OUR FIRST LOVE
Posted on by Mark
ONE of the “now words” the Lord put on my heart some fourteen years ago was that a “Great Storm like a hurricane is coming upon the earth,” and that the closer we get to the Eye of the Storm, the more there will be chaos and confusion. Well, the winds of this Storm are becoming so fast now, events beginning to unfold so rapidly, that it is easy to become disoriented. It is easy to lose sight of the most essential. And Jesus tell His followers, His faithful followers, what that is:
You have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:3-5)
On this Commemoration of All Souls today, we are immersed in the reality of all our loved ones that have departed before us, and the thought of where they are. We pray for them, for those who are still being cleansed in the fires of purgatory, so that they will hasten toward full communion with the Lord. But in this reality we realize a stark truth: all these souls that have departed left behind their possessions, their estates, their empires; their dreams, their politics, their opinions. They stand now before the Creator in the primordial nakedness of Adam. To them, there is nothing more essential, more important, more necessary now than to belong totally to God. They cry, they weep, they regret; they sigh, they desire, and they long to be fully in the bosom of the Father. In a word, they burn with love, and will, until all the imperfections they carried into the next life are purified.
In the Church Suffering (the term used to describe the souls in purgatory), we behold a living parable of the essence of life: we are created to love the Lord Our God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength. Anything less is to not be fully alive. In this truth lies the secret, not of happiness (that sounds too mundane), but of pure joy, purpose, and fulfillment. The saints were those who discovered this while still on earth. They sought after Jesus the way a Bride longs for her Bridegroom. They did all their work and labour in and for Him. They willingly suffered injustice, hardship and persecution for love of Him. And they joyfully deprived themselves of lesser pleasures for the sake of knowing Him. How beautiful that St. Paul penned these words for us in a moment of burning love:
I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Phil 3:8-10)
The American election is not what is most important; it is not whether the Latin Mass is restored or not; it is not what Pope Francis said or didn’t say, etc. etc. For many Christians, these things have become their battle cry, the hill on which they are willing to die. While these may be important, they are not the most important. What is essential is that we find the love that we had at first, that burning zeal that sought after the Lord, that thirsted to read His Word, that longed to touch Him in the Eucharist, that once raised its voice in songs of worship and praise. And if you feel you never did have that encounter with Love, that no one told you that Jesus desires this too… then today is as good a day as any to pray for this Divine Fire to be stoked in your soul. Yes, pray with me now,
Come Holy Spirit! Come and fill my heart. Enkindle in me the fire of your love. Set me aflame! Burn away the illusions in my mind and the attachments in my heart that keep me from God. Come to your poor servant this hour and lift me up to the Heart of my Father. Place me in His loving arms that I may know His infinite goodness. Fasten my old self to the Cross with the same nails of Christ that I may be as united to Him in death, death to self, as I am in life—in living for Him. Come now, Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Great Lampstand of the Flame of Love.
Oh, dear brother and sister, why write further? Countless books have been penned on the interior life, the life of the soul, and this journey toward union with the Divine. So let me not repeat what better minds have already said. Rather, today is the day to rouse desire. To come to Jesus with desire. To say to Him,
O Lord, you see my poverty. I am like an ember turned to ash—the flame of love snuffed out by the worries, cares, and anxieties of this world. O Lord, I have pursued idols, sought after empty treasures, traded the goods of your Merciful Heart for the momentary and fading pleasures of this passing world. Jesus, take me back. Jesus, stand no longer on the outside of the door of my heart, knocking, waiting. Wait no more! I can do nothing except, with the key of desire, open the door of my heart to You again. Lord, I have nothing else to give you but desire. Please, enter my heart, set up your home, and let us become one Flame again.
Give your past to Jesus, and let it remain in the past. Confession is the most blessed cubicle on earth. Today, let the Spirit of Love become the spark of a New Day. The winds of Satan are about to rage upon this planet, seeking to blow out the last vestiges of faith and trust in God. Let it not be so with you, Our Lady’s Little Rabble. She’s counting on you, pleading through tears of love. For you are to become the first bearers of the Flame of Love in a world that will be so wounded by sin that were it not for your living faith, all should despair. A remnant… a remnant… this is all God needs to set the world aflame again. And Our Lady wishes it to begin, especially with her beloved sons, the priests:
When will it happen, this fiery deluge of pure love with which you are to set the whole world ablaze and which is to come, so gently yet so forcefully, that all nations… will be caught up in its flames and be converted?… When you breathe your Spirit into them, they are restored and the face of the earth is renewed. Send this all-consuming Spirit upon the earth to create priests who burn with this same fire and whose ministry will renew the face of the earth and reform your Church. —From God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort; April 2014, Magnificat, p. 331
But all of us, all of you who are reading this, are invited into what Jesus calls “My special fighting force.”  We are called to confront this Storm—not with anger, sarcasm, and clever arguments—but with faith, hope and love and the power of the Holy Spirit. But we cannot fight with that which we do not have. Therefore, this is the hour to beg the Lord God to set your heart on fire with the Flame of Love, with the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, so that it might become a blazing wildfire to the ends of the earth.
It will be the Great Miracle of light blinding Satan… The torrential flood of blessings about to jolt the world must begin with the small number of the most humble souls. —Our Lady to Elizabeth, www.theflameoflove.org
May [Mary] continue to strengthen our prayers with her suffrages, that, in the midst of all the stress and trouble of the nations, those divine prodigies may be happily revived by the Holy Ghost, which were foretold in the words of David: “Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth” (Ps. ciii., 30). —POPE LEO XIII, Divinum Illud Munus, n. 14
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, ask St. Joseph to pick you up from the dust of discouragement; ask Our Lady today to wipe away the tears for tomorrow; and invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life from this moment on. For your part, love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your strength. And begin to love your neighbour—truly love them—as you would yourself. While this is impossible for men, nothing is impossible for God. Thus,
We humbly implore the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, that He may “graciously grant to the Church the gifts of unity and peace,” and may renew the face of the earth by a fresh outpouring of His charity for the salvation of all. —POPE BENEDICT XV, May 3rd, 1920, Pacem Dei Munus Pulcherrimum
Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen. —POPE ST. JOHN XXIII at the opening of the Second Vatican Council
…so great are the needs and the perils of the present age, so vast the horizon of mankind drawn towards world coexistence and powerless to achieve it, that there is no salvation for it except in a new outpouring of the gift of God. Let Him then come, the Creating Spirit, to renew the face of the earth! —POPE PAUL VI, Gaudete in Domino, May 9th, 1975
…the threat of judgment also concerns us, the Church in Europe, Europe and the West in general… the Lord is also crying out to our ears the words that in the Book of Revelation he addresses to the Church of Ephesus: “If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Light can also be taken away from us and we do well to let this warning ring out with its full seriousness in our hearts, while crying to the Lord: “Help us to repent! Give all of us the grace of true renewal! Do not allow your light in our midst to blow out! Strengthen our faith, our hope and our love, so that we can bear good fruit!” —BENEDICT XVI, Opening Homily, Synod of Bishops, October 2nd, 2005, Rome.
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