All news

Food for thought "The Light of the Divine Will"

Leave a comment below

 The word "light" in the Bible refers to different meanings to indicate different realities. In the book of Genesis, light is the work of creation on the first day. Therefore, it is a creature that refers to the presence of God. Just think of the "theophanies" which are always accompanied by luminous phenomena. For example, the Transfiguration of Jesus. So "light" is also a symbol that refers to the very essence of God. In fact, light is often associated with life, with good, with knowledge, that is, with the revelation that God himself makes of himself. In the Gospel of John we find the symbol of light as an expression of the person of Jesus himself. In the Prologue we read:

[John the Baptist] came as a witness

to bear witness about the light

that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light,

but came to bear witness about the light

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone,

was coming into the world. (Jn 1:7-9)

 Explicitly, in his dialogue with the Jews, Jesus says of himself

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,

“I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)

In Matthew's Gospel the symbolism of "light" is used to define the Community of Disciples: we find reference to it in the parables of the salt and the oil lamp.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Light as a divine attribute and of the person of Jesus, moves on to indicate also the community of the disciples when they do "good works", that is, that community that just before Jesus proclaimed in the discourse of the Beatitudes. Therefore, the disciples are not the Light of the world because they teach or proclaim important and convincing messages, but because they bear witness to their life which is the "luminous transparency" of Jesus' divine life in them. In fact, it is precisely the life of God in their works that makes the disciples bright and capable of enlightening everyone, the world exactly. The divine life of light in them is also compared to the salt that gives flavor, that is, it makes every food tasty but also capable of preserving itself. However, it is not a foregone conclusion.  It is not only the nominal belonging to the community of disciples that ensures that one can be bright. In fact, salt is said to lose its flavor. By analogy we should say that light could lose its shininess. In that case it would not only be useless but also harmful because it would turn into darkness.

In his letters, St. Paul highlights the commitment to which every believer is called as a "child of light":

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.(Romans 13:12-13)

In the writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, and especially in her Diary, the image of light is very recurrent. Just think, for example, of the metaphor of the sun that is used very often. As well as the continuous reference to the divine light that always appears in Luisa’ mystical experience. We could say in a general way that the "Divine Will is light".

I would like to highlight below, in a very synthetic way, some aspects that emerge in her writings. in relation to this subject. 

I think we all know that "living in the Divine Will" is the center of Luisa's mystical experience and of every page of her writings. The simple language, full of examples, stories and images, often mediated by popular images and dialectal expressions, captures and disposes those who approach it to descend into the depths of the expression of the Lord's Prayer "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10).

This is in summary the main content of the Diary composed of 36 handwritten notebooks in the space of time of about forty years (1899-1938). In the writings we do not find thematic units but the continuous flow of a thought that repeatedly takes up the same themes and develops them by revisiting them in the light of new knowledge. There is no lack of references to the personal life of the Servant of God, but they are not the reason for her writing. Indeed, they are only the starting point for a deeper reading of the events. In the same way, "revelations" about future facts or events are never reported. On the contrary references to the life of Jesus are almost adherent to the Gospel fact or as they were commonly known at the time of Piccarreta. Finally, Luisa’s degree of education does not allow her to develop a cultured writing, indeed spelling errors are frequent but this does not detract from the accuracy and coherence of her arguments. The Servant of God defined her revelations as "intellectual revelations" or "knowledges" that with great effort, aware of her limitations, she tried to write down in obedience to her Confessor

For those who read the writings the Divine Will is light in three senses:

1.            It is light for their intelligence

2.            It is light for their will

3.            It is light for their prayer

A.    It is light for knowledge

From her earliest years, Jesus declared to Luisa that He wanted to be her "Master". In fact, Luisa was led through the Eucharist into a gradual assimilation into the Humanity of Christ by the voice she inwardly heard from the day of her First Communion. Through a journey of special graces, she immersed herself "inside" the Most Holy Humanity of Jesus and observed how in Jesus the Divinity "directed His Humanity in everything". Jesus did nothing more than give himself "at the mercy of the Will of the Father". Luisa's understanding then progresses to the mystery of the redemption wrought by Jesus. In fact, since the Divinity of the Lord operated in His Humanity. Luisa understands with clarity that Jesus in the whole course of His earthly life "redid for everyone in general and for each one distinctly" all that each one should have done for God. In this environment of the Eternal Will Jesus saw all the acts of creatures, the acts possible to be done and not done and "the same good acts badly done". Through His redemptive action He remade the acts that had not been and those "badly done". All that each person must do to love God, therefore, was "already done beforehand in the Heart of Christ."

In this way Jesus resumes and brings to fulfillment the plan that God has had for mankind from the beginning and that seemed to have been compromised by the fall of Adam and Eve. The Second Vatican Council recalls in the Constitution Lumen Gentium: "The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer" (n. 2). And in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes it is said  that " the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine" (n. 22).

B.     It is Light for the will

The acts not done by creatures and done only by Jesus, are all "suspended" in Jesus’ Divine Will and are waiting for creatures to repeat in His Will what He did or, in other words, for them to be willing to "live in the Divine Will of Jesus".

The reciprocity between the creature and the Creator is fully realized on earth in the unity between the human will and the Divine Will: the Divine Will works in the human creature and the creature works all in the Divine Will but in a divine way. Not ceasing to be such, the creature perceives as her own the Will of God and acts with this one Will, not in the sense of the annulment of the human will but in full harmony with the divine Will. Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est is illuminating in this regard when he affirms: "The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide: God's will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself.[10] Then self- abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Ps 73 [72]:23-28). (n. 17).

In the writings as a whole, it emerges that "living in the Divine Will" means "reigning" with Jesus, while "doing His Will" means "being at His command". The first is the state of those who "possess", the second is of those who "receive". By living in the Divine Will, the creature does the Will of God "as a thing of her own" to the point of being able to "dispose of it". In fact, using another image, one can also say that "living in the Divine Will" is living "as a child " while merely "doing the Will of God" is living "as a servant" and no one can take away the rights that the son possesses over his father's goods. We can understand how "living in the Divine Will" is the life that comes closest to that of the blessed in Heaven.

C.     It is light for prayer

The question arises spontaneously how it could be possible for a human creature not only to do God's will but even to possess it as her own. It is precisely on this point that the Lord "shows all his cards" to Luisa, declaring with solemnity that it is a "gift" that He has decided to give "in these sad times".

With Pope Francis we could say "It is the time of mercy(…) for each and all, since no one can think that he or she is cut off from God’s closeness and the power of his tender love” (Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, no. 21).

In the writings of the Servant of God, the value of the "gift" of "living in the divine Will of Jesus" is repeatedly stressed, underlining the fact that it is not the fruit of a worthy human effort, but rather of a gift of Love from God. It is not a matter of just doing what God asks of us (the Will of God), but doing it with His own divine Will, acting in that sense "in a divine way". By grace, a continuous exchange between the human will and the Will of God takes place, so that the latter "reigns" and achieves "its possession" in the heart of man. In this way, the primordial genesis plan for the human creature and for the whole of creation is fulfilled, inaugurated in a complete and definitive way in the humanity of Jesus and of the Virgin Mary fully associated with him in the mystery of the Redemption.

This is the novelty of Piccarreta's message: the Divine Will working in the creature and the creature working in a divine way in the Divine Will. The novelty is this Grace of graces, this "gift of gifts": not only to do what God wants but that His Will be in the creature, to form in man "His life", to live and reign with It and in It, in a continuous exchange of human and Divine will, restoring to the creature the divine likeness lost with sin.

If we understand the value of this gift of living united with the Divine Will (knowledge) and the fact that it is possible with our human will to live with it (living in the Divine Will) then we cannot but ask for this with all the trust of children in the continuous prayer of the Our Father "Thy Kingdom come", "may the Will of God be done in us as the blessed in Heaven live it". With the whole Church let’s ask for this gift not only for ourselves but for all humanity.

This "living in the center of the divine Will" sharpens the Servant of God's gaze on the whole of Creation, which also participates in the Divine Will. In fact, this "communion of will with the Creator" makes the human creature capable of interpreting the "silent language" of creatures, who are willed and maintained in existence by God for love of the human creature. Hence the singular "practice" of "turning" to "trace" in every creature the love that God wants to give to man and for communion with the divine Will, to give the glory due to God on behalf of all mankind and with all Creation, to ask for the advent of God's kingdom on earth.

In summary, if the Light of the Divine Will is experienced by us, it has a transforming power. Using a comparison with what Jesus showed to Peter, James and John on Tabor, the light of Jesus has the power to transfigure in the sense of illuminating from within what we are, what God has created us for. This is well expressed by St. Hannibal Maria Di Francia in the introduction to the "Treatise on the Will of God" in which he published some texts taken from Piccarreta's Diary:

 “The pious Author one day said to me: ‘Acting in the Will of God is much more than conforming to the Will of God" In fact, in conforming in all events to the adorable Will of God, the soul in a certain way undergoes the Divine Will as if forced into it; But to act in the Will of God means to identify oneself so closely with all the divine intentions and actions, that the soul expands and is transformed by it, and with God and in God she acts, works, wants and enjoys in God himself" (The 24 hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ with affectionate considerations and reparations and two Treatises on the Divine Will, Tipografia Antoniana, Messina 1925, p. 436).

In synthesis, then, the "light of the Divine Will" is a gentle light, which makes us happy, which, while it makes us understand, gives us the gift of wanting and acting in union with the Divine Will in order to ask that the same gift be given to all men and women of our time. But we cannot forget that everything comes from Jesus, it is a holiness all at "his expense" in which littleness is the only measure we can take. At the same time, it is an entirely active way because, as light, the Divine Will enters into every area of our lives; there is no question, interest or occupation that can be extraneous to it. In fact, Jesus has made my whole life His own. Nothing is extraneous to Him: joys and sorrows, pains and hopes, lights and shadows.

I would like to conclude by quoting the words of Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete ed Exultate regarding the call to holiness in the contemporary world. He says in n. 18:

 “In this way, led by God’s grace, we shape by many small gestures the holiness God has willed for us, not as men and women sufficient unto ourselves but rather “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet 4:10). The New Zealand bishops rightly teach us that we are capable of loving with the Lord’s unconditional love, because the risen Lord shares his powerful life with our fragile lives: “His love set no limits and, once given, was never taken back. It was unconditional and remained faithful. To love like that is not easy because we are often so weak. But just to try to love as Christ loved us shows that Christ shares his own risen life with us. In this way, our lives demonstrate his power at work – even in the midst of human weakness”.

This "sharing of life" with Jesus who is risen and alive among us is the "light of the Divine Will. I believe that the baptism we received and which we will soon remember at Easter is its full expression.

Fr. Sergio Pellegrini

La Redazione
Would you like to enter a comment? Sign up or do the Login!
Last comments 1 of 1
- 3/31/2021