The Gift

 

THE age of ministries is ending.”

Those words that rang in my heart several years ago were strange but also clear: we are coming to the end, not of ministry per se; rather, many of the means and methods and structures that the modern Church has become accustomed to that have ultimately individualized, weakened, and even divided the Body of Christ are ending. This is a necessary “death” of the Church that must come in order for her to experience a new resurrection, a new blossoming of Christ’s life, power, and sanctity in an all new manner. 

God himself had provided to bring about that “new and divine” holiness with which the Holy Spirit wishes to enrich Christians at the dawn of the third millennium, in order to “make Christ the heart of the world.” —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Rogationist Fathers, n. 6, www.vatican.va

But you cannot put new wine into an old wine skin. Hence, the “signs of the times” clearly indicate, not only that God is ready to pour out a new wine… but that the old wine skin has dried up, is leaking, and unfit for a new Pentecost

We are at the end of Christendom… Christendom is economic, political, social life as inspired by Christian principles. That is ending — we’ve seen it die. Look at the symptoms: the breakup of the family, divorce, abortion, immorality, general dishonesty… Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world. The great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on. —Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895 – 1979), Jan. 26, 1947 broadcast; cf. ncregister.com

Jesus likened these destructive processes to “labor pains” because what follows them will be a new birth…

When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. (John 16:21)

 

WE WILL HAVE EVERYTHING

Here, we are not speaking of a mere renewal. Rather, it is the climax of salvation history, the crown and completion of a long journey of the People of God — and thus, also the Clash of Two Kingdoms. It is the very fruition and purpose of Redemption: the sanctification of the Bride of Christ for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:8). Hence, all that God has revealed through Christ will become the possession of all His children in a unified, single flock. As Jesus said to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta,

To one group of people he has shown the way to get to his palace; to a second group he has pointed out the door; to the third he has shown the staircase; to the fourth the first rooms; and to the last group he has opened all the rooms… —Jesus to Luisa, Vol. XIV, November 6th, 1922, Saints in the Divine Will by Fr. Sergio Pellegrini, with the approval of the Archbishop of Trani, Giovan Battista Pichierri, p. 23-24

That is not the case today in most quarters of the Church. If modernists have pushed away devotion and the sacred, ultra-traditionalists have often resisted the charismatic and prophetic. If intellect and reason have been given precedence in the hierarchy over mysticism, on the one hand, often the laity have neglected prayer and formation on the other. The Church today has never been richer, but also, never poorer. She has the wealth of numerous graces and knowledge accumulated over thousands of years… but most of it is either locked away by fear and apathy, or hidden beneath the ashes of sin, corruption, and dysfunction. The tension between the institutional and charismatic aspects of the Church will cease in the coming Era.

The institutional and charismatic aspects are co-essential as it were to the Church’s constitution. They contribute, although differently, to the life, renewal and sanctification of God’s People. —Speech to the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, www.vatican.va

But what a tempest is needed to unlock these gifts! What a Storm is needed to blow away this suffocating debris! 

So, the People of God in the coming Era of Peace will be as it were fully Catholic. Think of a droplet of rain hitting a pond. From the point of entering the water, co-centric ripples spread in every direction. Today, the Church is scattered about these rings of grace, going off, therefore, in different directions precisely because the beginning is not God’s but man’s perceived center. You have some who embrace the works of social justice, but neglect the truth. Others cling to the truth but without charity. Many are those who embrace the sacraments and liturgy yet reject the charisms and gifts of the Spirit. Others imbibe theology and intellectual formation while disregarding the mystical and the interior life, and yet others embrace the prophetic and supernatural while neglecting wisdom and reason. How Christ longs for His Church to be fully Catholic, fully adorned, fully alive! 

Thus, the Risen Church to come will emerge from the very center of Divine Providence and will spread to the ends of the earth with every grace, every charism, and every gift that the Trinity destined for man from the moment of Adam’s birth to the present “as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14). What was lost will be recovered; what has decayed will be restored; what is budding will, then, fully blossom. 

And that means, most especially, the “Gift of living in the Divine Will.”

 

THE VERY CENTER

The very smallest point, the very center of the Church’s life is the Divine Will. And by this, I do not mean a mere “To do” list. Rather, the Divine Will is the very interior life and power of God expressed in the “fiats” of Creation, Redemption, and now, Sanctification. Jesus said to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta:

My descent upon earth, taking on human flesh, was precisely this — to lift up humanity again and give to my Divine Will the rights to reign in this humanity, because by reigning in my Humanity, the rights of both sides, human and divine, were placed in force again. —Jesus to Luisa, Feb. 24th, 1933; The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta (p. 182). Kindle Edition, Daniel. O’Connor

This was the entire purpose of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection: that what was done in Him may now be done in us. This is
the key to understanding the “Our Father”:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” to mean: “in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself”; or “in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father.”Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2827

This has not yet been accomplished in time and the bounds of history.

For the mysteries of Jesus are not yet completely perfected and fulfilled. They are complete, indeed, in the person of Jesus, but not in us, who are his members, nor in the Church, which is his mystical body.—St. John Eudes, treatise “On the Kingdom of Jesus”, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p 559

Hence, we are now living through the labor pains that are necessary to purify the Church in order to place her in the infinite center of the Divine Will so that she may be crowned with the Gift of Living in the Divine Will… the Kingdom of the Divine Will. In this way, the “rights” of man lost in the Garden of Eden will be restored as well as the harmony of man with both God and creation which is “groaning in labor pains even until now.”[1]Rom 8:22 This is not reserved for eternity alone, as Jesus said, but is the fulfillment and destiny of the Church within time! This is why, on this Christmas morning, we have to raise our eyes from the present chaos and sorrow, from the gifts beneath our trees to the Gift that is awaiting to be opened, even now!

…in Christ is realized the right order of all things, the union of heaven and earth, as God the Father intended from the beginning. It is the obedience of God the Son Incarnate which reestablishes, restores, the original communion of man with God and, therefore, peace in the world. His obedience unites once again all things, ‘things in heaven and things on earth.’ —Cardinal Raymond Burke, speech in Rome; May 18th, 2018, lifesitnews.com

Thus, it is through sharing in His obedience, in the “Divine Will”, that we will regain true sonship — with cosmological ramifications: 

…is the full action of the original plan of the Creator delineated: a creation in which God and man, man and woman, humanity and nature are in harmony, in dialogue, in communion. This plan, upset by sin, was taken up in a more wondrous way by Christ, Who is carrying it out mysteriously but effectively in the present reality, in the expectation of bringing it to fulfillment…  —POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, February 14, 2001

 

ASKING FOR THE GIFT

This Christmas, we remember that Jesus received three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. In these are foreshadowed the fullness of the gifts that God intends for the Church. The gold is the solid, unchangeable “deposit of faith” or “truth”; the frankincense is the sweet aroma of God’s Word or the “way”; and the myrrh is the balm of the sacraments and charisms that give “life.” But all these must be drawn now into the chest or “ark” of a new modality of the Divine Will. Our Lady, the “ark of the new Covenant” is indeed a foreshadowing of all that the Church is to become — she who was the first creature to live again in the Divine Will after Adam and Eve, to live in its very center.

My daughter, my Will is the center, the other virtues are the circle. Imagine a wheel in whose middle all the rays are centered. What would happen if one of these rays wanted to detach itself from the center? First, that ray would look bad; secondly, it would remain dead, while the wheel, in moving, would get rid of it. Such is my Will for the soul. My Will is the center. All the things which are not done in my Will, and only to fulfill my Will — even holy things, virtues or good works — are like the rays detached from the center of the wheel: works and virtues with no life. They could never please Me; rather, I do everything to punish them and to get rid of them. —Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta, Volume 11, April 4th, 1912

The purpose of this present Storm then is not only to purify the world but to draw down the Kingdom of the Divine Will into the heart of the Church so that she lives, no longer with her own will — like a slave obeying her master — but like a daughter
possessing the very Will —and all its rights — of her Father.[2]cf. True Sonship

To live in My Will is to reign in it and with it, while to do My Will is to be submitted to My orders. The first state is to possess; the second is to receive dispositions and execute commands. To live in My Will is to make My Will one’s own, as one’s own property, and for them to administer it as they intend; to do My Will is to regard the Will of God as My Will, and not [also] as one’s own property that they are able to administer as they intend. To live in My Will is to live with one single Will […] And since My Will is all holy, all pure and all peaceful, and because it is one single Will that reigns [in the soul], no contrasts exist [between us]… On the other hand, to do My Will is to live with two wills in such a way that, when I give orders to follow My Will, the soul feels the weight of its own will which causes contrasts. And even though the soul faithfully carries out My Will’s orders, it feels the weight of its rebellious human nature, of its passions and inclinations. How many saints, although they may have reached the heights of perfection, felt their own will waging war on them, keeping them oppressed? Whence many were forced to cry out: “Who will free me from this body of death?”, that is, “from this will of mine, that wants to give death to the good I want to do?” (cf. Rom 7:24) —Jesus to Luisa, The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, 4.1.2.1.4, (Kindle Locations 1722-1738), Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi

If what I’m saying sounds confusing or is hard to understand, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In what are truly sublime words, Jesus unfolded the “theology” of the Divine Will in 36 volumes to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.[3]cf. On Luisa and Her Writings Rather today, I feel the Lord wants Our Lady’s Little Rabble to simply ask for this Gift of the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Simply extend your hands to Jesus and say, “Yes, Lord, yes; I wish to receive the fullness of this Gift, prepared for our times, that I have prayed for my whole life in the “Our Father.” Even though I do not fully understand this work of yours in our times, I empty myself before You this Christmas Day of all sin — my own will — so that I may possess your Divine Will, so that our wills will be one.”[4]cf. The Single Will

Just as the infant Jesus did not open His mouth to ask for gold, frankincense and myrrh but simply became small, so too, if we become small with this disposition to desire the Divine Will, that is the most beautiful of beginnings. That is enough for today. 

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. (Matt 7:8-11)

 

RELATED READING

The Age of Ministries is Ending

The Resurrection of the Church

The Labor Pains Are Real

The Coming New and Divine Holiness

On Luisa and Her Writings

True Sonship 

The Single Will

 

 

A Joyous and Merry Christmas to all of you
my dear, dear readers!

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