When I first had a profound experience of the Lord in the Eucharist in 1997, it rocked me, and it rocked those around me as the fun-loving person they knew and loved suddenly became a “Jesus freak”. I wanted everyone to know Jesus like I knew him. To say that I was indelicate in my enthusiasm would be an understatement. It would be more accurate to use the words “annoying” and “pushy”. I now see that I was presenting a pretty poor image of Jesus! In the process, I damaged relationships, and eventually had to admit that what I was doing had the opposite effect than I had expected—it pushed them away from God not to him. Mea maxima culpa!
God tried to warn me. About the same time I had a dream where I had a shopping cart full of eggs in those open, flat cartons of three dozen. The cartons were stacked in the cart. In the dream I was trying to move the individual eggs but every time I tried, I put my thumb through them. I understood that the eggs represented souls, and that they are just that delicate and need to be treated gently. Touché!
I can’t say the change in me was immediate, but through confession, apologies, time, and above all prayer I came to the point of substituting overt evangelization of the resistant ones, with peaceful, trusting prayer for souls, which is infinitely more effective, especially in the Divine Will!
I know that every one of us has family members and friends who are away from the Church. As we anticipate events such as the Illumination of Conscience, chastisement, or even natural (or unnatural) death, we can panic and, like me, try to force conversion on others by bombarding them with writings, forcing prayers on them, even telling them they’re going to hell. We need to remember that God invites, he doesn’t compel. And he is patient.
To everything there is a season, a time to be silent, and a time to talk, but only when these resistent souls become open to it by grace, which only comes through prayer. Before that time, we risk pushing them farther away. We have to wait for the fruit to ripen; if we try to rush it we just end up with a sour taste in our mouths. Prayer alone is what ripens the fruit. Once the fruit is ripe, then we can have a deliciously meaningful conversation that won’t descend into an argument. Rarely are resistant souls “talked” into faith. Faith is a gift. Conversion is a gift. But that gift has a price.
What did Jesus do? During his three-year mission, he gained thousands of followers with his words and miracles. Yet, many of them later rejected him cruelly. Did he chase after them? No. He let them go because he respected their freedom—even to reject him. We must do the same.
That does NOT mean we give up. It just means we change tactics. Jesus later saved those souls by being obedient unto death, death on the Cross. We followers of Jesus participate in his mission most effectively through the cross, offering our prayers and sacrifices in the Divine will, in, with, through, and for him. Through the Gift of Living in the Divine Will we have the full, Divine power of the Cross at our disposal, a power we cannot begin to comprehend in this life.
If we want our people saved, we have to be willing to leave the low road of argument and enter into the Gift of Living in the Divine Will that God is offering us so we can pray “up high” for them and for ALL souls past, present and future. Do we only want to save a few souls or ALL souls? All? Then we must learn to pray from Luisa.
Jesus promised Luisa that he would give anyone who meditated on the Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion a soul for every WORD of the Passion they prayed! That is an astounding promise, but we can trust it completely. As we meditate on the Hours we begin to appreciate the infinite value of Our Lord’s sufferings. We realize that there is nothing we can do or say that will come close to their power. We realize the greatness of this Gift, and the privilege we have been given through no merit of our own, to save souls in a real way WITH Jesus.
Remember it is important to pray the Hours fused into Jesus or it becomes just another human devotion. Fusing makes it a Divine prayer—in God’s power not ours. We enter into our nothingness and “let him do” in us. Luisa’s prayers for “before” and “after” are the best way to do this.
But there’s more! In the Divine Will we can offer Jesus his own sufferings—as our own—along with the sufferings of Mary and Luisa who, in the Divine Will, suffered everything he suffered. We offer them to Jesus to repair for all the sins of those souls we are praying for, and for all souls of all time, to re-do all lives in the Divine Will, and to restore all acts in the Order of Grace, as Adam was before the Fall.
We need to learn to pray like Luisa. In the Seventh Hour of the Passion Luisa prays: “My Mama, I come to You (in the Divine Will in the name of all), because Jesus wants souls – He wants comfort. Therefore, give me your maternal hand, and let us go around together, throughout the whole world (in all times and places), searching for souls. Let us enclose in His Blood the affections, the desires, the thoughts, the works, the steps of all creatures, and let us throw the flames of His Heart into their souls, that they may surrender, and so, enclosed in His Blood and transformed within His flames, we will bring them around Jesus, to soothe the pains of His most bitter agony.“
My blog post titled, Apostles of the Scourging includes a link to an excerpted prayer from the Seventh Hour of the Passion. I have spread the prayer over seven days so it is not that long; on each day we pray with the Blood of Christ for a different category of soul. This prayer covers everyone. Fiat!
Remember, God loves our people more than we do. He has already paid the price for their souls and has given us the means to pour infinite graces upon them so that they will accept that grace. It is through the Gift of Living in the Divine Will that we enter into God’s work for souls. But it is God’s work, so we have to be detached from the results, which we may not see in our lifetime. We need to be patient, trusting completely that God will complete the good work he has begun in those souls. We pray, enter into our nothingness, and “let God do” in us—and in all souls through us. Fiat!
Here is another thing to consider. If we did not have specific souls to pray for, how motivated would we be to pray for all souls? God knows us very well. Let us not get bogged down with such problems that serve only to keep us in the “low world”, as Jesus calls earthly things. Instead, let us use them as a launching pad into the Divine Will for the good of all souls, past, present, and future.
A word of caution, beware of self-righteousness; it is a form of pride the devil reserves for good people. We need to ditch it! Until we learn to live in our nothingness, any successes we have could very well lead to pride. Every time we are tempted to try one more thing with someone we know is hardened against the Lord, we have to stop ourselves, do what Luisa did and pray, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” The tempter will flee at the words. Then we pray and offer sacrifice for that soul until the Lord gives us the all-clear to come in and evangelize with love and gentleness. Let us remain in our nothingness, which is our place of safety, trust in him, and be patient.
Here are two passages on pride from the Volumes. The parts in bold, I pray every day.
Volume 4, September 5, 1901
Jesus reveals to Luisa, “When you humble yourself and consider yourself unworthy of suffering… you repair for the sins of pride that are committed in the world.” To this (Luisa) replied, “‘Ah, Lord, for as many drops of Blood You shed, thorns You suffered and wounds You endured, I intend to give You as much glory as all creatures should have given You had the sin of pride not existed, and I beseech You for as many graces as there are souls for this sin [of pride] to be vanquished.’ While saying this, I saw that Jesus contained the whole world within Himself, like a machine containing objects within itself. All creatures moved within Him, and Jesus moved toward them, it seemed as if He were receiving the glory of my intention in such a way that souls were returning to Him in order to receive the good I had implored on their behalf. I remained astonished, and He, seeing my astonishment, said: ‘All this seems surprising, doesn’t it? What you have done seems trivial, and yet, it is not so. How much good would be done by repeating this intention, but is not.’ Having said this, He disappeared.” (L. Piccarreta, Book of Heaven, Volume 4, September 5, 1901)
Volume 3, Nov. 19, 1899
“My daughter, pride corrodes Grace. In the hearts of the proud there is nothing but a void all full of smoke, which produces blindness. Pride does nothing but render oneself an idol, and so the proud soul does not have her God with her. By sin, she has tried to destroy Him in her heart, and raising an altar within her heart, she places herself on it, and she adores herself.”
O, God, what an abominable monster this vice is! It seems to me that if the soul is Attentive not to let it enter into herself, she is free of all other vices; but if, to her misfortune, she lets herself be dominated by it, since it is a monstrous and wicked mother, it will deliver all of its naughty children for her, which are the other sins. Ah, Lord, keep it away from me! (L. Piccarreta, Book of Heaven, Volume 3, Nov. 19, 1899)
Once God has shown us our nothingness, he will lead us where we need to be in order to save souls with Him. We can trust that whatever God takes away (as long as it is good in itself) he means to give back to us in right relationship. And that’s worth waiting, working, and suffering for! Anything he takes away that is not good—good riddance!
The following passage can give us great comfort. Our Mother, Queen of the Divine Will is on our side. We can invoke her aid with confidence. To echo St. Padre Pio: “Pray, trust, and don’t worry.”
Volume 35, August 9, 1937
“If you knew how much this Celestial Queen Loves the souls. She, faithful copy of Her Creator, looks inside Herself and finds Her Seas of Love, Grace, Sanctity, Beauty and Light; then She looks at the creatures and wants to give all of Herself with all Her Seas, so that creatures may have their Mama with all Her Riches. Having to see Her children poor, while their Mother is so rich—and only because they do not Live in the Inheritance of their Mother… it is such a Pain… She would like to see them inside Her Seas of Love, Loving their Creator as She does, hidden inside Her Sanctity, embellished by Her Beauty, filled with Her Grace. But not seeing them there—if She wasn’t in the state of Glory, in which pains cannot have place—She would die of pure Pain for each creature who does not Live in the Divine Will. Therefore, She prays unceasingly. She places all Her Seas in Prayer, to beseech that the Divine Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven.
“Our Love is such that, by the virtue of Our Will, She Bilocates Herself within each creature, to prepare the interior of her soul, synchronizing her with Her Maternal Heart, squeezing her in Her Arms, to dispose her to receive the Life of the Divine Fiat. O, how much She prays, in every single heart, to Our Adorable Majesty, saying: ‘Hurry up. My Love can no longer be contained. I want to see My children Living together with Me in that same Divine Will that forms all of My Glory, My Richness, My Great Inheritance. Trust me, and I will know how to defend My children and Your own Will, which is also Mine.’
“The Love of this Celestial Queen and Mother is Insuperable. Only in Heaven will creatures know how much She Loves them and how much She has done for them. Her most exuberant, magnanimous and Greatest Act is in wanting them to possess the Kingdom of My Will as She possesses It. O, what wouldn’t the Celestial Lady do to obtain this Purpose! You too, Unite with Her, and pray for a Purpose so Holy.” (L. Piccarreta, Book of Heaven, Volume 35, August 9, 1937)
Finally, these words of hope came in an email from Queen of the Divine Will, quoting Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi’s Book, Antichrist and the End Times.
Lumen gentium points out that “in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection.” For that reason “the followers of Christ … turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues … For Mary … unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith (LG 60).”
At Fatima our Lady revealed that her heart will triumph and the world will be given an Era of Peace:
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and an era of peace shall be granted to the world .”
Mary’s privileged role in the end times is reinforced in the writings of Venerable Mary of Agreda (1602-1665 A.D.) and Saint Louis de Montfort:
“It was revealed to me that through the intercession of the Mother of God all heresies will disappear. The victory over heresies has been reserved by Christ for his Blessed Mother… The power of Mary in the latter days will be very conspicuous. Mary will extend the reign of Christ over the heathens and the Muslims, and it will be a time of great joy when Mary is enthroned as Mistress and Queen of hearts .”
“The power of Mary over all the evil spirits will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait of her heel, that is, her humble servants and her poor children whom she will rouse to fight against him… they will be great and exalted before God in holiness. They will be superior to all creatures by their great zeal and so strongly will they be supported by divine assistance that, in union with Mary, they will crush the head of Satan with their heel, that is, their humility, and bring about victory to Jesus Christ .”
St. Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941 A.D.) affirms:
“The image of the Immaculate will one day replace the large red star over the Kremlin, but only after a great and bloody trial .”
The 17th century Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser writes on the Era of Peace:
“When everything has been ruined by war, when Catholics are hard pressed by traitorous co-religionists and heretics, when the Church and her servants are denied their rights, the monarchies have been abolished and their rulers murdered… then the Hand of Almighty God will work a marvelous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding .”
In the Church-recognized messages of La Salette, our Lady predicted that after the reign of Antichrist, religion will flourish everywhere:
“Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist. The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of his faithful servants and men of good will. The gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth .” (Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, Antichrist and the End Times, p. 75 ff)
Let us pray with Luisa from the Rounds of the Soul in the Divine Will, Sixth Hour:
“Why don’t you make haste, my Love? You never leave things half-finished. Nor do You give your riches only in part. Therefore, come quickly! If through your Redemption you gave us half of your goods, finish now your work: Make your Will rule and prevail in the midst of creatures!