Fear the LORD, your God,
and keep, throughout the days of your lives,
all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you,
and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.
(First reading, October 31st, 2021 )
IMAGINE if you were invited to meet your favorite performer or perhaps a head of state. You would likely wear something nice, fix your hair just right and be on your most courteous behavior.
This is an image of what it means to “fear the Lord.” It’s not being afraid of God, as if He were a tyrant. Rather, this “fear” — a gift of the Holy Spirit — is acknowledging that Someone even greater than a film or music star is in your presence: God, the Creator of the heavens and earth is with me now, beside me, around me, always there. And because He loved me so much so as to die on the Cross, I don’t want to hurt or offend Him in the least. I fear, as it were, the thought of hurting Him. Rather, I want to love Him back, the best I can.
Unlike the Sun, Moon and stars that obey their mechanical course; unlike the fish, mammals, and creatures of all manner that follow instinct, not so with man. God created us in His image with the capacity to share in His Divine nature, and since He is Love itself, the order that man is to follow is the order of love.
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Gospel, October 31st, 2021)
The entire plan of God, as I wrote recently in The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, is to restore man to his proper order within creation, that is, to restore Him in the Divine Will, which is the infinite intersection of communion between man and His Creator. And as Jesus bluntly states to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta:
The generations will not end until My Will reigns upon earth. —Jesus to Luisa, Volume 12, February 22nd, 1991
So how are we to prepare for this “restoration”, as Popes Pius X and XI put it? The answer should be obvious. Start with simple obedience.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments… Whoever does not love me does not keep my words… I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. (John 14:15, 14, 15:11-12)
Do you want to know why many of us are not joyful, why so many in the Church are unhappy and even miserable? It’s because we do not keep Jesus’ commandments. “Good, be it even the tiniest, is the bright point of man,” Jesus tells Luisa. “As he does good, he undergoes a celestial, angelic and divine transformation.” Likewise, when we commit even the tiniest evil, it is the “black point of man” that causes him to undergo a “brutal transformation”. We know this is true! Something in our hearts goes dark when we compromise, when we put ourselves before others, when we deliberately ignore our consciences. And then, we complain when we pray that God does not hear us. Our Lady explains why:
There are so many souls that find themselves filled with passions, weak, afflicted, unfortunate and wretched. And although they pray and pray, they obtain nothing because they do not do what my Son asks of them – heaven, it seems, is irresponsive to their prayers. And this is a cause of sorrow for your mother, for I see that as they pray, they greatly distance themselves from the source that contains all blessings, namely, the Will of my Son. —to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, Meditation 6, p. 278 (279 in print version)
Jesus adds that even the Sacraments themselves become ineffectual when a soul resists the Will of God.
…the Sacraments themselves produce fruits depending on how the souls are submitted to my Will. They produce effects according to the connection that the souls have with my Volition. And if there’s no link with my Will, they may receive Communion, but they will remain on an empty stomach; they may go to Confession, but remain still dirty; they may come before my Sacramental Presence, but if our wills do not meet, I will be as if dead for them, because my Will produces all the goods and gives life even to the Sacraments only in the soul who submits herself to It. —Jesus to Luisa, Volume 11, September 25th, 1913
…if there is anyone else in such a heart, I cannot bear it and quickly leave that heart, taking with Me all the gifts and graces I have prepared for the soul. And the soul does not even notice My going. After some time, inner emptiness and dissatisfaction will come to [the soul’s] attention. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1638
Jesus concludes to Luisa: “Those who do not understand this are babies in religion.” If so, it is time for us to grow up! In fact, as our parents often said to some of us, grow up fast. Because God is sifting, He is preparing a People who will be that Bride who will bring to fulfillment the Scriptures and become the centrepiece of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Whether we are part of the Era of Peace or not is not the point; even those of us called to martyrdom, if we love the Lord with our whole hearts, will only increase our joys in eternity.
Simple obedience. Let us no longer neglect this basic truth that is the key to true and lasting joy in the Lord.
My children, do you want to be holy? Do the Will of my Son. If you do not refuse what He tells you, you will possess his likeness and sanctity. Do you wish to conquer all evils? Do whatever my Son tells you. Do you wish to obtain a grace, even one that is difficult to obtain? Do whatever My Son tells you and desires of you. Do you wish to have also the very basic things that are necessary in life? Do whatever my Son tells you and desires of you. Indeed, my Son’s words enclose such power that, as He speaks, His word, which contains whatever it is you ask, makes the graces you seek arise within your souls. —to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, The Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, Ibid.
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