Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
In the Kingdom of the Divine Will
From the Writings of
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
The Little Daughter of the Divine Will
The name of “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.” [Rom 10:13; Acts 2:21; 3:15-16; Gal 2:20] (C.C.C. 2666)
“The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases, [Cf. Mt 6:7] but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” [Cf. Lk 8:15] This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.”(C.C.C. # 2668)
The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, is associated with the Feast of the Circumcision. For in accordance to the Jewish culture of the days when Jesus dwelled on earth, a child became a full member of his family when he was circumcised, at which time he received his name.
The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was officially granted to the Franciscans on February 25, 1530. From there, it spread over a great part of the Church. The Franciscans, the Carmelites, and the Augustinians kept this Feast on January 14th. the Dominicans on January 15. On December 20, 1721, the celebration of the Feast on the second Sunday after Epiphany was extended to the Universal Church.
On the matter of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Saint Bernard (A.D. 1090-1153) expressed:
“The sweet Name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affections. All spiritual food leaves the soul dry, if it contain not that penetrating oil, the Name Jesus. When you take your pen, write the Name Jesus: if you write books, let the Name of Jesus be contained in them, else they will possess no charm or attraction for me; you may speak, or you may reply, but if the Name of Jesus sounds not from your lips, you are without unction and without charm. Jesus is honey in our mouth, light in our eyes, a flame in our heart. This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul. Are you troubled? think but of Jesus, speak but the Name of Jesus, the clouds disperse, and peace descends anew from heaven. Have you fallen into sin? so that you fear death? invoke the Name of Jesus, and you will soon feel life returning. No obduracy of the soul, no weakness, no coldness of heart can resist this holy Name; there is no heart which will not soften and open in tears at this holy name. Are you surrounded by sorrow and danger? invoke the Name of Jesus, and your fears will vanish.”
“Never yet was human being in urgent need, and on the point of perishing, who invoked this help-giving Name, and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills; to soften the impetuosity of anger, to quench the fire of concupiscence, to conquer pride, to mitigate the pain of our wounds, to overcome the thirst of avarice, to quiet sensual passions, and the desires of low pleasures. If we call to our minds the Name of Jesus, it brings before us His most meek and humble heart, and gives us a new knowledge of His most loving and tender compassion. The Name of Jesus is the purest, and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues; it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself. To think of Jesus is to think of the great, infinite God Who, having given us His life as an example, has also bestowed the necessary understanding, energy and assistance to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts, inclinations, words and actions. If the Name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there. We say, therefore, with our great master, St. Paul the Apostle, ‘If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.'”
Around the Most Holy Name of Jesus is found the nucleus of all creation. It includes the Divinity of God. It is the Name of the fullness of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For Jesus revealed to us the Name of the Father when He said, “Holy Father, protect them in Your Name that You have given Me…” [Jn. 17:11-12]
The Most Holy Name of Jesus includes all the mysteries of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that is found in its liturgy. It is the central point of all the Sacraments.
It embraces the Christian life. The believer begins his journey through faith in Jesus. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, he dies with Jesus, is buried with Jesus and is raised as a new creation with Jesus. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the believer for the growth of the Church that was instituted by Jesus on earth. The believers live their faith in Jesus by manifesting love towards their brothers and sisters in Christ. Individual salvation depends entirely on the final judgment of Jesus.
As the central Feast of all the mysteries of Christ, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus unites all the other Feasts of the Lord. If there was no Jesus, there would be no birth of Jesus, no celebration of Christmas, nor the celebration of the glorious resurrection of Jesus, no Easter. There would be no Sacraments, no being reborn again, no resurrection and no salvation. A world without Jesus would be a world without faith, without hope and without charity.
As the name of each individual person embraces the totality of the person, the Most Holy Name of Jesus also embraces the totality of the Divinity. When we think of a person, we remember the name and we visualize their image. Equally, when we think of Jesus, we remember His Name and we visualize the image of God in Jesus. “For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwelled bodily.” [Col. 1:19, 2:9]
So great is the Most Holy Name of Jesus that “God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bend; in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Phil 2:9-11]
Finally, the Most Holy Name of Jesus by not given to our Lord by man; it was given to the Incarnate Word by God Himself. [Lk. 1:31] Because the Name of Jesus is synonym to love and righteousness, many will be hated because of this Name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [Mt. 10:22]
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
In the Kingdom of the Divine Will
Day Twenty-three – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Now, dear child, you must know that the eighth day arrived after the birth of the celestial Baby into the light of the day, and the Divine Fiat sounded the hour of sorrow, ordering us to circumcise the charming little Baby. It was a most painful cut which little Jesus was to go through. It was the law of those times that all the firstborn had to undergo this painful cut. It can be called the law of sin, but my Son was innocent and His law was the law of love; but in spite of all this, since He came to find, not the man-king, but the man-decayed, in order to become his brother and to elevate him, He wanted to lower Himself, submitting Himself to the law.
My child, Saint Joseph and I felt a shiver of pain, but fearless and without hesitation, we called the minister and we had Him circumcised with a most painful cut. At the bitter pain, Baby Jesus cried and flung Himself into my arms, asking for help. Saint Joseph and I blended our tears with His; we gathered the first blood shed by Jesus for love of creatures, and we gave Him the name of Jesus – powerful name – which was to make Heaven and earth tremble, and even hell; a name which was to be balm, defense and help for every heart.
Now, my child, this cut was the image of the cruel cut that man had made to his own soul by doing his own will; and my dear Son allowed Himself to be given this cut in order to heal that hard cut of the human wills – to heal with His blood the wounds of the many sins that the poison of the human will has produced in the creatures. Every act of human will is a cut which is inflicted, and a wound that is opened; and the celestial Baby, with His most painful cut, prepared the remedy for all the human wounds.
Meditation 2 – The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Now, you must know that only eight days had passed from the birth of the Divine Infant. Everything was feast and happiness; the very Creation, taking a festive attitude, celebrated Its Baby Creator. But duty interrupted our joys, because in those times there was a law that all firstborn sons were to undergo the cruel cut of circumcision. My Heart of Mother bled with sorrow in having to submit my dear Son, my Life, my own Creator, to such a bitter pain. Oh, how I would have wanted to take His place! But the Supreme Volition imposed Itself on my love, and giving Me heroism, commanded Me to circumcise the Baby God. My child, you cannot comprehend how much it cost Me; but the Divine Fiat won, and I obeyed, united with Saint Joseph. In mutual agreement, we had my dear Son circumcised. At the painful cut, I felt my Heart being torn, and I cried. Saint Joseph cried too, and my dear Baby sobbed, and His pain was such that He shivered, and looking at me, He sought help. What an hour of pain and spasm for the three of us! It was such that, more than a sea, it engulfed all creatures, to bring them the first pledge and the very Life of my Son, to place them in safety.
Now, blessed child, you must know that this cut enclosed profound mysteries: first, it was the seal that impressed in the little Humanity of the Celestial Baby His brotherhood with the whole human family; and the blood He shed was the first disbursement before Divine Justice in order to ransom all human generations. The dear Baby was innocent – He was not obliged by the law; but He wanted to submit Himself, first, to give the example; and then, to infuse trust and courage, saying to all: “Do not fear; I am your little brother, similar to you. Let us love one another, and I will place you all in safety. I will bring you all to my Celestial Father, as my dear brothers.”
My child, what an example the Celestial Baby gives! He, Who is the Author of the law, obeys the law. He is born only eight days ago, yet He makes it a duty for Himself, submitting Himself to the cruel cut of circumcision; an indelible cut – as indelible as the union He came to form with degraded humanity. This says that sanctity is in doing one’s own duty, in the observance of the laws, and in fulfilling the Divine Will. Sanctity without duty does not exist. It is duty that places order, harmony, and the seal on sanctity.
Furthermore, my child, you must know that as Adam withdrew from the Divine Will, after his short life of innocence, his human will was wounded, more than by a deadly knife, and through this wound entered sin and passions. He lost the beautiful day of the Divine Will, and degraded himself so much as to arouse pity. So, after the joys of His birth, my dear Son wanted to be circumcised, so that His wound might heal the wound that Adam made in himself by doing his own will; and with His blood, He prepared for him the bath, to wash him of all his sins, to strengthen Him and to embellish him, in such a way as to render him worthy to receive again that Divine Will he had rejected, which formed his sanctity and his happiness. Child, there was not one work or pain He suffered, which did not seek to reorder again the Divine Will in creatures.
Therefore, in all circumstances, even painful and humiliating, take to heart doing the Divine Will in everything, because they are the raw material in which It hides in order to operate in the creature, and to let her acquire Its Life acting in the creature.
Now, dearest child, in so much pain, the most beautiful joy arises, such as to arrest our tears. As He was circumcised, we gave Him the Most Holy Name of Jesus, wanted by the Angel. In pronouncing this Most Holy Name, the joy, the contentment, was such as to sweeten our sorrow. More so, since in this name, whoever wanted would find balm for his pains, defense in dangers, victory in temptations, a hand so as not to fall into sin, and the medicine for all his evils. This Most Holy Name of Jesus makes hell tremble; the Angels revere It, and It sounds sweet to the ear of the Celestial Father. Before this Name, all bow down and adore. Powerful Name, holy Name, great Name; whoever invokes It with faith will feel marvels – the miraculous secret of the virtue of this Most Holy Name.
Now, my child, I recommend to you: pronounce always this Name, “Jesus”. When you see that your human will, weak and vacillating, hesitates in doing the Divine, the Name of Jesus will make it rise again in the Divine Fiat. If you are oppressed, call upon Jesus; if you work, call upon Jesus; if you sleep, call upon Jesus; and when you wake up, may your first word be “Jesus”. Call Him always; it is a Name that contains seas of grace, which He gives to those who call Him and love Him.
The soul to her Queen:
Celestial Mama, how I must thank You for the beautiful lessons You have given me. I pray You, inscribe them in my heart, that I may never forget them. I pray You to give the bath of the Blood of the Celestial Baby to my soul, that It may heal the wounds of my human will to enclose in them the Divine; and I pray You to write over each wound, as a guard, the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Today, to honor Me, you will do five acts of love for the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and will compassionate Me in the sorrow I suffered in the circumcision of my Son Jesus.
My Mama, write “Jesus” inside my heart, that He may give me the grace to live of Divine Will.
Volume 2 – August 13, 1899
Jesus assumes the image of Luisa.
He continued to make Himself seen this morning, for just a little, always threatening to send chastisements; and as I would go about praying Him to placate Himself, He would escape me like a flash. The last time He came, He made Himself seen crucified. I placed myself near Him to kiss His most holy wounds, doing various adorations, but while I was doing this, instead of Jesus Christ I saw my own image. I was surprised, and I said: ‘Lord, what am I doing? Am I doing the adorations to myself? This cannot be done.’
At that very instant He changed into the person of Jesus Christ, and He told me: “Do not be surprised that I have assumed your own image. If I suffer in you continuously, what is the wonder that I have assumed your very shape? Besides, is it not to make of you an image of Myself that I make you suffer?” I remained all confused, and Jesus disappeared. May everything be for His glory, and may His holy name be always blessed.
Volume 4 – July 5, 1901
Jesus is the beginning, the means and the end of all desires.
As I was concerned about the state of my soul, all of a sudden my adorable Jesus came and told me: “My daughter, do not be concerned, for I alone am the beginning, the means and the end of all your desires.” With these words I calmed myself in Jesus. May everything be for the glory of God, and may His Holy Name be blessed.
Volume 4 – March 9, 1903
Jesus speaks about humility and about correspondence to grace.
Continuing in my usual state, I could hear blessed Jesus praying in my interior, saying: “Holy Father, glorify your Name; confuse the proud and hide Yourself from them, and manifest Yourself to the humble, because only one who is humble recognizes You as his Creator, and recognizes himself as your creature.” Having said this, He no longer let Himself be heard, though I comprehended the power of humility before God. It seemed to me that God has no restraint in entrusting the most precious treasures to the humble; on the contrary, everything is open for them, nothing is under lock and key. All the opposite for the proud; even more, it seems that He puts a cord around their feet to confuse them at each step.
Volume 10 – January 8, 1910
Then, turning around, as though looking at one of the priests, He added: “I choose you as the head of this work, because I have cast a seed of courage within you. This is a gift, and I do not want you to keep it uselessly. Up until now, you have wasted it in frivolous things, in foolish things and in politics – and these have repaid you by embittering you and by giving you no peace. Now, enough – enough. Give yourself to my work, use the courage I have given you only for Me, and I will be all for you, and will repay you by giving you peace and grace. I will make you acquire that esteem which you have been fishing for back there, and which you have not obtained; or rather, I will not give you human esteem, but Divine.”
Then He said to father G.: “My son, courage, defend my cause; sustain – help those priests whom you see a little disposed for this work. Promise every good in my name to those who will commit themselves, and threaten those who cause contradictions and obstacles. Tell the bishops and the leaders that if they want to save the flock, this is the only means. It is up to them to save the shepherds, and up to the shepherds to save the flock; and if the bishops do not place the shepherds in safety, how can the flock ever be saved?”
Volume 12 – November 28, 1920
When Jesus wants to give, He asks. Effects of the blessing of Jesus.
I was thinking of when my sweet Jesus, in order to begin His sorrowful Passion, wanted to go to His Mama and ask for her blessing. And blessed Jesus told me: “My daughter, how many things does this mystery reveal. I wanted to go to my dear Mama and ask for her blessing, in order to give her the opportunity to ask for my blessing Herself. The pains which she was to bear were too many, and it was just that my blessing would strengthen her. It is my usual way to ask, whenever I want to give, and my Mama understood Me immediately; so much so, that she did not bless Me before asking for my blessing, and only after I blessed her, did she blessed Me.
But this is not all. In order to create the Universe, I pronounced one “FIAT”, and by that one “FIAT” I reordered and embellished heaven and earth. In creating man, my omnipotent Breath infused life in him. Upon beginning my Passion, I wanted to bless my Mama with my omnipotent and creative Word. But I did not bless her only; in my Mama I saw all creatures. She was the one who had primacy over all, and in Her I blessed all, and each one. Even more, I blessed each thought, word, act, etc.; I blessed each thing which had to serve the creature. Just as the Sun, created by my omnipotent “FIAT”, is still following its course for all, and for each mortal, without ever decreasing in light or heat; in the same way, in blessing, my creative Word remained in the act of blessing continuously, without ever ceasing to bless – just as the Sun will never cease to give its light to all creatures.
Yet, this is not all. With my blessing I wanted to renew the qualities of Creation. I wanted to call my Celestial Father to bless, in order to communicate Power to the creature; I wanted to bless her in My name and in the name of the Holy Spirit in order to communicate to her Wisdom and Love, and therefore renew the memory, the intellect and the will of the creature, restoring her as sovereign of all.
However, know that, in giving, I want. My dear Mama understood, and she immediately blessed Me, not only for Herself but in the name of all. Oh! if all could see this blessing of Mine; they would feel it in the water they drink, in the fire that warms them, in the food they take, in the sorrow that afflicts them, in the moans of their prayer, in the remorses of guilt, in the abandonment of creatures. In everything they would hear my creative word saying to them – but, alas, it is not heard: ‘I bless you in the name of the Father, of Myself, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I bless you to help you, I bless you to defend you, to forgive you, to console you – I bless you to make you a saint.” And the creature would echo my blessings, by blessing Me too, in everything. These are the effects of my blessing; and my Church, instructed by Me, echoes Me, and in almost all circumstances – the administration of the Sacraments and others – She gives Her blessing.
Volume 15 – April 14, 1923
How God, in doing works which must serve the good of all, centralizes all the good He wants to give in one creature from the human family.
I was thinking about all that my always lovable Jesus keeps manifesting to me about His Most Holy Will, and many doubts and difficulties arouse within my mind, which I don’t believe it is necessary to say here. Then, moving in my interior and clasping me tightly to His Heart, He told me: “Beloved daughter of my Will, you must know that when I want to do great works – works in which the whole human family is to take part, always if it wants, my usual way is to centralize all the goods and all the graces which this work contains in one single creature, so that all others may draw as much as they want of that good, as though from a fount. When I do individual works, I give limited things, but when I do works which must serve the good of all, I give things without limit.
I did this in the work of Redemption. In order to be able to elevate a creature to conceiving a Man and God, I had to centralize all possible imaginable goods in Her. I had to elevate Her so high as to place in Her the seed of the very Paternal fecundity. So, just as my Celestial Father, virgin, generated Me within His womb with the virginal seed of His eternal fecundity, without the work of a woman, and from the same seed the Holy Spirit proceeded – in the same way, with this eternal seed of the Paternal fecundity, wholly virginal, my Celestial Mama conceived Me in Her virginal womb, without the work of a man. The Sacrosanct Trinity had to give of Its own to this Divine Virgin so that She might conceive Me, the Son of God. My Holy Mama could never have conceived Me without having a seed. Now, since She belonged to the human race, this seed of eternal fecundity gave Her the virtue of conceiving Me as Man; and because the seed was divine, at the same time She conceived Me as God. And just as the Holy Spirit proceeded at the same time as the Father generated Me, in the same way, as I was generated in the womb of my Mama, the generation of souls proceeded at the same time. So, everything that ab æterno [from eternity] occurred to the Most Holy Trinity in Heaven, was repeated in the womb of my dear Mama. The work was immense and incalculable to created mind. I had to centralize all goods, and even Myself, so that all might find whatever they wanted. This is why, since the work of Redemption was to be so great as to overwhelm all generations, I wanted for many centuries the prayers, the sighs, the tears, the penances of so many patriarchs and prophets, and of the whole people of the Old Testament. And I did this in order to dispose them to receive a good so great, and to move Me to centralize in this celestial creature all the goods which everyone was to enjoy. Now, what moved this people to pray, to sigh, etc.? The promise of the future Messiah. This promise was like the seed of so many supplications and tears; had there not been this promise, no one would have given it a thought, no one would have hoped for salvation.
Now, my daughter, let’s come to my Will. Do you think it is a Sanctity like the other sanctities? A good, a grace, almost like the others which I have given for many centuries to the other Saints and to the whole Church? No, no! This is about a new era – about a good which must serve all generations; but it is necessary that I first centralize all this good in one creature alone, just as I did in Redemption by centralizing everything in my Mama. Take a look at how things proceed in a parallel way: in order to make Redemption come and to dispose souls for It, I made the promise of the future Messiah, so that, by hoping for Him to come, they would not only dispose themselves, but find, they too, their own salvation in the future Redeemer. Now, in order to dispose souls to live in my Will, to let them partake in the goods It contains, and to make man return to the path of his origin, just as he was created by Me, I Myself wanted to pray as the first, making my voice resound from one end of the earth to another, and even up high in Heaven, saying: ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven’. I did not say ‘My Father’, but I called Him Father of the whole human family, so as to engage Him in that which I was going to add: ‘May all hallow your Name, so that your Kingdom may come, and your Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven’. This was the purpose of Creation, and I asked the Father that it be fulfilled. As I prayed, the Father surrendered to my supplications, and I formed the seed of a good so great; and so that this seed might be known, I taught my prayer to the Apostles, and they transmitted it to the whole Church, so that, just as the people of the future Redeemer found salvation in Him and disposed itself to receive the promised Messiah, in the same way, with this seed formed by Me, the Church might pray and repeat my very prayer many times, and might dispose Herself to receive the good of recognizing and loving my Celestial Father as their Father, in such a way as to deserve to be loved as children and receive the great good that my Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven.
In this seed and in this hope that my Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven, the very Saints have formed their sanctity, and the martyrs have shed their blood. There is no good which does not derive from this seed. So, the whole Church prays; and just as the tears, the penances, the prayers to obtain the Messiah were directed toward that excelling Virgin whom I was to dispose in order to centralize such a great good in Her, so that they might receive their Savior, even though they did not know whom She would be – in the same way, now, when the Church recites the ‘Our Father’, it is precisely for you that She prays, so that I may centralize in you all the good that my Will contains, the ‘way’ – the ‘how’ the Divine Will may have life on earth as It does in Heaven. And even though you are not known, by echoing my prayer, ‘Thy Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven’, the Church prays Me, presses Me to centralize all this good in a second virgin, so that, like a second savior, she may save unsafe humanity; and making use of my inseparable love and mercy, I may answer my own prayer, united to that of the whole Church, making man come back to his origin, to the purpose for which I created him – that my Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven. This is precisely the living in my Will; and everything I keep manifesting to you pushes you to this, confirms you in this. This is the great foundation I keep forming in your soul; and in order to do this, I keep centralizing in you all the graces, past, present and future, which I have given to all generations. Even more, I double them, I multiply them, because since my Will is the greatest, the holiest, the noblest thing, which has no beginning and no end, in order to place It in one creature, it is right and decorous that I centralize in her all possible goods, innumerable graces, divine purity and nobility, so that this Will of Mine may have the same cortege It has in Heaven. It is the same Will that operated in Redemption, and wanted to make use of a Virgin. What portents and prodigies of graces did It not work in Her? My Will is great, It contains all goods, and in operating, It acts with magnanimity; and if it is about doing works and doing good for all humanity, then It puts all of Its goods at stake.
Now It wants to make use of another virgin in order to centralize Its Will in her, and to begin to make known that Its Will must be done on earth as It is in Heaven. And if in Redemption It wanted to come to save lost man, to satisfy for his sins – which man had no power to do – and to give him refuge and many other goods which Redemption contains, now, wanting to display even more love than in Redemption Itself by making my Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven, my Will comes to give man his state of origin, his nobility, the purpose for which he was created. It comes to open the current between Itself and the human will, in such a way that, absorbed by this Divine Will, being dominated by It, the human will will give It life within itself, and my Will will reign on earth as It does in Heaven.”
Volume 20 – January 28, 1927
… since most reverend Father Di Francia heard that I had a fever, he let me know that, if I were in need, I should take whatever I needed from the money he had left with me for one of his works. And my lovable Jesus, in coming, almost smiling said to me: “My daughter, let father know, in my name, that I thank him and I will reward the goodness of his heart for the care he has for you. However, let him know that the daughter of my Will has no need of anything, for my Will abounds with everything; even more, It is jealous that others may offer something, because It alone wants to give everything to Its daughter. In fact, wherever my Divine Will reigns, there is no danger that natural means and abundance of goods may do harm; on the contrary, the more means she has, and the more abundance she enjoys, the more she looks at the Power, the Goodness, the wealth of the Supreme Fiat in them, and she converts everything into most pure gold of Divine Will. So, the more my Will gives to her, the more It feels glorified in carrying out Its life in the creature, in offering Its own things to the one who lets It dominate and reign. It would be absurd if a very wealthy father had poor children – such a father would deserve to be condemned. And then, what would be the purpose of his riches if the birth that came from his own body – his very children – conducted a life of hardships and miseries? Would it not be a dishonor for this father, and an unbearable bitterness for these children – knowing that, while the father is extremely wealthy, they lack everything and can hardly satisfy their hunger?
Volume 24 – July 29, 1928
Meaning of the blessing and of the sign of the Cross.
My days become more bitter and long because of the privation of my sweet Jesus. The hours are centuries, the days never end; and while I do my usual rounds in the Creation, I want and invite everyone to cry for the One who, flying away from me, leaves me alone and abandoned in my hard martyrdom of living as if I had no life, because the One who formed my true life is no longer with me. So, in my bitterness, I call the Sun to cry tears of light to move Jesus to compassion, so that He would come back to His little exiled one. I call the wind to make tears of moans and of screams, and to deafen the hearing of Jesus with its mighty empire, so as to bend Him to come. I call the sea to my help, so that it would convert all of its waters into tears, and murmuring tears and tumulting with its waves, it may make a tumult deep within His divine Heart, so that He may quickly resolve to give me back His life, my All. But who can say all of my nonsense?
I sought help from all, so that they would make Jesus come back to me. But He would not come; and I would continue my round in His adorable Will, and following all the acts He did when He was on this earth, I stopped when Jesus was blessing the children, blessing His Celestial Mama, blessing the crowds and other things, and I prayed Jesus to bless this little daughter of His, who so much needed it. And He, moving in my interior and raising His arm in the act of blessing me, told me: “My daughter, I bless you from the Heart in your soul and body – may my blessing be the confirmation of Our likeness in you. My blessing confirms in you what the Divinity did in the creation of man – that is, Our likeness. You must know that during the course of my mortal life, in everything I did, I always blessed. It was the first act of Creation that I called back over the creatures, and in order to confirm it, in blessing I invoked the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit. The very Sacraments are animated by these blessings and invocations. So, while calling the likeness to the Creator within souls, my blessing calls also the life of my Divine Will, that It may return as in the beginning of Creation to reign in souls, because my Will alone has the virtue of painting in them, vividly, the likeness of the One who created them, of making it known and of preserving it with its divine live colors.
See then, what blessing means: confirmation of Our creative work, because the work We do once is so filled with wisdom, with sublimity and with beauty, that We love to repeat it always. And if Our blessing is nothing other than the sigh of Our Heart to see Our image restored in the creatures, as well as the repetition of Our confirmation of what We want to do, the sign of the Cross that the Church teaches to the faithful is nothing other than impetrating Our likeness on the part of creatures; and so, echoing Our blessing, they repeat: ‘In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, without knowing it, the Church and all the faithful harmonize with the eternal Creator, and all want the same thing: God, by blessing and pronouncing the words, ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’, wants to give His likeness; the creatures impetrate it by making the sign of the Cross, pronouncing the same words.”
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was born in Corato in the Province of Bari, on April 23,1865 and died there in the odor of sanctity on March 4, 1947.
Luisa had the good fortune to be born into one of those patriarchal families that still survive in our realm of Puglia and like to live deep in the country, peopling our farmhouses. Her parents, Vito Nicola and Rosa Tarantino, had five children: Maria, Rachele, Filomena, Luisa and Angela. Maria, Rachele and Filomena married. Angela, commonly called Angelina, remained single and looked after her sister until she died.
Luisa was born on the Sunday after Easter and was baptized that same day. Her father – a few hours after her birth – wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to the parish church where holy Baptism was administered to her.
Nicola Piccarreta was a worker on a farm belonging to the Mastrorilli family, located at the middle of Via delle Murge in a neighborhood called Torre Disperata, 27 kilometers from Corato. Those who know these places, set among the sunny, bare and stony hills, can appreciate the solemnity of the silence that envelops them. Luisa spent many years of her childhood and adolescence on this farm. In front of the old house, the impressive, centuries-old mulberry tree still stands, with the great hollow in its trunk where Luisa used to hide when she was little in order to pray, far from prying eyes. It was in this lonely, sunny spot place that Luisa’s divine adventure began which was to lead her down the paths of suffering and holiness. Indeed, it was in this very place that she came to suffer unspeakably from the attacks of the devil who at times even tormented her physically. Luisa, to be rid of this suffering, turned ceaselessly to prayer, addressing in particular the Virgin Most Holy, who comforted her by her presence.
Divine Providence led the little girl down paths so mysterious that she knew no joys other than God and his grace. One day, in fact, the Lord said to her: “I have gone round and round the world again and again, and I looked one by one at all my creatures to find the smallest one of all. Among so many I found you. Your littleness pleased me and I chose you; I entrusted you to my angels so that they would care for you, not to make you great, but to preserve your littleness, and now I want to begin the great work of fulfilling my will. Nor will you feel any greater through this, indeed it is my will to make you even smaller, and you will continue to be the little daughter of the Divine Will” (cf. Volume XII, March 23, 1921).
When she was nine, Luisa received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time and Holy Confirmation, and from that moment learned to remain for hours praying before the Blessed Sacrament. When she was eleven she wanted to enroll in the Association of the Daughters of Mary – flourishing at the time – in the Church of San Giuseppe. At the age of eighteen, Luisa became a Dominican Tertiary taking the name of Sr. Maddalena. She was one of the first to enroll in the Third Order, which her parish priest was promoting. Luisa’s devotion to the Mother of God was to develop into a profound Marian spirituality, a prelude to what she would one day write about Our Lady.
Jesus’ voice led Luisa to detachment from herself and from everyone. At about eighteen, from the balcony of her house in Via Nazario Sauro, she had a vision of Jesus suffering under the weight of the Cross, who raised his eyes to her saying: “O soul, help me!“. From that moment an insatiable longing to suffer for Jesus and for the salvation of souls was enkindled in Luisa. So began those physical sufferings which, in addition to her spiritual and moral sufferings, reached the point of heroism.
The family mistook these phenomena for sickness and sought medical help. But all the doctors consulted were perplexed at such an unusual clinical case. Luisa was subject to a state of corpse-like rigidity – although she showed signs of life – and no treatment could relieve her of this unspeakable torment. When all the resources of science had been exhausted, her family turned to their last hope: priests. An Augustinian priest, Fr. Cosma Loiodice, at home because of the Siccardian* laws, was summoned to her bedside: to the wonder of all present, the sign of the Cross which this priest made over the poor body, sufficed to restore her normal faculties instantly to the sick girl. After Fr. Loiodice had left for his friary, certain secular priests were called in who restored Luisa to normality with the sign of the Cross. She was convinced that all priests were holy, but one day the Lord told her: “Not because they are all holy – indeed, if they only were! – but simply because they are the continuation of my priesthood in the world you must always submit to their priestly authority; never oppose them, whether they are good or bad” (cf. Volume I). Throughout her life, Luisa was to be submissive to priestly authority. This was to be one of the greatest sources of her suffering. Her daily need for the priestly authority in order to return to her usual tasks was her deepest mortification. In the beginning, she suffered the most humiliating misunderstandings on the part of the priests themselves who considered her a lunatic filled with exalted ideas, who simply wanted to attract attention. Once they left her in that state for more than twenty days. Luisa, having accepted the role of victim, came to experience a most peculiar condition: every morning she found herself rigid, immobile, huddled up in bed, and no one was able to stretch her out, to raise her arms or move her head or legs. As we know, it required the presence of a priest who, by blessing her with the sign of the Cross, dispelled that corpse-like rigidity and enabled her to return to her usual tasks (lace-making). She was a unique case in that her confessors were never spiritual directors, a task that Our Lord wanted to keep for himself. Jesus made her hear his voice directly, training her, correcting her, reprimanding her if necessary and gradually leading her to the loftiest peaks of perfection. Luisa was wisely instructed and prepared during many years to receive the gift of the Divine Will.
The archbishop at that time, Giuseppe Bianchi Dottula (December 22, 1848-September 22,1892), came to know of what was happening in Corato; having heard the opinion of several priests, he wished to exercise his authority and assume responsibility for this case. After mature reflection he thought it right to delegate to Luisa a special confessor, Fr. Michele De Benedictis, a splendid figure of a priest, to whom she opened every nook and cranny of her soul. Fr. Michele, a prudent priest with holy ways, imposed limits on her suffering and instructed her to do nothing without his permission. Indeed, it was Fr. Michele who ordered her to eat at least once a day, even if she immediately threw up everything she had swallowed. Luisa was to live on the Divine Will alone. It was under this priest that she received permission to stay in bed all the time as a victim of expiation. This was in 1888. Luisa remained nailed to her bed of pain, sitting there for another 59 years, until her death. It should be noted that until that time, although she had accepted her state as a victim, she had only occasionally stayed in bed, since obedience had never permitted her to stay in bed all the time. However, from New Year 1889 she was to remain there permanently.
In 1898 the new prelate, Archbishop Tommaso de Stefano (March 24, 1898 – 13 May 1906) delegated as her new confessor Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro, who carried out this task for twenty-four years. The new confessor, glimpsing the marvels that the Lord was working in this soul, categorically ordered Luisa to put down in writing all that God’s grace was working within her. None of the excuses made by the Servant of God to avoid obeying her confessor in this were to any avail. Not even her scant literary education could excuse her from obedience to her confessor. Fr. Gennaro Di Gennaro remained cold and implacable, although he knew that the poor woman had only been to elementary school. Thus on February 28, 1899, she began to write her diary, of which there are thirty-six large volumes! The last chapter was written on December 28, 1939, the day on which she was ordered to stop writing.
Her confessor, who died on September 10,1922, was succeeded by the canon, Fr. Francesco De Benedictis, who only assisted her for four years, because he died on January 30, 1926. Archbishop Giuseppe Leo (January 17, 1920-January 20,1939) delegated a young priest, Fr. Benedetto Calvi, as her ordinary confessor. He stayed with Luisa until she died, sharing all those sufferings and misunderstandings that beset the Servant of God in the last years of her life.
At the beginning of the century, our people were lucky enough to have Blessed Annibale Maria Di Francia present in Puglia. He wanted to open in Trani male and female branches of his newly founded congregation. When he heard about Luisa Piccarreta, he paid her a visit and from that time these two souls were inseparably linked by their common aims. Other famous priests also visited Luisa, such as, for example, Fr. Gennaro Braccali, the Jesuit, Fr. Eustachio Montemurro, who died in the odor of sanctity, and Fr. Ferdinando Cento, Apostolic Nuncio and Cardinal of Holy Mother Church. Blessed Annibale became her extraordinary confessor and edited her writings, which were little by little properly examined and approved by the ecclesiastical authorities. In about 1926, Blessed Annibale ordered Luisa to write a book of memoirs of her childhood and adolescence. He published various writings of Luisa’s, including the book L’orologio della Passione, which acquired widespread fame and was reprinted four times. On October 7,1928, when the house of the sisters of the Congregation of Divine Zeal in Corato was ready, Luisa was taken to the convent in accordance with the wishes of Blessed Annibale. Blessed Annibale had already died in the odor of sanctity in Messina.
In 1938, a tremendous storm was unleashed upon Luisa Piccarreta: she was publicly disowned by Rome and her books were put on the Index. At the publication of the condemnation by the Holy Office, she immediately submitted to the authority of the Church.
A priest was sent from Rome by the ecclesiastical authorities, who asked her for all her manuscripts, which Luisa handed over promptly and without a fuss. Thus all her writings were hidden away in the secrecy of the Holy Office.
On October 7, 1938, because of orders from above, Luisa was obliged to leave the convent and find a new place to live. She spent the last nine years of her life in a house in Via Maddalena, a place which the elderly of Corato know well and from where, on March 8, 1947, they saw her body carried out.
Luisa’s life was very modest; she possessed little or nothing. She lived in a rented house, cared for lovingly by her sister Angela and a few devout women. The little she had was not even enough to pay the rent. To support herself she worked diligently at making lace, earning from this the pittance she needed to keep her sister, since she herself needed neither clothes nor shoes. Her sustenance consisted of a few grams of food, which were prepared for her by her assistant, Rosaria Bucci. Luisa ordered nothing, desired nothing, and instantly vomited the food she swallowed. She did not look like a person near death’s door, but nor did she appear perfectly healthy. Yet she was never idle, she spent her energy either in her daily suffering or her work, and her life, for those who knew her well, was considered a continuous miracle.
Her detachment from any payments that did not come from her daily work was marvelous! She firmly refused money and the various presents offered to her on any pretext. She never accepted money for the publication of her books. Thus one day she told Blessed Annibale that she wanted to give him the money from her author’s royalties: “I have no right to it, because what is written there is not mine” (cf. Preface of the L’orologio della Passione, Messina, 1926). She scornfully refused and returned the money that pious people sometimes sent her.
Luisa’s house was like a monastery, not to be entered by any curious person. She was always surrounded by a few women who lived according to her own spirituality, and by several girls who came to her house to learn lace-making. Many religious vocations emerged from this “upper room”. However, her work of formation was not limited to girls alone, many young men were also sent by her to various religious institutes and to the priesthood.
Her day began at about 5.00 a.m., when the priest came to the house to bless it and to celebrate Holy Mass. Either her confessor officiated, or some delegate of his: a privileged granted by Leo XIII and confirmed by St. Pius X in 1907. After Holy Mass, Luisa would remain in prayer and thanksgiving for about two hours. At about 8.00 a.m. she would begin her work which she continued until midday; after her frugal lunch she would stay alone in her room in meditation. In the afternoon – after several hours of work – she would recite the holy Rosary. In the evening, towards 8.00 p.m., Luisa would begin to write her diary; at about midnight she would fall asleep. In the morning she would be found immobile, rigid, huddled up on her bed, her head turned to the right, and the intervention of priestly authority would be necessary to recall her to her daily tasks and allow her to sit up in bed.
Luisa died at the age of eighty-one years, ten months and nine days, on March 4, 1947, after a fortnight of illness, the only one diagnosed in her life, a bad attack of pneumonia. She died at the end of the night, at the same hour when every day the priest’s blessing had freed her from her state of rigidity. Archbishop Francesco Petronelli (May 25, 1939-June 16, 1947) archbishop at the time. Luisa remained sitting up in bed. It was impossible to lay her out and – an extraordinary phenomenon – her body never suffered rigor mortis and remained in the position in which it had always been.
Hardly had the news of Luisa’s death spread, like a river in full spate, all the people streamed into her house and police intervention was necessary to control the crowds that flocked there day and night to visit Luisa, a woman very dear to them. A voice rang out: “Luisa the Saint has died“. To contain all the people who were going to see her, with the permission of the civil authorities and health officials, her body was exposed for four days with no sign of corruption. Luisa did not seem dead, she was sitting up in bed, dressed in white; it was as though she were asleep, because as has already been said, her body did not suffer rigor mortis. Indeed, without any effort her head could be moved in all directions, her arms raised, her hands and all her fingers bent. It was even possible to lift her eyelids and see her shining eyes that had not grown dim. Everyone believed that she was still alive, immersed in a deep sleep. A council of doctors, summoned for this purpose, declared, after attentively examining the corpse, that Luisa was truly dead and that her death should be accepted as real and not merely apparent, as everyone had imagined.
Luisa had said that she was born “upside down”, and that therefore it was right that her death should be “upside down” in comparison with that of other creatures. She remained in a sitting position as she had always lived, and had to be carried to the cemetery in this position, in a coffin specially made for her with a glass front and sides, so that she could be seen by everyone, like a queen upon her throne, dressed in white with the Fiat on her breast. More than forty priests, the chapter and the local clergy took part in the funeral procession; the sisters took turns to carry her on their shoulders, and an immense crowd of citizens surrounded her: the streets were incredibly full; even the balconies and rooftops of the houses were swarming with people, so that the procession wound slowly onwards with great difficulty. The funeral rite of the little daughter of the Divine Will was celebrated in the main church by the entire chapter. All the people of Corato followed the body to the cemetery. Everyone tried to take home a keepsake or a flower, after having touched her body with it; a few years later, her remains were translated to the parish of Santa Maria Greca.
In 1994, on the day of the Feast of Christ the King, in the main church, Archbishop Carmelo Cassati, in the presence of a large crowd including foreign representatives, officially opened the beatification cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.
1865 – Luisa Piccarreta was born on April 23, the Sunday after Easter, in Corato, Bari, to Nicola Vito and Rosa Tarantino, who had five daughters: Maria, Rachele, Filomena, Luisa and Angela. A few hours after Luisa’s birth, her father wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the main church for baptism. Her mother had not suffered the pangs of labor: her birth was painless.
1872 – She received Jesus in the Eucharist on the Sunday after Easter, and the sacrament of Confirmation was administered to her on that same day by Archbishop Giuseppe Bianchi Dottula of Trani.
1883 – At the age of eighteen, from the balcony of her house, she saw Jesus, bent beneath the weight of the Cross, who said to her: “O soul! Help me!“. From that moment, solitary soul that she was, she lived in continuous union with the ineffable sufferings of her Divine Bridegroom.
1888 – She became a Daughter of Mary and a Dominican Tertiary with the name of Sr. Maddalena
1885-1947 – A chosen soul, a seraphic bride of Christ, humble and devout, whom God had endowed with extraordinary gifts, an innocent victim, a lightening conductor of Divine Justice, bedridden for sixty-two years without interruption, she was a herald of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
March 4 – Full of merits, in the eternal light of the Divine Will she ended her days as she had lived them, to triumph with the angels and saints in the eternal splendor of the Divine Will.
March 7 – For four days her mortal remains were exposed for the veneration of an immense throng of the faithful who went to her house to have a last look at Luisa the Saint, so dear to their hearts. The funeral was a realm triumph; Luisa passed like a queen, borne aloft on shoulders among the lines of people. All the clergy, secular and religious, accompanied Luisa’s body. The funeral liturgy took place in the main church with the participation of the entire chapter. In the afternoon, Luisa was buried in the family Chapel of the Calvi family.
Jul 3,1963 – Her mortal remains were definitively laid to rest in Santa Maria Greca.
November 20, 1994 – Feast of Christ the King: Archbishop Carmelo Cassati officially opened the Beatification Cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta in the principal church of Corato, in the presence of a huge crowd of people, locals and foreigners.
2005 – Archbishop Giovanni Battista Picchierri, Archbishop of Trani. It is he who requested that the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta be continued.
Trani – Barletta – Bisceglie – Nazareth
70059 TRANI – VIA BELTRANI, 9 – TEL.0883-583498
Trani, June 4, 2005
The “Divine Will” has guided the Archdiocese, in this last decade, for the completion of the works regarding the process of the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. The Diocesan Postulation announces having completed this journey. It communicates that on the days of the 27th, 28th, and 29th of October 2005 it will celebrate the 2nd International Congress with the conclusion of the diocesan process.
The Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will*, in Corato, has been charged with performing the job of Secretary for the celebration and welcome of guests. Later the program of the celebration will be published in a definitive way.
May Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist guide us as He has guided His Servant Luisa.
The Vicar General
(His Grace Savino Giannotti)
* Pious Association Luisa Piccarreta Little Children of the Divine Will
70033 Corato (BA) – Via Nazario Sauro, 27 – Tel. +39.080.8982221