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On Sunday January 14, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., at the sports hall “S. Bandinelli “in Velletri, there was the Eucharistic Celebration for the Episcopal Ordination of Msgr Leonardo D’Ascenzo who was elected Archbishop of our Diocese (Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie).
The celebration was presided by Msgr. Vincenzo Apicella, bishop of Velletri-Segni (the main officiator) and by numerous bishops of Lazio and Puglia, including the Archbishop of Bari, Msgr. Francesco Cacucci and the bishop of Anagni-Alatri Msgr. Lorenzo Loppa, serving as co-consecrators.
All the liturgy of ordination was sober, authoritative and full of emotions, and after the imposition of hands and the prayer of ordination, Msgr. Apicella oiled Msgr. Leonardo with the Sacred Chrism and with great emotion by all there was the delivery of the Gospel, of the ring, of the miter, and of the pastoral.
The rite ended with the first blessing of Msgr. Leonardo, who with great amazement and general emotion, made himself small among us climbing up the terraces of the sports hall to symbolically embrace all of us
“The harvest is plentiful. This is the expression that I chose as my motto after the announcement of my appointment as archbishop of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie. It is the expression that more than any other recurs in pastoral work for vocations, the area that characterized in particular my priestly ministry. It is the expression that marked my whole story”. Those were the first words of thanksgiving that the newly ordained Archbishop Leonardo D’Ascenzo said in his greeting at the celebration.
“You can imagine how I was deeply surprised – Msgr. D’Ascenzo continued – when I learned that the readings of tonight would have been those that are considered texts with an evident vocational content. Reflecting on this Word of God, I was able to get some of my similarities with the biblical character of Samuel in particular his ability to return to sleep at least three times after being awakened during the night. Like him, I’m very good at sleeping, I think I look like him. I hope to be like him in the availability to the call, in the capacity to grow and not to let a single Word of the Lord fall into emptiness”. Archbishop D’Ascenzo stole a smile and applause with a frank and reassuring air that convinced the more than 1500 participants in the celebration at the sports hall.
Moreover, also Bishop Apicella in his homily mentioned the theme of vocation. He recalled that “the inscrutable mystery of the Trinity is the divine act par excellence. So for us Christians to transmit the Spirit of God, with the power of the Father and the Son in the inscrutable mystery of the Trinity, is the correct meaning of “tradition”.
That was the wish for don Leonardo, rector of the Seminary of Anagni, now called to lead the new community of Puglia. Bishop Apicella continued: “we often get confused between voices and bells: we seek the first places, the greetings in the squares, the titles, the honors, but we forget that Christ is the center, and that we as disciples must make us small, servants, and occupy the last place. It is an apprenticeship that lasts a lifetime. Precisely in the logic of the parish, Don Leonardo could experience that the logic of service is the meaning of life”. Bishop Apicella concluded: “Don Leonardo is a true man, that is, he loves the truth, even if it is inconvenient, he tells the truth, he does the truth. We are sure that he will be a true shepherd for the people who is awaiting him and we wish him in his presbytery as many priests as those he educated in the Seminary of Anagni. ”
“We will walk together, in communion, in search of what God has in His heart for us, a portion of His people at the school of the Gospel. Supported by the Eucharist, we trust in the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of Graces, to be the beginning of a renewed experience with Jesus”. The new ordained archbishop concluded with those words taking leave of the assembly.
At the end of his episcopal ordination, Msgr. D’Ascenzo greeted his community of origin and all those who had been close to him in these years, his whole family, in particular his father Giairo. Almost all the 19 bishops of Puglia were present, about 700 representatives of the Church of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie, as well as civil authorities and mayors. Archbishop D’Ascenzo will officially enter the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie on January 27.
The celebration, thanks to the descent of the Holy Spirit, was enriched with love. It gripped the new Bishop and his faithful in an embrace so rich in love that we cried with joy.
We thank the Lord for this great gift that He has given us. May He bless, enlighten and protect our Shepherd in sharing his life with ours.
It is our necessary duty, as sons and daughters of the Divine Will, to commit ourselves to pray for our new Archbishop Leonardo, so that he can, as his predecessors did (Bishops Carata, Cassati and Pichierri), accompany the last stretch (we hope) of the journey for the beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. We are aware that God, in order to carry out His work, uses His ministers so that the Kingdom of the Divine Will can spread and build up His Church, just as Jesus Himself told Luisa on January 18, 1928: “My daughter, all of my works hold hands, and this is the sign that they are my works – that one does not oppose the other; on the contrary, they are so bound among themselves, that they sustain one another… With my coming upon earth, I did not destroy Sacred Scriptures; on the contrary, I supported them; and my Gospel, which I announced, opposed them in nothing; on the contrary, they sustained each other in an admirable way. And in forming the new nascent Church, I formed the new priesthood, which does not detach itself either from Sacred Scriptures or from the Gospel. All are intent upon them…Now, that which I manifest on my Divine Will, and which you write, can be called ‘the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Divine Will’. In nothing does It oppose either Sacred Scriptures or the Gospel which I announced while being on earth; on the contrary, It can be called the support of one and of the other. And this is why I allow and I call priests to come – to read the Gospel, all of Heaven, of the Kingdom of my Divine Fiat, so as to say, as I said to the Apostles: ‘Preach It throughout the whole world.’ In fact, in my works I make use of the priesthood; and just as I had the priesthood before my coming in order to prepare the people, and the priesthood of my Church in order to confirm my coming and everything I did and said, so will I have the priesthood of the Kingdom of my Will…
And I enjoy that more of my ministers get to know that there is this treasure so great, of making known the Kingdom of my Divine Will; and I use this to form the first priests of my coming Kingdom of my Fiat. My daughter, it is a great necessity to form the first priests; they will serve Me like the Apostles served Me to form my Church; and the ones who will occupy themselves with these writings in order to publish them, putting them out to print them – to make them known, will be the new evangelists of the Kingdom of my Supreme Will… Therefore, in these circumstances I expand the circle, and, like a fisherman, I catch those who must serve Me for a Kingdom so holy. Therefore, let Me do, and do not be worried.”
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The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
The First Hour of Sorrow Sounds. A Star, with mute Voice, calls the Magi to adore Jesus. A Prophet makes himself the Revealer of the Sorrows of the Sovereign Queen.
The soul to her Queen Mama:
My Most Sweet Mama, here I am again at Your knees; this daughter of Yours can no longer be without You, my Mama. The Sweet Enchantment of the Celestial Baby, whom You now clasp in Your arms, and now kneeling Adore and Love in the manger, enraptures me, thinking that Your Happy Destiny and the same Little King Jesus are nothing other than the Fruits and the Sweet and Precious Pledges of that Fiat which extended Its Kingdom in You. O please! O Mama, give me Your Word that You will make use of Your Power to form in me the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Lesson of my Celestial Mama:
My dearest daughter, how Happy I am to have you close to Me, to be able to teach you how the Kingdom of the Divine Will can extend in all things. All crosses, sorrows, humiliations, invested by the Life of the Divine Fiat, are like raw materials in Its Hands, in order to Nourish Its Kingdom and to Extend It more and more.
Therefore, pay attention to Me, and listen to your Mama. I continued My stay in the grotto of Bethlehem with Jesus and dear Saint Joseph. How Happy we were. Because of the Divine Infant and of the Divine Will Operating in us, that little grotto had changed into Paradise. It is true that pains and tears were not lacking, but compared to the Immense Seas of Joy, of Happiness, of Light, which the Divine Fiat made arise in each of our acts, they were just little drops plunged into these Seas. And then, the Sweet and Lovable Presence of My Dear Son was one of My Greatest Happinesses.
Now, dear daughter, you must know that the eighth day arrived after the Celestial Baby had been Born to the light of the day, and the Divine Fiat sounded the hour of sorrow, commanding us to circumcise the charming Little Baby. It was a most painful cut which Little Jesus was to undergo. 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 this, because He came to find, not the man-king, but the man degraded, in order to make Himself his brother and to elevate him, He wanted to lower Himself, and He submitted Himself to the law.
My daughter, Saint Joseph and I felt a shiver of pain, but intrepid and without hesitating, 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 My Help. Saint Joseph and I mixed 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, Help for every heart.
Now, My daughter, this cut was the image of the cruel cut that man had done to his soul by doing his own will; and My Dear Son allowed Himself to be given this cut in order to heal the harsh cut of the human wills, and, with His Blood, to Heal the wounds of the many sins which the poison of the human will has produced in the creatures. So, each act of human will is a cut that is given, and a wound that opens; and the Celestial Baby, with His Painful Cut, prepared the Remedy for all the human wounds.
Now, My daughter, another Surprise: a new star shines under the vault of the heavens, and with its light, it goes in search of adorers, to lead them to recognize and adore Baby Jesus. Three individuals, each distant from the other, are struck by it, and invested by Supreme Light, they follow the star, which leads them to the grotto of Bethlehem, to the feet of Baby Jesus. What was not the astonishment of these Magi Kings, in recognizing in that Divine Infant the King of Heaven and earth—He who had come to Love and Save all? In fact, in the act in which the Magi were adoring Him, enraptured by that Celestial Beauty, the Newborn Baby made His Divinity Shine forth from His Little Humanity, and the grotto changed into Paradise; so much so, that they were no longer able to detach themselves from the feet of the Divine Infant—not until He again withdrew the Light of the Divinity within His Humanity. And I, exercising the Office of Mother, spoke at length of the Descent of the Word, and fortified them in Faith, Hope and Charity, symbolized by their gifts offered to Jesus; and, full of Joy, they withdrew into their regions, to be the first propagators.
My dear daughter, do not move from My side; follow Me everywhere. Forty days from the Birth of Little King Jesus are about to sound when the Divine Fiat calls us to the Temple in order to fulfill the law of the Presentation of My Son. So we went to the Temple. It was the first time that we went out together with My Sweet Baby. A vein of Sorrow opened in My Heart: I was going to offer Him as Victim for the Salvation of all. We entered the Temple, and first we Adored the Divine Majesty; then we called the priest, and having placed Him in his arms, I made the Offering of the Celestial Baby to the Eternal Father—Offering Him in Sacrifice for the Salvation of all. The priest was Simeon, and as I placed Him in his arms, he recognized that He was the Divine Word and exulted with immense joy; and after the offering, assuming the attitude of prophet, he prophesied all My Sorrows. O! How the Supreme Fiat sounded over My Maternal Heart—thoroughly, with vibrating sound, the Mournful Tragedy of all the Pains of My Baby Son. But what pierced Me the most were the words that the holy prophet spoke to Me: “This Dear Baby will be the Salvation and the ruin of many, and will be the Target of contradictions.”
If the Divine Will had not sustained Me, I would have died instantly of pure Pain. But It gave Me Life, and used it to form in Me the Kingdom of Sorrows, within the Kingdom of Its very Will. So, in addition to the Right of Mother that I had over all, I acquired the Right of Mother and Queen of all Sorrows. Ah! Yes, with My Sorrows I acquired the Little Coin to pay the debts of My children, and also of the ungrateful children.
Now, My daughter, you must know that in the Light of the Divine Will I already knew all the Sorrows I was to suffer—and even more than that which the holy prophet told Me. But in that Act, so Solemn, of Offering My Son, in hearing it being repeated to Me, I felt so pierced that My Heart bled, and deep gashes opened in My Soul.
Now, listen to your Mama: in your pains, in the sorrowful encounters which are not lacking for you, never lose heart; but with Heroic Love let the Divine Will take Its Royal Place in your pains, that It may convert them for you into Little Coins of Infinite Value, with which you will be able to pay the debts of your brothers, to ransom them from the slavery of the human will, so as to make them enter again, as free children, into the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat.
Holy Mama, in Your Pierced Heart do I place all my pains; and You know how they pierce my heart. O please! Be my Mama, and pour into my heart the Balm of Your Sorrows, that I may share in Your same Destiny of using my pains as little coins in order to conquer the Kingdom of the Divine Will.
Today, to honor Me, you will come into My arms, that I may pour in you the First Blood that the Celestial Baby shed in order to heal the wounds that your human will did to you; and you will recite three acts of love in order to mitigate the Spasm of the Wound of Baby Jesus.
My Mama, pour Your Sorrow into my soul, and convert all my pains into Will of God.
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December 25, 1900
The birth of Jesus.
As I was in my usual state, I felt I was outside of myself; and after wandering around, I found myself inside a cave, and I saw the Queen Mama in the act of giving birth to Little Baby Jesus. What a stupendous prodigy! It seemed to me that both Mother and Son were transmuted into most pure light. But in that light one could see very well the human nature of Jesus containing the Divinity within Itself, and serving as a veil to cover the Divinity; in such a way that, tearing the veil of the human nature, He was God, while covered with that veil, He was Man. Here is the prodigy of prodigies:
God and Man, Man and God! Without leaving the Father and the Holy Spirit – because true love never separates – He comes to dwell in our midst, taking on human flesh. Now, it seemed to me that Mother and Son, in that most happy instant, remained as though spiritualized, and without the slightest difficulty Jesus came out of the Maternal womb, while both of them overflowed with excess of love. In other words, those Most Pure Bodies were transformed into Light, and without the slightest impediment, Light-Jesus came out of the Light of the Mother, while both One and the Other remained whole and intact, returning, then, to their natural state.
But who can tell the beauty of the Little Baby who, at the moment of His birth, transfused, also externally, the rays of the Divinity? Who can tell the beauty of the Mother, who remained all absorbed in those divine rays? And Saint Joseph? It seemed to me that he was not present at the act of the birth, but remained in another corner of the cave, all engrossed in that profound Mystery. And if he did not see with the eyes of the body, he saw very well with the eyes of the soul, because he remained enraptured in sublime ecstasy.
Now, in the act in which the Little Baby came out to the light, I would have wanted to fly and take Him in my arms, but the Angels prevented me, telling me that the honor of holding Him first belonged to the Mother. Then, the Most Holy Virgin, as though stirred, returned into Herself and from the hands of an Angel received Her Son into Her arms. In Her ardor of love, She squeezed Him so tightly that it seemed that She wanted to enclose Him into Her womb again. Then, wanting to give vent to Her ardent love, She placed Him at Her breast to suckle. In the meantime, I was there completely annihilated, waiting to be called so as not to be scolded again by the Angels. Then the Queen said to me: “Come, come and take your Beloved, and you too, enjoy Him – pour out your love with Him.” As She was saying this, I drew near Mama, and She gave Him to me, into my arms. Who can say my contentment, the kisses, the squeezes, the tendernesses? After I poured myself out a little, I said to Him: ‘My beloved, You have suckled the milk of our Mama – share it with me.’ And He, all condescending, poured part of that milk from His mouth into mine, and then He told me: “My beloved, I was conceived united to suffering, I was born to suffering, and I died in suffering. And with the three nails with which they crucified Me, I nailed the three powers – intellect, memory and will – of those souls who yearn to love Me, keeping them all drawn to Myself, because sin had rendered them infirm and dispersed from their Creator, without any restraint.” As He was saying this, He gazed at the world and began to cry over its miseries. On seeing Him cry, I said: ‘Lovable Baby, do not sadden with your tears a night so happy for one who loves You. Instead of pouring ourselves out in crying, let us pour ourselves out in singing’; and as I said this, I began to sing. Jesus was amused at hearing me sing, and He stopped crying; and completing my verse, He sang His own, with a voice so powerful and harmonious that all other voices disappeared at the sound of His most sweet voice. After this, I prayed to Baby Jesus for my confessor, for those who belong to me, and lastly, for everyone, and He seemed all condescending. At that moment He disappeared from me, and I returned into myself. I nailed the three powers – intellect, memory and will – of those souls who yearn to love Me, keeping them all drawn to Myself, because sin had rendered them infirm and dispersed from their Creator, without any restraint.” As He was saying this, He gazed at the world and began to cry over its miseries. On seeing Him cry, I said: ‘Lovable Baby, do not sadden with your tears a night so happy for one who loves You. Instead of pouring ourselves out in crying, let us pour ourselves out in singing’; and as I said this, I began to sing. Jesus was amused at hearing me sing, and He stopped crying; and completing my verse, He sang His own, with a voice so powerful and harmonious that all other voices disappeared at the sound of His most sweet voice.
After this, I prayed to Baby Jesus for my confessor, for those who belong to me, and lastly, for everyone, and He seemed all condescending. At that moment He disappeared from me, and I returned into myself.
December 25, 1908
How to make Jesus be born and grow in your hearts.
Finding myself in my usual state, I was longing for little Baby Jesus, and after many hardships, He made Himself seen in my interior as a little Baby, and told me: “My daughter, the best way to make Me be born in one’s own heart, is to empty oneself of everything, because in finding empty space, I can place all my goods in it. And only then can I remain in it forever, if there is room to be able to carry all that belongs to Me, all that is my own. A person who went to live in the house of someone else, could be called happy only if he found empty space in which to be able to put all of his belongings; otherwise, he would be unhappy. So I am.
The second thing in order to make Me be born and to increase my happiness, is that everything the soul contains, both internal and external – everything, must be done for Me; everything must serve to honor Me, to execute my orders.
If only one thing, one thought, one word, is not for Me, I feel unhappy, and while I should be the master, they make Me a slave. Can I tolerate all this?
The third one is heroic love, magnified love, love of sacrifice. These three loves make my happiness grow in a marvelous way, because they render the soul capable of works which are superior to her strengths, as she does them with my strength alone. They will expand her, by making not only her, but also others love Me. And she will reach the point of enduring anything, even death, in order to triumph in everything, and be able to say to Me: ‘I have nothing else; everything is only love for You.’ In this way, she will not only make Me be born, but will make Me grow, and will form a beautiful paradise in her heart.”
As He was saying this, I looked at Him, and from little, in one instant He became big, in such a way that I remained completely filled with Him. Then everything disappeared.
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Praying for all this Christmas time, in the Name of Jesus, under the Mantle of Mary
and through the intercession of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.
The Christmas Novena written by Luisa,
which begins December 16th.
St. Annibale said of this Novena:
“…I also tell you that in reading the nine Exercises of Christmas, of which we have already prepared the proofs, one remains astounded at the immense Love and the immense suffering of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ for love of us, and for the salvation of souls. I have never read in any other book on this topic a Revelation so touching and penetrating!” St. Annibale Maria Di Francia Feb. 14, 1927
May we all come to know and love Our Lord, Our Lady and all our brothers more and more, and prepare well for the coming of Jesus Who yearns to Reign in our hearts!
Fiat Voluntas Tua!
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