you really believe that was nothing but the evolutionary herd-instinct? True atheists do.
To remain in the truth, we often need only to refuse to forget those moments when we knew we were closest to it; when we were at the heights of reason confirmed by the highest emotions. Whoever you are, you have had times when you knew that God exists. The only reason you do not even now believe is because you have permitted yourself to forget those moments like a bride forgetting her wedding vows. When we permit ourselves to forget, mindless drifting dictates the direction in which we travel, and when we wake up after a time of doing this, we far too often scramble to justify our position instead of coming back home. If you, dear atheist, review your life, you will find this is true. You did not simply sit down one day to conclude rationally there is no God, and then go about living a life free from the chains of His non-existent tyranny. On the contrary, one day you found yourself living a life without God, and then sought to convince yourself it was OK, because He does not exist. Consider this, therefore, an invitation to be governed by reason instead of drifting.
***
Finally, as a brief endnote, understand that this section has refuted all forms of agnosticism just as thoroughly as atheism. For here, we have not simply refuted an argument against God’s existence (as one would do, for example, by refuting the “problem of evil”28); rather, we have positively demonstrated God’s existence in these pages. Appealing to agnosticism is a common tactic of a lukewarm soul once he realizes that atheism has been thoroughly refuted, but this appeal cannot work. The evidence is conclusive and one who refuses to align his own beliefs in accord with that conclusion is not being wise, cautious, or humble; he is, rather, being just as obstinate as one who flatly denies what the evidence conclusively indicates.
II) The Fact that God Became Man
Second. Almost 2,000 years ago, this very same God entered into the universe He created. He became Man: Jesus Christ.
The easiest (and cheapest) way one may try to evade this particular certainty is by pretending that the whole thing—the entire New Testament of the Bible and above all Jesus Himself—is just a matter of fiction: whether a deliberate conspiracy or an elaborate myth which was later misinterpreted (or some mixture of the two), so we begin by pointing out Jesus’ historicity.
Undeniable Historicity
When it comes to the study of historical events that extend back to time periods before the modern era, there are two fundamental options: either believe what is reasonable to believe about them in proportion to the reliable evidence we have, or else categorically reject it all as uncertain (or perhaps even conspiracy). Those who choose the latter may also be interested in Flat Earth Theory. Indeed, if one is going to believe anything whatsoever about history, he must at least believe that the New Testament says what it is known to say. Whether what it says is true (that is, whether it recounts events that actually happened), is a question we will discuss next. But not even a fool could deny that it is a real historical document and that we know its contents. For these contents are verified by more manuscripts (tens of thousands) than any other document in ancient history and have furthermore been cross-examined with more rigor than any document in any era of history, resulting in astonishing consistency. Of course, most of these manuscripts were made several centuries after Christ, but even the earliest manuscripts alone easily succeed in demonstrating the validity and agreement of their content.
Now, to what wild conspiracy theory masquerading as historical scholarship can one flee? To what species of obstinacy masquerading as reasonable doubt can one turn?
Shall one flee to so-called “mythicism,” which holds that Jesus is a mere myth invented by the authors of the New Testament? Even professor Bart Ehrman, a world-renowned scholar who is an agnostic and skeptic (who in his own words is “not a Christian” and has “no interest in promoting the Christian cause”), and who has spent most of his professional career attacking traditional Christian views, and is beloved by the so-called “nones” (those who do not identify with any particular religion), nevertheless has the honesty to write of the “mythicist” view:
… none of this [mythicist] literature is written by scholars [on Scripture or early Christianity who teach at schools dedicated to the same] … Of the thousands of [these qualified scholars] none of them, to my knowledge, has any doubts that Jesus existed. … Those who do not think Jesus existed are frequently militant in their views and remarkably adept at countering evidence that to the rest of the civilized world seems compelling and even unanswerable. But … the reality is that whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist … It is striking that virtually everyone who has spent all the years needed to attain [scholarly early Christian/New Testament] qualifications is convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure … [but, unfortunately] as is clear from the avalanche of sometimes outraged postings on all the relevant Internet sites, there is simply no way to convince conspiracy theorists that the evidence for their position is too thin to be convincing and that the evidence for a traditional view is thoroughly persuasive. Anyone who chooses to believe something contrary to evidence that an overwhelming majority of people find overwhelmingly convincing … simply will not be convinced.29
Living in a fantasy world of pseudo-history like the one portrayed in Dan Brown’s fictional novels is only palatable for one who does not care about truth. But then again, all must care about truth—and I refer anyone who says otherwise to the introductory remarks of this chapter. Within the same excerpt quoted above, Professor Ehrman writes that “Some of [the mythicists] rival The Da Vinci Code in their passion for conspiracy and the shallowness of their historical knowledge, not just of the New Testament and early Christianity, but of ancient religions generally and, even more broadly, the ancient world.”30
Dr. Ehrman is right: mountains of overwhelmingly compelling evidence exist in support of Jesus’ existence as a real person Who literally, physically walked the earth 2,000 years ago, and there is precisely zero evidence that He did not exist—only fantasy and conjecture. Remember that Dr. Ehrman is one of today’s most popular critics of traditional Christianity; he of all people has everything to gain from the “Jesus is a myth” conspiracy, for this would justify his own errant, heretical views that pertain to Christianity (for why bother with orthodoxy if Christianity is just based on a myth?).
Unfortunately, this is where the wisdom of Professor Ehrman ends, for he lacks either the authenticity or the courage to realize that this Jesus (Whom he has proven well did indeed exist) places demands upon us all that cannot be safely treated as mere scholarly matters of history at a nice, comfortable distance—because Jesus claimed to be God.
Clear Divinity
We need not denigrate other religions or their founders to see why none of them suffice; we can simply take an honest look at the undisputed claims of each. A few minutes of careful research into the question will allow anyone to easily see that Jesus is the only one who even claims to literally be God Himself. Muhammad only claimed to be a prophet. The Buddha only claimed to be an “awakened” one. Confucius claimed to be a mere teacher. Abraham and Moses claimed only to be men to whom the Lord spoke, with nothing definitive about either of their own places in the history of Judaism. And Hinduism does not even have a clear founder, as it is a distillation of ancient Indian culture into a loose set of beliefs, worship, and way of life. Find your way to any one of those religions—Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Hinduism (or any other non-Christian religion)- and each of them will have much to say to you about God. But none of them even proposes to show you God Himself. Only one religion does that: Christianity. (Words directly from Jesus below are bolded.)
* Luke 22: 70- “And they all said, ‘Are You the Son of God, then?’ And He said to them, ‘Yes, I am.’”
* John 14:6- “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.”
* John 14:9- “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”
* John 10:30-33- “’I and the Father are One.’ The Jews took up stones again to stone him … [saying] ‘We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.’”
* Matthew 3:17- “…and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”
* Colossians 2:9- “For in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form … ”
Dozens, if not hundreds, more Scripture verses could easily be appealed to in demonstrating beyond any doubt that Jesus claimed Divinity. Only a small number is presented here. But even this sample shows that Christ’s claims to Divinity cannot be compartmentalized into one area of Scripture; for some try to argue such claims only exist in the Gospel of John,31 and yet we clearly see them here in the Synoptic Gospels and Pauline Letters. The few who try to deny Christ’s own claims to Divinity (e.g. Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons) invariably resort to systematically distorted translations of Scripture. But even such quasi-Christians who rely on demonstrably dishonest Scriptural translations to back their claims should pause to ponder: “Even the Scriptures I read acknowledge that the Pharisees had Jesus killed … but why? Why would they go so far and succeed? Why did they kill Jesus?!”
One and only one answer rings out clearly: Because He claimed to be God. Nothing else Jesus was even accused of saying or doing could have possibly merited death under Jewish law. Healing on the Sabbath, criticizing the Pharisees, cleansing the temple with a whip, eating with unwashed hands, etc., were all things that the Pharisees hated him for, but even they knew that none of that was even remotely close to a reason to seek His death. Rather, during His trial before the Sanhedrin, in the midst of all manner of chaos and contradictory accusations levied against Jesus, it was only when He finally openly responded to the question of who He was with the words, “I AM,” that everything changed. For in so doing all present knew well that He appropriated for Himself Yahweh’s Sovereign “I AM” (EGO EIMI),32 asserting His own essence as existence itself just as the Father revealed Himself to Moses in the desert. And in that moment, the farce of a trial immediately changed from an event that would have been merely another failed nefarious plot of the Pharisees, to a dead-set mission by them to ensure that Jesus was put to death.
But the next thing we must do is to consider what such a claim to Divinity implies. There simply is no possibility for lukewarmness here. It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that someone who claims to be God either is God or is a madman. One making such a claim certainly is not a mere wise teacher, a mere philosopher, a mere spiritual guide, a mere Jewish preacher from Galilea.
Granted, Jesus Christ is not alone in His claims to Divinity. Some today make the same claim and some others in the past have done likewise—there are plenty of television shows and documentaries made about them which are always fun to watch for a good laugh and a recognition that Jesus is the only one who has ever made this claim and who, at the same time, is not obviously insane. Those who would give Jesus the credit of being a “good teacher” while rejecting His claims to Divinity are confronted with quite a task. Knowing that humans are all made of the same stuff and tend towards similarity; a perfectly reasonable expectation would be to find similar people often throughout history. Or at the very minimum, we would expect to find at least some; at least one in each generation from each culture or nation. That is, other moral teachers who dispensed of impeccable wisdom throughout a spotless life and had the courage to die for it, never recanting under any pressure, but also the whole time claiming divine status as the only truth. Such an inquiry will find none but Jesus Christ. Even if one insists upon closing his eyes to mountains of evidence in support of Christ’s resurrection and miracles, he is still confronted with the question of why Jesus is so immeasurably unlike any other who has walked the earth, even with respect to those facts that the very skeptics themselves cannot manage to doubt.
Therefore, anyone who strives to evade the duty to become a Christian by fretting “I cannot just go bowing down before every teacher who claims to be God; I’d have no time left to do anything else!” is conjuring up excuses without any substance, like a rich miser who will not even lend a small sum to a relative in dire need the first time the relative asks, for fear of this “generosity consuming all his wealth.” In other words, there is no “slippery slope” involved in worshipping men who claim Divinity and appear by all accounts trustworthy. There is only a staircase with just one step, and only a truly paranoid and sorry excuse for a man would refuse to take that step out of fear.
Now, although what has hitherto been shown should suffice in convincing one to become a Christian, we still have not even touched on the most obvious reason. For we are not dealing purely with a historically reliable account of a man who merely was trustworthy and merely claimed Divinity. Instead, we are dealing with a man who claimed it and proved it through miracles; above all, His own Resurrection.
So much evidence for the reliability of the Resurrection and demonstration of its soundness has been accumulated that it would be far too lengthy to try to summarize it here. Instead I will refer you to the works of Dr. Peter Kreeft (e.g. “Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ,” posted freely on his website33), and the works of Lee Strobel, as well as The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright, and Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? By Carl Olson.
Beyond encouraging these works, I simply exhort you to consider as honestly, thoroughly, and logically as you possibly can, just those truths which few if any of the qualified scholars deny (for while there is no doubt that anyone who looks at all the details honestly will also easily conclude that the Resurrection did in fact occur, few people will have enough time to comprehensively study the matter).
The Nature of Evidence
And in considering these agreed-upon truths, we also must address a claim made by the skeptics which they resort to so often that it has become a veritable reflex of theirs. There is indeed extraordinary evidence for the Resurrection of Christ. But even if there were not, this would say nothing. It is a tired old lie and a fallacy that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” First of all, that itself is an extraordinary claim, and it has precisely no evidence. But beyond it being simply without evidence, it is also absurd, for everybody knows that all claims require reasonable evidence. If one conclusion is more evident and reasonable than another contradictory one, then it should be believed despite one’s prejudiced (and itself unreasonable and unproven) claim that it is “extraordinary.” The degree of evidence required for a claim is meted out solely on the grounds of how much evidence exists for other claims which contradict it.
If, for example, one wanted to argue the earth was flat, then he would need extraordinary evidence simply because there already is great evidence that it is round. Likewise, the only case wherein extraordinary evidence would be demanded in the present scenario is if one were to deny the Resurrection of Jesus; for in so doing he is contradicting what great evidence already points to, whereas one who believes in the Resurrection is not thereby believing anything that is contrary to evidence. In addition to all the documents of the New Testament (which we have already settled is at the minimum a solid historical document) boldly asserting the Resurrection of Christ, it is also true (looking beyond the pages of the Bible for other relevant evidence that virtually no one denies) that:
* We have no historical record of anyone seeing the dead body of Jesus after Easter Sunday.
* We have no record—historical or current—of anyone ever finding the dead body of anyone who could reasonably have been Jesus, even though archeologists have had 2,000 years to do so and still regularly find corpses even older, and have no problem discerning to whom they belonged.
* We do not have any record of anyone who claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus later retracting this claim.
* We do have records of many people—and most importantly, each Apostle34—being willing to die for their belief in the Resurrection, and this is not only recounted in the Bible, but in other extra-Biblical ancient documents from the same time period.35 And if the Apostles were lying, it must be considered that we have no record of any other comparable scenario ever occurring at any time, in any place, in all history: that is, a group of people proclaiming a certain verifiable and falsifiable claim about an actual observable, objective event for many years (going so far as to die rather than deny it), without a single one recanting, only to have the whole matter later revealed as fraudulent.36
* We have no historical record of anyone ever surviving a Roman Crucifixion the likes of which Jesus endured (thus rendering completely absurd the so-called “swoon hypothesis,” wherein the Resurrection apparently occurred but was actually a fraud)
* We have no historical or contemporary record of any so-called “mass hysteria,” “collective hallucination,” or “collective delusion” wherein many people falsely believe that precisely the same objective and external event occurred. In fact, there is not any scientific evidence that there even is any such thing as “collective hallucination.”37
To summarize the list above: even if we restrict our considerations to only those facts which no one denies, we have extraordinary evidence for the Resurrection, and we do not have a single piece of evidence contradicting Jesus’ Resurrection other than the atheistic prejudice that it couldn’t possibly have happened because this would mean atheists themselves are wrong. (And why does anyone lend an ear to an argument which boils down to nothing but “That cannot be right, because if that were right, my own presuppositions would be wrong.”?)
Consider some other illustrations. For a friend you know you can trust, it should require no additional proof for you to believe him when he tells you about a newsworthy fifty car pile-up he witnessed on his drive to work, than when he tells you he saw someone get pulled over for speeding. One is an ordinary claim, one an extraordinary claim, and both should be believed since they have reasonable evidence: namely, trustworthy eyewitness testimony that is not contradicted by any other definitive evidence.
A father’s plea of “Jump! Just do it! I know I can catch you!” as his son stands on the edge of some drop-off which the son cannot see due to his angle as he looks through the fog, should compel the son just as readily as when this father gives the child a glass of milk to drink. For if the father is unworthy of trust and had evil plans for his son, he could have easily poisoned the milk. Why bother leading his son to some cliff on the edge of a foggy abyss perfectly suited for an act of faith on the part of the son leading to death? The implicit claims in each scenario (namely, “this milk is safe to drink,” and “this unknown abyss you cannot see is safe to jump into”) are of course ordinary and extraordinary claims, respectively. And yet, this distinction would be absurd for the son to use as the criteria for decision making.
We can see that deciding an ordinary issue based on minimal evidence, it is more likely to be detrimental if those who put forth the evidence are unworthy of trust, than deciding an extraordinary issue based on reasonable evidence is; even though this risk is the very thing that the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” crowd is trying to do away with. The only question that matters, then, is not the irrelevant one (“Is this ordinary or extraordinary?”), but rather it is the essential one: “Is this reasonable?” That is, “is this the clear claim of one I know is trustworthy, on a matter-of-fact that he is merely relaying to me as opposed to giving his own interpretation of events, and pertaining to a scenario which is not prone to being mistaken about?” If an affirmative answer is given to that question, the truly reasoning man no longer doubts the proper course of action.
The converse is true as well. In a serial line of reasoning leading to the conviction of a man, each piece of this logical chain, no matter how seemingly ordinary, must be given the same scrutiny as if it was the sole convicting piece. Only the most evil prosecutor and the most gullible jury would convict a man of murder if the whole argument which supposedly demonstrates his guilt requires (for its validity) the admission of some “ordinary” claim (perhaps the defendant’s being at Walmart at 6pm on Tuesday, October 30th) which nevertheless has no “evidence” other than that he was not at his job at that time. And only the most duplicitous of defenders and the most obstinate of juries would fail to convict a man of murder solely because of some “extraordinary” claim (perhaps the victim’s murder being the result of expert marksmanship) if there is sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it nevertheless occurred, even if one does not classify the evidence as “extraordinary.”
Like Nothing Else in World History
Let us take a step back, because there is only so much even the best presentation of the most relevant evidence can do. One who is dead-set on believing a conspiracy theory will, tragically, continue to do so until reality itself comes and wallops him over the head like a 2 by 4. And indeed, the hardened conspiracy theorists will stick to their conspiracies despite the evidence that has been shown here.
So instead of presenting more evidence—which easily could be done—I conclude this section by imploring even the most hardened conspiracy theorist to simply take a cursory glance at the most fundamental facts of history—and of the world as it now is—that not even the most eccentric of such theorists deny.
There is a religion called Christianity. It has existed for 2,000 years. From its very founding, it exploded in numbers of adherents—across nations and cultures—like no other phenomenon in history. Centuries upon centuries have passed and its demise has not been seen—nor (and even the most anti-Christian will admit this), will its demise ever be seen. It is not some comfortable platitude or self-help system whose wildfire spread would not be surprising due to its lack of any demands or difficulty involved. No, rather, it is an all-consuming fire that any Christian acknowledges must be the absolute principle of his entire life; demanding the entirety of his very self.
Recall, next, that we have already settled God exists. Feel free to consult again the preceding section if you need to be reminded of this fact.
If you really think that God would allow such an utter farce—but far worse, a categorically diabolical lie (which is what Christianity is if it is not true)—to exercise unrivaled dominion over the religions of the world for two-thousand years … then I do not think that you actually do believe in God. For given these premises, what you believe in is some sort of semi-powerful being who cannot even succeed in reigning over the world he made; not the Omnipotent Creator and Master of the Universe Who is the one and only true God. There is no use arguing that this criticism works against Christianity too, due to the existence of other religions with large followings (e.g. Islam and Hinduism); for, as we settled in the beginning of this section, the very claims of those religions are not anything like the claims of Christianity. So what if Islam has almost two billion adherents? Its founder did not claim to be God, and therefore its spread cannot be said to be the spread of such a diabolical lie as Christianity would be if it were false. Muhammad claimed to be a prophet, and whether he was a true prophet or a false prophet does not change the fact that much of his message overlaps that of Christianity, and it is perfectly reasonable to consider God, with His permissive Will, allowing Islam to remain the dominant religion of a relatively small geographic area and a relative few cultures (even if not small in adherents) until these people are ready for the Gospel. It is not similarly reasonable to consider God allowing Christianity to have such dominion for such a long period of time over such a vast expanse of the world if its fundamental claims (e.g. the Divinity of Christ and His Resurrection) are not true. Instead—as is clear to anyone who has honestly taken stock of even just those historical (and present day) facts which no one denies—it simply isn’t possible to acknowledge God’s existence, power, and goodness and at the same time say of Christianity what must be said of it (explicitly or implicitly) in order to not follow it.
But perhaps there is still one final and desperate plea—lingering sheepishly in the recesses of the mind like a stubborn child who does not want to complete his chores—to escape the duty to follow the God-Man. “Can’t I just be a good person!? Isn’t that enough?” Well, let us suppose it is enough; let us grant, for the sake of argument at least, that as long as you really are a good person, you are “all set” as far as God, Judgment Day, and the afterlife are concerned. Even granting this, have those who resort to this plea ever bothered to consider what they mean by “good”? Do they really think that someone who ignores or rejects what he knows is true is a “good” person? Is a duplicitous, hypocritical liar a “good” person? Does a duplicitous, hypocritical liar become a “good” person if he occasionally volunteers at a soup kitchen, isn’t a criminal, and isn’t usually blatantly mean to people? Is a man a “good” spouse simply because he pays the bills and doesn’t cheat, even if he responds to his wife’s every “I love you” with his own “no you don’t,” even when she has given him every proof of this love and never acted against it? This may be a popular definition of “good,” but it is surely a pathetic one.
The hard and naked truth must now be stated clearly: one who has come to realize that Jesus is God—and if you have read this far, you certainly should have come to that realization—and refuses to acknowledge Him as such (both in word and in deed), is not a good person.
III) The Fact that this Man Founded the Catholic Church
Third. That same man, Jesus Christ, Whom we have seen can only be reasonably regarded as God Himself, founded a Church on St. Peter, and this Church truly persists to this day.
Peter, the Rock with the Keys
All Christians acknowledge that Jesus did indeed say to Peter: “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”—Matthew 16:18
But there are two basic types of interpretation of this verse. One interpretation holds that it means the following: “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
All other interpretations in one way or another wager that Jesus was engaging in semantic acrobatics here and didn’t even mean anything close to what He said. Some, for example, believe that by “this rock,” Jesus wasn’t referring to Peter at all, but perhaps was making an oblique and vague reference merely to the faith of Peter (however one goes about building a Church merely on that is anyone’s guess).
Other attempts within this second class of interpretations recognize that this first attempt was perhaps not the most honest, so they seek in looking at the Greek word used for “rock” to insist that this can only be understood as a reference to Jesus Himself, not to Peter. But this attempt is equally bizarre. If Jesus was speaking only about Himself why on earth would He have begun that same sentence with “Thou art Peter … ”? That is the kind of speech one would expect from a schizophrenic or an otherwise mentally disabled person—or at best from a small toddler who does not yet understand how sentences work—not from Wisdom Incarnate. This interpretation furthermore makes no sense when considering the very next verse, in which Jesus says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven … ,” reminding us that He is still speaking about Peter, the man standing before Him, in no vague terms.
This, of course, is all besides the fact that any Catholic will readily grant that Jesus Himself is indeed the only true rock upon Whom the Church is built; for all Catholics look to Peter—and to any Pope following him—as only a vicarious stand-in for Christ after His Ascension (hence the well-known title for any Pope, the Vicar of Christ). Popes, just like all Christians, are sinners; and just like all Christians, they must stand before Jesus Christ on Judgment Day to give an account of their lives. Therefore, it is not illicit to refer to “the rock of Peter’s Faith,” as even the Catholic Catechism does,38 but this cannot possibly be interpreted as the only thing that Christ meant. (Note that the same Catechism goes on to clearly state that Peter himself is also the “unshakeable rock of the Church.”39)
Jesus did not simply give Peter a blessing or a mandate, in which case even some sincere seekers of truth might suppose that this task of being the Vicarious Head of the Church on earth died along with Peter; rather, Jesus gave Peter “keys” because keys are something that can, and indeed must, be handed on to the next steward, just as one tenant of a house must always surrender the keys to whomever moves in afterward.
And although the debate is not entirely over (for there are a relative few who claim genuine Apostolic Succession lies elsewhere), it is a settled fact that the one who always has held the same keys which Jesus gave to Peter is the one who sits enthroned as the Bishop of Rome40—Pope Francis, as of this writing. And before him, Pope Benedict XVI, then Pope St. John Paul II, and so on.
Do you have doubts? Here is a simple task anyone can easily complete in about 15 minutes. Go now to the nearest computer with internet access. Navigate to the current Pope’s page41 in any online encyclopedia. Click “preceded by” to be taken to the pope’s predecessor’s page. Now click the same link on the page you find yourself and repeat this process again. Do this about 265 times,42 and you will suddenly be at the page of St. Peter himself, whose installation date as Pope will be rightly listed as 30 A.D., which is approximately when Jesus spoke the aforementioned words to Peter and handed him the keys.
Now, I have encouraged this simple task merely to give a clear illustration of the proper line of Apostolic Succession; this alone does not prove my point, just as, one could argue, following one branch of a tree all the way back to its trunk does not prove anything definitive about that particular branch from which the process began. Let us, therefore, proceed to consider the other branches so that we may see if any of them show evidence of being connected to the trunk.
No Viable Alternatives
Next, we must ask: Who other than the Catholic Church can even with a straight face claim this Succession all the way back to Jesus Himself, as the same Church that He founded?
The Church of England (or any member of the Anglican Communion)? Does anyone seriously wish to convert to become a member of a Church founded by a King (Henry VIII) who was so wrathful that the Catholic Church would not grant him a divorce that he founded a new Church and exalted himself to be its head, in order to create a Church which did not get in the way of his lusts and ambitions? That this is the history of the Church of England is not difficult to discover, nor is it disputed by serious historians—the many English Catholic martyrs, seeing clearly the utter absurdity of the situation, shed their blood because they would not go along with this blasphemous attempt of a secular power to usurp Divine Authority, and they will never be able to be forgotten. It is no accident that perhaps the greatest Christian Apologist of the 20th Century, C. S. Lewis, was an Anglican who could not even bring himself to evangelize for his own denomination, writing, for example:
… in this book I am not trying to convert anyone [to the Church of England] … ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbours was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians … 43
Here Lewis strongly implies (if not explicitly asserts) that striving to bring souls into the fold of his own particular Church would not even be a “service” for unbelievers.
The Orthodox Church? We cannot even speak of “an” orthodox Church, for there are many and they are not in Communion even with each other (whereas all Catholic rites are in Communion with the Successor of Peter). So let us instead look to the largest Orthodox Church: the particular autocephalous church governed by the Patriarch of Constantinople44—as of this writing, Bartholomew I. One need only follow Bartholomew’s lineage back briefly, to the early 20th century, to find such splintering and fracturing as to indicate that it is clearly an institution of the world, not of Heaven, with which we are dealing, for at this point we find Joachim III (a freemason) and the turmoil which immediately preceded him.
Even more splintering occurred shortly before that when four separate Eastern Churches declared themselves “autocephalous” in the late 19th century (consider that to declare autocephaly is little more than a euphemism for “schism.”) And now, yet another splinter can be added: the “Moscow-Constantinople schism” or the “Orthodox Church Schism of 2018,” which is already making its way into the history books of the scholars now authoring them. If it were not previously clear, it now is: Orthodoxy is no refuge for a Christian seeking that One, Holy, Apostolic Church founded by God Incarnate when He walked on earth 2,000 years ago.45
Even if we grant the claims to succession of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, we are still left only with a Church founded by St. Andrew; not with the Church founded by Jesus on St. Peter. For the Orthodox centered in Constantinople themselves only claim that they trace their authority back to a Church in Byzantium allegedly (but probably not actually) founded by this apostle—a founding which, even if true, is mentioned nowhere in Scripture and had nothing to do with Jesus’ direct intervention. Why, then, even if we grant all the dubious claims of the founding of the Orthodox Church at Constantinople, would you choose a Church founded by St. Andrew over the Church founded by Jesus Christ?
Recall that it is repeatedly made clear in Scripture that Peter is the foremost among the Apostles. Besides being the one upon whom Jesus clearly founded his Church in the aforementioned Matthew 16:18, we also see that:

* Peter is the one Jesus directed to “feed my sheep” after His resurrection and before departing to Heaven (John 21:15).
* Peter alone is spoken of as declaring with authority at the Council of Jerusalem depicted in Acts Chapter 15.
* Only Peter has the faith to walk on water in Matthew 14.
* In Matthew 16, Mark 8, and John 6, Peter is the first of the apostles to confess the Divinity of Christ.
* In Matthew 19, Mark 10, Mark 11, and other places, Peter asks Jesus questions on behalf of all the Apostles.
* Peter’s boat, a metaphor for the Church, is the chosen vessel in which Jesus instructs in Luke 5.
* Jesus tells Peter, also in Luke 5, to lower the nets for the catch.
* Virtually every time in the New Testament when multiple apostles are listed, Peter is listed first, even when John (the “one whom Jesus loved”) is included.
* Peter’s name in the New Testament is, in fact, mentioned more times than all the other apostles’ names added together.
Now, no one denies that Peter governed the Church at Rome during his lifetime; and no one denies that the Catholic Church alone lays proper claim to being the Christian Church of Rome. Even if we try to use exegetical acrobatics to wiggle out of the clear words of Jesus in founding his Church on Peter, no other apostle, given the basic data of Scripture, even comes remotely close to being the one we could identify as the legitimate head of the Church.
Can we then simply reject Apostolic Authority entirely and turn to Protestantism? These Christians, whether they class themselves Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, or what have you, usually do not claim Apostolic Succession. But they do each claim something special for themselves, and this is proven by deeds at least: for all of them seek converts (and any Protestant who does not seek converts should ask himself why he remains in a denomination for which he cannot even muster up sufficient enthusiasm to desire to invite others into).
In joining any one of these Protestant churches, you are becoming a member of a religion founded no earlier than 1521 A.D. Where was the Church for those 1,500 years since God Incarnate founded it? Did the One Who came to earth and Who said to Peter of His Church “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” in fact lie because that is precisely what happened for the following 1,500 years? (Or at least for 1,200 years after its alleged “Romanization”?). To assert this—which is required in order to adhere to Protestantism of any flavor—is to deny either the goodness or the Omnipotence of Christ. But either denial is blasphemy.
Do you really wish to be a member of a church whose impetus was a man like Martin Luther? For although Lutheranism is the denomination founded by him directly, all Protestant denominations are his spiritual children. Luther: a man who rejected the absolute and unconditional vows which he offered freely as an adult; a man who exhibited all the qualities of a psychotic individual, who then proceeded to blame the Catholic Church for his own spiritual problems and start a new religion of his own, which was little more than a futile attempt to self-medicate his neurotic temperament (by way of pretending that “faith alone,” a phrase found nowhere in Scripture, is all that matters for the Christian, so any Christian might as well “sin mightily”)? By his own admission, he had no idea what this thing called an “indulgence,” which is what he is most known for rebelling against, even was. His so-called “conversion” after allegedly being repulsed at the sight of the Faith in a trip to Rome was a convenient afterthought published years after the journey as it proved a helpful weapon with which to lash out at Rome after his excommunication, like an angry 19-year-old writing an autobiographical rant against his parents only after he is kicked out of the house for some perfectly just cause.
But besides considering what the biographical facts of Luther’s life point to, how can one take the teachings of a man seriously who denies the existence of the very truth which every single reasonable human being knows with absolute certainty: that we have free will? Free Will is God’s greatest gift to man as well as the most obvious (for everyone knows he has free will). That a few mad men masquerading as academics here and there throughout the history of philosophy pretend this fact isn’t true is not surprising. The tragic thing is that there is even a single follower to be found for such mad men; much less the countless millions Luther had and has. As we now stand 500 years later, with a great opportunity for wisdom in hindsight by seeing what has become of Protestantism, it is long overdue that those who follow Luther—whether Lutherans in particular or Protestants in general, who see him as the “first reformer”—wake up and see the plain truth regarding the man himself and the Protestant movement he started.46
Shall we then resort to so-called “non-denominationalism,” as so many millions today are doing, seeing the obvious weakness among all the churches of Protestantism and Orthodoxy? (Bearing in mind that “Pentecostalism” often winds up being little but a movement, as opposed to a religion, and therefore it, too, can often be rightly classed as a certain strand of “non-denominationalism.” This sometimes goes for some versions of “Evangelicalism” as well.) For indeed, there ought not even be denominations, as Jesus prayed that “all may be one,”47 so there is admittedly something noble in the inspiration for this movement. But it, too, entirely misses the point. For “non-denominationalism” has become nothing other than another denomination; but one with even more weaknesses and evils than many of the denominations who are not afraid of admitting they are denominations.
There is no such thing as a religion of “mere Christianity.” Although that is the title of a wonderful book, its author, C. S. Lewis, insisted that no one dare suppose that “his Christianity is ‘mere Christianity.’”
I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions—as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.48
In other words, C.S. Lewis is saying quite frankly that even the very worst Christian denomination would be better than “non-denominationalism.” For a bare-bones, loose set of beliefs (accompanied as it usually is today by people grouping around similar tastes in “Christian” rock) is not a religion. One can scarcely open up to a page of the New Testament without realizing that following Christ is anything but a mere mindset; rather, what Jesus started as clearly displayed in the pages of the New Testament is a concrete, literal institution; one with a real hierarchy, real Sacraments, real regulations, and a real need to meet regularly together in worship. In fact, no one denies that the earliest Christians are among the greatest Christians, whom we should all strive to imitate. And these early Christians did not even have the Bible. As the great scholar mentioned in this book’s preface once pointed out, “The New Testament was a Sacrament long before it was a document.” We sin against the Bible itself by supposing that it is all we need in order to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here, I feel I must give a brutally honest personal testimony. I have worked for years as a philosophy professor at a secular, public New York college—and not just any college, but one in the middle of what is repeatedly ranked as the most “post Christian” and “least Biblically minded” urban area in the entire country—so, to put it lightly, I am not exactly standing in front of a group of well-catechized pious nuns and seminarians when I stand up each day to teach. But there is one observation that I wish I could avert, but simply cannot: of the hundreds of students I have had in this atmosphere, it is sometimes the zealous Protestant or non-denominational Christians who—even among the many pagans, atheists, and “nones” sitting adjacent to them—can be the most stubborn in not wanting to acknowledge sound arguments, valid logic, and good philosophy. You see, my teaching tends to focus on Goodness, Truth, and Beauty as found in the ancient Greek philosophers (e.g. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle). But many Protestants and non-denominational Christians have been fed the “faith alone” and “Scripture alone” lies for so long, and some have so readily gobbled up these lies, that (perhaps without even recognizing it) they have come to despise works, they have come to despise good moral philosophy, and they have even come to despise the serious application of reason49 and intellect to any of the great existential questions. And these are the fruits of Luther.
Oh, how I wish I could count Protestants and non-denominational Christians as nothing but separated brethren who have virtually all the truth and are merely missing a few details, thus allowing me to ignore what they lack and pretend all is well. But that brand of ecumenism, though popular today, is a false one. For it is a form of hatred: it entails implicitly desiring a soul to remain in error and to remain deprived of the graces of the Sacraments which are so enormous as to be nowhere rivaled in all the world.50 And these errors are by no means merely hypothetically dangerous, but rather have already wreaked havoc upon the entire world. For example, many academics and researchers have already shown that it is precisely those things that most Protestants accept—e.g. artificial contraception (which is allowed by all mainstream Protestant denominations) and divorce—things that are at the source of the total societal and familial breakdown which we have been witnessing in the West for the last several decades.
And so we see that not only is Catholicism clearly the Church which Jesus Himself founded, but also that even if it were not, there would be no hope of finding His Church anywhere else, for all other options prove themselves completely unworthy. Therefore, at the minimum, any soul who earnestly desires to be joined with Christ can, of the Catholic Church, say with Peter after pondering what other Church, denomination, or movement of any sort claiming to be that of Christ: “To whom would we go?”51 There is nowhere else to go.
The Miraculous Paradox
Consider that the Catholic Church is the only institution on the face of the planet with a simple, single-click built-in total-self-destruct button perpetually sitting on the desk of its leader. For the Catholic Church claims that all Ex Cathedra52 proclamations of the Pope are truly infallible: meaning it isn’t even possible for them to be wrong. If you were to ask a serious Catholic what he would do if, tomorrow, the Pope dogmatically taught that Mary was not assumed into Heaven,53 he should respond to you something to the effect of “I’ll answer that question when you tell me what you’d do if 2+2=5.”
Indeed, all it would take is one single contradiction between two Ex Cathedra declarations found anywhere in her history to destroy the Catholic Church. The Church has had 266 popes over the course of this 2,000-year history. Some Popes have even been downright evil, but none pressed this button. There are of course always various schismatic traditionalist groups claiming that the button has been pressed whenever their own favorite personal theological opinions are Magisterially overturned, but these groups inevitably themselves splinter and fade into oblivion,54 for it is not difficult for any fair observer to see, quite clearly, that the button has not been pressed. The dogmatic (Ex Cathedra) teachings of the Church have never once contradicted themselves; nor will they ever.
Now, this “button-pressing-constraint” would be an admirable virtue even if it were only pertaining to a small institution that has only existed for a small amount of time. But that is not what we are dealing with here. We are dealing with the largest, oldest institution in the history of the world also so happening to be, in its fundamental design, the flimsiest institution that has ever existed (in human and worldly terms). If this consideration does not speak volumes to you about both the Divine origin and guidance of the Catholic Church, then you simply are not thinking clearly. For just as no one could deny Divine Intervention if a man strolled randomly through a densely packed minefield for miles and escaped unscathed, while many others doing the same thing were blown to bits, so too no one who looks at the history of the Catholic Church can fail to see something truly miraculous.
Of course, while it may not have stepped on any of these mines, the Catholic Church has seen its fair share of crises, so we must consider this observation.
The Truth of the Modern Crisis
There is no small bit of irony here, for I write these words in the midst of the greatest crisis in the history of the Catholic Church. Therefore, this must be addressed explicitly, lest anyone falsely suppose that something has changed, and the argument in the previous section no longer holds.
This evil in the Church, though at a now historic level, is not fundamentally new; the Church was not without evil even when Jesus was its visible head, for at that time one-twelfth of the Bishops (the “1” referring to Judas, one of the Apostles) were downright evil. That the Catholic Church has survived and thrived these 2,000 years despite such evil forces seeking to tear her apart is, again, just another proof of her Divine protection and guidance. There have been murderous Popes; God did not permit them to teach heresy and thereby lead their flock astray. There have been falsehoods believed by the majority of clergy; God did not permit these lies to become part of the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church). There have been large groups of evil Catholics who sought to overtake the Church; God prevented their victory. Without what we claim as true actually being so (that God sent His Holy Spirit to ensure that, as Jesus said, “the gates of hell would not prevail against [The Church]”), this Church never would have survived. We can see that the “miraculous paradox” discussed in the last section applies not only to the “button pressing constraint,” but also to the Divine Protection in so many other areas enjoyed by Catholicism throughout her 2,000 year history.
Indeed, no matter how damaged her hull or how tattered her sails; the Catholic Church remains the New Ark; the safe refuge from the deluge of sin that is now flooding the whole world. Her ministers—Catholic Priests—may be imperfect, but they bring to us the One who is Perfection Himself; Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and His Blood shed for us anew in the Sacrament of Confession. She, Holy Mother Church, will bring you home soundly to God. If you would not permit the sight of tattered clothing on your own mother’s back to cause you to reject her, then also do not permit the evil you see in the Catholic Church to leave her maternal love for you. She alone is the Bride of Christ as well as His body. He is the one head, and she is the one body- outside of which there is no eternal life—from which if we separate ourselves, we wither and die.
***
But oh, how little we have covered here! Look at the saints—so many thousands of them, each trampling the world under his feet, each a hero worth a thousand biographies; each page of which, in turn, could be so filled with light as to dazzle the hardest heart. Look at the constant stream of miracles, from when, 2,000 years ago, even the mere shadow of St. Peter healed the sick,55 all the way to the present day with so many told and untold miraculous healings; Divine Interventions; Eucharistic miracles; prophecies fulfilled; celestial phenomena observed (for example the 70,000 who saw the sun dance in the sky at Fatima in 1917); incorrupt bodies remaining for centuries in the exact same material state they enjoyed at the moment of death; Divinely drawn images (e.g. the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe); impossible victories won (e.g. at the Battle of Lepanto through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary); and the list goes on. Look to the breathtaking art, the likes of which one will find nowhere else in the history of the world, drawn by devout Catholics influenced by Catholic realities. Look at the stunning Cathedrals—all built to glorify the God Whom Catholics worship in the Holy Eucharist—masterpieces to which no other buildings on earth can compare. Behold the sacred music that, when it is chanted from the mouths of religious through the great spaces of these same Cathedrals, makes the hearers forget they are still in the midst of an earthly pilgrimage. Do not take my word for any of this; investigate it yourself.
In this investigation, among the glorious things you discover will be thousands of individual instances of clear supernatural intervention; all of it pointing to the validity of the Catholic Church and her teachings. It may be that in time one or two of these individual items are shown to be hoaxes, hallucinations, or frauds. So what? For that which they testify to (the glory of the Church, the existence of God and the revelation of His Will) to be weakened on account of them—each and every one would need to be shown to be false; and that will simply never happen. Trying to prove each of these false would render easy in comparison to the efforts of a conspiracy theorist to prove every astronaut a fraud in his efforts to argue for a flat earth.
This all, dear reader, is the work of God, not the work of man. The Catholic Church is His Church. It has been for 2,000 years, and it will be until the end of time.
Our Present Duty Given These Foundations
So here we are. Our foundation as Catholics has been examined, and it is absolutely solid; absolutely bulletproof; absolutely certain.
Truly, therefore, we all must be Catholics. In case there is any room for ambiguity in that statement regarding what is meant by “we all”, let us put it more clearly: every single human being on the face of the planet has a duty to become a member of the Catholic Church.56 It really is that simple. We must furthermore believe everything the Church teaches, and always behave in accordance with these beliefs (and if there is ever any confusion as to what these beliefs are, the Catechism of the Catholic Church should be consulted).
This response is what is required by merely wishing to be a person who takes the demands of truth seriously; for in the preceding sections we have seen clearly that this response is simply what most basic premises (which no one can reasonably deny) lead to. And no one can pretend to take any premises seriously if he refuses to heed what follows from these premises themselves.
The Truth does not care about any rationalizations that stand opposed to it; quite the contrary, with invincible strength it knocks down anything that dares to stand in its path. Nor does the Truth care if the people of a given age proclaim it to be “politically incorrect,” “judgmental,” “pastorally insensitive,” or any other term dreamed up by those whose motives are malicious and who pretend that means have a right to overthrow the only ends for which the means themselves exist.
But we must not merely “be” Catholics, as if a passive identification as such and a baseline following of the bare-minimum precepts was sufficient. For being a lukewarm Catholic is like being a lukewarm spouse—it contradicts the very purpose of the vocation, which is supposed to be one of a love set ablaze, and any blaze is either completely dead or is burning hot. Similarly, becoming a Catholic is like entering the Olympics, which no one does without striving for the gold. But we needn’t merely ponder analogies; being a Catholic certainly entails at least a firm belief in all the Catholic Church teaches, and among these teachings is found the Universal Call to Holiness: that is, the dogmatic teaching that each and every Catholic is called to perfect holiness and sanctity.57
So, in addition to being Catholics, we must all strive to be the best Catholics possible; not merely superficially asserting belief in the teachings of the Church, but proving the same with our comportment. But this proof, in turn, does not exist if we do not take the authentically Catholic approach to everything, which includes the authentically Catholic approach to private revelation, which is what we will now turn to consider.
For indeed, being Catholic and certain of the truth of the Faith—as every Catholic should be—is nevertheless not an excuse to close the mind, fold the arms, and clench the fists. These very teachings about which we are certain give us a solid foundation to stand on and a sure fence guarding the edge of a cliff, not a cave to crawl into and hide in (although many unfortunately use it for just that perverse purpose).
In fact, it is precisely this same foundation; these same Three Essential Truths, which compel us (if we take them seriously) to continue and to realize that there is no way to evade the call to follow the revelations given to Luisa Piccarreta. In other words, it is precisely because we want to be the best Catholics possible that we should want to follow Luisa’s revelations.
But before addressing the question of discerning private revelations, and discerning Luisa’s in particular, we must first address the importance of private revelation in general; sadly, much misinformation abounds within Catholic circles on this question.
1)
7) On Private Revelation in General

One unfortunately hears sentiments like the following regularly expressed in some Catholic circles:
“Private Revelation is unnecessary; the Catholic Faith alone is enough. We have Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium. Why would we need all this other extraneous stuff? It is all just a distraction.”
I have in fact been quite generous in wording these sentiments, for usually those who voice them go on to contradict themselves, as they continue their lecture to include the Rosary in their list of things that are “sufficient” and “preclude the need for private revelation.” Of course, as any diligent student of Church History knows, the Rosary itself is the matter of a private revelation given to St. Dominic. It speaks volumes that this Rosary is usually included in the lists of things that are “enough” as opposed to “superfluous” private revelation; for indeed, the Rosary is necessary; it truly is. The fact that it is not a constituent of the Deposit of Faith does not detract from its status as necessary. And it seems we have finally reached a stage in the history of the Church where most serious Catholics are beginning to realize this fact. Every pontiff in recent memory has begged Catholics to pray the Rosary. Every saint who knew of it insisted upon it, with this insistence growing ever more fervent over the centuries. The odds of the Catholic Church ever condemning, cautioning against, or even ceasing to encourage the Rosary are about as high as the odds of a law of Gravity being successfully repealed. And more recently, we have the saintly seer of Fatima—perhaps the most clearly reliable private revelation in history, which no serious Catholic doubts—putting it perfectly bluntly:
“All people of good will can, and must say the Rosary every day … ”58
– Servant of God Sister Lucia (the sole Fatima seer who survived to adulthood)
Indeed, the Rosary draws from Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, and harmonizes with the same; all (valid) private revelations do. But in itself, the Rosary is indisputably a private revelation. We should always remember, therefore, that whatever one categorically says about private revelation, he also says about the Rosary, which we have here shown is necessary, and whose eschatological importance in this Final Confrontation the Church is now facing is almost impossible to overestimate. And whatever one says about private revelation, he thereby says not only of the Rosary, but of devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, the Miraculous Medal, the Brown Scapular, the Divine Mercy (of St. Faustina—e.g. the Image, the Chaplet), Our Lady of Guadalupe (and Fatima, Lourdes, etc.), and on the list goes. Furthermore, while the Eucharist and Confession are obviously not the results of private revelations, the enormous emphasis due to them (e.g. the importance of daily Communion, frequent confession—at least monthly, Eucharistic adoration, etc.) largely is.
In fact, there is no such thing as “private” revelation, if by “private” is meant “only intended to be heard and heeded by those who find themselves drawn to it.” We know from Scripture, rather, that “he who prophesies edifies the church,”59 and that the extraordinary charisms of the Holy Spirit, of which prophecy is one, exist not for one’s own sanctification, but for the sanctification of the Church. The Catechism teaches:
Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church … Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ…60
Take note that the Catechism does not say that charisms are to be accepted by “those members of the Church who find them agreeable,” but rather “by all members of the Church.”
The Catechism itself also seems to find the prevailing terminology unfortunate, entitling its section on the topic “On so-called ‘private’ revelation,” putting the word private in quotes as if to imply that such a word really should not be said of a revelation from God, even if it is not one that is itself an element of the Deposit of Faith. (Unfortunately, some Catholics treat this sentence in the Catechism as if it is the word “revelation” that is in quotation marks! This alteration, of course, completely inverts the implication.) Rather, these messages are better considered quite simply as revelations, so long as they are not confused with the Deposit of Faith—comprised of Scripture and Tradition, and authoritatively interpreted by the Magisterium. This Deposit of Faith is the absolute norm for judging all other alleged revelations, Luisa’s included, and this Deposit alone universally demands the assent of Supernatural Catholic Faith.
But that is where the limitations on private revelation stop, even though some career lay apologists in the last few decades have taken it upon themselves to radically extend these limitations and promote the lie that the only things a man must ever heed are the specific Magisterial demands of the Catholic Faith itself. Here I must ask: is it too bold for me to ponder if some outwardly zealous Catholics really, in substance, see Heaven’s direct intervention in the world as competition for their own carefully strategized ‘apostolates’—that is, business endeavors and book sale royalties? For on the Day of Judgment it will be revealed that many who now parade themselves as the day’s great promoters and defenders of the Church were in fact the greatest obstacles to God’s Will, doing more harm to God and to His plans for the world than is wrought even by those who explicitly dedicate themselves to that very task. For on That Terrible Day, the words of C. S. Lewis regarding it shall be vindicated: “We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.”61
Against the Sowers of Discord
Nevertheless, a few popular career lay apologists are not the only guilty ones here. There are some promoters even of private revelations—including priests—who make this tragedy their own in their treatment of private revelations other than the ones they have dedicated themselves to. This injustice is especially common among some promoters of private revelations that have already managed to secure the highest levels of Church approval (especially the Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, the Miraculous Medal, the Sacred Heart, and Divine Mercy). Now, I do not merely encourage; no, rather, I fervently beg all Catholics to embrace fully each of these revelations: to pray the Rosary daily, to have and venerate the Guadalupe Image, to carry out faithfully the Fatima message (e.g. the First Five Saturday Devotion), to wear a Miraculous Medal, to accomplish continually the First Nine Friday Devotion, and to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily while both having and promoting the Divine Mercy Image.
Some promoters of these revelations, however, (and some of whom in turn have built careers around them), treat their own apostolates pertaining to them as businesses, even though they clothe them in holy attire to not appear at first glance as businesses, while treating other apostolates and private revelations as “the competition.” We see this attitude clearly displayed in the following behaviors:
* They refuse to see fruits from other revelations even if many fruits exist, for they are careful to never look at where they know the fruits would be seen. Thus, they claim that other revelations do not have fruits and should be ignored. (They themselves have built veritable empires off their own apostolates and are easily capable of distributing newsletters chock-full of stories which they can appeal to as their own fruits; but they unjustly expect this infrastructure of apostolates that are relatively minuscule and cannot afford newsletters, advertisements, paid staff, and the like.)
* They divisively attack other private revelations and then accuse them of the very “divisiveness” which they themselves caused. For in fact those whom they attack are merely justly defending themselves against baseless accusations (did not Our Lord, when the time was fitting, defend Himself against the Pharisees absurd criticisms?), and if they even had the honesty to look at the history of their own private revelation, they would have no trouble seeing the exact same things they now attack other private revelations on the basis of.
* They are always ready to claim that they suddenly have “no time” for any other private revelation whenever one is brought up (perhaps only minutes after they are done admonishing others who say they have no time for their own apostolate’s revelations), even when virtually no time is asked of them (but instead only a little humility).
Sadly, I have personally observed these antics explicitly displayed (in private) from even some of the most well-known promoters of some of the most well-known private revelations. Doubtless due to the prevalence of these antics, there has still been no successful mission that combines and promotes, as one unified effort, all the trustworthy private revelations that Heaven has blessed the Church with (particularly in the last century). But Heaven acts with one will alone: The Divine Will. Therefore, whatever is truly from Heaven never works against anything else that is truly from Heaven.
What is needed today is an army of souls willing to embrace all the calls made by Heaven. Perhaps a specific apostolate, with a physical headquarters, a newsletter, and employees is not called for; with due respect to the risk that it may well quickly become the very thing it was created to safeguard against. So instead, what I earnestly beseech all reading these words is that they form this army without barracks nevertheless: an army of souls united at least by their willingness to listen to and act upon all the calls issued by Heaven—always, of course, using the Church-sanctioned means of discernment (and submitting to her judgment when she does act in a binding manner) which will be delineated shortly—and refusing to succumb to ever seeing different trustworthy private revelations as competition for each other.
The Term “Private Revelation”
Returning to the issue of the very term “private revelation,” I acknowledge my hesitation in even using it: although there is of course nothing wrong with the term, there is a risk that its excessive use could give the impression that the response to it is entirely a matter of personal preference. This indeed has become a common notion among some Catholics today—that private revelation is a “whatever floats your boat” matter. Their argument is essentially as follows:
“since Private Revelation is never a matter of Catholic Faith, there can never be any moral obligation to heed it. It’s entirely a matter of preference and you should respond however you feel like.”
This contention ignores the simple fact that reacting to anything “however you feel like” is a recipe for disaster in this fallen world. The mere fact that one does not put Divine Faith in a Private Revelation does not mean that he can never have any obligation in the matter! From that same logic, one might as well assert that “The Deposit of Faith does not hold that 2+2=4, therefore one has no obligation to believe that 2+2=4, and if he feels so inclined, he can demand 5 dollars in return from a debtor he loaned 2 dollars to one day and another 2 the next with due regard to his own views on the mathematics of addition.”
Quite the contrary, you and God both know what invitations He has extended to your heart, and on Judgment Day your eternal glory will be meted out by how you responded to these Divine Invitations, and not just by whether you have faith in the Deposit of Faith. That latter assertion would be a slightly Catholicized version of the Protestant “Faith Alone” heresy. This heresy holds that the only question in salvation is whether one believed what one was required to believe with Supernatural Faith. But Catholic teaching, of course, rejects this idea. Consider what the Catechism says:
In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.62
It does not say “only in those matters that the Catholic Church teaches are true must man follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right.” Furthermore, Vatican II teaches “He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity.”63 From these authoritative teachings, it is clear that the approach insisted upon by those who erroneously conflate “not required as a matter of Catholic Faith” with “never possibly an obligation of any sort for any Catholic” is not only taught nowhere by the Catholic Church, but is in fact clearly repudiated by her. I repeat: it is manifestly absurd to wager that a Catholic is always and everywhere free to hold to whatever opinion he so desires so long as it does not involve the contradiction of the Catholic Faith itself.64
Besides, the glorious history of the Catholic Church tells a radically different story from the “whatever floats your boat on private revelation” approach. For it is a story in which whether Catholics respond faithfully to genuine “private” revelations as determining the course of history—especially concerning the requests at Fatima to the children, the message to St. Faustina, the requests of Jesus for the Sacred Heart devotion, the requests of Our Lady of Guadalupe through St. Juan Diego, and the list goes on. Would God have taken no offense if the tens of thousands who witnessed the miracle at Fatima turned their backs on that “unapproved nonsense?” Would St. Faustina’s spiritual director have committed no sin if he ignored or opposed the promulgation of the Divine Mercy message instead of helping it, saying “this is extraneous and what we already have is enough”? Would Bishop Zumaragga have been safe in the Will of God by ignoring St. Juan Diego coming to him with the request of Our Lady of Guadalupe to have a church built? Did not King Louis XIV’s failure to respond to the Sacred Heart requests of Jesus through St. Margaret Mary result in disaster for France? Though each is now approved, and no devout Catholic doubts their validity, none of these revelations had already enjoyed Church approval at the time Heaven called for the corresponding response to each. The “ignore all private revelation unless or until it is approved” approach has already been rendered absurd by the facts of history.
Considering these events and so many more like them, we can find a renewed appreciation for the advice regarding Marian apparitions of Pope Urban VIII who allegedly said:
… cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe than not to believe, for, if you believe, and it is proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because our Holy Mother asked it. If you believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true.65
The case of Our Lady of Kibeho is especially noteworthy as it is a recently approved apparition of Mary.66 She came to warn the people of an impending disaster with rivers of blood, and to instruct us on how to avert it. Twelve years later, the Rwandan Genocide occurred, in which one million innocent people were slaughtered by their own neighbors. It all could have been avoided if only we had listened to Our Lady’s plea in that private revelation. Now, before one responds with “Ah, but that is an approved apparition,” he should bear in mind that the full approval only came after the genocide took place. “The Marian dimension of the Church precedes the Petrine,”67 as the Catechism itself teaches (although the two must never be seen as opposed). Similar stories and timelines exist for many now-approved apparitions. Even a cursory examination of the historical facts yields the unavoidable conclusion: Jesus and Mary come with messages because we need to listen to them and heed them, not because they just want to be another blog competing for our attention, which we may feel free to ignore if we wish.
Some Catholics will cite a few admonitions given by St. Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross in their avoidance of private revelation. In so doing, they misuse quotes of these great Doctors, for they cite quotes that apply only to one desiring one’s own personal apparent revelations from God, or in overzealously seeking such private revelations to answer all of their specific, personal questions. And how true it is that such revelations are not something to be desired! For blessed is the one who believes without seeing.68 We should give thanks to God that we have been given the gift of Faith despite not being among those chosen to have great visions and revelations, and we should neither desire nor ask for this situation to change. However, this pious and true advice from these Doctors was not intended by them to have any bearing whatsoever on how we should react to the alleged private revelations of others, especially those whose revelations have received many Ecclesiastical approbations and whose causes for beatification are going well (as in the case of Luisa’s!).
Holy Curiosity and Love
Let us consider curiosity. It can be a negative thing, especially when it is opposed to custody of the eyes, discernment of spirits, contentment with what God has given you, and the like. But there is at least one sense in which we can indeed refer to holy curiosity. And the absence of this holy curiosity in the soul, far from proving a holy contentment (we are all pilgrims on this earth and therefore none of us has any grounds for contentment, for the perfection of our knowledge has not yet been attained), proves only the presence of spiritual sloth. Pope Benedict XVI taught:
The shepherds made haste. Holy curiosity and holy joy impelled them. In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us.69
These words should primarily be taken with respect to their admonishment to have that joy and holy curiosity in where we know we have Jesus: in the Eucharist, in the Gospel, and in the Church. But it can also be applied to when the Spirit seeks to bless the Church with revelations, and, indeed, it must.
“At the evening of our lives, we will be judged by our love.”70 This is not a mere pious sentiment that can be overlooked by those who do not feel drawn to it. It is an authoritative, Magisterial teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, itself quoting St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church. In other words, we will not be judged positively by how stubbornly we cling to a certain stage in our spiritual growth, as if the Deposit of Faith were a desk to hide under instead of a solid foundation to stand on. We will not be judged positively by insisting that, because the “old wine” is good, it is “good enough,” on contradiction to the admonitions of Our Lord in the Gospel.71 We will not be judged positively by refusing to seek earnestly and follow the Will of God because we prefer to live what we see as a comfortable or safe spiritual life.
We will be judged by our love. By our love of God, and our love of neighbor. In that order, and the latter for the sake of the former. If you do not want to listen to what your spouse says now because you wish only to consider what your spouse has said in the past, then you do not love your spouse. It is that simple. Do you wish to be a loving spouse of God? Or do you wish only to be a slave to which He imparts a set of orders and then leaves on His own?
The Rotten Fruit of Dismissing Private Revelation
Today, the Church suffers from a crisis that is, in its essence, the heresy of Modernism. For it has become fashionable in some theological circles today to ignore or contradict any teaching whatsoever that is not explicitly and clearly infallibly contained in the Magisterium or in Sacred Scripture for no other reason than the perverse desire for an autonomous and artificial “newness.” Entire libraries could be filled with the nonsense that has proceeded from this methodology, so instead of attempting a comprehensive overview it, I will only present a few of its more common manifestations. After each, we will consider how private revelation guards us against these traps.
* As mentioned in other parts of this book, today some significant theologians teach that hell might just be empty now—and always remain that way—of all human beings (that no one ever has been or ever will be damned, and that only demons populate hell). In one detail they are right: The extraordinary Magisterium has never infallibly declared that any particular soul is in hell. These theologians carefully dodge any accusation of formal heresy by pointing this out, and by carefully couching their argument in sophistry that they are only saying it is a “reasonable hope.” But no one who takes private revelation seriously falls into this error: for all of them make it clear that there are many humans in hell.
* Moral Theology is in tatters today, and constantly is used for evil: to pretend that commandments are mere ideals, that virtually nothing amounts to formal cooperation with evil, that just about any imaginable rationalization for a sin mitigates the culpability thereof, that condemnations of divorce and adultery are “unrealistic,” that circumstances can even justify any intrinsic evil (e.g. abortion, homosexual acts) etc. Counter to this, we see private revelation always dealing very gently with sinners, while always being bold and uncompromising in addressing sin itself (for unlike moral theologians, Heaven has not forgotten to love the sinner but hate the sin).
* Imaginative fiction regarding the biographical details of the Holy Family has become completely unrestrained lately. The most absurd things are posited about the earthly life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: that Joseph had other children, that Mary endured great pain in childbirth and was scarcely any different from a normal mother (other than the fact that she did not commit blatant sins), that Jesus misbehaved as a child and had to be rightly scolded by Joseph and Mary, and the list goes on regarding such lamentable fiction. Far from merely being relegated to the pages of novels that no one buys, these “insights” regularly find their way into homilies and popular Catholic writings, which in turn, quite tragically, form the minds and hearts of ordinary Catholics in accord with grave falsehood. But in private revelation we always see a Holy Family like the one that Catholic tradition has always envisioned.
* A completely distorted Christology has become popular today, wherein (for example) Christ is ignorant even of His own Divine Mission. Fr. James Martin, now infamous for his book endorsing homosexuality, announced his problematic views in public much earlier, even writing an article for CNN asserting that, on Easter Sunday, Jesus was of all people most surprised by the Resurrection. Private revelations always show us a Jesus whose Divinity is never the least bit in doubt.
* Many worldly minded theologians have adopted an attitude of compromise and assimilation with the spirit of the age, supposing that the various sins of the past and the fact that the Western World has progressed past a small sampling of them means that we are actually a more moral and holy world now than we ever were before. This is the opposite of the consensus of every private revelation: all of them assert, unambiguously, that the world is now shrouded in more sin, error, and darkness than ever before.
* The Book of Genesis is often treated as a mere myth—symbolic literature and nothing more—by many theologians today. But every private revelation that speaks of its contents affirms that Adam and Eve were real people; that they and only they really are our first parents; that they really did live in paradise but sinned and thus destroyed it; that the flood really did occur as a purification of the world from its sinfulness; and so on.
* There is a movement among some theologians to disregard completely the sensus fidelium regarding the Signs of the Times, and instead entertain the notion that we are nowhere near the End of the Age, and may still be in the very earliest era of Church History—that, perhaps, generations many thousands of years from now will look back at us as Fathers of the Church. While not a heresy, it is still a dangerous view, because it breeds a complacency regarding hastening the Coming of Our Lord, dispels urgency, and gives theologians a faulty sense of their own leeway (as it allows them to think of themselves as perhaps being “Fathers of the Church”). On the contrary, every Private Revelation that speaks of the times we are in makes it clear that the Cosmic, Divine Intervention spoken of in the Book of Revelation will soon be at hand.
* Today one can scarcely find anything but a totally dismissive approach to Purgatory when the issue is broached. Although the existence of Purgatory is a Dogma, there is not much infallible teaching on the nature of it, so the private-revelation-dismissers take this as their opportunity to pretend Purgatory is no big deal at all: that it’s nothing other than perhaps a slightly less glorious Heaven, and we shouldn’t concern ourselves much with praying and sacrificing for the souls there. On the contrary, we have every Private Revelation that speaks of it referring to it as a place of great suffering and emphasizing the extreme importance of praying for the souls there.
Now, these errors are not refuted only once or twice in private revelations here and there, but rather they contradict easily verifiable consensuses of trustworthy private revelation, and consequently, one who acknowledges the importance of private revelation is essentially invincible against the aforementioned errors; just like one who acknowledges the importance of science is invincible against flat-earth theory.
Here, one might protest: “What does private revelation have to do with any of this? I can refute all these errors without it!” Well, perhaps some—even most—could be addressed without private revelation. But to say confidently all can be thoroughly refuted without it is questionable, as some errors listed above are difficult to refute definitively from Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium. It seems, rather, that if one takes stock of his rhetorical arsenal, he may discover it is lacking in its defense against Modernism without private revelation.
The Only Sure Guard Against Modernism
Here we see a tragic irony: those who are fearful and distrusting of private revelation on the grounds that it is not infallible and thus might be a risk to orthodoxy (one often hears this fear voiced in some circles), only open themselves up to the far greater danger of a deceptive worldly exegesis, masquerading as scholarship, generating far more errors in their minds than even a somewhat overzealous approach to private revelation ever could. (For indeed, willed fear never edifies.)
Most of these errors, of course, relate to tenets of the Heresy of Modernism. One may think himself safe against this broad heresy merely by virtue of his love for Catholic Tradition; but this will not suffice. We can see why from the following considerations:
* Who shall inform him as to what the consensus of Sacred Tradition even consists in? His own research? There is far too much content within Catholic Tradition for any one person to summarize on his own.
* Shall he, in fear of the subtleties of modernism, close his ears entirely to the voice of the Holy Spirit today? Catholic tradition itself repudiates this as a Godless way of life, after the manner of the Pharisees, so this is self-defeating.
* Shall he rely on this or that saint whom he believes stated well what tradition consists in and gave a sure guide to applying it to one’s life as a Catholic? Perhaps St. Pius X or St. Josemaria Escriva? This also cannot work: a life cannot be well lived without addressing the issues of the day. By definition, these are the very issues that no canonized saint can directly confront, since these saints are no longer with us on earth.
* Shall he simply read the Magisterium and let nothing else guide him? This approach can never work either. The majority of issues that one need confront in his life will never be directly settled by the Magisterium. Those that are addressed by the Magisterium are usually only dealt with many years after they become utterly pressing. This is all besides the fact that the Magisterium itself now assures us that, though necessary (binding), it is inadequate (failing to address everything that must be addressed), stating in paragraph 170 of the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete at Exsultate: “Nor are the Church’s sound norms sufficient.”
* Shall he then find an authoritative guide, living today, to Catholic Tradition, in whom to place all of his trust? Many do precisely this: perhaps in this or that blog, apostolate, or pundit. But this is the most vain attempt of all; for where does this guide get his own guidance? We have only kicked the can down the road and, like a sloth or a coward, outsourced that discernment which should always be our own.
Only a healthy approach to private revelation will succeed in fully and assuredly safeguarding one against Modernism (at the minimum, we can say that this is true today at least, when we see that the straight-and-narrow path of Our Lord has become razor thin.)72
I beseech you to not take my word for this. Instead, go about and investigate it for yourself. Spend time in the many Catholic circles or “subcultures” that you can find, and still you will discover that almost all of them are full of sin and error (with some hiding it better than others). Among the only groups you will find that have had any success in building up a bulwark against this sin and error are the ones who are devoted to private revelation. I know I have found this success in Divine Will groups, Marian Movement of Priests Cenacles, Divine Mercy apostolates, and the like.
Remember that the theologians who promote the errors listed in the previous section are very intelligent and very learned. They are experts in deflecting any criticism of which they are guilty of clear heresy: namely, of contradicting any unanimous consensus of Tradition, or of violating infallible Magisterial teaching.
Consider the priest mentioned in the last section’s list, Fr. James Martin. It is difficult to find a single voice in the Catholic world today that is causing more damage than his, as he incessantly cheers and hastens the moral decay of the Church. Despite this, he repeatedly insists that he does not contradict any Church Teaching. He often says, for example, that his book “ … has the ecclesial approval of my Jesuit superiors and the endorsement of several cardinals, archbishops and bishops,”73 and he deftly refutes any arguments levied against him that he is guilty of heresy.
If you think that you are ready to take on Fr. Martin and others like him (many are more skilled than he) in a debate and, in your rhetorical conquering of them, preserve your own orthodoxy, then you are sorely mistaken and likely guilty of pride. Their rhetoric will prevail if all you have is the sealed Deposit of Faith, which the devil—who feeds the modernists their arguments—knows the contents of far better than we ever will. They will not beat you if you also have private revelation at your disposal. (It is no accident that virtually all modernists despise or at least ignore private revelation.) You will easily be able to, in truth and charity, show them that they have only two options: repent of their Modernism, or categorically reject private revelation. And what has already been shown (and will continue to be shown) in this chapter suffices to refute the latter option.
***
I hope that in these pages I have given you sufficient reason for taking private revelation very seriously, but I do not want to leave you with my own arguments; instead, we will close this chapter by deferring to a brief sample of far more authoritative voices than my own.
Great Minds on Private Revelation
It is easy to drum up a list of quotations from seemingly authoritative voices in the mainstream Catholic “blogosphere” today that pooh-pooh private revelation (not usually by explicitly and categorically rejecting it, but by downplaying the importance that we have shown private revelation in fact deserves). While we have already refuted this distorted view, let us consider the flip-side and see what the truly authoritative modern Catholic voices have to say about the matter.
I will not here be listing saints who are known for acting on private revelations that they themselves directly received, as that would admittedly not be particularly germane to the question at hand, which concerns how a Catholic ought to approach the private revelations received by others. Additionally, it would be impossible to present such a list, as practically every saint was formed by the private revelations God gave him or her.
I will also not be presenting in this list any saints before the 20th century for one simple reason: the issue is not often broached before that century, since only upon the dawn of diabolical Modernism during the 1900s did private revelation begin to lose its rightful status of glory—considering the history of the Church, the dismissive approach to private revelation is a new phenomenon. Open up the pages of just about any traditional work of a Catholic saint and you will regularly find private revelation deferred to and respected. There never used to be a need to defend private revelation in general because private revelation in general never used to be attacked as it is today!
Pope St. John Paul II
Pope St. John Paul II, justly referred to by many as “John Paul the Great,” gives us the example par excellence of the proper approach to Private Revelation. Consider the following, taken from a later chapter in this book:
Pope St. John Paul II said, when speaking about his Encyclical Dives in Misericordia (which was greatly inspired by his reading of the Divine Mercy Diary): “Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I consider this message [“Divine Mercy”] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God.”74 He also spoke of the Divine Mercy Message as “forming the image of [his] pontificate.” Lest anyone be concerned he was merely speaking of Divine Mercy in general, and not intending to allude to Faustina’s writings, he also said that he had a “burning desire” that this particular message of St. Faustina’s be proclaimed “to all the peoples of the earth.”75
Here we see this saintly Pope bluntly stating that the entire purpose of his Pontificate was a Private Revelation. This is coming not only from a saintly Pope, but from the one who may well be the greatest man of the 20th century. When faced with this stunning example, how dare we, who are nothing compared to him, fear dedicating our small lives to private revelation? We are like poor misers afraid to invest a few dollars in a noble cause when a wise millionaire living next door sells all his possessions to invest it all in the same thing. Nota bene: St. Faustina’s revelations were condemned at the time when John Paul II, as Karol Wojtyla, discovered them and made them his mission.
St. Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, among the greatest saints of the 20th century, was also one of the most well-known supporters of the apparitions at Medjugorje. This support is testified both in a letter written by her, in which she stated, “We are all praying one Hail Mary before Holy Mass to Our Lady of Medjugorje,” and also by the testimony of the eminent theologian and trustworthy source Dr. Mark Miravalle.76
St. Teresa’s greatness and her willingness to support an unapproved apparition and pray to Our Lady under its title should speak volumes to those now fearful of approaching any private revelation that hasn’t already received full Church approval of every form.
St. Padre Pio
When one reads the life of Padre Pio, one sees clearly the life of not just any saint, but rather the life of one of only a few such souls that the entire history of the Church is blessed with. A stigmatist and a mystic, he had innumerable spiritual gifts and was the originator of countless miracles. As stated elsewhere in this book, the demons were forced to reveal that they feared him more than they feared St. Michael the Archangel. We even know of cases wherein Padre Pio bilocated:
Among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bilocation was the Padre’s appearance in the air over San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. While southern Italy remained in Nazi hands American bombers were given the job of attacking the city of San Giovanni Rotondo. However, when they appeared over the city and prepared to unload their munitions a brown-robed friar appeared before their aircraft. All attempts to release the bombs failed. In this way Padre Pio kept his promise to the citizens that their town would be spared. Later on, when an American airbase was established at Foggia a few miles away, one of the pilots of this incident visited the friary and found to his surprise the little friar he had seen in the air that day over San Giovanni.77
Now, these and similar facts about this great saint are more or less well known, but what is not common knowledge is the love he had for private revelation, and his willingness even to endorse and promote unapproved private revelations. In addition to being a supporter of Luisa (see the section on Luisa’s life for more details), he was a strong supporter of Garabandal. We see, for example, in a formal answer to an inquiry on Garabandal, a theologian at EWTN asserting:
Finally, the principal promoter of Garabandal, Joey Lomangino, testifies that it was Saint Padre Pio who told him the Blessed Virgin was appearing at Garabandal and he should go. It seems, therefore, that notwithstanding the decisions of two commissions accepted by the bishops of Santander, that there are reasonable grounds for individual Catholics to find Garabandal credible. 78
Of course, St. Pio ran up against extraordinary opposition from some members of the Church hierarchy; for a time, he was even censured by Rome. An overly cautious Catholic might see precisely this as a reason to not be like the saint: that is, to avoid all the “risks” involved with private revelation—especially those that are yet to be approved (“unapproved”). But “safety first” is no way to live and is certainly no way to become the saints that all are called to be, as the story of Padre Pio and of countless others teach us.
Mother Angelica
Mother Angelica, the holy foundress of EWTN, was one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century. After she died, Pope Francis stated bluntly “she is in Heaven!”79 Besides being one of the greatest evangelists, she was also one of the most wholehearted and zealous promoters of private revelation in the Catholic world. This ruffled the feathers of many, but she did not care. She knew it was far too important to neglect. She even openly promoted the prophecies of Garabandal—an apparition that has not received full Church approval—on national TV.
She wrote, of Michael Brown’s book Sent to Earth (which is chock full of private revelations and prophecies concerning the coming times),
If you didn’t buy his book, you’re missing it. It’s not a scary book; it’s a very good book. If you haven’t bought it I would buy it. I think it’s a great book, just terrific. I think it’s important for my future and your future. I want you to read Sent To Earth. Why? It’s logical, it’s truthful, it’s sensible, and it’s God’s way of saying, ‘Let’s be ready.’80
As John Haffert says in his book, The Great Event, Mother Angelica was a firm believer in many prophecies given by private revelation (both approved and unapproved):
In her first appearance on her own Eternal World Television Network, the day after the miraculous cure which enabled her to put aside the steel braces she had worn for over forty years, Mother Angelica was asked in the exuberance of the moment about the future. She answered by repeating two prophecies which had been made by saints in the past and which seem now close to fulfillment. (The Pope himself had said in his daring book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope: “It seems, as we approach the millennium, that the words of Our Lady of Fatima are nearing their fulfillment.”) The first great prophecy Mother Angelica expected to see fulfilled in the near future was that, on a given day all over the world, people will see themselves as God sees them [in a reference to The Warning of Garabandal].
Fr. Rene Laurentin
Father Laurentin is a veritable giant of the Catholic world of the 20th century. He is likely the greatest Mariologist of the same century and is a foremost expert on Lourdes in particular (writing, as he did, a many-volume scientific history of it). The author of over 100 books, he is cited and mentioned dozens of times in the authoritative New Catholic Encyclopedia. The New York Times itself even ran a story upon his death in 2017. Pope Benedict XVI named him a Prelate of His Holiness in 2009. He played a significant role as a consultant at the Second Vatican Council and was extolled by Vatican Radio as “certainly one of the last living witnesses of this great period of effervescence.”81
The University of Dayton biography page dedicated to Fr. Laurentin says of him:
He has received various awards and distinctions including the Marian Award of 1963 from the University of Dayton (1964), the Wlodzimierz Pietrzak Literary Award (1974), Italy’s National Catholic Culture Award (1996), Officer of the Legion of Honor (2002), and many other awards for his writing and contributions to Catholicism and Mariology. Laurentin is widely recognized as an expert in the field of Mariology and is the author of over 100 works and numerous scholarly articles. His writings, translated in many languages, cover a range of topics on Marian apparitions including Lourdes and Medjugorje; visionaries and mystics including Bernadette Soubirous, Thérèse de Lisieux, Catherine Labouré, and Yvonne-Aimée de Malestroit; as well as biblical exegesis, theology, and Vatican II.82
We can see, now, that it would be difficult to overstate the importance of Fr. Laurentin in Mariology today—even in Catholic Theology in general—or to overestimate the degree of his trustworthiness and competence in speaking on these matters.
Therefore, it is with enormous confidence that we can heed the lesson he gave us.
In his book, a religious bestseller when it came out, Father Laurentin expressed his view that, in the current skeptical and psychoanalytic climate, the apparitions at Lourdes would not have been recognized by the Church. 83
A tireless advocate of private revelation, Fr. Laurentin may be most well-known for defending and promoting the apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje which, to this day, remain unapproved. But this was no stumbling block for him. He in fact became so well known for this mission that its acknowledgement was a major part of the article ran about him in the New York Times after his death. The article ends with the paragraph:
“What strikes me in Our Lady’s messages is that they are an echo of the Gospel,” Father Laurentin said in 2003. “The messages from Medjugorje do not say anything new; they just repeat to our deaf ears what we have forgotten, what we do not want, or are not able to hear any more: to pray, to have a strong faith in God, to fast, to read the Gospel.”84
Fr. Edward O’Connor
The authority of Fr. Laurentin as a voice to be fully trusted in these matters settled in the previous section, let us now look at what he himself said of another theologian, Fr. Edward O’Connor:
Edward O’Connor, former professor at the University of Notre Dame, is a classic theologian, open to apparitions and their discernment. He knows how to recognize false visionaries, and defend those who have been discredited unjustly by the mistakes that commonly occur in this domain … we are grateful to Father O’Connor for having resolved the paradoxical contradictions between the spiritual phenomenon of apparitions and the canonical repression which sometimes broke out against the visionaries85
Fr. O’Connor writes:
Being cautious and discreet does not mean being closed-minded. Visions, apparitions and messages from god, while always being extraordinary, are a normal part of the Christian life. They are much more abundant than is generally recognized. Pope John Paul II himself declared: “The Church is mission! Today she also needs ‘prophets’ who can reawaken in the communities faith in the revealing Word of God, who is rich in mercy”86
Fr. Edward O’Connor is indeed an authority on these matters, and it is noteworthy that, of the many books he wrote, he only wrote one entirely dedicated to a specific apparition: Living in the Divine Will, written in 2014, in which he defends and explains Luisa’s revelations. This also appears to be his last work; perhaps he even considered it the Crown and Completion of his ministry of private revelation.
Dr. Mark Miravalle
Mark Miravalle, a renowned theologian, Mariologist, and professor at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, is also among today’s foremost experts on mysticism in Catholicism.
Of unassailable orthodoxy, Professor Miravalle is nevertheless unafraid of private revelation—approved or unapproved. He is a well-known defender and promoter of the apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje, even authoring the New Catholic Encyclopedia article on the same. Miravalle published a comprehensive and admirable anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, a work specifically written with the intent of being an authoritative and fully trustworthy reference for Catholic teaching. Its contributors include other authoritative theologians such as Edward Sri and Fr. Peter Fehlner, and it bears a foreword written by Cardinal Burke. In it, Miravalle himself writes:
Can an obedient member of the Catholic Church make a personal assent of belief regarding a reported revelation before the Church, local or universal, has made an official statement about its authenticity? The answer, based on the Church’s repeated precedent, is in the affirmative. While respecting the need for prudence and appropriate caution regarding any reported apparition about which appropriate Church authorities have not yet made a determination, the faithful are nonetheless free to make their own personal discernment and decision of authenticity, based upon the same norms which the Church uses in its authoritative evaluation. Practically speaking, it is oftentimes only after the faithful begin to pilgrimage privately to reported apparition sites that the local Church initiates its authoritative evaluation. The beatification of Fatima visionaries Jacinta and Francisco Marto in 2000 by John Paul II further illustrates the legitimacy of the faithful personally accepting a private revelation as authentic before the Church’s official decision. Francisco and Jacinta died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, some ten years before the Church’s official approval of the Fatima apparitions on October 13, 1930. In matter of fact, Jacinta and Francisco were beatified for the heroic living of the Fatima message, which in their lifetimes remained a reported apparition, as yet unapproved by the Church.87
It is not difficult to see what the history of the Church tells us regarding how we ought to approach private revelation. Thankfully, there are some scholars, Dr. Mark Miravalle among them, who (as seen above), have the courage to remind us of that. I, for one, know of no single private revelation in the history of the Church that, though now approved, consisted of a message in which Our Lady (or Jesus) was content waiting for the Church to approve it before people (and not just the visionaries themselves) needed to respond.
Miravalle has also helped to correct a rampant error, alluded to elsewhere in this book, pertaining to the teaching of a certain 18th century Pope. One sometimes hears a few apologists paraphrase Pope Benedict XIV88 in his teaching89 that private revelations are not matters of Divine, Catholic Faith, and thus may be disbelieved without direct affront to Catholic Faith. But they conflate this important teaching with another idea that this Pontiff never promulgated (nor did any): namely, that, because one may do something without direct and explicit affront to Catholic Faith, one may freely do it without any affront to any virtue or duty whatsoever. As pointed out elsewhere in this book: from this erroneous premise it would also follow that one may harmlessly reject that 2+2=4.
Thankfully Dr. Miravalle, a bona fide theologian whom the Vatican has appointed to commissions to investigate private revelations (unlike any of the aforementioned apologists) corrects the distorted understanding, writing:
While clearly acknowledging the real possibility and danger of false prophecy, Pope Benedict’s balanced examination does not leave one with an exaggerated phobia of private revelation, but rather with a cautious but open mind and heart to these supernatural “interferences” through which God has willed, and continues to will, to assist humanity in tis search for Christian salvation and sanctification.90
It should also be noted that, in this same work, Dr. Miravalle points out that an otherwise valuable book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, A Still Small Voice, portrays an incorrect approach to private revelation because it draws erroneous references to Benedict XIV…
… from Poulan rather than from the original work, and with a similar overriding tenor which likewise does not reflect the sensitive balance maintained by Benedict XIV.
Bishop Paul Kim
While some Bishops inevitably will, sadly, go down in history as the ones who fought against God’s intervention in the world (we think, for example, of Bishop Pierre Cauchon, who presided over the trial of St. Joan of Arc), this is usually not the case. In fact, Bishops generally have a far better track record with private revelation than most others! One Bishop who has spoken particularly powerfully on private revelation in general is the Bishop Emeritus of the Cheju Diocese in Korea, Bishop Paul Tchang-Ryeol Kim. Here are some extracts from his Pastoral Letter written on Easter Sunday of the year 1999:
Our age is indeed an age of private revelations. However, as has always been the case, disturbing remarks are now being heard within the Church in Korea and, especially, words of apprehension are being uttered by most of the shepherds. Such apprehension, however, is groundless, caused by lack of proper understanding of private revelations … The Council [Vatican II] gave a new clarification on this subject to the pastors and theologians in the Church. The reason for the concern about private revelations despite the Council’s teaching must be that, as the number of private revelations has been increasing, false revelations unavoidably have been occurring also, causing confusion. However, should we throw away money because there is counterfeit money? Because there are false private revelations, should we frown upon and ignore private revelations and inspirations themselves? All of the devotional movements and apostolates such as the Eucharistic devotion, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, novena devotions, Legio Mariae, M.E., Cursilio, Foccolore, Knights of St. Mary, Third Orders of the Franciscans, of St. Vincent, of St. Damian, etc. could not have started in the Church without private revelations. … The Second Vatican Council, which we deem so precious, could not have started, either. That is because that Council was summoned under the inspiration of a private revelation to Pope John XXIII. … One cannot lead a life of faith with public revelations alone. That is because the life of faith is a living communion with God. A church that only has organization, dogmas and theology would be a cold, lifeless organization. … This is the very reason why our Church has untiringly defended the need for and the important role of private revelations by both explanations and actions despite the persistently recurring false private revelations and their harmful effects.91
As we can see, the good Bishop has spoken even more boldly in support of private revelation in general than I myself have anywhere in this book.
Fr. John Arintero
Fr. Arintero, a Dominican priest and eminent theologian of the mystical life, has very strong words for those who would discount private revelation. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, in addition to citing his works many times and in many entries, says of him in his own entry:
As a specialist in the natural sciences … he inaugurated at Valladolid the Academía de Santo Tomás, dedicated to the study of natural science in relation to philosophy and theology. In 1903 he was recalled to Salamanca as professor of apologetics, and except for one year (1909—10), which he spent as a professor at the Angelicum in Rome, he remained for the rest of his life in that city. The title of master in sacred theology was conferred upon him in 1908. At this period, he abandoned the study of the natural sciences and apologetics in order to give himself completely to ascetical and mystical theology…As a result of his teaching regarding the call of all Christians to perfection and the normal development of the life of grace into contemplative prayer… Arintero became embroiled in controversies …
Here we see that not only was he a great theologian, but also a true prophet of his age; writing as he did decades before the Second Vatican Council and its now famous Universal Call to Holiness. Sadly, Fr. Arintero is largely forgotten today and his works are hard to find. One of his works is particularly noteworthy:
The book Evolución mística (Mystical Evolution) had positive reception at the time of its publication and probably his was one of the reasons that contributed to Arintero being required as a teacher in Rome for the recently opened Angelicum.92
In this book, the full title of which is The Mystical Evolution in the Development and Vitality of the Church, and lamenting those who, in the perverse exaltation of “reason,” oppose mysticism and private revelation, he writes:
Poor autonomous reason which attempts to deify itself and be the absolute norm of everything, but is incapable of knowing the “all” of anything or of making the least correction or modification in the divine operation. Poor foolish reason which, unable to understand the most insignificant thing or a single atom, presumes to pass judgment on the loftiest mysteries. Poor infatuated reason, blinded by the rays of the infinite light, prefers to pronounce its judgment and close its eyes and live in darkness like a nocturnal bird, rather than strengthen its vision with the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Poor misguided reason, fleeing from the great, the noble, and the divine, which are the only things that can enrich and perfect it, cannot help but be degenerated, vitiated, and degraded. Desiring to be sufficient unto itself, it abandons itself to its own powers and busies itself with fatuities or bagatelle, if not burying itself in uncleanness which obscures and perverts it.
O reason, whatever you succeed in discovering apart from God, the more it enlightens you the more it will disillusion and deceive you. Ultimately it will avail you but little when, fleeing as you do from the very source of light and life, you end in the exterior darkness. If, by following the proud banner whose theme is “I will not serve,” you disown the loving God who redeemed you and regenerated you with His blood and thus lose the torch of divine faith received at baptism, well can we lament over you as over the cruel prince to whom you have delivered yourself: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning!… But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit.” “But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”93
Anyone who doubts that these words of Fr. Arintero are indeed directed at those who, in the arrogance of their supposed “reason,” (that is, the rationalistic approach to matters pertaining to Heaven) scoff at private revelation, should check the context of that quote for themselves. It was not given in a chapter condemning atheism, modernism, heresy, or anything of the like. It is, rather, the last portion of his chapter entitled “Importance of Private Revelations,” and is found immediately after several paragraphs in which he loftily extols the greatness of the gifts enjoyed by the mystics and the fruits of their private revelations. That being said, the unabridged quote contains multiple references to “evolution,” implying that he also has in mind the proponents of evolution, which he was surrounded by in the earlier years of his studies of natural science. Therefore, while it is no doubt that the strongest words (i.e. the last few sentences) of this quote are directed to those who give a radical “non servio,”94 it also seems unavoidable that he also has anyone in mind—including and perhaps especially those within the Church—who oppose private revelation.
And Fr. Arintero has hit the nail on the head. Although those ordinary Catholics who avoid private revelation generally do so merely because they have been misled into overestimating its potential danger, it is another story entirely among the scholars. Their usual motivation for rejecting private revelation has nothing to do with simply being prudent in the face of the risk of being misled by the devil, by fraud, or by the mystic’s own imagination95 (even if, as a façade, they give these reasons as their explanation). No, it is almost always an arrogant overestimation of their own intellectual prowess that urges on these scholarly scoffers at private revelation; convinced, as they are, that they are simply “above” such “excessive piety fit only for elderly women.” As a Dominican theologian and professor, Fr. Arintero was doubtless surrounded by this mentality, hence his vigor in denouncing it. And as one with a theology degree from a Catholic college and seminary myself, I can vouch that I have seen no shortage of this type of mentality.
***
For my part, I have studied no less than 300 different prophecies. Moreover, the more ancient of these prophecies describe accurately subsequent events such as the Reformation, the French Revolution, the rise of Capitalism and Democracy, and even Communism. The sceptic may say that these prophecies are nonsense, but the nonsense is in his own mind. Or again, he may say that they are only “private”, but so are Lourdes and Fatima; so are the Scapular and the Rosary. It matters little, really, whether a revelation is private or public, so long as it has given reasonable evidence of being true.
– Yves Dupont. Author of Catholic Prophecy.
A Word of Caution and Comfort
Now that we have settled the glorious place the private revelation deserves in our lives as Catholics, we must nevertheless ensure that our pursuit of private revelation is always maintained in accordance with the virtues of prudence, justice, and wisdom. We should have a disposition of openness to private revelation, not a by-default presumption of its validity, and not a willingness to contradict Church teachings because of some alleged “revelation.”
For there is no negligible number of people—today especially—who reject these virtues when it comes to private revelation and readily go head over heels in following anyone who claims to have any sort of supernatural insight. This is an extremely dangerous demeanor, and, in some circles, it is growing rapidly. All I have wished to do in the previous sections is refute the knee-jerk reaction of lukewarmness or apathy to private revelation. But perhaps even worse than exhibiting this lukewarmness would be harboring a sense of guilt and anxiety for not reading or following any given private revelation (if you simply do not feel ready, or do not feel at peace with such a pursuit).
If you discern a spirit of disturbance in pursuing any given private revelation, then by all means, cease! We must indeed test the spirits, and “hold fast what is good,”96 and there is a subjective aspect to that. Whenever private revelation feels overwhelming to you, you can and should redirect yourself and take consolation in that glorious and infallible Deposit of Faith we find in Scripture, Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition. All I have intended to do here is rid you of notions that dispel urgency and anesthetize the workings of the Holy Spirit in a dismissive approach to private revelation. I do not wish to err on the opposite extreme and lay a heavy burden upon your shoulders. That burden would not be Christ’s, for His is easy and light.97
Furthermore, we should be especially careful to avoid that perverse approach to supposed “private revelation” which:
* Bears an inordinate fascination with and desire for unnecessary knowledge of spiritual secrets that does not aid in salvation or sanctification.
* Entails a willingness to contradict Church teaching just because some self-proclaimed seer, locutionist, “faith healer,” Near-Death-Experiencer made a statement at odds with the Magisterium.
* In any way involves the New Age, the Occult, Gnosticism, or Esotericism (e.g. divination, sorcery, fortune-telling, hypnosis, “spirit-mediums,” astrological horoscopes, “astral projecting,” “remote viewing,” etc.)
These errors are grave and, if succumbed to, may lead to one’s spiritual destruction. Therefore, we mustn’t ever become so zealous about private revelation that we fall into any of them, or into any related error!
Indeed, there are many false private revelations, and their true nature is not always at first obvious. The last several years before the publication of this book (leading up to 2019, that is) seemed to yield an extraordinary amount of false prophecies and revelations. They furthermore did great damage since, with the help of the internet, they spread their falsity to large amounts of people very rapidly. But perhaps the greatest damage is found in their inspiring of a cynical approach to private revelation in general which often prevails among Catholics today.
But it should surprise no one that the devil misses no opportunity; that, seeing the incredible outpouring of God’s grace through the explosion of private revelation of the modern era, he has taken it upon himself to inspire many false apparitions and revelations to limit this outpouring of grace. But, thankfully for us, the devil is no match for a proper and careful approach to discerning private revelations, which is the topic we will next consider.

Official Church Sanctioned Norms for Discerning Private Revelation
Criteria in support of validity
Criteria against validity
* Psychological equilibrium
* Honesty
* Rectitude of moral life
* Docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority
* Normal regiment of faith continued following apparition
* Theology and spirituality free of error
* Spiritual fruit (e.g. conversion, charity)
* Doctrinal errors attributed to (that is, allegedly said by) God or a saint98
* Evidence of a search for profit connected to the revelation
* Grave sins associated with the events of the revelation on the part of the seer or followers
* Psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies

8) Discerning Alleged Private Revelations

In a preceding chapter we grew certain (if we weren’t already) that the Catholic Church has the fullness of the Truth; the Truth that we must follow with absolute certainty—without ever wavering, without ever hesitating, and with the unshakeable commitment to do whatever it takes to be the best Catholics possible. In the last chapter, we discovered how incredibly important—indeed, indispensable—private revelation is in this very commitment.
Therefore, our next step is as imperative as it is obvious: learn what the Catholic Church teaches about private revelation and follow this teaching, come what may. Now, this same Church teaches (guided by the Holy Spirit Himself, and instructed as well by 2,000 years of experience) that alleged revelations are to be judged by certain criteria.
There is no need for confusion on this question, or for appealing only to the personal criteria of individual Catholics on how one ought to discern alleged revelations. For the Church herself has already told us how to discern them, but unfortunately this teaching is almost never brought up, as those who should be deferring to and promoting this teaching instead prefer to denounce revelations according to their own personal criteria.
Official Church Sanctioned Norms
In 1978, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith promulgated a document entitled “Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations.”99 The document itself is short and well worth reading, but the essence of its criteria is summed up in the included table on the preceding page.
The same document instructs Ecclesiastical Authority to, after considering these criteria, give “special regard to the fecundity of spiritual fruit generated from this new devotion,” in expressing a judgment of authenticity. This point in particular is at once the most important of the document (evidenced by the document’s authors’ choice of words), and the one most rejected by many critics who appoint themselves as the judges of private revelation. For they often insist that fruits are not valid criteria for discerning validity, even though the Church herself here teaches that fruits must be given special regard. This focus on the fruits, of course, aligns perfectly with the words of Our Lord Himself, Who taught that “by their fruits you shall know them.”100 But it is also perfectly in line with what Jesus said to Luisa. Let us consider what He said to Luisa on this issue and briefly consider her situation before returning to the question of discernment of private revelation in general.
It is from the fruits that the tree is known… and I am greatly disappointed that instead of looking at the fruits, they judged the cortex of the tree… Poor ones, what can they comprehend by looking at the cortex of My ways without descending to the fruits that I have produced? They will remain more in the dark, and they can incur in the disgrace of the Pharisees who, looking in Me at the cortex of My works and words, not at the substance of the fruits of My Life, remained blind and ended up giving Me death … Ah! my daughter, my crime is always love, and it is also the crime of those who love Me. Finding no other material on which to judge, they judge my too much love, and that of my children, who perhaps have laid down their lives even for them. And besides, now they can judge as they want, but what will their confusion not be when they come before Me and will know with clarity that I Myself have been the One who has acted in that way, condemned by them, and that their judgment has prevented for Me a great glory of mine and a great good in the midst of creatures, which is that of knowing with more clarity what it means to do my Divine Will and to let It reign? There is no graver crime than that of preventing good.101
Now, all these criteria and considerations given by the Church leave no room for reasonable doubt on Luisa’s revelations. As we will see in a forthcoming section on her life, she exhibited an astounding degree of stability and psychological “equilibrium.” Despite the enormous spiritual battles going on in her soul, she was always serene and peaceful. She was revered by many authoritative figures who knew her; one of whom is now a canonized saint who made the promotion of Luisa’s revelations the main mission of the last years of his life. Although over seventy years have passed since her death, there still has not surfaced even the slightest indication of any moral fault in Luisa whatsoever, leaving her moral rectitude unassailable—so much so that the Church has declared her a Servant of God. Her obedience to all Ecclesiastical Authority was always perfect, and she truly lived, to a heroic degree, the “docility” the Church calls for in discernment. She remained a totally committed and devout Catholic until her last breath, and her teachings—although spanning thousands of pages—have not succumbed to a single doctrinal error (as has already been asserted by multiple Vatican-appointed theologians whose very job it was to examine all her writings in search of errors). Far from ever searching for any sort of profit, she remained completely poor her entire life, contributing to her own meager sustenance through working, in her bed, as a seamstress. Finally, the “normal regiment of life following apparition” criterion given by the Church in supporting the validity of the mystic is particularly noteworthy in Luisa’s case, because the last 10 years of her life did not involve her writing anything of her revelations or mystical experiences (for at the end of 1938 she was relieved, by the Church, from her command to write down what Jesus told her; thus she stopped). Instead, she only continued to live, in humility and poverty, as a model Catholic in every way, even writing letters to people thus demonstrating her continued depth of wisdom and soundness of judgment as a Catholic.
In the following chapter, we will continue this examination and delineate a plethora of overwhelming reasons why no one has any grounds to doubt the validity of Luisa’s revelations, but even from this merely cursory overview of what the Church requires for us to consider in discerning any alleged revelation, it is clear that no serious discerner, even if he at first felt a great aversion to Luisa, can do anything but unclench the fist. And while the above Church-sanctioned considerations in discerning alleged revelations remain paramount, we should not neglect to look at even more factors before moving on to the next chapter.
Additional Norms for Discernment
For over a decade, I have been carefully paying attention to many alleged private revelations, a good portion of which have over time simply become more clearly true, while others have been revealed to be clearly false. From these experiences, some additional positive and negative indications of validity have become clear, which are as follows.
Positive Indications
? Years having passed since the seer’s death, without any revelations of moral fault.
? A demeanor of truly unassailable humility.
? A demeanor of peace and tranquility that is always maintained even in the face of a torrent of unjust personal attacks.
? A stand on issues that is at once dripping with mercy in its approach to individual sinners, but doctrinally uncompromising when dealing with the principles which pertain to the sins themselves.
? A fundamental agreement with the related contents of overlapping private revelations.
Negative Indications
? Anonymity (this is certainly not a “deal breaker,” but it is a cause for extra caution).
? Refusal to reveal who his or her spiritual director is.
? Self-referentialism in subject’s writings (or talks) and an excessive eagerness to share personal stories, experiences, etc.
? Evidence of a blogger mentality: running commentary on current events or the insistence upon seeing localized events (e.g. American Politics) as the major—or perhaps even sole or primary—prophetic indicators.
? Voiced opinions which align almost perfectly with one Catholic subculture, political ideology/party, or popular conspiracy theory.
? Defensiveness.
? Divergence with the prophetic consensus (whereas, on the flip side of the coin, mere reiteration of the same exact prophetic consensus already known can also be a negative indication)
(In all of these, too, Luisa’s revelations fall squarely in the “positive” category and do not exhibit anything from the “negative” category.)
Now, there are other norms that some commentators have proposed as their own personal criteria for evaluating alleged revelations, but which are utterly invalid: contradicted by reason, by Church History, and in some cases even by the Magisterium itself. These invalid “negative criteria” (which should not weigh in to one’s discernment as they do not constitute actual negative criteria) include the following:
* High frequency of visits. There is no reason even daily visits or messages from Jesus or Mary are an obstacle to recognizing the validity of the revelations. Many now-approved and doubtlessly valid private revelations have had precisely that occur; for example, St. Faustina’s.
* Great magnitude of content. The Church has never placed a limit on the greatness of the realities that the revelation in question may speak of, so long as they revelations themselves do not claim to contradict, correct, or surpass the Deposit of Faith itself, contained in the already complete Public Revelation. But this simple limitation is completely perverted by those who wish to put God on their own leash and determine, in accord with their own feeble understanding of how the future should proceed, how God can and cannot intervene. More on this point is contained in the “Answers to Objections” chapter of this book.
* The absence of rose-colored glasses. Jesus and Mary often have extremely hard words for the Church, and neither priests nor bishops are exempt. It is erroneous to conflate the Church’s teaching, as mentioned above, that the alleged seer must be docile to ecclesiastical authority with the notion that the messages themselves must treat ecclesiastical authority, in general, gently. The latter, besides never being taught by the Church, is clearly absurd on its own right, for one needn’t be a Church Historian to know that the ranks of the institutional Church have long harbored many depraved members who indeed deserve the harshest words. Failing to issue these words, if anything, would be an indication of invalidity, as it would reveal a source that is a “respecter of persons,” which God is not, according to Acts 10:34 . As you will see in a forthcoming section (entitled “Heed the Hard Words of Jesus for the Church”, Jesus gave Luisa many hard words for the Church and there is no hint of that worldly and ugly “respect of persons” in Luisa’s messages.
* Differences in circumstances from similar revelations. One will frequently hear a given revelation or seer criticized because of the differences they have with some other revelation or seer. But Heaven never would have intervened to give messages in the first place if it wanted nothing other than the exact same message given which has already been given! Instead, Providence would simply arrange for that other revelation to receive greater exposure. So long as the difference does not clearly amount to a negative criterion for discernment, it should not be considered to act as one. Unfortunately, this unjust judgment is common; for example, since the only Fatima visionary who survived to adulthood became a religious sister, some Catholics will oppose any visionary who does not do the same. This is an affront to God’s sovereign right to call whom He wills.102
* Messages with “Doom and Gloom.” Anyone who has read the Book of Revelation knows that some very ugly things are going to happen on this planet in the coming times. The fact that there are some Catholics who denigrate anyone who is honest about this fact as a “doomsday preacher” proves only that these Catholics enjoy burying their heads in the sand—a perverse inclination should never be considered a valid criterion for discernment. While a “doom and gloom” message without hope would be a valid reason to discount an alleged revelation, the mere presence (even if it is a large presence) of stark messages for the future should not cause any hesitation in believing the revelation, as long as the stark messages themselves are embedded within an overarching message of hope and triumph. Here it must be noted that Luisa’s revelations are at once the most severe (in their description of the coming Chastisements) and the most hopeful (in their description of the grace available despite the Chastisements, and the nature of the time that will come after them) of any private revelation I have ever read.
* Lacking an immaculate record with Church authorities. The fact that there are still some Catholics who cling to this is very sad; for permanently condemning an apparition just because it had, in the past, been temporarily restricted or even condemned, has long been proven an errant approach. This would require one to oppose St. Faustina and her writings, St. Padre Pio, St. Joan of Arc, and many others. St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, was formally investigated five times by the Church because of her mystical experiences—at least once she was even ordered to destroy manuscripts. And yet any orthodox Catholic today knows that her writings are totally sublime and among the most important works of spiritual theology in the history of the Church. Condemnations of individuals or of revelations are not part of the Church’s infallible Magisterium (which deals only with the actual contents of Faith and Morals), and thus they can be changed—and have been changed. Hesitancy in realizing that is not prudence; rather, it is obstinacy.
So let us be sure to avoid all these pitfalls in discerning private revelation; any one of them can easily lead to erroneous conclusions on the most important matters, which in turn can have tragic consequences for our individual lives and for the history of the world and God’s plan in it. Approaching private revelation must be done with great care and the same holy fear that Scripture itself insists upon in Acts 5:
Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered [the apostles] to be put outside for a while. And he said to them … “ … in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
Some private revelations must indeed be opposed. But we should be very sure of ourselves before ever doing so. For when we are dealing with private revelation, we are dealing with the very real possibility of opposing God Himself. And I tremble to think of what a terrifying Judgment Day many “good Catholics” are now preparing for themselves by being the persecutors of Heaven under the guise of orthodoxy.
Luisa and The Index of Forbidden Books
The last point in the preceding section’s list is especially important and must be expanded upon. Indeed, some of Luisa’s own works were placed on the Index of Forbidden books! So were St. Faustina’s, and so were many others now known to be good and true.
And this placement says nothing; for the Index no longer exists. Although everyone knows this, some Catholics go so far as to say that, unless a book has been explicitly lifted from the Index and formally approved, it still is condemned. This position, though patently absurd, is still promoted by a few radical traditionalists. In June 1966, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued a “Notification regarding the abolition of the Index of books,”103 itself referencing an Apostolic Letter by Pope St. Paul VI given in December 1965. The notification is short and should be read by anyone interested in this question, but the most relevant excerpt is what follows:
… the Index remains morally binding, in light of the demands of natural law, in so far as it admonishes the conscience of Christians to be on guard for those writings that can endanger faith and morals. But, at the same time, it no longer has the force of ecclesiastical law with the attached censure. In this matter, the Church trusts in the mature conscience of the faithful …
For those unacquainted with the technical meaning of the bolded term above, understand that “A in so far as B” means that A does not contain or refer to anything beyond B. Here, that means it is only still morally binding to avoid what was on the Index in just those cases which the Index’s prohibitions still—under the knowledge and facts one has access to in the present day—regard works that “endanger faith and morals.” For such works obviously still remain the same danger to faith and morals; that is, they did not magically cease to be so upon the abolition of the Index, as some individuals on the opposite end of the spectrum foolishly thought and were well corrected by this Notification.
But whether a work which was placed on the Index does, in fact, endanger faith and morals is not a question that is logically possible to settle by determining whether it was lifted from the index—especially if that lifting would have had its opportunity to occur after 1966, when the Index was abolished. In Luisa’s case, her writings were not looked at again until the 1990s, long after lifting a book from the index was even possible (once the list was abolished; lifting entries from the list also ceased).
It is clear, therefore, in pretending that prudence demands that one dismiss or avoid a revelation or writing merely because it was on the Index or otherwise once condemned in the past, it is the height of feigned religiosity. We should always remember that what the Pharisees did to Our Lord was made infinitely more evil because they murdered Him under the pretense of piety.
As stated at the beginning of this section, we recall that even the revelations given to St. Faustina were also placed on the index. Indeed, these two great and final missions from God—one, His last effort of salvation (Divine Mercy), the other, His last effort of sanctification (Divine Will)—stood side by side on this same index for seven years; both remaining within its pages upon its abrogation by Paul VI.
One sometimes hears recognition of this placement on the Index of St. Faustina’s devotion hastily dismissed with no small hint of anxiety and a pretense that it was nothing but a procedural misstep, miscommunication, or translation issue (and sources are never cited to back up these dismissive explanations). But the truth must be known: an entire page of the Vatican’s annual record of its official acts (the Acta Apostolica Sedis) pertains to the prohibition of the Divine Mercy devotion of St. Faustina (found on page 271 of the 1959 edition of A.A.S.).104 The words of the prohibition itself—which anyone is free to read—make it clear that the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office did indeed carefully examine the “visions and revelations” of St. Faustina. Despite this examination, the Holy Office still chose to forbid any dissemination of the images and the writings of the Divine Mercy revelations.105 As the veteran Vatican journalist, John Allen, points out:
Officially, the 20-year ban is now attributed to misunderstandings created by a faulty Italian translation of the Diary, but in fact there were serious theological reservations—Faustina’s claim that Jesus had promised a complete remission of sin for certain devotional acts that only the sacraments can offer, for example, or what Vatican evaluators felt to be an excessive focus on Faustina herself.106
Clericalism evidently dies hard; some Catholics cannot fathom that the men in the Vatican can ever be simply, flat-out wrong. They ignore that only the Magisterium is Divinely protected—not the (far more numerous) juridical actions of the Church. The real reason St. Faustina’s revelations were prohibited clearly has little to do with translation issues, even if these were involved, but rather is indeed as Mr. Allen describes. As anyone who has read her diary (Divine Mercy in My Soul) knows, St. Faustina’s revelations make claims of such an enormous magnitude that, whoever was of the erroneous “private revelation may only sit quietly in a corner” mindset, would inevitably pounce to condemn them. This, indeed, is precisely what happened to both Faustina and Luisa.
And yet, this prohibition of Faustina’s revelations is no longer binding and (in consideration of the immense degree of Church approval) any Catholic would be guilty of great timidity in acting as if there is any value whatsoever to the view that would ignore or dismiss St. Faustina’s revelations on account of them once being on the Index of Forbidden Books. Consequently, the only way any Catholic can pretend that this same history—which Luisa’s revelations share with Faustina’s—is in and of itself a cause for concern is by virtue of either the aforementioned timid behavior, or the willingness to be completely intellectually dishonest and partial in judgment.
A better option than timidity or dishonesty is to simply realize that the past prohibition of Luisa’s writings is no longer binding and to proceed with proper Catholic discernment in accordance with the guidelines given by the Church. Therefore, with these guidelines in mind, we will shortly apply them to Luisa’s life and revelations. But before turning to that chapter, a few more words are in order regarding the past prohibition of Luisa’s writings.
As Stephen Patton pointed out in the year 2000:
The 1938 condemnation had nothing whatsoever to do with Luisa’s 36 volume spiritual diary, known as “Book of Heaven,” which is her most important work. This work of 40 years, containing the overwhelming weight of her spiritual doctrine on the Divine Will, was never placed on the Index. This is especially significant because in 1938 Vatican officials not only knew about this exhaustive work, they also had the actual, original volumes in the Vatican archives! If they had ever wanted to “condemn” this work of Luisa, that would have been the time. But they didn’t. And so, no taint of condemnation has ever been upon the most important thing that Luisa wrote. In fact the official, Church appointed censor, gave the Nihil Obstat to the first 19 volumes of the “Book of Heaven” after examining them intently in their original Italian language over a period of 17 years, prior to his death. The archbishop who appointed this censor gave his handwritten Imprimatur directly on those original manuscripts. Regarding the three books that were placed on the Index in 1938, two of them had several other editions. The condemnation was limited only to the specific editions officially mentioned. Other editions of these same two books have been published with full ecclesiastic approval, even as late as 1997. The third work was a compilation of edited extracts from Luisa’s writings, which has never been reprinted.
In addition to the important points Mr. Patton makes above, it is even more noteworthy that, in the years since he wrote those words, two of the three works of Luisa’s that were placed on the index have since had their prohibition lifted and the Moratorium on their open publication ended. The lifting of the prohibition occurred not merely with the abrogation of the Index but also with the 1994 Non Obstare of Luisa’s cause, which presupposes there being no condemnations in force pertaining to the potential saint’s works which would inhibit the recognition of her sanctity. Not only is that true, but there also no longer exists any Moratorium whatsoever on their printing, and instead they may freely be published (the “Moratorium” currently in place on Luisa’s 36 Volumes is not any sort of condemnation whatsoever; it is merely a temporarily limit on the publication as the official English translation nears completion; see the Appendix dedicated to addressing this issue). And the third work, as mentioned in the quote, has never been reprinted anyway. There are simply no excuses for even the most cautious of Catholics to suppose that the Church is asking them to be hesitant with Luisa’s writings.
1)
9) The Authenticity of Luisa and Her Revelations

Having now finished our delineation of the Church-sanctioned criteria for evaluating private revelation, it remains now to consider Luisa’s case in greater detail and lay out the facts of the matter so that a proper conclusion regarding authenticity can be reached.
But first, validity aside, perhaps you struggle to even make yourself interested in the revelations given to Luisa; one who might seem to be just another obscure 20th century mystic—a person whom you would be more than happy to wait until Heaven to get to know. Sometimes it does seem that the various devotions, mystics, and private revelations vying for and at times demanding our attention are almost innumerable; and they certainly are diverse enough that it simply isn’t possible to dedicate much time at all to the totality of them—even if they “generously” offer us their revelations, not for $20, but for the “much more reasonable price of $19.99!” But I believe that if you only give the following pages a brief chance, you will quickly see that not only do Luisa’s revelations deserve a place in your spiritual life, but even more so, they are truly unique among all private revelations and deserve a whole-hearted response from every single human being on the face of the planet. For we mustn’t allow ourselves to become slaves to whatever inclinations we happen to wake up with in the morning; we must, rather, form our inclinations in accord with what the intellect discovers is best. Now, let us put that great gift of intellect to use in so discovering.
General Overview
This brings us to the first reason why Luisa’s writings are worth a chance: she did not seek out people to listen to her, much less to give her so much as one penny; quite the contrary, she wanted nothing but silence and solitude, and to be unknown and little. The greatest penance of her life was writing down the revelations Jesus gave to her, for she wanted nothing to do with worldly recognition. Her humility in this regard was so heroic that it was only when her spiritual director, Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro (who was appointed by the Archbishop specifically to be Luisa’s director), commanded her under holy obedience to write that she in fact did so.107 Lest you be concerned that this moment marked the end of her humility, know that she stopped writing in the later years of her life, when she was no longer told to do so under obedience. From the very onset of these revelations, it is only thanks to the intervention of the Catholic Church that we have any record of Jesus’ words to Luisa.
But the intervention of the Catholic Church in ensuring that Luisa’s revelations were known did not stop there. A detailed overview of the important events will be given in the following pages, but before we proceed to that timeline, emphasis should be given to a few facts in particular.
Pope St. John Paul II himself canonized a certain priest, Hannibal Mary Di Francia, in the year 2004. St. Hannibal was a truly great priest; a zealous worker of important apostolates, including starting a school, an orphanage, and two religious congregations dedicated to praying for vocations. In his canonization homily, St. John Paul II said that St. Hannibal had a “ … love for the Lord [that] moved him to dedicate his entire life to the spiritual well-being of others.”108 What you unfortunately will not see in any popular work on the life of St. Hannibal is the fact that he was appointed by his Archbishop109 to be Luisa’s spiritual director, extraordinary confessor, and censor librorum. St. Hannibal became so utterly convinced not only of the legitimacy of Luisa’s revelations but also of their dire urgency and importance. In fact, towards the end of his life, St. Hannibal completely devoted himself to Luisa’s revelations, writing four months before his death, “I want you to know that since I have totally dedicated myself to the great work of the Divine Will, I practically don’t concern myself at all with my institutes.”110 He tirelessly worked to approve, publish, print, and disseminate her revelations. For he insisted, in his own personally published written word, that Luisa’s revelations consist in “… a mission so sublime that no other can be compared to it—that is, the triumph of the Divine Will upon the whole earth, in conformity with what is said in the ‘Our Father’”111
St. Hannibal was renowned for his gift of discernment. One of the seers of La Salette (a fully approved apparition that is sadly often overlooked, perhaps because of the extremely strong message Our Lady gave there), Melanie Calvat, was for a time a nun in the convent he started and St. Hannibal knew her well.112 And let us recall that not only did Pope St. John Paul II choose to canonize St. Hannibal, but he even went so far as to make his own St. Hannibal’s belief in the reality of this coming new holiness. Seven years after beatifying Hannibal, and seven years before canonizing him, John Paul said in an address to the order that St. Hannibal founded, the Rogationists:
“[St. Hannibal saw] the means God himself had provided to bring about that ‘new and divine’ holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium, in order to ‘make Christ the heart of the world.’”113
***
Now, I know what many readers are thinking at this point, for it goes something like this:
Hold on. John Paul the Great not only canonized St. Hannibal, but went so far as to explicitly endorse his most bold claim—a claim that St. Hannibal received directly from Luisa’s revelations, which he dedicated himself to spreading—that there is an unprecedented gift of Divine Holiness now available for the Church as we have reached the dawn of the third millennium, that this gift will transform the world … and I haven’t heard of this?!
I understand these sentiments because they were mine as well before I knew of Luisa’s revelations and the history behind them. The devil’s attempts now, in opposing this greatest mission of all, are restricted not to refutation—as he now sees that as impossible—but to obfuscation and silencing, hoping that he can simply prevent too many people from even discovering these truths. (Do not let him succeed!)
Also of great importance is the context of the quote given above, for it not only demonstrates Pope St. John Paul II’s clear and explicit endorsement of Hannibal’s promulgation of the Divine Will message of Luisa,114 but it also touches on precisely how this will come about—namely, through priests and through the Eucharist that comes to us from their hands:
The three foundational principles of St. Hannibal, or three buds you could say, that would blossom into this new springtime are: I. To put the Blessed Eucharist at the centre of personal and community life … II. To exist as a body in unity, in the unanimity of hearts that makes prayer acceptable to God. III. Intimate association with the suffering of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.115
The order St. Hannibal founded, the Rogationists, holds vocations to the priesthood as its entire purpose. It is no mere happenstance that he was the priest Jesus chose to be the greatest herald of His own revelations to Luisa, for Jesus Himself said to Luisa:
My daughter, it is a great necessity to form the first Priests, they will serve me as the Apostles served me in order to form my Church; and who will occupy themselves with these writings in order to publish them, putting them out in order to print them in order to make them known, they will be the new evangelists of the kingdom of my Supreme Will.116
But this reference to a New and Divine Holiness was not some isolated comment spoken and then forgotten; five years later, Pope St. John Paul II became even more bold, and in an address to the youth of Rome, made an explicit encouragement to “enter into” and Live in the Divine Will.117 (Although the English translation of the address provided by the Vatican uses the term “dwell” instead of “live,” nevertheless the same thing is being referred to.)
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Already we have the bold words of a saint, and of the Pope (also a saint!) who canonized him, in support of Luisa’s writings. But this still only constitutes the tip of the iceberg of reasons why we should not be afraid of approaching her revelations (as many are due to the grandiose nature of their claims, the opposition to them by a few common names, or an incorrect understanding of the implications of the current Church regulations on her writings). Rather, we should be zealous to learn from them.
Three sets of Luisa’s works—amounting to thousands of pages of revelations from Jesus, which indeed contain the essence of the Divine Will message—were given an imprimatur by Archbishop Giuseppe (Joseph) Leo.118 For those rightly wary of how much error has been promulgated these past few decades in the name of imprimaturs by those who assume that whatever has one contains only infallible words, remember that these imprimaturs given to Luisa’s works were granted almost a century ago.
When St. Hannibal took Luisa’s Hours of the Passion to the Pope (Fr. Hannibal was well known for his holiness and among the friends of the Holy Father) and briefly read from it, the Pope—none other than the great Pope St. Pius X himself—said, “Father, this book should be read while kneeling: it is Jesus Christ who is speaking!”119 The Pope proceeded to encourage him to have it printed and promulgated immediately.
St. Pio (Padre Pio) was known to say to pilgrims who came from Corato to see him, “What have you come here for? You have Luisa, go to her.”120 Although these two never met in person, they nevertheless esteemed each other highly as a result of Padre Pio sending a convert of his, a man by the name of Federico Abresch, to go meet her. When three of Luisa’s writings were condemned, St. Pio even sent her consolation by way of Federico, saying “Dear Luisa, saints serve for the good of souls, but their suffering knows no bounds.”121 Padre Pio’s canonization, despite the great opposition it encountered, is yet another reason to give credit to Luisa’s revelations, for this extraordinary Capuchin is now agreed upon as being among the greatest saints of modern times.122
The official, Church-sanctioned biography of Luisa published by the Vatican dedicates a section to the relationship between Luisa and Padre Pio.123 Some excerpts from that section are as follows:
There are countless testimonies beyond these [Frederico Abresch and Mrs. Caterina Valentina] that talk about the mutual esteem and faith Luisa and Padre Pio had in each other, perhaps because of the deep similarities in their lives, too. A young girl recalls going on a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo with her aunt and going to Mass that Padre Pio was celebrating at 5 o’clock in the morning. When the aunt told Padre Pio that the girl had been dying, but she received a miracle through Luisa Piccarreta, Padre Pio made the sign of the cross on her head and said, “Yes, by the intercession of Luisa Piccarreta, the Lord has saved her.” Obviously the whole town started talking about this event. Even the residents of San Giovanni Rotondo knew how much respect Padre Pio had for Luisa. Miss Adriana Pallotti recalls that day she asked Padre Pio, her spiritual father, if she was doing the right thing by donating money to have Luisa’s books printed. Padre Pio said “yes,” and, in fact, rather uncharacteristically, he had her repeat the question, astounding his spiritual daughter to no small degree. The answer again was a clear “yes.”124
Timeline of Events Relevant to Her Cause
Above all, Luisa’s revelations should be approached with confidence because Providence has abundantly blessed her cause for Beatification, as well as the canonical status of her writings. The public critics of Luisa’s writings wrote the bulk of their arguments (which unfortunately are often the first things which still today pop up when one does an internet search for Living in the Divine Will) against Luisa and her revelations in the 1990s. Consider what has happened since then:
? November 20th, 1994: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger nullifies the previous condemnations of Luisa’s writings, allowing Archbishop Carmelo Cassati to formally open Luisa’s cause on the Feast of Christ the King of the same year.
? February 2nd, 1996: Pope St. John Paul II permits the copying of Luisa’s original volumes, which up until then had been strictly reserved in the Vatican Archives.
? October 7th, 1997: Pope St. John Paul II beatifies Hannibal Di Francia (Luisa’s spiritual director and devoted promoter of Luisa’s revelations)
? June 2nd & December 18th, 1997: Rev Antonio Resta and Rev. Cosimo Reho—two Church appointed theologians—submit their evaluations of Luisa’s writings to the Diocesan tribunal, affirming nothing contrary to Catholic Faith or Morals is contained therein.
? December 15th, 2001: with the permission of the diocese, a primary school is opened in Corato named after, and dedicated to, Luisa.125
? May 16th, 2004: Pope St. John Paul II canonizes Hannibal Di Francia.
? October 29th, 2005, the diocesan tribunal and the Archbishop of Trani, Giovanni Battista Pichierri, render a positive judgment on Luisa after carefully examining all of her writings and testimony on her heroic virtue.
? July 7th, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally blessed and prayed next to a seventeen-foot-high statue of St. Hannibal which had just been installed within the Vatican itself, occupying a particularly prominent and honorable position.
? July 24th, 2010, both Theological Censors (whose identities are secret) appointed by the Holy See give their approval to Luisa’s writings, asserting that nothing contained therein is opposed to Faith or Morals (in addition to the 1997 Diocesan theologians’ approval).
? April 12th, 2011, His Excellency Bishop Luigi Negri officially approves the Benedictine Daughters of the Divine Will (explicitly dedicated to Luisa’s Divine Will spirituality) as a Pious Association of the Faithful.126 (Note: More details on this are found in the following section)
? November 1st, 2012, the Archbishop of Trani writes a formal notice127 containing a rebuke of those who “claim [Luisa’s] writings contain doctrinal errors,” stating that such people scandalize the faithful and preempt judgment reserved to the Holy See. This notice furthermore encourages the spreading of the knowledge of Luisa and her writings. (The entire notice is contained in an appendix of this book.)
? November 22nd, 2012, the faculty of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome who reviewed Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s Doctoral Dissertation defending and explaining Luisa’s revelations give it unanimous approval, thereby granting its contents ecclesiastical approval authorized by the Holy See.
? 2013, Imprimatur given to Stephen Patton’s book, A Guide to the Book of Heaven, which defends and promotes Luisa’s revelations.
? 2013-14, Fr. Iannuzzi’s Dissertation received the accolades of almost fifty128 Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Tagle.129
? 2014: Fr Edward O’Connor, theologian and long-time professor of theology at Notre Dame University, publishes his book, Living in the Divine Will: the Grace of Luisa Piccarreta, strongly endorsing her revelations.130
? April 2015: Maria Margarita Chavez reveals that she was miraculously healed through the intercession of Luisa eight years earlier. The Bishop of Miami (where the healing took place) responds by approving investigation into its miraculous nature.131
? April 27th, 2015, the Archbishop of Trani writes: “I wish to let you know that the Cause of Beatification is proceeding positively… I have recommended to all that they deepen the life and the teachings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta…”132
? January 2016, Sun of My Will, the official biography of Luisa Piccarreta, is published by the Vatican’s own official publishing house (Libraria Editrice Vaticana). Authored by Maria Rosario Del Genio, it contains a preface by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins,133 Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, strongly endorsing Luisa and her revelations from Jesus.134 (Considering his position, if anyone alive knows what makes a saint and an authentic revelation, he does.)
? November 2016, the Vatican publishes the Dictionary of Mysticism, a 2,246-page volume edited by Fr. Luiggi Borriello, an Italian Carmelite, professor of theology in Rome, and “consultant to several Vatican congregations.”135 Luisa was given her own entry136 in this authoritative document.
? June 2017: The newly appointed Postulator for Luisa’s cause, Monsignor Paolo Rizzi, writes: “I appreciated the work [carried out thus far]… all this constitutes a solid base as a strong guarantee for a positive outcome…the Cause is now at a decisive stage along the path.”137
? November 2018: An official Diocesan inquiry is initiated by Bishop Marchiori in Brazil, into a miraculous healing of a man named Laudir Floriano Waloski thanks to Luisa’s intercession.
This timeline of events and facts relevant to Luisa’s revelations could be continued and expanded upon greatly, but is that now necessary for even the most skeptical? For one who acknowledges the proper means of discerning any alleged revelation, mystic, or seer, there is no longer any doubt.138 The bumps in the road which have occurred in the past prove only that there are imperfect human beings in the Church who have erred in their dealings with Luisa and her writings.

Providence in the EWTN Monastery: the Story of Mother Gabrielle

Although not directly related to the validity of Luisa’s revelations, I nevertheless find this story both inspirational and instructive, so I decided to share it within this chapter as a sort of “extended footnote” corresponding to the entry that mentions this in the section above. Indeed, Luisa’s revelations have borne abundant fruit, but since they are still relatively little known, recognition of this fruit rarely make it into the “mainstream.” Raymond Arroyo’s recent book on, Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence: The Last Years and Living Legacy, however, is an exception to this norm.
(Note: as almost all references in this section are from this book, in lieu of footnotes, I will simply be placing parenthetical notes with the relevant page numbers listed).
In this book, Arroyo shares many details of what transpired in the monastery where Mother Angelica lay, almost entirely bed-ridden, during the last years of her life. Even in this state, Mother Angelica wished to “do God’s life,” whether through her sacrifices or her sufferings. She was very open to doing His Will and also to the private revelations of many mystics, including the writings of Luisa Piccarreta.
In Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, however, some of Mother’s fellow sisters were not as open to these writings and the messages contained within them. While to the outsider the convent seemed like the perfect place, with nuns going about their day in times of prayer, times of silence, adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and living in a seemingly-peaceful community with like-minded religious sisters, there were many troubling things manifesting themselves within the monastery walls. Inside of the convent, many sisters were encountering temptations of their own self-wills being placed above that of Our Lord. Because of this, there was a tremendous divide beginning to form, and it was one that would last several years.
Perhaps Mother Angelica caught a glimpse of what was to come in her final years at a much earlier point, because she often spoke to her sisters about embracing, and not questioning, God’s Will, even saying at times that following their self-wills would destroy them. And maybe this is why, even before her stroke on Christmas Eve of 2001, she granted permission for her sisters to read the writings of Luisa.
Published in 2016, Arroyo’s book details much of these hitherto unknown events. While I will cover some of what transpired, I encourage all who read this to see for themselves the exact details of the events. But of special interest here is the fascinating convergence of the stories of two of the Poor Clare nuns in the Hanceville convent; namely, Sr. Catherine and Sr. Margaret Mary.
Well before Mother Angelica’s stroke at the end of 2001, Sr. Catherine had obtained permission from Mother Angelica to introduce the writings of Luisa Piccarreta to the nuns in the order. Arroyo states that Mother Angelica was very accepting of the Divine Will devotion being introduced to the sisters, and– so long as the nuns did not “impose it on anyone”– they were “free to read” the writings, study them, and put into practice the devotions as they saw fit in their own prayer life. As with any not-yet-approved private devotion, no one was obligated to follow it or forced to do so. (P. 67)
But the introduction of this “new devotion” was met with anger on the part of some sisters, especially the older ones who weren’t comfortable with change. (P. 67) What is more, after Mother’s stroke many sisters became furious about the direction of things; Sr. Catherine had been made vicar and also the “de facto superior” of the Hanceville convent. (P. 62) Although she held this high position, some sisters began to question her leadership.
Now, most of the sisters found Sr. Catherine to be “relaxed, accessible, and very human,” and in fact Arroyo states that “[a] great majority of the young sisters looked up to Sister Catherine, as did many of the older nuns.” But there was a small handful of older sisters who felt differently, and they even began “ignoring Sister Catherine’s authority.” (P. 65) Their “main gripe” against Sr. Catherine was her adherence to and “affection for” the devotion of Living in the Divine Will. (P. 66) Some sisters were so opposed to this devotion that they wanted to do away with anything related to it—including doing away with Sr. Catherine herself. And by their side stood another nun, Sr. Margaret Mary, whom the older nuns thought could bring all the answers and even “deliver them… and provide a leadership alternative to Sister Catherine.”
Sr. Margaret Mary, according to Arroyo’s book, “seemed to live at Mother’s side… [w]ith a devoted fussiness…” and “…often wore a wearied expression– as if she were suddenly afflicted by a pain she was too polite to share.” Although sensible in many matters, she was also known for being “exacting and particular.” (P. 64) Upon hearing the complaints regarding Sr. Catherine and this “new devotion,” Sr. Margaret Mary learned of the many misperceptions of the strong-willed sisters who saw the devotion as “heresy” (p. 72) and even as “propaganda spread among the young sisters.” (P. 67) Arroyo states that by 2006, “these suppressed resentments” began “to rise to the surface,” and by 2009, when it came time for elections of vicar and chapter members in the convent, some sisters were dead set on seeing the removal of Sister Catherine and any nuns who were supporters of the Divine Will revelations. In the lead of this “resistance movement” was none other than Sr. Margaret Mary. (P. 72)
Now, Arroyo notes that these two sisters were considered to be “representatives of the two visions of Mother’s spirit in the monastery,” a spirit that none of the sisters wanted to be forgotten. (P. 69) He states that both Sr. Margaret Mary and Sr. Catherine were seen to be the personification of “Mother Angelica’s charism and spirit,” and goes on to say that:
Sister Catherine reflected Mother’s freewheeling, Spirit-driven leadership; she was not adverse to sudden moves when God took things in a new direction. In total accord with Mother Angelica’s vision for community life, she craved a “family monastery” that was warm and joyous. (P. 70)
Sr. Margaret Mary, according to Arroyo, “emphasized decorum and obedience” and “was annoyed by the whimsical nature of some of Sister Catherine’s decisions.” (p. 70) It is important to note that Arroyo says that “it was clash of styles and approaches that divided them…” but that regarding important issues such as the Eucharist and the Liturgy, both sisters “probably agreed more than they disagreed.” (P. 70)
All the same, things were getting quite ugly inside the convent walls, and when voting time came, the sisters (all except for Mother Angelica herself) cast their votes. The results were quite shocking: Sr. Margaret Mary won the election– but only by one single vote. And the answer for “deliverance?” It didn’t come; in fact, matters only became far worse after Mother Margaret Mary’s election.
Sr. Margaret Mary, who could (according to Arroyo) be “prone to drama,” (P.78) would have emotional outbursts, “complete with tears and frequently raised voice…” and she began “chastising Sister Catherine in front of the community for perceived errors.” (P. 80) What is more, she put an end to the starting of any new foundations within the order, and expelled from the Hanceville convent a few of the sisters (postulants included), “particularly those who practiced the Divine Will” (P. 79). More sisters left not long after as well.
Arroyo shares the following:
Purging the monastery of the Divine Will books became a chief priority even though, according to several nuns interviewed, only five or six were actively reading it. Margaret Mary fumed about the devotion at length, insisting that the Divine Will “was not Eucharistic” and was “a heresy.” One of the extern nuns remembers the vicar instructing her to stop selling the writings of Luisa Piccarreta in the nuns’ gift shop and told her that the books should not even be on the monastery grounds. The new rules and vanishing postulants created an atmosphere of anxiety and worry. (P. 80)
Because of the many growing concerns regarding Sr. Margaret Mary’s election, some of the sisters sent a letter of complaint to Rome. These sisters asked for a re-vote, and held onto the hope of invalidating– on just grounds (again, see Arroyo’s book for more details)—Sr. Margaret Mary’s election.
Rather than receiving the answer they were hoping for, they received the announcement that the Vatican would be performing a formal investigation of the community. This commenced on August 15th, 2009. In the lead-up to it, however, Arroyo notes:
Sister Margaret and her supporters gathered… each night to pray a special rosary to Our Lady of Success. They prayed that the coming Vatican visitation would produce a positive outcome. On their wish list: the removal of Sister Catherine and several sisters who they thought were distorting the life of the monastery. (P. 99)
When the results of the investigation were unveiled, however, the sisters learned more shocking news: another religious sister was going to be imported “from outside the community” and serve as the new superior, and both Sr. Margaret Mary and Sr. Catherine were instructed to leave the Hanceville convent “immediately for at least a two-year sabbatical.” (P. 114)
So, what came of these two sisters? Arroyo offers a couple of sentences to say that Sister Margaret Mary “now wears a Carmelite habit and is attached to a group of Carmelite monks in Wyoming. She interacts with the monks and occasionally ventures into public, though she technically lives as a hermit.” (P. 119)
Regarding Sr. Catherine, however, Arroyo shares much more:
At the suggestion of Bishop Baker, Sister Catherine went to Rome to pursue studies at the Angelicum, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. While there, the nun felt called to begin a new order. At the end of her sabbatical period, Catherine was informed that she was welcome to remain a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration with financial support from the community but could not return to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. Not wanting to confuse the public by wearing the Poor Clare habit out in the world, and feeling an internal prompting to establish a new religious order, she asked to be released from her vows in 2011. Catherine would instantly take private vows in Italy.
At the invitation of Bishop Luigi Negri of the diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro on the northeastern Italian coast, Sister Catherine founded a new community. Wearing a white habit she now goes by the Name Mother Gabrielle Marie, the superior of the Benedictine Daughters of the Divine Will.
“I was thirty-three when I entered Our Lady of the Angels, and I was there for thirty-three years,” Mother Gabrielle Marie told me at the time of her departure. “Now I’m sixty-six years old, having trouble learning the language, but when God asks me to do something, I have to do it.”
As of this writing the Benedictine Daughters of the Divine Will have four professed sisters and seventeen women from Italy and America interested in joining the group.
“The order has Mother Angelica’s spirit,” Mother Gabrielle Marie enthused. “We have a lot of joy and peace. There is no criticism. It is a house of charity.” The Benedictine Daughters practice Eucharistic adoration, study the writings of Luisa Piccarreta, and are devoted to God’s will. They are hoping to collect the necessary funds to renovate the Convent of Sant’Igne, a thirteenth-century Italian cloister reputedly built by St. Francis of Assisi. (P. 117-118)

Benedictines of the Divine Will
Now, I understand that some readers may be angry that I have here shared less than flattering facts about what transpired in Mother Angelica’s Monastery. But I trust that God did inspire Raymond Arroyo—a good man and an orthodox and devout Catholic—to publish this story for a reason. And I believe the reason is this: it is a perfect illustration of a story that has repeated itself many times in general over the history of the Church, and not infrequently in the past several decades with respect to Luisa’s revelations specifically.
That is, a story wherein God makes His Will clear in a situation, but those who have grown comfortable with “the way things were,” and have succumbed to seeing their vocation as akin to that of a museum curator, proceed to persecute the one through whom God desires to institute His Will. Other curators, in turn, hear of what transpired and add their own condemnations, castigating the “divisiveness” of the one who dared to rock the boat by striving to know and do God’s Will.
Indeed, the biographies of the saints and the histories of all the now-approved revelations are replete with incarnations of this dynamic.
But it is a modern “pastorally correct” lie that, as soon as any sort of division is detected, everything associated with it must not be of God. Jesus Himself teaches the exact opposite in the Gospel (e.g. Matthew 10:34)—saying that He will be a source of division. This does not mean that division is a good thing or that we should ever desire it; of course, it is in itself a tragedy. But those who are phobic of division are simply guaranteeing that they will not hear the voice of God, for He has greater purposes in mind than merely maintaining the status quo. When God acts, He does so for a reason. There will always be those who oppose this reason, and it is from this opposition that a certain amount of division is always going to transpire.
Considering now the situation at hand, I understand that those who have already decided to oppose Luisa’s writings will, upon hearing of what transpired at this Monastery, simply use this as fuel for their accusations.
Thankfully, however, most Catholics realize that our vocation is not that of a museum curator. For it is not difficult to look at what transpired with Mother Gabrielle (Sister Catherine) and realize that she was doing God’s Will and being persecuted for just that. Nevertheless, God had a plan in mind in allowing it all, and Mother Gabrielle now leads a thriving and beautiful religious order dedicated to the revelations Jesus entrusted to Luisa. This is just one of so many of the beautiful fruits of Luisa’s revelations now seen; but it happens to be one of the few that has received mainstream attention, thanks to Raymond Arroyo. I again recommend that anyone who wishes to know more simply purchase his book. Upon reading it, you will clearly see the hand of Providence guiding Sister Catherine/Mother Gabrielle.
But ultimately, what to “make of it all” will still be up to you. If you wish, you may choose to side with those who saw Sister Catherine as an evil heretic. But that would not be a wise choice. I close this section with a reminder that the Divine Will writings were not being forced upon anyone; Mother Angelica herself had made it clear that they were to be allowed but not required in her Monastery. Compare, therefore, the antics of Sister Margaret Mary to those of Sr. Catherine; the former relentlessly attacking the latter for merely offering this spirituality to those who wanted it. Search Church History far and wide and you will find few if any examples of Sr. Margaret Mary’s antics vindicated – but you will find Butler’s Lives of the Saints full of those of Sr. Catherine.
***
Let us now change tone and consider the validity of Luisa’s revelations from an entirely different perspective.
Luisa’s Own Doubts Addressed
An additional quality of Luisa and her writings should now be noted: whoever you are and however many fears you may have about the legitimacy of the source of Luisa’s revelations, you probably do not have as many such concerns as Luisa herself had. I do not believe that there has ever been a soul who was more diligent than Luisa in constantly ensuring that what she was receiving was not from either the Devil or from her own imagination. Throughout her volumes, one constantly sees quotes like this one:
Fearing that it might be the devil, I signed Him with the cross several times, and then I said to Him: ‘If You really are Jesus, let us recite the Hail Mary to our Queen Mama together…139
Here Luisa’s diligence is displayed in guarding against the deception of Satan. But perhaps even more than the attacks of the devil, the trap of imagination and fantasy being confused for reality was what Luisa was cognizant of regarding the need to be zealously on guard against, for we regularly see quotes like the following throughout many parts of her writings (and in this particular exchange we see Luisa mystically conversing with St. Francis of Paola as follows):
I fear that [my state] was my fantasy … [St Francis:] “The sure sign to know whether a state is Will of God is that the soul is ready to do otherwise, if she knew that the Will of God was no longer that state.”140
In the introduction to the first Volume, Luisa summarizes what had transpired in her mysticism for the several years leading up to it. In this introduction, she writes:
In this [state of desolation] I would spend sometimes two days, sometimes four, more or less, as He pleased. My only comfort was to receive Him in the Sacrament. Ah! yes, certainly I found Him there—I could not doubt; and I remember that only a few times He would not let Himself be heard, because I prayed Him and prayed Him and importuned Him so much, that He would content me. … After I would spend those days in that state described above, especially if I had been faithful to Him, I would feel Him come back within me. He spoke to me more clearly, and since during the previous days I had not been able to conceive one word or feel anything within me, I came to know, then, that it was not my fantasy, as I would say many times before; so much so that, of what has been said up to here, I would not say anything, either to the confessor or to any other living soul.
In the beginning years of her mystical revelations, Luisa was so concerned about the risk of the messages being the result of fantasy, that she wouldn’t even tell anyone about them. However, under the close care of Church-appointed spiritual directors, she (and each of her directors, who were priests) grew to understand that there was no risk of fantasy.
Indeed, the best demonstration of the validity of Luisa’s revelations is perhaps found outside of the external facts listed in the sections above—demonstrative as indeed they are—for the revelations themselves communicate their own validity to anyone with ears to hear. Try as one might, for example, to argue that beauty is merely subjective and essentially non-existent, there simply is no one who can deny the objective and real beauty of a great symphony of Mozart well played, or a sunset over a picturesque mountainous landscape. Similarly, no catechized Catholic in God’s grace who delves into Luisa’s revelations with sincerity will long find himself doubting their validity. I encourage anyone with lingering doubts to simply do precisely that; pray to the Holy Spirit, open up her writings randomly, and read. You will not be disappointed. We close this section with the entire entry from Luisa’s diary on March 7, 1922:
I was thinking about what has been written, and I said to myself: ‘Is it really Jesus that speaks to me, or is it a trick of the enemy and of my fantasy?’ And Jesus, on coming, told me: “My daughter, my words are full of truth and of light, and they carry with them the virtue of transforming the soul into truth itself, into light itself, and into the very good which they contain, in such a way that the soul does not only know the truth, but she feels within her the substance of operating according to the truth which she has known. Further, my truths are full of beauty and attraction, in such a way that the soul, taken by their beauty, lets herself be enraptured by them.
In Me everything is order, harmony and beauty. See, I created the heavens; they alone could have been enough—but no, I wanted to adorn them with stars, almost studding them with beauty, so that the human eye might enjoy more from the works of its Creator. I created the earth, and I adorned it with many plants and flowers … I created nothing which did not have its own ornament. And if this is in the order of created things, much more so in my truths, which reside within my Divinity. While it seems that they reach the soul, they are like solar rays, which hit and warm the earth without ever departing from the center of the Sun. And the soul remains so enamored with my truths, that she finds it almost impossible not to put into practice the truths she has known, even at the cost of her life.
On the other hand, when it is the enemy or the speculation of fantasy that want to speak about truths, they bring neither light, nor substance, nor beauty, nor attraction. They are empty truths, without life, and the soul does not feel the grace to sacrifice herself to put them into practice. Therefore, the truths that your Jesus tells you are full of Life and of all that my Truths contain. Why do you doubt?”
The Life of Luisa Herself
Note: This overview of Luisa’s life will be kept brief; instead of presenting a complete biography here, I would rather direct you to the book entitled Sun of My Will, by Maria Rosaria Del Genio, published in 2016 by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. This is the Vatican’s official publishing house, and thus it is an authoritative and trustworthy text. Instead of presenting extensive footnotes in this chapter for each detail, I again refer you to that more complete biography, and to the biography written by Fr. Bucci, a Capuchin priest who in his childhood knew Luisa, and whose priesthood was prophesied by her.141 His biography is also authoritative as it contains an Imprimatur and is easy to find posted online.
On April 23rd, 1865 (in that year, this date was the Second Sunday of Easter—a day we now know as Divine Mercy Sunday), Luisa was born into the world. The wonders that God chose to work in her life (as confirmation of His message to the world through her) began from this very day. Despite being born breech—a dangerous medical condition—Luisa caused her mother no pain whatsoever during the delivery. Later, on that same day, her father took her to the parish priest to have her baptized.
Luisa’s desire for hiddenness was manifest at the earliest age; as a toddler her favorite spot was a hollow in a great tree, in which she would spend hours alone in prayer. When guests arrived at her house, she could not be found; for she passed all such times hiding behind a bed in prayer. As was the case with countless saints, antics such as these concerned people around her—but when one learns of her interior life, these external habits make perfect sense. As a young child, she suffered from terrible demonic nightmares. Instead of succumbing to the horror of them, these experiences were in fact what caused her to flee with such fervor to Jesus for safety. This utter dependence on Christ was no doubt what disposed her, even before she had reached the age of reason, to be the perfect instrument in the hand of God.
From these details we can see why Jesus chose Luisa, for they demonstrate His reasoning for saying (regarding how He chose Luisa), “I went around the earth over and over again, and beheld all souls one by one to find the lowliest of all.”142
At twelve years of age, Luisa began to hear Jesus speaking to her interiorly. These locutions came to her in the most precious moments of her life: the moments after receiving Holy Communion. He would instruct her, correct her, and guide her. After a year of these communications, Luisa experienced a life-changing event that invited her to become a victim soul: she received a vision of Jesus below her balcony, carrying His cross, amidst great persecutions from a throng surrounding Him. He then stopped, looked up at her, and said “Soul, help me!” It was not long after this that her mystical life progressed exponentially; she was soon incapable of keeping down ordinary food, and thus began her lifelong Eucharistic fast (although it did indeed extend throughout her whole life, it took different forms at different points). Jesus was “ … training her to live exclusively on the Divine Will, which, along with the Eucharist, would constitute her daily bread.”143 Adding to this utter dependency upon God, another mystical phenomenon came to define her days: she was completely rigid each morning, incapable of being moved even by several strong people. It was not until a priest came to bless her that she was finally capable of moving. This obviously supernatural phenomenon is unique; we know of no other saints who were subject to such a radical dependency on the Church. Who else, in her very physical ability to move, was totally dependent upon the blessing of a priest? This sacrifice, unprecedented in history, tells discerning minds that God, in turn, is at work in some task equally unrivaled in history.
***
But this sacrifice brought along with it many other sacrifices. In the official Church sanctioned biography of Luisa published by the Vatican, we read (regarding this period of Luisa’s life and this condition of hers):
The family suffers seeing her in this condition and, making it worse, they have a hard time seeking and finding a priest willing to go to the house to bless the girl. It is highly probable that right during this period, Luisa’s family makes a decision that will affect Luisa for the rest of her life. Here again is the testimony of her niece, Giuseppina, who brings the news to light: “Poor grandmother weeps with sorrow seeing her daughter in that state and, not knowing what else to do, decides to go to the bishop and, accompanied by my father, she goes to Trani. She explains everything to the bishop, who, being interested, orders the priests to go to the sick girl; from that moment on, a priest goes to her bedside every morning and she obediently wakes up from her deep slumber.” The archbishop of Trani is Archbishop Giuseppe de’ Bianchi Dottula and, because of his intervention, he unites Luisa, in a way, with priestly authority—creating a bond that, over the years, will take shape in the official confessors’ spiritual assistance. This is the moment Father Michele De Benedittis, who has known her ever since she was a child, temporarily accepts the archbishop’s invitation. He, too, is able to release her with his blessing and Luisa is quite amazed. It is then she realizes that being released from her rigid state does not depend on the holiness of the priest, but on the grace he received. From now on, Jesus has placed her in the priests’ hands. While this may seem like a great grace, they soon become the reason for a true war against her. With the absence of Father Cosma and Father Michele who is not able to arrive, the priests who get called in say that her condition is a complete sham; others think that only a beating will put an end to Luisa’s nonsense; and there are still others who think that the girl just wants to make herself believe she is a saint or is possessed by demons … She is thought to be arrogant, a fake, a cheat, someone who wants to grab all the attention for herself. Often, the priests whom her family members approach refuse to go and, even if they do go, they then bitterly reproach her. Once they left her in her rigid state for more than 18 days. Her mother cries. She is mortified. She does not understand …
The fact escapes Luisa that her dependence on priestly authority has a precise purpose within the church since Jesus manifests His works through His priests. This is how Luisa spends the next three or four years—subjected to a continual battle on the part of the priests. There is a lot of physical suffering, but the moral suffering is just as bad when she “wakes up.” In fact, after a priest blesses her and brings her back to a normal state, instead of comforting her with a kind word or compassion, he reprimands her, telling her that she is capricious and disobedient.144
Having read the revelations given to Venerable Mary of Agreda in The Mystical City of God, I am reminded in reading the details of Luisa’s early years of the treatment meted out to Our Lady herself once she entered the service of the Temple. As the Blessed Virgin endured horrible abuse there, so too Luisa endured similar treatment from those close to her who should have been the most compassionate. For we see in the quote above that, until it became completely impossible to ignore that her state was of supernatural origin, even many priests initially would scoff at her. Seeking to prove that she was merely pulling a stunt, she was once mercilessly left for eighteen days in this state of rigidity, incapable of moving, until a priest finally came to bless her, thus freeing her from the captivity. Indeed, the people around her in these early years often suffered from a “spiritual blindness”145 which was just another sacrifice offered up by Luisa for the Coming of the Kingdom. 146
But even these sacrifices were only the beginning. For Luisa was even deprived of the ability to eat. Regarding this condition, we read, from the same Church-sanctioned work:
We said that when Luisa regains consciousness, she returns to normal. Well, that is not exactly right. She returns to normal in that she can move again, but what lingers is a strong revulsion for any kind of food. If sometimes she eats something, when forced by a family member, she brings it all back up again just a few minutes later. This, too, is seen as some form of mischief on her part, so that both her family and other people are after her, scolding her. And yet, they should be noticing that something unusual is happening—the food she brings back up is whole, fresh and fragrant. But the people around her seem to have a kind of spiritual blindness. They are not able to take a leap into seeing something miraculous. On the contrary, they keep looking for earthly cures. The priest, in fact, gets the idea of making her take quinine, which is used to simulate the appetite. At the same time, he obligates her to eat every time she vomits. So Luisa eats, but she has continual bouts of vomiting. She brings it all back up and is left feeling the same hunger as before—indeed, she is even hungrier than before, because of the medicine she took. What is happening? She feels the pangs of hunger, but she is afraid to ask for food and she wonders, what will my family say? She threw up just a little while ago and now she wants to eat again? She becomes determined to bear with the hunger and if they give her something, she will take it; otherwise it is up to the Lord! About four months go by. One day the Lord tells her to ask the priest for permission not to take the quinine anymore and not to make her eat after she has thrown up. When her confessor arrives, she makes her request—with very little hope, but then he orders her to eat just once a day and to stop taking the quinine. Luisa thinks that the problem has been solved, but when she eats just that one time a day, she still brings it all back up … and the food is always fragrant. Once more the priest does not understand, and he tells her to accept this mortification as well. Luisa also confesses to him that the Lord sometimes tells her to ask for permission not to eat anything, but the confessor will not allow it. At first, she brings her food back up every three or four days, but after a while it happens every time she eats. … 147
Dear reader: please consider well what you have just learned. Do not let it go “in one ear and out the other,” a habit we are all too experienced with in our modern information-overload culture. These facts about Luisa’s life were always known by anyone eager enough to discover the truth (for we have always had plenty of eyewitness testimonies and documentation for verification), but now we see that they have been shared with us in the pages of an official Church-sanctioned biography published by the Vatican, and it would be wrong to doubt them. You have learned that this lowly Italian woman, Luisa Piccarreta, experienced mystical phenomena and endured sacrifices of such magnitude that they are not rivaled anywhere in the 2,000-year history of the Church. You will proceed, shortly, to learn that these phenomena existed for a reason: because the soul experiencing them is also going to be entrusted with revelations. These revelations call for our response and are of such a magnitude that the likes of these, too, have been seen nowhere in history. This changes everything. We mustn’t forget that. There simply is no turning back.
We should also note that these mystical phenomena and sacrifices, though truly extraordinary, were carefully chosen by God to preserve Luisa’s littleness and humility. Indeed, upon entering her room, one would not guess that he had just stumbled upon the main (earthly) figure in the turning point of history, as indeed Luisa is. Instead, the impressions one would receive would doubtless be as we see described in the Church-sanctioned biography:
Once, a distinguished individual who came to visit her said upon leaving her room, “Luisa possesses an angelic soul! It seems like with her you are breathing in the scent of fragrant lilies! That heavenly smile and that clear smiling face speak to you of God and they let you catch a glimpse of a tiny corner of paradise. It seems like breathing an air imbued with celestial perfume! In that little room, people forget all about the bothersome things in life; they feel the soul at peace. They forget their quarrels, deceptions, jealousies and they breath the joy of God’s grace.”
This text finds an echo in something written by Msgr. Luigi D’Oria, another priest from Corato who knew Luisa and who, in 1961, had the task of writing a report about her life. Among the things he wrote concerning the apostolate Luisa carried out by being in bed, he states: ‘When somebody loves, it is impossible not to speak about the person loved, especially if it is God, the one who—beyond His many loving titles, makes happy the person who gives his heart to Him. Luisa loved God and others. She could not then be quiet about God, because she wanted God to be known and loved by others; and that it was in this that one would find true happiness—the fruit of God’s love. Naturally, her favorite topic was the Divine Will, which is very kind in itself, given what she wanted to do for our benefit and out of true love, obeying His law and conforming herself according to His dispositions. As such, every conversation, whatever it was about, was illuminated and warmed by God’s love. Many people went to her to express their needs—of the spirit and body, drawn by the scent of her union with God. And everyone had, as an answer to their problems, the loving uniformity to the Divine Will, which not only eases the pain and makes it praiseworthy, it also sheds light on what to do. Those who presented themselves to Luisa in the hopes of finding a fortune-teller were not listened to and were left out148
Now, we return to our chronological overview of Luisa’s life.
***
For the next sixty-four years, this was her life. It was perhaps the simplest life the world has ever seen, and the most dependent upon God. Neither her bodily nourishment nor even the ability to move her very own limbs came from any source but God, through the hands of a Catholic priest in beginning each day by blessing her to relieve her of her rigidity and in feeding her with the Eucharist—the only food she could always keep down.
In her early years, the basis for her religious education and formation was the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and at age 18, she became a Third Order Dominican, taking the name Sister Magdalene. The next year her Archbishop, Giuseppe Dottula, formally appointed Fr. Michael De Benedictis as her confessor, and she was visited daily by him. Thus began another defining factor of all of her remaining days: complete obedience to the Church through her priest directors (of which she had many), all of whom were appointed formally by her Bishops, with each director utterly convinced of the validity of her mystical phenomena.
At this point it is worth mentioning what was never a part of her life until its final few days: illness. Her only real illness was the bout of pneumonia that took her life at the very end; and she was not even afflicted with bed sores, despite being perpetually bedridden. This state alone is nothing short of miraculous, as anyone who is accustomed to the care of bed-ridden patients is aware.
In the year 1898, she received a new confessor, Fr. Gennaro Di Genarro, and he served in this capacity for the next 24 years. However, a mere one year into this ministry, he commanded Luisa, under holy obedience, to write down her revelations. So great was her humility that this was an enormous penance for her, but her obedience was always perfect, and so she wrote.
After Fr. Gennaro came Fr. De Benedictis, and after that, St. Hannibal Maria di Francia was appointed to be Luisa’s censor librorum, a role he held until his death in 1927. More than a decade earlier, however, deeply convinced of the necessity of Luisa’s revelations, he had been publishing the Hours of the Passion. He gave volumes 1-19 of Luisa’s diary his Nihil Obstat and afterward the Archbishop, Joseph Leo, gave them his Imprimatur. Fr. Benedict Calvi was Luisa’s next, and final, confessor. He too became a zealous advocate and promoter of Luisa’s writings, and he documented an overview of her daily life as follows:
Toward six o’clock in the morning the confessor was beside her small bed. Luisa was found all curled up, crouched over so tightly that when the sister or person of the house—in obedience to the confessor or the Bishop—had to sit her up in bed in her usual position, they could not move her on account of her weight. It seemed as if she were a huge piece of lead. … Only when the confessor, or on certain occasions any priest, imparted to her his blessing by making the sign of the Cross with his thumb on the back of her hand, Luisa’s body regained its senses and she began to move. … Throughout the 64 years of being nailed [this figurative terminology likens Luisa’s bed to the cross of Christ] to her small bed, Luisa never suffered any bedsores. Immediately afterwards, there followed the reading of that which Luisa had written during the night concerning the sublime truths on the Divine Will, which was read only by her confessor beside her small bed. There was yet another extraordinary event. What was her food? Everything she had eaten, after a few hours, came back up completely intact. All of these events I observed, scrupulously controlled and subjected to careful examination by many doctors and professors of dogmatic, moral, ascetic and mystical theology … [Each morning] After having awakened Luisa in the name of holy obedience, the confessor or another priest celebrated Holy Mass in her little room before her bed. Therefore, having received Holy Communion, she would remain there as though in a trance, in ecstasy and in intimate conversation with the Lord for two to three hours, but without her body becoming petrified or experiencing the absolute loss of its senses. However, many times throughout the day she would be with the Lord in a manner that engaged her senses, and on occasion the people that were in her company would notice it.149
Luisa would work at sewing for the Church during her days, and altar cloths were what she mostly made. She would work on her sewing until ten thirty at night, and in the middle of the night (between midnight and 1am) she would enter into an ecstatic state like a petrified statue (even if the pillows behind her were not correctly in place), and her mystical experiences, as documented in her diary, ensued.
Such were all of her days. Intermixed with them were apparitions, locutions, introspection, bilocation, invisible stigmata, and countless other miracles, but little or nothing externally and visibly extraordinary.
On August 31st, 1938, three of her works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, and this placement was published on September 11th.150 At this point in her life she was staying at a convent with the Sisters of Divine Zeal. She loved staying there, and had been living with the sisters for ten years. A mere month after her works were placed on the index, the superiors asked her to leave. This condemnation of her works (which now is in no way, shape, or form binding) was nevertheless an important element of the Divine Plan, so that Luisa could be more perfectly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, who also was condemned by the legitimate Ecclesiastical authority of His day. Immediately after news of the condemnation reached her, Jesus told Luisa:
My dear daughter, if you knew how much I suffer, if I let you see it, you would die of pain. … Know that they didn’t condemn you, but Me, together with you. I Myself feel as though being condemned, since condemning Good is condemning Myself. You, however, unite in My Will Our condemnation to the one I received when I was Crucified and I will give you the merit of My condemnation and all the Goods that It produces: It made me die, then It called to Life My Resurrection, in which everyone was to find Life and Resurrection of all Goods. With their sentence they believe they can kill what I said on My Divine Will, but I will allow such chastisements and sad events that I will make My Truths rise again more beautifully-more majestic, in the midst of the peoples. Therefore, from your side and Mine, let’s move nothing. Let’s keep doing what we have done, even if everybody should be against us.151 This is My Divine Way: for all evils creatures may do, I never move My Works. I always preserve them with My Creative Power and Virtue. For Love of those who offend Me, I always Love them without ceasing. … My daughter, what is not enjoyed today, will be enjoyed tomorrow; what now seems darkness because it finds blind minds, will turn into sun tomorrow for those who have eyes. How much Good they will do. So, let’s keep doing what we’ve done. Let’s do what is needed from our side so that nothing may be missing of help, Light, Good and Surprising Truth to make My Will known and to make It Reign. I will use every means of Love, Grace and chastisement. I will touch all sides of creatures in order to have My Will Reign. When it will seem that the True Good is about to die, then, it will Rise Again more Beautiful and Majestic.152
Two months after being kicked out of the convent, Luisa finished her last writing, as she was no longer bound under obedience to write upon its completion. One year later, World War II began.
Nine years later, on March 4th, 1947, she breathed her last. Regarding this moment, Father Benedetto Calvi (her confessor at that time) wrote:
She died like the saints die, as a final act in the Divine Will. I am still recovering from the tremendous shock I experienced from the deeply distressing but sublime impression her last breath made…
Her body remained rigidly upright, sitting up in bed, but her limbs completely lacked the rigidity of rigor mortis so they could be moved in any direction, even all the joints in her fingers; her eyelids were closed but could be opened and her pupils stayed crystal clear.
All of that led to some doubt whether she was really dead, so we had a number of medical examinations done. Her body was viewed for a good four full days in this state without the slightest sign of decomposition…
Nobody went to work [during her funeral], but everyone without exception took part… a truly rare sight, perhaps unparalleled, and whoever had the good fortune to take part will never be able to—and never know how—to express how magnificent it was.153
Indeed, throngs of thousands lined the streets to pay homage to “the saint of Corato.” Jesus told Luisa:
My daughter, it is My absolute Divine Will that these writings on My Divine Will be made known. Despite the many incidents that may occur, My Will shall overcome them all. Although it may take years and years, My absolute Will knows how to dispose everything to accomplish its objective. The time in which these writings will be made known is relative to and dependent on the disposition of souls who wish to receive so great a good, as well as on the effort of those who must apply themselves in being its trumpet-bearers by offering up the sacrifice of heralding in the new era of peace, the new sun that will dispel the clouds of all evils.154
Forty-seven years later, all condemnations nullified, her cause for beatification and canonization was officially opened. And Luisa is not finished. Jesus told her:
As for you, then, your mission is extremely long, nor will you be able to complete it on earth. Until all the knowledges are known and the Kingdom of the Divine Will is established upon earth, your mission can never be called finished. In Heaven you will have much to do…155
Invoke her intercession, and trust that you will receive it. I know I have, and I have not been disappointed.
Her Life According to St. Hannibal
St. Hannibal himself, as mentioned, was perhaps the most dedicated promoter of Luisa’s revelations. He gave a beautiful description of Luisa in his own published words, as follows: (These words of St. Hannibal are taken directly from Sun of My Will.156)
The pious author of The Hours of the Passion… never, for any reason in the world, would have put into writing her intimate and prolonged communications with revered Jesus—communications which have been going on from her tenderest age until today, and are still continuing until who knows when—if Our Lord himself had not repeatedly obliged her to do so, both personally and through holy obedience to her directors, to whom she always surrenders with enormous duress upon herself, and also with great strength and generosity, because her concept of holy obedience would even make her refuse to enter into paradise…
The purest virgin, wholly of God, who emerges to be a singular predilection of the Divine Redeemer, Jesus Our Lord, who century after century, increases ever more the wonders of His love. It seems that He wanted to form this virgin, whom He calls the littlest one He found on earth, and bereft of any education, into an instrument of a mission so sublime, that is, the triumph of the Divine Will… She receives from Our Lord Himself a recurring crucifixion… After all we have mentioned of her long and continuous permanence, rooted to a bed as victim for years and years, experiencing many spiritual and physical sufferings, it might seem that the sight of this unknown virgin would be distressing, like seeing someone on his back with all the signs of the pain endured in the past and of current sufferings and the like.
And yet, there is something admirable here. Seeing this spouse of the crucified Jesus, who spends the night in painful ecstasies and sufferings of every kind, but then seeing her in the day, sitting up in bed, working with her needle and pins—nothing, absolutely nothing shows through, nothing of someone afflicted who suffered so much during the night, no appearance of something out of the ordinary or supernatural. On the contrary, she looks entirely like someone who is healthy, happy and jovial. She talks, chats, laughs when appropriate, but she receives few friends.
Sometimes someone with a troubled heart confides in her and asks her for prayers. She listens with kindness, she comforts, but she never goes so far as to act like a prophetess, never a word that might hint at revelations. The great comfort she offers is always one thing—always the same thing—the Divine Will.
Although she does not possess any man-made knowledge, she is abundantly endowed with a wisdom that is fully celestial, the science of the saints. Her way of speaking enlightens and consoles. By nature she is not lacking intelligence. She studied up to the first grade when she was little; her writing is filled with mistakes, although she is not without the appropriate terms in conformity with the revelations, which seem instilled in her by Our Lord.
Theology too Deep for Human Origin
I begin this section by citing the words of the great Fr. John Arintero, speaking of souls who have received private revelations:
Who would not be filled with admiration at seeing the marvel of lights and the sublimity of concepts in souls thus enriched by the divine Spirit? Who would not be amazed at the nobility of language which they spontaneously employ whenever they express the words spoken by God or the Blessed Virgin, while the things spoken on their own account are filled with simplicity and candor? Whence comes that loftiness of ideas and that elegance and purity of style in souls lacking all human culture? What power of suggestion could infuse in them at one stroke that remarkable Science which they have never studied and those sublime concepts which they have learned from no other person? This is a positive fact against which all human explanations are shattered, however much they may appeal to suggestion, contagion, telepathy, or any other influence which is not supernatural.157
Fr. Arintero’s authority and expertise having been settled in a preceding chapter, we can see that in this small paragraph, he is able to show implicitly one reason Luisa’s revelations must be true—the loftiness, the elegance, and the purity of Jesus’ words in them could not possibly have come from Luisa herself.
For we must recall Luisa’s circumstances: an uneducated lay woman who was bedridden her entire adult life. Now, one may strive to evade the clear conclusion these circumstances point to by insisting she learned profound truths of the spiritual life from her many visits with her priest spiritual directors; but this evasion immediately fails when one considers that the astonishing degree of spiritual and theological perfection in her transcriptions of Jesus’ words to her is evident from the first volume, which she wrote towards the beginning of her acquaintances with priests. More importantly, we have no reason to believe that these priests were giving her theological instruction (that is not what spiritual direction consists in); in fact, that would be rather strange indeed, for this was not their mission. They were sent to bless her and thus free her from her rigidity, to celebrate Mass in her room and give her Communion each day, and to be her confessors and spiritual directors.
We should note, however, that the inclusion of this section is rather superfluous. One need only open to any page of Luisa’s writings to see immediately a depth of meaning that could not be of human origin. Nevertheless, it may be useful to share just a few snippets that I’ve stumbled upon in my own reading of Luisa’s volumes which reveal a theology too deep for an uneducated lay Catholic.
The Will Constrained by the Good
Although this remains a contested topic, the best philosophers rightly teach that the will, as the faculty of the soul directed to the good, is itself constrained by this end to which it finds its very nature affixed. This is so true that the will is not even ontologically capable of willing evil qua evil; that is to say, it cannot will an evil because and as it is evil, but only because of an in pursuit of some good attached to that evil. For indeed, nothing can consist entirely in absolute evil, inasmuch as evil is the privation of a due perfection. Now, do not misunderstand; this does not mean that there is not evil, or that evil is only apparent! It simply means that all evil acts consist in willing some lesser good in contradiction to some greater good; as, for example, a psychopathic murderer who kills for the pleasure of it is willing the good of pleasure in contradiction to the greater good of the dignity of human life.
But this, too, is a rather technical philosophical and theological issue; it is, rightly, not addressed in anything but advanced treatments of related matters. Despite its advanced nature, it is contained clearly in Jesus’ words to Luisa, for we see Him say:
My daughter, I am love and I made the creatures all love. Their nerves, bones, flesh, are woven with love; and after I wove them with love, I made blood flow in all their particles, as though covering them with a garment, in order to give them the life of love. So, the creature is nothing other than a complex of love, and she does not move other than out of love. At the most, there can be varieties of love, but it is always out of love that she moves. There can be divine love, love of self, love of creatures, evil love—but always love; nor can she do otherwise, because her life is love, created by the Eternal Love, and therefore led to love by an irresistible force. So, after all, even in evil, in sin, there must be a love that pushed the creature to do that evil.158
Jesus and Faith
Jesus had absolutely no Faith and no Hope.
One may be scandalized to read that statement, but it is perfectly orthodox and in accord with Church teaching. For Faith requires the absence of sight; and Jesus, being God, sees all—even in His human nature, He saw Divine Truths so clearly that Faith was not possible. Hope, too, requires not possessing that which is hoped for; but Jesus, lacking nothing that a soul in Heaven has; always had the Beatific Vision from the first moment of His conception, therefore He could not hope for what He already possessed.
These teachings are not exactly Catechism 101; in fact, they are almost never touched upon except in advanced Christology graduate courses, to which Luisa had no access. Therefore, it is unsurprising to learn that, one day, Luisa prayed to Jesus to make His own Faith her own. Innocent and understandable though this prayer was, Jesus did not hesitate to correct her, as we see in the following passage:
I was praying according to my usual way—that whatever I do, I do it as if I were doing it with Our Lord and with His own intentions. So, I was reciting the Creed, and without realizing it myself, I was saying that I intended to have the faith of Jesus Christ to repair for so many unbeliefs, and to impetrate the gift of faith for all. At that moment, He moved in my interior, and told me: “You are wrong, I had neither faith nor hope, nor could I have them, because I was God Himself—I was only love.”159
Here again we see an admonishment from Jesus that, all other considerations aside, is highly unlikely to have come from the imagination of an uneducated lay woman.
The Exaltation of Marriage and the Family
In the 1920s—decades before the Theology of the Body made this teaching popular—Luisa’s revelations exalted Christian marriage more highly than anything I have ever come across from that time period. To speak so highly of marriage would not have been a prudent tactic of a fraudster in the 1920s who wished to have her own imaginings considered by others in the Church to be revelations. In fact, we can see that these words are prophetic and, above all, certainly not demonically inspired. Jesus tells Luisa:
Marriage was elevated by Me to a Sacrament, in order to place in it a sacred bond, the symbol of the Sacrosanct Trinity, the divine love which It encloses. So, the love which was to reign in the father, mother and children, the concord, the peace, was to symbolize the Celestial Family. I was to have on earth as many other families similar to the Family of the Creator, destined to populate the earth like as many terrestrial angels, to then bring them back to populate the celestial regions.160
To call marriage the “symbol of the Sacrosanct Trinity,” goes even farther than St. Paul’s famous depiction of marriage as symbolizing the bond between Christ and His Church. Theological expositions on the Trinitarian dimension of marriage and the family have become more popular recently in the works of theologians like Dr. Scott Hahn. And these are true teachings which greatly edify the Church. To this day, however, there are theologians of more rigid mindsets who take issue with such treatises, falsely claiming that it is unorthodox to see the Trinity itself in marriage and family. But here we see such statements decades before “their time” in Luisa’s writings.
At one point, the Virgin Mary herself says to Luisa “all states are holy, marriage too …”161 In her letters, too, Luisa never hesitates to insist that this greatest sanctity of Living in the Divine Will is completely attainable by the married—and, indeed, is essential to be those in the married state. In fact, of all the people with whom Luisa corresponded, it seems she took most seriously her letters written to a recipient named Federico Abresch; a married man, father, and a convert to the Faith thanks to Padre Pio reading his soul (after which point, he became a daily Communicant and, along with his wife, a Third Order Franciscan). Incidentally, many of the most famous photographs that we have of Padre Pio were taken by Mr. Abresch, and his own son even became a Catholic priest who went on to work in the Vatican.
But Our Lady’s words to Luisa go much farther than merely calling marriage holy. In revealing details of the Wedding Feast at Cana, Mary says:
We went there, not to celebrate, but to work great things for the good of the human generations. My Son took the place of Father and King in the families, and I took the place of Mother and Queen. With Our presence We renewed the sanctity, the beauty, the order of the marriage formed by God in the Garden of Eden—that of Adam and Eve—married by the Supreme Being in order to populate the earth, and to multiply and increase the future generations. Marriage is the substance from which the life of the generations arises; it can be called the trunk from which the earth is populated. The priests, the religious, are the branches; but if it were not for the trunk, not even the branches would have life. Therefore, through sin, by withdrawing from the Divine Will, Adam and Eve caused the family to lose sanctity, beauty and order. And I, your Mama, the new innocent Eve, together with my Son, went to reorder that which God did in Eden; I constituted Myself Queen of families, and impetrated the grace that the Divine Fiat might reign in them, to have families that would belong to Me, and I might hold the place of Queen in their midst. …
In addition to this, my child, with my presence at this wedding, I looked at the future centuries, I saw the Kingdom of the Divine Will upon earth, I looked at families, and I impetrated for them that they might symbolize the love of the Sacrosanct Trinity, so that Its Kingdom might be in full force.
We see again Mary reiterating Jesus’ own words to Luisa: that the family is indeed a symbol of the Sacrosanct Trinity. We see Our Lady being constituted by her Son as Queen of Families, restoring to them the beauty and sanctity that marriage had in the Garden.
In this section it should also be mentioned just how highly Jesus exalts the acts of even a baby or a toddler. If some people in Luisa’s era were guilty of thinking of childhood as a “necessary evil” on the way to adulthood, and proceeded to adopt a perennially annoyed and grouchy approach to the things pertaining to babies, toddlers, and small children, this mindset is the opposite of what is relayed in the following words of Jesus to Luisa here (to give just one example):
Who can say, original sin being removed, that the newborn is not Innocent and Holy? And if Baptism is given, a period of the life of the baby, even to such that actual sin does not enter into his soul, is not the baby an Act of My Will? And if he moves his step, if he speaks, if he thinks, if he makes his little hands act, all these little acts wanted and disposed by My Will, are they not Tributes and Glory that We receive? Perhaps they will be unaware, but My Will receives from that little nature what It wants.162
To say that each little step of a baptized baby is a tribute and a glory to God is of course a lofty praise, and here, too, we see a type of wisdom and theology undergirding these revelations the origin of which cannot be explained in merely human terms.
On the Body
Continuing and broadening the theme in the previous section; we know that it is precisely because of the goodness of the body, but the concomitant failure to recognize its goodness, that Pope St. John Paul II felt the need to create the Theology of the Body, through his famous series of addresses on the topic. In the decades before these addresses, it was not common to see serious Catholic thinkers with such a thoroughly healthy and orthodox approach to the matter; and yet we see precisely this from Luisa’s writings. For example, Jesus once said to her:
My daughter, it is an enchantment of Beauty to see the human nature that Lives in My Divine Will covered and hidden as under a meadow of flowers, all invested by the most resplendent Light. The soul by herself could not have been able to form so many varieties of Beauty, while united she finds the little crosses, the necessities of life, the variety of circumstances, now sorrowful, now cheerful, that as seeds serve as sowing in the earth of the human nature, so as to form its flowery field. The soul does not have earth, and could not produce any flowering; on the other hand, united with the body, O! how many beautiful things it can do. Even more because this human nature was formed by Me, I molded it part by part, giving it the most beautiful form. I can say that I did as the Divine Craftsman and I placed such Mastery there, that no one else can reach Me. So I Loved him. I still see the touch of My Creative Hands Impressed on the human nature, therefore it is also Mine, it pertains to Me.163
But Luisa never fell into the opposite extreme, now seen today by some theologians in the so-called “new natural law” school,164 wherein the goods of the body are seen as so intrinsic and essential that consecrated celibacy, for example, is almost frowned upon (in stark contrast to Magisterial teachings and Sacred Tradition). Consecrated celibacy is exalted even more highly in Luisa’s writings, and Luisa is often known to use somewhat extreme terms in her desire to enter Heaven, even referring in some cases to her body as a “prison.” Even if such terminology is extreme, nevertheless such a balance of orthodoxy in the face of such strong pulls to one side or the other are not likely to be the result of the human ingenuity of someone of Luisa’s caliber.
On Exaggeration
It is common to hear some modern “scholars,” very proud of their own historical research, conclude (while sparing no expense in promoting this conclusion) that Scripture must simply be exaggerating much of the time. Here they judge God by their own human sinfulness; knowing that they themselves fall into exaggeration, they fail to (or, rather, refuse to) realize that exaggeration is nothing but a lie, and a lie is an intrinsic evil. God, Goodness Himself, can never commit an evil, thus He can never exaggerate. Luisa, more innocently than the aforementioned scholars, once supposed that Jesus must be exaggerating considering how glorious what He was telling her was, and she voiced this to Him:
‘Jesus, my Life, it seems to me that you exaggerate a little bit in manifesting to me what extent a soul can reach who does your Will.’ Knowing my ignorance and smiling, Jesus told me: “No, no, my beloved, I do not exaggerate. One who exaggerates may be deceitful. Your Jesus doesn’t know how to deceive you; rather, what I have told you is nothing. You will receive more surprises.”165
The “Scriptural claims as exaggeration” argument of the modernists was not popular until well after Luisa wrote this entry, and it is not likely that she could have herself come up with this response that Jesus gave to her own supposition.
Perfect Orthodoxy in Mariology
While the most prevalent error regarding Our Lady is to diminish her glory (and this error is not only prevalent among Protestants, but among Catholics as well), it is also the case that some fall into the opposite error. (These are most often beginners who are so blown away by the glorious Mariology given to us by the saints, that they conclude that she must be a Goddess of some sort, equal or perhaps superior to her Divine Son.) But this description of course is not true, and Jesus’ words to Luisa are at once the most glorifying of Our Lady that will be found anywhere, while also being perfectly orthodox in this glorification, never falling into any sort of idolatrous approach to Mary. Jesus tells Luisa:
And since my Humanity possessed not only the fullness of my Will as Its own virtue, but the Word Himself, as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit as a consequence of Our inseparability, It surpassed in a more perfect way both innocent Adam and my very Mama. In fact, in them it was grace, in Me it was nature; they had to draw light, grace, power, beauty from God; in Me there was the springing fount of light, beauty, grace … So, the difference between Me, as nature, and my very Mama, as grace, was so great, that She remained eclipsed before my Humanity.166
Here we see that Jesus being the Divine Will by nature, and Mary having all that God has by grace, is not just some ad-hoc-afterthought-of-a-distinction that doesn’t actually mean anything significant. Rather, it is an enormous distinction with enormous implications; so much so that Jesus’ nature goes so far as to eclipse His own mother.
Passions in Jesus
The question of the nature of the passions in the humanity of Jesus, although debated by many theologians and philosophers, still lacks a completely clear answer. In Luisa’s revelations, we see the straight and narrow orthodox path on this question walked perfectly—beyond anything she herself could have conceivably come up with independently. On the one hand, we have passions clearly predicated of Jesus; to cite just one example, He points out that happiness is real in Him, saying:
And We feel twice as happy, not because We are not happy without the creature, since, in Us, happiness is Our nature, but because We see the creature happy, who, by virtue of Our Will, comes closer to Our Likeness, loves with Our Love and glorifies Us with Our own works. We feel that the Creative Power of Our Fiat reproduces Us and forms Our Life and Our works in the creature.167
Things of this nature are frequent in Luisa’s revelations. This is not to mention the repeated sorrow Jesus expresses to Luisa as truly experienced by Him in the face of man’s sinfulness and His own need to chastise. But, on the other hand, we have entries in Luisa’s writings like that of February 9th, 1908. Here we read the words “There are no passions in me.” Some readers have taken this to be a blunt assertion that Jesus Christ is absolutely without any passions. But this is incorrect. Nowhere does that entire entry indicate that is Jesus Himself who is directly speaking. Instead, in that entry, we only see a certain “He” giving a response to Luisa asking the “Lord” a question. (Contrast this to the diary entry immediately after, where Luisa makes it clear that it is Jesus Himself directly speaking to her.) Combine this with the fact that in other places in Luisa’s writings, Jesus makes it clear that He does have passions, for example: “When it’s a question of her wanting to Love Me, I never render her discontent, because Love is one of My Passions,”168 which states that Jesus does have love as one of His passions, and also clearly implies (i.e. “one of”) that others exist. What this seems to say, then, is that the Divine Nature (“Lord”) is completely without passions, but the person of Jesus, inasmuch as the Second Person of the Trinity is hypostatically united to a human nature, does have “passions,” in a sense. And the sense is this: they are pro-passions.
This in fact is a thoroughly orthodox and Thomistic Christological insight. (It is also one which has not received much attention—in 2008, there was published a scholarly work entitled The Passions of Christ’s Soul, by a theology professor, Dr. Paul Gondreau. In its description, we see this book billed as “ … an invaluable resource for theology students and scholars. In this pioneering and unparalleled study, Paul Gondreau breaks Thomistic scholarship’s silence on this particular aspect of the Angelic Doctor’s thought. Illuminating the sources of Aquinas’s doctrine on Christ’s passions … ”169). For in Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Part 3, Question 15, Article 4 (Corpus) we see that there were indeed passions in Christ, but they were completely different from our own in three important ways:
First, as regards the object, since in us these passions very often tend towards what is unlawful, but not so in Christ. Secondly, as regards the principle, since these passions in us frequently forestall the judgment of reason; but in Christ all movements of the sensitive appetite sprang from the disposition of the reason. … Thirdly, as regards the effect, because in us these movements, at times, do not remain in the sensitive appetite, but deflect the reason; but not so in Christ, since by His disposition the movements that are naturally becoming to human flesh so remained in the sensitive appetite that the reason was nowise hindered in doing what was right.
In many other places throughout Luisa’s writings, we see this balanced, orthodox, Thomistic approach to the passions in Christ carefully maintained to a degree that would have been impressive if seen even in the works of a theologian.
Limbo and Paradise
As all Christians know, Jesus said to the good thief being crucified next to Him: “On this day you will be with me in paradise.”170
Upon perusing the various places Catholics and Christians discuss this incredible saying of Jesus, one finds all manner of attempts at interpreting it. (Since, indeed, it seems strange for a number of reasons; among them the fact that Heaven’s gates were not opened until the Resurrection of Christ days later, and it seems odd to some that the good thief—St. Dismas—would not spend a good deal of time in Purgatory). You will find some people issuing great speculations over punctuation, wondering if perhaps the phrase “on this day,” due to the absence of punctuation in the original Greek, is actually meant to be nothing but an unnecessary reminder that Jesus said what He said on the day He said what He said; not that Dismas would be with Him in paradise (that is not the case). Others wonder if by “paradise,” Jesus meant “purgatory” (He did not). Still others, noting that God is outside of time, pretend that any statements that have anything to do with time and Divine matters are somehow exempt from the constraints of logic (they are not).
Most people, however, simply confess their confusion on this point. But Jesus, with a few words, clarifies it perfectly to Luisa: “With My presence, Limbo became Paradise…”171
Dismas, along with all the just who had died up to that point, descended into limbo. Christ, too, upon His own death, “descended into hell,” which of course is not a reference to the literal hell of eternal punishment inhabited by the demons and the damned souls, but rather to that same limbo into which Dismas was about to descend. But having the veil of His flesh temporarily put aside, the glory of Jesus’ presence was no longer hidden, and His presence in limbo therefore immediately transfigured it entirely into paradise the very moment He entered! This makes Jesus’ words to Dismas quite literally true. As usual, it is highly unlikely that Luisa grasped these matters with her intellect, thus we can clearly see Divine Light shining forth in her writings.
Free Will and Beatific Vision
Orthodox-minded Catholic theologians still debate whether free will exists for the blessed in Heaven. The conundrum is not difficult to sympathize with: Heaven must mean absolutely guaranteed safety for all eternity. This must be a metaphysical reality that cannot be undone anymore than a circle can be made square while still being circular. Obviously guaranteeing this safety is not difficult for the Omnipotent God; but would not, some wonder, by His granting of it mean by definition that the freedom of our will is annihilated? Wouldn’t the will remaining free mean that it might, conceivably at least, someday choose to rebel and thus condemn itself to hell? Jesus answers this to Luisa:
You are in a condition which is almost similar to the conditions of the Blessed in Heaven. They have not lost their free will; this is a gift which I gave man, and whatever I give once, I never take back. Slavery has never entered Heaven. I am the God of sons, not of slaves… But in Heaven the knowledge of my goods, of my Will and of my happiness, is so great and so vast that they are filled to the brim, to the point of overflowing; and so their will finds no place to act. And while they are free, the knowledge of an infinite Will and of the infinite goods in which they are immersed, leads them, with an irresistible force, to use their will as if they did not have it, considering this as their highest fortune and happiness, but still, in spontaneous freedom and of their own will.172
The mystery of how Confirmation in Grace enjoyed by the Blessed in Heaven can at once be an absolute and eternal guarantee such that falling from that grace—into hell—is not even a metaphysical possibility, while at the same time preserving the existence of their free will, is here explained beautifully by Jesus to Luisa. The elect are free, but the knowledge of the Goodness of God is so great that it irresistibly causes them to use their own will always in perfect accord with the Divine Will, thus absolutely guaranteeing eternal safety in that state.
Limits of the Humanity of Jesus
All Christians know that Jesus is both God and man, and that, due to this reality, we rightly worship Him even bodily due to the hypostatic union. But the details of more advanced Christology are by no means intuitive or widely known. However, Jesus’ words to Luisa convey a perfect understanding that is not reasonable to see from someone of Luisa’s degree of theological education (or lack thereof).
When one studies the teachings St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, he learns that not even the humanity of Christ can completely comprehend the Divinity. This is because perfect knowledge of a thing is none other than the thing itself, and the Divinity itself is infinite, whereas the humanity of Christ—though utterly supreme—is nevertheless a created thing (because it began to exist in time). But all created things are in a sense finite; incapable of containing entirely within themselves the infinite. Jesus conveys this truth to Luisa with the following words:
Not even My Humanity could enclose, by Itself alone, all the immensity of the creative light; I was completely filled with it, inside and out, but-oh! how much of it remained outside of Me, as the circle of My Humanity did not have an equivalent magnitude in which to enclose a light so endless. The reason for this is that created powers, of whatever kind they might be, cannot exhaust the Uncreated Power, nor embrace it and restrict it within themselves.173
The Number of the Elect
In modern times, it has tragically become fashionable to pretend that damnation is either non-existent or is reserved only for the occasional Hitler figure. But this fad did not exist in Luisa’s day and, quite the contrary, the prevailing mindset was far too stingy on the question, as a tendency continued to exist, which even minimized the Divine Mercy message. (Hence the need, discerned well by Pope St. John Paul II, to exalt St. Faustina and her writings to such an enormous degree—as will be discussed later in this book.)
Therefore, when we see words of overwhelming mercy assuring us of God’s goodness and His desire to save as many souls as possible by almost any means necessary, then we can rest assured this is no invention of human art if its intent was to be well received within the various Catholic circles of its day. Therefore, we can read excerpts like the following with great confidence that, indeed, they do come from Jesus:
In speaking with the confessor, he told me that it is difficult to be saved, for Jesus Christ Himself said it: “The door is narrow; you must strive to enter.” Then, after I received Communion, Jesus told me: “Poor Me, how stingy they consider Me. Tell the confessor: from their stinginess they judge mine. They do not hold Me as the great, immense, interminable, powerful Being, infinite in all of my perfections, who can make great crowds of people pass through narrowness, more than through wideness itself.”
And as He was saying this, I seemed to see a very narrow pathway, which led to a little door, narrow, but jam-packed with people, who were competing with one another to see who could advance more and enter into it. Jesus added: “See, my daughter, what a great crowd is pushing forward; and they compete to see who arrives first. In a competition there is much gaining, while if the pathway were wide no one would bother hastening, knowing that there is room for them to walk on whenever they want. But while they are taking their time, death may come, and not finding themselves walking on the narrow pathway, they would find themselves at the threshold of the wide door of hell.
Oh, how much good this narrowness does! This happens also among yourselves: if there is a feast or a service, and it is known that the place is small, many hurry up, and there will be more spectators enjoying that feast or service. But if it is known that the place is large, nobody bothers hastening and there will be less spectators; because, knowing that there is room for everyone, everyone takes his time, and some arrive in the middle of it, some at the end, and some find everything finished, enjoying nothing. This is what would have happened if the pathway to salvation were wide—few would bother hastening, and the feast of Heaven would have been for few.”174
Similarly, in Luisa’s day it was still common to hear people murmur in response to hearing of someone’s sudden death; almost assuming that this type of death precludes their salvation. Thankfully this murmuring has largely diminished, as Catholics have rightly recognized that it is absurd to conclude that someone’s soul is likely damned merely because he died suddenly, without the aid of the Last Rites.175 Nevertheless, due to the prevalence of this bad habit decades ago, Luisa was not unaffected, and therefore was distressed when her own sister was taken by a sudden death. As always, Luisa opened her heart to Jesus, and He gave her the most profound words in response:
I felt all afflicted because of the sudden death of one of my sisters. The fear that my lovable Jesus might not have her with Himself tormented my soul, and as my Highest Good, Jesus, came, I told Him of my pain, and He, all goodness, said to me: “My daughter, do not fear…for one who is not perverted, a sudden death serves in order to prevent the diabolical action from entering the field—his temptations, and the fears which he strikes into the dying with so much art, because he feels them being snatched from him, without being able to tempt them or follow them. Therefore, what men consider to be a disgrace, many times is more than grace.”176
(Earlier in the same quote, Jesus points out that the absence of Last Rites in a sudden death is not worth worrying about, because it is not as if the person rejected recourse to this Sacrament. But such rejection, indeed, would be a cause for concern).
And while some would say that fear of being lost is a good and healthy thing, as it helps us avoid damnation; at the end of the day this is simply not true wisdom, even though it superficially seems to “make sense.” For the Gift of Holy Fear is not even about damnation—that fear, too, is among those cast out by perfect love.177 If we trust God, we should not fret about being lost. But even if such fears were to enter into your mind from time to time, know that even Luisa fell into this way of thinking, and Jesus says to you what He said to her:
Since my always lovable Jesus had not come and I was very afflicted, while I was praying, a thought flew into my mind: ‘Did the thought ever come to you that you might be lost?’ I never really think about this, so I remained a bit surprised. But good Jesus, who watches over me in everything, immediately moved in my interior and told me: “My daughter, this is true strangeness, and which saddens my love very much… I would say to one who doubts about my love, and feared that she might be lost: ‘How is this? I give you my Flesh for food, you live completely of my own. If you are ill, I heal you with the Sacraments; if you are stained, I wash you with my Blood. I can say that I am almost at your disposal—and you doubt? Do you want to sadden Me? Tell Me, then: do you love someone else? Do you recognize some other being as another father, since you say that you are not my daughter? And if this is not, why do you want to afflict yourself and sadden Me? Aren’t the bitternesses that others give Me enough—you too want to put pains in my Heart?”178
Before leaving this consideration, one important point must be made: Jesus’ words to Luisa do not fall into the error of supposing that most souls will be saved because of what one often hears in left-leaning modernist theological circles today: the “mitigated subjective culpability” argument, which holds that there is nothing to be concerned about, even though the vast majority of the world is objectively treading the path to perdition, because, as they say, “almost no one is culpable for this.”
That analysis, of course, is diabolical nonsense. It is very rare that one evades culpability for grave violations of the natural law; one needn’t be a catechized Catholic to know that transgressions of this law (which is written on our hearts) are wrong, for he has a conscience that tells him as much even if it isn’t fully formed. On the contrary, Jesus tells Luisa that, if most are saved, it is only due to His “daily catch,”179 at the moment of death, wherein He works extraordinary miracles of mercy to “wrench,” as it were, an act of contrition from them so long as they do not perversely and forcibly resist Him with all their might. (Needless to say, this wrenching, when successful, does not dispense the soul from Purgatory). This is doubtless a reason why the Rosary is so important; in such sorry times as our own, salvation is likely primarily attained “at the hour of death,” and in each Hail Mary we intercede for precisely that intention. More on this “daily catch” is found in the “No Fear of Death” section in Part Two of this book.
Now, this “daily catch” does not dispense us from one iota of the zeal we should have in order to, as Sacred Scripture admonishes, “save souls by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 1:23); that is, the fire of sin; for the reality of the daily catch does not change the sorry state of the souls in mortal sin before that moment. The modernists, on the other hand, who pretend that it is “mitigated subjective culpability” which causes virtually everyone to go to Heaven, can clearly be seen to have ulterior motives. These dark motives usually consist in their desire to give Communion to those who are not disposed, to formally cooperate with evil men, to make uncalled for compromises with the world, to rationalize their own unwillingness to perform the spiritual work of mercy of admonishing the sinner, etc. On the other hand, no hint of these motives is found anywhere in Luisa’s revelations.
***
We must now put an end to this section; for it could easily be continued, but we would soon find ourselves simply reading the entirety of Luisa’s revelations from Our Lord on these pages!
Therefore, I instead conclude this section with a simple appeal. If you do not hear the voice of the shepherd in these writings,180 then I humbly recommend that you strive to further develop your sense of hearing with more prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture.
Wisdom in Her Letters
Unlike the previous section, wherein we saw a theology and a spirituality far too deep to be of human origin (even if we grant the most generous concessions to Luisa’s natural abilities), what we see in her letters, unsurprisingly, is quite different. For her letters come from her own thoughts (although it is obvious in them that she draws from the holy teachings given to her by Jesus); whereas the majority of the content in her volumes come directly from Jesus Himself.
And what these letters reveal about their author is her possession of a type of wisdom that is only held by saintly souls. It is neither the wisdom of a theologian who explains everything in terms of doctrines and dogmas, nor the wisdom of a scholar who can cite many details from Scripture and the lives of the saints to demonstrate his every point. Nor is it the wisdom of a philosopher who gives precise logical arguments for each claim; rather, it is indeed the wisdom of one who has been an unflinchingly devout Catholic for decade after decade—the wisdom of one who has lived and breathed Catholicism all her life and has held nothing back from the dominion of Holy Mother Church—to the extent that the Sensus Fidei (the sense of the faith) has become the very mode of her own thoughts, and she always knows exactly how to fruitfully counsel souls no matter what situation they find themselves in.
All the other clear indications of the validity of these revelations aside, the odds of someone who manifests this type of wisdom being a fraud of any sort is minimal. Recall, from the previous section in which we discussed the official and Church-sanctioned norms for discerning private revelation, that these norms call for us to look for a “normal regimen of a life of faith” following the apparitions. Many of Luisa’s letters were written years after her writings were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, after she was kicked out of the convent she was staying at, and after she was no longer writing own any revelations from Jesus. And while she was not shy in sharing her pain from these events, it is equally clear that they did not have even the slightest effect on her saintly outlook and advice; in a word, on her Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit.
Let us, then, look at some of this profound wisdom that Luisa shared. All her letters are well worth reading; we only highlight some miscellaneous excerpts here. Although this is included in the chapter on the authenticity of Luisa’s revelations because it is indeed a beautiful demonstration of the same, what is more important now is simply that we ourselves grow spiritually from the wisdom she here shares.
Ease of Living in the Divine Will
Although Luisa knew that this sanctity of Living in the Divine Will was and is the greatest sanctity of all—the greatest sanctity possible—she never hesitated to insist that it was for all people; not just for religious, or priests, or the consecrated. In letter #19 to Mrs. Antonietta Savorani (a widow), she wrote:
Do you see, then, how easy it is? Nor does one have to be a religious to do this. The Sanctity of living in the Divine Will is for all; or rather, to tell the truth, It is for all those who want It.
And, in another letter, she pointed out that “It is not our occupations that take us away from Him, but our will…”
Similarly, in letter #74 to Mrs. Caterina Valentino from San Giovanni Rotondo, Luisa wrote:
Therefore, let us be attentive; it takes nothing but a firm decision of wanting to live in the Holy Will. It is Jesus who wants it; He will cover us with His Love, hide us within His Light, and will reach the extent of making up for us in all that we are unable to do.
And In letter #81 to Mother Cecelia, she wrote:
With the most tiny things, with trifles, we can form the little stones to give the Divine Fiat the material to build our sanctity. And for this, one attention, one thought, one word left unsaid, one sigh of desire for the Holy Will, is enough.
In a beautiful exposition of the Little Way of Thérèse of Lisieux, Luisa wrote, in letter #120:
More so, since the Lord does not teach difficult things. What He wants is precisely the little things, because they are easier to do, and we cannot find an excuse and say: “I could not do it.” The little things are always around us, in our hands; while the great ones come rarely. So, we cannot say that sanctity is not for us. Even our own nature is formed with many little acts—the breath, the heartbeat, the motion; yet, they form our life. And if we lacked even one breath, our life—we could say—is ended. So we can say if our little acts are not animated by the Will of God. Therefore, let us allow everything we do to flow in the Divine Will and we will feel enlivened and in possession of the Life of the Fiat. How happy and holy we will be!
Even though Luisa had gone through tremendous pains and sacrifices to make the Divine Will known and to live in it herself, she never demanded or expected this of others, but instead wished that people know how easy it was if only we desire it.
Do not think it is difficult to obtain this great good; rather, it is very easy, as long as you want it with a firm decision to live from the Divine Volition, converting everything you do into Divine Will.
Don’t lose heart because of the difficulties and the circumstances of life; they are steps which make us go higher in the Divine Volition. Especially in painful circumstances, dear Jesus takes us by the hand to make us rise higher and achieve beautiful conquests—not human, but divine and of infinite value.
As far as weaknesses, miseries and the like, as long as our will is not there, don’t worry, since that is our ruin. They can serve as footstool on which the Divine Volition forms Its throne in order to dominate us and reign; or serve as the crushed stone and rubble serve one who wants to build himself a house, or as soil in the hands of our Celestial Farmer, Who makes out of our miseries, without our will, the most beautiful flowerings to extend His Kingdom. Everything serves His glory and our good in the divine hands of the Fiat.
On Feelings
Luisa knew well how prone people are to focus too much on feelings; supposing that within them is found sanctity. But feelings are not under our control, therefore our sanctity (or lack thereof) does not consist in them. In letter #43 to an unnamed recipient, she wrote:
Oh, how easily we pay attention to what we feel! Feeling is not ours, it is not in our power; while Jesus, because He loves us very much, gave us our will into our power, so that, as we put it on the countertop of the Divine Will, it could turn into divine acts… Therefore, our coldness, the tears not shed, our pains, the involuntary distractions, can ask for the Kingdom of God upon earth. They will be as many sweet pledges in the hands of Jesus, which bind Him to make the Kingdom of the Divine Will come upon earth. Therefore, let us be attentive—let us live as if we had no other life, no other word, but the Divine Will…
From Letter #13 to Fr Bernardo of the Most Holy Hearts from Assisi, we read:
Here is the means to sin no more: to be united with Jesus, love Him, and always do His Will. Don’t think about the past, this harms you a great deal; rather, even today, begin your life with Jesus and you will find out for yourself how all things change for you; you will feel like another man, born again in all that is holy.
In letter #84 to an unnamed woman, Luisa wrote:
Therefore, I recommend: in whatever state you feel, be always tranquil—do not think of cold or warm. The Divine Will is more than everything: more than prayer, more than recollection, more than fervor, more than miracles—more than everything.
In letter #120 (perhaps to Federico Abresch), she advised:
To feel pleasures, imperfections, weaknesses, is not evil. Wanting them is ugly, because the Lord does not care about what we feel, but about what we want.
On Suffering
Luisa had a special gift for encouraging others in their sufferings. From Letter #18 to Mrs. Constanza Bendetta Pettinelli from Siena:
Therefore, courage, courage. All other things are left; while sufferings are brought to Heaven, and form our most beautiful throne and never ending glory. Now I repeat my refrain: continue to promote the Divine Will. I expect a great deal from you, and so does Jesus and the Celestial Mama.
And in letter #15, to Mrs. Copparo La Scola:
Together with Jesus, pains change their look, miseries disappear; and from pains, miseries and weaknesses the most beautiful conquests, celestial riches and the strength of God arise, and the very Angels and Saints envy our lot.
And, in letter #30 to an unnamed religious superior, Luisa wrote:
Mortifications, adversities, crosses, come to us veiled and do not let us see the good which they contain; but peace removes the veil and allows us to recognize the finger of God in our sufferings…
Luisa knew nothing of the vice of respect of persons and was more than happy to correspond with anyone she could find the time to write to; whether a Bishop or a man confined to prison. To one who happened to find himself in the latter circumstance (a Mr. Vincenzo Messina), she wrote (letter #35):
Never neglect the Rosary to the Celestial Mother, and if you can, be a missionary in the prison, by making known that the Queen of Heaven wants to visit all the prisoners to give them the gift of the Divine Will.
Even amid the greatest of sufferings—which, for most people, correspond to the loss of a loved one—Luisa was firm in insisting on peace and trust. To an unnamed recipient, Luisa wrote a letter on August 14, 1934, containing the following advice:
By the same token I must tell you that it is not good for you to embitter yourself so much over the loss of your beloved son. He is certainly happier now than when he was with you; and if you really loved him, instead of crying, you would rejoice at his happiness. In grieving, you do not love your son, but yourself. Furthermore, we are just one step away from our dear departed ones; when we least expect it, we will find ourselves together with them. Therefore, I recommend to you peace, courage and true resignation, and you will see what the Lord will make of you.
Luisa’s advice even sounds amazingly similar to that of St. Teresa of Calcutta, who was well known for gently reminding the sickly people she cared for that, in their sufferings, Jesus was kissing them. Luisa once wrote “… think about making yourself a saint. In every pain, give Jesus a kiss, hug Him very tightly, and force Him to let the Kingdom of the Fiat come upon earth.”
To Mrs. Mazari, in letter #85, Luisa wrote the following words:
My good daughter in Jesus Christ, do not get discouraged, never lose trust. What I recommend is that you look at your crosses as many visits from Jesus, Who brings you the life of the Divine Will, to make It reign in you and to give you all His love as food… if you do the Will of God, you will feel a strength in all your sufferings…
On Peace
Perhaps what is seen most often in her letters is the exhortation to peace. From Letter #12 to Mrs. Antonietta Savorani, Luisa wrote:
Three things I recommend to you: firmness in good, perennial peace, filial trust. Trust will make you live like a little baby in the arms of her mama, and Jesus and the Celestial Mama will take care of all the things you need. They will tell you with facts: “Think about living from Our Will, and We will take care of everything, even the salvation of your brothers.” Aren’t you happy?
In letter #36 to Mother Cecilia from Oria, she wrote:
If there is peace, there is God. His children are as though kneaded in peace; therefore they are peacemakers, and bearers of peace. Their words, their manners, are never boisterous or sharp, but embalmed with the balm of peace, such as to sweeten the most embittered hearts; so much so, that those who are restless feel humiliated and confused in the face of a peaceful soul…When the Divine Volition wants to reign in the soul, It first sends Its message of peace. Many times it is about closing one’s eyes to little bagatelles, trifles and specks, so as not to lose peace or time; in this manner, the Divine Fiat makes Its own ways in our souls, forming Its throne
In letter #56, “to a young lady,” Luisa wrote:
The storm is always prelude to clear skies. Therefore, don’t lose heart, wait with untiring patience for the hour of God. When it comes, its dominion will put everything into place, and maybe your very enemies will become your friends.
In a fascinating insight from this same letter, Luisa advises her that, by refusing to allow peace to reign in our hearts, we “… let the devil laugh, because if you are not firm and always the same, the enemy will say to you: ‘You wanted to do good to others, and you were unable to do it to yourself.” Here, Luisa identifies a common but subtle plague in the spiritual life: failing to love ourselves (in the proper sense of the term) by—in a tragic irony—supposing that our concern for others must render us without peace so long as others are in danger. This is commonly observed in parents who are worried about their straying children. And indeed, all such parents should be like St. Monica; praying continually for the conversion of their children. But God’s delay in answering these prayers fully must never allow these parents to lose their peace!
To an unnamed religious woman, Luisa wrote (in letter #59):
…daughter, Jesus loves you and wants you good and holy. Do not listen to the enemy, who would want to snatch the gift from the hands of Jesus; do not pay attention to doubts or anything which is not peace. These are things of the enemy, rags of hell, not of Jesus. His things are peace; the rags of Heaven are certainties. Therefore, as a mother who loves her daughter, I beg you to no longer let these infernal rags enter your heart; and if the enemy torments you, determined, say to him: “These are things that don’t belong to me. I don’t want to steal from anyone, not even from hell.” And then, I repeat to you my usual refrain: unshakable firmness in good. Interest yourself in nothing but Jesus and what pertains to your office; in this way you
Luisa knew well that one of the greatest enemies of peace is the incessant tendency of some to dwell on the past, therefore she was always firm in insisting that people forget the past. Regarding this, as seen in letter #60 (to another unnamed religious), Luisa wrote:
As far as wanting to go over the past again—no, because the past has passed in God, and it would be as though stealing His rights, His own things. If there is something wrong in it, the Lord can let us know with calm. As far as the future, don’t worry about it either, because it is not ours, but belongs to God. We must obey and make ourselves saints, not for our interest, but for the glory of God. So, banish every doubt, since doubt, fear and agitation do not come from God, but from the devil; rather, think of loving and doing the Will of God, because with doubts we displease the Lord much more than if we sinned… Therefore, swear, or make a solemn promise that you will never think about doubts again…
She was intent on reminding people not to dwell on their sins, their past, their weaknesses, or their miseries; but instead to simply trust in and love Jesus.
On the contrary, I tell you that when you abstain because of fear, you form firewood for Purgatory, and the Communions you do not receive on earth, you will receive with fire in Purgatory, because Jesus burns with love in the Most Holy Sacrament and wants to come into our hearts in order to pour out His flames; while if we abstain, He burns more, becoming fidgety and delirious, and with Justice He will make us burn more in Purgatory.
Oh, how good is Jesus! If we knew Him, we would die enraptured with love. And, with love, the enrapturer Jesus hides us in Love, so as not to make us die … Only the doubt that Jesus does not love us very much, saddens Jesus and embitters Him. Love calls for more love. The more we believe He loves us, the more we feel like loving Him; and Jesus, seeing Himself loved, loves us more.
Moreover, when Jesus feels loved, He forgets our sins—and why would we want to lose our minds in remembering them?
In an incredibly consoling few words regarding a soul with a sinful past, Luisa wrote in letter #132:
And even if in the past [Jesus] was wounded by this creature, He looks at these wounds, smiles and says: “I have conquered her; she is my victory”, and He shows her around to all of Heaven to make feast.
Continuing to encourage the frequent reception of Holy Communion, Luisa wrote the following in letter #100 to Francesca:
I like to hear that you always receive Communion. Never leave it, either out of disturbance, or distress, or fears. Nothing which is not peace ever comes from God, but always from our enemy, who gains a lot when he sees us disturbed. And we lose true trust; we lose our arms to take refuge in Jesus. Therefore, in order to become saints, nothing is needed but courage, trust and peace, in order to live in the immense sea of the Divine Will.
Luisa grasped how to counsel souls for the acquisition of peace even when they are in the midst of the greatest temptation to deprive themselves of it; namely, the dark night of the soul. In letter #54, to Mother Elisabetta (a religious superior) she wrote:
But Jesus never leaves you—He hides; and in His hiding, the ardor of His love is so great that He gives you hidden kisses and tender hugs; but He gives them slowly and quietly, so as not to be felt. However, He can’t last too long with all this, and when you least expect it, He makes Himself felt in the depth of the soul in order to sustain you
Peace was not merely something Luisa advised, but something she lived. Luisa never held any grudges against her enemies but, on the contrary, prayed for them and hoped for their forgiveness. She was certainly unafraid to state bluntly the evil consequences of their actions (for Luisa was not one to wear rose-colored glasses or succumb to the error of the ‘power of positive thinking’), but above all she loved her enemies in a Christlike fashion. For example, in letter #99 to Federico Abresch, she wrote:
Dearest one in the Lord, nothing new happened here, as far as what you say about Rome. On the contrary, there has been a terrible storm against the books and against me. However, I think it was caused by some priests and religious from Corato. May the Lord bless and forgive all. It must be a diabolical rage, since, in just hearing the name of Will of God, he is consumed and becomes furious. So, let us pray.
In reading this, we must recall what Luisa suffered because of the condemnation of her writings. She suffered especially because she knew they were true (even though she submitted entirely and without hesitation to the condemnation), and Luisa thus also knew that their condemnation was a great harm to the purpose of the writings: the Reign of the Divine Will on earth. But Luisa also suffered directly in her own life; as a result of the condemnation, she was kicked out of the convent she had been living in for a decade (a place she loved), and even had daily Mass—a privilege she had had for decades thanks to the direct intervention of multiple Popes—taken away from her for a time.
***
I end this section by sharing what Luisa often noted in the end of her own letters, for it reveals a genuine humility. Although Jesus lavished spiritual gifts on her and she was made well aware of them, she was always very conscious of her littleness and her misery (similar to St. Faustina and St. Thérèse). Thus, in her letters, she earnestly beseeched the recipients of them to pray for her, insisting that she sincerely needed their prayers.
Prophecies Fulfilled
As St. Hannibal himself wrote, regarding Luisa’s writings,
In the course of these publications which we are beginning, there are chapters which foresee divine scourges of earthquakes, wars, fire, cloudbursts, devastation of lands, epidemics, famines and the like. Everything, everything has been predicted several years before, and everything has come about, and much yet is left to come about. 181
Unfortunately, it is often overlooked that Luisa’s writings are filled with prophecies given by Jesus Himself which have come to pass (while, of course, the majority have not yet come to pass; see Part Three of this book on the Era of Peace). Even alone, this prophetic aspect of her messages succeeds in demonstrating that Luisa’s writings are not of human origin. Let us look at just a few of these “prophetic bullseyes” and their historical context.
World War II
Perhaps most profound among the prophecies in Luisa’s writings is Jesus’ repeated insistence to Luisa, in the midst of World War I and immediately following it, that an even worse war would soon come.
It seems that the earliest indication of this in Luisa’s writings is found in 1904 in the following entry:
… blessed Jesus told me: “Do you think that the triumph of the Church is far?” And I: ‘Yes indeed—who can put order in so many things that are messed up?’ And He: “On the contrary, I tell you that it is near. It takes a clash, but a strong one, and therefore I will permit everything together, among religious and secular, so as to shorten the time. And in the midst of this clash, all of big chaos, there will be a good and orderly clash, but in such a state of mortification, that men will see themselves as lost. However, I will give them so much grace and light that they may recognize what is evil and embrace the truth, making you suffer also for this purpose. If with all this they do not listen to Me, then I will take you to Heaven, and things will happen even more gravely, and will drag on a little longer before the longed-for triumph.182
By prophesying a clash so severe that “men will see themselves as lost,” it seems Jesus is referring to World War I, which of course we know came in the following decade. But Jesus also promised “I will give them so much grace and light…,” implying that this blessing would be during or after that clash. This, I believe, is precisely what He did at Fatima, sending Our Lady to give an unprecedented miracle. Of course, we know how that transpired as well; people still did not listen, and so, as Our Lady said would indeed happen, another war came. Unfortunately, it is obvious that even after World War II, people still did not listen to Heaven’s messages. Shortly after its end, in 1947, Jesus did indeed take Luisa to Heaven, and the state of the world has only continued to worsen.
But we return to the prophecies themselves, for Jesus says much more to Luisa than merely the aforementioned generalities, as His statements became more specific after World War I. In 1923, Jesus said to His little daughter:
Ah! it is the second general turmoil that the nations are preparing…I have done everything to dissuade them…But everything has been in vain; the more they united together, the more discords, hatreds and injustices they fomented, to the point of forcing the oppressed to take up arms to defend themselves. And when it comes to defending the oppressed and justice, also natural, I must concur; more so, since the nations which appear to be victorious, succeeded on the basis of the most perfidious injustice. They should have understood this by themselves, and been meeker toward the oppressed; on the contrary, they are more inexorable, wanting not only their humiliation, but also their destruction. What perfidy! What perfidy, more than diabolical! They are not yet satiated with blood. How many poor peoples will perish! I grieve, but the earth wants to be purged—more cities will be destroyed…183
And later that same year:
Last year, France, by moving against Germany, rang the first bell. Italy, by moving against Greece, rang the second war bell. Then, another nation will come, which will ring the third, to call them to the fight.184
Three years later, beginning a series of messages separated by several months, Jesus addresses the impending war.
November 1926:
They have so blinded themselves, that they are preparing fierce wars and revolutions. This time it will not be just Europe, but other races will unite together. The circle will be more extensive; other parts of the world will participate. How much evil does the human will—it blinds man, it impoverishes him, and it makes of him the murderer of himself. But I will use this for my highest purposes, and the reunion of so many races will serve to facilitate the communications of the truths, so that they may dispose themselves for the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat. So, the chastisements that have occurred are nothing other than the preludes of those that will come. How many more cities will be destroyed; how many peoples buried under the ruins; how many places buried and plunged into the abyss. The elements will take the part of their Creator. My Justice can bear no more; my Will wants to triumph, and would want to triumph by means of Love in order to establish Its Kingdom. But man does not want to come to meet this Love, therefore it is necessary to use Justice…185
March 1927:
So, as my love sees itself being persecuted, my justice enters the field and defends my love, striking with scourges those who persecute Me, and uncovering the pretenses they make—not only with Me, but also among themselves as nations, because, in brawling, they reveal themselves—that instead of loving one another, they hate one another fiercely. This century can be called the century of the most awful pretenses—and among all classes; and this is why they never come to an agreement among themselves, and while apparently it seems that they want to agree, in reality they are plotting new wars. Pretense has never brought true good, either in the civil order or in the religious order; at the most, a few shadows of a fleeting good. And so, here is how they are converting that peace, so praised with words, but not with deeds, into preparations for war. As you can already see, many different races have united to fight, some with one pretext, some with another—and more will unite together. But I will use the union of these races, because for the coming of the Kingdom of my Divine Will it is necessary to have the union of all races by means of another war, much more extensive than the last one, in which Italy was involved financially. Through the union of these races, the peoples will come to know one another, and after the war, the diffusion of the Kingdom of my Will will be easier. Therefore, have patience in bearing my privation—this is the void that my justice wants to form in order to defend my persecuted love. You, pray and offer everything, so that the Kingdom of my Fiat may come soon.186
August 1927:
All the nations are taking up arms to make war, and this irritates divine justice more, and disposes the elements to take revenge against them. Therefore, the earth will pour out fire, the air will send fountains of waters, and the wars will form fountains of human blood, in which many will disappear, and cities and regions will be destroyed. What wickedness—after so many evils of a war they have gone through, they are preparing another one, more terrible, and they are trying to move almost the entire world, as if it were one single man. Does this not say that sin has entered deep into their bones, to the point of transforming their very nature into sin?187
There is much to consider in these messages. Everybody knows the great fault that Germany bears for World War II. But too many have forgotten the fault that other nations bear. France engaged in a terribly unjust military occupation of Germany in the 1920s because Germany was incapable of paying the severe reparation payments demanded of them because of World War I. There is nothing prophetic about this point in Luisa’s writings, because the particular message was given in 1923, after France had already begun the occupation. But the civil unrest and hyperinflation that this occupation and these payments caused was the reason the path was paved for Hitler to seize power in Germany. Therefore, the prophetic reality in the 1923 message is found in Jesus’ calling France’s move as “ringing the first bell.” This makes no sense outside of understanding it as a harbinger of a coming conflict.
We now know, in studying the buildup to World War II, that it is perfectly accurate to say that, in the 1920s, France did indeed “ring the first bell.” But we can also see that Mussolini’s imperial attempts in 1922 to create a “New Roman Empire” constituted the “second bell,” as Jesus told Luisa. For in “moving against Greece” by formalizing control of the Greek Dodecanese Islands and ordering the invasion of Corfu (another Greek island), Mussolini created a conflict that was elevated to the League of Nations and contributed significantly to the deterioration of conditions which lead to World War II.
But what about this mysterious “third bell”? Remember that Luisa received this message in 1923, long before anyone knew that Germany would suddenly explode onto the world stage and invade Poland in the following decade. That was all it took for World War II to begin: one more “bell,” and only one more nation was needed to “ring” it. Clearly Germany fulfilled this role. Many other nations had parts to play, but no one denies that World War II began by Britain declaring war on Germany in 1939 in response to Germany’s invasion of Poland. In prophetic analysis, this is what is called a “bullseye.” It is particularly noteworthy that Jesus gave Luisa this “third bell” warning in September 1923. It was only two months later that Hitler made his first major (albeit failed) move, attempting to militarily seize power in Munich.
In His messages in 1926 and 1927, we see Jesus repeatedly lamenting how the coming clash would be so much worse than the preceding one. This, too, was no doubt scarcely tenable to the ears of those who had just endured the “Great War,” World War I, which was known as “the war to end all wars.” But in retrospect, we of course know that His words were thoroughly accurate. World War I resulted in about 18 million people killed. World War II resulted in over 70 million killed. Also prophetic are Jesus’ words on the scope of the war: while the vast majority of the combatants of World War I were European (with several million troops from the United States), in World War II huge numbers of both troops and casualties came from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Globalization
In the last section, we did not address one important aspect of the messages from Jesus there quoted; namely, the whole purpose of Jesus allowing the global chaos that was World War I and II. For we know from basic theology that God only allows any evil to occur if He knows a greater good will come of it. Admittedly, we have to wait until Heaven to see the greater good in most cases, but sometimes we get glimpses of it here and now; and this is certainly the case with the World Wars. And it is clear that His plan with these corresponds to His plan in allowing the rise of the Roman Empire; for just as He orchestrated the rise of this Empire in order to facilitate the explosion of Christianity throughout the world, so too He has allowed modern Globalization (which, although it tragically often carries with it many evils, is not in and of itself an evil—and this fact is attested to by numerous Magisterial Church teachings) in order to allow for the impending Third Fiat. Jesus told Luisa:
As you can already see, many different races have united to fight, some with one pretext, some with another—and more will unite together. But I will use the union of these races, because for the coming of the Kingdom of my Divine Will it is necessary to have the union of all races by means of another war, much more extensive than the last one … Through the union of these races, the peoples will come to know one another, and after the war, the diffusion of the Kingdom of my Will will be easier.188
The Roman Empire reached the peak of its geographic spread and political power precisely at the time that the preaching of the Apostles was ready to explode throughout the known world; and this it was, indeed, capable of doing thanks to the infrastructure which was put in place by the Empire.
But today, we see an extent of Global infrastructure which could scarcely be the matter of dreams for those Romans of earlier days. What many forget is that this globalization would not have been possible without the unification of the races and countries, the various trade deals and treaties and the like, which resulted from the second World War, its resolution, and the aftermath of cooperation.
It is scarcely tenable that Luisa could have predicted this.
Miraculous Knowledge of Current Events
In some messages, we see not so much a prophecy as a miraculous knowledge of an event transpiring that very moment. One example is contained in the following entry:
One morning… my dear Jesus… showed me a man who had been killed by shots from a revolver, and who was then breathing his last and going to hell… If the whole world knew how much Jesus suffers for the loss of souls, they would use all possible means so as not to become lost eternally …at least to spare our Lord that pain.189
Luisa then offered herself to accept the pains he deserved and thus save his soul, and upon receiving them, she described them as so terrible that she did not know how she remained alive. The next morning, the priest came in to her room to call her to obedience as usual, and he asked her why she was in such a sorrowful state. She wrote:
So he asked me the reason for such a state, and I told him the fact, as I have described it above, telling him the place in town where it seemed to me that it had happened. The confessor told me that it was true, but that they thought he was dead. However, then it became known that he was very ill, but little by little he recovered, and he is still alive.190
While the prophetic value of the previous section cannot be doubted, since no one can deny that Luisa wrote many of those words years before the events spoken of transpired, a particularly vehement critic might accuse Luisa of simply making this up in her writings. Such a critic, however, would be forgetting that all of Luisa’s writings were carefully scrutinized by many in the Church of that time, who would have loved to have the opportunity to denounce her, and they would have immediately pounced on this series of events if it were open to such criticism (for they could have easily simply consulted the confessor referenced in the quote above). Clearly this attempt would have been fruitless, and we must instead take the entry at its word.
Mussolini’s March on Rome
In an astonishing prophecy given the very day before this historical event took place, Jesus gave the following message to Luisa (on October 27, 1922):
Ah! my daughter, you know nothing of what they want to do. They want to gamble away Rome; the foreigners, and even the Italians, want to gamble her away. The evils they will do are such and so many, that if the earth were to unleash fire to burn her to ashes, it would be a lesser evil than what they will do. See, people pop out from all sides, to join together and storm her; and, what’s more, under the guises of lambs, while they are rapacious wolves that want to devour the prey. What diabolical unions—they band together to have more strength and storm her. Pray, pray—this is the last precipice of these times, into which the creature wants to hurl herself.
What Jesus describes here to Luisa is exactly what happened the next day when fascist troops under Benito Mussolini entered Rome. Instead of defending her, the King (Victor Emmanuel III) simply handed power over to them without conflict; thus, as Jesus said, “gambling away Rome.” (Jesus of course knew that in this insurrection laid in wait demonic plans for the second World War, hence His severe lamentations in this passage.)
This was particularly lamentable, of course, because it placed the Vatican itself within a political entity being ruled by Fascists. The King did not care, not seeing Fascism as a threat to the establishment, which made him willing to enter into this unholy gamble. The essence of this account being the true one is attested to by the Encyclopedia Britannica, which states:
[the March on Rome was the] Insurrection that brought BENITO MUSSOLINI to power in Italy. Social discontent gave Fascist Party leaders the opportunity to take control of the Italian government. Assisted by the armed squads known as BLACKSHIRTS, they planned to march on Rome and force King VICTOR EMMANUEL III to call on Mussolini to form a government. Since the king was unwilling to use the Italian army to defend Rome, the government capitulated to the Fascists’ demands. The March on Rome turned into a parade to show the Fascist Party’s support for Mussolini as the new prime minister.191
Now, a critic would say that this is merely Luisa’s imagination working on the fact that Mussolini had threatened to take Rome on October 24th. However, it is, first of all, highly unlikely that Luisa knew of this announcement; for she never knew any news of the world except what was occasionally told to her by visitors, who were anything but zealous to keep her up to date on the current political issues. But more importantly is the fact that the message she received on the 27th of October contains much more than a mere worry about Rome being taken; rather, it includes a clear lamentation about Rome being “gambled away,” which no one but God (and perhaps King Victor) knew would happen. Even the prime minister himself (Luigi Facta) assumed this gamble would not happen, proven by his declaration of a State of Siege192 (to allow for Rome to be defended against the march) which the King later refused to sign. Indeed, there is no reasonable explanation of this passage other than the admission of its prophetic nature.
The “Century of Pride”
Before even two months had passed after the dawn of the 20th century, Luisa did not hesitate to assert “Ah, yes, it really seemed that this century of ours will be renowned for its pride.”193
She said this having clearly been shown by Jesus that the century which had just begun would not be a good one. In several messages during the first two decades of this century, Jesus makes it clear to Luisa that many chastisements would occur for quite some time.
Looking back at the 20th century, this seems an obvious diagnosis to us. But in the very beginning of the 1900s, it was far from apparent that the century then in its infancy would be horrendous. In fact, the opposite was true: it seemed that a period of great prosperity, peace, and progress was in motion and destined to continue. For upon the turning of the century, the world has enjoyed its 85th consecutive year of Pax Britannica; that period of “peace”194 between the Great Powers of the world where the unprecedented imperial influence of the British Empire gave at least apparent stability to much of the world.195 The Congress of Vienna was still in force, and the Napoleonic Wars (which included the last major European conflicts before World War I) were becoming a memory. Without a doubt, there were still conflicts; but they paled in comparison to what had previously dominated. Amazing new technologies—especially in transportation and communication—were making life easier than it ever had been and were opening new opportunities which had never been dreamed of. It seemed that the “public mood” had never been higher. Perhaps a truly rare expert in international affairs could have discerned something awry; one of borderline prophetic skill—but not someone like lowly Luisa. And yet, it was in her writings, in this social context, that we see the following:
February 23rd, 1900: “The time has come, the end is approaching, but the hour is uncertain.”
June 28th, 1900: “My daughter, how many masks will be unmasked in these times of chastisements! In fact, these present chastisements are nothing but the predisposition …”
July 3rd, 1900: “Yet, my daughter, the chastisements I am sending are still nothing compared to those which have been prepared.”
July 14th, 1900: “My daughter, the decree of chastisements is signed; there is nothing left but to decide the time of the execution.”
July 27th, 1900: [Luisa speaking] I saw the cruel torment that continues to go on in the war of China—churches knocked down, images of Our Lord thrown to the ground… And this is nothing yet. That which frightened me the most was to see that if now this is done by barbarians, by secular people, later on it will be done by false religious who, removing their masks and letting themselves be known for who they are, uniting with the open enemies of the Church, will launch such an assault as to seem incredible to the human mind.
July 25th, 1900: [Luisa speaking] This morning my adorable Jesus came and made me see a machine in which it seemed that many human members were being crushed, as well as something like two signs of chastisements in the air, which were terrifying.196
September 30th, 1900 “Console [My Mother], for She is very afflicted because of the heavier chastisements I am about to pour upon the earth.”
October 22nd, 1900: [Luisa speaking] ‘If the many chastisements about which I wrote in these books should really happen, who would have the heart to be spectator of them?’ And the blessed Lord made me comprehend with clarity that some of them will take place while I am still on this earth, some after my death, and some will be spared in part. So I was relieved a little bit, thinking that I will not have to see them all.
Later, we see messages equally prophetic regarding the continuation of the evil nature of the century. This, too, is noteworthy, because after the end of World War I and the concomitant formation of the League of Nations (a historically unprecedented international organization, explicitly established to ensure world peace), many thought lasting peace was finally at hand. Jesus made it clear to Luisa that this was not so. For example (and we will only briefly recall two quotes here; more fulfilled prophecies regarding World War II are found in the eponymous section, above, of this same chapter):
November 20th, 1914 (in World War I’s opening months):…[Jesus] keeps telling me that the wars and the scourges which are occurring now, are still nothing, while it seems that they are too much; that other nations will go to war—and not only this, but that they will wage war against the Church, attack sacred people and kill them …
October 16th, 1918 (Close to the end of this war): “I will renew the world with the sword, with fire and with water, with sudden deaths, and with contagious diseases. I will make new things. The nations will form a sort of tower of Babel; they will reach the point of being unable to understand one another; the peoples will revolt among themselves; they will no longer want kings. All will be humiliated, and peace will come only from Me. And if you hear them say ‘peace’, that will not be true, but apparent. Once I have purged everything, I will place my finger in a surprising way, and I will give the true Peace … Therefore, pray—and it takes patience, because this will not be so soon, but it will take time.”
The looming Chastisements which would increase exponentially beyond their relatively minor level at the time was a constant theme in Jesus’ messages to Luisa in the year 1900 (along with Luisa repeatedly begging Jesus to let her suffer instead of chastising the people; a request Jesus would often oblige), and the fact that they would continue was a constant theme of her post-World War I writings (Luisa stopped writing a few months before World War II began, as at that point she was no longer commanded, under holy obedience, to do so).
It was, of course, Pope Pius XII who made a similar declaration about this century (albeit less prophetic, for he spoke this in 1946), saying:
“Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin.”
And what pride is greater than refusing to acknowledge sin itself? That, indeed, is the pinnacle of pride. That is what defined the 20th century and, tragically, continues to define the modern world. Luisa told us this would be the case in the first months of the 20th century.
St. Hannibal di Francia’s Exaltation
Let us recall that Luisa had many confessors, spiritual directors, and bishops with authority over her (a list of each is contained in the appendices of this book). Despite the multitude of choices that Jesus had of men whom he could exalt in His words to Luisa, it was none other than “Father Di Francia” about whom he spoke most highly. Lo-and-behold, 76 years later, Fr. Di Francia was raised to the honor of the altars and made a canonized saint. So, while we have already covered just how great of an endorsement this is—to have a canonized saint be such a zealous supporter and promoter of a private revelation—the flipside is true as well; for a private revelation to so highly exalt someone who later winds up being canonized is also prophetic in its own right and serves as its own demonstration of validity.
Jesus tells Luisa:
And do you think that the memory of Father Di Francia, his many sacrifices and desires to make my Will known, to the point of initiating the publication, will be extinguished in this great work of my Divine Fiat, only because I brought him with Me to Heaven? No, no; on the contrary, he will have the first place, because by coming from far away, he went as though in search of the most precious thing that can exist in Heaven and on earth, of the act that glorifies Me the most, or rather, will give Me complete glory on the part of creatures, and they will receive complete goods. He prepared the ground so that my Divine Will might be known; so much so, that he spared nothing, neither expenses, nor sacrifices; and even though the publication did not have its completion, by even just initiating it he prepared the ways so that one day the work of my Will in the midst of creatures can be known and have life. Who will ever be able to destroy the fact that Father Di Francia has been the first initiator in making known the Kingdom of my Will?—and only because his life was extinguished, the publication did not have its completion? So, when this great work becomes known, his name, his memory, will be full of glory and of splendor, and he will have his prime act in a work so great, both in Heaven and on earth.197
And how true it is that St. Hannibal has had the “first place,” as Jesus told Luisa in 1928, among those who promote these revelations on the Divine Will. His cause for canonization began in 1945, and was officially formalized in 1979, with Pope St. John Paul II declaring his heroic virtues in 1989. As promised by Jesus, Fr. Hannibal was given the first place: no promoter of Luisa’s had been honored so clearly by the Church before that point.
But Luisa even goes so far as to call Fr. Di Francis a saint! Luisa said:
I was feeling very afflicted, not only because of the privations of my sweet Jesus, but also because I had received the unexpected news of the death of Reverend Father Di Francia. He was the only one left to me, to whom I could open my poor soul. How well he could understand me—it was to a saint that I would entrust myself, who had very much comprehended all the value of what Jesus had told me about the Divine Will. He had so much interest in it that, with insistence, he had taken all the writings with himself in order to publish them. So, I was thinking to myself: ‘After Jesus allowed that he would take the writings with himself, to my great sacrifice, because I did not want it, and only because he was a saint I had to surrender… And now, Jesus has taken him to Heaven.’198
Luisa wrote those words the very day of Fr. Di Francia’s death. Although in many other points in Luisa’s volumes (and especially in her letters), many individual people are spoken of, I do not know of any other non-canonized person being referred to in these writings as a “saint.”199 And here—perhaps the only time she does so refer—it was indeed a reference to someone who wound up being canonized 77 years later.
In a similar vein, Luisa also had her own insight into Padre Pio’s holiness. While we could not go so far as to say this is prophetic, it is nevertheless significant. As was settled in the section on the life of Luisa, we know that St. Padre Pio himself spoke highly of her. But even if one insists upon unreasonably doubting that, one cannot doubt that Luisa thought highly of Padre Pio. This speaks volumes because they both lived during the same time, and unlike ourselves who have the benefit of hindsight and his canonization, Luisa could tell on her own that he was a holy man whom one should seek out for advice, although he was seen by many as controversial and had even been censured by the Church for some time, which made many question the authenticity of his holiness. In a letter to a friend of hers who knew Padre Pio, Luisa wrote:
Dearest son in the Divine Volition, since you are near holy Padre Pio, talk to him about our things, that he may talk about them with the Lord; and if the Lord wants, let him tell you something. Entrust me to his prayers, for I need them very much. Kiss his hands for me…
The Law of Divorce (Hague Convention of 1902)
In a series of messages which span the entirety of the year 1902, Jesus repeatedly laments to Luisa about a “law of divorce” that was being promoted at the time. I know of no other specific political-cultural issue that Jesus is more displeased with in Luisa’s writings than this one.
And this degree of focus is prophetic (even aside from the specifics which will presently be discussed), for it is difficult to think of a single thing (except perhaps abortion) that has wrought more havoc upon society than divorce. This tragedy of divorce has become such a diabolical epidemic that, as of this writing (in the United States, at least), a horrendous threshold has just been crossed: most children are growing up today without a married mother and father. And now, divorce is even making its way into the Church, with many priests, theologians, bishops, and even cardinals openly advocating for a heretical interpretation of Amoris Laetitia that essentially allows for divorce.
In hindsight, we can easily see the Divine Wisdom in Jesus directing so much focus on this issue in 1902; but at that time, it would have no doubt seemed strange as divorce was extremely rare, and spoken of or advocated for as equally rarely. Let us now turn to look at some excerpts from some messages where Jesus speaks to Luisa about the issue.
January 11th, 1902:
He transported me outside of myself, and I found myself in the midst of many people who were saying: “If this law is confirmed, poor woman, everything will turn out bad for her.” All were anxiously waiting to hear the pros and the cons, and in another separate place many people could be seen who were discussing among themselves. One of them took the floor and reduced everyone to silence; then, after much struggling, he went out the door and said: “Yes indeed, in favor of the woman.” On hearing this, all those who were outside made feast, and those who were inside remained all confounded, so much so, that they did not have the courage even to go out. I believe that it is the law of divorce that they are talking about, and I understood that they did not confirm it.
January 12th, 1902:
My daughter, see now where the blindness of men has reached—to the point of wanting to make laws which are iniquitous and go against themselves and their own social welfare. My daughter, this is why I am calling you to sufferings again—so that, as you offer yourself with Me to Divine Justice, those who must fight this law of divorce may obtain light and efficacious grace in order to be victorious. My daughter, I tolerate that they make wars and revolutions, and that the blood of the new martyrs inundate the world—this is an honor for Me and for my Church; but this brutal law is an affront to my Church, and it is abominable and intolerable to Me.” Now, while He was saying this, I saw a man who was fighting against this law—tired and exhausted in his strengths, in act of wanting to withdraw from the enterprise. So, together with the Lord, we encouraged Him, and he answered: “I see myself fighting almost alone, and unable to obtain the intent.” And I said to him: ‘Courage, for contradictions are as many pearls which the Lord will use to adorn you in Heaven.’ And he took heart and continued the enterprise. After this, I saw someone else, all weary and worried, not knowing what to decide, and someone saying to him: “Do you know what you should do? Quit—get out of Rome.” And he: “No, I cannot, this is the word given to my father; I will lay down my life, but as for quitting—never”.
February 3rd, 1902:
I, seeing the evils of society raging more, said to Him: ‘My sweet Good, tell me, what will happen with this divorce that they talk about? Will they come to make this evil law, or not? … I offer You my life to suffer any pain in order to obtain that they do not come to this. And so that my offering may not be rejected in any way, I unite it to your sacrifice in order to obtain the deed of grace with certainty.’ While I was saying this, it seemed that the Lord was using my offering to present it to Divine Justice … It seems that, at any cost, men want to confirm at least a few articles of this law, since they are unable to confirm it completely as they want and please.
February 9th, 1902:
[Luisa speaking:] I want You to operate a prodigy with your omnipotence—that the will of creatures be chained so that they may not be able to confirm this law [of divorce].’ The Lord seemed to accept my proposal, telling me: “ … You want Me to operate a prodigy so that this divorce may not be confirmed, otherwise this may not happen. Well then, for love of you, I will make this prodigy, and this will be the most refulgent star that will shine on your crown—that is, having prevented my Justice, through your sufferings, after the so many wicked deeds they commit, from permitting also this evil in these sad times, which they themselves have wanted…”
February 24th, 1902:
My daughter, there are certain offenses which surpass by far the very offenses I suffered in my Passion. ..‘Lord, what about this law of divorce that they talk about—is it certain that they will not confirm it?’ And He: “For now it is certain. As for five, ten or twenty years from now, if I suspend your state of victim or call you to Heaven, they may be able to do it; but the prodigy of chaining their will and of confounding them I have done for now. If you knew the rage of the demons and of those who wanted this law, who were certain to obtain it—it is so great, that if they could, they would destroy any authority and would make a slaughter everywhere. So, in order to mitigate this rage and to prevent these slaughters in part, do you want to expose yourself to their fury a little bit?” And I: ‘Yes, as long as You come with me.’ So we went to a place in which there were demons and people who seemed to be furious, enraged, mad. As soon as they saw me, they ran over me like many wolfs, and some would beat me, some would tear my flesh; they would have wanted to destroy me, but did not have the power to do it. As for me, however, though I suffered very much, I did not fear them, because I had Jesus with me.
December 8th, 1902:
… I saw a priest clothed in white together with Our Lord; it seemed to me that he was the Pope, and the confessor was with him. They were praying Him to make me suffer so as to prevent the formation of this law of divorce, but Jesus would not pay attention to them. So, the confessor, heedless of the fact that he was not being given audience, with extraordinary impetus, such that it seemed it was not him, took Jesus Christ in his arms and, by force, cast Him inside of me, saying: “You will remain crucified within her, crucifying her, but this law of divorce we do not want.” Jesus remained as though bound inside of me, crucified by such command, and I felt, bitterly, the pains of the cross. Then He said: “Daughter, it is the Church that wants it, and her authority, united to the power of prayer, binds Me.”
From December 18th, 1902:
My daughter, come again to suffer with Me in order to conquer the obstinacy of those who want divorce. Let us try once more. You will always be ready to suffer what I want, won’t you? Do you give Me your consent?” And I: ‘Yes, Lord, do whatever You want.’ As soon as I said yes, blessed Jesus laid Himself within me as crucified, and since my nature was smaller than His, He stretched me so much as to make me reach His very person. Then He poured—very little, yes, but so very bitter and full of sufferings, that not only did I feel the nails at the places of the crucifixion, but I felt my whole body as transfixed by many nails, in such a way that I felt all of myself being crushed. He left me in that position for a little while, and I found myself in the midst of demons who, on seeing me suffer like that, said: “In the end this damn one is going to win again, so that we don’t make the law of divorce. Curse your existence—you try to harm us and to disperse our businesses by ruining our many toils, rendering them vain. But we’ll make you pay for this—we will move bishops, priests and people against you, so that next time we’ll make you drop this whim of accepting sufferings”…
In this profound series of messages, a few key points arise: First, that there was a group of people trying to pass a law permitting divorce; second, that Luisa interceded with Jesus, accepting tremendous sufferings, and prevented their success; third, that this success would (or, as Luisa was then told, might) be only temporary (i.e. no longer in effect after Jesus suspended Luisa’s state of victim or called her to Heaven).
Now this is, in fact, exactly what happened. In 1902, the Hague Divorce Convention was held. (Officially, it was the “Convention on the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations.” Note that The Hague is the city seat of government of the Netherlands and has long been recognized to be the de facto place of international deliberations. International Law conventions began there in 1893, and since then many more have been held.)
If this convention was successful in its original intent to legalize divorce, it would have proven of immense historical importance. Thanks to Luisa’s intercession, however, it is now nothing but a small footnote in history books. Although the prophetic nature of Jesus’ words to Luisa here is rather clear from a broad view of history, the foreknowledge becomes especially obvious upon examining the February 24, 1902 message, wherein Jesus assured Luisa it was certain that, for now, the law of divorce would not pass. But the agreed articles of the Convention, in which it was made clear that indeed divorce was not being legalized, were not signed until June 12, 1902 (almost four months later). And there was no way for anyone to know, before that point, what the outcome would be.
But the demons made good on their blasphemous rant (italicized in the last quote above). The full legalization of divorce and its concomitant entrance into the mainstream, though delayed for decades, has nevertheless now come to fruition. It is unlikely that a nuclear war would have wreaked the level of havoc on society that divorce has managed to cause.
Particularly noteworthy is Jesus’ insistence to Luisa that this is a diabolical affront to His Church (the Catholic Church), which, since the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, has always distinguished itself as the bulwark against divorce; and Western Society largely followed suit by making it extremely difficult if not downright outlawing it.
The Smithsonian Magazine gives some worthwhile insights into the evolution of divorce:
Multiple studies have shown that women bear the brunt of the social and economic burdens that come with divorce. The quickest route to poverty is to become a single mother. This is awful enough, but what I find so galling is that the right to divorce was meant to be a cornerstone of liberty for women. … The most celebrated divorce case in history remains that of Henry VIII versus Pope Clement VII. The battle began in 1527, when Henry tried to force the pope into annulling his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to provide him with a male heir. Determined to make the younger and prettier Anne Boleyn his wife, Henry finally broke with Rome in 1533 and declared himself the head of a new church, the Church of England … Henry’s marriage to Anne led to precisely one divorce—in 1552. The term was not even used again until 1670. … When a divorce law was finally enacted in 1857, and the “floodgates” were opened, the number of divorces in English history stood at a mere 324.Only four of the 324 cases were brought by women.200
As we can see here, despite the importance of divorce in the formation of Protestantism, it was nevertheless scarcely a phenomenon in Europe before the 1900s. Legalizing it and promulgating it were among the devil’s top priorities, and this newly formed Hague conference on International Law was his perfect opportunity. Not only did he fail in his intent at that time, but he continued to fail for decades—as it was not until the 1970s (after Luisa was taken to Heaven—i.e., no longer a victim soul) that divorce became commonly legalized and practiced throughout the western world.
Earthquakes
On April 17th, 1906, Luisa was shown great chastisements; specifically, earthquakes in three different cities. We read:
This morning I had a bad time; I was outside of myself and I could see nothing but fire. It seemed that the earth would open and threaten to swallow cities, mountains and men. It seemed that the Lord would want to destroy the earth, but in a special way three different places, distant from one another, and some of them also in Italy. They seemed to be three mouths of volcanoes—some were sending out fire which flooded the cities, and in some places the earth was opening and horrible quakes would occur. I could not understand very well whether these things were happening or will have to happen. How many ruins! Yet, the cause of this is only sin, and man does not want to surrender; it seems that man has placed himself against God, and God will arm the elements against man—water, fire, wind and many other things, which will cause many upon many to die.201
The very next day, the great san Francisco earthquake struck. According to the USGS, this “ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time,” and it remains the deadliest earthquake in American history. 3,000 people were killed and 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed.
Four months later, the 1906 Valparaíso Earthquake occurred in Chile which killed even more people than the San Francisco quake.
Two years later, the great 1908 Messina Earthquake wreaked havoc in Sicily (Italy). It remains the worst and deadliest earthquake in European history. At least 80,000 people were killed (and perhaps up to 200,000), and the city of Messina (as well as Reggio Calabria) was destroyed. Luisa was also shown this earthquake the morning before it happened. Below is the entirety of the entry from the morning of the earthquake (note that Corato is about 200 miles from Messina, and reports indicate that the tremors were felt even 300 miles away):
Finding myself in my usual state, I felt as if the earth were shaking and wanted to slip away from beneath us. I was concerned, and I said to myself: ‘Lord, Lord, what is this?’ And He, in my interior: “Earthquakes.” And He kept silent.
I almost paid no attention to Him, and within myself I continued my usual interior things when, all of a sudden, about five hours after that word had been spoken to me, I felt the earthquake sensibly. As soon as I felt it cease, I found myself outside of myself. Almost confused, I could see harrowing things, but this sight was immediately removed from me, and I found myself inside a church. A young man clothed in white came from the altar—I believe He was Our Lord, but I cannot tell with certainty—and drawing near me, with an imposing look He told me: “Come”.
I shrugged my shoulders, without getting up, and calculating within me that at that hour He was scourging and destroying, I said: ‘Lord, You want to take me now?!’, almost refusing His invitation. And the young man threw Himself into my arms, and in my interior I heard Him say: “Come, o daughter, that I may end it with the world; I will destroy a great part of it, with earthquakes, with waters and with wars.”202
Luisa received her messages from Jesus in the middle of the night, between midnight and 1am, whereas this earthquake struck at 5:20am. Furthermore, the priest would come in to say Mass in her room early in the morning; it is not tenable that she scribbled down this passage (she was a slow writer) in the short time between her feeling the earthquake and the priest coming to say Mass. Besides, as is made clear, the extreme extent of this earthquake is evident in the tone of this message, whereas Luisa would have had no earthly means of grasping any hint of its extent for many hours, if not days, after its occurrence.203 For all she would have physically felt 200 miles away were relatively faint trembles which, for all she knew, could have just been a small (but nearby) earthquake.
Socialism and The Italian People’s Party
My daughter, the socialists have plotted among themselves to strike the Church. This they have done publicly in France, and in Italy in a more hidden way; and my Justice is looking for voids so as to lay hand to chastisements.204
While shrewd observers today are well aware of the evil motives lurking behind socialism and its dark history, this degree of understanding was rare in 1903, when Jesus spoke these words to Luisa. At that point, the Italian Socialist Party was only 11 years old, and it would be prophetic on its own right for one to recognize, at that time in its relative infancy, that its plan was to strike the Church.
Furthermore, it will soon become clear that, sadly, this particular nefarious plot by the socialists, which Jesus informed Luisa about in this message, was indeed eventually victorious. But, as with many tragedies, it began long ago with noble intentions.
Formed by the Servant of God Fr. Luigi Sturzo, the Italian People’s Party was inspired by the teachings of Pope Leo XIII’s famous encyclical, Rerum Novarum, and sought to put it into concrete political action. Unfortunately, and although noble in intention, the Italian People’s Party only paved the way for many in it to turn to support the Socialist Fascism205 of Mussolini and thus contribute to the persecution of the Church.
In fact, if the party did not exist, the element against which one would want to fight would be missing. But how many from this party, which in appearance is said to be catholic, are true wolves covered with the mantle of lambs, and will give many sorrows to my Church. Many believe that with this party religion will be defended; but it will be the complete opposite, and the enemies will use it to rail more against Her.206
Now, it is more than safe to say that Fr. Luigi Sturzo, who we recall is now a Servant of God, and who was leader of the party for some time, is definitely not among those Jesus is referring to as wolves in sheep’s clothing. In fact, the external “absurdity” of such a statement merely proves the prophetic value of the same, for no reasonable Catholic commentator at the time would have spoken in the manner Jesus here does about this party. And yet, history’s development proved the words of Jesus correct. The demise of the party—essentially a direct action of the Vatican—came a mere two years after Jesus said these words to Luisa. In its entry on Fr. Luigi, the New Catholic Encyclopedia shares some details about the Italian People’s Party:
By 1919 [Fr Sturzo] was in the national limelight as the moving spirit behind the Partito Popolare, forerunner of the Christian Democratic party. This was his master stroke in politics, for it gave Italy a democratic mass party of Catholic orientation. Moreover, by refusing to make religion a divisive factor in politics, the Popular Party paved the way for a normal development of political life between the extremes of clericalism and anticlericalism. Unfortunately, fascism proved too strong for it, for reasons which Sturzo treats in Italy and Fascism (New York 1927). Historians, awaiting archival evidence, attribute Sturzo’s resignation from party leadership in 1923 to pressure from the Vatican. By 1926, when the party was dissolved by royal decree, Sturzo had been living in exile for two years. His prodigious effort to liberate democratic forces among the Catholics of Italy seemed to have come to nought, but he had laid the groundwork for the eventual triumph of Christian Democracy.
Also two years later, in a passage of similar contents in Luisa’s diary, we read:
This morning my always lovable Jesus transported me outside of myself, to a place in which one could see flags being waved, and parades in which all classes of people were participating, including priests. And Jesus, as though offended by all this, wanted to clutch the creatures in His hand in order to crush them; and I, taking His hand in mine, clasped Him to myself, saying to Him: ‘My Jesus, what are You doing? After all, they don’t seem to be doing evil things, but rather, good things. It seems that the Church is uniting with your enemies of before, and these no longer show that aversion to dealing with people from the Church; on the contrary, they call them to bless the flags. Is this not a good sign? And You, instead of being pleased with it, seem to get offended.’ And Jesus, sighing and highly afflicted, told me: “My daughter, how you deceive yourself. This is the blackest point of the present society, and their union means that they all have one color. The enemies are no longer afraid and horrified to approach people from the Church, because since the true fount of virtue and of religion is not in them—on the contrary, some of them celebrate the Divine Sacrifice without believing in my existence; for others, if they believe at all, it is a faith without works, and their life is a chain of enormous sacrileges—so, what good can they do if they don’t have it within themselves? How can they call others to a conduct of a true Christian by making known what great evil sin is, if the life of grace is missing in them? With all the unions that they form, there are no more men who fulfill the precept, therefore it is not the union of the triumph of religion—it is the triumph of their party; and masking themselves with it, they try to cover the evil they are plotting. It is true revolution that is hidden under these masks, and I remain always the God offended, both by the evil, who pretend a shade of piety in order to strengthen their party and therefore do graver evil, and by people from the Church, who, having a false piety themselves, are no longer good for drawing the peoples to follow Me; on the contrary, it is the peoples that carry them away. Can there be a time sadder than this? Pretense is the ugliest sin, and the one that most wounds my Heart. Therefore, pray and repair.”207
As of this writing, the Italian People’s Party has undergone many transformations and successions, but today (as it ultimately has morphed into the Democratic Party of Italy) is nothing but another force for the socialist destruction of society. Thus Jesus’ words to Luisa are again proven prophetic.
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Before leaving aside this “prophecies fulfilled” section, I wish to remind my readers of what was said in this book’s introductory notes: I am just one lowly follower of Luisa’s, and I by no means consider myself an expert. What I have presented here is little more than those fulfilled prophecies which I happen to recall from my own reading of her writings. I am sure that many more exist in her volumes, and I encourage you to discover them for yourself!
1)
10) The Gift Itself

If you have read the preceding chapters, then at this point it has become clear that the revelations Jesus gave to Luisa are as authentic and valid as they come, and truly call for a wholehearted response. So what is this unprecedented, enormous, astounding “Gift” of which they speak?
What It Is
Now that, at long last, I am ready to tell you openly and without veil just what this Gift is, I must ensure I do so very carefully, just as I would only with the greatest caution hand to another person a spectacular and most precious diamond.
And so, we ask: what exactly is this Gift?
The Gift of Living in the Divine Will is the best and broadest name for this new sanctity, this “New and Divine Holiness” spoken of by Pope St. John Paul II. But it has many other names. Among them are: the continuous participation in the Trinity’s one eternal operation; the full actualization of the soul’s powers; the sharing in God’s prime motion; the Divine and Eternal Mode of holiness; the greatest sanctity; and the Real Life of Jesus in the soul.
But what exactly does this mean? What is the gift? I shall answer this question by posing three questions, followed by an explanation of the proper responses to them in light of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. I encourage you to pause after reading each question and ponder how to truly answer it in the best, most complete, possible way.
First: What four humans are unlike all others? I do not mean merely by matter of degree; e.g. who is mentioned most in Scripture, or who was the wisest Doctor, or greatest Father, or noblest Patriarch. What I mean is, what four people were so radically above all others that it is impossible to compare them to anyone else, just as it is impossible to compare a grain of sand to a mountain? There is only one way to answer such a question: Adam, Eve, Jesus, and Mary. It is these four and these four alone who were created208 in perfection, with sin playing no part whatsoever in them; their lives were products of the Divine Will as daylight is a product of the sun.209 There was not the slightest impediment between the Will of God and their being, and therefore, their acts, which proceed from being. The Gift of Living in the Divine Will then, open for the asking since Luisa’s time to any soul in a state of grace, is that same state of sanctity as that which these four possessed (albeit with important distinctions).
Now, the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly the quintessence of Living in the Divine Will and our model for it. Her dignity far surpasses that of Adam and Eve, and, furthermore, she remains a creature unlike her Divine Son. Through Our Lady, God demonstrates just what marvels of sanctity He is capable of working in a created human being. In Luisa’s revelations we learn that it is not God’s Will that only Mary remain in such a lofty state of sanctity, merely for us to gaze upon from a nearly infinitely inferior position. On the contrary, it is His Will that we, too, rise up to her level, so that it can even be said of us, as it has long been rightly said of her, that one of our acts can give God more glory and surpass in merit all the acts of all other saints combined.210
It is important to note that no creature can ever come close to Mary in love and in sacrifice, nor can any other creature possibly receive the singular privileges that God has bestowed upon her—privileges which raise her up to a height of truly inaccessible glory—especially the privilege of being the Sovereign Queen of all Creation, and above all, the Mother of God. For all eternity these attributes shall be hers and hers alone, and all creatures without exception will bow down before her. Nevertheless, through the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, our sanctity becomes like her own and glorifies God in a similar way; this is what Jesus is inviting us to in Luisa’s revelations—not that we become the same as Our Lady or surpass her in any way (for what a blasphemy it would be to even think this!).
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Second: what is the greatest thing that has ever happened? Such a broad and fundamental question will likely confound any Christian, for there is no shortage of great things from which to choose! But in reality, the answer is simple and there is no close second: The Incarnation. In the Incarnation, the infinite entered into the finite and in so doing exalted it to the Divine Realm. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (quoting Athanasius and Aquinas, respectively):
’For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.’ [and] ‘The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.’211
And indescribably great as the Incarnation was:
The Father of Mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother … 212
By pronouncing her ‘fiat’ at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish.213
How simple! These clear teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church set both the framework and the foundation for understanding Mary’s Fiat in view of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. And the understanding is this: God does not want only one “Fiat” in history to be so great and so pleasing to Him; rather, He wants all the acts of His creatures to be reflections of that perfect and quintessential Fiat of His beloved handmaid, so that, as her “Fiat” preceded the very Incarnation itself, so our “Fiats” may, as it were, cause as many incarnations as acts we undertake. If ordinary virtuous acts build up treasures of mansions and mountains in Heaven, then these acts in the Divine Will build up treasures of cities and continents.
But even that is not enough. Now that God has willed to bestow this Gift upon whoever desires it, He also calls us to spiritually “re-do” all the acts of creation—past, present, and future—in the Divine Will, to be as they would have been were the Fall to never have happened, and as He Himself did throughout His earthly life. For whatever He does as the Head, so must we follow as His body. Jesus says to Luisa,
There is nothing—no love, greatness or power—that can compare to My conception … the immensity of My Will, enclosing all souls of the past, present and future, conceived … the lives of all souls. And as My life developed, so did all lives develop within Me.214
The point is not to pretend that we can change the past; objective acts of the past cannot be changed215 for “that which has happened” to become “that which has not happened” is simply a contradiction, like a four-sided triangle.216 However, what God is in fact calling us to do with this Gift is to repair the relation between the acts of the past and eternity, to ensure that the present has the proper relation to eternity, and to prepare the future to have the proper relation to eternity, mystically taking it into ourselves. We do this by the intention with which we undertake all the ordinary acts which form our days. In this way, Living in the Divine Will can be seen as the full realization of the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. We also re-do the acts of creation through special prayers given to Luisa; namely, the “Rounds of Creation” and the “Hours of the Passion,” both of which will be discussed later.
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Third: How must “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” be fulfilled, if it is to be fulfilled in total? For Jesus Himself prayed this prayer, and it is impossible that supplication of the Son of God not be granted. Many unfortunately assume this third petition given by Our Lord in the prayer He taught us (and which we recite at the holiest part of every Mass) merely describes an ideal at which human history should aim, as opposed to offering a request that can actually be answered. This understanding, however, doubts the power and mercy of God, Who, according to Luisa’s revelations, will in fact ensure that (within the realm of time) His Will shall reign on earth as it does in Heaven. This reign is referred to as the “Third Fiat” of Sanctification (third to Creation and Redemption). It is not a subtle rewording of a modified millenarian or Joachimist heresy217 which supposes a coming new Public Revelation, or a passing of the Age of the Church, or even a literal reign of the physical Jesus Christ on earth before His final coming. Rather, this coming age of which Jesus speaks to Luisa entails a time when, instead of this Gift only being enjoyed by a few people, it is lived universally; and just as the consequences of sin are seen in the devastation of the physical world, so, too, will be seen in the physical world the consequences of this greatest grace being lived by all. This Reign of the Divine Will on earth is the best and fullest understanding of what is also referred to in other mystical revelations as the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,”218 the “Glorious Eucharistic Reign of Peace,” or the “Era of Peace.” Luisa’s revelations give no dates, but they do indicate that this prophesied time is to come soon. Just how soon largely depends upon our response.
The purpose of the times we are now living in is to enable certain souls to receive this Gift as individuals in preparation for the time when the entire world will receive it. Consider the decades of wonder and anticipation which preceded the Fiat of Redemption that was fully consummated at the Last Supper;219 when word spread slowly but surely regarding the amazing things taking place, when:
…fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be?’ For the hand of the Lord was with him.220
When Simeon and Anna prophesied in the temple, when Herod knew the Savior was upon us and instituted a massacre in his demonically inspired, vain attempt to subvert the Will of God (is that not what is happening today with abortion?), and when unprecedented and unfathomable wisdom poured forth from the mouth of a 12-year-old boy in the Temple, and all were amazed. Those days are analogous to current times.
The total fulfillment of this Third Petition of the Our Father consists in this: living the very life of the Blessed in Heaven as far as holiness is concerned, while still retaining that which is intrinsic to life on earth—the absence of the Beatific Vision, the continued presence of the Veil, the ability to suffer, the need for the supernatural virtues of Faith and Hope, etc.221
Jesus told Luisa:
My daughter, the first Fiat was pronounced in creation with no intervention of a human creature. The second Fiat was pronounced in Redemption […] Now, for the fulfillment of both, I want to pronounce the third Fiat […] This third Fiat will bring to completion the glory and the honor of the Fiat of Creation, and will be the confirmation and development of all the fruits of the Fiat of Redemption. These three Fiats will be the Most Holy Trinity’s overshadowing of man on earth, and I will obtain My Fiat Voluntas Tua on earth as it is in heaven. These three Fiats will be inseparable, with each one constituting the life of the other.222
Dr. Thomas Petrisko elaborates on this, saying:
Since Christ’s ascension, the mystical body of Christ has prayed for the coming of the Kingdom of the Father, “on earth as it is in heaven.” However, over the centuries some of the meaning of this divine petition to the First person of the most Holy Trinity has become somewhat removed. Contemporary theologians note that Christians say the words of the Our Father without ever contemplating what they are asking for. Likewise, few think about God’s Kingdom truly coming to exist in some greater form on earth. But since the 19th century, the chosen ones of God, His prophets and visionaries, have said that there is greater meaning in this prayer than we may think and that we need to reexamine it more clearly to understand God’s plans. At Fatima, Mary promised that God would bring a new era into the world. It is to be an era that honors God and gives Him the Glory He deserves. Mary says it is to be an era of peace. Most of all, experts who have studied Mary’s words say it is to be an era that will more closely resemble the Father’s “Kingdom on earth” than any time since the beginning—one that fulfills to a greater degree the words of the Our Father prayer—and one that finally brings to fulfillment an old prophecy, long held to be found in Judeo-Christian Scripture and Tradition…
Church historians tell us that the Judeo-Christian faith functionally begins in prophecy and history. The Fathers of the Church understood that Christianity and its root, Judaism, were radically different from other religions. Prior to Judaism, religions of the world were without historical perspective. But beginning with Abraham, promises of future events were prophesied and then fulfilled in history. From Sarai’s conception to the coming of Moses, the liberator, God shared His foreknowledge of the future with His chosen people, and then proved His words were true through the unfolding of events. With the coming of the prophesied Messiah, the continuation of religion based on the hope found in fulfilled prophecy is seen again and becomes the foundation of the world’s largest religion. Christianity, like Judaism, took on the form of a historic religion, as one prophesied event after another was fulfilled … 223
If, at this point, you find yourself worried about the orthodoxy of such massive claims, I fully understand. Feel free to skip to the “Answers to Objections” chapter of this book. For now, it shall suffice to say that these assertions regarding the Divine Will can indeed be found elsewhere in good solid, orthodox Catholic spirituality, and for the next chapter we will turn our attention to examining these other sources and consider where else it has been spoken of a similar way. In so doing, we will be able to see clearly that Jesus’ choice to reveal this Gift to Luisa was not some sudden proclamation of a message in an unprepared environment—like a foolish boy proposing to a girl he just met, but rather, was something perfectly called for and prepared for in how the Holy Spirit had long been guiding the Church.
Against the Most Perverse Inclination of Fallen Human Psychology
We must now address what might be the most perverse inclination of our fallen human psychology, for it is one which often rears its head when people learn of this great degree of holiness attainable with the relative ease of Living in the Divine Will. And the inclination is this: horror at the mere suggestion that there is a better way. Hatred of good news.
This perversion is seen everywhere, and it is in some ways related to the economic fallacy of the sunk cost, wherein one erroneously supposes that an expense already incurred should prevent financially shrewd decisions moving forward, which entail recognizing that incurring this expense was ill-advised.224 More generally, the thought process that goes along with this perversion usually runs something like this:
Oh, no. That can’t be. I’ve been doing it another way for so long now; and this other way I’ve been doing it is much harder than this new way I am now learning about, and my old way takes much longer. If this new way is valid, then I’m going to feel so horrible about the fact that I’ve been doing it another way for so long… I hate feeling horrible, so I’m going to assume this new way cannot be valid, in order that I may remain feeling good about myself and how I’ve been hitherto going about things.
It is my hope that just this presentation of the inclination suffices in exposing its nature and revealing its absurdity. Now, I confess I’ve fallen into this perversion myself; even in trivial matters. I recall driving a certain route for some time in my commute to work, only for it to dawn on me one day, after years, that perhaps there was a better way. Foolishly, I allowed this realization to cause in me regret instead of excitement! For I succumbed to the usual human perversity of lamenting the past instead of and in contradiction to being open to the future. For indeed, the primary fallacy in the Hatred of Good News Perversion is that it concerns itself with the past instead of the present. Luddites respond in accord with this perversion to new technologies for no other reason than they want everyone to suffer from what they suffered from. And one often hears “experienced” members of religious orders likewise despising any loosening of any rules for the same reason.
It is precisely because of this perversion that many oppose the Little Way of St. Thérèse. Believe it or not, this great Doctor of the Church is still murmured against in many schools of thought in the Catholic theological world, seeing her Little Way as a mark on the ascetical tradition of Catholic spirituality.
And it is also precisely because of this perversion that many oppose the Divine Will revelations given to Luisa. They should be “overcome with joy,” as we pray in the Mass, at being offered so great an invitation (an invitation which in no way contradicts anything in Catholic Sacred Tradition, but rather serves as a beautiful crown for the same, as will become evident in the next section). Instead, they are overcome with anger that God dare to offer so great a Gift; supposing, illogically, that it somehow constitutes an affront to the saints of earlier ages, much like the laborers in the vineyard rebelled against the owner for generously rewarding the other laborers who arrived close to the end of the day (Cf. Matthew 20).
I will not spend much more time in these pages addressing this perversion. Those who cling to it need prayer more than argumentation. But we also must zealously adhere to the extreme importance of always staying close to our Catholic Tradition, and never accepting anything in contradiction to it, or which amounts to an artificial, inorganic development of it. So considering the Gift in more detail, we should now turn to examine the foreshadowing of this Gift throughout history—both Salvation History and Church History—so we can see clearly that it truly is the Crown of what God has given us thus far.
1)
11) The Gift Foreshadowed

“Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”—Amos 3:7
The Gift of Living in the Divine Will did not pop into existence in a spiritual vacuum within the development of Catholic Tradition. On the contrary, one can see how perfectly it fits, and how this moment of Church History was the long awaited for time for God to reveal it. It is indeed the Crown and Completion of all Sanctity, and one can easily see, building over the centuries like the crescendo of a classical masterpiece, the preparations for this Coronation of All Creation.
But Jesus does certainly tell Luisa that He has chosen her as the one to whom this Gift has its first full revelation. For example, He once said to her, “Go through as many books as you want, and you will see that in none of them will you find what I have told you about my Will.”225 At the age of 24, in the year 1889, Luisa received the Gift for the first time and, ten years later, was commanded under holy obedience to write down the revelations she received from Jesus. Therefore, it would not be consistent for anyone to hold Luisa’s revelations as true on the one hand, and, on the other, believe that this Gift had been either fully received or had the essence of it fully revealed before that point. 226
Therefore, what is being proposed here is not that the Gift Itself in all its fullness and substance was already clearly revealed in Scripture, or in the Church Fathers, or in Sacred Tradition; only that it was alluded to and that the way was prepared. Another example of this distinction can be seen in the case of the Dogma of the Holy Trinity: nowhere was it explicitly taught in the Old Testament. The Catechism makes this clear, saying “…[God’s] inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.”227 And yet, when one knows of this dogma, one can clearly see hints of it contained in Divine Revelation earlier. One can even see how there was a certain need for the Dogma of the Trinity in order to understand the full meaning of the Divine Revelation of the Old Testament; in, for example, the use of first-person plural pronouns in the creation account of Genesis (“let us make man in our own image”228 ), the distinction between “God” and the “Spirit of God” in the very first and second lines of Genesis, respectively,229 the otherwise incomprehensible wording of Psalm 110 (“the Lord said to my Lord”), and the fascinating vision of Daniel (“… with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him…”),230 and in other cases as well.
That being said, foreshadowings of the Gift can be found even more clearly in the forthcoming sections. So, we now consider what these references are in the following sources. Before going through each in detail, however, a general observation is necessary.
The Four Great Invitations
In the preceding section, we spoke of the foreshadowings of the Gift “building over the centuries like the crescendo of a classical masterpiece.” This crescendo can be most clearly seen in four paradigms that constitute God’s Four Great Invitations that He offers in preparing the way for the Universal Reign of the Divine Will.
Each of these paradigms will be discussed in detail within forthcoming sections, but we should now take a broad look at the astonishing thing happening in the Catholic world today; for only with this broad look can we see that these are not merely separate apostolates or movements, but are rather four prongs of the same Divine Attack to win back the world for God and Restore All Things in Christ.
These four prongs, invitations, or paradigms are:
* Marian Consecration popularized by St. Louis de Montfort and many other writers after him
* The new teachings on the unification of the human and Divine Wills found in the French spirituality of the 17th and 18th centuries that found their pinnacle in the teachings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
* The teachings on Mystical (or Spiritual) Marriage in the Doctors of the Church
* The clear teachings on human Divinization (or Deification) found in virtually all the Fathers of the Church, which is now at long last making a comeback in Catholic spirituality and theology
Providentially, in each of these four paradigms, we find in their nature a “pointing;” that is, an indication that they themselves are directed to some result beyond themselves. For “Divinization” and “Deification” are words that imply a process (“-tion”) which calls for some culmination. Mystical marriage, or spiritual marriage, as a marriage indeed, is ordered towards the generation of children, thus it calls for a fruitfulness beyond itself. Marian consecration, if it is to reach its fulfillment, requires a likeness—a true similarity in the most important way—between the one being consecrated and the one to whom consecration is directed. And the unification of wills always calls for, just as any unification does, not just correspondence but also a total merging of the two unified things, as the water dropped into the chalice at the Mass becomes inseparable from the wine therein.
So, these four great paradigms, while each deserves enormous exaltation on its own right, are nevertheless essentially invitations. They are invitations to Live in the Divine Will.
Unification of Wills
As will become clear when reading the details of each listed spiritual writer in the next section, a growing understanding in Catholic theology developed throughout the centuries (beginning especially around the 11th) that the true essence, beginning, and end of the spiritual life revolved entirely around the will: specifically, the total unreserved handing over of the human will to the Divine Will. The more this fact was understood, the more forcefully the great spiritual writers promulgated the teaching and the more carefully they centralized their writings around it.
But let us briefly turn to consider a related heresy. Recall that God only allows any evil of any form to transpire in order to bring a greater good out of it. This is true with heresies as well; He allows them so that Catholics may, in understanding the flaws thereof, better refine, understand, and live by the true teachings that become aped by the heresies.
Quietism, a heresy which became popular at about the same time and place that witnessed the explosion of beautiful, profound, and orthodox teaching on the Divine and human wills, taught:
…radical passivity and [the] doctrine of “pure love”. The spiritual teaching of Quietism suggested that the believer need not avail himself of devotional practices, of religious and domestic duties, and of the Church’s sacramental economy: all that truly mattered was a will lovingly passive to God.231
From this heresy’s formal condemnation in the year 1687 by Pope Innocent XI, the teaching on the Divine Will in the great French spiritual-theological writings of the following century were guarded from Quietism and, particularly in the writings of Caussade (who died in 1751 and thus knew well—and abided by—the 1687 condemnation), we see an exposition of this teaching given so beautifully that one is tempted to wonder if Caussade himself was given a prophetic glimpse of Luisa’s revelations in advance. But even Caussade’s teachings are perhaps exceeded in radicality by those of the “Greatest Saint of Modern Times,” that is, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church.
For if one truly understands the spiritual teachings contained in these writers, then one will have no problem whatsoever believing Jesus’ revelations to Luisa and opening up one’s self to the Gift contained therein.
In his own introduction to Caussade’s masterpiece, Abandonment to Divine Providence, Dom Arnold, OSB, writes:
The “Abandonment to Divine Providence” of Fr. de Caussade is as far removed from the false inactivity of the Quietists, as true Christian resignation is distinct from the fatalism of Mohammedans. It is a trusting, childlike, peaceful abandonment to the guidance of grace, and of the Holy Spirit: an unquestioning and undoubting submission to the holy will of God in all things that may befall us, be they due to the action of man, or to the direct permission of God. To Fr. de Caussade, abandonment to God, the “Ita Pater” of our Divine Lord, the “Fiat” of our Blessed Lady, is the shortest, surest, and easiest way to holiness and peace.232
Divinization
Dr. Scott Hahn, in his foreword to the book Called to be the Children of God: The Catholic Theology of Human Deification,233 writes:
Jesus saves us from sin and death. Rescue from sin and death is indeed a wonderful thing—but the salvation won for us by Jesus Christ is incomparably greater… Saint Basil the Great put it boldly, in A.D. 375 in his De Spiritu Sancto, when he enumerated the gifts of the Spirit: “abiding in God, being made like God—and, highest of all, being made God” (9.23). This is classic Christianity. In recent centuries, however, this primal language of salvation has fallen into disuse in the Western Church. Its decline began in the late Middle Ages, with the nominalist corruption of philosophy and then theology…[deification] vanishes entirely in subsequent [post-Calvin] generations of Protestantism. Even in the Catholic Church, the idea of divinization got lost amid all the post-Reformation disputes over the relationship of faith, works, and justification. For four centuries, Catholic and Protestant theologians alike focused so narrowly on these controversies that they obscured the central fact of Christian salvation…
In this astounding observation, Dr. Hahn points out that Divinization is central to Christianity but has for centuries been neglected and forgotten, and that this tragedy is another casualty of the Protestant revolt. But just as undeniable as its lamentable eclipse is its current resurgence. Daniel Lattier writes:
Among Christians, the renewed interest in deification seems to hold ecumenical hope. For over a century, Roman Catholics have been engaged in a ressourcement—a “return to the sources” of the Christian faith represented by the writings of the Church Fathers. As the narrative goes, the West lost contact with some of these sources as time passed, and elements of their theologies went underemphasized. In particular, the West has sought a reengagement with the thought of the Eastern Church Fathers. This reengagement with the East is most famously represented in the work of Roman Catholic theologians Yves Congar, Louis Bouyer, Jean Danielou, Henri de Lubac, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, and has been reiterated recently in Orientale lumens call for Catholics “to deepen their knowledge of the spiritual traditions of the Fathers and Doctors of the Christian East”… John Henry Newman was both a forerunner and catalyst of the modern ressourcement movement in the West … His appropriation of the Eastern Fathers, and the centrality of deification in their thought, led him to the Roman Catholic Church, which he saw as “the nearest approximation in fact to the Church of the Fathers”. The Eastern character of Newman’s thought began to influence the shape of Catholic theology in the years leading up to the Second Vatican Council, leading some to term Newman the “Father of the Second Vatican Council”. But the ecumenical value of Newman’s recourse to deification goes even deeper. As he demonstrated in his own life, the indwelling of Christ was not only a doctrine for Christians to affirm, but the very principle of their life, thought, and action. 234
Considering this equally profound observation from Dr. Lattier, we can see the hand of Providence at work in an extraordinary way in raising up the intellectual giant of Newman (and others) to have so great an impact in reviving Divinization in the post-Vatican II Catholic world. Beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, Blessed Newman is expected to be canonized soon by Pope Francis, as in November of 2018 the Vatican approved a second miracle due to Newman’s intercession.
Mystical Marriage
As stated elsewhere, mystical marriage has long been seen as the definitive triumph of the spiritual life of a saint on earth, consisting in the highest degree of sanctity possible for a wayfarer, but given only to extremely few saints throughout Church History.
In his masterpiece entitled, simply, Spiritual Theology, Fr. Jordan Aumann—Dominican priest, theologian, and highly respected author in matters pertaining to the spiritual life—gives a comprehensive overview of the topic. Although lengthy, it is well worth including here, in its only slightly abridged entirety:
The last grade of prayer is the transforming union, identified by many mystics as the spiritual marriage. It constitutes the seventh mansions of The Interior Castle of St. Teresa and is the highest degree of perfection that one can attain in this life. It is, therefore, a prelude to the beatific life of glory. This state is nothing less than a transformation into God, and St. John of the Cross does not hesitate to use such expressions as “transformed into God by love,” “God of God by participation,” and “more divine than human.” Such expressions may seem daring and even excessive when applied to the spiritual life of the soul, but they are fully justified by a usage that goes back to St. John, St. Paul, and the Fathers of the Church, especially the Eastern Church…
In this grade of prayer there is a total transformation of the soul into the Beloved. The soul has entered into its very center, so to speak, which is the throne room of the interior castle where the Trinity dwells through grace. There God and the soul give themselves to each other in the consummation of divine love, so far as is possible in the present life. There is no more ecstasy, for the soul has now been strengthened to receive the full power of love, but in the brightness of an intellectual vision the soul experiences the Trinity with vivid awareness. …
We can distinguish three elements in this loftiest degree of the prayer of union: transformation in God, mutual surrender, and the permanent union of love. As St. John of the Cross states:
“The soul becomes brilliant and transformed in God, and God communicates to the soul his supernatural being to such an extent that the soul appears to be God and to have all that God has. Such a union is effected when God grants to the soul this supernatural mercy; as a result of which all the things of God and the soul are one in a participated transformation. The soul seems to be more God than soul and is truly God by participation, although it is true that its being, so distinct by nature, is possessed by the soul as something distinct from the being of God, as it was formerly, even though transformed, just as the window is distinct from the ray of light which illumines it.”
As to the mutual surrender, it is a natural consequence of the transforming union just described. Between God and the soul there are a perfect communication and the mutual gift of self, for which reason the prayer of transforming union is called a spiritual marriage. Lastly, St. Teresa teaches that in this grade of prayer, unlike the grades that preceded it, there is a permanency of union and love.
Concomitant with the permanent union of love is the soul’s confirmation in grace. St. John of the Cross maintains that the transforming union never falters and the soul is confirmed in grace, but St. Teresa warns that as long as we are in this world we must walk with caution, lest we offend God. However, the apparent contradiction is readily resolved when we say that confirmation in grace does not mean intrinsic impeccability, for the Church teaches that it is an impossibility in this life. Nor is it a question of avoiding all venial sins in this life, for that would require a special privilege of grace as was bestowed on the Virgin Mary. Consequently, confirmation in grace must be understood as the special grace and assistance from God to avoid all mortal sins and thus have moral certitude of salvation.
Effects of Transforming Union
Perhaps no one has described as clearly as St. Teresa the marvelous effects produced in the soul by the transforming union or mystical marriage. We shall summarize her description of these effects as given in her Interior Castle, Seventh Mansions, Chapter 3:
1. A forgetfulness of self so complete that it seems as if the soul no longer existed. There is no longer any knowledge or remembrance of heaven or life or honor as regards the soul, so completely is it absorbed in seeking the honor of God. The soul lives in a state of forgetfulness so that it has no desire whatever in regard to self, but desires only to do what it can do to promote the glory of God, and for this it would gladly lay down its life.
2. A great desire to suffer, but now the desire does not disturb the soul as it did previously. So great is the soul’s longing that the will of God be done in it that it accepts whatever God wills as the best for it. If he sends suffering, well and good; if not, the soul does not worry or fret about it as it did previously.
3. Joy in persecution. When the soul is persecuted, it experiences great interior joy and much more peace than formerly. It bears no enmity toward those who treat it badly or desire to do so. Rather, it conceives a special love for such persons, and if it were to see them in some affliction it would be deeply grieved and would do all in its power to relieve them. It loves to commend such persons to God, and would rejoice at relinquishing some of the favors it receives from God if it could bestow them on its enemies, and thus perhaps prevent them from offending God.
4. Desire to serve God. Whereas the soul formerly suffered because of its longing to die and to be with God, it now experiences a strong desire to serve God and to help any soul that it can. Indeed, it now desires not to die but to live for many years and to suffer the most severe trials if in this way it can be a means whereby God is praised. Its conception of glory is now connected in some way with helping Christ, especially when it sees how often people offend him and how few there are who are truly concerned about his honor.
5. Detachment from everything created. The desires of the soul are no longer for consolations because the soul realizes that now the Lord himself dwells within it. As a result, the soul experiences a marked detachment from everything, and a desire to be alone or to be occupied with something that will be beneficial to the soul. There is no more aridity or interior trial, but only a constant recollection in God and a tender love for him. There is no fear that this period of tranquility may be caused by the devil, because the soul has an unwavering certitude that it comes from God. This experience takes place in the very center of the soul and in the highest faculty, into which the devil cannot enter.
6. Absence of ecstasies. Upon reaching this state, the soul has no more raptures, or very seldom. The great weakness that formerly was the occasion for raptures has now given place to a great strength granted by God. Nevertheless, the soul walks with great care and still does all in its power to strengthen itself with the help of God’s grace. Indeed, the more it is favored by God, the more cautious it becomes and the more aware of its own littleness and humility.
Ideal of Christian Perfection
Such is the bittersweet path that leads to the heights of contemplative prayer and the transforming union. It is the sublime ideal of Christian perfection, and it is offered to all souls in grace. When Jesus pronounced the precept: “You must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), he was speaking to all souls without exception. The Christian life, if it is developed according to the supernatural powers that are inherent in it, will lead to the transforming union of charity, which is in turn the prelude to the beatific vision.
The highest perfection consists not in interior favors or in great raptures or in visions or in the spirit of prophecy, but in the bringing of our wills so closely into conformity with the will of God that, as soon as we realize he wills anything, we desire it ourselves with all our might, and take the bitter with the sweet, knowing that to be His Majesty’s will.235
From this beautiful overview of mystical marriage, we should bear in mind—and this is from St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila as well—that it was indeed considered the highest state of sanctity possible on earth, but not the highest state of sanctity possible. It is rather undeniable, in all these writings on mystical and spiritual theology, that the state of sanctity of the blessed in Heaven is nevertheless superior. And Jesus makes it equally clear to Luisa and to other mystics of the 20th century that it is precisely this Heavenly sanctity which He is now freely giving to those who yearn for it.
***
Here we must pause to address a conundrum which may now have presented itself to the minds of some readers. It goes something like this:
Hold on. What I’ve just read about the nature of spiritual marriage is so extreme that in many ways it seems to surpass what is said about the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, not vice versa! The effects of this spiritual marriage on the recipient are so great that I doubt there is more than a soul or two alive at a given time on the face of the planet who enjoys such a state. How could we possibly speak of a higher degree of sanctity even than this—and for the masses!?
This is a perfectly understandable response, but it arises from a confusion of what is being described in different cases. Living in the Divine Will is pure grace; it does not override the ordinary theology of the spiritual life, and it completely flees the senses. Even with this Gift, one must strive to attain what is described by St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, etc., regarding spiritual marriage. In much of their analysis, these great Doctors are describing not the intrinsic nature of the grace of spiritual marriage itself, but the manifestations and effects of this invisible grace on the life of the soul. And these manifestations are indeed often superior to the manifestations of one who may have an intrinsically greater gift (i.e. Living in the Divine Will), but who has not yet enjoyed sufficient “accidental” (in the philosophical sense of the word) spiritual growth to exhibit anything like the glorious manifestations of the “lesser” gift (i.e. spiritual marriage).
Therefore, we can see that this is one of many reasons why we should never speak of someone who has the Gift of Living in the Divine Will (even if we somehow knew he had the Gift) as “greater” than someone else who did not (due to living in the time before the Gift was offered). When we speak of the “greatness” of a saint, we often (perhaps always) intend to refer to the greatness of the manifestations of God’s grace in their lives, or the correspondence to God’s grace that the saint exhibited—not merely to the intrinsic nature of the grace itself within the depths of their souls, which is hidden from our sight.
Let us briefly consider an analogous situation. In the Sacrament of Confession, a Catholic receives an ontologically236 superior gift—even if his contrition is quite imperfect—than a Protestant does when he asks God for forgiveness in his own personal prayer. But let us say this Protestant is truly remorseful and contrite to a far greater degree than the Catholic. Although nothing changes the fact that the Catholic, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, has received an intrinsically greater gift, it remains true that this Catholic should nevertheless admit that this particular Protestant’s contrition (which would be a manifestation of grace) is superior to his own, and the Catholic should strive to imitate this superior contrition. Similarly, in the Eucharist, a Catholic receives an infinitely greater gift than the Protestant does by “inviting Jesus into his heart” as a part of their “personal relationship.” Nevertheless, the Protestant may show more manifestations of grace which should indeed be zealously imitated by a Catholic; perhaps the Catholic is lukewarm and does little to correspond to the infinite graces of the Eucharist he receives, and perhaps the Protestant is zealous and strives mightily to be virtuous, evangelize, love God and neighbor, etc. This does not change the fact that the Eucharist is an intrinsically greater gift, even though the Protestant has done a better job corresponding to the lesser gifts he himself has received.
It seems that virtually all those critics of Luisa who take offense at the “greatness” of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will simply do not understand this simple distinction (maybe through no fault of their own, because perhaps they have only heard distorted interpretations of Luisa’s revelations).
***
Returning from this aside, we must bear in mind that the spiritual writers who gave this teaching (e.g. St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila) were correct. Indeed, in their times, spiritual (mystical) marriage was the greatest sanctity possible on earth, since the time had not yet arrived in which God deemed to give His Will to creatures.
But it is equally true that this reality of mystical marriage itself clearly points to something outside of itself. For those who preach its ultimate nature are perhaps forgetting that marriage is ordered toward something beyond itself; the marriage itself is not definitive. Moreover, it is not even an ontologically indissoluble union until it has been consummated, and beyond this, it is expected that the marriage bear children. In fact, though it is often forgotten today, we must remember that the “primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.”237 In other words, the good of the spouses is a secondary and subordinate end to this primary end. It should be clear, then, that mystical marriage too—inasmuch as the mystical life is an authentic reflection of earthly realities, which indeed it is—is ordered towards something beyond itself. A critic might say I am taking an analogy too far; but it would be strange for so essential an analogy as spiritual marriage (an analogy chosen by God Himself in describing what He has wrought in the lives of the saints who experienced it) to fail to remain analogous on such an important property.
Now, this consideration which I here present is by no means my own innovation; rather, even before Jesus revealed The Gift clearly to the mystics of the 20th century, there was a sense that perhaps there is something higher still, theoretically attainable on earth, exceeding the “third stage” (the illuminative way) of the spiritual life, which finds its own height in mystical marriage. Hugh Owen writes:
In his spiritual biography of Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez, spiritual director of Venerable Conchita Cabrera, Fr. Joseph Trevino of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit observed that the traditional division of the spiritual life into three stages—the purgative, illuminative, and unitive—had obscured the existence of a fourth stage where the transforming union of the soul and God produced its supernatural fruit. According to Fr. Trevino: “It would be absurd actually, if, when the soul reaches the highest union on earth, its life would stagnate, that it would remain permanently inactive. Just the contrary happens; that is the time when the action of the soul, under the motion of the Holy Spirit, reaches its maximum. This is the fourth stage [after the purgative, illuminative, and unitive stages of mystical theology.] … In the transforming union, the soul is united with the Word. But this union is spiritually fecund; its fruit is Jesus, Jesus reproduced in the soul itself and, through its ministry, Jesus reproduced in the souls of others (apostolic life).…
In his treatise on “the four degrees of violent love,” Richard of St. Victor wrote: In the first degree the betrothals take place, in the second the wedding, in the third the marriage is consummated, in the fourth the childbirth occurs … In the first degree, the soul receives frequent visits; in the second, she is betrothed; in the third, she is made one with her beloved; in the fourth, she becomes a mother.” The Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, seems to have hinted at something similar in his famous Itinerarium mentis in Deum, The Soul’s Journey into God. In order to describe the three stages of the spiritual life, the Seraphic Doctor uses the symbol of the “Six-winged Seraph” who effected the Stigmata in St. Francis of Assisi. This Seraph somehow surrounded or identified itself with the “One Crucified” from whose wounds rays came forth to form the wounds in Francis’ body. St. Bonaventure uses the image of the “Six Wings” as symbols of the stages of the spiritual life. Each pair of wings corresponds to the contemplations proper to each of the three stages of the spiritual life. By trying to describe something above and beyond the three levels of the three pairs of wings, Bonaventure obscurely pointed to something more than the three usually understood stages. The language is somewhat difficult, but definitely points to a Fourth Stage.238
From all these considerations, a profound picture emerges: Mystical Marriage—the pinnacle of the third stage of the spiritual life—though truly Deifying in its own right and hitherto considered the highest degree of sanctity possible on earth, nevertheless on closer consideration seems ordered to something else superior to itself. Giving a hint as to where this superior ‘something” resides, St. John of the Cross himself—the one most known and regarded for his teachings on mystical union—writes:
The entire matter of reaching union with God consists in purging the will of its appetites and emotions so that from a human and lowly will it may be changed into the divine will, made identical with the will of God.239
Marian Consecration
Of the Four Great Invitations spoken of in this section, Marian Consecration is the final and definitive blow to the human (self) will; thus, making straight the way for the reign of the Divine Will both in individuals and, soon, over the whole world. The other three of the Great Invitations have long been more or less popular in the spiritual theology of the Church, but Marian Consecration has exploded in popularity only recently. This explosion itself has been caused by God in order to serve as the immediate precursor to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, which too shall soon “explode” throughout the world. The Father of Marian Consecration himself was aware of the fact that when this spirituality spread among Catholics, it would form the saints of the end of the Era and usher in the Reign of Peace; in fact, he prophesied exactly this, as we shall soon see.
One who consecrates Himself to Our Lady, and consequently becomes clothed in her very own virtues—as the aforementioned Father of Marian Consecration, St. Louis de Montfort, promised such a soul would be so clothed—cannot but live in the Divine Will. For it is precisely this type of life that is the essence of her sanctity and is therefore also the Gift she earnestly desires to mediate to all of her children. This great 17th century apostle of Marian Consecration so revered by Pope St. John Paul II and who is now making a great comeback in Catholic theology, issued famous prophecies about the future of the Church and the World—prophecies that are at once indications of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will and of the Era of Peace. St. Louis rightly recognized that this great sanctity will be mediated by the hands of Mary, who will clothe us with her very own holiness, which is none other than the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
This will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs … These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit …
… Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time. The formation and education of the great saints who shall come at the end of the world are reserved for her. For it is only that singular and miraculous Virgin who can produce, in union with the Holy Ghost, singular and extraordinary things. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with God’s assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph.240
But St. Louis teaches that this is all thanks to our Consecration to Mary. A beautiful description of the essence of Marian Consecration is given by the Franciscans of the Immaculate:
By this consecration, one offers himself wholly to Our Lady, so that in all he does and undergoes, he depends on her. If it is made as it should be, this consecration achieves a complete surrender of self into Our Lady’s hands. From the moment of consecration, she is to enter the life of the person in order to completely Marianize it—to transform it according to her ways. The consecrated person ought to succeed in “living with Mary, for Mary, in Mary,” as St. Louis Montfort teaches…
The consecration of oneself as a slave is taught by St. Louis de Montfort, and it expresses principally the sacrifice of one’s liberty in order to live fettered and ruled by love for Our Lady.
Consecration of oneself as her property was taught by St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, and this principally expresses an unconditional surrender of oneself into Mary’s immaculate hands as her instrument or property.
The other form of consecration is inspired by the Little Flower’s offering of herself as a victim of Jesus’ merciful love, and it expresses principally the total immolation, the complete sacrifice, of oneself to God, to become like Mary when she totally sacrificed herself in the exercise of generous, merciful love.
Identical in substance, each of these forms of consecration is intended to make us carry out a filial devotion to Our Lady in the most deep-rooted, radical way. They mean to make us sink our roots into Mary’s Heart with the happy certainty that “he who plants his roots in Mary becomes holy” (St. Bonaventure).
The experience the saints have had assures us that this is quite true.241
And although St. Louis de Montfort died in 1716, his legacy has lived on and his impact has only continued to grow. In the past several years especially, Marian Consecration has deservedly begun to dominate the scene of Catholic spirituality. We have seen St. Maximilian Kolbe’s efforts in his Militia Immaculata blessed abundantly by providence, and more recently, millions of Catholics around the world have taken that enormous step to consecrate themselves to Mary; many in response to the “My Consecration” apostolate of the late hero of Our Lady’s causes, Anthony Mullen, as well as Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory.
***
Understanding these Four Great Invitations is necessary, first, for one’s personal benefit in receiving the Gift. You are more than ready to receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will if you take all four invitations seriously and obey their instructions. It is also necessary in order to see how perfectly the Gift fits in to the organic development of spirituality within the Church; it shows how this moment is the opportune time for God to make haste in giving it.
These Four Paradigms do easily refute the various attacks made against the orthodoxy of the Gift; for almost all these attacks against the loftiness of The Gift could be just as easily levied against any of the Four Great Invitations, each of which is of unassailable orthodoxy. Consequently, any argument which accuses them of unorthodoxy is thereby revealed to as a fallacious argument.
The Old Testament
Although a modern Jew may respond rather emphatically in the negative if asked whether Judaism allows for the concept of the Divinization or Deification of Man, one can only wonder if this response is inspired by a lurking defensiveness against Christianity. So instead of consulting individual Jews from the Christian era, we must turn to the fundamental sources; above all, the Hebrew Scriptures.
Psalm 8 reads differently depending upon the translation. The King James version, for example, reads, “For thou hast made [man] a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” But this is, in fact, not an accurate translation. The Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition) gets it much better: “Thou hast made him little less than God.”
Of this translation issue, the scholar Huston Smith wrote:
That last word is a straight mistranslation, for the original Hebrew plainly reads “a little lower than the gods [or God]”—the number of the Hebrew word ’elohim is indeterminate. Why did the translators reduce deity to angels? The answer seems obvious: It was not erudition that they lacked, but rather the boldness—one is tempted to say nerve—of the Hebrews. We can respect their reserve. It is one thing to write a Hollywood script in which everyone seems wonderful; it is another thing to make such characters seem real. The one charge that has never been leveled against the Bible is that its characters are not real people. Even its greatest heroes, like David, are presented so unvarnished, so “warts and all,” that the Book of Samuel has been called the most honest historical writing of the ancient world. Yet no amount of realism could dampen the aspiration of the Jews. Human beings who on occasion so justly deserve the epithets “maggot and worm” (Job 25:6) are equally the beings whom God has “crowned with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:6). There is a rabbinic saying to the effect that whenever a man or woman walks down the street he or she is preceded by an invisible choir of angels crying, “Make way, make way! Make way for the image of God.”242
Already in the Old Testament—before the Sacraments even existed—we see the Divinization of Man taken for granted. In fact, Jesus Himself, in the Gospels, rebukes those who fail to see this:
The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?”243
While Jesus is here making an important reference to a Psalm which calls the vengeance of God down upon unworthy shepherds of Israel, it is also clear that He is rebuking the Pharisees for their implicit categorical condemnation of the notion of the Divinization of Man.
And indeed, Our Lord’s rebuke was well placed, for the Pharisees should have known that this was not blasphemy. As Huston Smith points out in the excerpt above, pious Jews had always acknowledged this reality. Unfortunately, today one often hears promoted a misconception about the relative spiritual position of men and angels—namely, the assumption that all angels are categorically higher than man because they are pure spirits. But this assumes the erroneous premise that there is something “low” about matter (a premise which, if it ever had any value, was refuted by the Incarnation and should not be held by any Christian). While an angel obviously has more power than a man’s physical body does (which is why we have Guardian Angels, and why we should frequently pray for the intercession of the Angels), this says little. This view of the angels is also refuted by what we already know: the position of Our Lady, who no Catholic denies is immeasurably above all angels. But it is not only Our Lady who can be said to be higher than angels. Consider the well-known words the demons were forced to say of St. John Vianney,; namely, “If only there were three others like him, our Kingdom would be destroyed,” and, later, the demons were also forced to reveal that they feared St. Padre Pio more than they feared even St. Michael the Archangel. Of course, more authoritative still is Sacred Scripture, which refers to the knowledge we can have as humans as “things into which angels long to look.”244, and furthermore asserts, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?”245
Of course, ancient Jews had access to none of this knowledge contained in the New Testament, and yet they still knew that the loftiness of man’s potential holiness was almost impossible to overstate. This all comes from the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible shared by Jews and Christians, and all know well that it states:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” Genesis 1:26
What is unclear here? In making man, God made a being like Himself. We have no Scriptural evidence that He said this even of the angels in creating them. How, then, shall we differentiate between God and man to avoid pagan pantheism? In this: The Divinization of Man erases the distance, but not the difference.
Any artist, in painting a self-portrait, will create an imperfect one with many differences between himself and his work of art; but these differences arise from the fact that the artist himself is not perfectly skilled in his own craft. We cannot, however, ascribe any similar manner of imperfection to God, and therefore we are left with the conclusion that He did succeed with His intent of creating man in His own image and likeness. He had to put everything that He Himself had into man; thus, man becomes by grace what God is by nature.
What would be said of a mother who generated, not a child who had eyes, mouth, hands, feet, and would be similar to her in all members—at most, smaller than her in all members, but lacking nothing of all the organs of the mother—but generated a plant, a bird, a stone, things which are dissimilar from her? It would be incredible—things against nature and unworthy of a mother, who was not able to infuse her image and all of her members in her newborn. Now, if all things generate and form things similar to themselves, much more so does God, first Generator, whose honor and glory in forming the creatures was to form them as similar to Himself.246
The New Testament
With good reason, the foreshadowing of the Gift increased dramatically with the coming of Our Lord in the flesh. The New Testament is full of indications of this spiritual reality. While there is perhaps only one instance in which it is bluntly stated (the climax of the Our Father prayer, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”), it is seen elsewhere in many places in proximate or implicit form. We will only consider a few here.
St. Peter
Where better to start than the Catechism itself? In answering the question “Why Did the Word Become Flesh?”, it teaches us:
The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”247
Here, it quotes Scripture (2 Peter 1:4), as well as St. Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, and St. Thomas Aquinas, respectively. Due to this diversity of sources, the quote will be referred to again in upcoming sections, but let us now focus on its New Testament reference. The unabridged Scriptural verse it cites, along with the one preceding it, reads:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.248
The amount of literature that exists merely for the sake of meditating on the implications of just those few words “partakers of the divine nature,” could fill volumes. Suffice it to say that it is no mere modern innovation to recognize that contained within it is a great mystery which requires our understanding and our response. Of this verse, authors Fr. David Meconi and Carl Olson wrote:
On one hand, this text is certainly unique, for the phrase “partakers of the divine nature” appears nowhere else in Scripture, prompting one commentator to venture that “with that remark [the author] seemingly took a step that no other writer of the New Testament dared take.” On the other hand, without downplaying its uniqueness, it is notable that First Peter not only contains ten references to “glory”; it contains this oft-overlooked verse: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker [koinonos] in the glory that is to be revealed” (1 Pet 5:1). This passage points to the glory to be revealed at the return of Christ, but indicates a real and current participation, “for while its full manifestation belongs to the future, he holds (cf. esp. iv. 14) that, with the End so close at hand, those who suffer for Christ already enjoy a foretaste of it.249
There is no exegetical evasion technique to escape the acknowledgement that St. Peter here—and thus the Holy Spirit Himself Who is inspiring these words of Scripture—is teaching something radical about the degree to which God wills to transform us. Since all Christians must be grounded in Scripture above all, we can see that to be a Christian is to refuse to be content until one has found the best and fullest understanding of partaking of the Divine nature. (And that understanding is this: Living in the Divine Will.)
St. Paul
“ … it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me … ”—Galatians 2:20
Here, St. Paul makes it clear that he has totally renounced his self-will; so much so that it can even be said to have been crucified with Christ (as the beginning of this same verse indicates). This is so true that He asserts, with the inerrancy of the Holy Spirit inspiring his words, that Christ lives in him.
For reasons previously stated, we cannot say that St. Paul truly had the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, but we can clearly see that he had all the prerequisites for receiving it and certainly would have, had he been privileged enough to live in our times. (To be sure, the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, as its very name makes clear, is about even more than God living in us; it is about us living in God. If there were any doubts that there is indeed a distinction between these two graces, or any question as to which is greater, Pope Francis Magisterially settled the matter, teaching: “So often we say that God dwells in us, but it is better to say that we dwell in him, that he enables us to dwell in his light and love.”250)
It is safe to say that St. Paul did not include this verse in his letter to the Galatians to be praised for the height of his sanctity. He did so in order to instruct all of us to likewise no longer live for ourselves, but rather to allow Christ to live in us.
This, too, is utterly radical. It is not achieved simply by a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ, which is about all one hears spoken of in many Protestant circles (and sadly, many Catholic ones as well). It is certainly not achieved merely by believing what one must believe for the sake of orthodoxy. It is not achieved merely by obeying the moral law. Nor is it achieved merely by passively receiving the Sacraments. It is achieved only by a total, holding-nothing-back death to self. (This type of death to self is spoken of in more detail in the “Abnegation” section of the “Foundational Virtues for the Gift” chapter of this book.)
Another passage in St. Paul where we find the Gift foreshadowed is found in his letter to the Philippians:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus”—Philippians 2:5
If St. Paul meant only that we ought to submit intellectually to all the teachings of Jesus and strive to imitate in our daily endeavors the actions of Jesus, then he could have chosen a much more accurate way of saying this than by insisting the “same mind” be in us! As a teacher, I would rightly be called insane if I told my students that, to pass the test I am about to give them, they must have my same mind in them. At best, this would be a silly exaggeration—but Scripture never exaggerates, notwithstanding the desperate attempts of the modernists to insist that it does just that. For exaggeration is a lie, and God—Who cannot lie—is the author of every word of Sacred Scripture, as is made clear not only by the older Magisterial documents but also by Vatican II itself (in “Dei Verbum”), which in turn is promulgated by the Catechism.
Instead, St. Paul teaches that our own mind truly can (and must) be absorbed into Jesus’ mind—and, thus, the Divine Mind—so truly that it cannot even be said we operate with separate minds.
The poignancy of this foreshadowing is also due to the faculty to which it refers: our mind, or our intellect. For there are two steps in a human act: the intellect directing and the will executing; therefore, as the act of the intellect precedes the act of the will, one can easily see that if we truly have the same mind as Christ Jesus, it is only natural that the next step is to have the same will; which is precisely what Jesus’ revelations to Luisa are all about.
St. John
In his first letter, St. John—the beloved Apostle of Jesus, who also wrote the Gospel bearing his name as well as the Book of Revelation—writes:
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”251
This adoption as true children of God is seen elsewhere in Scripture as well, for example, St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians states:
God sent forth his Son, born of woman … so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So through God you are no longer a slave but a son. 252
There are similarly profound verses speaking of this adoption as God’s true children in Romans, Ephesians, and Corinthians. But the proper understanding of sonship is necessary in order to grasp what God is teaching us in these verses. Many throughout the history of the Church have written this teaching off as only a use of metaphorical language. They are, however, wrong; it is not metaphorical, but is, rather, literal, that we are made into children of God (through His grace)!
Commenting on this notion as taught by the great 19th century theologian and mystic Fr. Matthias Scheeben (who was proclaimed by Pope Pius XI as a man of genius), Timothy Kelly writes:
According to Scheeben, the Christian sonship of which Scripture speaks, and which the Fathers expound, is not meant, he says, “by simple analogy or resemblance” with the eternal Sonship of the second Person of the Trinity, but in “literal truth”. This is an astonishing claim. By “literal truth”, Scheeben does not mean to abolish the personal distinction between the natural Son of the Father and the adoptive sons of God, but rather to emphasise the point that the predication “son of God” for the Christian is, somehow, warranted ontologically. Our sonship is not meant, he insists, “in some vague way”, but insofar as “the most important relations existing between a son and a father are present in our relations of sonship to God.”253
Obviously, none of us are or ever can be the Uncreated Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, as Jesus Christ alone is. Nevertheless, our sonship is not a mere metaphor; rather it is an assertion of our possession—by grace, not by nature—of all of that which is essential to sonship. And just as any good father who adopted a child would rightly rebuke another for claiming that the sonship of this child was a metaphor, so too we mustn’t detract from the glory and truth of our own Divine sonship with such a reductionistic approach unworthy of the reality at hand.
The Church Fathers
Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.”254
-The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Early in Church History, the concept of the Divinization, Deification, or Theosis255 of Man, long spoken of especially in Eastern Catholic Mysticism, speaks in a way that beautifully foreshadows Luisa’s revelations.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, writing about several major Fathers of the Church in its entry on the History of Theology, says:
[They emphasized] the mystical and ontological side of the Christian mystery, on man’s divinization rather than on his liberation from sin … on the Incarnation as the root of man’s divinization more than on his Redemption from sin through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. Their speculation kept close to life; it meant faith and morality, theology and mysticism all in one.256
This brings up a key point; namely, the lack of finality in man’s redemption from sin. Unfortunately, looking at redemption from sin as final or quasi-final has become a dominant view, and this is no doubt at least in part due to the Protestantization of Catholic theology. One expects to hear, in Protestant circles, an almost exclusive focus on “being saved,” after which point one is “all set” and is just waiting for Heaven. It is not even uncommon to see a few particularly zealous Evangelicals walking around city streets, asking strangers if they are saved, and then supposing that all must be well as long as an affirmative answer is given to their question. The traditional hymn, Amazing Grace, comes to mind here: although beautiful, its spirituality is not very rich, for it seems to imply that the entirety of the spiritual life is contained within the transition from being “lost” to being “found.”
This is in no way to detract from the immense importance, which cannot possibly be overstated, of the Redemption and of the application of the graces of Redemption to individuals for their salvation. This remains the foundation, and the Church Fathers knew that: but they also knew this was (as all foundations are) the beginning, not the end, of the spiritual life. The end was Divinization. The same Encyclopedia article puts it bluntly:
The Son of God became man so that the sons of men might become sons of God (cf. St. Augustine…). The Word was made flesh so that men might be deified (St. Athanasius, Inc. 54). These words express Christ’s mission: He came for men’s salvation and divinization.
Another solid overview of Divinization in the Fathers is given by Daniel Keating, who writes:
[In Maximus’ view of Divinization] “The whole of the human being is interpenetrated by the whole of God and becomes all that God is, excluding identity of essence. The human being receives to itself the whole of God” … Deification for the Greek Fathers is not a separate and exotic path off on its own, but the culmination of all that the Father has done for the human race through the Son and in the Spirit … For the Greek Fathers, our deification is “by grace and not by nature”. They are concerned to avoid any sense of pantheism, any confusion of human nature with the being and nature of the triune God. Paradoxically, though deification raises us to a participation in God that is above our nature, it does not bring about a change in our nature. Rather, through deification our nature is exalted, glorified, and brought to the goal for which we were made. Andrew Louth sums this up: “Deification, then, is not a transcending of what it means to be human, but the fulfillment of what it is to be human.”257
Let us, then, examine in more detail what these Fathers of the Church settled about the matter.
St. Maximus the Confessor
Fourteen years after Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger) nullified the condemnation of Luisa’s writings, he taught this about Maximus:
St. Maximus tells us that, and we know that this is true, Adam (and we ourselves are Adam) thought that the “no” was the peak of freedom. He thought that only a person who can say “no” is truly free; that if he is truly to achieve his freedom, man must say “no” to God; only in this way he believed he could at last be himself, that he had reached the heights of freedom. This tendency also carried within it the human nature of Christ, but went beyond it, for Jesus saw that it was not the “no” that was the height of freedom. The height of freedom is the “yes”, in conformity with God’s will. It is only in the “yes” that man truly becomes himself; only in the great openness of the “yes”, in the unification of his will with the divine, that man becomes immensely open, becomes “divine”. What Adam wanted was to be like God, that is, to be completely free. But the person who withdraws into himself is not divine, is not completely free; he is freed by emerging from himself, it is in the “yes” that he becomes free; and this is the drama of Gethsemane: not my will but yours. It is by transferring the human will to the divine will that the real person is born, it is in this way that we are redeemed.258
As you can see, the overlap is astonishing—to the point where one wonders if Pope Benedict here explicitly intends to guide us to Luisa’s Divine Will spirituality through his commentary on Maximus. The overlap with Divine Will spirituality continues in other teachings from Maximus:
Nothing in theosis is the product of human nature … It is only the mercy of God that has the capacity … In theosis man (the image of God) becomes likened to God, he rejoices in all the plenitude that does not belong to him by nature, because the grace of the Spirit triumphs within him, and because God acts in him. 259
The nature of the will of man (as exemplified in Christ) was also not lost on Maximus, who lived during the time of the Church Council that dealt with the question, and this brings up yet another major overlap. The Third Council of Constantinople (which was the Sixth Council of the Church), settled that Jesus truly did have two Wills: one human, one Divine.260 Thus it condemned the heresy of Monothelitism. Understanding the orthodox teaching of the Church here is important in understanding the Gift of Living in the Divine Will (for the operation of the Human and Divine Will of Christ gives the model for understanding the Gift).
Maximus… had first been disarmed in front of the novelty of the problem posed by the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane: his human will appeared to be contrary to the divine will, and Sergius had concluded in favor of the negation of that will. Maximus subsequently highlighted the reality of that human will and showed its soteriological [pertaining to salvation] importance.261
Although we see the foreshadowing of the gift perhaps most clearly among the Fathers in Maximus, a much earlier Church Father (St. Athanasius—also a Doctor of the Church) is the one most well-known for the same. In fact, the teaching of the two are deeply related, as recently noted by a scholar contributing to the Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism:
Similarly, it is because Christ became human—that he possessed a human body—that our bodies have the possibility of healing and of returning to their pre—lapsarian condition. Though post—lapsarian bodies are broken and broken in diverse ways, the mystery of Christ’s incarnation enables the brokenness of human bodies to be made whole once again (cf. Ambiguum 8). Embellishing the Athanasian insight that God became human so that humans could become gods, Maximus notes: “By his gracious condescension God became man and is called man for the sake of man and by exchanging his condition for ours revealed the power that elevates man to God through his love for God and brings God down to man because of his love for man. By this blessed inversion, man is made God by divinization and God is made man by hominization. For the Word of God and God wills always and in all things to accomplish the mystery of his embodiment (Ambiguum 7).”262
Let us now turn to consider this “Athanasian insight” from which Maximus drew.
St. Athanasius
The Great Exchange, “God was made man that we might be made God,”263 comes to us most explicitly from St. Athanasius, although St. Irenaeus gave a similar version even earlier. Lest anyone be concerned about the orthodoxy of such a bold saying, remember that the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly quotes, and therefore itself promulgates as Magisterium, this very teaching (in the previously quoted paragraph 460).264
St. Athanasius, that great Father and Doctor of the Church most fondly remembered as the heroic defender of the Divinity of Christ against the onslaught of the Arian heresy, is rightly growing in popularity today in consideration of the crisis of Faith now facing the Church; a crisis that matches or perhaps exceeds the crisis with which he dealt. Sadly, however, his mysticism is often forgotten. The Catechism’s revival of this quote from Athanasius to the mainstream, therefore, was no doubt Providential. As orthodox-minded Catholics continue to turn to his intercession and example in order to confront the crisis in the Church today, let us ensure that we do not lose sight of the entire purpose of the Christological orthodoxy which Athanasius fought for; namely, that we too become “other Christs,” just as Luisa prayed:
Having received Holy Communion, I was saying to my beloved Jesus: “My Love and my Life, Your Will has the virtue of multiplying Your Life for as many beings as exist and will exist on earth. And I, in Your Will, want to form as many Jesuses in order to give the whole of You to each soul of Purgatory, to each Blessed of Heaven, and to each being living on earth.” 265
Many more quotes on the deification of man exist in the writings of Athanasius, but there is not as much depth of explanation regarding what this entails as there is in the writings of other Fathers of the Church, to which we will now turn.
Sts. Augustine, Ambrose, and Gregory of Nazianzus
Some teachings of the Fathers of the Church are so important that they are additionally exalted through their incorporation in the Magisterium (as in the cases of the Catechism quotes previously provided) or in the Liturgy. Such is the case with Augustine’s teaching on Divinization, which is found in the Divine Office as follows:
Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal creator of all things, today became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to his Father’s eternity. God became man so that man might become God. The Lord of the angels became man today so that man could eat the bread of angels.266
Elsewhere, we find these words of Augustine:
But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [Cf. John 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods…To make human beings gods, He was made man who was God. (sermon 192.1.1).
Fr. David Meconi, S.J., writes:
Among academic theologians, Augustine is normally not associated with those Church Fathers who expounded the glorious transformation of the human person in Christ. Yet, more and more studies are showing how he did in fact understand Christianity in terms of deification … [Augustine] is never afraid to call this adoption our “becoming gods” as long as he (1) stresses how this is the result of union with Christ and no other supposed “deity” who claims to make its adherents into gods, and (2) highlights how this process of deification is achieved not through the abolishing of our human nature but by its perfection in and through grace … participation in God is no mere metaphor for Augustine but proves to be the heart of the Christian life. In many beautiful ways Augustine presents Christianity as mankind’s mirrored response to the Incarnation … [Augustine says] “The Lord makes those whom he wishes devout so that they have recourse to the Lord and desire to be ruled by him and make their will dependent upon his will and, by constantly clinging to him, become one spirit with him.” … Augustine taught a sacramental realism, never wavering that what the priest celebrated on the altar at every Mass is in fact the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Yet, establishing this Real Presence is rarely his aim when preaching about the Eucharist. He instead stresses the recipients’ role in receiving and thus becoming this Christ.267
It is also important to recall Augustine’s teachings on the matter because of an error spread in some circles today wherein Divinization is referred to as a “merely Eastern phenomenon.” But Divinization is certainly found in the Latin Fathers, and not only in the quote above from Augustine. Writing on the matter, Jared Ortiz teaches:
Indeed, it has become something of a commonplace to say that the Latin Fathers did not really hold a doctrine of deification, that the few exceptions to this learned it from the Greeks, and that the Latins are generally guilty of losing sight of the big picture of salvation (becoming God) by reducing it to a narrow conception of redemption (overcoming sin) … [but] many Latin Fathers are reticent to use the word “deification”, though by drawing on a range of complementary terms—ascent, adoption, grace, contemplation, vision, knowledge, likeness to God, imitation, perfection, sanctification, participation, union, angelic life, immortality—they all, to greater or lesser degrees, point to the same reality of deification …
The Transfiguration, Tertullian says, proves that this glorification will not destroy our nature, for Christ himself retained both his human and divine nature intact when transfigured, while Moses and Elias were shown still to be fully human in their glorified state. Highlighting the related moral and ontological dimensions of deification, Tertullian eloquently sums up the hope Christ has given us: “God held converse with man, that man might learn to act as God …
“Then a Virgin conceived,” Ambrose says, “and the Word became flesh that flesh might become God.” In a number of treatises, Ambrose develops a spiritual itinerary of the soul espoused to God, which he develops in surprising ways. Not only does the espoused soul ascend so as to delight in God himself, but because the soul is transformed by deifying virtue, Christ himself delights and even feeds on the soul.
… One of the great synthesizers of the Latin tradition—and therefore an important witness to the Latin patristic understanding of deification—Pope Leo the Great preached the content of deification in a variety of contexts. … [in his teaching] The noncompetition of the two natures inseparably united in Christ brings about our divinization without violating our human nature.
… God, by loving us, restores us to His image, and, in order that He may find in us the form of His goodness, He gives us that whereby we ourselves too may do the work that He does, kindling that is the lamps of our minds, and inflaming us with the fire of His love, that we may love not only Himself, but also whatever He loves. From this arises a unity of will that makes us friends with God—that is, a kind of “equal” because we have attained “the dignity of the Divine Majesty”, not, of course, by nature, but by the grace of the Incarnation and the sacraments, which makes us like God.268
Only a few excerpts are included here. Elsewhere in the work (which I highly recommend purchasing), Dr. Ortiz goes on to list many other clear teachings on Divinization found within the Latin Christian tradition, including the writings of Boethius, Benedict, Peter Chrysologus, and others. He has even produced an entire 300-plus page volume, published by the Catholic University of America Press in January of 2019, in which he examines many more. Entitled Deification in the Latin Patristic Tradition, it hopefully will settle once and for all that the Divinization of Man is a unanimous consensus of the Fathers, and whatever is a unanimous consensus of the Fathers is by that very fact a Dogma of the Catholic Church.269
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory, an early Church Father (also a saint and Doctor of the Church), admired greatly by St. Augustine, was no less forceful in his insistence upon Divinization; teaching, for example, in his Orations:
Let us become God’s for His sake, since He for ours became Man.270
For He still pleads even now as Man for my salvation; for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He make me God by the power of His Incarnation.271
While His inferior Nature, the Humanity, became God, because it was united to God, and became One Person because the Higher Nature prevailed in order that I too might be made God so far as He is made Man.272
Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement, Theophilus, Hippolytus, Gregory
In explaining the theology of Justin Martyr, the New Catholic Encyclopedia states:
Justin explains that because of His redemptive work, Christ has become the source of a new humanity that He has regenerated through water, faith, and the cross (cf. Dial. 40). It is this profoundly biblical perspective that Irenaeus takes up from Justin and develops into a comprehensive theory of recapitulation: ‘‘He recapitulated in Himself the long history of man, summing up and giving us salvation in order that we might receive again in Christ Jesus what we had lost in Adam, that is, the image and likeness of God’’ …This runs through from Irenaeus (cf. Adversus haereses 3.19.1) to Cyril of Alexandria [cf. Jo. 1.9 (on Jn 1.13)]. Into this notion of divinization is assumed the understanding of 2 Pt 1.4, ‘‘sharers of the divine nature.’’ This is understood as a participation in and a communion with the Triune life itself.273
It would be vastly beyond the scope of this text to present a detailed examination of the many teachings on Divinization found in all the Church Fathers. Therefore, in closing this section, I will only briefly cite the words of five more Fathers of the Church.
Irenaeus
[T]he Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.274
‘For we cast blame upon [God], because we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods; although God has adopted this course out of His pure benevolence, that no one may impute to Him invidiousness or grudgingness he declares, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.275
For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God.276
Clement of Alexandria
[T]he Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God.277
For if one knows himself, he will know God; and knowing God, he will be made like God278
[H]is is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills … For the Word Himself is the manifest mystery: God in man, and man God279
[H]e who listens to the Lord, and follows the prophecy given by Him, will be formed perfectly in the likeness of the teacher—made a god going about in flesh.280
Theophilus of Antioch
For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God … 281
Hippolytus of Rome
And you shall be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For you have become God: for whatever sufferings you underwent while being a man, these He gave to you, because you were of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon you, because you have been deified, and begotten unto immortality.282
If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead.283
Gregory of Nyssa284
…since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be deified, for this end it is that, by dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose substance comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption.285
For just as He in Himself assimilated His own human nature to the power of the Godhead, being a part of the common nature, but not being subject to the inclination to sin which is in that nature… so, also, will He lead each person to union with the Godhead … 286
The Great Spiritual Writers
The following spiritual writers listed here in chronological order (of birth) are mentioned so that one can clearly see the action of the Holy Spirit as the architect of this profound development of the spirituality of the Divine Will. Some of these writers are saints, some are Doctors of the Church, some mystics or theologians who, though not canonized, are nevertheless widely recognized by orthodox Catholics for their spiritual insight.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
St. Bernard, the great monastic, Doctor of the Church, founder of the Cistercians, and transitional figure between the Fathers and the saints thereafter, is a veritable giant of Catholic spiritual theology. Often forgotten is the fact that he may even be an originator of the notion of Our Lady as the Mediatrix of All Grace; for it was he who said, long before many others were ready to accept this tenet of Mariology, “God has willed that we should have nothing that did not pass through the hands of Mary”287
Bernard, as the “last of the Fathers,”288 did not fail to incorporate divinization into his teachings:
O pure and cleansed purpose, thoroughly washed and purged from any admixture of selfishness, and sweetened by contact with the divine will! To reach this state is to become deified. 289
Venerable Pope Pius XII highly exalted St. Bernard, writing:
Of [Divine Charity], possibly nobody has spoken more excellently, more profoundly, or more earnestly than Bernard: “The reason for loving God,” as he says, “is God; the measure of this love is to love without measure. … O holy and chaste love! O sweet and soothing affection! … It is the more soothing and more sweet, the more the whole of that which is experienced is divine. To have such love, means being made like God.”
We see that St. Bernard, and likewise Pope Pius XII, speaks of love not merely as the supreme virtue, but as having the power of transforming one into the very likeness of God. This is precisely the transformation that Living in the Divine Will completes—that is, the restoration of the likeness of God lost at the Fall of Man.
Richard of Saint Victor
Richard of Saint Victor was a highly esteemed Scottish theologian and abbot who lived in the 12th century. The New Catholic Encyclopedia refers to him as a “remarkable theologian… above all a mystic, [and] the greatest theoretician of mysticism in the Middle Ages.”290 Richard taught that the highest level of union with God involves the following:
… an ecstatic ‘passing over into the divine glory’ … like iron in a fire, the mind becomes liquefied … and ‘incandescent … and becomes one spirit with God,’ its will having become fully identified with the divine will291
In this great mystic and theologian, we already find clear intimations of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, almost a thousand years before its time. Most importantly, he clearly indicates that there is in fact possible a higher (fourth) degree of union with God beyond the three usually spoken of in mystical theology.
In his introduction to Richard’s treatise of “the Four Degrees of Violent Love”, Dr. Andrew Kraebel, a theologian, writes that Richard’s previous descriptions of the earlier Degrees …
…lead Richard into his final account of the fourth degree—for the experience of union with God enjoyed in the third degree can only be fleeting,” and the contemplative thereafter returns to his community as a transformed human being. His absolute conformation to the Will of God makes the contemplative Christ-like. No longer interested in achieving temporary experiences of vision or union, he is now intent only upon seeing to the salvation of his fellow human … Thus, again, the insatiability of the general metaphor for the fourth degree returns here, as the contemplative is relentless in seeking new ways to achieve his desired ends.292
This has a fascinating overlap with Jesus’ words to Luisa, in which He encourages her to not so much think about her own sanctity, but rather to be concerned entirely with the salvation of souls and the consolation of His Heart. Dr. Kraebel continues:
Richard’s account indicates that, as one progresses through the degrees, one’s own agency becomes less important, while God’s agency becomes ever more so. For example, the proper ordering of one’s life in the first degree, described as the soul’s own quitting of Egypt and journey through the Red Sea, gives way to the soul passively being “snatched away into the abyss of divine love”. By this point, Richard suggests, the will of the contemplative and the will of God become the same thing, and so the question of agency becomes redundant.
Kraebel presents a translation of the work itself from Richard, in which we read:
In the first degree the soul thirsts for God. In the second it thirsts toward God. In the third the soul thirsts into God. In the fourth it thirsts in accordance with God… The soul thirsts in accordance with God when concerning its own will—not just in fleshly things, but also indeed in spiritual things—the mind relinquishes everything from its own judgment and commits itself wholly to the Lord, never thinking “of things that are its own, but of the things of Jesus Christ,” so that the soul itself may also be able to say, “I did not come to do my will, but the will of my Father who is in heaven.” … when the soul has in this manner been melted away in the divine fire, inwardly softened and thoroughly liquefied, what then will remain except that “the good will of God, pleasing and perfect” be displayed to the soul, as if that divine will were a certain mold of consummate virtue to which it might be shaped? For when metals have been liquefied and the molds have been set up, the metalworkers shape any image through a decision of their will and produce whatever vessels they wish in accordance with the proper shape and intended form. So, too, does the soul in this state easily adapt itself to every wish of the divine will, nay, rather it adapts itself with spontaneous desire to each of God’s decisions and forms its every wish in accordance with the measure of divine benevolence. And just as a liquefied metal easily flows down into whatever passage is open to it, running toward the things that lie below, thus the soul in this state voluntarily humbles itself to every act of obedience and bends itself freely to every humiliation according to the divine arrangement…And so this type of man becomes a new creature: “the old things have passed away and, behold, all things have been made new.” For in the third degree he has been killed; in the fourth, as it were, rising from the dead, “he dies no more; death no longer has dominion over him, for insofar as he lives, he lives for God. Therefore, in this degree the soul is made in some way immortal and impassible … He who ascends to this degree of love without a doubt exists in a state of love (amoris) wherein he is truly able to say, “I have become all things to all men, so that I might bring about salvation for all…293
Hugh Owen, in his book, New and Divine, quotes this same treatise in which Richard teaches, rather boldly, that:
In the first degree the betrothals take place, in the second the wedding, in the third the marriage is consummated, in the fourth the childbirth occurs … In the first degree, the soul receives frequent visits; in the second, she is betrothed; in the third, she is made one with her beloved; in the fourth, she becomes a mother.294
Here we see profound intimations of the Gift. These intimations are so powerful and accurate in their description that, no doubt, one who reads these words (venerated rightly by Catholic tradition) and opens himself up to the light contained therein, will in so doing open himself up to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor of the Church, was a 13th century Dominican theologian whose Summa Theologica is also the greatest theological work in Church history. The first formal scholastic treatment of tension between the Divine Will and the human will occurred during the 12th century in the writings of Peter Lombard, who himself commented on a passage from St. Augustine. This observation set the stage for further development.295 Later, St. Albert the Great taught that conformity to the Divine Will was the highest rule of moral action.296 Finally, Thomas Aquinas definitively summed up what had been said on the matter by using the words of Our Lord: “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt,”297 to build his case. He stated:
The goodness of the will depends on the intention of the end. Now the last end of the human will is the Sovereign Good, namely, God … Therefore the goodness of the human will requires it to be ordained to the Sovereign Good, that is, to God. Now this Good is primarily and essentially compared to the Divine Will, as its proper object.298
Later in this same article, Aquinas speaks of conformity to the Divine Will on our part being limited in scope to mere imitation; in other words, doing the Divine Will. Incidentally, this limitation is precisely what Luisa’s revelations change,299 and Aquinas’ teaching here is extremely useful in proving that there is such a thing as a higher degree of the Union of Wills than is found in simple imitation (even if it is perfect).

Nevertheless, from the issuance of this teaching and moving forward chronologically, conformity—or uniformity—to the Divine Will was prevalent in the spirituality of the saints, and grew to be seen (as the following sections will make clear) as the ultimate reality to which the entire spiritual life was directed. From this growth, one can clearly see how Luisa’s revelations are the perfectly fitting crown.
St Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena is another Dominican Doctor of the Church who, in addition to being an extraordinary mystic, gave profound teachings on the sanctity of transformation via the Divine Will.
On Catherine and her teachings, Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P., writes:
Catherine expresses this transformation in various letters … [for example] “The soul who has fallen in love with God, she who is a servant and slave ransomed by the blood of God’s Son, attains such great dignity that she cannot be called a servant now, but an empress, spouse of the eternal emperor!” Just as a maid becomes an empress through marital union with the emperor, so a creature becomes deified through a union with God made possible by the Passion of Christ. Catherine loves to speak of fire. In a striking phrase, she prays to God about how her nature is that of the Creator: “In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us … The will, now completely transformed by God’s love, has no selfishness in it, but is completely divinized.”300
In her Dialogue, St. Catherine herself writes that a divinized soul is…
… like the burning coal that no one can put out once it is completely consumed in the furnace, because it has itself been turned into fire. So it is with these souls cast into the furnace of [God’s] charity, who keep nothing at all, not a bit of their own will … They have been made one with [God] and [God] with them.301
Here we see clearly displayed both the necessary predisposition for the Gift and its effects; the predisposition being keeping “nothing at all, not even a bit of one’s own will,” and the effect being oneness with God.
St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales, 16th century bishop and one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, is often rightly held up as the ultimate teacher on the spiritual life for the laity. He strongly insisted upon the need for—and ability of—all to become holy, relaying clearly in his own writings what was not taught as clearly in the Magisterium for hundreds of years after his death (until the Second Vatican Council).
His most famous work is the Introduction to the Devout Life, but he gives a wealth of spiritual teachings in other works as well. Worth noting is that he was also perhaps the first Apostle of the “New Evangelization,” (hundreds of years before it was called this), as he made great use of what was then new technology—the printing press. He would print thousands of leaflets defending the Faith and slip them under the doors of those who refused to listen to him. He personally converted tens of thousands of souls (many of whom were previously caught up in the newly formed Protestant Reformation), and an innumerable amount have been deeply edified by his writings since his death.
Of his spiritual teaching in general, Michon Matthiesen writes:
[St. Francis de Sales] urges a preference for experiencing an “ecstasy of life”, by which he means a life no longer lived by the natural, old self, but a self-sacrificing life devoted to God, a hidden life in Christ. This new life is a “supernatural ecstatic” existence of love; it brings with it newfound vigor. The devout life, which is the way to union with God, largely focused on the will. Spiritual perfection comprised a practical doctrine of intimacy with Jesus that reaches beyond simple imitation to a union of wills and life. The possibility of deification is largely embedded in the language of the soul or will “going beyond” the limits of its natural life. Francis’ profound teaching about this union of wills and about living in the permissive will of God establishes a keystone in the French School of Spirituality … Through such a self-obliteration, the will “departs” from the “limits” of its natural life, thereby being transformed into “the divine”. The believer’s will can so participate in the divine will that those “tiny, ordinary things of life” done with love are, as it were, done by God. Francis brings his Treatise on the Love of God to a close with passionate words that identify his call to all believers to live Jesus, and to live him with immense love.302
In Dr. Matthiesen’s accurate and helpful overview of de Sales’ spirituality here, we see something so close to what Jesus reveals to Luisa that it would be nearly identical if only the words “as it were” were removed from the penultimate sentence of the quote above. And although the preceding quote is peppered with words from de Sales himself, let us turn now to a lengthier quote directly from one of this great Doctor’s works; his Treatise on the Love of God, in which we see St. Francis de Sales write:
So the soul that loves God is so transformed into the divine will, that it merits rather to be called, God’s will, than to be called, obedient and subject to his will. Whence God says by Isaias, that he will call the Christian church by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will pronounce, imprint, and engrave, in the hearts of his faithful; and then, explaining this name, he says it shall be: My will in her: as though he had said, that among such as are not Christians every one has his own will in the midst of his heart, but among the true children of our Saviour, every one shall forsake his own will, and shall have only one master-will, dominant and universal, which shall animate, govern and direct all souls, all hearts and all wills: and the name of honour amongst Christians shall be no other than God’s will in them, a will which shall rule over all wills, and transform them all into itself; so that the will of Christians and the will of Our Lord may be but one single will. This was perfectly verified in the primitive Church, when, as says the glorious S. Luke: In the multitude of the faithful there was but one heart and one soul: for he means not there to speak of the heart that keeps alive our bodies, nor of the soul which animates hearts with a human life, but he speaks of the heart which gives our souls heavenly life, and of the soul that animates our hearts with the supernatural life; the one, the singularly one heart and soul of true Christians, which is no other thing than the will of God. Life, says the Psalmist, is in the will of God, not only because our temporal life depends on the divine pleasure, but also because our spiritual life consists in the execution of it, by which God lives and reigns in us, making us live and subsist in him … Yes, we are in this world not to do our own will, but the will of thy goodness which has placed us here. It was written of thee, O Saviour of my soul, that thou didst the will of thy Eternal Father, and by the first act of the will of thy human soul, at the instant of thy conception, thou didst lovingly embrace this law of the divine will, and didst place it in the midst of thy heart there to reign and have dominion for ever. Ah! who will give my soul the grace of having no will save the will of her God!303
Here we see, with the utmost clarity, the boldest of Jesus’ words to Luisa (i.e. that we must have no will but the Will of God) clearly taught by a 16th century saint and Doctor of the Church. De Sales even gives a beautiful description of what the Reign of the Divine Will on earth will look like; all having the same will operating in them (the Divine), and thus all grounds for conflict are eradicated. Perhaps most importantly, de Sales draws a sharp contrast (in the first sentence of the quote) between being transformed into the Divine Will and merely being obedient and subject to the Divine Will—a distinction Jesus emphasizes to Luisa. In so doing, de Sales is contradicting the opinion of Aquinas, quoted above, wherein the conformity to the Divine Will is limited to imitation. This is noteworthy because de Sales undoubtedly was well acquainted with this opinion of Aquinas and would not contradict lightly any opinion of his.304
Of St. Francis de Sales in general, and of this quoted work in particular, Pope Benedict XVI taught:
Francis found peace in the radical and liberating love of God: loving him without asking anything in return and trusting in divine love … he simply loved God and abandoned himself to his goodness. And this was to be the secret of his life which would shine out in his main work: The Treatise on the Love of God… In an intensely flourishing season of mysticism The Treatise on the Love of God was a true and proper summa … [in it] we find a profound meditation on the human will and the description of its flowing, passing and dying in order to live (cf. ibid. Book IX, chapter XIII) in complete surrender not only to God’s will but also to what pleases him, to his “bon plaisir”, his good pleasure (cf. ibid., Book IX, chapter I) …It is not for nothing that we rediscover traces precisely of this teacher at the origin of many contemporary paths of pedagogy and spirituality; without him neither St John Bosco nor the heroic “Little Way” of St Thérèse of Lisieux would have come into being. Dear brothers and sisters, in an age such as ours that seeks freedom, even with violence and unrest, the timeliness of this great teacher of spirituality and peace who gave his followers the “spirit of freedom”, the true spirit. St Francis de Sales is an exemplary witness of Christian humanism; with his familiar style, with words which at times have a poetic touch, he reminds us that human beings have planted in their innermost depths the longing for God and that in him alone can they find true joy and the most complete fulfilment.305
Pope Benedict’s efforts to revive this work of de Sales here quoted (which is often eclipsed by his more popular—but also wonderful—book formerly mentioned, Introduction to the Devout Life), as well as the Pontiff’s insistence on the spirituality of St. Maximus the Confessor depicted in a previous section, should inspire all Catholics to pursue zealously Divine Will spirituality as the ultimate key to sanctity, even aside from considerations of Luisa’s revelations.
We should also note that Pope Pius XI dedicated an entire encyclical to St. Francis de Sales, strongly exhorting the faithful to heed this Doctor’s teachings. Entitled Rerum Omnium Pertubationem, a paragraph found within it illustrates to us beautifully that this spirituality of total submission to the Divine Will does not in the least mean a quietistic or passive life:
He was accustomed to repeat to himself, as a source of inspiration, that well known phrase, “Apostles battle by their sufferings and triumph only in death.” It is almost unbelievable with what vigor and constancy he defended the cause of Jesus Christ among the people of La Chablais. In order to bring them the light of faith and the comforts of the Christian religion, he was known to have traveled through deep valleys and to have climbed steep mountains. If they fled him, he pursued, calling after them loudly. Repulsed brutally, he never gave up the struggle; when threatened he only renewed his efforts. He was often put out of lodgings, at which times he passed the night asleep on the snow under the canopy of heaven. He would celebrate Mass though no one would attend. When, during a sermon, almost the entire audience one after another left the Church, he would continue preaching. At no time did he ever lose his mental poise or his spirit of kindness toward these ungrateful hearers. It was by such means as these that he finally overcame the resistance of his most formidable adversaries.306
Let us, therefore, imitate St. Francis both in his profound understanding of the renunciation of the self-will for the sake of living in the Divine Will, and in his overwhelming zeal for the salvation of souls.
Pierre de Bérulle
Pierre de Bérulle, a 17th century Cardinal and founder of the French Congregation of the Oratory, was especially noteworthy in the spiritual power of his writings. Of him, the old Catholic Encyclopedia states:
Cardinal de Bérulle’s writings exhibit a robust and vigorous doctrine full of unction and piety … One of his biographers, Father Cloysenet, has said: ‘He wrote the books at his leisure and weighed each word,’ and the biographer adds very justly that the reader is rewarded for his trouble, for ‘it is impossible to read them without feeling oneself filled with love for our Saviour Jesus Christ.’307
Considering the unassailable orthodoxy of the old Catholic Encyclopedia, and its insistence that this holy writer and Cardinal weighed each word that he wrote, we can approach his spiritual theology with confidence. For in Bérulle we see an amazing and even prophetic approximation of Luisa’s revelations regarding Jesus “re-doing” of our lives Himself, which renders them ready for us to claim in His Will. Of Berulle’s teaching, scholars have recently written:
Bérulle takes the daring position that, because divinity and humanity co—exist in the Word, all the states of the interior of Jesus’ human life have been divinized and made available to those who conform themselves to Him, thus enabling humankind to be divinized. The process of conformity is explicitly Pauline and must take place through a profound adherence of the will to the divine Will.308
And, also in this same anthology, we read:
Benet of Canfield’s Rule of Perfection (1593) defined the spiritual life with a maxim: the will of God is God himself. Bérulle was consistent with this tradition. According to him, in fact, the possession of God happens through knowledge of his will, and knowledge of the divine will is carried out in the renunciation of self will. Henceforth, the Incarnation, that “divine invention” whereby God has mysteriously joined the created and the uncreated, reveals the ultimate meaning of such a renunciation. … (Grandeurs II, X). So the logic of nothingness and abnegation is not nihilistic. On the contrary, it is the logic of a greater real intimacy between Creator and creature.309
Even St. Louis de Montfort, in his famous treatise entitled True Devotion to Mary, strongly defended Bérulle and spoke highly of him, writing:
Cardinal de Berulle, whose memory is venerated throughout France, was outstandingly zealous in furthering the devotion in France, despite the calumnies and persecutions he suffered at the hands of critics and evil men. They accused him of introducing novelty and superstition. … But this eminent and saintly man responded to their calumnies with calm patience. He wrote a little book in reply and forcefully refuted the objections contained in it. He pointed out that this devotion is founded on the example given by Jesus Christ, on the obligations we have towards him and on the promises we made in holy baptism. It was mainly this last reason which silenced his enemies. He made clear to them that this consecration to the Blessed Virgin, and through her to Jesus, is nothing less than a perfect renewal of the promises and vows of baptism. He said many beautiful things concerning this devotion which can be read in his works.310
What we should be most careful to remember from Bérulle is his incredible insight—only made clear centuries later in Luisa’s writings—that all of Jesus’ earthly life consisted in His own divinizing of all human acts, through His own Divine acts in His human nature, and that these divinized states remain open for us to claim. This is precisely what we do through the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Since this is among the more abstract (and for some quite difficult to grasp) of the teachings found in Luisa’s writings, it is particularly important to recognize that it has long existed in orthodox Catholic spiritual theology.
St. John Eudes
St. John Eudes was a 17th century French priest who founded multiple congregations. A zealous promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he was also a strong critic of Jansenism. Regarding St. John Eudes’ spiritual teachings, Dr. Matthiesen writes:
Jesus in turn tells the Christian believer that “you are also in me living my life and I am in you, communicating that very life to you.” Such mutual indwelling indicates the actual continuation of Jesus’ holy life in his followers. Eudes points to several other New Testament passages (for example, Col 3:3-4; Eph 2:5; 2 Cor 4:10-11; Gal 2:20; 2 Thess 2:11-12) that insist upon this intimacy between Christ and his disciples: this scriptural witness leaves believers no choice but to conclude that “Jesus Christ should be living in us and that we should live only in him… that our life should be a continuation and expression of his life.” In fact, we have “no right” to live any other life on earth but his. In short, the baptized Christian should aim for nothing short of being “other Jesus Christs on earth”. This “basic truth” of Christianity reflects the will of Jesus, whose union to us makes such an existence possible … Eudes stipulates that this divinized vision grants a twofold knowledge: we know the infinite worth of God, and we are aware keenly of the world’s smoky “vanity” and of our own “nothingness, sin and abomination” … John Eudes, in particular, shows himself to be quite ahead of his time, anticipating by three centuries the Second Vatican Council teaching on the common priesthood of all the baptized, and on the active participation of the laity in the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice. Eudes articulates that the laity are not simply to attend Mass in order “to assist or to see”. Rather, the Christian worshipper at Mass performs an action—”the most important thing you have to do in the world”311
Here we see that this saint’s teachings continue to pave the way for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, for he goes farther than offering this great union of wills, and instead insists that this ultimate form of sanctity is a veritable requirement for all Christians. The Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism says of Eudes:
Eudes’ spirituality was heart-centered. He combined Berulle’s mystical Christocentrism with the spirit of devotion preached by the Savoyard. Longing to live in constant intimacy with Jesus and his mother Mary, the unity of whose hearts he insisted on, he composed liturgical and poetic works that gave expression to his vision. He taught that Mary’s heart, composed of bodily, spiritual and divine (fine point) dimensions, was perfectly conjoined to that of her son. As exemplar of the human person, Mary shows the way in which divinization takes place: loving incorporation into the mystery of the Christ life…312
This explanation also demonstrates Eudes’ insight into the superior means of acquiring this Divinizing grace of union of wills: the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which he again anticipated devotion to by many years. Indeed, it is largely thanks to him that today we can benefit from our devotion to the Heart of Mary. He was formally declared, by Pope St. Pius X at his beatification, to be the “father, doctor, and apostle of the liturgical cultus of the Sacred Hearts.” There is even a significant movement underway in consideration of his being declared a Doctor of the Church, with the head of this effort, Bishop Luc Crepy, already having met with Pope Francis to discuss it. Considering all of this and much more left unsaid, we should take care to heed the admonitions of this great saint for the good of our spiritual life, not neglecting to remember his bold insistence that we have no right, as Christians, to fail to live in Christ.
Jean-Jacques Olier
Jean-Jacques Olier, founder of the Sulspicians, was a 17th century French priest and a great reformer of the spirituality of diocesan priests. His writings give another major impetus to the development of Catholic spirituality on unification of wills. Regarding Olier’s spiritual teachings, Dr. Matthiesen writes:
Most directly, the demands of authentic religion are met by becoming a host-victim to the Father, joining one’s own sacrifice to that perfect oblation of Jesus. This oblative act of the Christian depends upon a prior abnegation, which serves to clear a path to union with Jesus in his own kenosis … Olier’s language is most austere on this point of abnegation or annihilation (aneatissement). This abnegation, however, is a requisite preparation to the believer’s gradual consummation into the very life of God … no one participates in the ascension of Christ who does not first pass through Jesus’ abnegation, suffering, humiliation, Cross, and his “death to everything”. After this spiritual death, the Christian may participate in the resurrected life of Christ. This risen life, effected by the Spirit, is a life hidden in God, in which the soul is engulfed, absorbed, and annihilated by God, who hides the soul in himself. … [The soul] is in such a breathless pursuit of God that only a very small part of it actually enlivens the flesh … since the soul has been caught up in God and only lives for him. The soul borrows the qualities of God and his being. It is much more appropriate that God should consume us than enliven us, since he is ablaze in himself. This remarkable description of divinization, here considered as a “resurrection” in the Spirit, asserts that the soul can borrow divine power, and, more, that such a state is somehow fitting—given the nature of God and the capacity of the soul for intimate union with him.313
We should not let Olier’s status of not yet being a canonized saint dissuade us from taking his writings seriously. In the highly regarded masterpiece written by Fr. Faber, Growth in Holiness, we find the following said of Olier:
I have observed elsewhere that of all the uncanonized servants of God whose lives I have read, [Olier] most resembles a canonized saint.314
St. Vincent de Paul even considered Olier a saint, going so far as to pray for his intercession. This was shared in the Vincentian Heritage Journal, which states:
It is clear that Vincent regarded Olier as a saint. Writing to Mademoiselle d’ Aubrai on 26 July 1660, just two months before his own death, Vincent stated that he had “asked God for great graces through the intercession of M. Olier.” 315
Jean Pierre de Caussade
Jean Pierre de Caussade was an 18th century French Jesuit priest who is greatly revered as one of the giants of Catholic spirituality. In 2011, Dr. Jeff Mirus wrote a piece strongly encouraging Caussade’s spirituality and his work Abandonment to Divine Providence in particular, in which we read:
This book is at once extraordinarily deep and wonderfully practical. It is superbly organized—subdivided into titled sections which generally run from just one to three pages, making the presentation perfect for daily spiritual reading … r. de Caussade’s work is one of the great classics of spiritual direction, holding a place in Catholic spiritual literature which is about as high as one can go without having been canonized and declared a doctor of the Church … Catholic spiritual directors around the world have been recommending the book regularly now for some two hundred and fifty years. It has stood the test of time. There are some concepts which, under whatever name, are fundamental to the spiritual life. Practicing the presence of God, for example, is one of these. And so is abandonment to Divine Providence—a simple yet profound idea which beckons all souls who love God. Not for nothing, for example, did Bishop R. Walter Nickless of Sioux City recently conclude a stirring pastoral letter on Church renewal by urging Fr. de Caussade’s insights upon all the priests, religious and laity of his diocese.316
As mentioned in the section on “Unification of Wills” in this book, in Caussade we find writings so sublime and so resembling Luisa’s that one cannot help but wonder if somehow Caussade was miraculously given a prophetic glimpse of her Volumes. Although considered one of the greatest spiritual works in the history of the Church, his Abandonment to Divine Providence is nevertheless known to cause consternation in beginners who stumble upon it, for they understandably wonder if his teachings are orthodox, considering the astonishing magnitude of their claims. One such person contacted EWTN with precisely this concern, and was given the following response from one of EWTN’s theologians, Dr. David Gregson. In his response, he first gives his own opinion and then goes on to quote an authoritative source:
Abandonment to Divine Providence is a spiritual classic, and Jean Pierre de Caussade’s orthodoxy is unimpeachable. From the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), “Caussade’s doctrine is dominated by the idea of peace. A disciple of St. Francis de Sales and of Fenelon, he remained faithful to Ignatian spirituality as interpreted by Louis Lallemant. He relates all spiritualty [sic] to interior peace, obtained by fidelity to the order of God, by faith in the universal and ever actual working of the Creator, by accepting one’s cross, and by a confidence in God’s fatherly goodness. This is the Salesian ideal of evangelical simplicity and of absolute docitilty [sic] to the will and pleasure of God.”317
Let us now turn to the teachings themselves as found in his own words. Summing up the importance and the effects of the renunciation of the self-will is a beautiful soliloquy written by him, which gives us everything we need to know in becoming disposed to receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will:
If, besides, [souls that tend towards sanctity] understood that to attain the utmost height of perfection, the safest and surest way is to accept the crosses sent them by Providence at every moment, that the true philosopher’s stone is submission to the will of God which changes into divine gold all their occupations, troubles, and sufferings, what consolation would be theirs! What courage would they not derive from the thought that to acquire the friendship of God, and to arrive at eternal glory, they had but to do what they were doing, but to suffer what they were suffering, and that what they wasted and counted as nothing would suffice to enable them to arrive at eminent sanctity: far more so than extraordinary states and wonderful works. O my God! how much I long to be the missionary of Your holy will, and to teach all men that there is nothing more easy, more attainable, more within reach, and in the power of everyone, than sanctity. How I wish that I could make them understand that just as the good and the bad thief had the same things to do and to suffer; so also two persons, one of whom is worldly and the other leading an interior and wholly spiritual life have, neither of them, anything different to do or to suffer; but that one is sanctified and attains eternal happiness by submission to Your holy will in those very things by which the other is damned because he does them to please himself, or endures them with reluctance and rebellion. This proves that it is only the heart that is different. Oh! All you that read this, it will cost you no more than to do what you are doing, to suffer what you are suffering, only act and suffer in a holy manner. It is the heart that must be changed. When I say heart, I mean will. Sanctity, then, consists in willing all that God wills for us. Yes! Sanctity of heart is a simple “fiat,” a conformity of will with the will of God.318
Regarding the teachings of both Caussade and St. Thérèse of Lisieux two centuries later, Dr. Matthiesen says the following:
Both of these later figures discover the possibility of deification in loving abandonment to the providential will of the Father. De Caussade and Thérèse understand that this abandonment—simple and complete—means that Jesus Christ becomes the source of action within the believer … Thérèse speaks of God entirely taking over one’s desire, will, and actions. For both of these spiritual writers, the universality of their spiritual teaching—its hidden, sacrificial way—epitomizes the vive Jesus … 319
Turning her focus specifically to Caussade, Dr. Matthiesen writes:
De Caussade puts it this way: “God desires to be the unique cause of all that is holy in us, so all that comes from us is very little. In God’s sight there can be nothing great in us—with one exception: our total receptivity to his will.” While it is true that de Caussade’s thought on the abandonment of the will depends largely on Francis de Sales, whom he quotes frequently in his letters of spiritual direction to the Visitation Sisters at Nancy, it is likewise the case that Berulle’s influence emerges in de Caussade’s depiction of abandon as a permanent state or disposition. De Caussade does speak of many discreet punctual acts of sacrifice that manifest self-abandonment; but he also addresses abandonment as a kind of continuous or habitual act.46 Formal acts of turning one’s will over to God are gradually replaced by a steady disposition of heart, a readiness to will what God wills in every moment and circumstance. This surrender thus becomes a kind of perpetual state, one that shares in Jesus’ continual fiat voluntas tua (thy will be done). Perhaps most accurately, we could say that abandonment is a more general fiat that contains a multiplicity of individual acts of surrender. De Caussade speaks of these acts as more or less unconscious; that is to say, they may leave little or no “trace” upon the spirit, so that the will does not recognize the act as its own—which is, in fact, the ideal, for then it is God acting through the human will without resistance of any kind. At this point, what God wills and what the believer desires is one. When such a unity of wills obtains, the believer is participating not only in God’s design, but in God’s life … De Caussade eloquently articulates the vive Jesus and Eudes’ firm assertion that Christians continue in their daily lives that holy and divine life of Jesus. His particular contribution is to locate this participation in a union (by way of surrender) of the human will to the divine will.320
St. Alphonsus Liguori
St. Alphonsus Liguori was an Italian Bishop and theologian who is also a Doctor of the Church. A prolific writer, he is especially known for his incredible insights into Mariology, long before such a deep understanding of the Glories of Mary (the title of one of his books) was common. He is also known for his profound teachings on the spiritual and moral life and, like most of the greatest Catholic writers of his day, he was despised by the Jansenists. Of St. Alphonsus’ teachings, the great Fr. Aumann writes:
If love is the essence of Christian holiness and if love is friendship, then the love that constitutes perfection will necessarily imply conformity to God’s will; this, in turn, requires detachment from all that is an obstacle to union with the divine will. The goal, then, is to will only what God wills and thus attain a state of holy indifference to everything but God. Such conformity bears fruit in obedience to God’s laws, which are the expression of his will for us…
It has been said that the spiritual doctrine of St. Alphonsus is oriented to the ascetical life, and that is true, but it is an asceticism which serves as an excellent preparation for the mystical state. He places great stress on total renunciation, complete conformity to the divine will, and an intense life of prayer, all of which are favorable predispositions in mysticism. Like no other theologian of his time, St. Alphonsus made the traditional doctrine on the spiritual life practical and popular, yet he was well within the tradition of the great masters such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis de Sales.321
Though not so much regarded as a mystic, St. Alphonsus nevertheless presents beautiful, practical, and powerful norms on the application of Divine Will spirituality to one’s life as a Catholic. For it was he who dedicated one of his greatest works to this very theme, entitling it Uniformity With God’s Will. In this work, he begins by reminding us that the essence of our faith is nothing but this fact of God’s Will:
Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: “Charity is the bond of perfection;” and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s: “The principal effect of love is so to unite the wills of those who love each other as to make them will the same things.” It follows then, that the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God. Mortification, meditation, receiving Holy Communion, acts of fraternal charity are all certainly pleasing to God—but only when they are in accordance with his will. When they do not accord with God’s will, he not only finds no pleasure in them, but he even rejects them utterly and punishes them. … The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything. Our Redeemer came on earth to glorify his heavenly Father and to teach us by his example how to do the same … Our Lord frequently declared that he had come on earth not to do his own will, but solely that of his Father: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” … Furthermore, he said he would recognize as his brother, him who would do his will: “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother.”322
He moves on to demonstrate that this is not some new insight of his, but is in fact the essence of the lives of the saints as well:
To do God’s will—this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. Blessed Henry Suso used to say: “It is not God’s will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will.” “Those who give themselves to prayer,” says St. Teresa, “should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life.” … During our sojourn in this world, we should learn from the saints now in heaven, how to love God. The pure and perfect love of God they enjoy there, consists in uniting themselves perfectly to his will. It would be the greatest delight of the seraphs to pile up sand on the seashore or to pull weeds in a garden for all eternity, if they found out such was God’s will. Our Lord himself teaches us to ask to do the will of God on earth as the saints do it in heaven: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”323
And he reminds us that this Divine Will was the essence of sanctity also in the times of the Old Testament, saying:
Because David fulfilled all his wishes, God called him a man after his own heart: “I have found David … a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills.” David was always ready to embrace the divine will, as he frequently protested: “My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.” He asked God for one thing alone—to teach him to do his will: “Teach me to do thy will.”324
Next, Alphonsus speaks to the extraordinary power of the Divine Will:
A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint. Behold while Saul was persecuting the Church, God enlightened him and converted him. What does Saul do? What does he say? Nothing else but to offer himself to do God’s will: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” In return the Lord calls him a vessel of election and an apostle of the gentiles: “This man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the gentiles.” Absolutely true—because he who gives his will to God, gives him everything. He who gives his goods in alms, his blood in scourgings, his food in fasting, gives God what he has. But he who gives God his will, gives himself, gives everything he is. … St. Augustine’s comment is: “There is nothing more pleasing we can offer God than to say to him: ‘Possess thyself of us’.” We cannot offer God anything more pleasing than to say: Take us, Lord, we give thee our entire will. Only let us know thy will and we will carry it out. If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more—it means that we make one will of God’s will and ours, so that we will only what God wills; that God’s will alone, is our will. This is the summit of perfection and to it we should always aspire; this should be the goal of all our works, desires, meditations and prayers. To this end we should always invoke the aid of our holy patrons, our guardian angels, and above all, of our mother Mary, the most perfect of all the saints because she most perfectly embraced the divine will.325
Lest anyone be concerned that this Uniformity is any sort of a depressing task, Alphonsus reminds us that the greatest happiness and perfect peace is found in the Divine Will and in It alone. He writes:
If souls resigned to God’s will are humiliated, says Salvian, they want to be humiliated; if they are poor, they want to be poor; in short, whatever happens is acceptable to them, hence they are truly at peace in this life. In cold and heat, in rain and wind, the soul united to God says: “I want it to be warm, to be cold, windy, to rain, because God wills it.” This is the beautiful freedom of the sons of God, and it is worth vastly more than all the rank and distinction of blood and birth, more than all the kingdoms in the world. This is the abiding peace which, in the experience of the saints, “surpasseth all understanding.” It surpasses all pleasures rising from gratification of the senses, from social gatherings, banquets and other worldly amusements; vain and deceiving as they are, they captivate the senses for the time being, but bring no lasting contentment; rather they afflict man in the depth of his soul where alone true peace can reside. … By uniting themselves to the divine will, the saints have enjoyed paradise by anticipation in this life. … Our Lord assured his apostles: “Your joy no man shall take from you … Your joy shall be full.” He who unites his will to God’s experiences a full and lasting joy: full, because he has what he wants, as was explained above; lasting, because no one can take his joy from him, since no one can prevent what God wills from happening.326
Finally, the single key to all of this is nothing but the very thing that every Christian knows by heart. For in yet another work, St. Alphonsus (quoting another saint when he gave advice on what to meditate on from the Our Father prayer), once wrote:
The Lord recommended to St. Catherine of Genoa, every time she said the Our Father, to pay particular attention to these words: “Thy will be done,” and to beg for the grace to fulfill the Will of God as perfectly as the Saints in heaven.327
“Thy Will be Done.” In that, is everything.
As we have seen even in this brief treatment, this great Doctor of the Church gives us nothing short of a treasure chest of teachings on the theology of the Divine Will and of our response to it, all of unassailable orthodoxy by even the most tepid of Catholics. These teachings will—if believed and followed—enable us to receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
And now we have arrived at “the Greatest Saint of Modern Times,”328 the little flower, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church.
Here we have something unprecedented. Before relaying it, I will first share my own dilemma. There is some debate among experts on Luisa’s writings whether Luisa received the Gift of Living in the Divine Will in 1888, 1889, 1900, or some time in between. I am not worthy of contributing to this debate, so I leave it up to better men than myself to figure that out; even though the date I often cite is 1889. How exactly this debate is cleared up determines whether it is possible that Thérèse herself received (and thus spoke directly about) the Gift itself (Thérèse died in 1897 and wrote her famous Story of a Soul in the years leading up to her death). I include her in this chapter on the Gift’s “foreshadowing” simply because I wish to emphasize how the teachings of St. Thérèse serve as the completion of this profound development of the spirituality of Union of Wills found in the preceding sections, each dedicated—chronologically—to the earlier writers on the same topic. But it may very well be that Thérèse more appropriately belongs in the section on “The Gift Elsewhere in Private Revelation;” for although Thérèse did not specifically receive clear messages or direct apparitions from Jesus, it is undeniable that she received clear light from Him and that He inspired her words.
What is perhaps most important in the writings of Thérèse is the “ease” of receiving this great gift of unprecedented heights of sanctity from God. She wrote in her autobiography:
How can a soul so imperfect as mine aspire to the plenitude of Love? … Alas! I am but a poor little unfledged bird. I am not an eagle, I have but the eagle’s eyes and heart! Yet, notwithstanding my exceeding littleness, I dare to gaze upon the Divine Sun of Love, and I burn to dart upwards unto Him! I would fly, I would imitate the eagles; but all that I can do is to lift up my little wings-it is beyond my feeble power to soar. … With daring self-abandonment there will I remain until death, my gaze fixed upon that Divine Sun. Nothing shall affright me … 329
The necessity for “littleness” of the soul constitutes a great overlap between Thérèse and Luisa’s writings, and this littleness is the key to being open to receiving the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. In demonstrating that the heights of perfection can be reached not only through the same long and arduous journey taken by many great saints we read about, but can also be achieved in a much easier and quicker way, Thérèse teaches the following:
You know it has ever been my desire to become a Saint, but I have always felt, in comparing myself with the Saints, that I am as far removed from them as the grain of sand, which the passer-by tramples underfoot, is remote from the mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds. Instead of being discouraged, I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way-very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions; nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, they have lifts instead. Well, I mean to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. I have sought to find in Holy Scripture some suggestion as to what this lift might be which I so much desired, and I read these words uttered by the Eternal Wisdom Itself: “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to Me.” Then I drew near to God, feeling sure that I had discovered what I sought; but wishing to know further what He would do to the little one, I continued my search and this is what I found: “You shall be carried at the breasts and upon the knees; as one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you.” Never have I been consoled by words more tender and sweet. Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get there I need not grow; on the contrary, I must remain little … 330
A religious sister once wrote in order to Thérèse, telling her that her “little way” was truly a “great way”—that although Thérèse says she is just a fledgling little bird with a broken wing who cannot hope to rise up to the heights of the eagles (the great saints), she is in reality just another eagle soaring in the Heavens. This view is likely shared by many Catholics when they are introduced to the Little Way of St. Thérèse—Catholics who say to themselves; “Ah! Interesting thing for a canonized saint who never committed a mortal sin to say! And a cloistered nun, no less! This couldn’t possibly be less applicable to me.” Thérèse rebuked this sister. It was no doubt arranged by God so that Thérèse could answer this same concern for us all. She said to this sister it was not so—that she truly did not have the greatness of the saints she spoke of. Thérèse insisted that it was confidence and blind confidence alone in God, and nothing else. No greatness of the eagle, not even of a subtle type. In relaying the heart of Thérèse’s spirituality, Dr. Matthiesen writes:
Thérèse petitions to be so transformed by Jesus’ divine substance in the Eucharist that she might ascend to the very Furnace of Love in the Trinity. It is the work of divinization to lift up and consume the soul, but Thérèse avers that such divine operation is effective only in one who becomes nothing: the smaller one is, the wider the vessel one presents to God to fill with himself. Abandonment of the self, abandonment of the will to God’s desire, should be the Christian’s only “compass”. Such abnegation allows God to be working through the soul so that every act is love …Thérèse, in a manner more strikingly direct than Francis de Sales and John Eudes, teaches that the believer who lovingly makes herself nothing before the will of God does indeed become a continuation of the life of Christ and a daring sharer in his divine powers. The divine and prodigal excess of the Father finds a receptacle in the soul’s abandon.331
Here we see that Thérèse’s admonition that we become nothing before God goes so far as to allow Christ to continue His very own Life within us. That is, to live in the Divine Will. Explicitly pointing out this truth as a rather unavoidable conclusion, Hugh Owen writes:
… the comments of the popes who promoted her cause of canonization take on even greater significance. Indeed, what could the Holy Spirit have intended when He inspired Pope St. Pius X to call Therese “the greatest saint of modern times”? What could have moved Pope Pius XI to confess that he expected the Little Flower to work “a spiritual revolution”? Superlatives like these from the lips of the Vicars of Christ suggest that we are not mistaken in seeing her as the patroness of a “‘new and divine’ holiness” which would grow exponentially and help the Blessed Virgin to “crush the head of Satan completely.”332
Certainly, we would be foolish to not realize that there is something new here. Mr. Owen is correct: we cannot simply discount multiple Popes speaking with such superlative emphasis on Thérèse’ spirituality. We are left to conclude that it marks a turning point. This turning point brings us to Luisa.
In the official Church-sanctioned biography of Luisa, published by the Vatican, we read:
The young Carmelite is known as St. Therese of Lisieux and is today a Doctor of the Church. Luisa has a. great devotion to this woman, who teaches with her life the trusting abandonment into God’s hands and a “new’ way of uniting with him. In her teachings, people can talk with God at any moment of the day. When the first translation of her “Story of a Soul,” a sort of autobiography, is published in Italy at the beginning of the 1900s, it becomes understood that everyone, not just priests and nuns, can live a mystical life built on the awareness of a love that is already present in the heart of every person created in the image of God. But this mystical life is to be expressed by each person in the way most appropriate to the life one leads. That way, many people learn that they can always be united to God, even in their daily tasks, through the union of will. So often mothers who go running to Luisa for advice end up hearing the same thing!333
It is no accident that Luisa herself was deeply devoted to Thérèse (long before the latter’s canonization). Indeed, Thérèse’ Little Way is what prepares us to receive the Gift as revealed to Lusia.
I conclude this section with a few quotes from Thérèse which she shares in her autobiography.
My heart is full of the Will of Jesus. Ah, if my soul were not already filled with His Will, if it had to be filled by the feelings of joy and sadness which follow each other so quickly, it would be a tide of very bitter sorrow. But these alternatives do nothing but brush across my soul. I always remain in a profound peace which nothing can trouble. If the Lord offered me the choice, I would not choose anything: I want nothing but what He wants. It is what He does that I love. I acknowledge that it took me a long time to bring myself to this degree of abandonment. Now I have reached it, for the Lord took me and put me there.
“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s Will, and being just what God wants us to be…”
“In Heaven, God will do all I desire, because on earth I have never done my own will.”
Various Teachings
The preceding sections paint a clear picture: one in which union with the Divine Will is the ultimate standard of the spiritual life; serving as its origin, its end, and the life breath that sustains it in every moment in-between. Of course, for the sake of space, I sadly had to leave many worthy saints and other writers out of this consideration.
Therefore, as much as I would like to give dozens more saints their own sections in this chapter, I must restrain myself and instead end the chapter with a collection of quotes on the Divine Will from an assortment of saints. First, we will a number of excerpts I have selected from A Year with the Saints,334 a wonderful book published in English in 1891. Bearing an Imprimatur from the (then) Archbishop of New York, Michael Corrigan, it gives many beautiful snippets of inspiration from the lives of the saints. An overarching theme in it is the Divine Will.
“One act of resignation to the Divine will, when it ordains what is repugnant to us, is worth more than a hundred thousand successes according to our own will and pleasure.” -St. Vincent de Paul
How much, in the midst of all his disasters, did holy Job merit before God, by his Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit—The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away!
“Perfect resignation is nothing else than a complete moral annihilation of thoughts and affections, when one renounces himself totally in God, that He may guide him as He wills and pleases, as if one no longer knew or cared for either himself or anything else except God. It is thus that the soul, so to speak, loses itself in God, not, indeed as to its nature, but as to the appropriation of its powers.”—Bl. Enrico Susone.
St. Catherine of Genoa was one of those happy souls who attained to a share in this holy annihilation, in which, as she herself attests, she had no longer thoughts, affections, or desires as to anything, except to leave God to do with her, and in her, all that He might will, without any choice or resistance on her part, and that this gave her in all circumstances and occasions, a delight like that of the blessed, who have no will but that of their God. And so she was able to say: “ If I eat, if I drink, if I speak, if I am silent, if I sleep, if I wake, if I see, if I hear, if I meditate, if I am in the church, if I am in the house, if I am in the street, if I am sick or well, in every hour and moment of my life, I would do only God’s will, and my neighbor’s for His sake; or rather, I would not wish to be able to do, to speak, or to think anything apart from the will of God; and if anything in me should oppose itself to this, I would wish that it might instantly become dust and be scattered to the winds.”335…
“When shall it be that we shall taste the sweetness of the Divine will in all that happens to us, considering in everything only His good pleasure, by whom it is certain that adversity is sent with as much love as prosperity, and as much for our good? When shall we cast ourselves unreservedly into the arms of our most loving Father in heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our affairs, and reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in all that we can? —St. J. F. de Chantal336…
We ought to submit to the will of God, and be content in whatever state it may please Him to put us; nor should we ever desire to change it for another, until we know that such is His pleasure. This is the most excellent and the most useful practice that can be adopted upon earth. -St. Vincent de Paul
The venerable Father Daponte told an intimate friend that he was glad of all his natural defects of appearance and speech, since it had pleased the Lord to mark him with them; that he was glad also of all his temptations and miseries, both interior and exterior, since God so willed it, and that if it were the will of God that he should live a thousand years, oppressed by far greater trials, and in the deepest darkness, provided that he should not offend Him, he would be quite content.
When the news of her husband’s death in the war was brought to St. Elizabeth, she instantly raised her heart to God, and said: “O Lord, Thou knowest well that I preferred his presence to all the delights of the world! But since it has pleased Thee to take him from me, I assent so fully to Thy holy will, that if I could bring him back by plucking out a single hair from my head, I would not do it, except at Thy will.”337…
So great is the delight which the angels take in executing the will of God, that, if it were His will that one of them should come upon earth to pull up weeds and root out nettles from a field, he would leave Paradise immediately, and set himself to work with all his heart, and with infinite pleasure.—Bl. Enrico Susone
[Blessed Jacopone] was so satisfied with the will of God, so completely attached and submissive to it, that he said, “I would rather be a bat at the Divine will, than a seraph at my own.”
So great was the love and tenderness which St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi entertained for the Divine will, that at the mere mention of it, she would be lost in an ocean of spiritual joy, and sometimes rapt into ecstasies.338 …
Conformity to the Divine will is a most powerful means to overcome every temptation, to eradicate every imperfection, and to preserve peace of heart. It is a most efficacious remedy for all ills, and the treasure of the Christian. It includes in itself in an eminent degree mortification, abnegation, indifference, imitation of Christ, union with God, and in general all the virtues, which are not virtues at all, except as they are in conformity with the will of God, the origin and rule of all perfection.” -St. Vincent de Paul
St. Vincent de Paul was himself so much attached to this virtue, that it might be called his characteristic and principal one, or a kind of general virtue which spreads its influence over all the rest, which aroused all his feelings and all his powers of mind and body, and was the mainspring of all his actions. If he placed himself in the presence of God in his prayers or other exercises, his first impulse was to say with St. Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” If he was very attentive in consulting and hearkening to God, and showed great circumspection in distinguishing between true inspirations proceeding from the Holy Spirit, and false ones which come from the devil or from nature, this was in order to recognize the will of God with greater certainty, and be in a better position to execute it. And, finally, if he rejected so resolutely the maxims of the world, and attached himself solely to those of the Gospel, if he renounced himself so perfectly; if he embraced crosses with so much affection, and gave himself up to do and suffer all for God,—this, too, was to conform himself more perfectly to the whole will of his divine Lord.
The blessed Jacopone being astonished that he no longer felt any disturbances and evil impulses, as he did at first, heard an interior voice saying: “This comes from your having wholly abandoned yourself to the Divine will, and being content with all it does.”339…
“Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is, doing the will of God. For, according to our Lord’s words, it suffices for perfection deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now, who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become a Saint! Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.”— St. Vincent de Paul.
More than in anything else the Saint just quoted showed the purity and solidity of his virtue, in always aiming to follow and obey the will of God. This was the great principle on which all his resolutions were founded, and by which he faithfully and firmly carried them into practice, trampling under foot his own interest, and preferring the Divine will and the glory and service of God to anything else, without exception.
The Lord said of David, that he was a man after His own heart; and the foundation for such high praise is given in these words, “ for in all things he will do My will.”
St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi was so much attached to this practice that she often said that she would never determine upon anything, however trivial, such as going from one room to another, if she thought it not in conformity with the Divine will, nor would she omit to do anything she believed in conformity with it. And she added, that if it came into her mind while she was in the midst of an action, that such an act was contrary to the will of God, she would abandon it on the instant, though to do so might cost her life.
Taulerus relates of a certain holy and learned man, that when his friends entreated him, on his death-bed, to leave them some good precept, he said : The sum and substance of all instruction is to take all that comes as from the hand of God, and to wish for nothing different, but to do in all things His divine will … 340…
St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi knew this most important truth; and, with the guidance of so clear a light, she knew how to submit her will to that of God so perfectly, that she was always contented with what came to her day by day, nor did she ever desire anything extraordinary. She was even accustomed to say that she would consider it a marked defect to ask of the Lord any grace for herself or others, with any greater importunity than simple prayers, and that it was her joy and glory to do His will, not that He should do hers. Even as to the sanctity and perfection of her own soul, she wished that it might be not according to her own desire, but to the will of God. And so, we find among her writings this resolution: To offer myself to God, and to seek all that perfection and only that perfection which He is pleased that I should have, and in the time and way that He shall wish, and not otherwise. In conversation with an intimate friend, she once said: “The good which does not come to me by this way of the Divine will, does not seem to me good. I would prefer having no gift at all except that of leaving all my will and all my desires in God, to having any gift through desire and will. Yes, yes, in me sint, Deus, vota tua, et non vota mea—Thy will, not mine, be done.” The grace which she asked most frequently and most earnestly of the Lord was this, that He would make her remain till death entirely subject and submissive to His divine will and pleasure; thus it is no wonder that she became so holy.341
The following quotes are taken from various other sources. (Due to the popularity of all these quotes and the ease of verifying each, I will not burden you with a deluge of individual footnotes. Many, however, were taken from the “White Lily of the Trinity” website342.)
But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him
—St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Lord what wilt Thou have me do? Behold the true sign of a totally perfect soul: when one has reached the point of giving up his will so completely that he no longer seeks , expects or desires to do ought but that which God wills.
—St. Bernard
There could not be a surer sign of God’s love for you than this pain which He has sent you. Adore the divine will.
—St. Paul of the Cross
‘All that the beginner in prayer has to do—and you must not forget this, for it is very important—is to labour and be resolute and prepare himself with all possible diligence to bring his will into conformity with the will of God. As I shall say later, you may be quite sure that this comprises the very greatest perfection which can be attained on the spiritual road.’
—St. Teresa of Jesus
No one will have any other desire in heaven than what God wills; and the desire of one will be the desire of all; and the desire of all and of each one will also be the desire of God.
—St. Anselm of Canterbury
‘More determination is required to subdue the interior man than to mortify the body; and to break one’s will than to break one’s bones.’
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
I desire to suffer always and not to die. I should add: this is not my will, it is my inclination. It is sweet to think of Jesus; but it is sweeter to do His will.
—Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified “The Little Arab”
I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own!
—Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother
The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.
—Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
“Every creature, whether it will or not, is subject to the one God and Lord; but a warning is given to us, to serve the Lord with our whole will, because the just man serves Him willingly, but the unjust serves Him as a slave.”
—Saint Augustine
1)
12) The Gift Elsewhere in Private Revelation

If indeed, as has already been mentioned, Jesus did give Luisa the Gift of Living in the Divine Will in 1889, thus opening the door for others to receive it and know it,343 then it should be no surprise that we begin to see hints of this same spiritual reality exhibited in the works of the great mystics of the 20th century.
So, unlike the previous sections, in which we spoke of premonitions of the Gift (even though in many cases these premonitions are amazingly accurate), here in this section we can speak of the actual Gift itself. Unfortunately, there are some promoters of Luisa’s writings today who reject that the Gift can be found anywhere but in Luisa’s own writings, but in my opinion Our Lord has the same rebuke for them as He had for His own disciples:
Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him… he that is not against us is for us.344
Nowhere in Luisa’s revelations does Jesus clearly tell her anything to the effect of Luisa being the only one to whom He would ever reveal anything about this Gift, but only that she was the only person to whom He had revealed this Gift. Beyond merely reading their own interpretation into Luisa’s writings, those who insist that the Gift cannot possibly be found explained anywhere outside of Luisa’s writings are not even being logically consistent. For they themselves write of (or at least speak of) the Gift! “Yes, but we do so only by way of talking about Luisa’s writings,” they may respond. But what an absurd constraint this is when we are speaking of mysticism.345 These people have seen Luisa’s writings as physical ink on paper and thus are able to speak of them; but what of a mystic who has seen their essence revealed to him or her by God? Is God incapable of such mystical action? As you will see, this is clearly precisely what has happened in the case of the following mystics; though knowing nothing of Luisa or her revelations, they nevertheless relayed the essence of the same. Here, indeed, we simply have another profound validation of Luisa’s revelations as truly being from God; we see this Gift nowhere before the 20th century, and suddenly upon its dawn we see its explication exploding onto the scene of private revelation in the writings of mystics who had no knowledge whatsoever of each other.
Before delving into these examples, I wish to refer you to two works: The Splendor of Creation, by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, and “New and Divine: The Holiness of the Third Christian Millennium,” by Hugh Owen. I will only briefly present some key points here, whereas those two books treat the matter much more thoroughly, and I heartily recommend purchasing both. The highly respected Fatima promoter and co-founder of the Blue army, John Haffert, wrote a forward for Mr. Owen’s book, resoundingly endorsing not only the book in particular, but going so far as to say:
It is faith in the promises of Fatima, faith in the triumph of God’s Will on earth as in Heaven. And we can dare to believe that it can begin now, in each of us, if we believe enough to say “Yes” to the great gift that God now offers to the world, the gift of the “new and divine” holiness.346
St. Faustina
St. Faustina’s revelations are especially noteworthy and they are included first in this list for two reasons. First, the overlap they share with Luisa’s writings is both profound and pervasive. But we could go even farther, I wager, and say that Faustina’s and Luisa’s revelations represent the two prongs of God’s Final Effort in the world: the former of salvation, and the latter of sanctification. For in a word, the essence of the Divine Mercy devotion is this: Jesus, I Trust in You. And the essence of the Divine Will devotion is this: Thy Will be Done. The former disposes us for the greatest possible result of the latter.
Second, St. Faustina’s revelations can be approached with an enormous degree of confidence, for they have been approved by the Church in the greatest possible ways. A brief discussion is in order to demonstrate the grounds for this confidence so that you can truly feel this conviction in your heart and allow it to inspire also the same conviction in Luisa’s revelations with due regard to the undeniable concurrence of the revelations (which will presently be demonstrated).
Pope St. John Paul II said, when speaking about his Encyclical Dives in Misericordia (which was greatly inspired by his reading of the Divine Mercy Diary):
Right from the beginning of my ministry in St. Peter’s See in Rome, I consider this message [Divine Mercy] my special task. Providence has assigned it to me in the present situation of man, the Church and the world. It could be said that precisely this situation assigned that message to me as my task before God.347
He also spoke of the Divine Mercy Message as “forming the image of [his] pontificate.” Lest anyone be concerned he was just speaking of Divine Mercy in general, and not intending to allude to Faustina’s revelations on the same in particular, he also said that he had a “burning desire” that this message of St. Faustina’s be proclaimed “to all the peoples of the earth.”348 On Divine Mercy Sunday of 1993, he beatified Faustina; on Divine Mercy Sunday of 2000, he canonized St. Faustina and declared that day a Feast of the Universal Church; on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday of 2005, John Paul entered into his eternal reward; and on Divine Mercy Sunday of 2014, he was declared a saint. Pope St. John Paul II’s insistence upon St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy revelations could be the topic of a book of its own; in this section we will review only a small morsel.
John Paul’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, said in his very first message as the Vicar of Christ:
Dear friends, this deep gratitude for a gift of Divine Mercy is uppermost in my heart in spite of all. And I consider it a special grace which my Venerable Predecessor, John Paul II, has obtained for me. I seem to feel his strong hand clasping mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment addressed specifically to me, ‘Do not be afraid!’349
The following Divine Mercy Sunday, he said:
The words [John Paul II] pronounced on that last occasion [Dedication of the Divine Mercy Shrine] were as a synthesis of his Magisterium, evidencing that devotion to Divine Mercy is not a secondary devotion, but an integral dimension of a Christian’s faith and prayer.350
The next month he said the following:
Sr Faustina Kowalska, contemplating the shining wounds of the Risen Christ, received a message of trust for humanity which John Paul II echoed and interpreted and which really is a central message precisely for our time.351
And later, during the homily at Mass on the third anniversary of the death of John Paul II, he said,
God’s mercy, as [John Paul II] himself said, is a privileged key to the interpretation of his Pontificate. He wanted the message of God’s merciful love to be made known to all and urged the faithful to witness to it. This is why he desired to raise to the honor of the altars Sr Faustina Kowalska, a humble Sister who, through a mysterious divine plan, became a prophetic messenger of Divine Mercy.352
Pope Francis’ words are no less supportive of precisely this message of Divine Mercy from St. Faustina. He said to a gathering of the priests of Rome:
[We are here] to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to the whole Church of our time, which is the time of mercy. I am sure of this. It is not only Lent; we are living in a time of mercy, and have been for 30 years or more, up to today. [St. John Paul II] sensed that this was the time of mercy, [he said] ‘ … the light of Divine Mercy, which the Lord in a way wished to return to the world through Sr Faustina’s charism, will illumine the way for the men and women of the third millennium’ It is clear. Here it is explicit … Today we forget everything far too quickly, even the Magisterium of the Church! … we cannot forget the great content, the great intuitions and gifts that have been left to the People of God. And Divine Mercy is one of these. It is a gift which he [JPII] gave to us, but which comes from above. It is up to us, as ministers of the Church, to keep this message alive.353
Later, Pope Francis took the enormous step of declaring an Extraordinary Jubilee—a Holy Year of Mercy—taking its inspiration from none other than St. Faustina. In formally proclaiming the Holy Year, Pope Francis wrote:
I am especially thinking of the great apostle of mercy, Saint Faustina Kowalska. May she, who was called to enter the depths of divine mercy, intercede for us and obtain for us the grace of living and walking always according to the mercy of God and with an unwavering trust in his love354
More amazing still, it appears Pope Francis chose to structure the Holy Year in a way that prophetically emanates from Jesus’ words to St. Faustina. For Jesus said to Faustina:
…before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice …355
In the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis called for a literal, physical, “Door of Mercy” to be opened at each Cathedral in the world. He said, “I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy…”356
Three Popes in a row now have expressed their most heartfelt, zealous, and unflinching support for this message of St. Faustina. They have unabashedly asserted that she is indeed a prophet, bringing God’s own message to us. Her diary, of course, remains a private revelation; it is not the inerrant Word of God that Scripture contains, nor can it be approached as an infallible guide to Faith and Morals like the Magisterium. But consider what you have just read—you can see that it is, nevertheless, absolutely trustworthy. It is simply beyond question that whatever St. Faustina’s revelations teach us consists in a true and undeniable call from Heaven, which is why her writings serve as a most powerful means of enkindling our desire for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
***
Therefore, we can now delve into the treasure chest of overlap of Divine Mercy in My Soul with Luisa’s own revelations on the Divine Will. Let us approach what follows without the slightest hint of doubt, and from that absence of doubt let proceed a blazing fire of desire for what is described.
Thankfully, these private revelations given to St. Faustina have enjoyed immense popularity recently, and they deserve no less. But the most profound and radical elements of her revelations are almost entirely ignored in virtually all the well-known books, talks, etc. on the same. Here I wish to give you, not a comprehensive and thorough overview, but merely a glimpse and an introduction to this usually neglected aspect of Faustina’s writings.
The following section will take quotes from Faustina’s diary and contain added emphasis to draw special attention to the references to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
Living Hosts: The “Unprecedented” Grace of Union with God
In St. Faustina’s revelations, we read:
However, the soul receiving this unprecedented grace of union with God cannot say that it sees God face to face, because even here there is a very thin veil of faith, but so very thin that the soul can say that it sees God and talks with Him. It is “divinized.” God allows the soul to know how much He loves it, and the soul sees that better and holier souls than itself have not received this grace. Therefore, it is filled with holy amazement, which maintains it in deep humility, and it steeps itself in its own nothingness and holy astonishment; and the more it humbles itself, the more closely God unites himself with it and descends to it … in one moment, [the soul] knows God and drowns in Him. It knows the whole depth of the Unfathomable One, and the deeper this knowledge, the more ardently the soul desires Him.357
St. Faustina describes Living in the Divine Will here with the term “unprecedented grace.” Despite knowing nothing of Luisa and not herself being the one instructed by God on the Gift, Faustina here in fact answers the first concern that most people have about the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, namely “How could I, who am so unworthy, receive a gift so much greater than what was received by the saints of days past who dwarf me in virtue?” Indeed, we must be amazed at the offer God extends to us. The more we learn, the more amazed and desirous we must become, for what is known more can be loved more. The more we receive, the more humble we must become; for we recognize that, despite being unworthy servants,358 and far inferior in ourselves to the saints of ages past, we have been given such a greater Gift, as St. Faustina here points out.
Later in St. Faustina’s revelations, we read the words of Jesus:
My beloved child, delight of My Heart, your words are dearer and more pleasing to me than the angelic chorus. All the treasures of My Heart are open to you. Take from this Heart all that you need for yourself and for the whole world. For the sake of your love, I withhold the just chastisements, which mankind has deserved. A single act of pure love pleases Me more than a thousand imperfect prayers. One of your sighs of love atones for many offenses with which the godless overwhelm Me. The smallest act of virtue has unlimited value in My eyes because of your great love for Me. In a soul that lives on My love alone, I reign as in heaven. I watch over it day and night. In it I find My happiness; My ear is attentive to each request of its heart; often I anticipate its requests. O child, especially beloved by Me, apple of My eye, rest a moment near My Heart and taste of the love in which you will delight for all eternity.359
And similarly, Faustina herself said to Jesus “The veils of mystery hinder me not at all; I love You as do Your chosen ones in heaven,”360 and later, “I live Your divine life as do the elect in heaven…”361
Here we see Jesus revealing to Faustina that her acts are more meritorious—more pleasing to Him—than all the angels are in themselves. By referring to the “angelic chorus,” He refers to all Nine Choirs; not merely to “an” angelic chorus, which one could argue only refers to the lowest of the nine choirs. This is what the Gift of Living in the Divine Will does—it makes our acts truly unlimited in their value, as Faustina here says, which means that even the angels cannot hope to please God as we can. It allows God to reign in our souls just as He reigns in the souls of the blessed in Heaven. But it still gives us the benefit of the veil,362 so that we can continue to build up merit as we suffer in Faith and in union with His passion.
When a reluctance and a monotony as regards my duties begins to take possession of me, I remind myself that I am in the house of the Lord, where nothing is small and where the glory of the Church and the progress of many a soul depend on this small deed of mine, accomplished in a divinized way. Therefore there is nothing small in a religious congregation.363
In this excerpt, we are reminded that the most mundane, boring, and seemingly unimportant duties can (and must!) be Divinized. How great a thought—and how true—that the “glory of the Church” and “the progress of many a soul” depend upon doing the laundry in the Divine Will (that is, becoming Divinized)! St. Faustina ends this paragraph by saying that nothing is small “in a religious congregation.” This is because in those settings, it is expected that everything is done as a prayer. Sadly outside such places, we tend to see our duties as mere “necessary evils” which we rush through with no peace, so that we can get to what we like. But it does not have to be that way. The life of prayer and work which is the expected norm in a religious congregation can, and should, be lived everywhere, especially now that we are offered this incredible gift of Divinizing even the smallest acts—doing them in the Divine Will. St. Faustina prayed:
O Divine Will, You are the delight of my heart, the food of my soul, the light of my intellect, the omnipotent strength of my will; for when I unite myself with Your will, O Lord, Your power works through me and takes the place of my feeble will. Each day, I seek to carry out God’s wishes.364
Although it may at first glance appear that this is an ordinary meditation on the importance and the glory of doing God’s Will, it is in fact more. For here St. Faustina insists that the Divine Will “takes the place of [her] feeble will.” It is this Divine Substitution we receive in the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Before Luisa, this union with God’s Will was limited to imitation, as Aquinas’ teaches in the Summa (cited in the previous chapter); now, taught clearly in St. Faustina’s revelations, we see that the union can become far greater than that.
Neither graces,365 nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.366
St. Faustina was always conscious of her nothingness and misery, but she was not one to succumb to false humility. She was aware of the sanctity and perfection of her soul, and yet she attributed it all to the union of her will with God’s Will. That union, which finds its epitome in the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, is the most complete response to Our Lord’s insistence that we “be perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect.”367
Transconsecration of Self
Early in the Diary, St. Faustina describes a profound turning point in her life. While at the convent, she was asked by Jesus to give her consent to become a victim soul. A profound exchange follows:
And the Lord gave me to know that the whole mystery depended on me, on my free consent to the sacrifice given with full use of my faculties. In this free and conscious act lies the whole power and value before His Majesty. Even if none of these things for which I offered myself would ever happen to me, before the Lord everything was as though it had already been consummated. At that moment, I realized I was entering into communion with the incomprehensible Majesty. I felt that God was waiting for my word, for my consent. Then my spirit immersed itself in the Lord, and I said, “Do with me as You please. I subject myself to Your will. As of today, Your holy will shall be my nourishment” … Suddenly, when I had consented to the sacrifice with all my heart and all my will, God’s presence pervaded me. My soul became immersed in God and was inundated with such happiness that I cannot put in writing even the smallest part of it. I felt that His Majesty was enveloping me. I was extraordinarily fused with God …A great mystery took place during that adoration, a mystery between the Lord and myself. … And the Lord said to me, You are the delight of My Heart; from today on, every one of your acts, even the very smallest, will be a delight to My eyes, whatever you do. At that moment I felt transconsecrated. My earthly body was the same, but my soul was different; God was now living in it with the totality of His delight. This is not a feeling, but a conscious reality that nothing can obscure.368
“Transconsecration” is not a word you will often hear! And yet it is a wonderful name for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. By using this word (and it appears she may have been the first), St. Faustina dares to say that what occurs to the host during the Mass, has indeed occurred in her soul as well. Jesus tells Luisa the same. This particular passage from St. Faustina’s Diary gives a powerful instruction on receiving the Gift because of the buildup to it: I heartily recommend opening her diary to this passage. In it we learn how pleasing and necessary offering one’s self as a victim is to God, and how, so long as this offering is truly free and entire, it is infinitely meritorious even if the openness does not wind up resulting in anything at all happening.
Faustina’s “Great Secret”
But now we turn to perhaps the most perfect reference of all to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will in these revelations. St. Faustina refers to a “great secret” in her writings. This great secret is referred to most clearly here:
In this seclusion, Jesus himself is my Master. He himself educates and instructs me. I feel that I am the object of His special action. For His inscrutable purposes and unfathomable decrees, He unites me to Himself in a special way and allows me to penetrate His incomprehensible mysteries. There is one mystery which unites me with the Lord, of which no one-not even angels-may know. And even if I wanted to tell of it, I would not know how to express it. And yet, I live by it and will live by it for ever. This mystery distinguishes me from every other soul here on earth or in eternity.369
Great scholars of St. Faustina’s writings puzzle over this passage and others like it in her Diary.370 In my opinion, this is a direct reference to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. I am not thereby imputing deceit to St. Faustina because she said no one will ever know of this great union; she knew nothing of Luisa Piccarreta, and therefore Faustina could only have thought that what was uniting her to the Lord was so utterly great and mysterious that it would not be possible for anyone to ever know of. Now, the whole point of this section has been to present instances in St. Faustina’s writings which do in fact refer to the Gift of Luisa‘s; I am not here implicitly denying that the other references in Faustina’s book are valid! I am simply saying that the full reality of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will hit her in such a profound way when she wrote this entry (and similar ones) that she felt compelled to portray its utter mysterious transcendence of words, as indeed Luisa herself would often do.
If nothing else, this passage should make it clear that St. Faustina was given a far greater sanctity than even the greatest sanctity commonly known of in her time (namely, Spiritual Marriage), otherwise she would not have asserted that “no one- not even angels- may know [it].” Knowing that what she had was simply not expressed in any commonly known mystical writing to date, she was forced to say that this union “distinguishes” her from every other soul, and that it was a “secret.” This is perfectly compatible with Luisa’s revelations, which refer to the same essential thing—but explicitly. For in them, Jesus tells Luisa that not even the angels are permitted to comprehend what glory is bestowed upon acts performed in the Divine Will by humans here on earth.
But the treasure chest that is Faustina’s revelations is far from exhausted, for we also see clear indications from Jesus as to how this “secret” is obtained, which we will cover in the next section.
Cancellation of the Self-Will: Exclusively Living by the Will of God
Even more poignantly than the spiritual writers described in the previous chapter, St. Faustina’s revelations reveal the necessary approach to the self-will and the Divine Will in order to receive the great Gift. In her diary, we read the words of Jesus:
‘Host pleasing to My Father, know, My daughter, that the entire Holy Trinity finds Its special delight in you, because you live exclusively by the will of God. No sacrifice can compare with this.’ After these words, the knowledge of God’s will came to me; that is to say, I now see everything from a higher point of view and accept all events and things, pleasant and unpleasant, with love, as tokens of the heavenly Father’s special affection. The pure offering of my will will burn on the altar of love. That my sacrifice may be perfect, I unite myself closely with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. When great sufferings will cause my nature to tremble, and my physical and spiritual strength will diminish, then will I hide myself deep in the open wound of the Heart of Jesus, silent as a dove, without complaint. Let all my desires, even the holiest, noblest and most beautiful, take always the last place and Your holy will, the very first. The least of Your desires, O Lord, is more precious to me than heaven, with all its treasures. I know very well that people will not understand me; that is why my sacrifice will be purer in Your eyes.371
If you were to quickly leaf through St. Faustina’s Diary, one thing specifically would strike you: an entire page with a large “X” over it, along with the words:
“From today on, my own will does not exist.”372
She wrote this in her own diary—reproduced faithfully in the printings of it—because Jesus had specifically directed her to do precisely that. This direction occurred after she had prayed:
I beg You, by all the love with which Your Heart burns, to destroy completely within me my self-love and, on the other hand, to enkindle in my heart the fire of Your purest love … 373 [Jesus responded], “you will cancel out your will absolutely in this retreat and, instead, My complete will shall be accomplished in you.”374
This, of course, is exactly what Jesus asks of Luisa and of us all: the total cancellation of our self-will in order that His Divine Will may become the true life principle of our souls, just as our souls are the true life-principle of our bodies. For if our body were to have a principle of its own, and refuse to be animated only by the soul that God infused into it, then this would rightly be called paralysis (or perhaps, possession). And yet, that is exactly what we do when we allow our souls to be governed, to any degree, by the self-will instead of the Divine.
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Faustina also wrote:
The Lord gave me knowledge of the graces which He has been constantly lavishing on me. The light pierced me through and through, and I came to understand the inconceivable favors that God has been bestowing on me … As His child, I felt that everything the heavenly Father possessed was equally mine. He Himself lifted me from the ground up to His Heart. I felt that everything that existed was exclusively mine, but I had no desire for it all, because God alone is enough for me375
This correlates well to what Jesus tells Luisa: that one who lives in His Will possesses all things just as He Himself possesses all things.
My Jesus, penetrate me through and through so that I might be able to reflect You in my whole life. Divinize me so that my deeds may have supernatural value. Grant that I may have love, compassion and mercy for every soul without exception.376
Faustina here does not hesitate to ask for Divinization; but this is not new in Catholic spirituality. What is profound, and new, is her request that even her deeds be rendered supernatural; for this had long been said only of Jesus’ own deeds on earth. St. Faustina also once prayed:
Everlasting love, pure flame, burn in my heart ceaselessly and deify my whole being.377
As if to imply that merely asking for deification alone was not enough, she wanted to append this request with “… my whole being,” as a reminder that we may leave nothing out. We must have the boldness which St. Faustina here demonstrates; the boldness to ask Jesus to Divinize us and our deeds; to deify our whole being. (And this is precisely what the Gift of Living in the Divine Will does.)
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There are many more references to the Divine Will, which also overlap with Luisa’s revelations, found throughout St. Faustina’s own revelations. My goal here was only to examine a relative few. For those interested in learning more about this overlap, I recommend above all reading St. Faustina’s Diary itself, in its entirety; every page is full of edifying material. I also recommend the pamphlet entitled References to God’s Divine Will in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament, written by Barbara Mary Canning Martin.
Servant of God Archbishop Luis Martinez
The Servant of God Archbishop Luis Martinez was the archbishop of Mexico City in the mid-20th century. Considered both spiritual father and spiritual son of Venerable Conchita (whom we will discuss in the next section), he was greatly revered for holiness in his own day, with tens of thousands turning out for his funeral, and his cause for beatification has been opened.
In a manuscript that was not published during his lifetime, the Archbishop wrote:
In the afternoon, God brought me before the Tabernacle, He aroused in me generosity, and with profound emotion I made the following act:
“Oh Holy Father, oh Adorable Father, through the immaculate hands of Mary, the Most Holy Virgin, my Mother, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and intimately united to Jesus, your Son, Immortal Victim, I give to You today the total gift, and the absolute oblation of myself, abandoning all to your sovereign Will, in order that this Divine Will, without asking my opinion, without taking me into account, might do with me and with all that is mine, whatever it pleases … My only support in making this oblation is your strength, upon which my nothingness rests … I give You that which I can now give You: my will, sincere and complete … and I cast myself into your sovereign Will.”
I experienced something most profound, most strange, as if for my soul there began a new stage; as if in those moments I was given to the Holy Spirit, that He might ravish my soul and give it to Jesus. I understood that by this union, the Holy Spirit, as an impetuous wind, was to carry away my soul, stripping it of everything and plunging it into the bosom of God.…
The perfect transformation gives the perfect priesthood, since it makes perfect the sacrifice of every moment, of the two victims united, Jesus and I, so that I may be able truly to say: “This is my Body, This is my Blood.”
The official priesthood is a transformation into Christ, realized by ordination, and which makes it possible to say the divine words in the Mass. But since it is not total transformation of itself, by the sacramental character only the Eucharistic sacrifice can be offered.
When the “marvelous exchange” is realized, through the perfect transformation in which we give to Christ a passible body, and blood which He can pour out in a bloody manner, and Christ gives Himself to us, divinizing our being, making it his, making us Him, assuming our humanity through a union which is the image of the Hypostatic Union, then in every moment we can offer the two victims united in one same immolation; we can renew unceasingly the sacrifice of Christ … 378
We can see that this is a reference to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, first, because of the nature of the prayer (“act”) he offered to God, asking that His Sovereign Will may “do with me and with all that is mine, whatever it pleases.” But most of all, we see in what follows a clear exposition of a radical change that is almost like the Hypostatic Union itself. This indeed is the “fourth stage” of the spiritual life, beyond the traditional three, wherein we receive the Gift. Hugh Owen writes:
In his spiritual biography of Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez, spiritual director of Venerable Conchita Cabrera, Fr. Joseph Trevino of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit observed that the traditional division of the spiritual life into three stages—the purgative, illuminative, and unitive—had obscured the existence of a fourth stage where the transforming union of the soul and God produced its supernatural fruit. According to Fr. Trevino:
It would be absurd actually, if, when the soul reaches the highest union on earth, its life would stagnate, that it would remain permanently inactive. Just the contrary happens; that is the time when the action of the soul, under the motion of the Holy Spirit, reaches its maximum. This is the fourth stage … In the transforming union, the soul is united with the Word. But this union is spiritually fecund; its fruit is Jesus, Jesus reproduced in the soul itself and, through its ministry, Jesus reproduced in the souls of others (apostolic life)
This stage, in which the Holy Spirit produces a complete humanity of Jesus in the soul and in which the soul enters into the bosom of the Trinity and participates in the divine activity, appears to correspond to the Mystical Incarnation in the writings of Venerable Conchita and to the Divine Substitution in the writings of the Canadian nun Blessed Dina Belanger (1897-1928). 379
We now turn to his spiritual daughter, Venerable Conchita, whose teachings give more specificity on this same reality about which Servant of God Luis Martinez wrote.
Venerable Conchita
Venerable Conchita (whose full name is Concepción Cabrera de Armida), was born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the year 1862; a wife and mother to nine children, she was widowed at the age of 39. She died exactly ten years and one day before Luisa herself passed, and she is set to be beatified in May 2019. Conchita is well known for her mystical revelations; therefore, this beatification lends great weight to the orthodoxy of this new Sanctity of Sanctities, which Jesus reveals to Conchita so explicitly that there is no doubt He is revealing precisely the same thing that He reveals to Luisa (though of course in less detail).
Of Venerable Conchita, the theologian Monsignor Arthur Calkins380 writes:
By any measure, Conchita was an extraordinary woman. … [she was] the foundress of five Works or Apostolates of the Cross (Obras de la Cruz) and an awe-inspiring mystic and spiritual writer—still not well known, unfortunately, in the English-speaking world. My hope is that this article may help to introduce her to a larger English-speaking public, at least in some small way.
I first made her acquaintance, so to speak, in 1978, when I came across a book written about her by a spiritual author whom I respected, Père Marie-Michel Philipon, O.P. (1898-1972). He had written an impressive work on Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), and so I reasoned that this book, too, should be a good spiritual resource. I was not disappointed. In that book he recounted the story of an extraordinary soul who, nonetheless, wrote about profound spiritual realities in language that could be understood by ordinary people. He went so far as to compare her to the first two great women to be recognized as doctors of the Church: Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa of Avila.
… A huge part of Conchita’s writing, in fact, is made up of the sixty-six volumes of her spiritual diary (in Spanish, Cuenta de Conciencia, or Account of Conscience), which she wrote in obedience to her spiritual directors, most of them bishops, several of whose causes have been opened in view of their possible beatification. Saints not infrequently appear in constellations, each supporting and enriching the others …
Conchita had a profound ecclesial and Marian vocation. Not only did she have an intense devotion to the Mother of God, but she also lived in constant union with Mary. This became especially manifest in the great crowning grace of her life, received on March 25, 1906, and known as the “mystical incarnation.” The late Bishop Joseph J. Madera, M.Sp.S., strove to explain this extraordinary grace in this way:
“The mystical incarnation may be compared to the indwelling of Jesus in Mary from the moment of His conception in her womb. The Lord had raised Mary to a level of holiness never to be equaled by any other human being. Nonetheless, the specific grace granted to Conchita on March 25, 1906, as far as we know, has been granted to only a limited number of souls. The fundamental rule is that, even though God grants extraordinary graces to chosen souls, what he confers on them is eventually intended for the up-building of the entire Body of Christ. Since the mystical incarnation which Conchita experienced is rooted in the sacrament of baptism, this grace also constitutes for all of us an invitation to live our baptismal commitment at an ever-deeper level. This is precisely what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council wanted to emphasize in the fifth chapter of Lumen Gentium on the universal call to holiness.”
Although Conchita received this extraordinary grace in 1906, she would effectively spend the rest of her life trying to fathom what had been done in her and how to respond to it. The second to last retreat of her life in 1935, directed by her great spiritual father and friend, the Servant of God, Archbishop Luís María Martínez (1881-1956), Archbishop of Mexico City and Primate of Mexico, was still a matter of striving to penetrate more deeply into this singular grace, which was (1) a share in the priesthood and victimhood of Jesus, (2) Eucharistic and (3) Marian.381
At this point, it is clear there is no room for doubt or hesitation in heeding the teachings of Ven. Conchita.
The Mystical Incarnation: “Much More” than Spiritual Marriage
Let us consider the following encounter between Jesus and Conchita, which took place on none other than the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25th), in the year 1906: seventeen years after Luisa was given the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
… before Mass, prostrate before the Tabernacle, I humbled myself as much as possible. I begged the Lord’s pardon, I renewed my vows, I promised Him that I would never let my heart be taken over by the things of the world as I had done up to now. Thus, my soul empty of all else, I received Him in Communion … I was taken over by the presence of my Jesus, quite close to me, hearing His divine voice which said to me:
—Jesus:”Here I am, I want to incarnate Myself mystically in your heart … ”
—Conchita:…Would it be, my Jesus, spiritual marriage?
—Jesus: “Much more than that … [it is, rather] the grace of incarnating Me, of living and growing in your soul, never to leave it, to possess you and to be possessed by you as in one and the same substance … in a compenetration which cannot be comprehended: it is the grace of graces … It is a union of the same nature as that of the union of heaven, except that in paradise the veil which conceals the Divinity disappears … For you [now] keep ever in your soul my real and effective presence.”
…Conchita: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy Word’“382
To speak of something “much more” than spiritual marriage, as Jesus does here to Venerable Conchita, never would have been accepted in traditional works of spiritual theology: and for good reason—as was already settled in the previous section, there wasn’t any sanctity higher than spiritual marriage since the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, up until Luisa received the Gift of Living in the Divine Will in 1889. This hitherto supremacy of spiritual (or “mystical”) marriage is not difficult to discover. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states:
Mystical marriage or spiritual marriage … refers to what is recognized in mystical theology as a ‘transforming’’ union between a soul and God, requiring extraordinary graces, and to which God calls only a few particularly privileged persons, e.g., SS. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.383
The old Catholic Encyclopedia makes this fact even clearer, stating:
…the term mystical marriage is employed by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross to designate that mystical union with God which is the most exalted condition attainable by the soul in this life.384
And yet, Jesus clearly tells Conchita—leaving no possibility of any other interpretation—that He is now giving something much greater.385
Father Marie-Michel Philipon was a Dominican priest and highly respected theologian whose works are cited multiple times in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He also wrote on the spirituality of none other than St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, strongly promoting and endorsing this new sanctity as found in the French saint’s writings, and doing so decades before Elizabeth was even declared a Servant of God (his own work on them did, however, receive an Imprimatur in 1941). It is clear that Fr. Philipon had the gift of discernment and knew a revelation from God when he saw it. He also strongly endorsed Venerable Conchita’s revelations, and wrote a work on Conchita and her spirituality, entitled Conchita: A Mother’s Spiritual Diary. Towards the end of this work, he sums up Conchita’s spirituality, writing:
On finishing these pages in which we have wished to present, though incompletely and imperfectly, Conchita’s person and doctrine, a synthetic view, an overall view is demanded. A theologian must above all pose this question to himself: “What then did God intend to bring about through His humble servant for the benefit of His entire Church?”
The greatest degree of Holiness is attainable for everyone.
“Being a wife and a mother was never an obstacle to my spiritual life,” she asserted. Speaking as a woman to one of her daughters-in-law, she stated: “I have been very happy with my husband.” In the last conversation with her husband when he was gravely ill, she asked him: “What is your last wish in regard to me?” He replied: “That you be wholly given over to God and wholly devoted to your children.”

The Lord Himself told her one day: “You married in view of My great designs for your personal holiness, and to be an example for many souls who think that marriage is incompatible with holiness.”
The most sublime mystical graces described by spiritual masters are not privileges confined to souls consecrated to God, priestly and religious life. They are offered to all Christians no matter what their state of life. It seems that God wanted to give us through Conchita living historical proof of this truth. Vatican II clearly and forcibly testifies to it (cf. Ch. V, especially # 40, Lumen Gentium): “Thus it is evident to everyone that all the faithful in Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” There are no second class Christians. We are all called to seek the greatest holiness. Conchita received the eminent graces of nuptials and of the spiritual marriage described by the great mystics, in her state of “poor wife,” as she called herself. An instrument of God, Conchita, as she was familiarly called, has a prophetic mission for today’s world.
The Lord Himself has announced to her that she would be a model wife and mother, but that her mission would extend far beyond to make shine the sanctifying might of Christ and of the Holy Spirit “in all states of life.” Yes, indeed, she is a model wife, mother, teacher, but she is also one of the greatest mystics of the Church, leading souls to consummation in the Unity of the Trinity. Her message calls the entire laity, married men and women, to the highest sanctity.
A new type of Holiness
There is no question here of a type of holiness departing from the Gospel, but rather of a resource taken in view of a new application of this same Gospel. To depart from the spirit of the Gospel and from the teachings of the Cross would be to deny Christ. We are speaking in the same sense Therese of Lisieux spoke of a “wholly new way.” We are incontestably in a new era of spirituality.

What constitutes its newness is:
1) A calling of all, even of the laity, even of married people, to the greatest holiness.
2) Through transfiguration of daily life, the sanctification of the profane, divinization by faith, by love and by the spirit of sacrifice in ordinary life.
3) The greatest holiness. Transcendence of the message of the Cross. Even the most banal actions are made of value to the infinite by the offering of love in union with Christ, in imitation of the last years on earth of the Mother of God, in the service of the nascent Church.
In the evening of her life the Lord asked her to begin a new work on behalf of the sanctity of homes. “I am going to ask you one thing: a Crusade of victim souls to the glory of My Father, following the spirit of the Cross.”
“I want many acts of expiation for the DIVORCES which are the source of so many evils in homes, harmful to spouses, children in society. “I ask expiation for so many hidden sins and for so many sins of omission in the Christian formation of children.” “I want a “Crusade of victim souls” for the sanctification of homes” (Diary, Oct. 31, 1935).

Who does not see how providentially opportune is this work? 386
Fr. Philipon, also, has left no room for doubt or confusion: a new holiness is indeed upon us. It is the greatest holiness possible, and it is offered to all.
Describing in more detail the teachings she received on how this new sanctity is attained, Conchita herself says:
“God’s will is a bouquet which is made up of all virtues practiced in an ordinary manner or in a perfect state. His will divinizes them and makes them shine with splendor in His presence. It gives to each a new value on the divine scale and, in the purified soul, it vests them with a special color pleasing to the Holy Spirit. This total and perfect submission to the most holy will of its God and Lord is the greatest of all the virtues a soul can possess. This sublime virtue implies the integral practice of all the other virtues… it is the culminating point.”
“The Lord adds. ‘I have no other food… from the first moment of my Incarnation than this divine will. It is through it I came into this world, through it I was raised above the earth to consummate my life in the cruelest of martyrdoms, …it then soothed My agony. It was My sole solace, while on earth. I would have suffered death a thousand times to fulfill it. Divine and active Love burned in My heart, had as its main motive to carry out the divine will on behalf of man. The Redemption was naught but the faithful accomplishment of this divine will. Its echo sounds constantly in the depths of My most loving heart, causing it to throb for the salvation of souls and the glorification of My Father.’
“There is a still higher stage in this divine will. It is total self-surrender interiorly to this same will of God. This self-surrender leads to the highest summit of perfection: it is the supreme stage of all virtue” 387
And communicating this sanctity under the title of Mystical Incarnation, she says:
“In the concrete, the mystical incarnation is nothing other than a most powerful grace of transformation which simplifies and unites to Jesus by purity and by immolation, rendering the being in its entirety, as much as possible, like to Him. Because of this likeness of the soul to the Incarnate Word, the eternal Father finds pleasure in it, and the role of Priest and Victim which Jesus had on earth is communicated to it, in order that it obtain graces from heaven for the whole world. That is why, the more a soul is like Me, the more the Eternal Father hears it, not due to its worth but due to its likeness and its union with Me and in virtue of My merits which constitute what counts for obtaining graces” (Diary, Dec. 11, 1913).
[Fr. Philipon adds] Briefly, the mystical incarnation is a grace of identification which Christ, Priest and Host, a grace which makes Him continue on in the Members of His Mystical Body, His mission of glorifier of the Father and Savior of men. It is a special grace of transformation in the priestly soul of Christ.
Fr. Iannuzzi points out that this entails God taking total possession of Conchita’s will, writing:
That this new, continuously eternal activity brings with it a deeper participation in the activity of the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity, is evident in Jesus’ words to the Servant of God Luisa and to Venerable Conchita de Armida:
“All three Divine Persons descended from Heaven; and then, after a few days, we took possession of your heart and took our perpetual residence there. We took the reins of your intelligence, your heart, all of you. Everything you did was an outlet of our creative Will in you. It was a confirmation that your will was animated by an Eternal Will. Living in my Will is the apex of sanctity, and it bestows continuous growth in Grace. Do not think that in the mystical incarnation of the Word it is I who act, but the Trinity of the Divine Persons do so, each one of them operating according to His attributes, the Father, as Father, engendering: the Word as Son, being born; the Holy Spirit making fertile this divine action in the soul.”388
In Venerable Conchita’s writings, we see the Gift of Living in the Divine Will revealed with such clarity that whoever approaches her teachings with confidence will unquestionably receive the Gift.
Blessed Dina Belanger
Dina Belanger was a Canadian nun who died in 1929 and was beatified, along with Blessed Duns Scotus, by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993. In the homily of the Beatification Mass, John Paul said:
Separated from each other by time, these two extraordinary personalities … gave testimony of prompt and generous correspondence to divine grace, [actualizing in their lives…] celestial gifts that awaken our admiration.389
In teaching about Blessed Dina during this homily, the Pope made specific reference to her “such high degree of intimacy with God,” and mentioned the “life of the Most Holy Trinity in her,“ and in particular her “desire to correspond fully to the Divine Will.”
Let us look in more detail at this “Divine Substitution” about which Blessed Dina wrote.
Divine Substitution: The Same State as the Elect in Heaven
The theologian Fr. Edward O’Connor writes:
… Jesus told Blessed Dina Belanger of a gift of “Divine Substitution,” that He would bring about. He explained it thus: … the greatest joy a soul can give Me is to let Me raise it to the Divinity. Yes, my little spouse, I feel an immense pleasure in transforming a soul into Myself, in deifying it, in absorbing it entirely in the Divinity … I wish to absorb you, my little spouse, to such a degree that I shall exist in your place with all the Attributes and Perfection of my Divinity … I wish to deify you in the same manner that I united my Humanity to my Divinity in the Incarnation … The degree of holiness that I desire for you is my own Holiness, in its infinite plenitude, the Holiness of My Father realized in you by Me. (ST, vol. & no.1, p. 36)390
Making it even clearer that this Divine Substation is indeed the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, Dina writes:
“Events take place, succeed one another, around my physical being, but my soul is no longer involved with them. Jesus is in control of these events: he sees to everything, he takes care of everything. It is as if my soul no longer had any connection with my body. This grace which the Trinity of my God grants me with so much love is a foretaste of my participation in the divine life; I say a foretaste, because it is the state of the elect in heaven, yet I, in bodily form, am still on earth.”391
Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, commenting on and quoting Blessed Dina’s biography, writes:
[Blessed Dina says} “During my thanksgiving after Communion, I was concentrating on remaining closely united with him… I was taken by surprise… He said: “I want to deify you in the same way as I united My humanity with My divinity… The degree of holiness that I want for you, is the infinite plentitude of my own holiness, it is the holiness of my Father brought about in you through me.…
…I need a perpetual and very powerful grace to maintain me in this blessed state: I am enjoying perfect beatitude… It is truly eternity!”
“This morning, I received a special grace that I find difficult to describe. I felt taken up into God, as if in the “eternal mode,” that is in a permanent, unchanging state… I feel I am continually in the presence of the adorable Trinity. My soul, annihilated in the Heart of the Indivisible unity, contemplates it with greater suavity, in a purer light, and I am more aware of the power that pervades me… Beginning with the grace of last January 25, my soul can dwell in heaven, live there without any backward glance toward earth, and yet continue to animate my material being. My offering is far more active than in the preceding dwellings where the love of my sovereign Substitute led me… In this new divine indwelling, what strikes me… is the power, the greatness, the immensity of God’s attributes.”
[*Fr. Iannuzzi writes]: To illustrate that God’s eternal mode of activity in the soul of the human creature is the same interior state enjoyed by the blessed in heaven—and which St. John of the Cross “experienced in passing” only—Jesus tells Blessed Dina: “You will not possess me any more completely in heaven… because I have absorbed you totally.”392
Relating Blessed Dina’s mysticism with other exemplars of the Gift, and expounding upon the nature of her teachings, Hugh Owen shares the following:
In the years immediately following Archbishop Martinez’s reception of the gift of the Mystical Incarnation, several souls who have either been beatified or canonized by the Church, described similar experiences to those described by Venerable Conchita. One of the most striking of these souls was the Canadian Blessed Dina Belanger …
[on February 1, 1925, Blessed Dina writes]”The Trinity of love is seeking souls on whom it can bestow its divine treasures. Infinite Goodness needs to give, to give itself. Few are those souls who abandon themselves totally to the sovereign will. If God is to pour a profusion of graces on a human soul, he must find Jesus living there. A soul is too finite to contain the ocean of infinite favors; but Jesus, the Illimitable, taking the place of what is limited, can satisfy in some way the immense desire of the heavenly Father. If a soul is to become an abyss, fit to be taken possession of by the Infinite, complete annihilation, in the spiritual sense, of what is human is essential; then, the substitution of Jesus for this human being and perfect continuing self-abandonment to the divine Agent. The adorable Trinity desires to pour out its treasures of mercy and love on Jesus substituted for my being. My gentle Master, taking my place, says to his Father, (still in silence, I find no other way to express it): Father, here I am to do your will. Father, the hour has come, let what you will be done in me.” …
On February 7, 1925 … Jesus told her: “You will not possess me any more completely in heaven … because I have absorbed you totally” … [two weeks later, Blessed Dina wrote] “ … This grace which the Trinity of my God grants me with so much love is a foretaste of my participation in the divine life; I say a foretaste, because it is the state of the elect in heaven, yet I, in bodily form, am still on earth. It is a participation in the divine life in the sense that, for the eternal and supreme Being, nothing comes to an end: for him everything is present, since he himself does not come to an end and will never come to an end…
On June 16, Blessed Dina testified to the likeness between the presence of God in her state of “living host” and the same presence in the Eucharist. She wrote:
“I am still aware of, and even have a clearer understanding of the presence of the adorable Trinity in which I am submerged, and of the same grace concerning the presence of Our Lord in the sacred Host.”
As a “living host,” Blessed Dina no longer experienced the sufferings of Jesus as a compassionate observer. Instead, she identified completely with the interior sufferings of Jesus by sharing in the “chalice of his agony.” …
Blessed Dina compared these sufferings to the “real presence” of Jesus in Holy Communion. She wrote:
“My union with the Heart of Jesus has been like his real presence after holy communion, while the consecrated Host is still with me. This morning, Our Lord gave me to understand that it is just as easy for him to give himself to me—through his blessed chalice—and to extend his sensible presence over two days—through an interior and invisible act—as it is for a quarter of an hour, more or less, under the appearance of the sacred Host… He gave me to understand that, in Gethsemane, in the angel who came to console him, he saw all the souls—specially consecrated souls—who throughout the centuries would want to share in his agony” … 393
The spiritual teachings of Blessed Dina are a veritable treasure trove, and what is presented here is only a small fraction of their overlap with Luisa’s.
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was a French Carmelite mystic, canonized by Pope Francis in 2016. Her writings on the Indwelling of the Trinity give a great exposition of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
Personal Possession of the Trinity
In an article for the National Catholic Register, the theologian Dr. Anthony Lilles writes:
Elizabeth regarded the Trinity as the furnace of an excessive love. When her prayer evokes “My God, My Three,” she invites us to take personal possession of the Trinity. The Trinity is, for her, an interpersonal and dynamic mystery: the Father beholding the Son in the fire of the Holy Spirit. She insisted that, in silent stillness before God, the loving gaze of the Father shines within our hearts until God contemplates the likeness of his Son in the soul. Through the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the more the soul accepts the Father’s gaze of love, the more it is transformed into the likeness of the Word made flesh.
… Elizabeth roots this in adoration and recollection and advocates its fruitfulness. Through this prayer, we gain access to our true home, the dwelling place of love for which we are created—and this is not in some future moment, but already in the present moment of time, which Elizabeth calls “eternity begun and still in progress.”
Such prayer not only sets the soul apart and makes it holy, but it glorifies the Father and even extends the saving work of Christ in the world. She called this “the praise of Glory” and understood this to be her great vocation. By canonizing Elizabeth of the Trinity, the Church has not only validated her mission, but re-proposed the importance of silent prayer for our time… Through the witness of St. Elizabeth, the Carmelites and her friends chose to allow God to establish them “immovable” in his presence.
Even here we see intimations of something new and glorious; a real sort of personal possession of the Trinity. Previously, sanctification was only described as participation in the Trinity and nothing more. Indeed, a response one hears often after bringing up the heights of sanctity revealed in the exemplars listed in this chapter is precisely this limitation; namely, “we can participate in but cannot possess the Divine Nature.” Now, there was nothing wrong with this saying in its day—but the time has now come in which we may indeed, in a real (albeit qualified) sense, possess (only by grace, not by nature—along with other important distinctions) the Divine Nature as Gift, as St. Elizabeth herself says.
Describing her spirituality and most important teachings in greater depth than what is shown above, Hugh Owen writes:
Shortly after entering Carmel, Elizabeth was asked several questions: “What name would you like to have in Heaven?” “The Will of God,” she replied. “What is your motto?” she was asked. “God in me and I in Him,” she answered…
From the beginning of her entry into religious life, Blessed Elizabeth expressed her love for God in terms that anticipated the language of Blessed Dina Belanger and others who would describe living in God, or in the heart of the Holy Trinity, in contrast to merely doing the Will of God. Blessed Elizabeth believed that the Holy Spirit would transform her into another humanity of Jesus. She wrote: “O consuming fire! Spirit of love! Descend within me and reproduce within me, as it were, an incarnation of the Word that I may be to him another humanity wherein He renews his mystery! O my Christ, Whom I love, … I beseech Thee to clothe me with Thyself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Thine own. Immerse me in Thyself; possess me wholly; substitute Thyself for me, that my life may be but a radiance of Thine own…”
Blessed Elizabeth [also] wrote: “How can one glorify God? It is not difficult. Our Lord gives us the secret, when he tells us, “My meat and drink is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34). Hold fast to every expression of the adorable Master’s will. Look on every suffering and joy as sent directly by him, and your life will be an uninterrupted communion, because everything will be a sacrament sent by God. This is absolute reality, for God is not divided; his will is his whole being…Our Lord was the first to say this, and the soul in communion with him enters into the movement of his divine soul. His whole aim is to do the will of the Father who “loved us with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3). During his thirty-three years, this will was so much his daily bread that at his death he could say, “It is consummated.”…”
Interpreting Blessed Elizabeth’s spiritual doctrine, Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote: “The human will has to be ‘enclosed’ in the will of God, for otherwise it remains without focus or direction. [as St. Elizabeth wrote,]’Our will only becomes free when we enclose it in the will of God’”…
Through abandonment to the Holy Spirit, Blessed Elizabeth aspired to be consecrated by Him into a “living host.” She wrote to a priest: “I ask you, as a child its father, to consecrate and sacrifice me in the Holy Mass a host of praise to the glory of God. Consecrate me so well that I may be no longer myself but he, that the Father, looking on me, may recognize him.”…
According to Von Balthasar: “What ultimately occupied her was the moment at which this world, conformed with the Son by that work of the Spirit, becomes a praise of the grace that brings all to its perfection. It was said, in fact, of the Spirit that he would glorify the Son (John 16:11), that he would finally accomplish in the world the glorification of the Father through the Son…”394
As is evident in the passage above, the most profound (and even controversial) elements of Living in the Divine Will are seen in the clear teachings of Elizabeth of the Trinity, who has had her mission fully confirmed by the Church by being raised to the altars as a canonized saint.
St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Maximilian Kolbe is most often recalled as the heroic martyr of charity, killed at the infamous concentration camp at Auschwitz, as he willingly volunteered himself to take the place of another man. He is next best known for his amazingly successful apostolates: running the largest Franciscan friary in history (with hundreds of brothers under the same roof), and printing leaflets that reached an enormous monthly circulation. Fewer know of his zealous promotion of Marian Consecration; and fewer still know of his profound and groundbreaking teachings on the same.
Struck by Our Lady’s words at Lourdes “I am the Immaculate Conception,” and at first perplexed by them (for indeed, they almost seem grammatically incorrect; many who first hear these words wonder why she did not say “I was immaculately conceived”), Kolbe came to the recognition that this was no mistake. He realized that they in fact said something essential about Mary herself: that she is the Immaculate Conception, and truly a mirror of The Uncreated Immaculate Conception, Who is none other than the Holy Spirit. He furthermore realized that Mary is simply the Created Immaculate Conception—the perfect creature contained within the mind of God before the dawn of time, destined before all ages to be the Mother of the Word. But Kolbe did not stop there; he insisted that through Mary, this reality must define our sanctity as well.
Transubstantiation of the Self into the Created Immaculate Conception
St. Maximilian Kolbe, although well known for his promotion of St. Louis de Montfort’s same fundamental mission, did not merely repeat what he learned from this saint and others. He presented many new teachings of his own; including the “Transubstantiation into the Immaculate.” Regarding this, St. Maximilian wrote:
We belong to her, to the Immaculate. We are hers without limits, most perfectly hers; we are, as it were, herself. Through our mediation she loves the good God. With our poor heart she loves her divine Son. We become the mediators through whom the Immaculate loves Jesus. And Jesus, considering us her property and, as it were, a part of his beloved Mother, loves her in us and through us. What a lovely mystery! We have heard of persons who are obsessed, possessed by the devil, through whom the devil thought, spoke, and acted. We want to be possessed in this way, and even more, without limits, by her: may she herself think, speak, and act through us. We want to belong to such an extent to the Immaculate that not only nothing else remains in us that isn’t hers, but that we become, as it were, annihilated in her, changed into her, transubstantiated into her, that she alone remains, so that we may be as much hers as she is God’s. She belongs to God, having become his Mother. And we want to become the mother who would give the life of the Immaculate to every heart that exists and to those who will still come into existence. That is the M.I.—to bring her into every heart, to give her life to every heart. Thus entering these hearts and taking full possession of them, she may give birth to sweet Jesus, who is God, that he might grow in them in age and perfection. What a magnificent mission! … Divinizing man to the God-Man through the Mother of the God-Man.395
Here, St. Maximilian renders more explicit what already existed in St. Louis de Montfort’s Mariology: that the object of Marian consecration is not a simple “be totally devoted to her,” but rather, to “become her;” with the only differences which remain being somewhat superficial, or in other words (and to continue with the “transubstantiation” teaching), the differences are mere accidents. And, indeed, while we of course cannot use the term “transubstantiation” here in exactly the same way as we apply it to the Blessed Sacrament itself—wherein the former substance of the thing in question is completely replaced by an entirely new and different substance—we nevertheless cannot write this off as an exaggeration or hyperbole.
We must recall that the paradigm of Marian Consecration—as explained by St. Louis de Montfort and even more boldly by St. Maximilian Kolbe—is to acquire Mary’s exalted sanctity as our own. In explaining St. Maximilian’s teachings on this matter, Fr. Fehlner writes:
… for St. Maximilian the title Spouse of the Holy Spirit also connotes: not only a functional relation to one aspect of the mission of the Holy Spirit, but to the very person of the Holy Spirit… This he does in a general way describing the Immaculate as a “quasi-part” of the Trinity, thereby succinctly indicating the point of departure for discussing the trinitarian aspects of mariology, so strongly stressed by Paul VI in Marialis Cultus. More specifically the Saint refers to the Immaculate as the Holy Spirit “quasi-incarnate”“: not to explain the grace of the Immaculate Conception as a second grace of “hypostatic union”, but to indicate how this grace is related to and differs from the “grace of union” in her Son…
This relation he explains in precise, dogmatic detail, as an intimate union or communion of two persons and two natures, the persons and natures remaining really distinct, yet so intimate that the whole being and person of the Immaculate is permeated through and through by that characteristic of the Spirit qua complement or pleroma of Father and Son as to be herself “transubstantiated” into the Holy Spirit and to share his name’. In turn, this “transubstantiation” into the Spirit makes possible not only the Incarnation of the Word, but also the incorporation of the baptized into His body, the Church. This relation, finally, is best termed not a” proprium” but an “appropriatum”, so as to distinguish two modes of possession of a human being by a divine person: one related to the dimension of subsistence, selfhood or firstness (esse or incommunicable existence); the other to the dimension of personal realization in freedom (esse in actu secundo). The first pertains to the Incarnation, the second to the indwelling of the Trinity in the life of grace whose distinctive feature is the communion or fellowship of Father and Son in the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 17, 22-23; I Jn 1, 1-3, which is eternal life (cf. Jn 17, 3; I Jn 1, 2), or perfect charity.396
Continuing in the same strand later in the book, he goes on to say that:
This usage, to many curious, of a term from Eucharistic dogma … far from being the dangerous formula some see in it, is an original, yet deeply traditional insights of St. Maximilian… Being [Mary’s] property [Kolbe] defines as our being annihilated in Her, changed into Her, transubstantiated into Her, so as it were to be Her
…To promote this Marian presence in the Church is to “incorporate” the mystery of the Immaculate into the Church and into the whole of creation.” To come under the influence of that presence is to be “transubstantiated” into the Immaculate, as by her Immaculate Conception She was “transubstantiated” into the Holy Spirit, becoming as it were one “personality” with that divine Person, so in relation to the Father enjoying the privilege of being Mother of God, with the Son Handmaid and Coredemptress, Instrument of the Father for the redemption of the world, effected in the Church by the sanctificatory mission of the Holy Spirit-Immaculate Conception. … Another word to describe this promotion of the cause of the Immaculate is marianization, or the Fiat, which with that of the Creator effects the recreation or new creation. In this context Mary Immaculate qua Immaculate is the new creature, the measure of every new creation made “in the sanctity and justice of truth” (Eph. 4, 24).” 397
St. Maximilian was able to give the Church these beautiful and urgently needed teachings because he understood that theology cannot allow itself to be chained to the opinions of a few theologians; instead, it must be allowed to be guided by the Holy Spirit and given growth. Hugh Owen writes:
In his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI “insistently begged the ‘entire people of God, especially the pastors and the theologians, to deepen their reflections on the action of the Holy Spirit in the history of salvation, and to strive so that the formulas employed by Christian piety should duly illustrate his life-giving influence. Such a deepened understanding should provide a better grasp of the mysterious relationship between the Spirit of God and the Virgin of Nazareth, and their common action in the Church. From these deeper meditations on these truths of faith there arise a piety that will be lived more intensely’”
In retrospect, one can see that St. Maximilian’s insights into the sanctity of Our Lady represented a definite development beyond the insights recorded in the writings of St. Louis De Montfort. And yet, St. Maximilian was able to reconcile the insights of St. Louis with the new and deeper insights that the Holy Spirit revealed to him. For example, St. Louis conceived of the union between Our Lady and the Holy Spirit as a moral union. But St. Maximilian realized that this concept did not do justice to their relationship. According to theologian Manteau-Bonamy: “Father Kolbe … knew that de Montfort, who never heard of the apparitions of the Rue du Bac or of Lourdes, had remained limited to the consideration of a moral bond between Mary and the Holy Spirit. But since it is perfectly possible to understand the union which St. de Montfort writes about, in the meaning it acquired at Lourdes, Father Kolbe does not hesitate to interpret it so.”398
It is safe to say that, from its beginning, Marian Consecration was always ordered to this. But with the advent of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, its full potential can now at last be attained. This most avowedly does not mean that Marian Consecration should be “moved on from;” on the contrary, it means quite the opposite: we should now approach Marian Consecration with even more love and more zeal, knowing that it can truly deliver on all of its promises!
Servant of God Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity
Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity (her Baptismal name was Luisa) was a Poor Clare nun who received messages from Jesus. This mystic and her messages were the topic of a book published by TAN and written by Fr. Alain Marie Duboin, entitled The Life and Message of Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity: Poor Clare of Jerusalem (1901-1942). Although her revelations did not reveal the nature of the Gift as explicitly as did those of the other mystics listed in this chapter, there is nevertheless sufficient overlap to justify her inclusion. We also see intimations of the Era of Peace in Sr. Mary’s messages.
Fusion of Wills: Apostolate of Jesus’ Eucharistic Life
Particularly noteworthy in Sr. Mary’s writings is the insistence on a “fusion” of wills—the human and the Divine. It is precisely this term which, although not unprecedented in mystical theology, causes anger in some of Luisa’s critics, who insist that no notion of “fusion” with God be entertained in the spiritual life. But these critics are misled. In Fr. Duboin’s book on Sr. Mary, we read the following revelations she received from Jesus:
“Ah, if you understood! How happy each soul could be in My intimacy!… I give Myself to all souls; but I have secrets to give each one that are for her alone, with her mission which is hers alone … The soul that understands this lives in complete contentment in doing My will and in receiving My Word with My confidence. Write that, perhaps one or other soul will read it and will understand it.”399
“It is thus that the light that has been entrusted to you will shine before men.” If every soul would take these words to heart, each fulfilling her destined role, then the glory of God would be visible upon earth! “If each soul thus made that portion of the light which has been entrusted to her ‘shine before men,’ the House of Light, which is the Church, would become irresistibly resplendent.” 400
I seek a heart whose love for Me is boundless, “a will fused in My Will,” a spirit so devoid of selfishness that My Spirit can take possession of it, and reign there as King… “Will you be that heart, that will, that spirit?”401
“My little daughter, I live in souls as I lived on earth. If you wish to know what fosters My life in you, see how I lived …”402
“… The soul that makes reparation gives Me two joys: she re-establishes order—and above all: she erases from My Heart the pain caused by the unfaithful soul, because by making reparation she arouses repentance—and nothing consoles Me so much as a repentant soul. She becomes My beloved… The interior union of hearts that love one another and of wills that wish the good of others—that is your strength, an invincible power even over the Heart of God … ”403
“… And the most favored souls? Oh, there are many! They are those whom I call to join Me in the Apostolate of My Eucharistic Life. They are the richest in grace because I give them the strength they need to respond to what I ask of them. And it is as if I hide them in the deepest depths of My Heart: their life is all in Me.”404
In this same work, we find a collection of prayers composed by Sr. Mary herself, which give great insights into her revelations:
O Father, who are God, here I hold out my hands to accept sufferings and to receive them as a gift from You: may Your Reign come! O Son, who are God, here I raise my hands to offer my sufferings as a sacrifice through You: may Your Reign come! O Holy Spirit, who are God, here I raise my hands to offer my sufferings as a sacrifice through You: may Your Reign come!
Grant me, Lord, to enter fully into this vocation of suffering: make me worthy of suffering! You have given me a weak and frail body. O Father, here I am to fulfill Your Holy [Will].405
Reflecting upon the entirety of this book in its epilogue, Raphael Brown writes:
Dante’s profoundly perceptive capsule of Poor Clare spirituality is found in the third canto of the Paradiso (verses 97-102), when his Poor Clare friend Piccarda Donati evokes St. Clare, without naming her: “’Perfect life and high merit enheaven a lady farther above,’ she said to me, ‘by whose Rule in your world below they take the habit and veil in order that until they die they may watch and sleep with that Spouse who accepts every vow which Charity conforms to His pleasure.’“ That Spouse is Jesus Christ, in whose “will,” as Dante wrote, “is our peace,” because God’s “Love moves the sun and the other stars.” It is He who speaks to us again in our times through His Poor Clare of Jerusalem, Sister Mary of the Trinity. He is the center of the mystic world of the Poor Clares, as He was of their Father St. Francis and their Mother St. Clare. And that is their “spiritual legacy,” their message, and their challenge to us. St. Clare expressed that message in this unforgettable formula in her Letter to Sister Ermentrude: “Never let the thought of Him leave your mind.”406
Delving more deeply into Sr. Mary’s teachings. Fr. Iannuzzi offers the following insight:
We find the continuous state of union with the Divine Will in the writings of God’s chosen instrument Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity.
Jesus tells Sister Mary: “To let Me live within you is to fill your heart with the utter surrender of little children… to apply all your intelligence to understanding My ways of working and to imitate them…It is to keep in the truth with all the strength of your will, cost what it may, at every instant and on every occasion.”
… A few days later, Jesus defined the supernatural character of Sr. Mary’s obedience that enabled his will to truly “live” and “reign” in her: “Silence, respect for all creatures… Stripping oneself in the joy of giving. Patience. Love which obeys the Voice of God, not in appearance, but from the depths of one’s being, in complete adhesion to the divine will… I need all of that to live in a soul, to grow there and to reign there… Obedience is a state of the soul, a permanent state which makes the soul cling perseveringly to the will of God… You must be firmly united to Me, and to the will of God alone, and detached from all else… in order to help Me to penetrate everywhere… I live in you with a continuous and progressive life.”
Overjoyed with Jesus’ words of confirmation on the new state of union she presently enjoyed, Sr. Mary cried out: “My Lord, yes, to all you desire, with your help, with all my will… it is Your will that I desire… my immense desires for union among souls of goodwill for Your glory! I will intercede until the end of the world…”
…Hence Jesus’ words to Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity: “I desire a great army of victim souls who will join Me in the apostolate of My Eucharistic Life… I desire an army of victim souls who will confine their efforts to imitating My Apostolate… so that my Spirit may spread… I desire these victim souls to be everywhere: in the world and in the cloisters…”407
Let us now turn to the last mystic in this section; like Luisa Piccarreta, she was another 20th century Italian mystic, and she received revelations which again overlap with the messages given to Luisa.
Vera Grita
Vera Grita was a 20th century Italian mystic who wrote a work entitled The Living Tabernacles, bearing a nihil obstat. Born in Rome in 1923, she was a Salesian cooperator and her cause for beatification is under consideration.408 Father François Marie Léthel, O.C.D, wrote that Grita was:
…a humble consecrated lay person in whom I joyfully discovered a great mysticism of the Eucharist, perhaps one of the greatest, with a truly prophetic message for the Church of today and tomorrow409
(Fr. François was the preacher of Lenten spiritual exercises for Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, to whom the Holy Father wrote: “I would truly like to express to you my deep gratitude for the precious service you have offered me and my colleagues in the Roman Curia by preaching the Spiritual Exercises in these past few days.”410)
Living Tabernacles
Regarding her mysticism, Fr. Iannuzzi writes:
On November 6th, 1969, Jesus told Vera that in order to enter more deeply into the mystery of his “real presence,” she must offer to God her Fiat:
“I desire that My work be diffused among priests… They will know how to prepare other souls that live in the world but are not of the world to receive Me. These will bring Me to the streets, into homes and families that I may live close to souls that are far from Me so that they may feel My continuous Eucharistic presence. The rebellious will fall… My daughter, I know where to lead you! But I cannot if you do not adhere completely to My Will. I need your Fiat… so that My Design of Love may be accomplished in its fullness in your soul and in the souls of others.
Jesus later assured Vera that her Fiat helped actualize in her soul the new mystical union: I am already a living tabernacle in this soul and she does not realize it. She must realize it because I want her to assent to My eucharistic presence in her soul. Have you not already given your soul to Me completely? Wherefore I, Jesus, am the Master of your soul. And the Master is free to give as much as he likes… If souls learned to at least seek Me in humility… they would discover My human-divine real presence: Me, Jesus.
Mary relates to Vera the future era of peace that is characterized by the Eucharistic reign of Jesus in souls: “Jesus comes to you with immense grace, that which has never been given before to mankind. Your Eucharistic Jesus will descend upon you so that you may seek and save those that are lost. Then the world will be purified by a “visit” from God, and also I, your Mother, will be with you and with My Son, the Eucharistic Jesus, to receive together with you, God the Creator in the revelation of his love and of his justice…”
Jesus tells Vera: “Behold, I will return to the world, I will return in the midst of souls to speak to them, to draw closer to them, to address them directly until the veils fall and they recognize Me in every brother… Prepare the [Living] Tabernacles for this gift so that from this mystical union My coming in your midst may be revealed to the good … My Will will be done on earth as in heaven. Months before Vera’s departure for heaven, Jesus prophesied an immanent [sic] era of peace when the human race would experience the new reality of “Living Tabernacles.”
As a woman who spent her life in Italy, Vera must have rejoiced on hearing Jesus speak of a future house in Rome, from which the new spirituality he had been dictating to her would set the earth ablaze: “I want a home all to Myself. It must stand in Rome as a light that will light up the whole world. My home will accept all who are called to become bearers of the eucharistic Jesus. This house will be a place that will shelter the Living Tabernacles for shifts of spiritual exercises all year long… Here the spirituality of the Living Tabernacles will be strengthened under the light of the gospel… This will be the Mother House … Others will blossom in Italy, then in Europe and then everywhere; and they will have the same purpose: to prepare the souls called to take Me in their soul…and bring Me to all your brothers.”411
While there is not much literature currently available on Vera Grita written in English, Fr. Iannuzzi has done the English-speaking world a great service by here expounding upon her mysticism.
***
What was true at the end of the last chapter rings true here as well: many more mystics could easily be given their own sections here, but for the sake of space, must instead be left for your own discovery. What the great theologian Fr. Marie Michel Philipon wrote in 1978 (quoted earlier), “We are incontestably in a new era of spirituality,”,” has only grown more overwhelming and undeniable than it already was when he published that observation over 40 years ago.
God is not going to let anyone stop Him. So let us put aside our own prejudices and preconceived opinions on how we think God should fashion the remainder of history and instead submit to how He will, in fact, go about it—in accordance with what He has repeatedly and clearly revealed to us.
There is simply no turning back from the unanimous consensus of trustworthy Catholic mysticism of the 20th century, and there is now no way to deny what that consensus consists in, either.
1)
13) The Gift in Today’s Catholic Voices

Here we will consider miscellaneous teachings given to us by trustworthy voices in the Catholic world today who speak of the Gift or of spirituality similar to it. I am not even attempting a systematic or comprehensive overview here; I am only presenting some “tidbits” which I have stumbled upon in my own reading and wish to share for my readers’ edification. Anyone who exposes himself to good Catholic spiritual reading of the day will himself regularly find insights into the Gift—for this is the Holy Spirit’s greatest desire and He regularly inspires intimations of it in the hearts of the faithful, even if they have heard nothing of Luisa. I sincerely encourage everyone to keep their minds attentive to this task.
First, I will share an assortment of brief quotes, then I will turn to dedicate separate sections to a few voices in particular.
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
“To be a saint means … I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.”
“There are some people who, in order not to pray, use as an excuse the fact that life is so hectic that it prevents them from praying. This cannot be. Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer. It is not necessary to always be meditating… What matters is being with him, living with him, in his will. To love with a pure heart, to love everybody, especially to love the poor, is a twenty-four-hours prayer.”412
Mother Angelica:
Many ask the question, “How do I know this is God’s Will for me?” The answer is simply, “If it is happening, it is God’s will.” It is not relevant whether it is His ordaining or permitting Will, nothing happens to us that He has not seen beforehand, pondered the good we would derive from it and put upon it His stamp of approval.413
Fr. Ottavio Michelini (about whom more will be said in the Era of Peace section of this book),20th century priest and mystic admired by Pope Paul VI, wrote the following meditation:
“Hallowed be thy name.” We should hallow, that is, glorify, the holy name of God, uniting ourselves to the chorus of all voices (for all creatures have voices), fulfilling thus the finality of creation, which is the glorification of God. “Thy kingdom come.” He who truly loves forgets himself, for his thought runs toward the person loved, from whom he desires happiness. “Thy will be done (FIAT) on earth, as it is in heaven.” To seek our own desires and wishes is to place ourselves before others, and this is egotism; to place the Divine Will before our will, so that God may work his will in us, as he does it in heaven-this is love. If he who prays does so with these sentiments, and if he places himself in God’s presence, preoccupied only with his glory, with the desire that his kingdom may come and that his Will may be done, operating in him, he will see un-thought of and marvelous effects produced in his prayer; everything will be given to him and in a superabundant measure
…Man should place himself before Me, not to ask material things, preoccupied with himself and his egotism, but rather he should recollect himself before Me, adoring and praying for the glorification of the Holy Name of my Father, in order to ask for the coming of my Kingdom now, and so that my Will may be done in him and in everyone, as I do it in heaven. To the man of faith who does this, this and all the rest will be given unto him … 414
St. Padre Pio:
Let us adore it [divine providence] and be ready to conform our will in all things and at all times with the will of God… The total offering of our will is unfortunately very difficult. We must remember, though, that when our divine Master addressed to His Father on our behalf those words of the Lord’s prayer “thy will be done,” his divine mind showed Him very clearly how difficult it would be for us to do what He had promised the Father for us…Well, then, His immense love… found an admirable means… What means was this? … He asked Him also: “Give us this day, Father, our daily bread” …But what bread is this? … I recognize primarily the Eucharist… How could I fulfill that petition made by Your Son in our name: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, if I did not receive strength from this immaculate flesh?… Yes, give Him to us and we shall be sure to fulfill the request that Jesus Himself addressed to You on our behalf: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”415
Fr. William Doyle (an Irish Jesuit priest killed in action during World War I who is widely remembered for his sanctity and his profound writings. Dr. Jeff Mirus compiled a few quotes from him as follows.):
“We do not mind what God does with us so long as it more or less fits in with our own wishes; but when his will clashes with ours, we begin to see the difficulty of the prayer, ‘Not my will but thine be done.’”
“Going against self! Not in one thing or in two, but in all things where a free choice is left us. These little words contain the life-story of the saints, as they are the weapon that gained the victory which gave them heaven.”
“… the Holy Spirit of God…is ever whispering what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. When we are deliberately deaf to his voice…we grieve instead of honouring the Holy Spirit of God. So let us often say: ‘Come, O Holy Ghost, into my heart and make me holy…’.”
Making my meditation before the picture of the Curé of Ars, he seemed to say to me with an interior voice: “The secret of my life was that I lived for the moment. I did not say, ‘I must pray here for the next hour’, but only ‘for this moment’. I did not say, ‘I have a hundred confessions to hear’, but looked upon this one as the first and last. I did not say, ‘I must deny myself everything and always’, but only ‘just this once’. By this means I was able always to do everything perfectly, quietly, and in great peace. Try and live this life of the present moment.”416
Venerable Fulton Sheen:
“To do God’s Will until death, that is the inner heart of all holiness.”
“Whenever man attempts to do what he knows to be the Master’s will, a power will be given him equal to the duty.”
Dr. Peter Kreeft:
“Thy will be done” is the essential prayer of the saint; “my will be done” is the essential demand of the sinner. C S. Lewis says that “there are only two kinds of people, in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ “ By giving us free will, God says to all of us “Thy will be done,” but only some of us return to Him this compliment. 417
Pope St. John Paul II:
[St. Hannibal] saw in the “Rogate” the means God himself had provided to bring about that “new and divine” holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium, in order to “make Christ the heart of the world”.
Pope Benedict XVI:
The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide: God’s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself. Then self- abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Ps 73 [72]:23-28).418
…every day in the prayer of the Our Father we ask the Lord: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10)… we recognize that “heaven” is where the will of God is done, and that “earth” becomes “heaven” —i.e., the place of the presence of love, of goodness, of truth and of divine beauty—only if on earth the will of God is done.419
Pope Francis:
“The one who listens attentively to the Word of God and truly prays, always asks the Lord: what is your will for me?”
[From his Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate]: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for “this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3). Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel… reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus’ earthly life…Your identification with Christ and his will involves a commitment to build with him that kingdom of love, justice and universal peace… o often we say that God dwells in us, but it is better to say that we dwell in him, that he enables us to dwell in his light and love.
***
“We often refer glibly and most thoughtlessly to the Fiat of Mary, by which the “Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.” Let us not forget that we, her children, must say Amen to our Mother’s prayer. We must echo her Fiat. Christ also taught us to say Fiat to God: Fiat voluntas tua, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”we ought to translate this prayer into living words, into our actions. If we do so the Holy Ghost will come upon us, and the Might of the Most High will overshadow us, and cause to be reproduced in us the likeness of the Son of God Himself.”420
“The Pater Noster, the family prayer of the Church, has an arc like the rainbow, which springs up from the earth, touches the clouds, and then sweeps down to earth. We lift our hearts to God in its mounting petitions: “Hallowed be Thy Name: Thy Kingdom come”, until we reach the apex of the arc in: “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”421
Fr. George Kosicki
Fr. George W. Kosicki, a Basilian Father (C.S.B.), was a hermit, former biochemist, and zealous promoter of Divine Mercy whose legacy is greatly loved by the Catholic world today. One of his greatest works is a simple booklet entitled, Be Holy! The Legacy of John Paul the Great, and subtitled A “Living Eucharist.”
Published in 2005, this booklet contains many ringing endorsements, including several from Cardinals (Maida, Belivacqua, George). Of note is the encouragement from Cardinal George (then the Archbishop of Chicago), which reads:
If Vatican II has not yet borne its fullest fruit in the Church, it is because we have not taken sufficiently to heart its essential teaching—the call to holiness for every member of the Church. Father Kosicki’s book brings us the good news that, for those who have good will and a desire for holiness, intimate union with Christ is available and possible.
Finally, it contains a preface written by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, from which we read “Fr. Kosicki has identified the principal themes of the writings of St. Faustina as trust, thanksgiving, “being a living Eucharist” …” Indeed, thanks to the efforts of Fr. Kosicki and others, this “principal theme” in the writings of this holy nun will not be lost; for as important as Jesus’ words on mercy for great sinners are in St. Faustina’s revelations, it must not be forgotten that an equally important theme is this great new sanctity that Jesus speaks of multiple times to Faustina. Below are a few excerpts from this booklet:
The bottom line of why Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist is not just to be present under the appearance (accidents) of bread and wine as a remembrance of Him, but also in order that He may transform us by His presence into His living presence, into temples of the Holy Spirit radiating His merciful love. In offering a votive Mass, #7 “For Religious,” I found the Prayer over the Gifts especially meaningful: God of all mercy, you transformed [St. Faustina] and made her a new creature in your image. Renew us in the same way by making our gifts of peace acceptable to you. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord. The Lord is waiting for our freely given “yes” to His will in order the He may transform us into a “Living Eucharist”—Note that: the bread and wine never say “no!”422
Fr. Kosicki was not afraid to be completely explicit about the nature of this holiness: that it truly does entail living in the Divine Will!
Q. What is this “new and eternal holiness” that John Paul II calls us to? A. Pope John Paul II recently wrote of a “‘new and divine’ holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium … to make Christ the heart of the world” … The new and eternal holiness is a maturing of the holiness of Jesus revealed in the Gospels. It is living the fullness of the Lord’s Prayer—His kingdom come—that the Lord reign in our hearts now by the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father”—that His will be done on earth now as it is in heaven. Q. How can I live the fullness of the Our Father? A. We do so by becoming holy through the Holy Spirit and by doing and living in God’s will on earth as in heaven. The will of the Father is His kingdom where Jesus reigns by the Holy Spirit. This is God’s master plan for His grand family of saints. Where each saint is a unique, unrepeatable, precious gem in His great mosaic.423
Reading this quote, we can see that there is no room for doubt. Giving a “wrap up” summary of what we should do to follow this call, Fr. Kosicki writes:
Trust in Jesus even more! • Be a “Living Eucharist.” • Radiate His Presence: His Holiness, His Humility, His Mercy, to all. In this way live the Magnificat of Mary. • Rejoice in the Lord always. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks, For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus regarding you all! (1 Thess 5:16-19). • Live the Lord’s Prayer—on earth as in heaven: “Thy will be done.” • Make frequent spiritual Communions. • Give thanks for everything, always, and everywhere—all is gift! Thanksgiving is the KEY that opens up the Holiness of the Holy Trinity to us. Thanksgiving is the key to humility; humility is the key to transparency; transparency is the key to the presence of the holy Lord; presence of the Holy One, Jesus Christ in our hearts is to be a “Living Eucharist”—a holy, humble, merciful presence of Jesus. Thus, holiness is becoming a “Living Eucharist.” • Invoke the Holy Spirit unceasingly: desire and ask for more! • To please the Lord, be present to Him with your heart, in the Heart of Mary, trusting, rejoicing and giving thanks. • Love the Lord with His love, with your whole heart, your whole mind and your whole strength—and your neighbor as another self. • Don’t waste your sufferings: with love, entrust them to the merciful Heart of Jesus. • Be merciful with the mercy of the heavenly Father—in deed, word and prayer. • Desire more of God. Ask for more of the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to work more in you and transform you.424
Servant of God Fr. Walter Ciszek
Fr. Walter Ciszek was a Polish-American Jesuit priest who was imprisoned for decades in a Soviet Gulag. His cause for beatification has been underway since 1990, six years after his death. Fr. Ciszek teaches that:
Ultimately, the only absolute freedom we have resides in a man’s free will. And that freedom was given us by our Creator, essentially, so that we might freely choose to love and serve him… It is in choosing to serve God, to do his will, that man achieves his highest and fullest freedom. It may seem paradoxical to say that our highest and fullest freedom comes when we follow to the least detail the will of another, but it is true nonetheless when that other is God425
Each day, every day of our lives, God presents to us the people and opportunities upon which he expects us to act. He expects no more of us, but he will accept nothing less of us; and we fail in our promise and commitment if we do not see in the situations of every moment of every day his divine will… The kingdom of God will not be brought to fulfillment on earth by one great, sword-swinging battle against the powers of darkness. But only by each of us laboring and suffering day after day as Christ labored and suffered, until all things at last have been transformed…426
Commenting on Fr. Ciszek’s writings and then quoting them, Fr. Iannuzzi writes:
A more recent exemplar of total abandonment to the Divine Will is Rev. Walter … Before his cause of beatification was introduced, several of his writings were examined by theologians in Rome who found them to be both inspired and prophetic. In one of his works, Fr. Ciszek describes how creation is transformed and set free from its slavery to corruption through the activity of God’s will in man’s will:
“Christ’s life and suffering were redemptive; his “apostolate” in the scheme of salvation was to restore the original order and harmony in all creation that had been destroyed by sin. His perfect obedience to the Father’s will redeemed man’s first and continuing disobedience to that will. “All creation,” said St. Paul, “groans and labors up till now,” awaiting Christ’s redemptive efforts to restore the proper relationship between God and his creation. But Christ’s redemptive act did not of itself restore all things, it simply made the work of redemption possible, it began our redemption. Just as all men share in the disobedience of Adam, so all men must share in the obedience of Christ to the Father’s will. Redemption will be complete only when all men share his obedience… This simple truth, that the sole purpose of man’s life on earth is to do the will of God, contains in it riches and resources enough for a lifetime… The notion that the human will, when united with the divine will, can play a part in Christ’s work of redeeming all mankind is overpowering. The wonder of God’s grace transforming worthless human actions into efficient means for spreading the kingdom of God here on earth astounds the mind and humbles it to the utmost, yet brings a peace and joy unknown to those who have never experienced it, unexplainable to those who will not believe.”
The aforementioned writings reveal how creation is transformed under the influence of God. It is not through one individual, but through mankind’s obedience to God’s will manifested in the humanity of Jesus Christ that creation emerges from its slavery to corruption and enters what St. Paul calls ‘the glorious freedom of the sons of God.’427
John Haffert
John Haffert was one of the greatest lay leaders in the Church of the 20th century. Early in his life of work for the Church, he started the Scapular Society to promote the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and later dedicated himself to the messages of Our Lady of Fatima. He founded the Blue Army, whose shrine today hosts 50,000 pilgrims every year. Now officially known as the World Apostolate of Fatima, it is an officially Vatican-recognized Public International Association of the Faithful.
Mr. Haffert was a firm believer in Luisa’s revelations.428 He published at least 30 books, many of which have become well known. In one of them, entitled Now the Woman Shall Conquer, he wrote:
Cardinal Gagnon said at the 1996 Rome conference: “It is not enough to believe that Our Lady is Co- Redemptrix and Mediatrix. We must proclaim it.” And the Pope affirmed this in his message to the International Mariological Congress later that same year. Is not the Holy Spirit urging this upon the Church at this time? Are we not speaking of the reality of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima (“My Immaculate Heart will triumph”) … the reality of the forming of Jesus in the Mystical Body and in each of its members to a degree never before attained? This is the stunning message of the Venerable [sic] Luisa Picaretta [sic] whose message was confirmed by sixty years of living solely on the Blessed Sacrament. What else could the final triumph be of Her who alone of all humanity was the first to live in the Divine Will? Does it not mean there will be saints as never before, living in the Divine Will, as Mary did, and bringing the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of men of all nations?
As mentioned, Mr. Haffert also wrote the Foreword to Hugh Owen’s book, New and Divine: the Holiness of the Third Christian Millennium. In this foreword, we read:
For those who have never heard of the “‘new and divine’ holiness,” it may seem like an impossible dream—like the lifting of the veil upon the already approaching glorious time when the prayer of two thousand years will be fulfilled: “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Mr. Owen clearly reveals this new “era of peace for mankind,” promised at Fatima, as the era of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the diffusion of the gift of living in perfect abandonment to the Divine Will…
It is faith in the promises of Fatima, faith in the triumph of God’s Will on earth as in Heaven. And we can dare to believe that it can begin now, in each of us, if we believe enough to say “Yes” to the great gift that God now offers to the world, the gift of the “new and divine” holiness.
Clearly, Mr. Haffert had no reservations about the Gift, and instead recognized and boldly taught that it is indeed the fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer for our time.
1)
14) The Gift and the Entire History of the World

Therefore, my daughter, if you remain attentive to live always of my Will, It will entrust to you all the secrets of the history of Creation … 429
Six thousand years ago, a man ate a fruit. The millennia that followed have largely been the story of the consequences of this decision.
Here I wish to sum up the essence and meaning of what fills millions of pages of history books around the world. In reading this, you will truly have more wisdom about the whole point of history than most of the world’s historians. (It seems today that few historians understand the true form of history, even if they know many details about its matter, like an atheistic psychologist who knows many facts about human behavior but does not know that which makes us human.)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1. The first verse of Sacred Scripture.
The Universe does predate man chronologically, but it takes a low second place to him in order of importance. Regarding this, Jesus tells Luisa:
The purpose of Creation was man, yet I did not create man as first; had I done it I would not have been orderly.430
Yes, all things were created for man. We should all, therefore, be unabashedly anthropocentric when considering creation. Jesus puts it even more clearly elsewhere, saying:
Everything was made for man…431
So what was man’s creation directed toward with respect to material things?
Creation was made for man—in it he was to be the king of all created things.432
God made creation for man, and God made man to be the King of All Creation. And this, indeed, Adam was. Let us now consider this glorious state.
The Original Glory
The state of “prelapsarian” (that is, “before the fall”) Adam is mostly one of speculation among the theologians of the Church, as Scripture itself gives relatively few details. Nevertheless, the clear consensus among all the Fathers of the Church and the saints is certainly that, before the Fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed a state of incredible glory, so much so that in our sorry state today we can scarcely comprehend it, notwithstanding the graces we now have access to thanks to the Redemption.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Adam and Eve shared in the Divine Life, and that “by the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man’s life were confirmed.”433 The term is not accidental: Jesus tells Luisa that this was not merely symbolic, but that the grace in them was so great that they were literally clothed in light.
Jesus tells Luisa:
Now, you must know that Adam possessed such sanctity when he was created by God, and his acts, even the slightest, had such value, that no Saint, either before or after my coming upon earth, can be compared to his sanctity; and all of their acts together do not reach the value of one single act of Adam, because, in my Divine Will, he possessed the fullness of sanctity, the totality of all the divine goods.434
…before sinning, Adam possessed the complete life of my Divine Will in his soul; one can say that it was filled to the brim, to the extent of overflowing outside. So, by virtue of my Will, the human will transfused light outside, and emitted the fragrances of its Creator—fragrances of beauty, of sanctity and of full health; fragrances of purity, of strength, which were such as to come out from within his will like many luminous clouds. And the body was so embellished by these exhalations, that it was a delight to see him beautiful, vigorous, luminous, so very healthy, with an enrapturing grace.435
Of course, Adam and Eve enjoyed complete happiness in the terrestrial paradise that was the Garden of Eden. But as Jesus reveals to Luisa, what was most important was their holiness: because they were created directly by a deliberate act of God, justice demanded that He create them with all perfections due in the nature of man; that He create them truly similar to Himself. This He did by giving them the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. The Divine Will was immediately placed within Adam’s human will from the moment of his creation, therefore Adam gave God perfect glory. And the first thing that Adam did after he was created was to say, “I love you my God, my Father, the Author of my life.”436
Jesus tells Luisa that He made physical creation to house man, but he made the soul of man to house God. This was so deeply true that the Divine Will was the very principle of the life and action of Adam. Jesus tells Luisa:
When God created Adam, he possessed such sanctity that the slightest one of his acts had such value that no [sanctity of any] saint either before or after My coming to earth can compare to his sanctity … For in My Divine Will Adam possessed the fullness of sanctity and the totality of all divine blessings. And do you know what fullness means? It means to be filled to the brim, to the point of overflowing with light, sanctity, love and all the divine qualities, whereby he was able to fill heaven and earth, over which he exercised dominion and through which he extended his kingdom … For by the power of My Will, within which alone all such acts may be found, Adam was able to give Me the fullness and totality of all goods, whereas outside of My Will such acts do not exist. Thus Adam possessed all the riches and acts of infinite value that My Eternal Will communicated to him before the divinity.437
In the case of Adam, this grace even meant all infused knowledge:
What others learn with so many efforts, he possessed as gift in a surprising way. So, he possessed the knowledge of all the things of this earth; he had the science of all plants, of all herbs and of the virtue which each of them contained; he had the science of all species of animals and of how he should use them; he had the science of music, of singing, of writing, of medicine—in sum, of everything. And if the generations possessed each one its special science, Adam possessed them all. 438
Each sense was a communication that I left between Me and her. Her thought was a communication between my Intelligence and hers; her eye was communication between her light and Mine; her speech was a channel of communication between her Fiat and Mine…439
Work existed, but it was not “by the sweat of our brow,” for that is a result of the Fall. Jesus describes to Luisa what work was like before that abysmal moment:
Indeed, wherever my Will reigns, all things, even the most little and natural, convert into delight for Me and for the creature, because they are the effect of a Divine Will reigning in her, which cannot issue from Itself even a shadow of unhappiness. Even more, you must know that, in Creation, Our Supreme Fiat established all the human acts, investing them with delight, with joy and with happiness. So, work itself was to be of no burden for man, nor give him a shadow of tiredness, because, by possessing my Will, he possessed the strength that never tires and never fails.440
But everyone must be tried; no creature with a free will is exempt from a test before eternal and absolute confirmation in grace. It would be blasphemous to accuse God of so testing Adam and Eve without His wanted Will being that they pass the test; indeed, this was what God desired (even though, of course, in His all-knowingness, He was aware that they would not in fact pass it), and He knew exactly what to do if they passed. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, indeed there is no certainty without a test, and when the soul passes the test, she receives the confirmation of my designs and everything that is necessary to her and befits her in order to carry out the state to which she has been called by Me. This is why I wanted to test Adam—to confirm his happy state and his right of kingship over the whole Creation; and since he was not faithful in the test, by justice he could not receive the confirmation of the goods which his Creator wanted to give him. In fact, through the test man acquires the seal of faithfulness, which gives him the right to receive the goods that God had established to give him in the state to which his soul had been called by Him. It can be said that one who is not tested has no value—neither before God nor before men, nor before himself. God cannot trust a man without a test, and man himself does not know what strength he possesses.
If Adam had passed the test, all human generations would have been confirmed in his state of happiness and of royalty. In the same way, I Myself, loving these children of my Divine Will with a love all special, wanted to go through the test for all of them in my Humanity, reserving for them the one test of never letting them do their will, but only and always my Will, so as to reconfirm for them all the goods needed in order to live in the Kingdom of my Divine Fiat. With this, I closed all exit doors for them; I anointed them with an invincible strength, in such a way that nothing else will be able to enter the so very high fences of my Kingdom. In fact, when I command that something should not be done, it is a door that I leave, through which the human will can make its exit; it is an occasion that the creature always has, by which she can go out of my Will. But when I say: ‘from here there is no exit’, all doors remain closed, weakness is fortified, and the only thing that is left to her is the decision to enter, never to go out again—or not to enter at all. Therefore, in order to live in the Kingdom of my Will there will only be the decision—the decision will carry the accomplished act. 441
If Adam had not sinned, the Eternal Word, who is the very Will of the Celestial Father, was to come upon earth glorious, triumphant and dominator, accompanied visibly by His angelic army, which all were to see; and with the splendor of His glory, He was to charm everyone and draw everyone to Himself with His beauty; crowned as king and with the scepter of command, so as to be king and head of the human family, in such a way as to give creatures the great honor of being able to say: ‘We have a King who is Man and God.’ More so, since your Jesus was not coming from Heaven to find man infirm, because, had he not withdrawn from my Divine Will, no illnesses, either of soul or of body, were to exist; in fact, it was the human will that almost drowned the poor creature with pains. The Divine Fiat was untouchable by any pain, and so was man to be. Therefore, I was to come to find man happy, holy, and with the fullness of the goods with which I had created him. But, because he wanted to do his will, he changed Our destiny, and since it was decreed that I was to descend upon earth—and when the Divinity decrees, no one can move It—I only changed the manner and the appearance, but I did descend, though under most humble guises: poor, with no apparatus of glory, suffering and crying, and loaded with all the miseries and pains of man. The human will made Me come to find man unhappy, blind, deaf and mute, full of all miseries; and I, in order to heal him, was to take them upon Myself; and so as not to strike fear in them, I was to show Myself as one of them, become their brother and give them the medicines and the remedies which were needed. So, the human will has the power to render man happy or unhappy, a saint or a sinner, healthy or sick.442
Thankfully, we need not waste any time lamenting that Adam failed the test. Glorious as it would have been if he passed, we must recall that God, in His infinite Goodness and perfect Omnipotence, never even allows an evil to occur unless He knows He will bring a greater good out of it. We should also remind ourselves of the felix culpa (the “happy fault”), of which we sing in the Exsultet at Easter, and in which we remember that in a sense Adam’s fault was “happy,” for now God was on the move to enact an even greater plan than He would have if Adam had passed the test. But before moving on to consider that plan, we must first understand more about the tragic Fall itself.
The Fall (~ 4000 BC)
Why did Adam sin? The answer is simple, and Jesus reveals it to Luisa:
…do you want to know why Adam sinned? Because he forgot that I loved him, and he forgot to love Me … So, love ceased first, and then sin began; and as he ceased to love his God, true love towards himself also ceased … This is why, in coming upon earth, the thing on which I placed greatest importance was that they love one another as they were loved by Me, in order to give them my first love, to let the love of the Most Holy Trinity hover over the earth… never forget that I love you very much, so as to never forget to love Me…In this way, you will remain in the order, and will fear nothing.443
So we can see that the seed of the Fall can perhaps be found in the memory—in forgetting the works of God—for such forgetfulness neglects Scripture’s admonition “do not forget the works of the Lord” (Psalm 78). And how often, even now, do we sin because we allow ourselves to forget?
But this forgetfulness of God’s love had disastrous consequences. Jesus explains this in a revelation to Luisa, saying:
My daughter, terrible indeed was the moment of the fall of Adam. As he rejected Our Divine Will to do his own, Our Fiat was in act of withdrawing from the heavens, from the sun and from all Creation to reduce It to nothing … If it wasn’t that the Eternal Word offered His foreseen merits of the future Redeemer, as He offered them to preserve the Immaculate Virgin from original sin, everything would had gone to ruin: the heavens, the sun, would have withdrawn into Our source; and as Our Divine Will withdraws, all created things would lose life. But the Word [foreseen Incarnate] presented Himself before the Divinity, and making present all of His foreseen merits, all things remained in their place, and my Fiat continued His creating and preserving work, waiting for my Humanity in order to give it as legitimate gift, which I deserved; so much so, that the solemn promise was given to man, after his fall, that the future Redeemer would descend to save him, so that he would pray and dispose himself to receive Him … If it wasn’t for my Humanity, everything was lost for man. Therefore, not doing my Divine Will encloses all evils and is to lose all rights, of Heaven and of the earth; while doing It encloses all goods and acquires all rights, human and divine.444
Yes, the Fall of Man was so great that, were it not for the foreseen merits of the incarnate Christ, the Universe would have been annihilated; resolving into the chaos whence it was called by God in the beginning. So greatly exalted is man’s dignity above created things that the destiny of all created things is inextricably linked to that of man’s.
But we must now consider what the Fall did not mean. God hastened to act immediately with His own promise; but its fulfillment did not mean Adam’s damnation. Jesus tells Luisa:
…in creating him, God had left nothing empty within him, but everything was divine fullness, as much as a creature could contain. And when he fell into sin, these acts, these riches of his, this glory and perfect love which he had given to his Creator, were not destroyed; on the contrary, it is by virtue of them and of his operating done in my Divine Fiat that he earned the Redemption. No, one who had possessed the Kingdom of my Will, even for a short time, could not remain without Redemption. One who possesses this Kingdom enters into such bonds and rights with God, that God Himself feels with him the strength of His own chains that bind Him, and He cannot get rid of him… Now, in seeing him fallen into poverty, how could Our love bear not having compassion on him, if Our Divine Will Itself lovingly waged war on Us and pleaded for the one who had lived in It? Do you see, then, what living in my Divine Will means—its great importance? In It there is fullness of all divine goods and totality of all possible and imaginable acts…if Adam deserved compassion, it was because the first period of his life was in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.445
Adam was invincible. He lived in the Divine Will for a time, and God can never forget, or allow to be lost, one who has lived in His Will even briefly. Furthermore, God cannot forget His love for such a soul for even a moment, and this love immediately compelled God to issue the promise of the future Redeemer, which harkens the next stage of history.
The Protoevangelium
“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”—Genesis 3:15
Jesus expounds upon this to Luisa:
My daughter, my Love was not extinguished because of the fall of man, but became more ignited; and even though my Justice justly punished him and condemned him, my Love, kissing my Justice, without delay promised the future Redeemer, and said to the deceitful serpent, with the empire of my Power: ‘You have made use of a woman to snatch man from my Divine Will, and I, by means of another woman, who will have in Her power the Power of my Fiat, will knock down your pride, and with Her immaculate foot, She will crush your head.’ These words burned the infernal serpent more than hell itself, and he stored so much rage in his heart, that he could no longer stay still—he would do nothing but go round and round the earth, to discover She who was to crush his head—not in order to let it be crushed, but so as to be able, with his infernal arts, with his diabolical tricks, to make fall She who was to defeat him, debilitate him and bind him in the dark abysses. So, for four thousand years he kept always wandering; and when he would see women who were more virtuous and good, he would arm his battle, he would tempt them in every way, and only then would he leave them, when he would be assured, by means of some weakness or defects, that they were not the One through whom he was to be defeated. And he would continue his wandering.446
God does not waste time. As soon as the Fall had occurred, He was on the move not only to restore what was lost, but to reorder things in a greater way than would have been possible if the fall had never occurred. But the world was not ready to receive this effort. Another 6,000 years of suffering and praying—with 4,000 for the coming of the Redeemer, then 2,000 for the coming of His Kingdom—would first have to pass.
Up to the Flood (~ 2000 BC)
All Christians know what happened after the Fall. Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden. Their children inherited the consequences of this sin. Death and suffering entered the world. But the world did not descend overnight into the degree of chaos which it exhibits now; nor to the degree of chaos it had immediately before the Flood. Only the seed—only the seminal beginnings—of these evils existed immediately. It took much time for these evils to grow so grave and numerous that the world needed to be purged. Regarding the time before the Flood, Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, as long as he remained in the terrestrial Eden, living in the Kingdom of the Supreme Will, Adam knew all the knowledges, as much as it is possible for a creature, of that which belonged to the Kingdom he possessed. But as soon as he went out of It, his intellect was obscured; he lost the light of his Kingdom, and could not find the fitting words in order to manifest the knowledges he had acquired on the Supreme Will, because that very Divine Volition which would hand to him the necessary terms to manifest to others what he had known, was missing in him. This, on his part; more so, since every time he remembered his withdrawal from my Will, and the highest good which he had lost, he felt such a grip of sorrow as to become taciturn, engrossed in the sorrow of the loss of a Kingdom so great, and of the irreparable evils which, as much as Adam might do, it was not given to him to repair. Indeed, that very God whom he had offended was needed in order to remedy them. On the part of his Creator, he received no order, and therefore he was not given enough capacity to manifest it. Why manifest a knowledge if it would not give him the good it contained? I only make a good known when I want to give it. However, even though Adam did not speak extensively about the Kingdom of my Will, he taught many important things on what regarded It; so much so, that during the first times of the history of the world, up to Noah, the generations had no need of laws, nor were there idolatries … but all recognized their one God … because they cared more about my Will. But as they kept moving away from It, idolatries arose and degenerated into worse evils. And this is why God saw the necessity of giving His laws as a preserver for the human generations.447
Although the Edenic graces were removed upon the Fall, its effects lingered for some time, and Adam carried many graces with him still. But as time went on, and as more and more centuries passed after the death of Adam, the world grew farther and farther away from its origin. Thankfully, there was still at least one righteous man left. Jesus tells Luisa:
And only the acts determine the coming of a good—not the time. More so, since they were forcing Our Justice to exterminate them from the face of the earth, as it happened in the Flood, in which only Noah, by obeying Our Will and through the prolixity of his long sacrifice of building the ark, deserved to be saved with his family, and to find in his acts the continuation of the long generation in which the promised Messiah was to come. A prolonged and continuous sacrifice possesses such attraction and enrapturing force before the Supreme Being, as to make Him decide to give great goods and continuation of life to the human kind. If Noah had not obeyed and had not sacrificed himself in carrying out a work so long, he himself would have been swept away in the Flood, and since he would not have saved himself, the world, the new generation, would have ended.448
Up to Redemption (~ 0 AD)
Knowing that man now needed to be treated like a servant, even though he was in fact a son, God prepared the way for the introduction of His Law, which was never before needed, as man (before the pre-flood corruption of the world) was intent on the Will of God. In discussing the need for the Law, Jesus tells Luisa:
Now Our Paternal Goodness, seeing that man always goes falling more, in order to give him a support, a help, It gave him the Law as the norm for his life, because in the Creation It gave him neither laws, nor other things, except that of My Divine Will, that by continuously giving him Life, gave him Our Divine Law naturally, in a way that he would feel to it in himself, as his own life, without having the need that We would tell and command him. Even more, because where My Will Reigns, there are neither laws, nor commands. Laws are for the servants, for the rebels, not for the children. Between Us and those who Live in Our Volition, everything is resolved in Love. But with all the law, man did not remake himself, and since Our Ideal for Creation had been Man, and only for him was everything done, therefore I wanted to come on earth into their midst… 449
The Law—great and necessary as it is—was of course preparatory for the coming of the Redeemer in the flesh. But much more was needed before that time in which God was wedded to earth; and even though God is now wed to an unfaithful spouse, He Himself always remains perfectly faithful. Continuing with the analogy of marriage, Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, it is indeed true that the Supreme Being made Its marriage with humanity at the beginning of Creation; and it happened as to a husband, when his wicked wife induces him to separate in court. But, in spite of this, an affection remains in his heart, and he thinks and yearns that, if his chosen one should change, “who knows… I may once again be able to unite and bind myself with her with the bond of marriage”; and therefore he often lets news reach her ear through messengers—that he loves her.
So God did: even though the marriage with humanity was unbound in the divine court, He kept an affection and, though far away, he longed for the new bond of marriage with humanity; so much so, that He did not destroy the palace which He had formed with so much sumptuousness and magnificence, nor did He take away from her the good of the sun that formed the day, but He left everything, so that the very one who had offended Him might make use of it. Even more, He maintained the correspondence by choosing, from the very beginning of the world, now one of the good, now another, who were like messengers. And like many postmen, some brought the little letters, some the telegrams, some the phone calls from Heaven, in which it was announced that the far away spouse had not forgotten her, that he loved her, and that he wanted the return of the ungrateful spouse.
So, in the Old Testament, the more I multiplied the good, the patriarchs and the prophets, the more pressing were the invitations and the mail that ran between Heaven and earth, through which God was sending news—that He desired the new union. This is so true that, unable to contain the ardor of His love any longer, and since decayed humanity was not yet disposed at that time, He made an exception, espousing the Virgin Queen and the Humanity of the Word with bond of true marriage, so that, by virtue of them, decayed humanity might be lifted up again and I might form the marriage with the entire humanity. So, my Humanity formed the new engagement with her on the Cross, and everything I did and suffered, up to dying on the Cross, were all preparations in order to carry out the desired marriage in the Kingdom of my Divine Will. Now, after the engagement, there are pledges and gifts left to be exchanged, and these are the knowledges about my Divine Fiat. Through them, humanity is given back the great gift which man rejected in Eden—the eternal, infinite and endless gift of my Will. And this gift will attract decayed humanity so much, that she will give Us, in exchange, the gift of her poor will, which will be the confirmation and the seal of the union of the spouses, after such a long chain of correspondence, of faithfulness on the part of God, and of inconstancy, ingratitude and coldness on the part of creatures.450
This “new union” desired by God, although it was truly thanks to Our Lady most of all, was earlier enabled by the sacrifice of Abraham.
So let us at this point consider another excerpt in which Jesus gives Luisa another broad look at history and explains the place of Abraham, Noah, and relates those pivotal moments to the state of the world today. The entry in Luisa’s diary from June 26th, 1932, gives this profound overview, and I present it in its near entirety here:
My daughter, all the Good of the history of the world is founded upon the sacrifice that is wanted of creatures by My Supreme Will; and the greater the sacrifice that We ask of her, the more Good We enclose in it. And We ask for these great sacrifices when, because of their sins, they deserve that the world be destroyed-making the new life of creatures come out from within the sacrifice, in place of the destruction. Now, you must know that at that point of the history of the world creatures deserved to exist no more-all should have perished. Noah, by accepting Our Mandate and by exposing himself to the great sacrifice, and for so many years, of building the ark, bought back the world and all the future generations.
As he went on sacrificing himself for so prolixious a time, of hardships, of toils, of sweat, so did he pour out the coins, not of gold or silver, but of his whole being in act of following Our Volition. In this way he put in enough coins to be able to buy back what was about to be destroyed. So, if the world still exists, they owe it to Noah who, with his sacrifices and by doing Our Will the Way We wanted him to do it, saved man and everything that was to serve man. A prolixious sacrifice, wanted by God, says great things-Universal Good, sweet chain that binds God and men. We Ourselves don’t feel like escaping from the maze of this chain so long that the creature forms for Us by a prolixious sacrifice. On the contrary, it is so sweet and dear to Us, that We let Ourselves be bound by her, as she herself best pleases. Now, by his prolixious sacrifice, Noah bought back the continuation of the human generations.
After another length of time of the history of the world, Abraham came, and Our Volition commanded him to sacrifice his own son. This was a hard sacrifice for a poor father; it can be said that God put the man to the test and demanded a proof that was inhuman and almost impossible to execute. But God has the Right to ask whatever He wants and any sacrifice He wants. Poor Abraham-he was put in such constraints that his heart bled, and he felt death within himself, and the fatal blow that he was to strike over his only son. The sacrifice was exuberant; so much so, that Our Paternal Goodness wanted the execution of it, but not the completion, knowing that he could not have lived-he would have died of grief after an act so harrowing, of killing his own son, because it was an act that surpassed the strengths of his nature.
But Abraham accepted everything-he was heedless of everything, either of his son or of his very self, while feeling consumed with sorrow in his own son. If Our Volition, just as It commanded it, had not prevented the fatal act, even though he would have died together with his beloved son, he would still have accomplished the sacrifice wanted by Us. Now, this sacrifice, wanted by Us, was great, exuberant and unique in the history of the world.451 Well then, this very sacrifice elevated him so high, that he was constituted by Us head and father of the human generations; and by the sacrifice of sacrificing his son, he poured out coins of blood and of intense sorrow to buy back the future Messiah, for the Jewish people and for all. In fact, after the sacrifice of Abraham, We made Ourselves heard often in the midst of creatures, that which We did not do before. The sacrifice had the virtue of drawing Us closer to them; and We formed the Prophets, up to the time when the longed-for Messiah came.
Now, after another most extensive length of time, wanting to give the Kingdom of Our Will, We wanted the sacrifice on which to set It, such that, while the earth is flooded by sins and deserves to be destroyed, the sacrifice of the creature buys it back for Us, and with her sacrifice-and in her sacrifice, she calls back the Divine Will to Reign, and makes the New Life of My Volition be Reborn in the world in the midst of creatures. Here, then, I asked for the prolixious sacrifice of your life, sacrificed in a bed. And this was nothing, because other souls have remained in a bed of pain; but it was the New Cross, which I have not asked of and given to anyone, that was to form your daily martyrdom-and you know what it is, since many times you have lamented to Me about it.
Daughter, when I want to give a Great Good, a New Good to creatures, I give New Crosses and I want a New and Unique sacrifice-a cross for which the human can give itself no reason; but there is My Divine Reason, that man is obliged to not investigate, but to lower his forehead and adore it. And besides, this was about the Kingdom of My Will, and My Love had to invent and want New Crosses and sacrifices never before received, to be able to find pretexts, the prop, the strength, sufficient coins, and an extremely long chain to let Itself be bound by the creature. And the sure sign, when We want to give a Great and Universal Good in the world, is to ask of a creature a great sacrifice, and prolixity in it; these are the assurances and certainties of the Good that We want to give. And when We find one who accepts, We make him a portent of Grace, and in his sacrifice We form the Life of that Good that We want to give.
… nor should you be concerned because you do not see and hear in others the effects of your sacrifice. It is necessary that with your sacrifice you make the deed of purchase with Our Divinity; and once you have settled with God, the purchase is assured: in due time, with certainty, the Kingdom of the Divine Volition will have Life, because the purchase of It was made by the sacrifice of one who belongs to the human family.
With this message of a sure and certain hope of the coming of the Kingdom, we turn now to the Redemption itself. Just as in the last hundred years there has been an explosion of prophecy, apparitions, and revelations (more on this will be relayed in a forthcoming section), so too, in the years before the coming of God in the Flesh, there was a building expectation that is not lost even on secular scholars, one of whom pointed out:
…from the time of the Babylonian Captivity, there has been the expectation that a messianic figure would appear who would bring about the culmination of Jewish hopes. In the subsequent centuries, as Palestine came under Greek, Syrian and then Roman control, the messianic expectation grew stronger and stronger. The Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that a great ferment and fervor existed in the period just before the beginning of Christianity.452
And this prophetic explosion was not in vain; it culminated in the ardent and unprecedented prayers of a certain lowly virgin named Mary.
Redemption Itself (26 AD)
(Many details on the life of the Holy Family and on the Passion of Jesus are contained in the “Grow in the Gift through Mary” and the “Hours of the Passion” chapters, respectively. For the sake of brevity, what is quoted in those chapters will not be repeated here, although it is quite relevant and edifying, and will hopefully be read by those who read this section).
Now the fullness of time has come. Now the hour has arrived for God to fulfill His promise He made 4,000 years earlier. And where does it all begin? In the womb.
Of the Immaculate Conception, Jesus tells Luisa:
I want to Honor My Celestial Mother. I want to narrate the story of Her Immaculate Conception. Only I can speak of it, being Author of so Great a Prodigy. Now, My daughter, the First Act of this Conception was one Fiat of Ours, pronounced with such Solemnity and with such Fullness of Grace, as to enclose everything and everyone. We centralized everything in this Conception of the Virgin. In Our Divine Fiat, in which past and future do not exist, the Incarnation of the Word was held present, and It made Her Conceived and incarnated in the same Incarnation of Me, future Redeemer. My Blood that was in act as if I Myself were shedding it, continually sprinkled Her, embellished Her, Confirmed Her, and fortified Her in a Divine Way…
And I found in Her My Heaven, the Sanctity of My Life, My own Blood that had Generated Her and watered Her so many times. I found My own Will, that communicating Its Divine Fecundity to Her, formed the Life of Her and the Son of God. My Divine Fiat, in order to make Her Worthy of being able to Conceive Me, held Her Invested and under Its continuous Empire that possesses all acts as if they were One Single Act. In order to give Her everything, It called into act My foreseen Merits, My Whole Life, and It continuously poured it within Her Beautiful Soul. Therefore I alone can tell the true story of the Immaculate Conception and of Her whole Life, because I Conceived Her in Me and I am aware of everything. And if the Holy Church speaks about the Celestial Queen, they can say only the first letters of the alphabet about Her Sanctity, Greatness, and Gifts with which She was enriched. If you knew the Contentment that I feel when I speak about My Celestial Mother, who knows how many demands you would make Me in order to give Me the Joy of letting Me speak about the One whom I Love so much, and who has Loved Me.453
But the true fullness of time was recognized not in the womb of Anne, but in the womb of Mary.
Listen then: my conception in the womb of a Virgin was the greatest work of the whole history of the world. By Our Fiat just wanting it so, It incarnated Itself, without anyone one forcing Us, or deserving it, and with no need on Our part. The need was Our love, and only because it wanted it so. It was an act so great as to enclose and embrace all, and it contained so much love as to seem incredible, so much so, that Heaven and earth are still astounded and enraptured, and all felt invaded by so much love as to be able to feel my Life conceived within all.454
In the Annunciation—the Incarnation of the Word—that which is scarcely even possible to imagine transpired in reality. The infinite entered into the finite. The Creator entered into His own creation. The One who made the Universe became a child in the womb of one of His own creations. It is as if you, in authoring a story, literally jumped into the very page on which you set your pen and proceeded to interact with the characters you created out of nothing. But what no human author can ever do, the Divine Author can, and did.
God and man were no longer foreign to each other; for there was now a God-man Who would proceed to call all of His children into Himself for their own Divinization by partaking of His same nature.
Finally, after 4,000 long years, the Divine Will had its place of reigning: the home of Nazareth. But He did not yet have His Kingdom. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, indeed my Divine Will reigned in this house of Nazareth on earth as It does in Heaven. My Celestial Mama and I knew no other will, and Saint Joseph lived in the reflections of Our Will. But I was like a king without a people, isolated, without cortege, without army, and my Mama was like a queen without children, because She was not surrounded by other children worthy of Her to whom She could entrust Her crown of queen, so as to have the offspring of Her noble children, all kings and queens. And I had the sorrow of being a king without a people; and if those who surrounded Me could be called a people, it was a sick people—some were blind, some mute, some deaf, some crippled, some covered with wounds. It was a people that gave Me dishonor—not honor; even more, it did not even know Me, nor did it want to know Me. So, I was King only for Myself, and my Mama was Queen without the long generation of Her offspring of Her royal children. But in order to be able to say that I had my Kingdom, and to rule, I had to have ministers; and even though I had Saint Joseph as prime minister, one minister only does not constitute a ministry. I had to have a great army, all intent on fighting to defend the rights of the Kingdom of my Divine Will; and a faithful people that would have, as law, only the law of my Will. This was not so, my daughter; therefore I cannot say that, on coming upon earth, I had the Kingdom of my Fiat at that time. Our Kingdom was for Us only, because the order of Creation, the royalty of man, was not restored. However, by the Celestial Mother and I living wholly of Divine Will, the seed was sown, the yeast was formed, so as to make Our Kingdom arise and grow upon earth. Therefore, all the preparations were made, all the graces impetrated, all the pains suffered, so that the Kingdom of my Fiat might come to reign upon earth. This is why Nazareth can be called the point of recall of the Kingdom of Our Will.455
The work had begun. In Nazareth, there was the point of recall of the Kingdom. So much work, however, was left to be done. We should take a moment to pause here to understand that creation was never unaware of the fact that its creator was in its midst. Jesus, indeed, was like us in all things but sin—but the truth contained in this teaching is all but inaccessible to those who are so mired in sin and error that, even though they are Catholics, they have no concept of the dignity of human nature.
Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, when I was on earth, My Divine Will that reigned in Me by nature and that same Divine Will that was present and reigned in all created things, kissed each other at each encounter, and longing for their encounter, they would make feast; and all created things would compete in order to meet with Me and give Me the homages that befitted Me. As the earth would hear My steps, it would become green again and flower under My feet to give Me homage. As I passed by, it wanted to release from its bosom all the beauties it possessed, the enchantment of the most beautiful flowerings; so much so, that many times I had to command it not to make these demonstrations; and the earth, to give Me honor, would obey, just as, to give Me honor, it would flower.
The sun always tried to meet with Me to give Me the homages of its light, unleashing all the varieties of beauties and colors from its solar bosom before My eyes, to give Me the honors I deserved. Everything and everyone tried to encounter Me in order to make their feast for Me: the wind, the water, and even the little bird, to give Me the honors of its trilling, warbling and singing; all created things recognized Me and competed among themselves to see which one could honor Me and make feast for Me the most.
One who possesses My Divine Will has the eyesight to be able to recognize what belongs to My Will Itself. Man alone did not recognize Me, because he did not possess the eyesight and the fine sense of smell of My Will. I had to tell him in order to make Myself recognized; but with all My telling, many did not even believe Me, because one who does not possess My Divine Will is blind and deaf and without the sense of smell to be able to recognize what belongs to It. 456
Yes—all creation lives in the Divine Will; for, having neither reason nor a free will of its own, it has no other choice. Man, however, is another story. Regarding His public ministry, Jesus tells Luisa:
… I went to the desert to call back that same Divine Will of Mine which, for forty centuries, creatures had deserted from their midst; and I, for forty days, wanted to remain alone, to repair for the forty centuries of human will during which Mine had not possessed Its Kingdom in the midst of the human family; and with my very Divine Will I wanted to call It back again into their midst, so that It might reign … My daughter, the number of forty days is symbolic and significant in my life down here. When I was born, for forty days I wanted to remain in the grotto of Bethlehem—symbol of my Divine Will which, while being present in the midst of creatures, was as though hidden and outside of the city of their souls. And I, in order to repair for the forty centuries of human will, wanted to remain outside of the city for forty days, in a miserable hut, crying, moaning and praying, to call back my Divine Will into the city of souls, so as to give It Its dominion. And after forty days I went out to present Myself to the temple, and reveal Myself to the holy old Simeon… Forty days I spent in the desert, and then, immediately, I did my public life, to give them the remedies and the means in order to reach the Kingdom of my Will. For forty days I wanted to remain on earth after my Resurrection, to confirm the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat and Its forty centuries of Kingdom which It was to possess. So, in everything I did down here, the first act was the restoration of the Kingdom; all other things entered into the secondary order, but the first link of connection between Me and creatures was the Kingdom of my Will.457
My descent upon earth, taking on human flesh, was precisely this—to lift up humanity again and give to my Divine Will the rights to reign in this humanity, because by reigning in my Humanity, the rights of both sides, human and divine, were placed in force again. Yet, it can be said that I said nothing about it, or just a few words, making it understood that I had come into the world only to do the Will of the Celestial Father, so as to make Its great importance be comprehended. And in another circumstance I said: ‘Those who do the Will of my Father are my mother, my sisters, and belong to Me.’ As for the rest, I kept silent, while the purpose was precisely this, of constituting the Kingdom of my Divine Will in the midst of creatures. In fact, it was right that I not only was to place creatures in safety, but I also was to place my Divine Will in safety, by giving back to It Its rights over all flesh, as I had given It over mine; otherwise, there would have been a disorder in the work of Redemption. How could I come to place creatures in safety, and let Our divine rights, those of Our Fiat, go to rack and ruin? This could not be. But even though the first purpose was to balance all the accounts of my Divine Will, as Celestial Doctor I complied with giving medicines, remedies, I spoke about forgiveness, about detachment, I instituted Sacraments, I suffered atrocious pains, even unto death. It can be said that this was the new creation I prepared so that creatures might receive my Divine Will as King in the midst of His people, in order to let It reign.458
… Oh! how much better it would have been for [the critics] to say: ‘This is not food for us, nor do we have the will to eat it’, rather than giving judgments. But, it is known how my truths find a place more in the simple hearts than in the learned. This happened in my Redemption; to my sorrow, no learned man followed Me, but all poor, ignorant and simple.459
The learned, indeed, largely wanted nothing to do with Jesus (just as they largely want nothing to do with Luisa). And once Jesus had said all He needed to say, a silence covered His public ministry. In regard to this, Jesus tells Luisa:
My very silence says that I am about to complete the great manifestations of the Gospel of the Kingdom of my Divine Will. So I did in the Kingdom of Redemption: during the last days of my life, I did not add anything else; on the contrary, I hid Myself; and if I said anything it was a repetition, in order to confirm what I had already said, because what I had said was sufficient so that all might receive the goods of being redeemed—it was up to them to take advantage of it. So it will be for the Kingdom of my Divine Will: once I have said everything, in such a way that nothing may be lacking in order to be able to receive the good of knowing It, and to be able to possess all of Its goods, then I will have no more interest in keeping you on earth—it will be up to them to take advantage of it.460
And we of course know the rest of the story.
When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (John 12:32)
Indeed, He was lifted up. Condemned and killed by the very people who should have received Him as King, He won the salvation of the world through His Passion. I beg you to read the Hours of the Passion; in this work given by Jesus to Luisa, you will find a more powerful prayer than perhaps you have ever prayed. I have included some highlights from this work in the chapter dedicated to it, so I will leave out the details from this chapter.
As He hung on this cross, the Church was born from His own Sacred Side which gushed forth blood and water “as a fountain of mercy for us.”461 This Church—the Catholic Church—was destined to serve as the New Ark for the whole world, even until the end of time. But her main task was the salvation and sanctification of souls; the Coming of the Kingdom. And while the Kingdom has come in some senses, and in other senses will only receive its definitive perfection in Heaven, there is another important sense in which it still shall come more fully—the sense relayed in the primary petition of the Our Father prayer, faithfully recited billions of times each day by the Church.
The Church
With the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the institution of the Sacraments and the establishment of the Catholic Church, the evils that had multiplied and grown for thousands of years began to diminish. The fruits of Christianity and Catholicism are astounding. But they have not yet attained their full intent, which is to call down the Kingdom upon earth. Jesus tells Luisa:
At the beginning, a graft can produce neither great goods nor great evils, but only the beginning of evil or of good. When I came upon earth, with my Conception I formed the opposite graft with the tree of humanity, and the evils began to stop, the bad humors to be destroyed; so, there is all the hope that the Kingdom of my Divine Will be formed in the midst of the human generations. The many truths I have manifested to you about my Divine Fiat are sips of life, some of which water, some cultivate, some increase the humors for the tree of humanity grafted by Me. Therefore, if the Life of my Divine Fiat has entered into the tree of my Humanity and has formed the graft, there is all the reason to hope that my Kingdom will have Its scepter, Its just dominion and Its command in the midst of creatures. Therefore, pray and do not doubt.462
Jesus assures Luisa that the four thousand years required to implore the coming of the Redeemer will not be necessary to implore the coming of the Redeemer’s Kingdom:
The knocks of my Church have been continuous, and I Myself was knocking in those knocks, but I used them to knock at the doors of the Divine Fiat which, tired of hearing them knocking at Its divine doors, has used you to be knocked more strongly; and opening the doors to you, It made you share in Its knowledges. And for as many truths as It made known to you, so many means has It given you to form the loving chains, to let Itself be bound to come to reign upon earth. And all the times It calls you to live in Its Divine Volition, making known to you Its qualities, Its power, Its joys, Its immense riches, are as many pledges It gives you, with which It assures you of Its coming upon earth. In fact, in Us there is this prerogative: if We make known a good of Ours, a truth, a knowledge that belongs to Us, it is because We want to give it to the creature as gift. See then, how many gifts my Will has given you; how many of Its knowledges It has made known to you. They are such and so many, that you yourself cannot count them…
… in order for Redemption to come it took four thousand years, because the people that prayed and longed for the future Redeemer was the smallest one, of limited number. But those which belong to my Church are more peoples and—oh! how much greater in number than that one. Therefore, the number will shorten the time; more so, since religion is making its way everywhere, and this is nothing but the preparation for the Kingdom of my Divine Will.463
Jesus describes to Luisa about what Rome owes to Jerusalem: that is, Redemption. He tells her that Rome will return the favor; giving to Jerusalem the Kingdom:
My daughter, if Rome has the primacy of my Church, she owes it to Jerusalem, because the beginning of Redemption was precisely in Jerusalem… the first people who received the good of It, were from this city. The first criers of the Gospel, those who established Catholicism in Rome, were my Apostles, all from Jerusalem—that is, from this fatherland. Now there will be an exchange: if Jerusalem gave to Rome the life of religion and therefore of Redemption, Rome will give to Jerusalem the Kingdom of the Divine Will. And this is so true, that just as I chose a Virgin from the little town of Nazareth for the Redemption, so I have chosen another virgin in a little town of Italy belonging to Rome, to whom the mission of the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat has been entrusted. And since It must be known in Rome, just as my coming upon earth was known in Jerusalem, Rome will have the great honor of requiting Jerusalem for the great gift received from her, which is Redemption, by making known to her the Kingdom of my Will. Then will Jerusalem repent of her ingratitude, and will embrace the life of the religion which she gave to Rome; and, grateful, she will receive from Rome the life and the great gift of the Kingdom of my Divine Will. And not only Jerusalem, but all the other nations will receive from Rome the great gift of the Kingdom of my Fiat…464
Indeed, no one can deny that God’s Will still does not reign upon earth, and two thousand more years have passed. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, when Adam sinned God gave him the promise of the future Redeemer. Centuries passed and the promise did not fail, therefore human generations enjoyed the blessings of the Redemption. Now, by My coming from heaven to form the Kingdom of Redemption, I made another more solemn promise before departing for heaven: The Kingdom of My Will on earth, which is contained in the ‘Our Father’ prayer… So after I formed this prayer in the presence of My heavenly Father, certain that he would grant Me the Kingdom of My Divine Will on earth, I taught it to My apostles so that they might teach it to the whole world, and that one might be the cry of all: ‘Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ A promise more sure and solemn I could not make […] My very prayer to the heavenly Father, ‘May it come, may your kingdom come and your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ meant that with My coming to earth the Kingdom of My Will was not established among creatures, otherwise I would have said, ‘My Father, may Our kingdom that I have already established on earth be confirmed, and let Our Will dominate and reign.’ Instead I said, ‘May it come.’ This means that it must come and souls must await it with the same certainty with which they awaited the future Redeemer. For My Divine Will is bound and committed to the words of the ‘Our Father.’ And when My Divine Will binds itself, whatever it promises is more than certain to come to pass. Furthermore, since everything was prepared by Me, nothing else is needed but the manifestation of My Kingdom, which is what I am doing.”465
It is this Third Fiat that He now ardently desires to give to the world, but He is waiting for our response. He is waiting for us to strive sufficiently for it, pray for it, and yearn for it. He is waiting for us to live in His Will even now, and perform as many acts in His Will as we can, in order to prepare the ground for its universal Reign. He is waiting for us to sufficiently form and spread the Kingdom of His Will upon earth now, before its true triumph. But this true triumph, Jesus tells Luisa, will not come without chastisements preceding it—chastisements, Jesus says, which will amount to the world turning upside down. These are also the events of which we now stand on the cusp. Nevertheless, preparation for them is still best made in the same way: Living in the Divine Will, doing all your acts in the Divine Will, and proclaiming the Divine Mercy.
We must remember that “The greatest story ever told” is not over and done with just because the Apostle John has already died and the Deposit of Faith is sealed! Public revelation is indeed already complete, but that does not mean God is now simply waiting for the time to come to put an end to our misery and commence the consummation of the world (and otherwise finished with His cosmic interventions!). Beautifully and powerfully describing this dynamic, Jesus explains to Luisa:
…two links connected together-the Redemption and the Kingdom of My Divine Will [are] inseparable from each other. The Redemption was to prepare, suffer, do; the Kingdom of the Fiat was to fulfill and possess-both of them of highest importance. Therefore, My gazes were fixed on the chosen ones to whom both one and the other were entrusted… Why do you fear, then, if you have the gaze of your Jesus always looking at you, defending you, protecting you? If you knew what it means to be looked upon by Me, you would no longer fear anything.”466
Indeed, far from being over, this Great Story now nears its fulfillment in the Coming of the Kingdom. If we wish to compare “His Story” (God’s story—history) to the dramatic structure of a great tale of old, then we can say that the drama of the Garden of Eden contains the Exposition, Salvation History (the Rising Action), Redemption (the Climax), The Age of the Church (the Falling Action), the coming Chastisements and Triumph of the Divine Will to follow the Dénouement (resolution), with Heaven being our “happily ever after.”
That we are now in the Dénouement has become completely undeniable considering the Prophetic Explosion of the 20th Century which we will consider in the next section. But in the following passages of Luisa’s writings, Jesus’ words make clear that we are indeed precisely at this moment:
…all of My works hold hands, and this is the sign that they are My works-that one does not oppose the other… having to form My chosen people, from which and within which the future Messiah was to be born, from that same people I formed the Priesthood, that instructed the people and prepared them for the great good of Redemption. I gave them laws, manifestations and inspirations, upon which the Sacred Scriptures were formed, called the Bible; and all were intent on the study of It. Then, with My coming upon earth, I did not destroy Sacred Scriptures; on the contrary, I supported them; and My Gospel, that I announced, opposed them in nothing; on the contrary, they sustained each other in [an] admirable way. And in forming the new nascent Church, I formed the new Priesthood, that does not detach itself either from Sacred Scriptures or from the Gospel. Now, what I manifest on My Divine Will, and that you write, can be called ‘The Gospel of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.’ In nothing does It oppose either Sacred Scriptures or the Gospel that I announced while being on earth; on the contrary, It can be called the support of one and of the other467
There is much analogy between the way in which Redemption unfolded and the way in which the Kingdom of my Divine Will will unfold. See, in my Redemption I chose a Virgin, in appearance She had no importance according to the world…I chose Her from Nazareth, [but] I wanted for it to belong to the capital city, Jerusalem, in which there was the body of the pontiffs and priests who then represented Me … For the Kingdom of my Divine Will I have chosen another virgin who, in appearance, has no importance, either of great riches or of height of dignity; the very city of Corato is not an important city, but it belongs to Rome, in which resides my representative on earth, the Roman Pontiff, from whom come my divine laws; and just as he makes it his duty to make my Redemption known to the peoples, so will he make it his duty to make known the Kingdom of my Divine Will. It can be said that one and the other will proceed in the same way and manner, as the Kingdom of my Supreme Fiat must unfold.468
This happened in the Redemption, every Manifestation that was made by Us about the descent of the Word on earth, was one step that We made toward mankind. And as they yearned and prayed for It, and Our Manifestations, Prophecies, and Revelations, were manifested to the people, so they made so many steps toward the Supreme Being, such that they remained on a walk toward Us, and We toward them. And as the time of having to descend from Heaven to earth drew near, so We increased the Prophets in order to be able to make more Revelations, in order to hasten the walk on both parts.
This is so true, that in the first times of the world there was no Prophet, and Our Manifestations were so few, that one can say that one step a century was made. This slowness of walk cast coldness on the part of creatures, and a way of saying was held by almost everyone: that My descent on earth was an absurd thing, not a reality-like one thinks today about the Kingdom of My Will: a way of saying, and almost a thing that can not be. Therefore the Prophets came after Moses, almost in the last times, near to My descent on earth, such that after Our Manifestations, the walk of both parties was hastened. And then came the Sovereign of Heaven who not only walked, but ran in order to hasten the meeting with Her Creator so as to make Him descend and complete the Redemption.
See, therefore, how My Manifestations on My Divine Will are certain proofs that It walks in order to come to Reign on earth, and that the creature to whom they have been made, with an iron constancy, walks and runs in order to receive the First Meeting so as to give It to her soul in order to let It Reign, and so give It the step to let It Reign in the midst of creatures. Therefore, let your acts be continuous, because only continuous Acts are what hasten the walk, overcome every obstacle, and are the only Conquerors who conquer God and the creature.469
The Prophetic Explosion of the Modern Era (1900s)
More than any other century, the last one stands out in the history of the Church. One could say that Heaven has been pounding us with incessant pleas for our attention regarding what is about to come. It has reached the point that no one who actually looks at what is happening can dismiss it. Although some Catholics today, lamentably, try to pretend that everything is just business as usual and there is nothing particularly special about the age in which we live (as far as Heaven’s end-of-the-age plans are concerned), even the worldly have not failed to take notice that something incredible is happening.
National Geographic ran a lengthy article in 2015 on this worldwide phenomenon, discussing the details of many apparitions and producing a helpful graph which gives a visual representation of their geographic spread, as well as a timeline of apparitions which clearly shows an exponential increase in the 1900s. The late theologian, Fr. Edward O’Connor, wrote:
In our age, apparitions and messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary are being reported far more frequently than at any time in the past. According to the list compiled by Gottfried Hierzenberger and Otto Nedomansky, there were very few during the first ten centuries. After that they increased moderately, reaching 105 in the nineteenth century. But during the twentieth century … [there were reported] a total of 1,045 apparitions of the Blessed Mother … 470
The vast majority of apparitions are unapproved. But to say “vast majority” is quite an understatement; of the thousands of apparitions to devout Catholics which are alleged to have occurred in the last hundred years, only a handful (nine, as far as I can tell) have been fully Vatican approved.
Now, it is not for me to say whether most alleged apparitions are authentic or inauthentic. But one thing I (and any Catholic) should easily be able to say is this: the overwhelming majority of authentic revelations are not approved (by which I mean not-yet-approved; I do not mean condemned). To say otherwise, which is implicit in the attitude of some Catholics who take a dismissive approach to any apparition not yet fully approved, is to tragically misunderstand God Himself—Who, in His Goodness and Omnipotence, would not allow over 99% of Heaven’s alleged manifestations to devout souls to be fraudulent, demonic, or products of hallucination.
If, perhaps, any thoughts are lingering in your mind to the effect of “ah, well, I really needn’t bother much with this; it’s just private revelation. I already have the Catholic Faith and beyond that I have no spiritual obligations. It would be much easier for me to simply ignore whatever is going on with this ‘prophetic explosion,’ so that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” then I beseech you to turn back to the “On Private Revelation in General” chapter in this book and read it again.
But now that the proper place of private revelation in our lives as Catholics is settled, let us proceed to take a bird’s-eye look at the nature of what has been transpiring, to glean from it a “main thrust,” or perhaps even a “prophetic consensus.” For while indeed private revelation ought not be considered of the same authority as the inerrant and Divinely Inspired Sacred Scripture, it would nevertheless be downright absurd to reject that which is shown to be an agreed upon tenet of the same.
In the book previously quoted, Fr. O’Connor spends hundreds of pages analyzing dozens of the most important revelations, messages, apparitions, and locutions of the modern Era, and says the following about their prophetic consensus:
The basic message is that of St. Faustina: we are in an age of mercy, which will soon give way to an age of justice. The reason for this is the immorality of today’s world, which surpasses that of any past age. Things are so bad that Satan is reigning over the world. Even the life of the Church itself has been badly affected. Apostasy, heresy and compromise challenge the faith of the people. Not only the laity, but also priests and religious are grievously at fault. A hidden form of Masonry has entered into the Church. Because of all this, God has been sending prophets as never before to call us to repentance. Most often, it is the Blessed Mother who speaks through them. She warns of an unprecedented tribulation that lies in the very near future. The Church will be torn apart. The Antichrist, already alive in the world, will manifest himself. Up to now, Mary has been holding back the punishment due to us. The time will come, however, when she will no longer be able to do so. Not only the Church, but the whole world will experience tribulation. There will be natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, fierce storms and strange weather patterns. Economic ruin will plunge the whole world into poverty. There will be warfare, perhaps even a Third World War. There will also be cosmic disasters in the form of devastating meteors striking the earth or other heavenly bodies passing close enough to wreak havoc. Finally, a mysterious fire from heaven will wipe out the greater part of mankind, and plunge the world in utter darkness for three days. Before these terrible events take place, we will be prepared, first by a “Warning” in which everyone on earth will see his or her soul as it appears before God, and secondly by a miraculous sign. The disasters to come will purify the world and leave it as God intended it to be. The Holy Spirit will be poured out as never before and renew the hearts of all mankind. Most of the visionaries insist that the time left before these things take place is very short. Some indicate that the fulfillment has begun already. To protect us against the dangers predicted, we are urged to frequent the sacraments, pray and do penance. The proclamation of Mary as Mediatrix, Coredemptrix and Advocate is called for and predicted.471
As Fr. O’Connor says, the main thrust of the revelations in the last century has usually been that grave chastisements are coming, but we can mitigate these through our prayer and sacrifice. Many of these revelations also speak of the Era of Peace (bolded in the quote above), although this is not as overwhelming a theme as the former. (The distinction is unsurprising; the Chastisements chronologically proceed the Era and are a much easier notion to grasp.)
Before going forward to look at a selection of individual apparitions, revelations, and locutions, let us again give space to Bishop Paul Kim’s powerful words on the nature of the age in which we now live, and how it relates to private revelation:
That the present age of the Holy Spirit is also the age of private revelations is evidenced by the fact that, within thirty years after the Second Vatican Council, three women were awarded the title of Doctor of the Church, which was unprecedented in Church history. … Before then, all of the 30 Doctors of the Church had been men. To qualify for the title of Doctor of the Church, one must have both profound holiness and outstanding knowledge. These three women were declared Doctors of the Church, because it was recognized that they met both criteria. However, even though they had profound holiness, they did not study theology; nor had they much scholarly learning. Rather the opposite was true … The outstanding knowledge that the three women possessed was acquired solely from private revelations.472 That they were awarded the title of Doctor of the Church was based on private revelations. Thus, the conferment of the title of Doctor of the Church on them changed the concept of knowledge and was a coronation of private revelations with a golden crown. Again, these women became Doctors of the Church not by their profound theological knowledge but by the books they wrote under the inspiration of private revelations … Therefore, to view private revelations as taboo is to turn one’s face away from the graces of the age of the Holy Spirit, which is the climax of the history of salvation. Looking back at Church history, we see that those ages when private revelations were despised were also the ages of ignoring the Holy Spirit and the ages of darkness. Examples are the ages of St. Joan of Arc and St. Teresa of Jesus …473
One final note is essential before delving into the specifics regarding these: Some of the following private revelations may wind up being condemned or proven false. (Please understand that I am not necessarily standing wholeheartedly behind an apparition or revelation just because it is in this list.) But this changes nothing. All of them would have to be proven false for their consensus to be affected; and that will never happen. And their consensus is this: the pivotal moment of all history is fast approaching. The definitive events spoken of in the Book of Revelation are about to begin—great Chastisements, followed by a great Triumph. These events cannot be averted, but the Chastisements can be mitigated, and the Triumph can be hastened—and above all, the salvation and sanctification of souls can be achieved more powerfully than ever in the midst of these events—by the prayer and action of the Faithful who must devote themselves wholeheartedly to this task.
For the sake of brevity and to emphasize the truly modern nature of this explosion, I am only mentioning here apparitions or revelations which occurred in the 20th century. This of course leaves out extremely important apparitions (e.g. Lourdes, Rue-du-Bac, La Salette, and many others) which are also essential to understanding this prophetic explosion; but much has been written elsewhere on them and I encourage any reader who is not already acquainted with them to research them.
In order to learn more than what I offer in my meager list below, I recommend Mark Mallett’s blog,474 and his book The Final Confrontation; as well as the works of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, the books of Michael Brown, the website “Miracle Hunter,” the books of Fr. Edward O’Connor, the books of John Haffert, the books of Thomas Fahy, the apostolates of Dan Lynch, and so many others. For French speakers, a great resource exists thanks to the world-renowned theologian, Fr. Rene Laurentin. Entitled Dictionnaire des Apparitions de la Vierge Marie, and published in 2008, it provides over 1,400 pages of summaries of thousands of apparitions which have occurred (the vast majority from the last century).
Let us now turn to the brief list, which I include merely in order to give a small peak into this unprecedented explosion of Heavenly intervention the world has been receiving the past century:
* Most noteworthy, of course, are the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Here, 100,000 people witnessed an unprecedented miracle in which the sun danced in the sky and all of their clothes were miraculously made dry (it had been pouring rain when everyone gathered at the Cova). Prophecies were issued (and fulfilled), and promises were given—above all, that Mary’s Immaculate Heart would triumph and an Era of Peace would be given to the entire world.
* Less known but also historically unprecedented were the apparitions of Our Lady at Zeitoun, Egypt, in 1968. Our Lady appeared over an Orthodox Church and, though she did not give messages, was seen by millions of people (even the lowest estimates admit it was at least hundreds of thousands) over the course of three years.
* Padre Pio (1887-1968), displayed an extraordinary amount of mystical phenomenon, much of which had never before been witnessed in Church history.
* Our Lady appeared in Kibeho a decade before the Rwandan genocide (which took place in 1994), warning of rivers of blood and giving messages on how to avert the disaster. Tragically, her messages were not heeded, and the genocide occurred with an estimated one million people killed.
* At Medjugorje, Our Lady has been appearing for almost 40 years to several seers. Tens of millions of pilgrims have visited the site, with countless miracles being regularly reported and more Confessions being heard than anywhere else in history.
* The Shower of Roses: Through the intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (who promised she would spend her Heaven doing good on earth), more miracles have been reported than have been by any other saint’s intercession in history other than the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has reached the point where it is common knowledge among devout Catholics that any time guidance is needed and sincerely sought, Thérèse will give it through a rose upon doing a simple novena to her.
* Our Lady of All Nations appeared to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1945, imploring the Church to recognize the Fifth Marian Dogma. This apparition enjoys the approval of the local bishop.
* At Betania, Venezuela, in 1976 and for 15 years after, Our Lady appeared to the Servant of God Maria Esperanza, with dozens of other people witnessing the apparitions and many healings occurring. This apparition is approved.
* At Akita, Japan, in 1973, Our Lady appeared to Sr. Agnes, warning of impending enormous Chastisements for the world and imploring our prayers to avert them. This, too, enjoys Church approval.
* At Garabandal, Spain, in 1961, Our Lady appeared to four young girls warning of impending Chastisements, a coming Illumination of Conscience, and great worldwide miracles to follow.
* Our Lady of America appeared to Sr. Mildred Mary in 1956, asking for her enthronement in the National Basilica and prophesying also a coming time of peace.
* Our Lady, under the title of Rosa Mystica, appeared in 1947 to Pierina Gilli in Montichiari, Italy, asking for the 13th of each month to be a Marian day, and especially asking for prayers on December 8th at noon.
* Our Lady appeared in Cuapa, Nicaragua, in 1980, with messages against atheistic communism and requesting devotion to the shoulder wound of Christ. This apparition is approved.
* Our Lady of the Rosary began appearing in 1983 to Gladys Quiroga de Motta of San Nicolas, Argentina. This apparition is also approved (for more information, see the Era of Peace section of this book).
* Our Lady has been appearing to Edson Glauber in Itapiranga, Brazil, for many years, and this, too, bears Church approval.
* Fr. Stefano Gobbi received numerous profound messages from Heaven in the late 20th century. He shares these messages in a book (To the Priests: Our Lady’s Beloved Sons) which has been well received by thousands of priests around the world, in addition to receiving imprimaturs.
(Many other apparitions, including some lesser known ones, are listed in Part Three of this book on the Era of peace.)
My goal here, again, was only to give a small taste of this prophetic explosion, and to give a reminder that the explosion cannot be denied. Now, a certain “apparent prevalence” of some previously only locally discussed events in the modern world is not surprising, with due regard to our superior means of communications technology granting access to more knowledge. But these explanations can only go so far, and they stop short of what is needed to understand the prophetic explosion of the modern era, in which we see orders of magnitude more revelations, apparitions, etc., than ever before in Church History.
We are living in unprecedented times. Heaven is on the move like never before. This means something. And it means this: the Kingdom is at hand. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, each prophecy I gave to my prophets about my coming upon earth was like a commitment I made to creatures of my coming into their midst. And the prophets, by manifesting them, disposed the peoples to desire and to want a good so great; and these, in receiving these prophecies, received the deposit of the commitment. And as I kept manifesting the time and the place of my birth, I kept increasing the pledge of the commitment. So I am doing with the Kingdom of my Will. Each manifestation I make concerning my Divine Fiat, is a commitment that I make…475
But the devil is also aware of what is happening, and he will not miss his opportunity to strike. As the book of Revelation says:
The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood.476
This is precisely what we see today in the flood of false apparitions that have done so much damage on their own right. But their greatest damage done is found in entirely dissuading some Catholics from heeding private revelation. We should not, however, be surprised that this is happening. The Devil always apes the things of God. As followers of Christ, we must have the courage to trust that God will give us the grace to discern the difference between the Good Shepherd (Whose voice we know) and the “liar and murderer from the beginning.”477 Rejecting this trust means closing our ears to Heaven, which is far too great a price to pay merely for the supposed “safety” of not succumbing to a trap set by the devil.
Therefore, false apparitions aside (see the section on discerning private revelation for more details on how to identify those), let us consider some other ways the devil has targeted the Divine Will revelations to Luisa with his own diabolical ploys.
The Gift Attacked by Satan (1900s)
Rash and overzealous ideologues inevitably succumb to identifying any similarity, even if superficial, between two things as a sure proof that, if one is evil, so is the other. It is precisely this perverse form of “discernment” which resulted in the phrase “hocus pocus.” Most people know that phrase as a reference to absurd magical practices; and indeed, it is. But the origin of that phrase is found in the slanderous stunts of zealous anti-Catholic Protestants who believed that the Catholic Mass was idolatrous. They took the holiest words of the Mass—when the priest says, “This is my body,” which, in Latin, is “Hoc Est Corpus…”—and made it sound ridiculous, changing it to “hocus pocus.” Thus, they demean the Mass and taunt Catholics who go to Mass by alleging that Catholics are just engaging in magical practices like any Pagan, whose rituals do indeed bear at least a superficial resemblance to the Catholic Liturgy.
Discerning minds and hearts know better. They indeed know that the fits of demons can be informative regarding the hidden workings of grace (the unclean spirits were in fact among the first to recognize Jesus). Those who prayerfully discern know that, as we discussed above, the devil always wishes to ape the things of God, and that the absence of such mockery proves only that the devil doesn’t particularly care about the thing in question because it isn’t too dangerous to him! To continue with the same example; the devil—in his inspiring of the various Satanic and occultist practices throughout the world—does not much bother making a mockery of the practices of Scientologists; for he clearly does not see that as much of a threat to his kingdom.
Indeed, this mission of making known the Divine Will is so great and so holy that the devil has spared no expense to try and wash it away with a torrent of sin, error, and ugliness directed towards it. And while he has not succeeded in his aims, he has wrought much destruction through his efforts; some of which can be seen in the following realms.
Voluntaristic Existential Nihilism
Perhaps the most twisted form of philosophy to ever enter mainstream thought is that of Friedrich Nietzsche. This German philosopher died at the onset of the 20th century and provided the ideological inspiration for its massacres (above all those undertaken by the Nazis), which continue more silently to this day—in the scourges of abortion478 and euthanasia. He taught the diametric opposite of Luisa’s revelations: the will to power. “This world is the will to power-and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power-and nothing besides!”479 was his mantra. It was precisely the same decade when Nietzsche had descended into insanity and was on death’s doorstep—having proclaimed God as dead and he himself the Antichrist—that lowly Luisa, under the obedience of her spiritual director, began to write. Luisa’s writings both resemble and contradict Nietzsche’s, as does the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass a Satanic ritual.
Distorted Teachings on “Divinization” in Mormonism
Let it be clear from the onset: I am not accusing individual Mormons of being agents of Satan! Quite the contrary, it seems obvious that most of them are good people who are sincerely trying to be good Christians.
It is not individual Mormons whom I am addressing with this section, but rather Mormonism itself, which holds strange and heretical views on what “Divinization” entails. (For the proper view of Divinization, see the section in the same part of this book, entitled “the Gift Foreshadowed.”)
What is most noteworthy is the fact that it may precisely be the modern Catholic world’s failure to emphasize Divinization properly that has enabled the Church to lose so many members to Mormonism. As quoted in the aforementioned section, many Catholic scholars today (including Dr. Scott Hahn), deeply lament this failure of the Church to recognize that being saved from sin is only the starting point of God’s ultimate plan of sanctification.
Most noteworthy among this tragedy is the case of a man named Jordan Vajda. Once a Dominican priest, he left the Church to become a Mormon. Although I know little of the man, I have secured a copy of his Master’s Thesis which he wrote while still Catholic (and Dominican), and from this thesis, it is easy to see why he left: he had many orthodox and profound understandings of Divinization, and (I can only guess) had them pooh-poohed by his “experienced Catholic” friends who foolishly castigated it as a heresy found only among some Eastern Church Fathers. (This is much like what happens with critics of the Era of Peace today in the way they treat the teachings of the Fathers of the Church regarding the millennium).
As long as Catholics neglect the orthodox teaching on Divinization, we will continue to lose members to quasi Christian denominations like Mormonism who do take it seriously (and, unfortunately, pervert it significantly). Let us look at one brief quote from the Thesis of Jordan Vajda:
The doctrine of Divinization could not survive in the church’s theology proper … today defenders of orthodoxy cringe at the full implications of Paul’s hope for the saints to come ‘unto the measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (Eph. 4:13)” Likewise the following from Peterson and Ricks: “Indeed, if the Latter-day Saints were inclined to do so, they could point out that they alone, among contemporary followers of Jesus, seem to possess the ancient Christian doctrine of theosis …
He is, I am afraid, correct. Too many Catholic theological writers in the West reacted with fear to the Protestant revolt and simply stopped speaking of Divinization. Thus, the devil has certainly succeeded in his intent to attack this great sanctity of Living in the Divine Will and its impending Universal Reign. He has done so here by inspiring great distortions of these teachings to become popular in non-Catholic realms; thus drawing countless souls away from the One True Church—the very souls who should be devoting themselves to hastening the Coming of the Kingdom within Catholicism.
The New Age Movement and “Gender Theory”
The New Age Movement is the devil’s mockery of God’s revelations to the Church of the coming New Era of Peace—the coming of His Kingdom on earth; for indeed, it bears the similarity necessary to ape the things of God, as “new agers” hold that “humanity is on the threshold of a radical spiritual transformation.”480 Often, they identify this as the so-called “Age of Aquarius.”
Most self-proclaimed “new agers” are probably good people who have been misled. They may even be inspired by perfectly valid intuitions that there are indeed major changes impending on a worldwide scale (see Part Three of this book on the Era for more on that point), but they follow these inspirations in dark, dangerous, and erroneous directions.
The Church, aware of the grave problems presented by this movement, promulgated a document entitled “Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life.” I strongly encourage any Catholic who has any concerns about any practice they may be engaged in to check that document for references to it, and to have nothing to do with any practice listed being associated with the New Age. Similarly, the highly informative article on the New Age Movement in the New Catholic Encyclopedia tells us:
Cultural critics also asserted that exotic NA [New Age] interests such as crystal gazing and ‘‘harmonic convergence’’ are contrived, artificial … From a psychological perspective, some NA devotees manifest narcissistic and obsessive self-fixation traits that mirror the powerlessness, alienation, and atomistic individualism endemic in society.
The deeper danger in the New Age movement, however, is not that it is pervaded by fraud, but that it is pervaded by demons. Many New Age practices explicitly open up one’s soul to demonic spiritual activity, and the spread of this movement is no doubt in part to blame for the skyrocketing need for exorcisms in the Church today.
Its aping of the Era is not the only way the New Age movement is an attack on the Divine Will; it is also through its promotion of diabolical “gender theory.” The aforementioned Church document also teaches:
The New Age which is dawning will be peopled by perfect, androgynous … Christianity has to be eliminated and give way to a global religion and a new world order.481
“Androgynous” is the operative term here, for it refers to a human nature deprived of masculinity or femininity. Perhaps nowhere is the Divine Will revealed more clearly than in one’s sex. Today, one of the most zealously promoted lies of modernism is the notion that one’s sex is one’s choice, or that one’s “sexual orientation” may be followed even if it entails a grave perversion (and now, this perversion is governmentally blessed and institutionalized by way of “same-sex marriage,” which is increasingly becoming the law of the land throughout the entire western world).
This diabolical “gender theory” has rightly been condemned repeatedly and forcefully by Pope Francis, who doubtless sees it for what it is: a fundamental assault on the Sovereign Will of God in the very material reality wherein this Divine Will is made most clear. Often ostensibly promoted under the innocent guise of “bullying prevention,” gender theory will not stop until it has subverted the entire natural order to the ends of the Antichrist, who wishes to subvert and destroy everything laid down by God in the Garden of Eden in the souls and bodies of Adam and Eve.
The Culture of Death
As destructive as all the attacks listed above have been, it is impossible to deny that Satan’s most destructive work is found in his turning the entire world into one massive Culture of Death. As mentioned in the preface of this book (regarding Dr. Scott Han’s observation), when the devil’s ferocity reaches a superlative level, he murders innocent children in a desperate attempt to prevent God’s plans from being realized. The devil’s ultimate attack against the Divine Will is not so much on the ideological level but is seen in his desire to destroy as many lives as possible—lives which God has destined to live in the Era of the Divine Will or hasten its Reign. The devil did this through the wars and genocides of the 20th century, but he now does this through abortion, which dwarfs all the genocides of history combined and is, by far, the leading cause of death in almost every country in our world.
In his book, Demonic Abortion, the exorcist Fr. Euteneuer482 explains how the whole abortion movement is diabolical to its core. Below is an excerpt from that book in which he illustrates the parallels, writing:
The spiritual dimension of this grisly “business,” [abortion] however, is it’s systematizing of ritual blood sacrifice to the god of child murder, who, in the Old Testament, is called Moloch. This demon of child sacrifice appears in many forms and cultures through his. tory (Phoenician, Carthaginian, Canaanite, Celtic, Indian, A and others), but it is always the same bloodthirsty beast that demands the killing of children as a form of worship. This demon also seeks public endorsement and ever-new forms of expression to increase his “worship.” In some of the ancient images of these evil practices, we see huge drums being used beside the places of sacrifice as the rituals proceed. These drums were used to drown out the screams of the victims who were being sacrificed on their altars and deaden the consciences of those who participated in such evil.’ …The systematic destruction of the human body, which St. Paul calls “the temple of the Holy Spirit” is also a sacrilege. In short, abortion is a perfect demonic system that offers a perverse form of worship to the devil. If the abortion business is not truly diabolical, nothing is…483
But Satan’s plans will not work. In his diabolical rage, he cannot help but relentlessly spew venom at God’s works, even though he knows that God has already been and will continue to be victorious. In fact, so many of the devil’s ploys have already failed (although many have temporarily succeeded), and the time is now ripe for the Coronation of All Creation.
The Time for the Coronation (~ 2000 AD)
And here we are now.
We are still in the Age of the Church—we always will be until the end of time, for with Christ’s birth we have seen the Dawn of the End of the Ages. (This is contrary to the various dispensationalist heresies or movements in the spiritual legacy of Joachim of Fiore). We have now arrived at the moment when the Church is almost ready for her crown; the moment when the prayer she has been praying more fervently than all others—the Our Father— is ready to be fulfilled.
Recall that Redemption occurred under the dominion of the Roman Empire, in order that the unification achieved by this secular rule might, despite the many evil rulers thereof, serve the dissemination of knowledge of Redemption; that is, the evangelization of the world. What we are witnessing today, in the Globalization following the unification of races from WWII, dwarfs any unification that the world had ever previously known. It is precisely for the end of the spread of the Kingdom of the Divine Will that God has allowed this to occur. Jesus says as much to Luisa:
But I will use this [World War II] for My highest purposes, and the reunion of so many races will serve to facilitate the communications of the truths, so that they may dispose themselves for the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat. So, the chastisements that have occurred are nothing other than the preludes of those that will come. How many more cities will be destroyed; how many peoples buried under the ruins; how many places buried and plunged into the abyss. The elements will take the part of their Creator. My Justice can bear no more; My Will wants to triumph, and would want to triumph by means of love in order to establish Its Kingdom. But man does not want to come to meet this love, therefore it is necessary to use justice.484
God has spent 6,000 years preparing us for this moment. Jesus tells Luisa:
Those who think that Our highest goodness and infinite wisdom would have left man with only the goods of Redemption, without raising him again to the original state in which he was created by Us, deceive themselves. In that case Our Creation would have remained without Its purpose, and therefore without Its full effect, which cannot be in the works of a God. At the most, We might let centuries pass and turn, giving now one surprise, now another; entrusting now one little good to the creature, now a greater one…
Now, this is how the paternal goodness is acting. In Creation I placed man in the opulence of goods, with no restriction at all; but only because I wanted to test him in something that did not cost him much, with an act of his will contrary to mine he wasted all these goods. But my love did not stop; more than a father, I began to give him a little at a time—and before that, to heal him. Many times one uses more attention with the little than when he possesses great things. In fact, if one possesses great properties and they are wasted, there is always something from which to take; but if the little is wasted, he remains on an empty stomach. However, the decision of giving the Kingdom of my Will to man I have not changed; man changes, God does not change. Now things are easier, because the goods of Redemption have made their way, they have made known many surprises of my love for man—how I have loved him, not by the Fiat alone, but by giving him my very Life, though my Fiat costs Me more than my very Humanity, because the Fiat is divine, immense, eternal, while my Humanity is human, limited and has its beginning in time. However, not knowing in depth what the Fiat means—Its value, Its power and what It can do—the human minds let themselves be conquered more by all that I did and suffered in coming to redeem them, not knowing that under my pains and my death there was my Fiat, hidden, which gave life to my pains.
Now, had I wanted to manifest the Kingdom of my Will, either when I came upon earth or before the goods of Redemption would be recognized and, for the most part, possessed by creatures, my greatest Saints would have been frightened; all would have thought and said: ‘Adam, innocent and holy, was unable to live nor to persevere in this Kingdom of endless light and of divine sanctity—how can we do it?’ And you yourself—how many times have you not become frightened? … Therefore my more than paternal goodness acted with you as with a second Mother of mine: from Her I hid my conception in Her womb; first I prepared Her, I formed Her, so as not to frighten Her; and when the appropriate time came, in the very act in which I was to be conceived, then I made it known to Her through the Angel; and even though at first She trembled and was troubled, immediately She became serene again, because She was used to living with Her God, in the midst of His light and before His sanctity…My daughter, do not fear, you have more help than Adam did—you have the help of a God [made man], and all His works and pains as your defense, as your support, as your cortege, which he did not have. Why, then, do you want to fear?485
Jesus reiterates this in one of the most well-known quotes from all of Luisa’s writings, saying:
My beloved daughter, I want to make known to you the order of my Providence. Every course of two thousand years I have renewed the world. In the first two thousand years I renewed it with the Flood; in the second two thousand I renewed it with my coming upon earth, in which I manifested my Humanity, from which, as though from many fissures, my Divinity shone forth. And the good and the very Saints of the following two thousand years have lived of the fruits of my Humanity, and, in drops, they have enjoyed my Divinity. Now we are at the turn of the third two thousand years, and there will be a third renewal. This is the reason for the general confusion—it is nothing other than the preparation for the third renewal; and if in the second renewal I manifested what my Humanity did and suffered, and very little of what the Divinity was operating, now, in this third renewal, after the earth has been purged and the current generation destroyed for the most part, I will be even more generous with creatures, and I will accomplish the renewal by manifesting what my Divinity did within my Humanity; how my Divine Will acted with my human will; how everything remained linked within Me; how I did and redid everything, and even one thought of each creature was redone by Me and sealed with my Divine Volition. My love wants its outpouring, and wants to make known the excesses which my Divinity operated in my Humanity for the good of creatures, which surpass by far the excesses that my Humanity operated externally. This is also why I often speak to you about the living in my Will, which I have not manifested to anyone until now.486
As many triumphs as the Church has seen—and there have been so many which are so glorious they are almost difficult to believe—the common temptation is nevertheless one of despairing of the Kingdom ever coming. Jesus addresses this temptation to Luisa as follows:
[Luisa said]: How can this Kingdom of the Divine Will ever come? Sin abounds, evil worsens, creatures seem indisposed to me to receive a good so great, so much so that there is no soul, for how many good ones there might be, who truly wants to occupy themselves to make known that which regards the Divine Will…
[and Jesus said] My daughter, everything is possible to us. Impossibilities, difficulties, insurmountable cliffs of creatures melt before our Supreme Majesty, as snow now opposite to an ardent Sun…Didn’t it happen thus in the Redemption? Sin abounded more than ever, (there was) hardly a little nucleus of people that longed for the Messiah, and in the midst of this nucleus how many hypocrisies, how many sins of all kinds, often idolatry. But it was decreed that I should come upon the earth. Before our decrees all the evils cannot impede that which we want to do…
Now as my coming upon the earth was our decree, thus is decreed our Kingdom of our Will upon the earth. Rather it can be said that the one and the other are one single decree, [and] that having completed the first act of this decree, there remains the second to complete…
It is true that the times are sad, the people themselves are tired. They see all the ways closed, they don’t find a way of exit even for the necessary natural means. The oppressions, the demands from the heads are unbearable, just suffering that they have elected for heads men without God, of evil life, without just right to be heads, that they merit a jail more than the law of the regime. Many thrones and empires have been upset and those few that have remained are all shaky ones and in the act of being overthrown, so that the earth will remain almost without king, in the hand of iniquitous men. Poor people, my poor children, under the regime of men without pity, without heart and without graces to be able to act as guide to their dependents. The epoch of the Jewish people is already being repeated, that when I was near coming upon the earth they were without king, and were under the dominion of a foreign empire (of) barbaric and idolatrous men, that didn’t even know their Creator. And yet this was the sign of my imminent coming in the midst of them. Between that epoch and this—19—in many things they give each other a hand, and the disappearance of the thrones and empires is the announcement that the Kingdom of my Divine Will is not far off…Indeed the nations will continue to struggle between themselves, some for war, some for revolution, between themselves and against my Church. They have a fire that devours them in the midst of them, that doesn’t give them peace, and they don’t know how to give peace; it is the fire of sin and the fire of doing without God that gives them no peace, and they will never have peace if they don’t call God in the midst of them as regime and bond of union and peace. And I allow them to do it, and I will make them touch with (their) hand what it means to do without God. But this doesn’t impede that the Kingdom of my Supreme Fiat comes… First we will deal with one single creature, forming the first kingdom in her, then with a few, and then making use of our omnipotence we will spread it everywhere.487
Jesus is never shy in revealing to Luisa that this Coronation of Creation will be preceded by great Chastisements (spoken of more in Part Three of this book). He says:
Do you think that things will always be as they are today? Ah! no. My Will will overwhelm everything; It will cause confusion everywhere—all things will be turned upside down. Many new phenomena will occur, such as to confound the pride of man; wars, revolutions, casualties of every kind will not be spared, in order to knock man down, and to dispose him to receive the regeneration of the Divine Will in the human will. And everything I manifest to you about my Will, as well as everything you do in It, is nothing other than preparing the way, the means, the teachings, the light, the graces, so that my Will may be regenerated in the human will…
‘Be attentive, for this is about something too great, and about the most important thing that exists in Heaven and on earth: this is about placing the rights of Our Will in safety, about giving back to Us the purpose of Creation, about returning to Us all the glory for which all things were made, and about making Us give all the graces which Our Will had established to give to creatures, had they fulfilled Our Will in everything.488
As the life of the Church must follow the life of her Head; that is, Christ Himself, she too will have a time in her glorious history that corresponds to the three years of public ministry of Jesus, a time (that we are now entering) which corresponds to His passion, and also a time that corresponds to the period of His resurrected presence on earth (the Era of Peace; the Reign of the Divine Will) before His Ascension into Heaven (which, in turn, corresponds to the End of Time and the Church’s definitive perfection in the Heavenly Wedding Feast). This, in fact, is precisely the description Jesus uses with Luisa:
The Saints of the past centuries symbolize my Humanity… they did not receive the mark of the sun of my Resurrection, but the mark of the works of my Humanity before my Resurrection … Therefore, they will be many; almost like stars, they will form a beautiful ornament to the Heaven of my Humanity … But the Saints of the living in my Will, who will symbolize my Resurrected Humanity, will be few… my Resurrection symbolizes the Saints of the living in my Will—and this with reason, since each act, word, step, etc. done in my Will is a divine resurrection that the soul receives…489
So now we, the Church, are about to be ready to follow Christ in His resurrected humanity on earth. This Coronation is the Coming of the Kingdom: The Reign of the Divine Will on earth as in Heaven. Because I do not wish to repeat what is written in Part Three of this book on the Era, I will simply encourage you to turn to that section if you wish to now learn more about it.

Part II: Receiving and Growing in the Gift

“…the whole of Heaven prays and anxiously awaits the Divine Will to be known and to reign. Then will the Great Queen do to the children of my Will what She did for Her Jesus, and Her Maternity will have life in Her children. I will surrender my own place in Her Maternal Heart to those who live in my Will. She will raise them for Me, She will guide their steps, She will hide them within Her Maternity and Sanctity…
Oh! how I would love for everyone to know that if they want to live in my Will, they have a powerful Queen and Mother who will make up for whatever they lack. She will raise them on Her maternal lap, and in everything they do She will be together with them, to shape their acts after Her own; so much so, that they will be known as the children raised, kept and instructed by the Love of the Maternity of my Mama. And these will be the children who will make Her happy, and will be Her glory and Her honor.”
-Jesus to Luisa. The very last lines of the very last entry in her diary. December 28, 1938.
1)
15) Preliminary Necessities

As noted in the introduction of this book, it is necessary to strive after all the virtues that all the saints have striven towards in this journey of Living in the Divine Will. We are dispensed from nothing that our Fathers in the Faith were required to perform.
Therefore, one should be sure to be well versed in the great spiritual masterpieces the Church has been blessed with over the millennia. Especially noteworthy are the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, the Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. Furthermore, the writing and preaching of modern-day saints such as St. Josemaría Escriva and Pope St. John Paul II are significant, for the proximity of these saints to our times means they were capable of addressing the issues of which the older saints did not know. And of course, Sacred Scripture primarily, with the Catechism of the Catholic Church following closely behind, must always remain one’s foundation. In a word: the ultimate “preliminary necessity” for living in the Divine Will is being a devout Catholic.
But all the sources in the last paragraph teach that the first step to all sanctity is repentance. Jesus’ first public pronouncement was simple: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”490 Therefore, for one who wishes to live in the Divine Will, there is no escaping a thorough Examination of Conscience.
Examine your Conscience
Sin and the Will of God cannot coexist; one must go. Be sure to examine your conscience with a few different thorough, detailed, and traditional Examinations of Conscience. It is advisable to enter specifically the term “traditional” if doing an internet search for examinations; many of the more modern examinations are good, but they are geared more toward evangelization than toward the sanctification of one who is already fully committed to the goal of becoming a saint. (Incidentally, this is a general dichotomy which a soul striving to become a saint must always be aware of: remembering that what suffices for evangelization may not be advisable for edification.)
The following criteria should guide a particularly thorough examination before confession (which should be at least once a month), but a brief examination of conscience should also be undertaken each night. This has always been the tradition of the Church, and has been included in the Papal Magisterium as recently as the year 2018, when Pope Francis wrote, in an Apostolic Exhortation “ … I ask all Christians not to omit, in dialogue with the Lord, a sincere daily “examination of conscience”491
Before proceeding to the criteria for the examination, let us consider a few words of Jesus to Luisa on the nature of sin, in order to encourage holding nothing back in eradicating sin:
My beloved daughter, look well at Me, that you may know my pains in depth. My Body is the true portrait of the man who commits sin. Sin strips him of the garments of my grace; and I let Myself be stripped of my garments so as to give grace back to him once again. Sin deforms him, and while he is the most beautiful creature that came out of my hands, he becomes the ugliest one—disgusting and repugnant. I was the most beautiful of men, and I can say that, in order to give beauty back to man, my Humanity took on the ugliest form. Look at Me—how horrid I am. I let my skin be torn off by dint of lashes, to the point that I could no longer recognize Myself. Not only does sin take beauty away, but it forms deep wounds, rotten and gangrenous, which corrode the most interior parts; they consume his vital humors, so everything he does are dead—skeletal works. They snatch from him the nobility of his origin, the light of his reason—and he becomes blind. And I, in order to fill the depth of his wounds, let my Flesh be torn to shreds; I reduced all of Myself to a wound, and by shedding my Blood in rivers, I made the vital humors flow in his soul, so as to give life back to him once again. Ah! Had I not had the fount of the life of my Divinity within Me, which, since my Humanity died at each pain they gave Me, substituted for my life—I would have died from the very beginning of my Passion. Now, my pains, my Blood, my Flesh which fell off in shreds, are always in the act of giving life to man; but man rejects my Blood so as not to receive life; he tramples upon my Flesh so as to remain wounded. Oh, how I feel the weight of ingratitude!492
Let the Passion of Christ—which was the result of our sins—stand as a perennial reminder of what we do to Jesus when we neglect repentance.
Broadly, one should Examine his Conscience by imploring the aid of the Holy Spirit and then carefully considering how he has succeeded or failed to live rightly, in light of the following Formulas of Catholic Doctrine. (These particular delineations are found in the Appendix of the Vatican’s own Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
The two commandments of love:
1. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12):
Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Ten Commandments:493
I. I Am the Lord Your God, You Shall Not Have Other Gods Before Me
II. You Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord Your God in Vain
III. Remember to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day
IV. Honour Your Father and Your Mother
V. You Shall Not Kill
VI. You Shall Not Commit Adultery
VII. You Shall Not Steal
VIII. You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbour
IX. You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbour’s Wife
X. You Shall Not Covet Your Neighbour’s Possessions
The Seven Deadly Sins:
1. Pride
2. Covetousness
3. Lust
4. Anger
5. Gluttony
6. Envy
7. Sloth

The Three Supernatural Virtues:
1. Faith
2. Hope
3. Charity

The Four Moral Virtues:
1. Prudence
2. Justice
3. Fortitude
4. Temperance

The Five Precepts of the Church:
1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and remain free from work or activity that could impede the sanctification of such days.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned.
7. Bury the dead.

The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy:
1. Counsel the doubtful.
2. Instruct the ignorant.
3. Admonish sinners.
4. Comfort the afflicted.
5. Forgive offenses.
6. Bear wrongs patiently.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.

The Seven Capital Sins:
1. Pride
2. Covetousness
3. Lust
4. Anger
5. Gluttony
6. Envy
7. Sloth
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
1. Wisdom
2. Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit:
1. Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

The Beatitudes:

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
3. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
Presenting a detailed, comprehensive Examination of Conscience is outside of the scope of this book, but I again implore: do not neglect to consult the many freely available quality ones online.
***
Leaving aside, therefore, a thorough examination, let us consider some details of the major inhibitors of God’s grace in the “looming issues” of our lives.
Address the Looming Issue
Simply reading the title of this section may well be enough (at least for those whom it is intended) to achieve the purpose of its inclusion in this book. Many would-be great Athletes for Christ unfortunately have one big “pink elephant” sitting in the proverbial living room of their spiritual lives, blocking grace, and they know this full well. Nevertheless, it is the one thing they do not want to address, so they are always searching for some way to evade this duty. Exasperated, they stop at nothing to find a corner to cut, a dishonest shortcut to take. Some will pile on all manner of devotions and pieties in a vain effort to compensate—for indeed, no matter how objectively holy these activities are in themselves, there simply is nothing but vanity outside the Will of God.
The looming issue must be addressed. Luisa’s revelations are not a way around that; rather, they constitute just another insistence that we address it.
Only a small sample of such “looming issues” will be presented here; for ultimately, it is up to the honesty of the individual to recognize such an issue in his life—whether or not it is present in the forthcoming list of questions—and work to address it. Now, the issue needn’t be entirely conquered as a prerequisite to Divine Will spirituality, but one must at least sincerely begin addressing it.
The following are just a few of the more common “looming issues”:
Some have walked out on a spouse they know they are validly married to, but who, for whatever reason, has become a cross. Some have done so on the hope that a canonical slip will give an annulment that they know they do not in justice deserve. Such people must strive for reconciliation if it is reasonably possible and, above all, remain faithful to the vows they made, even if there is no contact whatsoever between the spouses.
Some have left the Catholic Church. Perhaps they were wounded by a corrupt member of the Church. Perhaps they desired an opportunity for ministry that the Catholic Church does not provide to someone in their state of life. Perhaps they found that they were “fed” more at some other Church. Perhaps they found what they deem a “better” liturgy elsewhere. Or perhaps even they have decided that their disagreements with the personal opinions and non-Magisterial teachings of the Pope justify entering into de facto or even explicit schism. Whatever the rationalization for leaving, such people must return. There is no such thing as a good reason for leaving the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church—the only Church founded by God Himself, which is necessary for our salvation.
Some have a career that is itself immoral in a fundamental or pervasive way. Unfortunately, in these days of growing persecution of the faithful, the number of careers belonging to this list continues to increase. Some are health care professionals who formally cooperate with abortion, contraception, euthanasia, or any research or practice that violates the dignity of the embryo. Some are media workers who formally cooperate with the production or dissemination of pornography (remember that any display of a real or simulated sex act is, by that fact alone, pornographic).494 The job of some involves formal cooperation with same-sex “marriage” or transgenderism. Some work in politics and support “pro-choice” policies. Some who work in the business world partake of the common practice of lying in their work activities. We must recall that lying is condemned by nature by the Magisterium,495 meaning there are no circumstances and no intentions that render it licit. In short: does a job in any way formally cooperate with any of the evils that have become so commonplace today? Whoever answered “yes” must find a way to make their careers moral, or else leave their careers.
Some live in contradiction to a vow. Clerics who refuse to say their office; consecrated religious who refuse to render obedience and observe the rule; priests who have modified the liturgy; married people who cheat on their spouses (either gravely through formal adultery or through a more subtle contradiction of marital fidelity) or refuse to be open to life (whether through the intrinsic evil of artificial contraception, or through using NFP to avoid conception without any serious reason to do so496), or fail to raise their children as practicing Catholics (for these promises, too, are a part of marriage vows). Some are civilly married to another who is not their true spouse while refusing to live as brother and sister until they can be validly married (perhaps through annulment and convalidation). Some refuse to love and honor their spouse— husbands who choose not to be the head (with the wife as the heart), or wives who refuse to be the heart (allowing for the husband to be the head) of the family. One may not live in contradiction to a vow and suppose that he can live in the Divine Will.
Some are subtle criminals—perhaps not formal members of the mafia, but nevertheless living a lifestyle in which they regularly, gravely, break the law. To obey the civil laws which pertain to us is a serious duty not only as citizens, but as Christians. There are of course exceptions to this norm—but the exceptions are far fewer than many pretend them to be. Just because a law is bad does not mean it may be disobeyed. Some flagrantly cheat on their taxes. Some employers flout state and federal labor laws (sometimes Catholic employers in Catholic apostolates are the worst offenders here; supposing that because they themselves see the apostolate as their ‘mission,’ their employees must also see it as such, and therefore put in drastically more work than they are paid for). Some employees only pretend to work but actually spend all day on social media—thereby stealing from their employers in accepting payment. The driving habits of some are dangerous and illegal (and they certainly are if one is always on the lookout for a police officer, ready to adopt a totally different driving manner when one is nearby), which not only breaks the law but is an injustice to one’s neighbor whose safety is thereby flippantly disregarded. Some fraudulently benefit from insurance claims, government programs, or financial strategies—or are now living off of the fruits of these deceptive and criminal tactics. We must obey all legitimate authority—for there is no such thing as living in the Divine Will without submitting to its earthly parallel; obedience.
The New Age Movement or the Occult has become part of the daily routine of some. They read or watch—or allow their children to read or watch—books or media that exalt and glamorize the intrinsic grave evil of sorcery or witchcraft, erroneously supposing that they are somehow immune to this objectively disordered influence simply because they are “good Catholics.” Some daily engage in fundamentally Hindu forms of worship under the guise of “stretching.” Some use a selection of the so-called “alternative” medicines or treatments that are really only thinly veiled superstitious magical charms bedecked in pseudo-scientific language. Some consult horoscopes, hypnotists, “fortune tellers,” mediums, psychics, etc. Some engage in or support activities that presume to heal, diagnose, or help people via “chi” or “energy” or “chakras.” These things are not indifferent: they are spiritually damaging, and they block God’s grace. They must be abandoned, repented of, and the damage done by them healed.
Some neglect the Precepts of the Church. That is—they fail to go to confession at least once a year or fail to receive Communion worthily at least during the Easter Season. They skip Sunday Mass for reasons other than truly serious and necessary ones (perhaps wrongly supposing that not wanting to “interfere with vacation,” or not feeling “tops”—even though they feel well enough to go shopping!—excuses them from the Sunday Obligation). They refuse to keep Sunday holy (perhaps by erroneously supposing that, so long as they have gone to Mass, they are within their rights to treat Sunday like any other day—using it as the shopping, cleaning, sports, and housework day). They skip Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. They refuse to contribute to the Church. Or, they refuse to keep the (incredibly minimal) fasting and abstinence norms that they fall under. The precepts of the Church are not suggestions; they are requirements—they are minimal, and one cannot pretend that he takes the Divine Will seriously if he does not follow these precepts.
Some allow personal ties to drag them down. “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” says Our Lord.497 Some endorse, condone, or otherwise serve as an accessory to sinful lifestyles adopted by family members (perhaps cohabitation, homosexuality, or transgenderism), erroneously supposing that “love” mandates this behavior, which in truth is nothing but hatred. Some daily engage in evil conversation merely because it’s what their coworkers do. Some watch evil media (and no one has the right to tell another that something is okay to watch if their own conscience says otherwise) merely because it’s what those with whom they live want to watch. Some scarcely ever in their lives stand up publicly for what is good and true because they are afraid family, friends, or coworkers will find out and be displeased. Some are so terrified of even the slightest risk of problems at work, that in every way they strive to blend in perfectly with their apathetic-towards-God coworkers—having no evangelizing sign of faith on their person, their desk, their car, etc. Some have gone even farther than culpable silence, subtly adopting heretical or sinful attitudes merely because having certain mindsets makes life easier among those with whom they spend their time. Some forget that all worldly authority has after it one essential caveat—” … we must obey in all things but sin.” Even a great love (of a fellow human being—even a relative) is nothing but an evil if it acquires a form that contradicts the greatest love—the Love of God.
Some are rejecting a calling (that is, a genuine calling that they have carefully discerned, received spiritual direction on, taken sufficient time to consider, and consequently grown truly convicted that they have). Some are called to the priesthood but refusing to enter seminary or are called to the religious life but refusing to enter an order. One cannot refuse to follow what he knows to be God’s Will for him and then pretend that any apparent progress in the spiritual life is meaningful. Rejecting such a calling is rejecting the Will of God—outside of which there is nothing good—and it cannot be safely done on the pretense that such callings are “never required” or are “only ideals, not commands.” Nor can any Christian—so long as he is over the age of eighteen498—reject a calling on the pretense that his parents disapprove. For obedience to parents ceases upon emancipation.499
Some, finally, have a grave sin still on their conscience that they have refused to ever confess, even though they have long since amended their lives. This sin must be absolved. One can drive somewhere far away from home, wear large sunglasses and a hood, and even change his voice when confessing (though all these measures are of course unnecessary)—but confess this sin he must.
***
But merely addressing the looming issue and repenting of blatant sin does not make us ready to live in the Divine Will. For that, we must continue to the next element of Living in the Divine Will.
Desire Sanctity Above All things
Recall, from Part One of this book, that we already demonstrated that all truly must be Catholic—that all must believe and obey each doctrine taught by the Catholic Church. One of those doctrines is the Universal Call to Holiness. The Church has always taught, dogmatically, that each of the faithful is called to become a saint; but recently a special emphasis has been placed on this necessity.
Consider the following teaching found in Lumen Gentium (the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church), itself one of the sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council:
“…all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his own way, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect.”500
This teaching, in turn, draws from none other than the words of Our Lord Himself, who said “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”501 Satisfaction with just being a “decent Catholic” never sufficed at any point in the history of the Church, but at this moment it is more impossible than ever to pretend that it could suffice.
Important as it was that we settled the dogmatic, unquestionable necessity for every single Catholic to strive for sanctity (and to strive for sanctity by definition also means to strive for it above all things, for if “holiness” is sought second to anything, then it is not true holiness that is sought), what good is merely setting this out as a doctrine to be acknowledged and assented to in dry obedience? Perhaps little good.
We must instead now turn to inspiration, and not leave to a formal command what is better achieved by a glorious invitation—in this case, an invitation to invincibility.
Do you wish to be invincible from tragedy? There is only one way to achieve this state. For, in the words of Leon Bloy, that zealous 19th century French poet, novelist, and promoter of Our Lady of La Salette, who gave us the following quote promoted by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate:
“There is only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint”
Ponder your life thus far. So often, no doubt, it has been assailed by temptations to dwell on regret. An opportunity for more money, recognition, worldly memories, possessions, security, travels, comfort, pleasure—or whatever other vanity—sails on by. Another year passes and so too (we lament), does one more notch in the likelihood of the realization of our dreams. A loved one dies, and we lament what seems to be a lost future with him. Forgiven sins come to mind to haunt us and accuse us and tempt us to despair because of their mere existence.
But all of that is nothing. Nothing is lost if, despite it all, one strives for sanctity. So long as one does this, it can truly be said that all is gain.
?If only we realized that fact and comported ourselves in accord with it, we would always have perfect peace. Therefore consider: What now robs you of the unbroken peace and joy to which you have a right as a Christian who trusts in Jesus and desires that His Will be done?
…That there is suffering in your life? You have all eternity—which will scarcely have begun once countless trillions of centuries have passed—to enjoy permanent ecstatic joy and the absence of any and all pain. You have a brief few moments before your death to suffer redemptively in union with Christ, grow from it, merit from it, contribute to the salvation and sanctification of souls with it. Far from a curse to lament over, it is a gift to rejoice at the bestowal of; for as St. Padre Pio said, “suffering is the one thing the angels envy us for.” Desire sanctity above all, and physical suffering vanishes as a “tragedy.”
…That you aren’t working your dream job and pursuing your dream career, like others you envy are, and like the daydreams you entertained in earlier years? All those who work such jobs will, in the twinkling of an eye, find themselves old and decrepit, with the mere faint memory of their former endeavors proving radically incapable of giving even one ounce of joy. Go about the job and duties that God has called you to here and now with prayer and submission to the Divine Will, and you are achieving infinitely more than one who works the supposedly “perfect and best” job. Desire sanctity above all, and career disappointments vanish as a “tragedy.”
…That your marriage is not what you always dreamed it would be, or that you cannot marry whom you desire, or perhaps that you’ve missed the opportunity for marriage entirely? Great and glorious as marriage is, it too is a passing thing, designed by God for the procreation and education of children (with even the union and good of the spouses as a subordinate end to that),502 and it will no longer exist in eternity; which will be upon us in a flash. Do not misunderstand: if you are married, then you should spare no expense in working towards making your marriage beautiful, peaceful, joyful, and above all, holy. But ultimately, the fulfillment of those goals is up to two people (both spouses); yet when all is said and done, you answer only for yourself on the Day of Judgment. Therefore, the deepest joy of your soul cannot ever depend upon another earthly creature—not even your spouse. Desire sanctity above all, and all marital problems vanish as a “tragedy.”
…Or perhaps even that your life lacks the outwardly holy things that you wish it had? So long as it is not a slothful indifference to the pursuit of holy things, but rather the Will of God, that has deprived you of them, then even the absence of these things is no harm whatsoever to you. If your life’s circumstances prevent you from going on those great pilgrimages you perhaps envy your friends for, being a part of those wonderful Catholic groups and communities that others so seem to enjoy, attending those amazing Catholic events that you now only read of, or whatever else; this is nothing to lament. Heaven will infinitely surpass all these essentially temporal blessings, and when you are there, not having had these temporal things will seem to you then as it now seems to you when you see a child missing one extra cookie during one day’s dessert. Remember that all treasures in Heaven are built up solely by the Will of God; and this Divine Will can be submitted to and lived in anywhere, by anyone, at any instant. Desire sanctity above all, and all missed opportunities for externally holy things vanish as a “tragedy.”
Many things are hard: acquiring advanced degrees, making large sums of money, gaining recognition for ourselves, trying to have people like us, securing our legacy, trying to guarantee our safety and security, acquiring and maintaining possessions, looking for promotions and new jobs, striving to order all things to our comfort and pleasure… and oh, how much we pour ourselves out in the pursuit of all of this vain garbage which seems so pressing and direly important now, and yet the next day is barely even a memory. But avoiding the only tragedy—acquiring a veritable invincibility—is comparatively easy. Acquire it! Desire sanctity above all else. To do otherwise would be to climb out on a long, feeble, shaky limb in pursuit of a vile copper coin when a shining gold ingot sits directly above you, easily within reach.
If only we considered the fact that Judgment Day is speeding towards us like a freight train, we would have no confusion. For on the Day of Judgment, you shall not regret missing out on that copper coin. You won’t regret missing the extra $100,000 on your salary that you could have had—but you would regret foregoing the daily family Rosary in order to have more time to secure this salary. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret a few people disliking you or thinking you odd—but you would regret keeping your Faith hidden in order to ensure you blend in well with modern society. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret “missing out” on this or that questionable movie, book, TV show, or other entertainment that is popularly praised by your friends, neighbors, and coworkers—but you would regret the decay of the soul that you risk by exposing yourself to such things. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret “missing out” on this or that college degree, sports tournament, worldly spotlight, honor or recognition which simply requires too much of you—but you would regret having spent a life waking up each morning with your primary motivation for getting out of bed being the pursuit of such utter vanity instead of the pursuit of eternal glory. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret not having lived in a beautiful remote paradise with hundreds of acres to yourself—but you would regret the thousands of Communions—every single one of which is incomprehensibly powerful—you could have made but didn’t, due to your insistence upon living in a utopia on earth too far a drive from a Catholic Church to make it there each day. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret having had health problems—but you would regret having spent your life expending all of your time and energy experimenting with the various health and diet fads which inundate us daily, instead of simply doing what is prudent for the sake of health and then accepting whatever suffering remains as the Will of God for your salvation and sanctification and that of the whole world. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret not having sent your children to the “best” schools and ensured that they have the “best” opportunities—but you would regret letting the world’s values seep into their minds and hearts. On the Day of Judgment, you won’t regret failing to ensure you and your family members can pursue every hobby, vacation, sport, etc., that the world insists you must engage in—but you would regret neglecting significant daily prayer time that you need to forego to pursue and enable these interests.
This analysis is not a presentation of my own opinion. The infinitely surpassing value of sanctity to even the greatest of the goods of the world and the consequent need for us all to consider that which is temporal as garbage when compared to the eternal, which in turn alone deserves our primary focus, is the clear admonition of Sacred Scripture:
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.503
Considering these stunning realities, what analogy suffices? In this book and elsewhere, this desire that we must have is likened to a blazing fire as the only comparison that comes close; yet even those words utterly fail unless you happen to be near one, to be reminded of its intensity. With Sanctifying Grace, the Almighty, Eternal, Uncreated, Perfect God of the Universe offers His very own Life to you, who are nothing. He promises that this life, which can be formed in you here and now, is what shall then sensibly constitute your existence when, in the twinkling of an eye, this fleeting world passes, and you embark upon the life of eternity.
And when you find yourself in that eternity, the breadth of your joy, your glory, and your closeness to God is no accident: it is decided by (and indeed proceeds from) the holiness you attain to here and now. In building a house, how zealously do you attend to the details of its construction to ensure it is tailored to your needs for the short few decades you will reside in it? And yet, the holiness you will enjoy in Heaven will scarcely have begun after countless trillions of centuries have passed. There, the love you now expand your soul to accommodate will be the food you eat, the water you drink, and the splendor of the Kingdom you find yourself in. There, the degree of union with God you now arrive at will be the garment you wear forever. “There” might be “here” for you in a decade, a year, a month, a day, or a minute. There is no time to waste.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”504
Spare no expense. Go all in. Hold nothing back. Put all of your eggs in one basket.
Lord, teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.
-St. Ignatius of Loyola
A Desire for Sanctity Examen
Look back at the past week; consider how you spent that time. Ask yourself if an objective onlooker could ascertain from those days that you believe these following facts, for they are inherent in the faith you profess with your lips on Sunday:
* That your every thought, word, and deed will be recalled on the Last Day in the presence of all Creation for it to be judged by its love … (or do you think, speak, and act in ways you won’t be proud of on That Day?)
* That God so highly regards your prayers and sacrifices that He has deigned to hinge, upon their being said and made, the very salvation of souls created by Him and for whom He died … (or do you spend little time in prayer, muster up little fervency in your heart during it, and put little effort into sacrifice?)
* That every interaction, no matter how mundane, you have with any soul will help to determine if she becomes “a creature you would now be strongly tempted to worship or else a horror and a corruption you could now see only in a nightmare.”505 … (or do you prefer vain conversation, frivolous activities, and worldly endeavors to that which benefits eternity?)
* That if you are ashamed of Christ before men—embarrassed of, cowardly about, or indifferent to Him and His teachings—then He will be ashamed of you before His Father on Judgment Day … (or do you limit your conversation to the weather when you are with those who might not share your Faith in Christ?)
* That love is measured by sacrifice, and ever seeks to pour itself out without any expectation of repayment—and “at the evening of our lives, we will be judged on our love”506 … (or do you expect your bare-minimum following of the precepts to save you, while living a self-centered life?)
* That Our Lord takes any deed done to one of His children as done to Himself, and whenever we find ourselves in the presence of others, we are given the same opportunity to love Him, in them, just as Veronica or Simon had on the Way of the Cross? … (or do those around whom you live your daily life get treated by you as means to your own ends, as obstacles to your own goals, or as annoyances to be dealt with; instead of beloved children of God to be shown mercy, love, generosity, forgiveness, and compassion?)
* That the smallest sufferings of purgatory far exceed the worst possible in this world, and yet need not be endured if you now choose to pursue perfection, and that you must prefer to suffer the greatest pains until the end of time than to commit even the smallest venial sin … (or do you slothfully take no measures to examine your conscience and perform interior mortifications to purge from your life anything that might offend Our Lord?)
There are starving souls; starving physically and starving spiritually. Christ’s very own presence dwells in each of them. How many personal enjoyments to which you have grown accustomed are you open to abandoning in order to serve them? They need you now. The women going in to have abortions need to see you on your knees outside the Planned Parenthoods. The forgotten elderly in nursing homes need your loving and prayerful presence as a consolation in their last days. The sick in hospitals need the channels of grace you can bring them as they endure suffering during which they are tempted to think God has abandoned them. The urban youth need good mentors as they are growing up in what more resembles pagan anarchy than Christian civilization. The men and women in prison need you to show them that they are loved; by you and by God, no matter what they have done and no matter what society says about them. The list goes on, but the lesson is short: unless you are a rare soul, your life needs fewer vanities (fewer hobbies, less uncalled-for effort in your job or personal projects, less time spent on activities motivated by love of comfort and pleasure, etc.) and more spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
You likely live within a short drive of a Church. Our Lord has given us Himself; Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity; invisibly—but truly, literally, physically507 present in the Eucharist. How much are you willing to alter your daily routine in order to center it around receiving Him? How strong is your faith in the Real Presence and how important, in relation to that, do you deem your secular endeavors? The Mass is not a symbolic remembrance of Calvary; it is an actual presentation of it in its full reality. Your eyes see only a small sanctuary, but your being stands before the Paschal Mysteries no less so than did Our Lady 2,000 years ago. Arrive early, and until you leave (which ideally is no sooner than 15 minutes after receiving Holy Communion) comport yourself with the holy fear and reverence that befits standing in the physical presence of the Almighty, stirring up fervent prayer of the heart as you cry out to God.
We live in a world of unprecedented sin, error, and corruption. How zealously do you fight this darkness; rooting out vigorously all vice, sin, imperfection, needless occasions of sin, bad influences (through bad media, harmful friendships, etc.) from your own life and from your family and household? Truly this sin, error, and darkness is so pervasive that merely avoiding the blatantly immoral influences is far insufficient—the faithful who live in the most depraved of ages must not fall victim to supporting that which simply appears good next to a great evil but is really not good at all on its own right. It is impossible to live an upright life with a mentality of compromise with the culture; for today’s culture is none other than the Culture of Death. You will have to be a sign of contradiction, and therefore, you must examine your conscience critically if you find yourself failing to be so; blending in imperceptibly with secular family, friends, and coworkers, and society at large; and allowing into your life without careful consideration the popular creations of modern culture. Never let this be the pride of a Pharisee; rather, let it be the love of a mother for even her straying children.
Lest you be discouraged, recall that what is essential is not so much our current level of virtue, holiness, piety, and the like. What is essential is that we yearn and strive for a heroic degree of all these things. Our own strength will not itself advance us one degree towards sanctity; God, in seeing our lowliness, weakness, and yet despite it all, our absolute trust in Him, will be the one Who does this work in us. If you can check off every spiritual regimen in the book from your list of accomplishments and exhibit all the externalities of an advanced monk, yet lack the inner disposition of the heart of pure love, humility (and that means truly seeing yourself as below every single other soul), and trust, then you have simply wasted your time and effort. But this fact should not be discouraging; it should be encouraging. For what even such an advanced monk longs for is itself within your reach even now: absolute trust in God despite everything—including the lowliness and misery of your current spiritual state.
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Once we sincerely desire sanctity above all things, as the saints throughout the history of the Church always have, then we are ready to receive its crown by renouncing the self-will, desiring the Divine Will, and asking for the Divine Will.
1)
16) Renounce the Self Will

Before turning to Jesus’ words to Luisa, we should recall that the renouncing of the self-will is not a new teaching. Rather, as has already been shown in the previous “The Gift Foreshadowed in the Great Spiritual Writers” section, this renunciation is not only a familiar theme in the advice of the saints, but also could easily be seen as the perfect summation of what they held to be most essential and powerful component to the spiritual life.
So, we must consider first what is contrary to a proper understanding of this renunciation (even though it may superficially appear similar); namely, Quietism and eastern philosophical or religious notions of the extinguishing of the self (or “nirvana”). For the sake of those who may have theological concerns, this issue is treated in more detail in the “Answers to Objections” chapter; for now, we will only treat it to the degree necessary for the alleviation of any potential danger.
Beyond this, to give you My Divine Will, it is necessary that you give yours, because two wills can not reign inside of one heart, they would war with each other, and yours would be an obstacle to Mine, and therefore It would not be free to do what It wants, and I, in order make Mine free, with so many instances I ask you for yours.508
Jesus wants to reign in your will, but there cannot be two kings. Jesus did not say that two wills cannot exist in one heart, but that two wills cannot reign. In this and in many other passages, it is clear that Jesus’ words to Luisa have nothing to do with the heresy of Quietism.
Jesus tells Luisa that He wants her will little, not annihilated (in this He is merely reiterating to Luisa what He already subtly revealed to St. Thérèse of Lisieux in “The Little Way”), and that he wants its operation, not its substance, sacrificed continually to the Divine Will, just as Jesus Himself, and His most holy Mother, always sacrificed their human wills to the Divine Will, while they both truly had human wills which never disappeared. Jesus tells Luisa:
Before Us, there is no greater sacrifice than a human will that, while having life, does not exercise it in order to give free life to My Fiat. This, however, to great profit for the soul, because she gives a will that is human, and receives a Divine one; she gives a will that is finite and limited, and receives one that is infinite and without limit.509
The renunciation of the self-will can be either the hardest thing or the easiest thing to accomplish. The hardest, because renouncing it is simply renouncing yourself, as the will is the greatest faculty of the soul, which in turn is our truest self. But the easiest, in accordance with what Jesus tells Luisa as follows:
…the Divine Will and the human are two spiritual powers. The Divine, Immense with an Unreachable Power. The human, little power, but for however little, it has its power. And both being spiritual, the one can pour itself into the other and form one single Life. All the power is in the volition, and being spiritual power, it has the space of being able to place inside of its will the good that she wants, and also the evil. In fact, what the will wants, that is what one finds inside of herself: If she wants self-esteem, glory, love of pleasures, of riches, she will find inside of her volition the life of self-esteem, of glory, the life of pleasures, of riches, and, if she wants, sin-even sin will form its life.
Even more, if she wants the Life of Our Will in hers, wanted, commanded by Us with so many sighs, if she truly wants It, she will have the Great Good of possessing Our Will as Life. And if this could not be, the Sanctity of Living in My Volition would be a difficult and almost impossible sanctity, and I do not know how to neither teach difficult things, nor do I want impossible things. Rather it is My usual Way to make easy, for as much as it is possible for the creature, the most arduous things and hardest sacrifice…
The human will possesses, with indelible characters, everything it does and wants to do; and if the memory forgets, the will loses nothing, it contains the deposit of all of its acts, unable to disperse anything. Therefore it can be said that the whole of man is in his will: if the will is holy, even the most indifferent things are holy for him; but if it is evil, maybe even good itself changes for him into a perverted act. 510
Jesus here assures Luisa (and all of us, through her) that it is not difficult to renounce the self-will—even that He makes it “easy”! And, indeed, this renunciation also makes life in general so much easier in the best of ways and that it need not be any harder than we make it be. Consider the opposite: as a parent, I can attest from experience that the most severe screaming and crying fits which a toddler throws usually have nothing to do with anything serious; but rather, arise from simply not having some minor thing that his self-will happened to want at a given moment. My 2-year-old has dealt with running falls or painful cuts to the head with admirable grace and peace, only to the next day tantrum with all the violence of a hurricane if he cannot wear the shirt he decided he wanted to wear at that moment.
But how, specifically, do we go about effecting this renunciation? The most important thing to know from the onset, and to continue to remind yourself throughout the process of growth in the Gift, is that there are no special formulas, no magical procedures, and no Gnostic511 secrets. Jesus Himself says precisely this to Luisa in her revelations, and He insists that what matters is simply the soul’s desire for the Gift.512 The Gift of Living in the Divine Will is a grace, and it is given in the same manner as is all grace: based upon the humble, pure, sincere receptivity of the one who desires it. If all you are left with once you are finished with this book is the reminder to give God all of yourself without reserve and ask earnestly, with trust, that He bestow upon you the greatest union with Him possible, then that is enough. Such a prayer is not only clearly permissible to speak, but it would even be lamentable to forego such a prayer.
Renunciation via Crosses
(Note: this point is also treated in the “Love of the Cross” and “Mortification” sections in the chapter of this book dedicated to growing in the foundational virtues for the Gift).
We should now consider how we respond to those crosses that are already a part of our lives. Jesus tells Luisa that this response is what differentiates the elect from the reprobate. St. Faustina said,
I often felt the Passion of the Lord Jesus in my body, although this was imperceptible [to others], and I rejoiced in it because Jesus wanted it so. But this lasted for only a short time. These sufferings set my soul afire with love for God and for immortal souls. Love endures everything, love is stronger than death, love fears nothing …513
Whether or not you pursue mortification of the flesh and a life of penance, you will suffer. But the question is: what will you do with this suffering? Dwell on how annoyed you are at it and whatever or whomever caused it? Lament it and complain about it? Endlessly ponder how you could have avoided it to try to ensure you won’t have to feel it again? Stop at nothing to try to be rid of it? These attitudes do not conform to God’s Will or the necessary trust we must have in it. Therefore, we must take stock of how we react to suffering
If, however, you unite with Christ’s Passion all suffering that God’s Will permits you to undergo and meditate upon His own sufferings, then this achievement can powerfully inflame your love and desire and dispose you to receive the Gift.
We must believe—for it is certainly true—that, in allowing us to suffer, God gives us the greatest gift. Remember, our ability to suffer for Him is the one thing for which the angels envy us. Luisa said:
While Jesus was resting, I comprehended many things about the words spoken by Jesus, especially about suffering for love of Him. Oh! what a coin of inestimable value! If we all knew it, we would compete with one another to suffer more. But I believe we are all shortsighted in knowing this coin so precious, and this is why one does not come to having knowledge of it.514
But how is it practical to look at suffering as a gift? Because it makes the necessary thing—renunciation—so much easier. It allows us to see this passing world for what it is, and it detaches us from the trivial garbage that we have foolishly attached ourselves to and which prevent us from being open to the Gift of God’s Will. If you reflect upon your life thus far, you will easily realize this is true. It has usually been our crosses which have enabled us to be free of our true chains, just as a necessary surgery—though painful—removes from our bodies that which causes far more pain than the surgery itself.
***
Remember that Renunciation should also be seen as an essential aspect of the Imitation of Christ, for He “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…becoming obedient even unto death; death on a cross.”515 In its commentary on French Spirituality, the New Catholic Encyclopedia says the following:
In the complete possession of Christ’s humanity by the divinity wherein the humanity of Christ lacks its own subsistence, its own personality, they saw the absolute condition of self-renouncement and clinging to God. From this state of ‘infinite servitude’ they drew the most fundamental characteristic of their spirituality—the deep, total renunciation of self that is at the same time total adherence to Christ and being possessed by Him.516
Earlier we settled that the Incarnation was the greatest event in history. But let us now consider how much of a self-renunciation it was for the Second Person of the Thrice Holy God to so infinitely empty Himself as to be born in the likeness of sinful flesh. He, the almighty and eternal God, “infinitely perfect and blessed in himself,”517 Who needs nothing and from Whom all good things proceed, deigned to descend a greater distance than you would if you were to become an ant, or rather, a speck of dust. This is not to mention the unimaginable emptying of self through the scandal of the Cross that this omnipotent Son of God undertook. He Who could have unmade the universe with a thought, instead submitted Himself to an unheard of torturous, public, humiliating death. Confronted with such an unspeakable and indescribable renunciation of self, how could we—who are nothing—dare hold onto even the smallest morsel of our own puny and pathetic self-wills?
***
There is so much more that can be said on the renunciation of the self-will, but the bottom line is that it is a battle that must be continually fought. There is no difference between the renunciation of the self-will in Luisa’s writings and those of the saints (referred to also as abandonment,518 surrender, abnegation, or emptying), so I again encourage you to feel free to pursue this end by means of whatever orthodox Catholic spirituality you feel drawn to. St. Francis de Sales, often known as the doctor of the spiritual life for the laity, is also referred to as the “Doctor of Self-Abandonment,”519 and his works are much worth reading in pursuing this.520 We now conclude this discussion with a quote from Bl. John of Ruysbroeck, a concrete piece of advice to act on, and a brief list of potential next steps.
By renouncing self-will in doing, in leaving undone, and in suffering, the material and occasion of pride are wholly cast out, and humility is made perfect in the highest degree. And God becomes the Lord of the man’s whole will; and the man’s will is so united with the will of God that he can neither will nor desire in any other way. This man has put off the old man, and has put on the new man, who is renewed and made according to the dearest will of God. Of all such Christ says: Blessed are the poor in spirit—that is to say, those who have renounced self-will—for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.521
Perhaps, then, you could attempt the simple spiritual exercise which follows. Place yourself, sitting or kneeling, in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Strive to be as close to Him as possible; at least ensuring that no one is in-between you and Him. Remain there for a time with arms at your side or resting on your lap, and with palms facing up toward the Tabernacle or Monstrance.522 In this posture, meditate upon everything you hold dear; not just possessions, not just friends, not just family, but even your intentions, your plans for the future, your desire to avoid certain things and pursue other things, your temporal hopes, your good works, your very self, everything—meditate on simply dumping it all out in front of the Tabernacle for Jesus to do with as He wishes. Envision this being like casting the small pebble of your will into the immense sea of Christ’s Divinity which dwells in all its fullness mere feet in front of you. Tell Him that you do this with all of your freedom, with all of your love, and with all of your desire to be filled with nothing but His Divine Will. Most important in this act, converse with Him in your own words, as you would with a trusted friend. You could also use words to the effect of:
“Jesus, I am nothing, You are everything. Take all that I am and all that I have. Give, in return, all that You are and all that You have. For I wish to have no will but Yours.” And “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”523
Miscellaneous Ways to Renounce the Self-Will
* Obeying even when we can get away with disobeying (for example, submitting to non-infallible but nevertheless Magisterial statements524 that we feel like opposing).
* Bearing insults and all manner of persecution with complete silence and praying for whomever they come from.
* Giving alms generously and taking care to not be noticed.
* Performing works of mercy.
* Meditating each day on the Four Last Things525—especially as we fall asleep.
* Confessing our sins regularly in the Sacrament of Penance in a heartfelt and open manner after a thorough and prayerful examination of conscience.
* Clearing worldly clutter (that breeds attachment) from our homes, cars, daily routines, etc., and instead living frugally and simply.
* Praying each day with our families at home (especially the Rosary) to help ensure these relationships are grounded in God and lead us toward God, instead of causing inordinate attachment to creatures.
* Remaining silent in the midst of discord even when another contradicts us although we are right.
* Taking measures to not be noticed or thanked for good deeds and pious practices.
* Trying to ensure we enjoy prayer more than anything else we do: going on Rosary walks in a beautiful place in God’s creation; taking time to say our prayers slowly enough to relish them; seeking out Masses that are said reverently; having always at hand a favorite holy hymn, Scripture passage, Psalm, etc., to recite when we find ourselves slothful; and other such measures.526
Holy Indifference to Circumstances
Also (and without succumbing to a form of Providentialism that amounts to neglect of duties and commitments), we should strive eagerly to develop a preferential option for both the opinions and partialities of those around us, and for the direction given by the circumstances we find ourselves in—over and above the plans we may have made—to guide our days.
This “Holy Indifference to Circumstances” can be a great means to renounce the self-will and open ourselves up to the Divine Will. To this end, ponder specific ways you can make yourself more docile to the workings of the Holy Spirit through the people and circumstances around you. Perhaps you simply need to add some serenity to your days. Constantly being in a rush is one of the most effective ways of making this docility impossible. There is no time to relish the moment, no time to respond to the needs of those you pass, no time to evangelize, and no time to pray carefully, if you are rushing. Try leaving for things earlier and spacing out your events more prudently, and you can watch all the opportunities for grace that Providence has wanted to shower upon your life open up before you; and see things—for which you used to have to strive with such difficulty to achieve—happen naturally.
17) Desire the Gift
“My daughter, you must know that as soon as the creature truly decides that she wants to live in my Divine Will, and at any cost never to do her own, my Fiat, with an unspeakable love, forms the seed of Its life in the depth of the soul.”527
“…one who possesses My Will possesses everything as Gifts and Property that My Divine Volition brings with Itself.”528
– Jesus to Luisa
To receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, we must fan the flames of our desire for it into a roaring fire. This will naturally happen if we understand that we really can receive it—that receiving it is no way unrealistic—and if we understand just how glorious it is. Therefore, while you preserve the quote above clearly before your mind’s eye, serving as a reminder of just how closely within reach this Gift is, proceed to read the promises contained in the next section. These are promises which come with the Gift of Living in the Divine Will.
Now, you must know that the first indispensable thing in order to enter into my Fiat is wanting and yearning with all firmness to live in It… The second thing is to take the first step … See then, how easy it is, but it is necessary to want it… I hold nothing back when it comes to making the creature live in my Will. 529
In Its Granting of All your Wishes
What do you want? Assuming that the worldly have not made it thus far in their reading—and that those who read these words recognize that sin ought not be desired—everything you want is contained in the Gift of God’s Will.
Perfect Happiness
Above all, we desire happiness. There is no shame in this. We are not capable of desiring anything else as an ultimate end but our beatitude; such desire is human nature in its integral sense, not in its fallen sense. Even the ancient philosophers—Aristotle above all—were capable of proving this.530
Perfect Happiness is in the Gift. Jesus tells Luisa:
…in the Divine Will one can have not even the memory of evil, otherwise the happiness would no longer be full; and in the other current the abyss of the human will, which casts the soul into all miseries, and brings her almost into the arms of the devil, that he may tyrannize her as he pleases. …
…as the soul enters into my Volition, with Its empire It says to her: ‘Forget everything, even the home of your mother earth—here one lives of Heaven, nor is there any room for miseries and for unhappinesses. My light destroys everything, and it transforms evils into good.’531
Even more, my own Divine Will, as It sees that she wants to live in It, caresses her, puts her in feast, and helps her to suppress the outlets; It closes the doors to her evils, because We neither want, nor do We love for the creature to be unhappy—it dishonors Us and forms her sorrow and Ours. Therefore, We want to see her happy—and of Our own happiness. Oh! how painful it is for Our Paternal Heart to possess immense riches, infinite joys, and to see Our children in Our own House—that is, in Our own Will—poor, starving and unhappy.”532
And do you know what it means to possess these knowledges on my Will? It is as if one possessed a coin which has the virtue of making arise as many coins as one wants; and if one possesses a springing good, poverty is over. In the same way, these knowledges of mine possess light, sanctity, strength, beauty and riches, which arise continuously. So, those who will possess them will have the source of light, of sanctity; therefore, darkness, weaknesses, the ugliness of sin, poverty in divine goods, will end for them. All evils will end, and they will possess the source of Sanctity.533
But is this happiness perhaps destroyed when the great crises come upon us? Certainly not. Jesus tells Luisa, regarding His own happiness and that of His mother:
Just as the nature of the sun is to give light, and that of water to quench one’s thirst, that of fire to warm and to turn everything into fire—and if they did not do so, they would lose their nature—so it is the nature of my Will to make happiness, joy and Paradise arise, wherever It reigns. Will of God and unhappiness does not exist, nor can exist; or, Its complete fullness does not exist, and this is why the rivulets of the human will form bitternesses for the poor creature. For Us, because the human will had no access into Us, happiness was always at its peak, the seas of joys were inseparable from Us. Even when I was on the Cross, and my Mama was crucified at my divine feet, perfect happiness never disassociated from Us; and if this could happen, I would have had to go out of the Divine Will, disassociate Myself from the divine nature, and act only with the human will and nature. Therefore, our pains were all voluntary, chosen by our very selves as the office which We came to fulfill—they were not fruits of the human nature, of fragility, or of the imposition of a degraded nature. 534
More Power than a Saint in Heaven
Do you want to remain a weakling for the rest of your life, or do you want to rise up and accept from God the spiritual power He has destined for you? In the Gift is that power. Jesus tells Luisa:
My delighting and Beatifying Will that is in Heaven, and My Conquering Will that is on earth, plunge together and flood the Celestial Regions with the New Joys that My Conquering Divine Will possesses. In fact, you must know that the Joys of My Conquering Will are quite distinct and different from those of My Delighting Will. The Conquering Joys are not in the power of the Blessed, but in the power of the creature, who must send Them from the earth, and They are formed in the middle of the stake of pain and of love, and over the annihilation of her own volition. On the other hand, the Delighting Joys are in their power, and are fruits and effects of the Celestial Dwelling in which they find themselves.
There is great difference between the Joys of My Conquering Will and those of My Delighting Will. I can say that My Conquering Joys do not exist in Heaven, but only on earth, and-O! how beautiful it is to see the creature who, for as many times as she does her acts in My Volition, so many times makes herself the conqueror of It, and makes It set out for Heaven, for Purgatory, into the midst of terrestrial creatures-wherever she wants. More so since, My Will being everywhere and in every place, It has to do nothing other than Bilocate Itself to give the Fruit, the Joys of the New Conquest that the creature has made of It. My daughter, there is no scene more moving, more delightful, more useful, than to see the littleness of the creature come into Our Divine Will, do her little acts and make her sweet conquest of an Immense, Holy, Powerful, Eternal Will that encloses everything, can do anything and possesses everything. 535
In a letter, Luisa wrote:
To love in the Divine Will astonishes Heaven and earth; the very Saints yearn to have within their hearts this conquering Love of one who lives in exile.
Do you want infinite strength? So much strength, in fact, that no pain and no burden can trouble you in the least?
My daughter, the creature without my Will is like a child who has no strength to be able to sustain a weight, or to do works so useful as to allow him to support, himself, his little existence. And if one wanted to force him to lift a heavy object or to sustain a work, the child, seeing himself impotent and without strength, maybe would try, but in seeing that he cannot even move that object, nor sustain that work, the poor little one would burst into tears and would do nothing about it; and in order to put him in feast it would be enough to give him a candy. On the other hand, one who possesses my Divine Will has the strength of an adult man—or rather, the divine strength; and if he were told to lift the heavy object, without becoming troubled, he takes it as if it were nothing; while the poor little one would remain crushed under it. If one wants him to sustain a work, he will put himself in feast because of the gain and the profit he will be given; and if one wanted to give him a candy, he would despise it and would say: ‘Give me the just profit for my work, for I must live from it.’ See then, one who has my Divine Will has sufficient strength for anything; so, everything is easy for her; even suffering, as she feels strong, she looks at it as a new gain. Why are many unable to bear anything, and it seems that a child’s weakness follows them? It is the strength of my Divine Will that is missing—this is the cause of all evils. Therefore, be attentive, my daughter, never to go out of my Divine Will.536
Unmatched Treasures in Heaven
Do you wish to build up as many treasures in Heaven as possible? This, indeed, is the purpose of our earthly pilgrimage: to populate Heaven and to build as many treasures up there, while meriting down here below, as we possibly can. For only in Heaven are there treasures which may be enjoyed for all eternity. These treasures are built up predominantly by living in the Divine Will. Jesus tells Luisa:
In fact, everything that is done in my Divine Will is sown, germinates, grows in an admirable way on earth, while one is living, but the completion will be formed in Heaven; the final development, the variety of the beauties, the shades, the most beautiful and striking tints, will be given to her in the Celestial Fatherland. So, each act done on earth will be like taking more room in Heaven, one additional right, and an advanced possession of the celestial dwelling. For each additional act that she has done, the creature will bring with herself new beatitudes, new joys, communicated to her by my Will. My Divine Fiat never says ‘enough’ to the creature; It wants to make her grow in sanctity, in grace, in beauty, unto her last breath of life down here, and therefore It reserves for Itself to give the final brush stroke and completion, as Its full triumph, in the celestial regions… in Heaven nothing begins, but everything begins on earth—and Heaven completes.537
Jesus goes even further, telling Luisa that He will even “owe us” through our acts in His Will inasmuch as we must wait for the fulfillment of what we ask (as, for example, we must wait in imploring Him for the Coming of the Kingdom—which He is bound to give us if we ask it of Him in His Will—and yet will not be given immediately):
But when I have you wait for some time and then I come, I become your debtor—and do you think it is trivial that a God gives you the occasion to make Him your debtor?”… In addition to the ‘spontaneous gifts’ that I give to souls, there are the ‘gifts of bond’. To the souls of the ‘spontaneous gifts’, I may give or may not—it is my choice, because no bond binds Me; but with the souls of the ‘gifts of bond’, as in your case, I am bound and forced to give them what they want, and to grant them my gifts. Imagine a gentleman and two persons; one of these two persons keeps his money in the hands of the gentleman, while the other does not. That gentleman may give to both one and the other; but which one is more sure to obtain in a circumstance of need—the one who has money in the hands of the gentleman, or the one who does not? Certainly the one who has the money will have all the good dispositions, the courage, the confidence to go and ask for what is deposited in the hands of that gentleman. And if he sees him hesitant in giving, he will say to him, frankly: ‘You better give it to me, and quickly, because indeed I am not asking you for what is yours, but for what is mine.’ On the other hand, if the other one goes, who has nothing deposited in the hands of that gentleman, he will go timidly, without confidence, and it will be up to the gentleman, whether he wants to give him some help or not. This is the difference that passes between when I am the debtor, and when I am not. If you could understand what immense goods are produced by having a credit with Me!”…I desire to be the debtor more than to have you as my debtor. In fact, these debts which I make with you, while being debts for Me, will be pledges and treasures which I will keep in my Heart for eternity, and which will give you the right to be loved by Me more than others. This will be one more joy and glory for Me, and you will be repaid for even a breath, a minute, a desire, a heartbeat; and the more pressing and greedy you will be in demanding, the more pleasure you will give Me, and the more I will give you. 538
It should go without saying that Jesus is not encouraging the vice of greed—but rather, Jesus is speaking here in the same way He was during His teaching in the Gospel itself, wherein He admonishes us to be like the widow who incessantly pesters the judge for a just judgment. Jesus continues:
Now, by living in my Will and by making It her own, the soul comes to take part in all the joys and goods that my Will contains, and she becomes the owner of them. And even though while being on earth she does not feel all those joys and goods, by keeping them in deposit within her will by virtue of my Will done on earth, when she dies and finds herself up there in Heaven, she will feel all those joys and goods which my Will delivered in Heaven while she was living on earth. Nothing will be taken away from her; on the contrary, it will be multiplied. In fact, if the saints enjoy my Will in Heaven because they live in It, it is always enjoying that they live in glory; while the soul who lives in my Will on earth, lives suffering, and it is not appropriate for her to have that joy and those goods which are reserved for her in Heaven, with greater abundance, because of the works she has done and her living in my Divine Will. So, how many immense riches does one who live in my Will on earth not take in Heaven?539
Nothing is lost in the Divine Will; even a single thought is sealed with “indelible characters,” and will be the bearer of untold joys in Heaven:
…each thought, word, pain suffered, everything, remains written and Sealed with Indelible characters. Perhaps the memory does not keep track of everything, it has forgotten many things, but the will hides everything and loses nothing such that it is the depositary of all of her acts. Therefore the Divine Volition is Depositary and Bearer of everything and everyone; the human volition is individual depositary and bearer of itself.
What Eternal Triumph it will be, what Honor and Glory, for the one who has thought and operated in a holy way. And what confusion for the one who has deposited in the human volition sins, passions, unworthy works, and will render himself bearer of his own evils! And if the evils are very grave, he will be pasture of the infernal flames, and if less grave, he will be pasture of the purging flames, such that they will purify that soiled human will by way of fire and of pains, but it will not be able to restore to him the good, the holy works that he has not done. Therefore be attentive because everything is numbered and written. You do not lose, neither you, nor Us, anything; even one thought, one word will have its Perennial Life, and they will be as faithful and inseparable friends of the creature. Therefore it is necessary that you form holy and good friends, so that they can give you Peace, Happiness and Perennial Glory.540
Jesus tells Luisa that every single act begun down here on earth in the Divine Will may indeed have a beginning; but it will have no end, because in Heaven it will be given its final brush stroke of completion.
Good daughter, the great good of living of a Divine Volition is amazing and almost incomprehensible for the human creature. You must know that everything good, holy, that is done in my Divine Will is nothing other than seeds that germinate in the field of the soul, placing as though many seeds of divine light, which set a beginning that will have no end. In fact, everything that is done in my Divine Will is sown, germinates, grows in an admirable way on earth, while one is living, but the completion will be formed in Heaven; the final development, the variety of the beauties, the shades, the most beautiful and striking tints, will be given to her in the Celestial Fatherland. So, each act done on earth will be like taking more room in Heaven, one additional right, and an advanced possession of the celestial dwelling. For each additional act that she has done, the creature will bring with herself new beatitudes, new joys, communicated to her by my Will. My Divine Fiat never says ‘enough’ to the creature; It wants to make her grow in sanctity, in grace, in beauty, unto her last breath of life down here, and therefore It reserves for Itself to give the final brush stroke and completion, as Its full triumph, in the celestial regions…541
But alas! for those who do not live in Our Will, how many of Our acts broken, without fulfillment; how many of Our Divine Lives only conceived or, at most, born without growing. They break the continuation of Our work and bind Our arms, unable to go forward; they put Us in the impotence of a master who has his land, and is prevented by his ungrateful servants from doing the work that is needed in his land, from sowing it, from planting the plants that he wants. Poor master, keeping the land sterile, without the fruit that he could receive, because of his iniquitous servants. Our land is the creatures, and the ungrateful servant is the human will, which, opposing Our own, puts Us in the impotence of forming Our Divine Life in them. Now, you must know that in Heaven one does not enter if he does not possess Our Divine Life, either conceived at least, or born; and for as much growth as each Blessed has formed of Our Life within himself, such will be his glory, his beatitude. Now, what will be the difference between one in whom It was only conceived, born or grown in small proportion, and one who has let Us form fulfilled Life? The difference will be so great as to be incomprehensible to the human creature. The first will be like the people of the Celestial Kingdom, while Our facsimiles will be princes, ministers, the noble court, the royal army of the great King. Therefore, one who does my Divine Will and lives in It can say: ‘I do everything, and I belong, even from this earth, to the Family of my Celestial Father’.542
Although it should be love which motivates us, it would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is also a reward to be had. In fact, Jesus promises Luisa that He “keeps track of” and “rewards” everything—even the smallest act:
My daughter, what the soul cannot always do with her immediate acts in Me, she can make up for with the attitude of her good will. And I will be so pleased with it as to make Myself the vigilant sentry of each thought, of each word, of each heartbeat, etc.; and I will place them inside and outside of Me as my cortege, looking at them with such love, as the fruit of the good will of the creature. When the soul, then, fusing herself in Me, does her immediate acts with Me, then I feel so drawn toward her that I do what she does together with her, and I transmute the operating of the creature into divine. I take everything into account, and I reward everything, even the smallest things; and even just one good act of the will does not remain defrauded in the creature.543
Assurance of Salvation
Do you wish to have your eternal salvation sealed? Live in the Divine Will. Jesus tells Luisa:
No, one who had possessed the Kingdom of my Will, even for a short time, could not remain without Redemption. One who possesses this Kingdom enters into such bonds and rights with God, that God Himself feels with him the strength of His own chains that bind Him, and He cannot get rid of him.544
Furthermore, the acts that you accomplish while living in the Divine Will are themselves divinized, are invincible, and are permanent anchors between your soul and its Heavenly homeland. Jesus says:
My daughter, you must know that the acts done in my Divine Will are everlasting and inseparable from God, and they leave the continuous memory that the soul had the good of operating together with a Divine Will, and that God had the creature with Himself to let her operate with His own Divine Will. This happy, operative and holy memory makes us always keep our eyes over each other—God and the soul; in such a way that we remain unforgettable—one to the other; so much so, that if the creature had the misfortune of going out of Our Will, she will go wandering, she will wander far, but will feel the eye of her God over her, calling her sweetly, and her own eye toward the One who is watching her continuously. And even if she goes wandering, she feels the irresistible need, the strong chains that pull her into the arms of her Creator.
This happened to Adam, because the beginning of his life was lived in my Divine Will. Even though he sinned, was cast out of Eden, went wandering for all his life—yet, was he perhaps lost? Ah no! because he felt over himself the power of Our Will in which he had operated; he felt Our eye watching him and drawing his eye to watch Us, as well as the dear memory that the first fruits of his acts had had life in Our Will. You cannot comprehend all the good and what it means to operate in Our Will. By operating in It, the soul acquires as many pledges of infinite value for as many acts as she does in Our Fiat; and these pledges remain in God Himself, because the creature does not have the capacity or the place in which to keep them, so great is the value they contain. And can you ever think that while We have these pledges of infinite value of the creature, We would permit that she to whom these pledges so precious belong, be lost? Ah no! no! … Therefore, do not fear, the acts done in Our Will are eternal bonds, chains not subject to breaking. And suppose you went out of Our Divine Will—which will not be: you can go out, but your acts remain, nor can they go out, because they were done in Our house, and the creature has her rights for as long as she remains in Our house—that is, in Our Will. As soon as she goes out of It, she loses her rights; however, these acts will have such power as to call back the one who was their possessor. Therefore, do not want to trouble the peace of your heart; abandon yourself in Me, and do not fear.545
Deliverance from Aridity, Temptation, Restlessness, and the Like
The usual dark nights of the soul that are often written of in various treatises of spiritual theology may indeed transpire in the soul of one journeying to live in the Divine Will. But these states are temporary in this conquest. See the entirety of the entry in Luisa’s writings from July 19th, 1907:
Having spoken to someone about the Will of God, it had slipped from my mouth that if one is in the Will of God and feels aridity, one would still be at peace. Now, as I was in my usual state, blessed Jesus corrected me, telling me: “My daughter, be very careful when you speak about my Will, because my Will is so happy that It forms Our very beatitude, while the human will is so unhappy, that if it could enter Ours, it would destroy Our happiness and would wage war against Us. Therefore, neither aridities, nor temptations, nor defects, nor restlessness, nor coldness enter my Will, because my Will is light and contains all possible tastes. The human will is nothing but a little drop of darkness, all full of disgusts. So, if the soul is already inside my Will, before she enters—at the contact with my Will, Its light dissolved the little drop of darkness in order to be able to have it within Itself; Its heat dissolved coldness and aridities; Its divine tastes removed the disgusts, and my happiness freed her from all unhappinesses.”
Deliverance from Any Purgatory
Do you want deliverance from Purgatory? In case you do not, I present a quote on the same from Luisa’s writings, and then also a teaching from Jesus to Luisa.
[Luisa writes:] He transported me outside of myself, close to a deep place, full of liquid fire, and dark—the mere sight of it struck horror and fright. Jesus said to me: “Here is Purgatory, and many souls are crammed in this fire. You will go to this place to suffer in order to free the souls I choose, and you will do this for love of Me.” … As I arrived down there … who can describe the pains that those souls suffered? They are certainly unutterable for people clothed with human flesh.546
I hope that now you have decided that you do not want to go to Purgatory. Yes, deliverance from that is within the Gift as well; one who dies after even only a single act in God’s Will need not fear Purgatory. In His teaching, Jesus tells Luisa:
… the first thing that my Will does is to get Purgatory out of the way, making the creature go through It in advance, so as to be more free to let her live in It and to form Its life as It best pleases. So, if the creature dies after an act, determined and wanted, of wanting to live in my Volition, she will take flight toward Heaven; even more, my Will Itself will carry her in Its arms of light as Its triumph, as a birth from Itself, and as Its dear child. And if it were not so, one could not say: ‘Your Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven.’ It would be a way of speaking, not a reality. In Heaven, because my Will reigns in It, there can be neither sins nor Purgatory; so on earth, if It reigns in the soul, there can be neither sin nor fear of Purgatory. My Will knows how to rid Itself of everything, because It wants to be alone in Its place, ruling and dominating.547
Transformation of Your Past
Do you want your entire past to be transformed? Objective acts of the past cannot change—but their relation to eternity can change, and Jesus wishes to give even this unfathomable privilege to the children of His Will. He tells Luisa:
Therefore, listen to the Greatest Excess of the Love of My Volition. As the creature decides with immutable firmness to want to Live of My Will, letting It Reign and Dominate in her, Our Infinite Goodness is so much, Our Love that does not know how to resist a true decision of the creature-more so because It does not want to see acts dissimilar from Ours in her-listen to what It does. It covers everything that she has done up to then with My Will. It molds them, It Transforms them into Its Light in a way that everyone sees, with the Prodigy of Its Transforming Love, that everything is Its Will in the creature. And with Love all Divine, It continues to form Its Life and Its Acts in the creature. Is this not an Excessive and Amazing Love of My Volition? And together with this, of letting everyone decide, even the most ungrateful, of letting My Will Live in them, knowing that It wants to set everything aside, and cover and supply for what is lacking of My Will in them? This also absolutely says that Our Will wants to Reign in the midst of creatures, that It does not want to pay attention to anything, nor to what is lacking in them, wanting to give to them not as pay that It goes finding out if it is merited or not, but as Gratuitous Gift of Our Great Liberality, and as Completion of Our own Will. And the Completing of Our Will, is everything for Us.548
***
I could easily continue this section for many more pages; but that would be unnecessary. Just dive into Luisa’s writings and you will not leave them without a burning desire in your heart for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. From our renunciation, and this desire, we are completely prepared to receive the Gift. But before turning to how we ought to—finally—ask for the Gift, the Blessed Sacrament deserves a section of Its own in fostering our ardent desire to receive this incredible Gift.
In the Eucharist
We must spare no expense to ensure that the Eucharist is (and not only in theory, but also in practice) truly the source and summit of our lives as Christians, as both the Catechism and the Second Vatican Council teach it is in fact. This means attending Mass as often as possible (preferably every day—if this can be done without neglecting the duties of your state in life) and taking each Mass as seriously as if it were the last Mass ever to be said. It means approaching Mass not as an errand, not as a mere stop on the itinerary, but rather, it means approaching each Mass with a true sense of pilgrimage; coming early to prepare, and staying late to give thanks. It means focusing every morsel of our attention upon it and fighting off mercilessly any and all distractions in our minds, whether they be from other things or people in the Church, or merely from the drifting of our thoughts.
We should spend much time with Him in the Eucharist; whether in the Tabernacle, or exposed in the Monstrance—to whichever we have access. Today more than ever there is a plethora of worldly needs and distractions ever demanding our immediate attention. Jesus has the answer to that: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”549
We must receive Jesus well. He tells Luisa:
In order to cling more tightly to Me, to the point of dissolving your being in Mine, just as I transfuse Mine into yours, you must take what is Mine in everything, and in everything leave what is yours; in such a way that if you always think of things which are holy and regard only what is good, and the honor and glory of God, you leave your mind and take the divine … If the soul reaches the point of no longer recognizing herself, but the Divine Being within her, these are the fruits of good Communions, and this is the divine purpose in wanting to communicate Himself to souls. But, how frustrated my love remains, and how few are the fruits that souls gather from this Sacrament, to the point that the majority of them remains indifferent, and even nauseated by this divine food.550
Let us turn to St. Faustina—whose full religious name was Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament—and learn from her sublime teachings on the Eucharist. In these teachings we see both an overlap with Luisa’s on the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, and an encouragement to inflame our desire for the same.
St. Faustina’s Revelations
St. Faustina often referred to the Blessed Sacrament as a “living host,” until one day when her desire for union with Christ became so great, she wrote in her diary,
When I had received Jesus in Holy Communion, my heart cried out with all its might, ‘Jesus, transform me into another host! I want to be a living host for You. You are a great and all-powerful Lord; You can grant me this favor.’
As soon as she made this request, He responded that she was indeed, at that moment, a living host.551
In other words, she had received the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Here then is the vital disposition in receiving the Gift: a burning desire for the greatest possible union with God imbued with a firm trust that—in His omnipotence and mercy—He can and will grant it. Faustina displayed this perfectly, and therefore He readily gave her that Gift, despite her not having specific knowledge of it through Luisa’s writings. But specific knowledge of this Gift’s precise and complete explication (which is only found in Luisa’s revelations) is extraordinarily helpful nevertheless, and can partially make up for (though never dispense from the wholehearted pursuit of) what an ordinary soul may lack in the heroic virtue which Faustina possessed. In either case, the grace flows from the Eucharist, and this is how we, too, should enkindle our desire for the Gift.
In another excerpt from Faustina’s diary, which emphasizes the beauty of the desire for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, we see more evidence of the primacy of the Eucharist:
Most sweet Jesus, set on fire my love for You and transform me into Yourself. Divinize me that my deeds may be pleasing to You. May this be accomplished by the power of the Holy Communion which I receive daily. Oh, how greatly I desire to be wholly transformed into You, O Lord!552
As stated in Vatican II, reiterated by the Catechism, and emphasized by countless great men and women of the Faith, the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the life of a Christian. In a real way, the Eucharist is the Divine Will—for the Divine Will is God, and the Eucharist is God. In enkindling our desire for the Gift, preparing ourselves to receive the Gift, and growing in the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, there is no alternative to Eucharistic devotion. Luisa’s entire life demonstrated this, and St. Faustina recognized it, as evidenced by this excerpt from her diary. Lengthy Eucharistic adoration and frequent Communion, approached with unbounded reverence, fervency, trust, and love, will be the sure means of calling down the Divine Will upon your soul.553 Pope St. John Paul II himself agreed, saying:
This sublime and demanding reality [following God’s will] can only be grasped and lived in a spirit of constant prayer. This is the secret, if we are to enter into and dwell in God’s will. Thus what are extremely helpful are the initiatives of prayer—especially Eucharistic adoration—that young people are spreading in the Diocese of Rome as a result of your work.554
Concluding this section with an excerpt from Luisa’s writings, we see Jesus telling her, too, of the centrality of the Eucharist:
And when I find a heart that keeps Me company [in the Blessed Sacrament], I place My Life in communication with her, leaving her the deposit of My Virtues, the fruit of My Sacrifices, the participation of My Life, and I chose her for My Residence, for the hiding place of My Pains, and as a place of My Refuge. And I feel as though reciprocated for the Sacrifice of My Eucharistic Life, because I find one who breaks My loneliness for Me, who dries My tears, who gives Me the freedom of letting Me pour out My Love and My Sorrows. It is they who serve Me as Living Species, not like the Sacramental Species that gives Me nothing, that only hides Me, the rest I do by Myself, all alone, they do not tell Me a word that breaks My loneliness; they are mute Species.
On the other hand, in souls who use Me as Living Species, our Life develops together, we beat with one single heartbeat, and if I see her disposed, I communicate to her My Pains and I continue My Passion in her. I can say that from the Sacramental Species, I pass to the Living Species in order to continue My Life on earth, not alone, but together with her. You must know that pains are no longer in My Power, and I go asking for Love from these Living Species of souls, who make up for what is lacking to Me. Therefore, My daughter, when I find a heart who Loves Me and keeps Me company, giving Me the Freedom to do what I want, I arrive at Excesses, and I do not care about anything else, I give everything, so that the poor creature feels drowned by My Love and by My Graces, and then My Sacramental Life does not remain sterile anymore when It descends into hearts, no, It reproduces Me, Bilocating and continuing My Life in her. And these are My Conquerors who administer their life to this poor indigent Man of Sufferings, and they say to Me: ‘My Love, you had Your turn at sufferings, and it is ended, now it is my turn, therefore let me make up for You and suffer in Your place.’ And O! how Content I am! My Sacramental Life remains at Its place of Honor, because It reproduces other Lives of Itself in creatures. Therefore, I want you always together with Me, so that We Live together, and you take to heart My Life, and I yours.555
Here we see clearly, in Jesus own words, that He will proceed from “Sacramental Species” (that is, the Blessed Sacrament, in which His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity exist in substance under the accidents of Bread) into “Living Species” (that is, a soul who lives in the Divine Will).
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18) Ask for the Gift

The next step is simple. Ask God for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Have we perhaps forgotten that God hears each thing we say, every moment of every day? No special strategies are needed to “reach Him.” He is right next to you. Ask Him for what you desire. Jesus tells Luisa:
How many Gifts do We want to give! But because they are not asked for, We retain Them within Ourselves, waiting to give Them when they are asked for. By asking, it is as if commerce were opened between Creator and creature. If one does not ask, the commerce is closed, and Our Celestial Gifts do not descend in order to put themselves in circulation on the face of the earth.556
Every day we must explicitly ask God for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. This request should at least be made upon rising, along with your usual morning prayers. In Luisa’s writings, this is referred to as the “Prevenient Act.”557 With this short prayer, we make a morning offering in the Divine Will, where we state our intention to live and act only in His will, and likewise firmly affix our purpose on the same. There are many ways to do this, and you may feel free to search online for one that best suits your preferences. Here is one that I like to use:
Good morning, Blessed Mother, I love you. Come, help me to offer my first act of the day as an act of love in the Divine Will of God.
Most Holy Trinity, setting my will in Yours, I affirm I want only to live and act in Your Will, and I set all of my acts of the day in order in You. O Jesus, through, with, and in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I consecrate and give my will to You in exchange for Your Divine Will. I truly want Your Divine Will to generate Its Divine Life in me this day—to think in all my thoughts, to speak in all my words, and operate in all my actions for the glory of our Heavenly Father and to fulfill the purpose of Creation. Abandoned in Your arms, my Jesus, I invite all the angels and saints, especially Mary Most Holy, to join in all the Divine Will does in me today, and I am confident that You will not fail to give me the grace to be always faithful and attentive to Your action within me so that my own will dare not interfere with Your freedom to form Your Real Life in me. O my Jesus, I love You with Your own Will and thank You profoundly for the knowledge and Gift of the Divine Will.
Saint Joseph, be my protector, the guardian of my heart, and keep the keys of my will in your hands. Keep my heart jealously, and never give it to me again, that I may be sure of never leaving the Will of God.
My Guardian angel, guard me; defend me; help me in everything so that I may be an instrument to draw all people into the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Amen.
After the “Prevenient act” above come the “present acts” throughout the day. As the “righteous man falls seven times”558 so we, until we are very advanced in the Divine Will, likely will not succeed at remaining perfectly and continuously anchored in it.559 Because of this fluctuation, we must reaffirm our desire to enter into the Divine Will continuously throughout the day; and we do this through our “present acts,” which are just spontaneous prayers which we should offer up regularly. How exactly this is done is not important; but you can feel free to use pieces of your Prevenient act, or words of your choosing, or any other prayer.
While the Gift is indeed a “new” sanctity, these methods here listed do not constitute new spiritualities. In the New Catholic Encyclopedia, we read:
Purity of intention is aided by joining it with acts of conformity to God’s will. To say often ‘‘Thy will be done’’ in union with the good intention helps one to act from a more pure love (ibid. 604). Pope John XXIII granted a plenary indulgence to be gained once each day under the usual conditions by the faithful who in the morning offer to God their labor of the whole day, whether intellectual or manual, using any formula of prayer, and a partial indulgence of 500 days as often as with contrite heart they offer the work at hand, using any formula of prayer [Acta Apostolicae Sedis 53 (1961) 827].560
Indeed, something so simple as a repetition of the fundamental petition of the Our Father prayer does, in these days in which God has deigned to give the Gift, constitute a request for the Gift. Let this prayer, then, be your Mantra:

“Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done.”
In Marian Consecration
Spoken of in the previous section of this book wherein we examined the Gift’s foreshadowings, we consider this again now because by totally consecrating ourselves to Mary, we are more or less explicitly asking for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Therefore, I heartily recommend that all children of the Divine Will—all followers of Luisa—consecrate themselves to Mary.
Total Consecration as taught by St. Louis de Montfort as well as St. Maximilian Kolbe is an especially powerful means to renounce the self-will and open oneself to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. For by way of this devotion as given to us by these saints, we give all that we have—not merely physical and temporal, but even all of our intentions and all of our good works—to our Heavenly Mother. She, like her Divine Son, is never outdone in generosity, and she will exchange our meager merits with her own perfect merits, and clothe us with her own splendor.
We must remember that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mediatrix of All Grace, and that the Gift of Living in the Divine Will is a grace! Therefore, if we desire this gift, we should consecrate ourselves to Mary, from whom we will receive it, and ask her for it. Those well versed in St. Louis’ True Devotion will find Living in the Divine Will the logical extension of what is promised therein; for indeed, St. Louis rightly tells us that when we consecrate ourselves to Our Lady, she gives us her own virtues and merits. Now, few have any trouble realizing that her virtues and merits are precisely those described as proceeding from the Divine Will, and therefore it follows that we ourselves must also be given the grace of living and acting in the Divine Will, if Our Lady is to be fully true to her promise as St. Louis describes it (which she of, course, will be):
Once this good Mother has received our complete offering … She clothes us in the clean, new, precious and fragrant garments of [her Son Jesus Christ] … she is the treasurer and universal dispenser of the merits and virtues of Jesus her Son. She gives and distributes them to whom she pleases, when she pleases, as she pleases, and as much as she pleases … She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments and adornments by adding to them the garments of her own wardrobe of merits and virtues. … Thus all her domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with double garments, her own and those of her Son.561
In Putting It to Use as a Divine Will Missionary of Mercy
I would like to suggest another way you may ask for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will: as a means to the end of spreading God’s grace to others. Consider how readily God dispenses grace to those whom He sees will put it at the service of others. When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, she arose to wait on them.562 When He “called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority,”563 He did so immediately before sending them out, and in order to grant their ministry success. When He “breathed on them”564 (and in so doing gave them the Holy Spirit), it was in order to allow them to forgive the sins of others.
This is the approach of the apostolate mentioned previously, the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy565—to take the grace received through the Eucharist at Mass out on to the streets, by way of the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. Before setting out, the following prayer is said after Mass. I believe it is a powerful means of asking God for the Gift.
Most Holy Trinity, You Who now dwell inside my body in all of Your Divinity, I come before you and say Fiat Voluntas Tua. I renounce my self-will, and instead desire to do and live in only Your Will.
I ask You to miraculously preserve the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist within me, so that You may make of me a living Monstrance, that my walk today may be a true Procession through this city’s streets. Make of me a living Host, that all who see me truly gaze upon Your face.
Let the Transubstantiation of the Host within me effect the Transconsecration of my very self, that I may receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, so that Jesus may walk in my walking, speak in my speaking, pray in my praying, and indeed substitute His Divine and Eternal operations for all of my acts, and through me re-do all of the acts of Creation, past, present, and future—in the Will of God, offering them back to the Father with the seal of my Fiat, which I pray may become an echo of Jesus and Mary’s perfect Fiat.
Dear Jesus, let all of my sufferings console Your Sacred Heart, atone for my sins and those of the whole world, and be perfectly united with Yours in Your Passion.
Let all who see me that lack Faith be as Longinus, and acknowledge You are the Son of God. Let all who see me that lack works be as Dismas, and receive the grace of perfect contrition, hope, and trust. Let all who see me that live in sin be as Magdalene, and amend their ways. Let all who see me that suffer from wounds of spirit be healed of them, and in place of any darkness or despair, be filled with peace and joy, as You preached the good news to the poor. Let all who see the image of Your Mercy that I wear venerate it and therefore receive the promise You entrusted to Faustina, so they may not perish. Let all who see the weapon of Your Mother that I carry receive grace through her intercession, that she may crush the head of the serpent in their lives.
Do not restrict these graces to only those few who see me, but let them be extended to all the friends and family of these, and continue in this manner until they reach the furthest ends of Earth, Heaven, and Purgatory; past, present, and future.
And if, Dear Lord, You see fit to bless this work with success, to Your Name give all the glory, for You alone are good, and I am an unworthy servant.
As I depart from this Church, do not depart from me, Lord. Let my adoration remain unbroken, fixated upon Your Eucharistic Presence within me. I firmly trust and believe that You can do all of these things, for I ask in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Whether or not you feel called to be a Divine Will Missionary of Mercy, you can still strive to approach all of your endeavors with this demeanor and this intention, and you can modify the above prayer however you so like, in order to apply it to whatever endeavors you will be engaged in after Mass.
More suggestions can be found on the apostolate’s website, but I conclude our treatment here with a final encouragement. Now that you have at least read this Divine Will Missionary of Mercy prayer once, you can from now on—whenever you are walking or driving anywhere; or doing anything at all that will involve many people seeing you—invoke it. That is, you can simply make an Act of Spiritual Communion (below, from St. Alphonsus Liguori) if you have not just literally received Communion, and then, before beginning your Rosary, Chaplet, or whatever other prayer you will be saying, simply invoke the petitions in the prayer above by saying “In the Divine Will, I pray for all of the intentions in the Divine Will Missionary of Mercy prayer applied to this ___drive, walk, errand, etc.___”and then proceed to recite your ordinary prayers as usual.
My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee.
In Your Current Spiritual Regimen
While we should take concrete and new measures to live in the Divine Will, we also must not ever neglect how God has hitherto worked in our spiritual lives; for God’s Will is not to supplant and replace the spiritual life we have thus far developed as devout Catholics.
Keep on doing what you are doing, for God desires this of you. Therefore, a key to asking for the Gift will be learning how to integrate it into your current spiritual regimen. Here are just a few thoughts in that regard:
* Strive vigorously to ensure that your first act of the will each day is made captive for Christ; that is to say, an act in the Divine Will. Do not lament the buzzing of the alarm, and do not immediately engage your mind in the worries the day will bring. Rather, say—out loud or mentally—words to this effect: “Good morning Jesus and Mary; I love you. Thank you for this new day. Setting my will in Yours, O Lord, I affirm I wish only to Live and Act in the Divine Will.”
* Before each ordinary prayer of your day (whether it be the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Divine Office, the Holy Mass, Lectio Divina, or whatever else) at least let your intention be known to God that you desire to pray in the Divine Will. For example, your Rosary could begin with “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. In the Divine Will, I pray: I believe in God…”
* In the Communion line as you walk up to receive Jesus, offer Him the following prayer: “Lord, remove my self-will and give me Thine in return, that You may receive Yourself in me, and receive perfect and infinite consolation.”
* In the minutes after you receive Holy Communion, beseech Jesus in the Eucharist within you to make the Transubstantiation of the Host you consumed effect the Transconsecration of your very self. Meditate upon the substance inside you—the Real Presence of Jesus—transforming you into Himself, with the accidents of bread and wine, which dissolve, being taken over by your own acts made in the Divine Will.
* Wear or carry a crucifix to help you remain continually conscious of and uniting yourself to the Passion of Jesus, remembering especially Jesus’ words in The Hours of the Passion.
* When you behold the beauty of creation (whether out your window, in a park, at a cemetery, on a walk outside, in the night sky, or even just remotely in media), strive not to merely appreciate it, but to (through your intention) bi-locate your soul within it and impress your Fiat—your I love you, I adore you, I glorify you, God—upon it and offer it back to the Father from Whom it came.
* Do not neglect the devotions God has asked of us through other private revelations. The Rosary, The Brown Scapular, the First Saturdays (and most importantly the at-least-monthly confession this implies) and First Fridays Devotion, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, weekly fasting, the Miraculous Medal, daily prayerful Scripture reading, etc.—all remain vital for our present day. Far from eclipsing these devotions, Luisa’s revelations on the Divine Will only increase their importance.
Ask Again
But what if you leave the Divine Will once in it? Is all then lost for you—have you just succumbed to a fate similar to that of Adam’s?
Absolutely not. God never tires of forgiving—we tire of asking for the forgiveness. Similarly, God never tires of giving us His Will again, even if we have left it many times. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, all the good of the creature is tied to my Divine Will. If she unties herself from It, all her goods are ended. You must know that every single time she does her human will, she gambles away the Divine with all Its goods; hence, she loses all that is beautiful, all that is holy and good. This is an incalculable loss. The poor creature is thrown into the most squalid misery; she loses the rights to all goods, and she is invested by such unhappiness that gives her no peace; and even if it seems that she has something good, it is apparent, and it ends up torturing her completely. On the other hand, each time she decides with total firmness to do my Divine Will, she gambles away the human will, the miseries, the passions; she loses all evils, the miserable rags, the filthy clothes that the human will had formed for her. What a happy loss! To lose evils and miseries is glory, it is victory, it is honor. But to lose the goods is cowardice and dishonor. See then: if the creature wants it, she can recover from the great loss of my Will that she suffered by doing her own; more so, since she will have the help of Our Power, of Our Love and of Our Will Itself. By acquiring again the rights to all goods, all will defend her in order for her to recover from the lost game.566
You must never allow discouragement or anxiety to enter into your heart in your quest to live in the Divine Will. As you will see in a forthcoming section, discouragement is always a tactic of the devil who is incessantly striving to make us forget the infinite mercy of our loving Father. In fact, when we begin to falter, Jesus only steps up the graces, and we can always count on Him to so respond to our times of need:
I do not break the life [of the Divine Will in the soul] because of involuntary indisposition or weakness, but I continue it; and it may be that in those very indispositions there is also my Will, allowing those weaknesses, therefore the will of the creature is already flowing within Mine. Besides, amid everything I look at the agreement made together—the firm decision that was taken—against which there has been no other contrary decision, and in the light of this I continue my commitment of making up for anything she may lack. Even more, I double the graces, I surround her with new love, with new loving stratagems, to render her more attentive; and I kindle in her heart an extreme need to live in my Will. This need serves in a way that, as soon as she feels the weaknesses, she flings herself into the arms of my Will, and begs It to hold her so tight, that she may always live together with It.567
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19) Do All of Your Acts in the Divine Will

Just as important as asking for the Gift, we should always ask Jesus to do with us, through us, and in us whatever we are doing at the moment. This is God’s plan with the Gift; not that it be passively enjoyed, but that it be used to become the principle of all our acts—which, previously merely human, now become divinized.
This first serves as a continual examination of conscience throughout the day; for Jesus cannot sin, and therefore whatever you do that is sinful cannot possibly be done in the Divine Will. The “practice of the presence of God” is a great way of understanding this reality. Doing your acts in the Divine Will also bears a great resemblance to, and serves as a beautiful development of, the sanctification of the ordinary, as taught in the “Little Way” of St. Thérèse of Lisieux as well as the spirituality of St. Josemaría Escrivá and Opus Dei.
But we should not let our consideration of Jesus acting in us stop at simply asking, “is this sinful? If so, I better not do it, since Jesus then could not do it in me.” Let this consideration instead permeate even those behaviors which may have been hitherto subtly dismissed as irrelevant to the spiritual life; for truly, nothing is irrelevant to the spiritual life. We should apply it to posture, tone, comportment, dress, conversations, recreation, demeanor, attitude—everything. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”568 More on this point will be considered in the “Demeanor” section in the virtues chapter of this book.
To develop this way of life, we must consider practical ways of turning the ordinary acts of our day into prayer. Jesus asks us to pray constantly, as St. Paul instructs, in order to live in the Divine Will. Jesus tells Luisa:
What I ask of you is a spirit of continuous prayer. The continuous effort of the soul to converse with Me—with its heart or with its mind, with its mouth or with a simple intention—renders it so beautiful in My sight that the notes of its heart harmonize with the notes of My heart. I feel so drawn to converse with this soul that I manifest to it not only the operation ad extra of My humanity, but I keep manifesting to it something of the operation ad intra, which My divinity accomplished in My humanity.569
So, ask yourself: what is your mind usually doing? Is it reciting a worldly song that is stuck in your head, strategizing about finances, or pondering the To-Do list? Is it indulging in the anticipation of some upcoming physical enjoyment (e.g. the next meal, the next social gathering, getting home from work, going to bed); or is plotting out the next career move, worrying about loved ones, etc.?
We must say “no” to such thoughts constantly invading our minds and hearts. Instead of letting these thoughts invade our minds we must, rather, implement practical ways of ensuring that we are constantly in a state of recollection, peace, and prayer. Keeping good company is a first and obvious step. Turning off the worldly vanity is essential as well. In all things, say “Jesus, I trust in You. Thy Will be Done.” Whenever you find yourself with a free moment, start praying a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Constantly ponder (with great joy!) the Truths of our Faith as you slowly recite the Creed, dwelling on and relishing each statement. Try praying the Divine Office—you will find that the Psalms are always on your lips and in your mind throughout the day as a result. Simply converse with God continually, speaking to Him each moment about anything whatsoever. Strive to slip into contemplation and meditation frequently. These are just a few suggestions; you must find your own ways to ensure that you are truly in a state of continual prayer, for it is an essential disposition to receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, to grow in the Gift, and to perform all of your acts truly in the Divine Will.
With respect to continuous prayer, we must also ensure that we truly give thanks to God in all things. Scripture insists upon this: “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”570
First, you can try to do a better job of offering up (perhaps for the salvation of souls and the deliverance of the holy souls in purgatory) every single suffering, irritation, and dislike you experience throughout the day. Do so without making any excuses or exceptions, and with the gratitude of being given the opportunity to exercise that one ability of ours which, again, the angels envy us for: our potential to suffer for Christ. God loves a cheerful giver. Do a better job of giving thanks to God not only for every good thing that happens to you, but also every bad thing, in so far as it is a means to grow and is part of His permissive, perfect Will. Make these things into such habits that they become second nature, and each night before bed examine your conscience and ask yourself if you have achieved them throughout the preceding day.
***
With the Gift, Jesus is inviting us to have the operation within His very own Self always be our primary endeavor. He is inviting us to have it always be our very reason for doing everything that we do. Once we are praying continually in all that we do, this even greater dignity can be ours as well.
Jesus tells Luisa that He re-did each of our lives during His thirty years of hidden life on earth; this “re-done” version of our life, in the Divine Will, remains suspended in God, awaiting our entrance into the Divine Will to claim these acts for our own by doing all that we do truly in His Will. Fr. Iannuzzi explains:
Because Adam’s withdrawal from the Divine Will interrupted within his humanity and that of other humans the formation of God’s aforesaid kingdom, Jesus assumed a humanity like that of Adam and, within himself, enclosed a kingdom for each creature. This kingdom was made up of all the divine acts that all humans were to have accomplished if Adam had not sinned. These divine acts were formed within Jesus’ humanity, whose human will took possession of the Divine Will and vice-versa… For Jesus’ divine acts were ordered to the divinization of human nature and to empowering souls to accomplish the same divine acts that he accomplished. Indeed, from the time of man’s creation, the divine acts that God had prepared for all souls, and that await their actualization, were already present to the Son of God and their number established.571
When we perform these acts in the Divine Will, we form suns that, though small in themselves, nevertheless invest all creation with the light and heat of their splendor; just as the sun, which appears small in relation to the sky it inhabits, gives life to all the earth.
These suns are formed by Jesus truly doing in us whatever “we” are doing. Therefore, as many times as you can remember throughout the day, in whatever you find yourself doing, simply ask Jesus to do it in, with, and through you, to accomplish in you what He accomplished in the thirty years of His hidden life in Nazareth. Ask yourself, “would Jesus do what I am doing, in the manner I am doing it?” If not—change what you are doing! Perhaps at this moment you can simply choose one specific activity you frequently do: whether changing diapers, hammering in nails, scanning items at a cash register, doing the dishes, or whatever else, and commit to do it from now on in the Divine Will. This can be done by saying or thinking, before said activity, “Jesus wishes to do ____, therefore we will do ____ together,” and proceeding with deliberateness and a spirit of prayer, recollection, and consciousness of God’s presence.572 The more acts you do in the Divine Will, the deeper into It you enter and the more you restore creation.
Jesus explains to Luisa:
My daughter, in order to forget herself, the soul should make it in such a way that everything she does, and which is necessary to her, she does as if I Myself wanted to do it in her. If she prays, she should say: ‘It is Jesus who wants to pray’; and I pray together with her. If she has to work: ‘It is Jesus who wants to work’. ‘It is Jesus who wants to walk; it is Jesus who wants to take food, who wants to sleep, who wants to get up, who wants to enjoy Himself … ’, and so with all the other things of life. Only in this way can the soul forget herself, because she will do everything, not only because I want it, but because I Myself want to do it—it is necessary precisely to Me.”
Now, one day I was working and I thought to myself: ‘How can it be that, while I am working, it is Jesus who works in me and He Himself wants to do this work?’ And Jesus: “I Myself—and my fingers, which are in yours, are working. My daughter, when I was on earth, did my hands not lower themselves to work the wood, to hammer the nails, and to help my foster father Joseph? While I was doing that, with those very hands, with those fingers, I created souls and called other souls back to the next life; I divinized all human actions; I sanctified them, giving a divine merit to each one of them. In the movements of my fingers I called in sequence all the movements of your fingers and those of others; and if I saw that they were doing them for Me, or because I wanted to do them within them, I continued my life of Nazareth in them, and I felt as though cheered by them for the sacrifices and the humiliations of my hidden life, giving them the merit of my very life.
Daughter, the hidden life that I conducted in Nazareth is not taken into consideration by men, when in fact, after my Passion, I could not have done a greater good for them. By lowering Myself to all those acts, little and lowly—those acts which men do in their daily lives, such as eating, sleeping, drinking, working, starting the fire, sweeping, etc.—all acts which no one can do without—I made a divine little coin of incalculable value flow in their hands. So, if my Passion redeemed them, my hidden life provided each human action, even the most insignificant one, with divine merit and with infinite value.573
As glorious as this reality is of Jesus operating within your acts—and, perhaps, as abstract as it might sound to some—the Gift of Living in the Divine Will does make it possible. As we have discussed, the Gift consists in the Will of God becoming the life principle of your soul just as your soul even now is the life principle of your body.
When, for example, a man is building a chair and fastening the bolts together, he could honestly say “my hands did that,” but it would be better for him to say, “I did that.” For when multiple powers concur in a single act, the greater receives more recognition. While the soul of man is designed to enliven the flesh and command its acts, the Will of God can do much more: it can become the life of the acts of another free will that is distinct from Itself. Although a great mystery, it becomes a reality through the Gift, so that just as the soul truly does what the body it gives life to does, the Divine Will does what the soul living in it does.
Recall that our model for doing our acts in the Divine Will is none other than Jesus Himself. How often do we pause to consider that the Gospel which speaks so beautifully of Our Lord only really details the final 3 years of his 33-year life on earth? Not often enough! And yet, He could have easily simply come to earth miraculously as a fully grown man and achieved all He needed to very quickly. But instead, He spent decades doing what we all must do—working. And this was not in vain (for what a blasphemy it would be to attribute vanity to God Incarnate!). Jesus reveals to Luisa:
If I walked, I had the virtue of being able to go from one city to another without making use of My steps, but I wanted to walk in order to place My Love in every step so that in every step it would run… if I worked with St. Joseph in order to procure the necessities of life, it was Love that ran. They were Conquests and Triumphs that I made, because one Fiat was enough for Me to have everything at My Disposal. And making use of My Hands for a little profit, the Heavens were amazed; the Angels remained enraptured and mute in seeing Me abase Myself to the humblest actions of life. But My Love had its outlet, it filled, overflowed, in My Acts, and I was always the Divine Conqueror and Triumpher… Taking food was not necessary for Me, but I took it in order to make Love run more and to make New Conquests and Triumphs. In fact I gave course to the most humble and base things of life that were not necessary for Me, but I did in order to form as many distinct ways in order to let My Love run, and to form New Conquests and Triumphs over My Humanity in order to make a Gift of them to those I Loved so much…574
In all these acts, we should have the intention of fusing ourselves to God’s Will. As we have seen, Jesus is the one Who completed these acts in the Divine Will for us during His own earthly life, and in fusing ourselves with His Will, we make possible claiming these acts as our own. Jesus tells Luisa:
My daughter, fusing yourself in my Will is the most solemn, the greatest, the most important act of your whole life. To fuse yourself in my Will is to enter the sphere of eternity, to embrace It, to kiss It, and to receive the deposit of the goods which the Eternal Will contains.575
Various Helps
There are many more helps for achieving this. I will give just a few more suggestions in list form:
* Try to be more deliberate (less sloppy) even in your physical comportment. Think, for example, about the last time you looked up at the Communion line in front of you. Most people will be waddling back and forth like ducks. It is, of course, not that such a method of walking is required (human anatomy is not of a “waddling” sort); it’s simply that this is what we fall into in sloppiness if we do not think about what we are doing. Fidgeting, slouching in chairs or sitting in absurd postures, incessant shaking of the leg, dragging feet or stomping like elephants whenever walking, clumsiness, speaking sloppily without any concern for enunciation, and various nervous ticks can at times also be symptoms of a comportment which lacks deliberateness. (Of course, deliberateness can become excessive, at which point it is merely a self-defeating distraction from the very thing it should be oriented toward, so clearly a happy medium of naturalness is needed here.)
* If you are easily startled, try to work on that. You aren’t a wild animal living in the jungle, therefore there is no need for you to be so prone to severely reacting to external stimuli such as sudden noises, items dropping, doors opening, etc. This growth of course is not something that can happen overnight, but the calming of your nerves is a skill you can develop over time.
* As will be discussed in greater depth in the Foundational Virtues section of this book, one should strive to develop a general demeanor of silence, prayer, and peace. Jesus cannot act in and through a demeanor radically at odds with His own—that is, a demeanor of giddiness, chattiness, worry, moodiness, and the like.
* As much as it is in your power, strive to ensure your surroundings are dignified and uncluttered. There is always sufficient grace available to overcome any external distractions when we are in an environment that is not up to us; but when we are in our own homes, rooms, offices, etc., God expects us to treat them with respect and with an approach that is in accord with our calling to live simple, dignified, prayerful lives.576
* Strive for greater peace in social situations. Instead of being ever anxious about what to say in them, simply cultivate an attitude wherein you do not fear some silence. For it is often the fear of silence which compels us to blurt out absurd things that never should have been said; and, obviously, such folly cannot be done in the Divine Will. Silence needn’t be awkward; and there is no shame in having a particular strategy for dealing with it. Perhaps in silent moments where you are not inspired with any edifying words, you could make a habit of simply reaching into your pocket, thumbing your Rosary beads, and offering some silent prayers. To be sure, you should develop your own methods—but if you do not come up with some strategies, then you will likely just succumb to doing what most people do: blurting out pointless comments about the weather, or some sports team, or perhaps harmful gossip, every time there is a second or two of a lull in a conversation. The peace which must permeate all of our conduct can also be greatly aided by our remembering that God has a perfect plan for our life; and this does not merely concern itself with the grand scheme of things. No, rather, this perfect plan applies to each “minor” situation we find ourselves in.
* Try adding more formality to your days. When we schlep about in flip-flops and sweatpants for everything we do, only putting on more formal attire for those “big” events like weddings, we forget that life is not about the “big” events. Life is about each day; it is about the ordinary—doing the ordinary in the Divine Will. The modern world disdains formality precisely because it knows formality is so helpful in reminding us of how we ought to behave, and modernism would prefer us all acting like animals. Bear in mind that by “formality,” I do not mean ostentatiousness or obsession with appearance; these vices would be far worse than informality itself. A proper approach to formality need add little more than a few seconds to your morning routine: perhaps buttoning up an oxford shirt instead of merely slapping on a sweatshirt, or lacing up some more formal shoes instead of only slipping on flip-flops.
* We should also partake of wholesome enjoyments. Yes, Jesus wants to enjoy Himself in our enjoyment! It is of course important that we do not allow our lives to revolve around enjoying ourselves, but it is also important that we do not become miserable pseudo-ascetics. As a newly re-awakened Catholic, I remember subtly falling into some dualistic views; thinking that this life was nothing but a test for eternity, and all that matters is whether you pass that test. Although there is some merit in that mindset inasmuch as it is helpful to rid oneself of laxity and lukewarmness (which are worse and more widespread traps than rigorism and overzealousness), that is nevertheless not the incarnational view of life which Catholicism provides. Nor is it the view we need to adopt to live in the Divine Will. We ought to enjoy ourselves, so long as this enjoyment is put in its proper place by right reason—that is, after the pursuit of holiness and the undertaking of the duties of our state in life. Wholesome enjoyment energizes you for the more zealous undertaking of the pursuit of holiness, and whether it achieves that is largely how you can gauge whether any given activity is a wholesome enjoyment. Make small enjoyments part of the daily routine, and lengthier enjoyments part of the weekly routine. Focus on enjoyments that are free or inexpensive, easy to plan, and edifying. Perhaps you could take regular walks in places of quiet, natural beauty (cemeteries are excellent, underused opportunities for this—they are among the few places today not inundated with noise, advertisements, and ugly, artificial materials and lighting), or go on hikes in nearby mountains or trails (in such a manner and at such a pace that you are doing them in order to truly soak in the incredible beauty of the unsullied creation of God surrounding you—not in a rushed-through manner in order for you to brag about how many peaks you’ve climbed).
* Have something easily accessible on your person—an item which, merely touching, serves as a prayer (which is, of all the things we must do, the one that is most conducive to being an act in the Divine Will). How often the moment surprises us with a pressing need for prayer! There is usually not enough time to kneel down formally and pray a Rosary, and perhaps our surroundings make it so that we cannot even audibly pray anything. Needless to say, in such situations, pray mentally. But our prayer is greatly benefited if there is a physical accompaniment to it; embodied creatures that we are. Rosary beads in your pocket work very well. Perhaps you can wear a Marian consecration chain as a bracelet. Inside my wife’s and my wedding rings is engraved “To Jesus, through Mary,” that—along with the fact that it is a sign of our sacrament of Matrimony, blessed at our Nuptial Mass—helps me to feel I am truly praying simply by subtly touching it with my thumb. A crucifix or a scapular that can be easily grasped at any moment, or some holy medals (e.g. a Miraculous Medal and a St. Benedict medal) in your pocket can well serve this purpose.
Now, if you still find yourself confused as to what it means to do your acts in the Divine Will, do not fret. Above all else, simply strive to live in His Will; and the rest is essentially done. Jesus tells Luisa as much:
As soon as the creature will possess Our Volition, all her acts-small and great, human and spiritual-will be animated by My Will, so as to rise between Heaven and earth, investing and braiding together the sky, the sun, the stars and the whole Creation.577
Just like the sun, which animates everything with its light, but does not destroy or change things; rather, it places from its own and communicates the variety of colors, the diversity of sweetnesses, making them acquire a virtue and a beauty which they did not possess. So my Divine Will is—without destroying anything of what the creature does; on the contrary, It animates them with Its light, It embellishes them, and communicates to them Its Divine Power.578
Manual Labor
While explicitly holy endeavors are ideal materials to serve as acts done in the Divine Will, and indeed all (morally licit and willed by God) activities can, and should, be undertaken in the Divine Will, some are particularly noteworthy in how conducive they are to this great dignity. In my opinion, manual labor seems chief among them. The reason is clear: Jesus Himself spent the majority of His own earthly life doing just that.
Pope St. John Paul II pointed this out in the Papal Encyclical Laborem Exercens, writing “ … the one who, while being God, became like us in all things devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter’s bench.”
We must recall that labor is not a result of the Fall—only the suffering involved in it is—on the contrary, work would have still been one of the many joys of Original Holiness. Pope Leo XIII affirmed this, saying:
As regards bodily labor, even had man never fallen from the state of innocence, he would not have remained wholly idle; but that which would then have been his free choice and his delight became afterwards compulsory…579
And since manual labor has long been a big part of my own life, I would like to impart some personal advice on it. Contrary to what we are inclined to think, that you are working is usually more important than what you are working on or towards. Strive, therefore, to recognize this fact when you go about setting up your work day; optimize it more for quality of the experience than for the quantified results (while not neglecting whatever of the latter is necessary to ensure you are fulfilling well the duties of your state in life).
* Must you do much driving? There is nothing wrong with taking a route which, though a few miles longer, allows you to drive with greater peace and prayer; perhaps one with fewer billboards, less chaotic traffic, more beautiful scenery, etc.
* Do you have a task in front of you well suited to a noisy power tool? If you could achieve the same thing with a hand tool without sacrificing too much practicality, go for the latter. You needn’t always forsake the power tool, but at least some of the time perhaps you could: Instead of chop saws and circular saws, use a hand saw; instead of nail guns, use a hammer; instead of lawn mowers, use a manual mower; instead of snowblowers, use a shovel; instead of leaf blowers, use a rake; instead of power washers, use a brush and cloth.
* Go about your tasks with sufficient deliberateness that you can truly pray in them and during them, which in turn enables them to be done as acts in the Divine Will. This will at times mean a slightly slower pace than some would like. This is okay; set aside the time for it if at all possible, while of course not dragging your feet or neglecting your duties. Doing a task quickly is not necessarily at odds with doing it in the Divine Will; in fact, I can attest that it is precisely those times I am most conscious of the need to do my work in the Divine Will that I’ve found I have accomplished by far the most in the least amount of time.
Incidentally, reacquiring a respect for the dignity of manual labor is central to the general revival of society. The modern world snubs its nose at manual labor, demanding that each person acquire an advanced degree in order to be taken seriously, while supposing that we must zealously pursue technological advancement to finally rid the world of the “burden” of manual labor. These are lies from hell. For man is a working being; and in practice, those who disdain manual labor only wind up transferring labor away from manual work and towards something much less fulfilling—perhaps clicking away all day on a spreadsheet while sitting in a cubicle under buzzing tube-fluorescent lights. While those who are genuinely called to such a task will indeed be able to accomplish it in the Divine Will, most are not called to this as a way of life, and they will struggle to do these acts in the Divine Will. Reacquiring a love of manual labor—which involves a revival of genuine masculinity (especially in more men wanting to work with their hands) and femininity (especially in more women wanting to have children and raise them) is vital for the Restoration of All Things in Christ.
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20) Grow in Knowledge of the Truths
Luisa’s revelations span thousands of pages, and not one letter of them is in vain. But you will only come across a small percentage of them in this book. This deficiency, of course, means that you ought to dive into Luisa’s writings themselves and benefit from them directly. Such a task is essential not merely so that you can memorize facts in order to inform action; rather, the knowledge of the truths of the Divine Will that Jesus entrusts to Luisa is in and of itself a powerful means for Living in the Divine Will and hastening the Coming of the Kingdom.
Do you ever feel the burden of your human will is so great? Do you ever lament, with St. Faustina, “Oh, how everything drags man down to the earth”?580 Do you ever lament, with St. Paul “who will free me from this body of death?”581 The remedy to these ills is closer at hand than you may think: it is found in simply reading the truths that Jesus revels to Luisa. He told her, “each knowledge I manifest to you on My Divine Fiat is a blow that I give to the human will…”582
Your human will (self-will) is the cause of your misery. You have never had any actual problem transpire in your entire life that was not somehow a consequence of it. If, therefore, you wish to resolve any issue, the resolution will only be found in giving sufficient “blows” to the self-will that it bows to the Divine. This necessary task is ordinarily difficult but, as you can see, Jesus promises that merely acquiring these knowledges that He reveals to Luisa is itself—upon each successive acquisition—a blow to the human will! To pass up on these “free blows to the human will” would be folly, for this would be more lamentable than would be a man dying of an infection passing up on a simple cure.
Yes, in Heaven we will learn of these truths, anyway. But Jesus tells Luisa:
If you knew what difference will pass between those who bring My knowledges from the earth and those who will acquire them in Heaven … The first will have them as their own endowments and one will see in them the nature of the Divine Beauty, and will hear the same sounds of the joys and happinesses that their Creator makes one hear and forms. On the other hand, in the second, these will be neither their own nature nor their own endowments, but they will receive them as the effect of the communication of others, almost as the earth receives the effects of the sun, but does not possess the nature of the sun. Therefore, those who will possess all the knowledges will form the highest choir, and according to their knowledge, so will the different choirs be formed…However, all those who have acquired these knowledges, whether in full or in part, will have the noble title of children of My Kingdom…583
By reading thus far, you have already secured for yourself the “noble title of children of My Kingdom,” promised by Jesus in the last portion of the quote above (assuming, of course, you correspond to grace). But by delving more deeply into the truths themselves, Jesus promises that you will form the highest choirs in Heaven, according to the knowledge of the Divine Will which you have attained here on earth.
Indeed, work is needed to appropriate the grace contained in these truths. But not much is needed; rather, the grace is waiting behind an ever-so-thin veil, waiting to burst forth at the touch, but it will not do so without that touch, which requires human effort. We are not in Heaven yet, and until we arrive at our Celestial Fatherland, we will have to work to acquire anything of value. Jesus tells Luisa:
In sum, all things down here have the veil that covers them, to give to man the work and the will, the love to possess them and enjoy them. Now, My Truths surpass natural things by far, and they present themselves to the creature like noble queens, veiled, in the act of giving themselves to them. But they want their work; they want them to draw near them by the steps of their will, in order to know them, possess them and love them-necessary conditions in order to tear the veil that hides them. Once the veil is torn, with their light, of their own they make their way, giving themselves in possession to those who have searched for them … This is the reason for those who read the truths on My Divine Will and show that they do not comprehend what they read-even more, they are confused: because the true will of wanting to know them is lacking.584
If we had the faintest idea of just how valuable these truths on the Divine Will are, then we would all bury ourselves in them. Do not misunderstand: we wouldn’t neglect the duties of our state in life (Jesus insists to Luisa, strongly, upon meeting these well), or any of our current spiritual practices—daily Mass, daily Scripture reading, daily Rosary, etc. (Jesus tells Luisa that one ought to not neglect one’s practices!). We would, however, be zealous in learning more and more about the Divine Will as revealed to Luisa. Jesus tells Luisa:
See then, what it means to know one truth more, or one truth less—if all knew what great goods they miss, they would compete in order to acquire truths.585
We can see that Jesus gives to Luisa great promises for each new truth one learns regarding His Divine Will; promises so great that all of Heaven rejoices upon the entrance of a soul into it simply due to each piece of knowledge of this great Gift that soul brings along to paradise.
Remember that what you have read here is nothing but a very unworthy work written by a very unworthy author. It is a desperately inadequate overview of Luisa’s writings; hence my insistence that I only present an introduction (or, rather, an invitation) to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will. So please continue this good work you have begun of learning more and more of these most sublime truths of His Divine Will! Dive into her writings, seek out true experts, seek out Divine Will prayer groups, conferences, etc. I cannot encourage this enough!
But let us now consider more insights Jesus gives to Luisa about the power of the knowledges:
My daughter, don’t you know that these writings of Ours come from the depth of my Heart, and in them I make flow the tenderness of my Heart, to touch those who will read them, and the firmness of my divine speech, to strengthen them in the truths of my Will? In all the sayings, truths, examples, which I make you write on paper, I make flow the dignity of my celestial wisdom, in such a way that those who read them, or will read them, if they are in grace, will feel within themselves my tenderness, the firmness of my speech and the light of my wisdom, and, as though in between magnets, they will be drawn into the knowledge of my Will.586
In it the creature will no longer feel alone; between her and my Will there will be no more separation; whatever my Will does, she will do as well, operating together. Everything will be hers by right—Heaven, earth, and God Himself. See then, how noble, divine and precious will be the scope of these truths which I made you write on my Divine Will—to form Its day. And for some they will form the dawn; for others the beginning of the day; for some others the full daylight and, lastly, the full midday. These truths, according to one’s knowledge of them, will form the different categories of the souls who will live in my Will. One more knowledge, or one less, will make them ascend or remain in the different categories. Knowledge will be the hand to make them go up to superior categories; it will be the very life of the fullness of my Will in them. Therefore, I can say that with these truths I have formed the day for whoever wants to live in my Divine Will—a day of Heaven, greater than Creation Itself; not made of sun or stars, because each truth has the virtue of creating Our Life in the creature, and—oh! how this surpasses the whole of Creation! Hence, Our Love has surpassed everything in manifesting so many truths on my Divine Will. Our glory on the part of creatures will be full, because they will have Our Life in their power, to glorify Us and love Us.587
As we can see, each new knowledge we acquire of the Truths makes our acts more powerful. Are you confused about how to do all your acts in the Divine Will? Soak up more of the knowledges. Regarding this, Jesus tells Luisa:
Every time I speak to you about my Will and you acquire new cognitions and knowledges, your act in my Will has more value and you acquire more immense riches. It happens as to a man who possesses a gem, and knows that this gem has the value of a penny: he is rich one penny. Now, it happens that he shows his gem to a competent expert, who tells him that his gem has a value of five thousand lira. That man no longer possesses one penny, but he is rich five thousand lira. Now, after some time he has the opportunity to show his gem to another expert, even more competent, and this one assures him that his gem contains the value of one hundred thousand lira, and is ready to buy it if he wants to sell it. Now that man is rich one hundred thousand lira. According to his knowledge of the value of his gem, he becomes richer, and feels greater love and appreciation for the gem; he keeps it in custody more jealously, knowing that it is all his fortune, while before he held it as a trifle. Yet, the gem has not changed—as it was, so it is; he is the one who went through the change, by understanding the value that the gem contains. Now, the same happens with my Will, as well as with virtues. According to how the soul understands their value and acquires knowledge of them, she comes to acquire new values and new riches in her acts. So, the more you get to know about my Will, the more your act will acquire Its value. Oh! if you knew what seas of graces I open between you and Me every time I speak to you about the effects of my Will, you would die of joy, and would make feast, as if you had acquired new kingdoms to dominate.588
A true model of humility, Luisa nevertheless could not hide the power of these words (for that would be a false humility) which she received from Jesus. In a letter after the prohibition of her books, Luisa wrote:
Allow me, Father, to open my heart to you like a baby. Even the Heavens put themselves in mourning because of the prohibition of the books. The evil spirits of the earth and of hell make feast, because the Divine Will has such strength that even a single piece of knowledge of It, one word about It, or one action done with It, makes the spirits of darkness feel such torture as to feel their power paralyzed, and their torments in hell increased. Therefore, we should take to heart making this Kingdom of the Divine Will known, and living in It.
Although more will be included on this point in Part Three of this book, we should still note here that it is precisely these knowledges of the Divine Will that will both hasten and enable the Era of Peace. Jesus tells Luisa:
Here is, then, the necessity of the knowledges about It: if a good is not known, it is neither wanted nor loved. Therefore, the knowledges will be the messengers, the heralds, which will announce my Kingdom. My knowledges about my Fiat will take the attitude now of suns, now of thunders, now of bolts of light, now of mighty winds, which will call the attention of the learned and of the ignorant, of the good and also of the evil, falling into their hearts like lightnings, and knocking them down with irresistible strength, to make them rise again in the good of the knowledges acquired. They will form the true renewal of the world; they will assume all attitudes in order to attract and win the creatures, taking the attitude now of peacemakers, who want the kiss of the creatures to give them their own, so as to forget about all the past and remember only to love each other and make each other happy; now of warriors, sure of their victory, to render sure the conquest they want to make of those who come to know them; now of incessant prayers, which will cease to supplicate only when creatures, conquered by the knowledges of my Divine Will, will say: ‘You have won—we are now prey to your Kingdom’; now of king, dominating and inspiring love, such that they will lower their foreheads to let themselves be dominated. What will my Will not do?589
We will now conclude this chapter with perhaps the most profound point about the knowledges in general. It is indeed true that the glory of the saints in Heaven is fixed—their merit is stable and cannot be added to; nor can they experience sorrow due to any deficiency down here on earth. Nevertheless, their accidental glory (which is no trifle) may be contributed to even now, and they are anything but indifferent to what transpires on earth, even though their happiness is already perfect. Each knowledge we acquire of the Divine Will on earth creates a distinct beatitude in Heaven itself. Jesus tells Luisa:
Each truth contains within itself a distinct beatitude, happiness, joy and beauty; so, each additional truth you know brings beatitude, happiness, joy, beauty into yourself, with which you remain enriched. These are divine seeds that the soul receives, and by manifesting them to others, she communicates these seeds and enriches whomever receives them. Now, since the truths that one has known on earth are divine seeds which sprout with beatitudes, joy, etc. in Heaven, when the soul is in her Fatherland they will be electric wires of communication through which the Divinity will unleash from Its womb so many acts of beatitude for as many truths as she has known… One who does not have the seed, who has not known a truth while on earth, lacks the void in order to be able to receive these beatitudes… Now, the truths are the secretaries of my beatitudes, and if I do not manifest them to souls, they do not crack the secret which they contain. They swim within my Divinity, waiting for their turn to act as divine agents, and make Me known—how many more beatitudes I contain. And the longer they have remained hidden in my womb, the more uproariously and majestically they come out to inundate the creatures and manifest my glory. Do you think that all of Heaven is aware of all my goods? No, no! Oh! how much remains for It to enjoy, which It does not enjoy today. Each creature who enters into Heaven having known one more truth, unknown to others, will bring within herself the seed so as to have new contentments, new joys and new beauty unleashed from Me, of which that soul will be as though the cause and fount, while others will take part in them. The last day will not come if I do not find souls who are disposed, in order for Me to reveal all my truths, so that the Celestial Jerusalem may resound with my complete glory, and all the Blessed may take part in all my beatitudes—some as direct cause, for having known that truth, and some as indirect cause, through the one who has known it… I want to tell you which ones are the truths that glorify Me the most: they are those which regard my Will, primary cause with which I created man—that his will be one with his Creator … In fact, so that the soul may open the doors and render herself disposed to knowing the truths that my Will contains, the first thing is wanting to live of my Will, the second is wanting to know It, the third is to appreciate It.590
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21) Grow in the Foundational Virtues for the Gift

Having received the Gift of Living in the Divine Will thanks to our renunciation of the self-will, as well our desire for the Gift and our asking for It, it naturally follows that we should strive to do whatever it takes to remain anchored in this Gift, so as to grow more deeply into It and never lose It. This is achieved in part by growing in all the virtues; especially those most closely related to the Gift.
Now, the inclusion of this chapter is, admittedly, redundant: the foundational virtues for the Gift are quite simply what the great Catholic spiritual writers (above all, the saints and Doctors of the Church previously mentioned) have always taught. Nevertheless, I include this chapter because Jesus draws special attention to some virtues in particular, and has very powerful words pertaining to them which can educate and inspire us further.
(I would also like to note that the virtues I list here are presented—as with everything else in this book—as merely what I have personally found to be inspiring, predominant, etc. in my own reading of Luisa’s revelations. I repeat: I do not have Luisa’s revelations memorized and I do not even consider myself an expert in them. What I list may be incomplete and even missing very important things, and I do not wish my meager and unworthy efforts here to ever be referred to by anyone as any sort of definitive and comprehensive summary of Luisa’s revelations. Please, seek out better men than myself for that task and, above all, read Luisa’s writings for yourself.)
What will presently follow is a hefty list of virtues; perhaps some individuals might be discouraged at the mere sight of it. But I remind you again of what I have said many times: Christ’s burden is light. His yoke is easy. Living in the Divine Will is not difficult. Virtue, too, is not difficult, and Jesus reiterates this to Luisa, saying:
My daughter, they say that the path of virtue is difficult. False. It is difficult for one who does not move, because knowing neither the graces nor the consolations she would receive from God, nor the help for her to move, it seems difficult to her; and without moving she feels all the weight of the journey. But for one who moves, it is extremely easy, because the grace that inundates her fortifies her, the beauty of the virtues attracts her, the Divine Spouse of souls carries her cleaving to His arm, accompanying her along the journey. And the soul, instead of feeling the weight, the difficulty of moving, wants to hasten her way in order to reach, more quickly, the end of the path and of her very center.591
And haven’t we all found this to be true? When we sit down to merely think about a task, it seems tremendous, and too often we cower in our rooms trembling at the sheer thought of it. But when we ignore these thoughts and simply get to work, we find things proceeding much more smoothly than we would have imagined. This is not so much because our intellectual consideration of the challenges was factually wrong, but rather it was because in these considerations, we always lean too heavily on ourselves and underestimate God, Who is never outdone in generosity and Who always inundates us with His grace—making easy anything we need to do in order to carry out His Will.
Therefore, set out! Get to work! Engage in your mission. You know what it is. The grace to be virtuous will come in the midst of your faithful undertaking of the Will of God for your life.
In a word, as Jesus says: move! Do not even spend much time dwelling on these pages here. Feel free to simply refer to them when necessary.
Perfect Love
If you’ve read this book so far, you at least have some idea of the incredible magnitude of the Divine Will and its importance in our lives. So you may now be surprised to hear that Jesus also told Luisa the following:
My daughter, Love and Will of God are on par with each other, they never separate, and they form one single Life… if you do my Will, you will love, and if you love you place my Will in safety within you.592
My daughter, there is nothing that can surpass Love—neither doctrine nor dignity, and much less nobility… So, Love makes up for doctrine and surpasses it; It makes up for dignity and surpasses all dignities, providing one with divine dignity. It makes up for everything and surpasses everything.593
The most essential and necessary thing in a soul is charity. If there is no charity, it happens as to those families or kingdoms which have no rulers: everything is upset, the most beautiful things remain obscured, one can see no harmony…594
My Divine Will is light, love is heat. Light and heat are inseparable from each other, and form the same life…595
It is, therefore, quite true to say that it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of love. “God is love,”596 as Scripture teaches, and, as Jesus said in the Gospel, the whole law is summed up in loving God and neighbor.597 Needless to say, Luisa’s revelations do not change that: if anything, they simply draw even more attention to the centrality of these truths.
The first step in acquiring the love we must have to live in the Divine Will is to recognize that we lack it. These words of Jesus to Luisa will succeed in helping just about anyone in this first step:
My daughter, one who really loves Me never gets annoyed about anything, but tries to convert all things into love… The weight of any action, be it even an indifferent one, increases according to the dose of love it contains, because I do not look at the work, but at the intensity of love that the working contains. Therefore I want no annoyance in you, but always peace; because in annoyances, in disturbances, it is always the love of self that wants to come out to reign, or the enemy to do harm.598
And so we must strive more zealously to attain this love we now lack. Practically speaking, most people can probably most readily gauge their love by their relation to others; that is, by observing how this virtue plays out in those relations. Jesus gives Luisa the standard for this, too. He says:
My daughter, true charity is when, in doing good to his neighbor, one does it because he is my image. All the charity that goes out of this sphere cannot be called charity.599
Simple pity is not true love. Simple pity can be a good start; that is, letting our hearts break over the suffering of others—but it only becomes true charity when this love takes the form of a recognition that God is the Supreme Good and that He truly resides in all His children, and when we will their good we are indeed willing His good. Now, do not worry if you fear that your intention may not yet be fully purified to the extent that all the good you do for others is inspired by your recognition of the image of God in them. Do not let this concern you or in any way limit your deeds of love. Simply keep doing what you are doing—or, rather, step it up!—and keep trying to fix your intention into the proper place.
In this regard, we must recall that love is an act of the will—not an emotion. You cannot control how you feel, but you can control what you will. In Luisa’s writings, we see the following entry:
I was thinking to myself: ‘How miserable I am. I feel like I haven’t done anything for Jesus… I should be all on fire—and I’m not.’ But while I was thinking this, He came back, and scolding me sweetly, told me: “My daughter, what are you doing? Do you want to waste time? Don’t you know that all you should care about is to do my Will and know whether you are in It? … Your Jesus never looks at what the creature feels; many times feelings can deceive her. But rather, I look at her will and what she really wants—and that is what I take. How many things are felt, but one does not do them; on the other hand, if one wants something, all is done. Besides, in my Will nothing gets lost.”600
Here we see that Jesus is giving a teaching reiterated by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states:
Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed.601
Your feelings do not determine your love. Think of all the greatest saints of the modern era. Who, of them, seems to stand out in love? Doubtless, most would rightly respond “St. Mother Teresa.” And yet, upon the release of her diaries, we now know that she scarcely felt any love at all; that, rather, almost her whole life was one giant and extreme dark night of the soul. But that did not stop her. She simply kept doing good; she kept loving. And her love was never that of a mere activist or a merely compassionate soul who pitied others. No, Mother Teresa’s love was all about quenching the thirst of Jesus on the cross: His thirst for souls. Let us, like Mother Teresa, live our lives to lovingly quench the thirst of Jesus on the cross. And if you ever need strength to do this better, just do the Hours of the Passion (see the corresponding chapter in this book), and you will acquire that strength.
If we will charity in all our acts (which is indeed possible, since charity is the form of all virtues), then we have purity of intention. Without purity of intention, all works are utterly useless. Jesus tells Luisa:
My Person is surrounded by all the works that souls do, as by a garment; and the more purity of intention and intensity of love they have, the more splendor they give Me, and I will give them more glory; so much so, that on the Day of Judgment I will show them to the whole world, to let the whole world know how my children have honored Me, and how I honor them…My daughter, what will happen to so many works, even good, done without purity of intention, out of habit and self-interest? What shame will not fall upon them on the Day of Judgment, in seeing so many works, good in themselves, but made rotten by their intention, such that, their very actions, instead of rendering honor to them, as they would to many others, will give them shame? In fact, I do not look at the greatness of the works, but at the intention with which they are done. Here is all my attention.602
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Jesus tells Luisa that it is through love, and only through love, that we enter into the Infinite. He says:
We know that the creature has nothing to give Us, …Though she has nothing, she has her little love, unleashed by Our Own in the Act of Creating her, therefore she has a particle of the Infinite Love of God…603
Jesus also tells Luisa that our loving Him binds Him to love us:
My daughter, not loving one who loves Me is impossible for Me. Rather, I feel so drawn toward her, that at the littlest act of love she does for Me, I respond with triple love…604
Furthermore, loving God transforms us into Him. Jesus says:
My daughter, the other virtues, although high and sublime, always cause the creature to be distinguished from her Creator. Only love transforms the soul in God. But no one can give true love if love does not receive life and food by my Will. Therefore, it is my Will that, united with Love, forms the true transformation into Me… therefore, one can say that she is another Me… even her breath or the contact with the ground that she treads is precious and holy…605
Love is also our greatest glory in Heaven; not the great works. Jesus tells Luisa the following:
But who were the fortunate ones who cried out more loudly, who made this note, ‘Love’, resound in everything, and who brought great happiness into Heaven Itself? They were the ones who had loved the Lord more when they liv