Acts 4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.
Blessed Easter to all!
Scripture is a rose eternally unfolding. When I was choosing a scripture passage as a launching point for this article, I felt that more than anything, this passage referred to the spiritual goods of the members of the Mystical Body of Christ and how, in Christ, they are held in common for all to use for their good, the good of others, and the glory of God.
The Catechism explains in paragraphs 1474-1477:
“The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. ‘The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.’ [Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.]
In the communion of saints, ‘a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.’ [Ibid.] In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.
“We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church’s treasury, which is ‘not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the ‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.’ [Ibid.]
“’This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.’” [Ibid.]
This should, of course, give us great hope and joy as penitents and as souls who long for the coming of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
I was already in formation with the BSP when I first heard of Luisa Piccarreta and the Book of Heaven. I was strongly drawn to the deep spirituality of the Divine Will teachings (as you are no doubt aware!) and I wondered if I should exit formation and concentrate on the sublime truths as revealed by Jesus to Luisa.
I had previously discussed with my spiritual director the reason I was drawn to the BSP. In 1997 I had had a profound experience of the Lord in the Eucharist, after which I felt a deep call to increased prayer and fasting. I tried to do this on my own and, lacking direction, only failed and fumbled. Then one day I picked up a book that had been waiting patiently on my bookshelf—unread—for 15 years. It was called, “God’s Fool” by Julien Green, a biography of St. Francis of Assisi. I was so drawn to the saint’s simple holiness that I immediately did an internet search of Franciscan Third Orders. The first to come up was the BSP. When I read the Rule and Statutes of the BSP, I burst into tears. It was exactly what I had been feeling called to.
A few years later, as I discussed with my spiritual director how drawn I was to the Divine Will teachings, he wisely counselled me to complete my formation with the BSP.
This week, as I read the scripture passage above, I began to see in a new way the connectedness of the life of penance and all holy ways of life, how they have their origin in Jesus Christ, and how each of us has a duty and an obligation to contribute to the spiritual goods of the Body. And while the Divine Will teachings may be more sublime than even the Rule of 1221, the life of penance is more than likely one of the instruments God has used over the millennia to make it possible for the Divine Will teachings to take root and bear fruit. The prayers, penances, and holy acts have pulled the weeds, picked the rocks, spread the compost and tilled the soil, until finally it was ready for the seed to be sown through the humble Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta.
We are all doing our part for the good of all. Certainly, Luisa’s writings bring the “good of all” to a whole new level—from Adam to the last man! Jesus told Luisa that before the gift of the Divine Will, a person’s good actions were only effective in a certain time and place. But in the Divine Will, time and place are irrelevant, so that this gift makes all actions done in It—even ordinary actions—work for good in all times and places. Truly: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more!” (Rom 5:20)
Our God is unfathomable, incredible, amazing! May His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Fiat!