A Manual for Priests
Instructing the laity
Gift of Living in the Divine Will
Rev. J.L. Iannuzzi, STD, Ph.D.
Nota bene: The following instructions are a synopsis of the approved doctoral dissertation of the Pontifical University of Rome authorized by the Holy See, which bears the seals of ecclesiastical approval. The dissertation by Rev. Joseph L. Iannuzzi, STD is entitled, “Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta – an inquiry into the early ecumenical councils, and patristic, scholastic and contemporary theology” and is available for purchase online. 1
1 - Public and Private Revelation
The Catholic Catechism states the following: “No new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it had not been completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries” (CCC, 66).
In this article one discovers the progressive disclosure (explication) of public revelation. If, on the one hand, this article relates that Jesus revealed to us everything we need for salvation and no new “public” revelation (the Deposit of Faith) is to be expected, on the other hand, it affirms that not everything in the public revelation of Christ was revealed to us “explicitly”! Concerning Jesus’ unexplicated doctrines, I recall Jesus’ words to his disciples before departing from this world: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will teach you all the truth” (Jn. 16:12).
Church documents of the past 2,000 years further testify to the continuing, ongoing disclosure of public revelation, as they never state that revelation has “ended” with Christ, but rather that Christ’s public revelation is “complete.” Unfortunately the 19th-century employment of the word “end” in actual fact is a very unfortunate rendering of the Latin compleo, which the Church employs to describe Christ’s public revelation. In fact, compleo doesn’t signify “end” at all, but instead it means the foundation of revelation that in Christ is constituted once and for all, but revelation occurs through the official teaching voice of the Church (Magisterium) as well as through the office of prophet (through whom the Church today receives private revelations) whom St. Paul lists immediately after the office of apostle: “God has appointed in his Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, fourth miracles…” (1 Cor. 12:28). 2
This is one of the many reasons why the Church’s “private” revelations – while not essential to our salvation, nevertheless valuable for our sanctification – are of importance today, as they constitute the continuing and ongoing unfolding of Christ’s “public” revelation. Their importance is witnessed in the spiritual consequences that would have ensued if the Church ignored them: Had the Church ignored the private revelations of St. Margaret Mary we would neither have today’s promise of eternal salvation through the observance of the first 9 Friday’s of each month nor the Feast of the Sacred Heart; had it ignored the private revelations of St. Faustina we would not have the Feast of Divine Mercy that grants a total remission of all sin and punishment; had it ignored the private revelations of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta we would not have God’s greatest gift to the Church, i.e., Living in the Divine Will that bequeaths to the soul on earth the same glory and greater merit than the saints in heaven.
In sum, while “public” revelation refers to that period of the Church when Christ proclaimed the Good News of salvation of which the apostles bore written testimony, and that is forever constituted and normatively witnessed in Scripture, “private” revelations explicate public revelation with a new message from Christ to the churches today that is rooted in Tradition. The renowned theologians Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Urs von Balthasar, René Laurentin and Karl Rahner agree that revelation “never ends”, and that with Christ and the apostles such revelation is “materially” fulfilled in him and normatively transmitted by the apostles in the form of Scripture. However, since with the course of the centuries there are new times and circumstances, and God continues to reveal himself to his Church in every age, revelation that was materially fulfilled with Christ always requires a new “form”, and this form is often the written testimony of many of today’s prophets, such as Luisa. 3
2 – Who is Luisa Piccarreta?
2.1 – Life
April 23, 1865: Luisa’s birth and Baptism on Sunday «in albis» (exactly 130 years later Pope John Paul II proclaimed this day «Divine Mercy Sunday»).
April 23, 1874: At the age of 9 on Sunday «in albis» Luisa receives her first Communion and Confirmation. She begins to hear Jesus’ voice.
1878: At the age of 13, Luisa receives her first vision of Jesus carrying the Cross who implores her, «Soul, help Me»!
1881: At the age of 16, Luisa accepts the state of victimhood and is intermittently confined to bed.
1882: At the age of 17, Luisa composes the Christmas Novena that she would recite every year for the rest of her life.
November, 1887: At the age of 22 Luisa is definitively confined to bed.
October 16, 1888: At the age of 23 Luisa experiences her first nuptial of spiritual marriage on earth.
September 7, 1889: At the age of 24 Luisa experiences her second nuptial of spiritual marriage in heaven, i.e., the gift of Living in the Divine Will in which Jesus takes possession of Luisa’s heart. Several days later the Trinity confirms Luisa and establishes in her heart its divine indwelling.
Undated Entry: Luisa experiences her third nuptial, the spiritual marriage of the Cross.
February 28, 1899: At the age of 33 in obedience to her confessor Luisa begins to write.
November 16, 1900: At the age of 35 Luisa experiences her fourth nuptial in which she takes possession of Jesus’ heart, receives three divine breathes, and embarks on becoming centered in the Divine Will and on possessing it entirely and completely.
November 12, 1925: Pope Pius XI institutes the Feast of Christ the King.
October 7, 1928: At the age of 63 Luisa moves into the Sisters of the Divine Zeal Orphanage in Corato. 4
August 31, 1938: Three of Luisa’s works are placed on the Index of Prohibited Books, beside those of Faustina Kowalska and Antonio Rosmini – all of which were eventually rehabilitated by the Church.
October 7, 1938: At the age of 73 Luisa leaves the Sisters of the Divine Zeal Orphanage. Rev. Benedetto Calvi relocates Luisa to Via Magdalena where she would spend her final years.
December 28, 1938: Luisa’s writes her last volume (the 36th volume).
March 4, 1947: After a short bout with pneumonia — the only diagnosable illness of her life — Luisa Piccarreta dies.
November 20, 1994: Opening of Luisa’s Cause for Beatification; she receives the title Servant of God.
October 29, 2005: Luisa’s Cause of Beatification concludes its diocesan iter.
2.2 – Doctrine
2.2.1 – The 3 Fiats of Creation, Redemption & Sanctification: While each of the three divine Persons are distinct but inseparable, many theologians including Augustine, maintain that God’s ad extra works may be appropriated to each Person. In Luisa’s text this appropriation attributes to God the Father the work of creation, to God the Son the work of Redemption, and to God the Holy Spirit the work of sanctification.
2.2.2 – The 3 modes of prayer and action: In light of John of the Cross’s tripartition of the three stages of mystical union with God, i.e., purgation, illumination and unification, and Teresa of Avila’s 7 interior mansions, mystical theologians reveal two modes of praying and acting: The human mode (modo humano) and divine mode (modo divino). The human mode corresponds to John’s stage of purgation stage and Teresa’s first 3 mansions. The divine mode corresponds to John’s illumination and unification stages, and Teresa’s 4-7 mansions. Until the gift of Living in the Divine Will was freely actualized by God in the Church, no mention was made of an eternal mode, that is, until Luisa’s approved writings revealed that the gift of Living in the Divine Will admits the human being to God’s eternal mode, whereby God absorbs and elevates the 5 soul’s prayers and actions to continuously participate in the Trinity’s one eternal operation. Because God’s Triune operation is eternal, and therefore transcends time and space, its elevation of the soul’s acts empower them to transcend time and space and to multilocate, concomitantly impacting all creatures of the past, present and future, rational and irrational. By this means, to the soul is restored the gift that Adam and Eve, and Jesus and Mary possessed, and that restores to it the office of crown of all creation. Similar to Daniel’s chapter 3.57ff and David’s Psalm 148, whose prayers in the divine mode impacted creatures of their time, Luisa’s “rounds” throughout creation provide a method of praying in the eternal mode that impacts creatures of all time.
2.2.3 – A new holiness: While to Luisa Jesus reveals that the eternal mode of holiness is a new sanctity that surpasses all other forms of sanctity, this affirmation requires qualification. The mystical life in many respects is a subjectively experiential phenomenon, and it is often beyond our ken to objectively determine the greatness of one individual’s sanctity, much less compare one sanctity to another. In point of fact, Jesus reassures Luisa that the gift of Living in his Divine Will is not so much a call to personal sanctity, as it is a call to sanctify all things for the realization of his kingdom. While it is futile therefore to make comparisons between this or that sanctity, it is safe to assert that one form of sanctity may be greater than another when its greatness is determined by the intrinsic nature of the gift, and not by the recipient’s faithful correspondence to whatever grace God may wish to grant it, which correspondence God alone beholds.
2.2.4 – Difference between “doing” and “living” in the Divine Will: In considering the divine and eternal modes of prayer and action, Jesus reveals to Luisa the expressions, “doing the Divine Will” to signify the former, and “Living in the Divine Will” to signify the latter. He affirms that “Living in the Divine Will” is the model that is “closest to the blessed in heaven” and as distant from “doing the Divine Will” “as that of heaven from earth”. The following analogy depicts these two modes: The divine mode of prayer is that of a saintly person on earth who wishes to pray for the deceased souls in a cemetery. To do so, he must walk from one tomb stone to another to see who it is he is to pray for and then pray for that soul, one soul at a time. The eternal mode of prayer is that of one who, 6 in wishing to pray for the souls in a cemetery, is taken above in a plane and beholds all souls in one bird’s-eye-view to pray for all concomitantly. Living in the Divine Will is to invite God’s one eternal operation into our finite prayers and actions, who bequeaths to them an eternal quality, whereby they impact all souls of the past, present and future concomitantly.
2.2.5 – The gift of Living in the Divine Will establishes in the soul Jesus’ “Real Life”. This Real Life is identical to Jesus’ “Real Presence” in the Eucharist, and it is perpetuated in the soul who lives in the Divine Will. The Baltimore Catechism affirmed that after one consumes the consecrated Host, the accidents of bread remain in him for about 15 minutes, and then they are digested. In the soul who lives in the Divine Will, Jesus tells Luisa that although the accidents are consumed, his presence in the consecrated Host is perpetuated in that soul, thus constituting his Real Life. By this means, the soul who lives in the Divine Will becomes a “Living Host”, that is, another Jesus, interceding on behalf of mankind.
2.3 – Spirituality
2.3.1 – The Morning Offering in the Divine Will (see attachment): (Luisa also refers to this as the “prevenient act”). Jesus asks that we recite this prayer at the first rising of the day, for in doing so, we invite God’s one eternal operation in all of our thoughts, words and actions throughout the day. Accordingly, God absorbs our finite acts into his all-embracing operation that sustains and enlivens all things. By his means, all that which we think, say and do, sustains and enlivens all creatures throughout the cosmos.
2.3.2 – The renewal of the Morning Offering throughout the day: (Luisa also refers to this as the “present act”). Because distractions throughout the day may lessen the efficacy of our Morning Offering prayer, we are asked renew it from time to time during the day. This renewal may either be a repetition of the same Morning Offering words, or it may be a simple aspiration of one or two sentences in which we invite the Trinity to 7 continuously operate in our memory, intellect and will, and continuously empower our breath, heartbeat, life blood.
2.3.3 – The “Rounds” in creation: Each day the soul seeks to requite the love God placed in creation out of love for it, by going throughout creation adoring, thanking and glorifying God. Here the soul “bilocates” itself within creation by assimilating its thoughts, words and acts, with those of all humans, and it praises, adores and thanks God on behalf of creatures of the cosmos. By assimilating in its daily life its every, thought, word and action with those all creatures, the soul divinizes the activity of all creatures. Indeed, Jesus tells Luisa that in his hidden life his every breath, step, word, and even most menial acts, divinized all human activity and the activity of all creatures – while his Passion redeemed man, his hidden life divinized man.
Luisa accomplished her Rounds with one of two movements of her soul. To better illustrate this interior dynamic, her first interior movement is general, whereby she offered to God the love, praise and thanksgiving of and for all creatures at once. Her second interior movement is particular, whereby she offers to God all things individually or in clusters, e.g., the acts of all humans, the motions of the stars, of the trees, etc. Reminiscent of Daniel’s chapter 3.57ff and David’s Psalm 148, she did her Rounds, but with God’s eternal operation, she impacted all creatures concomitantly.
2.3.4 – The repetition of the soul’s “divine acts”: Divine acts are the Trinity’s one eternal operation (that transcends time and space and impacts all creatures concomitantly) absorbing our finite acts in such a way that our acts impact all creatures too. Such divine acts dispose all humans to receive the gift of Living in the Divine Will, they help “set creation free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom. 8), they dispose the world for a universal era of peace, and they help realize on earth the fulfillment of the Our Father prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
2.3.5 – Meditation on The Hours of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ (see attachment): This is perhaps the most indulgenced work Luisa wrote, as the prayers contained in this meditation help save souls and avert calamities, offer protection to souls and make reparation to God. Jesus tells Luisa that those who regularly meditate on this 8 work, if they are tempted, will overcome all weakness, and if they are imperfect, will become holy and attain perfection. Moreover, he assures her that there is not a soul that enters purgatory or heaven that does not benefit from these Hours of the Passion.
2.3.6 – Meditation on The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will’s 36 lessons that teach us how to Live in the Divine Will (see attachment): These are daily meditations for each day during the month of May (including 5 extra lessons at the request of her confessor), but they may be used for meditation during any month. As Jesus gave us lessons in 36 volumes, so here Mary offers us 36 lessons.
2.3.7 – The 36 Volumes: These contain Jesus’ revelations to Luisa on how to Live in the Divine Will. The 36 volumes comprise over 5,000 pages written by Luisa who possessed little more than a first-grade education. Of the 36 volumes, the first group of 12 address the Fiat of Redemption, the second group of the 12 address the Fiat of Creation, and the third group of 12 address the Fiat of Sanctification. While Luisa wrote in scattered and uncoordinated manner, her doctrine – as demonstrated in my doctoral thesis, remains unassailable. Her 36 volumes are primarily intended for the Church’s hierarchy, its priests and bishops, whom Jesus calls to review and interpret them in light of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and Magisterial teachings. These are to then convey them to the laity with doctrinally sound and short teachings. Because few laity will have the time to read over 5,000 pages, all 36 volumes have been systematically presented and condensed in 400 pages for the laity in the thesis entitled, “The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta (available online for purchase). This thesis was officially approved in 2013 by the Pontifical University of Rome authorized by the Holy See.
2.3.8 – The soul’s progression in the Divine Will: Some souls live imperfectly in the Divine Will, other more perfectly, and yet others to the point of immersing themselves completely in the Divine Will.
2.3.9 – The Four Steps to Living in the Divine Will: Desire (admits us to this gift), knowledge (advances us in this gift), virtue (anchors us in this gift), and life (actualizes this gift).