The focus of this Season is the Cross and penance as we meditate on Christ’s Passion and await the triumph of Easter. We fast, abstain, mortify the flesh, give alms, and think more of charitable works.
One way to make this Lent a most special spiritual journey is by the meditation on the book “The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion” by by Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Little Daughter of the Divine Will.
Shroud of Turin
Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:
Sometimes, then, He (Jesus) would bring me (Luisa) into churches, and even there my good Jesus was offended. Oh! how awfully those works reached His Heart – holy works, yes, but done roughly; those prayers empty of interior spirit, that piety, false, apparent, which seemed to give more insult than honor to Jesus. Ah! yes, that holy, pure, upright Heart could not receive those works, done so badly. Oh! how many times He lamented, saying: “Daughter, see how many offenses I receive, even from those people who are said to be devout – even in the holiest places. In receiving the very Sacraments, instead of coming out purified, they come out dirtier.”
Ah! yes, how much pain it was for Jesus to see people receiving Communion sacrilegiously, priests celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in mortal sin, out of habit, and some – it is a horror to say it – even out of self-interest. Oh! how many times my Jesus made me see these scenes so sorrowful. How many times, while the priest was celebrating the Sacrosanct Mystery, Jesus is forced to go into his hands, because He is called by the priestly authority. One could see those hands dripping with rot, blood, or smeared with mud. Oh! how pitiful then, was the state of Jesus, so holy, so pure, in those hands which were horrifying to the mere sight. It seemed He wanted to escape from between those hands, but He was forced to stay until the species of bread and wine would be consumed.
Sometimes, while remaining there with the priest, He would come hurriedly to me, all lamenting, and before I could say it, He Himself would say to me: “Daughter, let Me pour it into you, for I cannot take anymore. Have pity on My state, which is too sorrowful – have patience, let us suffer together.” And while saying this, He would pour from His mouth into mine. But who can tell what He poured? It seemed to be a bitter poison, a fetid rot, mixed with a food so hard, disgusting and nauseating, that sometimes it would not go down. Who can tell, then, the sufferings that this pouring of Jesus produced? If He Himself had not sustained me, I certainly would have died; yet, He would pour in me but the smallest part – what would it be for Jesus, who contained tons upon tons of it? Oh! how awful is sin! Ah! Lord, let everyone know it, so that all may flee from this monster so horrible. But while I would see these scenes so sorrowful, other times, He would also make me see scenes so consoling and beautiful as to be enrapturing; and this was to see good and holy priests celebrating the Sacrosanct Mysteries. Oh God! how high, great, sublime is their ministry. How beautiful it was to see the priest celebrating Mass, and Jesus transformed into him. It seemed that it was not the priest, but Jesus Himself that celebrated the Divine Sacrifice, and sometimes He would make the priest disappear completely, and Jesus alone would celebrate Mass – and I would listen to Him. Oh! how touching it was to see Jesus recite those prayers, do all those ceremonies and movements that the priest does. Who can tell how consoling it was for me to see these Masses together with Jesus? How many graces I received, how much light, how many things I comprehended! But since these are past things, I don’t remember them too clearly, so I keep silent.
But as I am saying this, Jesus has moved in my interior and has called me – He doesn’t want me to do so. Ah! Lord, how much patience it takes with You. Well then, I will content You. Oh! sweet Love, I will say a few little things, but give me your grace to be able to manifest them, because, by myself, I would not dare to utter one word about mysteries so profound and sublime.
Now, while seeing Jesus or the priest celebrating the Divine Sacrifice, Jesus would make me understand that in the Mass there is all the depth of our sacrosanct religion. Ah! yes, the Mass tells us everything and speaks to us about everything. The Mass reminds us of our redemption; It speaks to us, step by step, about the pains that Jesus suffered for us; It also manifests to us His immense love, for He was not content with dying on the Cross, but He wanted to continue His state of victim in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Mass also tells us that our bodies, decayed, reduced to ashes by death, will rise again on the day of the judgment, together with Christ, to immortal and glorious life. Jesus made me comprehend that the most consoling thing for a Christian, and the highest and most sublime mysteries of our holy religion are: Jesus in the Sacrament and the resurrection of our bodies to glory. These are profound mysteries, which we will comprehend only beyond the stars; but Jesus in the Sacrament makes us almost touch them with our own hands, in different ways. First, His Resurrection; second, His state of annihilation under those species, though it is certain that Jesus is there present, alive and real. Then, once those species are consumed, His real presence no longer exists. And as the species are consecrated again, He comes again to assume His sacramental state. So, Jesus in the Sacrament reminds us of the resurrection of our bodies to glory: just as Jesus, when His sacramental state ceases resides in the womb of God, His Father, the same for us – when our lives cease, our souls go and make their dwelling in Heaven, in the womb of God, while are bodies are consumed. So, one can say that they will no longer exist; but then, with a prodigy of the omnipotence of God, our bodies will acquire new life, and uniting with the soul, will go together to enjoy the eternal beatitude. Can there be anything more consoling for a human heart than the fact that not only the soul, but also the body will be beatified in the eternal contentments? It seems to me that on that day it will happen as when the sky is starry and the sun comes out. What happens? With its immense light, the sun absorbs the stars and makes them disappear; yet the stars exist. The sun is God, and all of the blessed souls are the stars; with His immense light, God will absorb us all within Himself, in such a way that we will exist in God and will swim in the immense sea of God. Oh! how many things Jesus in the Sacrament tells us; but who can tell them all? I would really be too long. If the Lord allows it, I will reserve saying something else on other occasions.
This book (The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ) is a translation of the Italian book, L’Orologio della Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu Cristo, written by Luisa Piccarreta, “The Little Daughter of the Divine Will,” about the year 1914, in obedience to the ecclesiastical authority at that time, the now Saint Annibale Maria di Francia. This presentation was taken largely from the preface of the fourth edition, which Saint Annibale Maria di Francia had written for the original Italian.
Luisa was seventeen years old (she relates these facts in the first of thirty-six volumes which she wrote by order of holy obedience). On the last day of a Christmas Novena which Jesus Himself prompted her to do, He surprised her with an unusually vivid experience of the marvelous Mysteries of His Love. And He told her He wanted to lavish New and Greater Graces on her, manifesting to her other, even more lofty Excesses of His Immense Love, and inviting her to continue giving Him uninterrupted company during the twenty-four hours of His Sorrowful Passion and death.
Much later, after Luisa had already been Living these Hours of the Passion intensely in her interior for more than thirty years, the now Saint Annibale di Francia, who was the ecclesiastic delegate on matters concerning Luisa’s writings and who had come to know about this practice of hers, gave her the obedience to write these Hours down. This, then, is how the book, The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ began.
It was then that Saint Annibale di Francia published it for the first time. To this edition, there followed seven others: five in Italian and two in German—always with the proper ecclesiastical permissions. It was recently published in English and Spanish as well.
When Luisa had finished writing the Hours of the Passion, she wrote a letter which she gave to Saint Annibale together with the book, who included it in the book’s preface when he published it. From this letter, we come to appreciate how pleased Jesus is, and how many benefits are lavished upon the soul, when it practices these Hours on a daily basis, as Bread without which one cannot live. Here is the letter.
“I am finally sending you this hand-written copy of The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. May it all be for His greater Glory. I have also enclosed a few sheets on which I have described the Effects and the beautiful Promises which Jesus makes to all those who meditate these Hours of the Passion.
“I believe that if whoever meditates on them is a sinner he will convert; if he is imperfect he will become perfect; if he is holy he will become holier; if he is tempted he will find victory; if suffering he will find strength, medicine and comfort in these Hours; if weak and poor he will find a spiritual food and a mirror in which to look at himself continually, and so become beautiful and similar to Jesus, our Model.
“Jesus’ Joy is so immense when someone meditates on the Hours of the Passion, that He would like to see at least one copy of these meditations being used in every city and town. Because then it would be as if Jesus were hearing His own Voice and His own Prayers which He raised to His Father during the twenty-four hours of His painful Passion. And if this is done at least by a few souls in each town and city, He Himself promises that the Divine Justice will be appeased in part, and punishments will be lessened.
“Reverend Father: You make an appeal to everyone. Bring this little work to completion, which my Loving Jesus has had me do.
“I would also like to add that the purpose of these Hours of the Passion is not so much that of recounting the story of the Passion, since there already are many books which deal with this pious subject, and it would not be necessary to write another one. Instead, its purpose is to make reparation: to unite ourselves to Jesus in each of the different moments of His Passion, and with His own Divine Will, make a worthy reparation for each of the various offenses He receives, and compensate Him for everything that all creatures owe Him.
“From this there derive the different ways of making reparation in these Hours. In some instances, the soul blesses Him, in others it sympathizes with Him, in others it praises Him, it comforts suffering Jesus, it compensates Him, it begs, prays and asks Him, and so on.
“So, I entrust to you the task of making known the purpose of these Hours to those who will read them.”
Therefore, in every city, town and nation, let us form so many cenacles, in which these twenty-four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord are meditated and lived. Like so many living clocks, let them faithfully mark the hours of each day, to keep Jesus company with our love, our reparation and our gratitude, for He is not loved as He deserves. Indeed, His own children offend Him and crucify Him again in their hearts, by closing the doors to Grace, to the Divine Will.
It happened that on one occasion, Saint Annibale di Francia went to Luisa’s house and recounted what had taken place on one of his visits with the Pope (being an intimate friend of Pope Saint Pius X, he was frequently received by him). While with him, he wanted to introduce him to the book, The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which he had been spreading. So, St. Annibale read a few pages of it to the Pope, specifically, from the Hour of the Crucifixion. At a certain point, the Pope interrupted him, saying:
“Father, this book should be read while kneeling: It is Jesus Christ who is speaking!”
Book of Heaven
The Call of the Creature to the Order, the Place and the Purpose
for which He was Created by God
Volume 3; February 21, 1900
Purity is obtained through mortification, and mortification renders the soul worthy of sympathy.
The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the Little Daughter of the Divine Will:
This morning my lovable Jesus began to make His usual delays. May He be always blessed, for He always starts from the beginning! Indeed it takes the patience of a saint to bear Him; and one would have to deal with Jesus to see how much patience it takes! One who has not experienced it, cannot believe it, and it is almost impossible not to have a few huffs with Him.Then, after being patient in waiting and waiting for Him, finally He came and told me: “My daughter (Luisa), the gift of purity is not a natural gift, but an attained grace; and it is obtained by rendering oneself worthy of sympathy. The soul becomes so through mortifications and through sufferings. Oh, how worthy of sympathy becomes the mortified and suffering soul! Oh, how striking she is! And I (God) feel such sympathy as to go mad for her, and whatever she (the mortified and suffering soul) wants, I (God) give to her. When you (Luisa) are deprived of Me (Our Lord God, Jesus Christ), suffer My privation for love of Me (Jesus), which is the most painful suffering for you, and I (Jesus) will feel more sympathy than before, and will grant you (Luisa) new gifts.”
By Meditating the Hours of Passion You Acquire All Virtues
You Receive the Grace Of Persevering In the Continuous Flight In the Divine Will
From The Writings Of Luisa Piccarreta
“The Little Daughter Of The Divine Will”
In the passage below, Jesus says that patience is the key that opens the door in order to receive all of the virtues.
Volume 4 – January 31, 1901
Jesus explains the greatness of the virtue of patience.
As I was in my usual state, my sweet Jesus was not coming. Then, after much waiting, I saw Him for just a little, and He told me: “My daughter, patience is superior to purity, because without patience the soul easily unbridles, and it is difficult for her to remain pure; and when a virtue needs another virtue in order to have life, the second one is called superior to the first. Even more, it can be said that patience is custody of purity; not only this, but it is staircase to ascend to the mountain of fortitude, in such a way that if one went up without the staircase of patience, he would immediately fall from the highest point to the lowest. In addition to this, patience is seed of perseverance, and this seed produces branches called firmness. Oh, how firm and stable in the good she has started is the patient soul! She pays no attention either to rain, or to frost, or to ice, or to fire, but all her attention is on bringing to completion the good she has started. In fact, there is no greater foolishness than that of one who today does some good because he likes it, and tomorrow he neglects it because he finds no more pleasure in it. What would one say of an eye which at one hour possesses sight, and at another is blind? Or of a tongue which now speaks, and now is mute? Ah! yes, my daughter, patience alone is the secret key to open the treasure of virtues; without the secret of this key, the other virtues do not come out to give life to the soul and to ennoble her.”
Jesus says in the passage below that when you meditate on “The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion” you receive the virtue of patience. Therefore by meditating on the Hours of the Passion, you come to acquire all of the virtues.
Jesus also states in the above passage from Volume 4 that patience is seed of perseverance. Therefore, by meditating on the Hours of the Passion you receive the virtue of patience which in turn gives you perseverance in maintaining a continuous flight in the Divine Will.
VOL. 11 – February 2, 1917
The world has become unbalanced because it has lost the thought of the Passion.
As I was in my usual state, I found myself outside of myself, and I found my always lovable Jesus, dripping Blood all over, with a horrible crown of thorns, looking at me with difficulty through the thorns. He told me: “My daughter, the world has become unbalanced because it has lost the thought of my Passion. In darkness, it has not found the light of my Passion which would illuminate it by making known to it my love and how much souls cost Me, in such a way that it could turn to loving the One who has truly loved it; and the light of my Passion, guiding it, would put it on its guard against all dangers. In weakness, it has not found the strength of my Passion which would sustain it. In impatience, it has not found the mirror of my patience which would infuse in it calm and resignation, in such a way that, in the face of my patience, feeling ashamed, it would make it its duty to dominate itself. In pains, it has not found the comfort of the pains of a God which, sustaining its pains, would infuse in it love of suffering. In sin, it has not found my sanctity which, placing itself in front of it, would infuse in it hate of sin. Ah, man has made an abuse of everything, because he has moved away from the One who could help him! This is why the world has lost balance. It behaved like a child who no longer wanted to recognize his mother; or like a disciple who, denying his master, no longer wanted to listen to his teachings, or learn his lessons. What will happen to this child and to this disciple? They will be the sorrow of themselves, and the terror and sorrow of society. Such has man become – terror and sorrow; but a sorrow without pity. Ah, man is getting worse and worse, and I cry over him with tears of blood!”
The Great Holy Fast, called also the Forty Days Fast, is one of the oldest and most sacred Christian practices. The history of the Great Fast is long and rich in tradition, dating from Apostolic times. The pre-paschal fast is called Great, not only because of its duration but also because of its significance in the life of the Church and of every Christian.
The Fathers of the Church have the greatest respect and the highest praises for the holy fast. Regarding its antiquity, St. Basil (329-379) wrote: “Allow me again to appeal to history and to recall that fasting is very old and that all the saints observed it as though it were an inheritance from parents, transmitted from father to son. Thus did this treasure come down to us as an unbroken tradition.” (On Fasting I)