Invited to be one with God, the soul allows infused charity to plunge it into the very center of God’s mysteries where all becomes clear. The soul realizes, “God created me. I came from his hands. He gave me a name and placed me in the middle of his people. He gave me a task, with only so much time to accomplish it. He gave me Mary as my mother, and the angels and saints as my companions”.
The mysteries continue to unfold. “He gave me my parents and my family. I was born in a definite place and time, the perfect circumstances, the culture in which I will spread his kingdom”. In this way, God’s call contained in the divine life is released. Happy the soul who hears God’s voice and believes and acts.
Divine life transfers the soul from the Kingdom of Darkness into Jesus’ Kingdom of Light. However, because every soul retains remnants and vestiges of darkness it perceives a war going on within. Two powers battle for the soul. A wise soul realizes both the pull of darkness (back to its previous selfish state) and the power of this new divine life that wants to establish the soul forever into the kingdom of light.
Many souls have no idea of this daily struggle. They have little interest in the divine life of their Baptism and as a result, the original victory is surrendered. The soul forsakes the light and lives in darkness.
O soul, let me awaken you to the great powers of divine life already infused into you. These powers will propel you into the heart of Jesus and will help you to live as he lived. Let these powers be released. I will give you the secret – consecrate yourself to my Immaculate Heart and the powers of the Spirit will flow freely.
This divine life within the soul contains every power which the soul needs to become holy and united with God forever. Because this life always strives for growth and completeness, the heavenly Father has provided special, external helps, called sacraments, that serve this divine life and bring it to its fullness.
Confirmation is the sacrament of Christian adulthood. A child experiences two lives. The first is lived in the context of the family, the years of growing up. The second occurs as the child grows and leaves the parent’s home for a life in the world.
Within the family, all is provided and the child lives dependently. A time comes for the child to shed this dependency and to forge his own way. Obviously, he must develop different skills and he needs much greater understanding.
This is an example of the graces given at Confirmation, which equips the soul to find its way and to cope with the problems presented by adulthood.
Although filled with divine life, the soul remains all during its earthly life on the battlefield between good and evil. In the midst of this daily battle, the soul might sustain some wounds. We call these venial sins. At times, in the great darkness of the battle, the divine life might even be struck a mortal blow (called mortal sin).
Jesus has foreseen these moments of wounds and even possible spiritual death. He has provided two gifts, one interior and the other exterior. The baptized soul has been permanently changed. Even in spiritual death, it retains the capacity to be restored to life. The powers of Baptism can be stirred again into the flame of life.
Second, Jesus has provided the sacrament of confession and has given the Church (who baptized the soul) the power to heal the wounds of venial sin and to raise to life any soul that has died by mortal sin. Tomorrow, I will explain this sacrament in great detail.
Baptism cleanses the soul and pours out a divine life that is spotless. However, this life is received by a human person who will be subjected to many temptations. The years are long and the battles are great. The soul needs help. Can they not be baptized again? Does not this divine life carry within itself the power to constantly respond to divine forgiveness?
My son, Jesus, has prepared everything. He has foreseen these struggles and even sins committed after Baptism. When he told his apostles, “ Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, shall be forgiven”, he foresaw every soul who would need the second Baptism of confession. He foresaw. He made provision. He established another sacrament. He gave this power to his Church.
O Reader, take advantage of this sacrament. Do not put it aside. It contains special powers of restoring and cleansing your divine life. Go to confession. I will wait for you there.
Who can speak fully of this mystery? Even my own lips cannot find words to adequately praise this divine gift. The mystery began when the Holy Spirit overshadowed me and formed the humanity of Jesus from my body and blood.
During his ministry, Jesus promised to give his body and blood as food and drink even saying, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn.6:54). Many did not believe and they walked away.
Finally, on the night that Judas betrayed him, Jesus said to his disciples, “Take and eat. This is my Body. Take and drink, this is the cup of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me”. What happened that night at an unknown table in Jerusalem, is now celebrated every day on thousands of altars in every part of the world. Holy souls are nourished. Weak souls are strengthened. Sinful souls are invited to repent so they, too, can receive. All are invited. How can I describe this mystery? Tomorrow, I will speak of my own First Communion.
After Pentecost, I gathered, just like the other believers, to celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist and to receive Holy Communion. I will try to explain my inner feelings and all that happened to me.
First, I was filled with the greatest expectation. I had given Jesus his body and blood. Now, I was to receive it. Jesus would again live within me (how familiar this would be to him). His Body and Blood, of course, had been changed. He had lived his life of obedience. He had died and had risen into glory and his body had ascended into its place within the Trinity (where all the just will join him).
When Jesus came to me in Communion, he stirred up all my human memories. When devout souls communicate, they try to recall the stories of Jesus, imagining some event in the gospels. For myself, my own heart overflows with maternal memories. I pondered Jesus’ every word and deed. At Communion, all of these were stirred. I relived every event. All the mysteries came alive. At this First Communion, I was immersed again in my entire life with Jesus. Together, we relived all the memories. They were, in a sense, more real than when they happened because Jesus was not outside of me but within. What a union we enjoyed and what emotions filled my heart. I possessed the One who had created me and the one to whom I gave his Body and Blood.
He to whom I had given birth, whom I accompanied to the cross and had experienced in the glory of the resurrection, had now returned to me through this mystery of Holy Communion. During pregnancy, a mother enjoys a relationship with the child of her womb. She imagines what it will be like to hold the child, to feed the child and to watch the child grow.
When Jesus returned and I once more held him in my heart, my relationship to him was not imaginary. Together we had redeemed the world. Every soul was in our hearts. O Reader, on the day of my First Holy Communion, you were there. We spoke of you . We thought of you. We planned for you all that we would do. We even thought of these words that I would speak to you. Listen closely to me now. “Holy Communion contains every blessing of God. In that mystery, Jesus and I come to you and offer you every gift. In Holy Communion, I enter your heart with Jesus. Desire this bread come down from heaven and receive it as often as possible. With Jesus, I will come.”
How I loved the little community with whom I gathered regularly to receive Communion. The apostles assumed their active role. They would preach about Jesus and then point me out as “the mother of Jesus”. That is how the Beloved Disciple always wrote of me, “The mother of Jesus was there”. Also, the believers would ask me about Jesus and I would share little stories so they could more easily love him.
The community continued to grow, causing an obvious need of expansion of ministry. The twelve handled this crisis so well, laying hands upon seven men chosen by the community. This became a regular pattern as new growth and new needs happened. The apostles would lay hands so that each new community had the Eucharist. How important is the Eucharist and how necessary is the priesthood that consecrates the holy species.
Gathering with the community of believers, I could see the new powers of the divine life which they received at their Baptism. The men had a much greater respect for the women. Women were seen as equals, for in Jesus there was no Greek and Jew. All were believers, sharing the divine life.
A great purity of life came upon the believers and they began to live out the ideals of marriage that, formerly, had seemed impossible. Jesus taught a higher morality. There was to be no divorce. Among the believers in this time of intense devotion, the men answered this call. Marriage became a permanent commitment. These enduring marriages were a sign to all of the great powers given by the Holy Spirit. A new culture began, that transformed history. Such is the great power of the baptismal life.
A special moment came when a believer died. For some, this was the great victory of martyrdom. Their names were venerated and their stories recorded by the community. Others died a natural death. In every case, great joy filled the community because Jesus had destroyed the veil that had hidden life after death.
Devout Jews had debated the question of the existence of life after death. Even those who believed were not sure what that life would be like. Jesus, by his rising, cast great light on this darkness. We rejoiced that these deaths took place after the resurrection because we knew that Baptism had conferred the divine life lost by sin.
Now, I come to my point. Whenever a believer was dying, we gathered for prayers. The apostles (or a leader of the community) laid hands in faith that in Jesus’ name healing and full forgiveness would be given. These acts strengthened the dying. Many got well. Others received the great peace of full reconciliation. After death, we cared faithfully for the body that had been a temple of the Holy Spirit. This was the faith and practice of the Early Community.
The little community of believers knew exactly what to do. They went to every town and village, preaching the good news that Jesus had died and risen. They wanted people to repent and to believe. They baptized the believers, bestowing this powerful divine life that I have just described. They trusted this divine life, the Holy Spirit himself, to transform the new believer. They knew all the helps that Jesus had provided to foster this divine life.
My Church must go back and learn the secrets of the Early Church. They must learn to release the powers of Baptism which are often tied up because of ignorance and lack of faith.
The divine life within the person, and nothing else, can transform the soul so it lives as Jesus lived. Every other approach is doomed to failure. The secret lies in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in each believer.