“Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)
Who in the Divine Will community was not shocked to learn of the passing of Fr. Robert Young OFM on November 5? So many of us relied on the clarity of his teachings on the Divine Will writings of Luisa Piccarreta. To the news of the passing of Fr. Robert to his eternal reward, a beautiful response was posted on a video tribute to Fr. Robert from his website https://divinewilllife.org/26106-2:
“It broke our hearts to lose you, but we know God chose to take you home, and although we don’t understand, we say, Fiat, my Lord!”
Fr. Robert’s expositions on the writings of Luisa were inspired. I can’t say that I have listened to even half of them, but I can say that the more I learn about the teachings of Luisa, the more in awe I am that such a profound grace is being made available to us today.
I gained some important insights through a ten-minute sample video on teachings Fr. Iannuzzi gave at a retreat talk in Texas in 2014 (https://vimeo.com/112207362), based on Vol 16 of the Book of Heaven, from August 20, 1923. (My own thoughts are interspersed here. Please see the video for his actual wording.)
The saints before Luisa were perfect in the virtues. Before now, (and even still) individual sanctities have been given for a certain period in human history, for a specific time and place only. Our beloved St. Francis of Assisi was filled with many of these sanctities. But while he was on earth, even he did not possess the gift of living in the Divine Will, as it was not yet available (except in our Mother who alone lived perfectly in It). The gift of the sanctity of living in the Divine Will is one that produces benefits for the people of all times and in all places. It is invisible and works in a hidden way on the interior of the soul, but is still the most fruitful of all the sanctities. As the sun enlightens all things while remaining speechless, so the soul, living in the Divine Will has effects in all times and places. Fr. Iannuzzi explained that a soul who is fully ordered in the Divine Will is greater than an army in battle.
It follows then that as one strives to learn about and live in the Divine Will, one’s actions become as “suns” generating light, heat, warmth, and fecundity over all creation. In the Divine Will, Christ himself is acting in our actions in all times and places. A penitent living in their own will accomplishes what they can, but only in the time and place in which they live and for whom they offer their sacrifices. This is good. Living in our own will, our sacrifices are like plants and flowers that grace the earth, but are only visible in that time and place. However, a penitent who lives in the Divine Will, and strives daily to grow in it, offers sacrifices that “generate suns” in all times and in all places with each act it accomplishes in the Divine Will.
Now if you’re thinking this “new and divine holiness” sounds far too sublime for the likes of us—be assured that it IS far too sublime. If we are uncomfortable with receiving a Gift that not even our beloved St. Francis had access to, he himself would likely echo the words of Moses in Numbers 11:29, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were (living in the Divine Will), and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” Fr. Iannuzzi said that the saints are overjoyed when we live the Divine Will on earth. This is not about us or our efforts, or what we deserve—it is about God and his unfathomable plan. Are we weak? God always uses the weak to shame the strong. Think of Gideon. God used the weakest man he could find, with only a few companions armed with clay pots, torches and trumpets to slay an army “as numerous as locusts”, crying out, “for the Lord and for Gideon!” (Judges 7)
Small, insignificant David slew the giant Goliath, proclaiming, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head…so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Sam 17:46-47)
If God will do this much to defeat Amalekites, Midianites, and Philistines, how much more will he do to defeat the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” who may indeed be more numerous than all the locusts of all time, and are infinitely more furious. St. Paul tells us, “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) Who are we then, to discount the weapons God is giving to the lowly? St. Paul tells us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:8-9) Then let us not despise even our most meagre effort done in the Divine Will. The blink of an eye accomplished in the Divine Will has repercussions in eternity!
St. Hannibal di Francia, Luisa’s censor, editor, and publisher, taught that the gift’s intended effect is to enable the virtues, but that we receive the gift even before we are displaying the virtues to the heroic degree expected. Indeed, with an upright intention and a firm desire for this grace we will begin to live in it, and may immediately participate in the ability to impact all times and places.
The above Scripture passage from the Fourth Sunday of Advent highlights Our Lady’s glorious “Fiat,” the fiat that caused the lowly maid to conquer the Almighty God and take her place as Queen of the Divine Will. The confluence of dates this year providentially has the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on the same date as Christmas Eve, which means that before the echo of Mary’s fiat has died in the church building on the morning of December 24, the First Reading for Christmas Eve Mass will be proclaimed:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:2,6,7)
After the Fiat, comes the triumph—the triumph of the Divine Will over the human will. Now is the time to imitate our lowly and exalted Queen, not to question God’s plan or those he has called to act as his broken instruments, but to say with her, in her, and through her Flame of Love, in the Divine Will: “FIAT! FIAT! FIAT! May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”