Ephesians 1:17-19 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
Dear friends, most often I end my article with an excerpt from my prayer journal, but this time I wish to begin with one:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
“Beloved child, be always littler. Recognize your abject lack, your total need. Not only are your pockets empty but you come into the world without pockets and you leave the same way. All is gift. All. You have no virtue, nothing to sustain you in any way outside of grace. Recognize your utter dependence on Providence. But go beyond this recognition and celebrate that you are a miserable beggar before your gracious Lord. My child, the beggars are the ones who receive the most because of their utter reliance on their beloved Lord. They never stop looking at him with a gaze of love and gratitude, for they cannot believe their good fortune in serving such a generous, kind Lord. Children, my heart cannot resist a beggar with love and gratitude in their eyes. The heavenly treasure is theirs!”
Well do we know that we are miserable beggars before the Lord, and if we do not know it, we need to internalize this as soon as possible. For it is in this poverty, this nothingness, that we gain “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.” Jesus himself, as well as countless saints, notably our beloved founder, Father Francis, St. Clare, and St. Therèse of Lisieux stressed the importance of littleness. In our time, it is taking on new meaning in the teachings of Luisa Piccarreta on the Divine Will.
As I pondered this prayer journal message and listened to some of Fr. Robert Young’s talks on Radio Maria, it occurred to me that the heavenly treasure referred to in this message is available to the lowly in a unique way through the gift of the Divine Will.
We have the special privilege at this year’s BSP Retreat to have Fr. Robert Young as retreat master. Fr. Robert will share with us the Gift of the Divine Will, as it was made known to a humble, Italian lay woman named Luisa Piccarreta. This “spirituality” is now becoming known throughout the world as the “easiest shortcut to holiness and happiness” the world has ever known and given to us in this Era of Mercy. Fr. Robert will explore how the Will of God is essentially tied to the Mercy of God and in a particular way through the devotion to Divine Mercy made known through St. Faustina Kowalska, a contemporary of Luisa. In this age of so much bad news, we will hear the Good News of the coming Reign of God’s Will within each of us and within the world. Fr. Robert promises: “Your life will never be the same, once you discover what it means to live IN the Will of God and to let it reign IN you.” (For a bio on Fr. Robert, please see the retreat poster mentioned above.)
Fr. Robert has been broadcasting a one-hour program on the Divine Will teachings of Luisa every Saturday morning on Radio Maria for several years, and I referenced the site last July. The podcasts are available in the radio archives here: http://www.divinewilltallahassee.com/radio-archives. I invite everyone who has not already done so to first of all listen to the Introduction to the Divine Will broadcast, which, in addition to offering information on the devotion and its beginnings, also has a fascinating testimony of how Fr. Robert came to understand the teachings and his call to spread them.
The more I learn about this call to “live” in the Divine Will, the more I understand how wonderful it is that we are miserable beggars before the Lord.
Today I listened (again) to episode #137 which is based on Volume 12 of Luisa’s writings, specifically those of March 23 and April 2, 1921. Jesus speaks to Luisa about the utter importance of her littleness, and how when he was choosing a soul who would be the messenger of the Divine Will on earth, he searched the whole earth and she was the littlest. If you listen to Episode #137, you will begin to understand the critical importance of this call and how living in the Divine Will (substantially different from “doing” the Divine Will) can transform, not just our lives, but the whole of humanity.
“My daughter, he who prays in My Will, loves, makes reparations, kisses Me, adores Me. I experience in it as if everyone would pray to Me, love Me, etc. because…involving everything and everyone in My Will, the soul gives Me the kiss, the love, adoration of everyone. And I, looking at everyone in It (the Divine Will acting in this person), give it so many kisses, as much love as I should give everyone….In My Will things cannot be done halfway but complete. And I cannot give little, but immense things to the soul…” (Volume 12, April 2, 1921)
So we can see how much there is to celebrate in our state of being miserable beggars. For the more completely we “die to self”, as we are encouraged to do in our rule, the more fit we will be to live in the Divine Will. Of course we know there is a cost to dying to self—with dying there is always loss. However, we learn through Luisa that the greater the cost, the more will be the perfection of the acquisition of the Divine Will. Therefore, we must not be afraid of disappointment or frustration, pain or sorrow, for all is designed by God to keep us little and dependent on Him. And as we give to God, in the Divine Will, our sufferings, our littleness, He returns to us so much more, for the effect of what we offer him in the Divine Will is not just for us. There is a universal effect for everyone, past, present, and future. Our acts in the Divine Will cover souls as with a blanket, and compel the Lord to act on those souls as if they, themselves, had done their acts in the Divine Will. It is an astounding grace. Do we have the audacity to accept it? He is begging us to!
The sublime teachings of the Volumes can seem too deep and mysterious; sometimes they seem simple, other times unattainable. But God would not offer this grace if it was unattainable, and indeed the littler we are, the more he will do all the work for us!
I cannot do justice to this immense 36-volume teaching in a brief article. I can only encourage you to listen to Father Robert on Radio Maria and to come to the retreat and hear him in person. Our world is greatly in need of this grace. Let us be the empty vessels that respond to God’s call to live only and always in his holy and adorable will.