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The Kingdom of the Divine Will
Fr. William Most's comments on the devotion to the Divine Will as espoused by Luisa Piccarreta and currently being promoted in the United States by Thomas M. Fahy.
1. Basic theology of the kingdom (hereinafter KW):
St. John of the Cross and other great Saints and mystics have given us a sketch of what is, at least in general, the route from the start to the greatest conceivable perfection.
There are three stages or ways: 1) purgative; 2) illuminative; 3) unitive.
In the first stage, the purgative way, the soul works by its own faculties which God gave it, and also by actual graces given at the time of acting, to lead and to enable a soul to do a particular good thing God wishes the soul to do. The goal is to eradicate the faults whose roots lie in our sensory side.-the same goal for the faults in the spiritual side comes in the second night, which is the border between illuminative and unitive ways.
The guide a soul follows in making its decisions at first is the whim of the moment. But Aristotle (Ethics 1.6) calls this a life fit for cattle, who do just what they happen to feel like doing. The soul can however make reason its guide- which in practice is aided by actual graces, even though the soul does not realize that fact.
In the earlier parts of the purgative way-using whim or reason + actual grace as guide-the soul is largely active, though God, as the First Cause, does contribute even in the natural order, the ontological power to do things. But as the soul continues to advance, still within the purgative way, the divine action takes over more and more of the decision making as well as giving the ontological power as the First Cause.
This development comes along with growth in humility and mortification, and in mental prayer.
In the most typical early form, meditation is discursive, that is, it moves from one consideration to another, usually with the help of a book. Both mind and will are active, but the activity of the mind, in considerations, takes up more of the meditation period. The will and feelings fill up the remainder of the period, either on a sandwich pattern, or in two separate time periods.
The next stage of the development of mental prayer, typically, is what is called affective prayer. Here the proportion shifts, so that the work of the mind grows less, while the work of the will, chiefly in free conversational prayer, grows larger.
If the soul grows still more-still within the purgative way-it reaches the prayer of simplicity. Then there is no discursive running back and forth: just one thought will suffice for 25 or 30 minutes. e.g., a line from Psalm 8: O Lord, my Lord, how great is your name in all the earth. The mind is absorbed with the thought of the infinite majesty of God; the will is in admiration of Him. This thought and matching attitude may last a few minutes before it trails off into reverie. When the soul realizes it, it can go back to the starting line, and use it all over again. When the soul first reaches this prayer of simplicity,. anything pertaining to divinity will suffice. But as time goes on it finds that only a general, almost abstract thought of God, will work. Even the thought of the Sacred Humanity of Jesus does not help-temporarily that thought must be left aside, to return better after a bit.
Within this period of development there will come, at unpredictable moments, not only during prayer, but even when occupied with other things, a bit of infused light. E.g., the soul gets a deep realization (not just a feeling) and understanding of the complete nothingness of all the things of earth. This will continue for at most a few minutes and then fade into reverie. The soul should drop all else, should not even use vocal prayer: but should just pay attention, and as it were soak it in. Such a flash of light is not brought on by the soul, nor can it bring it back by its own activity. It comes when and if God decides to give it.
Also at this stage three signs, according to St. John of the Cross, should appear. 1) Inability, ordinarily for discursive type prayer; 2) The thought of God is persistent. If one must give full attention for a while to something, e.g., teaching, the thought of God will return of its own accord; 3) A total aridity, i.e. lack of pleasure or satisfaction in things of the earth, and even spiritual things.
The three signs show that God is about to give the first experience of infused contemplation. There is no vision or sound, and not necessarily any feeling. It may be either arid or sweet. The soul perceives a contact with God as real as one's hand placed on the table. The soul knows without being told that it should not pray or do anything but pay attention. It usually lasts only a few minutes, then fades out. The soul cannot have it at will, it comes when God so wills-the next time might be far in the future or very soon. It does mark the crossover into the illuminative way, in which there are more and greater experiences of infused contemplation.
Many fine theologians think a soul will not reach perfection without going through infused contemplation. Others consider it as a sort of side excursion.
But it is clear that at the end of the illuminative period there is a second night, the night of the spirit, in contrast to the previous night of the senses. That second night is very difficult, and regularly involves extreme temptations against any virtue, even faith, even violent sexual temptations. After that night, the soul may have the spiritual espousals and then later, the spiritual marriage. St. John of the Cross describes the very peak:
It is obvious that this is the ultimate takeover of the human will by the divine will, the Holy Spirit. One could not even imagine anything more. God Himself, alone, moves the will of one in the Mystical Marriage. The soul is not dead, it is still human. But all it contributes is the consent to be moved in this way.
God by His movement causes the soul to see something as good: That almost automatically causes the soul to be favorable to what God proposes. At this point could the soul decide to accept the divine movement? No, for Phil 2.13 says of souls even at a lesser stage: It is God who works in you both the will and the doing.
Similarly, the soul could not make a decision not to reject, for that would be a good decision, ruled out by Phil 2.13. We must add, however that in the actual decision, the soul is not totally passive. For the Council of Trent defines in DS 1554: "If anyone shall say that the will of man, moved and aroused by God, does not cooperate at all in assenting to God calling and arousing by which it might prepare itself to obtain the grace of justification, and that neither could it dissent if it willed, but that like a lifeless thing it does not act at all but is merely passive: Let him be anathema." There is no way to conceive less activity on the part of the soul: it is not lifeless and passive.
What we have just explained pertains to the soul even in the highest possible state.
The proponents of the Kingdom theory insist there is something more and higher: the will is takenover by God. On pp.10-11 of a letter to me: Our Lord responds...moreover it is certain that I have called you [Luisa] first over other souls. Because to no other souls, however much I have loved them, have I shown How to Live in My Will, the Effects, the Marvels, the Riches that the Creature receives Who acts in my Supreme Will. Search the lives of the Saints as much as you wish or in books of doctrine and you will not find the wonders of My Will Operating In the Creature and the Creature Acting in My Will. The Most You will find will be Resignation, Abandonment, the Union of Wills. But the Divine Will working in the Creature and The Creature in My Will, You will not find This in Anyone.
Living in the Divine Will excels living in sanctifying grace. We possess the Divine Will as our own. We possess God's will. You can't say that about sanctifying grace. When a soul is in sanctifying grace his human will produces activities and directs them.
We note that the Divine will is working IN the Creature and the Creature IN God's Will.-What does the IN mean? It cannot be local presence, for a Spirit does not take up place. Nor could it mean ontological identity-then the soul would be God. Nor could it mean identity of action: for all God's actions are identical with His Being. Then the soul would be identical with God. There remains only identity of objects willed. But this amounts to conformity with the will of God."
2. The general picture, and the definition of the Council of Trent make clear that the highest point, the spiritual marriage, comes only after a long and difficult process of development. Yet there is some confusion: Fr. Ceslo in a video said when he first considered entering the KW it seemed very difficult; but he found all he needed to do is desire it. Could God dispense with the long process and give the KW without the intermediate steps?. By omnipotence He surely could. If that is the case, then why is it said that God had to wait 2000 years to find souls capable of taking in this KW? And why would He refuse to give it to St. Joseph and all the greatest Saints of the past-many were intellectually developed like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross. Many were entirely mortified, giving up their own desires, like St. John of the Cross, St. Anthony of the desert and so many others. Were none of them capable, while today many are supposed to be capable, so as to start a new era-which presupposes many entering? One swallow does not make a Spring. Further, Fr. Ceslo said that in the KW a soul may sin, even sin mortally, but to get back in KW only a good confession would suffice. So why was 2000 years of preparation required?
However another competent authority has said that there is no instantaneous sanctity, although God is so generous He is more than eager to give the gift of the Divine Will to anyone disposed provided one desires it with all one's being.
3. Luisa claimed that it was revealed to her that the only soul that ever entered heaven, after Our Lady, after living in the Divine will, was Bl. Hannibale. Again, this downgrades the Saints of 2000 years. God wanted souls to be in KW-why did He not simply give it?
4. Our Lady is quoted as saying this living in the KW is the sacrifice of sacrifices. How then can it be had by merely desiring it, as Fr. Ceslo said?
5. Many times the claim is made by proponents of KW that Adam and Eve had the gift of the KW. We know they had sanctifying grace- but neither Scripture nor the documents of the Church says even once that they had KW. And if the will is so thoroughly taken over by God in the KW- how could Adam and Eve so quickly sin?
6. The claim is made that in the Our Father we have been praying, thy Kingdom come for this gift for 2000 years? But no exegete ever saw that idea in the Our Father-it is a prayer that the kingdom, the Church, those doing God's will, may be increased. And Jesus Himself over and over went about preaching that the kingdom is at hand-but was He so wrong as to miss it by 2000 years. This helps us to see that the word kingdom in the Our Father does not have the meaning of the KM.
7. The Newsletter on p. 2: For years and Years the Writings which are to renew the face of the earth ,the Writings which will bring a glorious New Era for the World, the Writings which disclose the Original Purpose for which God created us, the Writings which are given to the world in 36 volumes known as "the Book of Heaven" have not received their deserved attention. ....It is our opinion that this unveiling of the original words of the "Book of Heaven" was a greater event than Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the ten commandments. For these writings will renew the Face of the Earth and provide the certain means for the return of mankind to the original spiritual state of our first parents, Adam and Eve. p. 17: Those who will welcome it with love will be the first fortunate children to belong to the Kingdom of the divine Fiat." But priests who work against it will be punished.
8. In vol. 23, March 8, 1928 Jesus says: These [Luisa's] writings cost me more than creation and redemption. They [the writings] have within them all the value of My will.
9.Jesus said He came to redeem, not
to sanctify. This is to be a new era. As Jesus suffered and died for the era of
redemption, Louisa suffered and died for the era of sanctification. There are
three fiats: first creation; Second Our Lady's fiat brought the incarnation and
redemption; Luisa brings sanctification.
10.The Apostles stayed with Our Lady for instruction after Christ's death. In the Kingdom of the divine Fiat Luisa is the new mother because these truths are now in her. She will guide priests in her and they will have a great love for Luisa. She will intercede for priests who hear and understand.
11.Since God was not given the proper glory, Jesus according to Fr. Ceslo had to redo all previous acts. Then Our Lady did the same. Now Luisa does the same.
12. Jesus told Luisa there is nothing against faith or morals in these writings. And: an Imprimatur guarantees them. But Imprimaturs today no longer guarantee freedom for error, sadly.
This item 108 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org