Object: Divine Union
Via Cortina D’Ampezzo 140
Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity 2006
To the Members of the Vocationist Family
May God the Holy Spirit unite us ever more with the Son to the Father.
The goal in general
The goal is the first thing to be conceived in every enterprise or project, the thing to which every activity of ours is directed or subordinated and the last one to be completely realized. Those, who don't have clear the idea of the goal can never reach it. In the troubled itinerary of the various editions of the constitutions, rules and statutes of our family, two things have been constant and unchangeable: The ultimate goal and the charisma of the Congregation.
In the life and in the way of doing of human beings there are various goals; there are immediate and intermediary, final and particular, personal and general goals. The goal of every goal, the goal to which must tend every goal is the ultimate goal. Once established, the ultimate goal remains unchangeable; all the actions, all the efforts, all the ambitions of a person, are nothing but means, steps or intermediary goals toward the attainment of the ultimate goal.
Our beloved father and teacher writes: "Our predominant illness is the weakness of our will. Hence the necessity of continuous strengthening, training exercise to reinvigorate it. Cause of this weakness of our will is the lack of strong convictions, that is of great ideas, so bright as to turn us on, to thrill us and therefore to conquer us and to possess us, that is, to enlighten us and to move our will to implement them. Such has to be, above all, the idea of the goal, bright and fascinating, and consequently convincing and enchanting. It will not be such, as long as we have only a general idea of our goal" (Opere, vol 6, p. 241). Every form of lukewarmness and idleness, tepidity and indifference can be defeated only by the bright and flashing clarity of our goal.
"You already know what is our goal: to reach divine union, each one on his own, and then to become apostles of it in the world, so that all the souls that can be reached through our ministry may get a big push to the divine union and a special help to reaching it.
Unfortunately the divine union is so poorly known that we Christians, find ourselves as the infidels did towards the Gospel! And as the infidels need missionaries that, at the cost of any sacrifice, announce the Gospel to them, so we, Christians that don't know yet the divine union, need specialized missionaries. This, in effect, is the reason for which we cultivate vocations, we make priests and attentively care for external religious" (Io sono la vite…, p. 77-
"The ultimate goal of the Society of the Servants of the Divine Vocations is to bring its members, and through them, all the souls, to the perfect union with the divine persons, through the communion with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Christ. (Vocation of lovers of the Trinity) " (1R, 6).
"The Lord wants that the goal he has set for everyone of you becomes really yours; it should be always contemplated, envisioned and wanted; only if you really contemplate it you can love it; only if you love it you can see it; and only if you want it (or if you see it?) you will reach it! " (To evangelize the divine union, p. 56). From this we can see the need to re-
We are right in bragging about our ultimate goal, divine union! We repeat these words in most of our community prayers. and every now and then we also try to teach it to others. Often one gets the impression that our talking about divine union becomes a mere theoretical enunciation. What does this divine union consists in? Fr. Justin explains: "If each of us carries out to perfection the commandment to love God, with the whole soul, with all the strengths, he will ascend all the steps of the great staircase of love, to the supreme level of perfect divine union, consumed in the supreme relationship of love that is possible between the soul and God" (Ministero della Parola, vol 6, p. 253).
The divine union is nothing else but the way of living a relationship of love with the Lord. This relationship of love is always initiated by the Lord who says to every soul: "I have loved you with eternal love and forever, even before your conception". "The Father has loved you so much, that he has sent his only Son to make it possible for you to enter in his love". In the very moment in which the soul accepts this love and starts to correspond to it, it starts to live the divine union.
The divine union is the greatest dignity and glory that can be imagined and to which a soul can be elevated, and at the same time it is the greatest gratification of the love of God, which finds his own joy in being with us.
For the greater glory of God and for our maximum good, we try to understand better from Fr. Justin what is the essence of this union-
The divine union in Fr Justin
Starting from the principle that we have been created in the image and likeness of God Trinity, and that we have been created to be "living and personal relationship of love with God” it follows that we have to live with the Trinity the "relationships" as they are lived and enjoyed by the divine persons in the mystery of their circuminsession. God is love and love always tends to the union, to the communion, to the compenetration, to the assimilation. In imitation of the life of a divine person in the others and of the circulation of the divine life from one person to the other, we are called to live a quasi circuminsession ad extra! Let us meditate on what Fr. Justin says:
"The divine union, as understood and wanted by God, is that which can really be said image and likeness of the union of God among the Trinity of persons.
The divine union, as understood and wanted by God, is that which imitates and honors the hypostatic union of the human nature with the divine nature in the person of the Incarnate Word" (For the divine union, n. 21 and 22).
The one who has been called in order to call, who sees the whole life as vocation also sees the divine union as a vocation to which: "All the souls have been called, since all participate in the vocation to, to faith, to holiness. And that divine union is the blessed term, principle and end of every divine vocation" (Ministero della Parola,. p. 254). there is no life that is not a sharing of the divine life, there is no faith that doesn't unite with God, there is no holiness if one is not united with God.
Ours Devotional is a manual of prayer, but it is also a manual of formation. In presenting the Devotional to the novice it is said: "Receive the Devotional, manual of prayer and formation… " This precious manual of ours, at the beginning of every month has a page on: "Acts of desire for divine union"; according to the footnote, these acts of desire are "to be practiced as ejaculatory prayers during the day and especially after the thanksgiving to the holy communion, meditation, word of God and similar occasions". Every month, these holy desires or aspirations start and end with the following invocations: "O my God and my All, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unite me ever more to you on this day and forever" and "Blessed Trinity, one God, unite me ever more to you in your glory, love and will". there is no prayer of Fr. Justin that is not permeated, directly or indirectly by his longing toward this union -
Every day we conclude the offerings of the most precious blood of Jesus with the following invocation: "Grant us, above all and in everything, o adorable Trinity the fullness and the spirit of every law, the life and the value of every virtue, the value and the crown of every gift, the divine love of perfect charity for you and for our neighbour, with all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, with all of its proofs to the highest degrees of union with you". Divine union is the goal of every divine gift.
Progressiveness of divine union
Speaking of divine union, Fr Justin transforms the well known principle "That man is limited and successive" into "man is limited and ascensional". In order to make possible the ascension, since we are not endowed with wings, he sees the world as the ladder of Jacob, an endless staircase, only the steps can make possible our ascension and our awareness of the progress. The fullness of the divine union is only reached when one reaches the last step.
"The ideal is the personal divine union, not only as term of the relationship, but also as its beginning and its continuation, in its various levels, that are very much sublime even at the first step" (For the divine union, n. 113).
This divine union is always near and always far away; it is near because one lives and enjoys it every hour and moment in its incipient and progressive step; it is always far away because the more one ascends, the more the last step gets higher and higher!
Since God said to Abraham: "walk in my presence and be perfect", the exercise of the divine presence has become the first ordinary means of spiritual growth for all those who want to reach Christian perfection. God enables us to feel his presence, and his presence becomes source of security and guarantee for us. In the book of Proverbs we read: "the nether world and the abyss are before the Lord, and much more are in his presence the hearts of the children of man". Psalm 45 assures us that God is near us always, he is in the holy city, and finally that the Lord of armies is with us.
The exercise of the divine presence is the first step on the ladder to divine union!
Faith comes to us through hearing but charity comes to us through vision. The person that loves doesn't satisfy himself simply by seeing, but he wants to touch, to embrace, to kiss, to please, to unite himself to the loved one and become one; each of these actions is a further step toward the mountain of divine union. The last step should be the deification or consumed union.
How to live the divine union
"You must be a continuous aspiration to the union with the divine persons and in an exercise and culture and apostolate of such union with the divine persons, that corresponds to the union that the divine persons have completed in the Incarnate Word between the divine nature and the human nature in Jesus Christ, between the person of the Word and the human nature in Jesus Christ, precisely in order to give you continuous idea and invitation and care and grace to deal with your human person; your person has to live according to your human nature, that is the principle of operation; this human nature is all deified now because it is hypostatically united to the divinity in Jesus Christ" (Book of the soul, p. 610). All of my life, every desire, word and action of mine must be a constant longing, an ardent desire, a persistent search for this divine union. The strong, constant and clear desire brings me to the exercise, to the culture, to the mentality and apostolate of the divine union.
The first article of our constitutions solemnly articulates that the Vocationists "have as their first duty to be with him". "To be with him" for us means to be in contact with him, to be in tuning with him, to be in love with him. Each of us has to ask himself and to adequately answer in first person: How can I carry out this first duty of mine? I hope that each of us can respond on an operational rather than theoretical level and that every principle may be turned into practice.
It may be superfluous for someone, but it wouldn’t hurt to remember that the divine union starts and grows, is lived and it grows in this life; only so it may be enjoyed, in its fullness, in the other life. To speak about divine union means to speak of something concrete, something that one lives and of which he enjoys here in this life, every hour and moment.
As the divine union consists especially in living our personal relationship of love with God Trinity; the ways of living it may be as many as are the human beings. "Divine union is personal also in the sense that it unites the soul with every divine person in what constitutes such person in the Trinity. Thus the union with the Son, precisely in as much as it a filial relation is all Son. (In such sense the attribute nuptial can be added to each person, so for example: Nuptial-
I list here some ways of living the divine union; these pathways are only a sample and not an exhaustive list; each of them can feed, intensify and enable us to taste more and more our personal relationship with God Trinity. While divine union is always a nuptial or espousal union, Fr-
a) To live in the presence of God. To be conscious that God sees us and to strive to see him in everybody and in everything, going from the effects to the cause. Little by little try to see and to deepen the various types of presence of God in his creatures: presence for essence, for power, for grace; sacramental presence and presence for indwelling.
b) To listen to the omnipresent God. To listen to the word of God, to pay attention to what he says to me, to accept his inspirations is more than the simple being aware of his presence. That's why Fr. Justin teaches us to make ours the spirit of the young prophet Samuel: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening". For the same reason everyone has to procure the banquet of the divine word to himself and to the souls every day.
c) To talk to the almighty God. Talking to a person always involves a certain union, also when one talks from a distance through technical means of communication. Talking to a person creates or strengthens already existing ties. Our talking to God is a lot more than a simple conversation or petition: it is an act of faith, an act of trust, an act of love, an act of union, an act of abandonment; that's why "above every thing else we must care, for ourselves and for the souls, about the perfect organization and the constant functioning of the life of prayer" Dev. Ord. p.7). "The first divine union happens while we pray" (Cfr. Ascension, n. 41)
d) To speak of the loving God. The tongue hits where the tooth aches! To speak of a beloved one is one of the most natural things in the world. St. Paul has no option, he feels compelled to speak of Christ. Fr. Justin becomes an untiring preacher of the divine union. Talking about the person or the thing that is dear to our heart strengthens our esteem, our commitment, our bond of union and possession of the beloved one.
e) To be with the living God. Not only to be with the Lord, but to feel happy, to enjoy his presence and I dare say to take advantage of his presence. In order to enjoy the possibility of being with the living God it is not enough to devotedly practice all devotions. I have to multiply and to prolong as much as possible my encounters with him, above all the practice of the alone with the alone, so that all these encounters become a continuous and ever more intense state or permanent condition.
f) To receive the sacraments. Jesus has instituted the sacraments to continue his presence, his work of redemption in me; to remain in contact with me, to raise me and to sanctify me. For this the sacraments must be celebrated and received with the maximum devotion and always with due dispositions and suitable preparation. For this Fr. Justin not only wanted us to receive holy communion once a day, but, as far as possible, more times a day; he taught and practiced the same thing about the sacrament of reconciliation.
g) Sacramentalize every thing. To transform every action, also the most meaningless, in something sacred and sanctifying. To report, to subordinate and to direct every thought, word, gesture and action of mine to the greater glory of God, in union with his holy will, for the triumph of his love. Bless every thing before using it; thank the Lord for every thing that comes into our hands and make an offering of it to the creator of all the things.
h) To thank. When we give thanks, we do not only express our thankfulness and gratitude, but we also prepare the giver of every good to give more and more his gifts, his love, himself. When I give thanks to the Lord for one gift, I also commit myself to better appreciate, use and develop it.
i) To exchange gifts. A gift is always an expression of love. Every gift given or received increases the love and the opportunities to be together with the beloved one. that's why the Vocationist lives a life of progressive consecrations and makes the offerings of the most precious blood. This continuous offering of gifts leads to the offering of oneself to the beloved one. When the lover makes the total donation of himself to the beloved one, he doesn't belong anymore to himself but to the beloved one; the beloved one reciprocates the various gifts and then the gift of himself to the lover, thus we reach the complete union. "God is love, Jesus is love! And the love wants to be corresponded! The correspondence consists in giving in exchange to the lover all that one says, offers and does" (For the divine union, n. 43).
Pathways to the divine union
To reach divine union the soul is brought by the Holy Spirit onto an ascensional, mystical, relational journey. Through the writings of Fr. Justin, in the Vocationist spirituality, we can see and follow some ascensional pathways to reach the divine union. These itineraries or tracks are not totally separate, but they are intertwined with one another, they sustain and complete one another:
Divine union with Mary:
On May 20th 1955, the holy Virgin Mary tells Fr. Justin: "Write the book of the divine union, I will help you"(Libro dell’anima, p. 720). It is a pity that sister death did not give him the time to fulfil this order! Who more or better than Mary can guide us to divine union? May the Blessed Mother, that couldn’t help Fr. Justin to compile that booklet, help us to understand and to live the divine union!
Fr. Justin doesn't hesitate to tell us that the devotion to Mary is an accelerated course of perfection and sanctification as well as of divine union. Let's listen to him: "Whoever longs for greater union with God… should think that God wants the perfection and holiness of Mary and her union with God be transmitted to us, as the life of the mother is transmitted onto her child. Each one of us should try to understand what were the dispositions and the feelings of Mary, when she became mother of God, and once these have been understood, start reproducing them with diligence and fidelity in himself; then he can rest assured that he has started well his novitiate for the perfection of the union with God; he is on the right path of the glory of God, for the eternal profession of his mystical nuptials with God. (Ministero della Parola, p. 219). Therefore, as without the novitiate there is no religious life, so without true devotion to Mary there is no divine union!
"Each soul that aspires to divine union has to unite itself to Mary. Our special devotion to the blessed Mother is called divine union with Mary, because it is in imitation and honor of the union of Jesus and of each divine person with the Virgin Mary and because it leads us to unite ourselves to God together with Mary.
With this divine union with Mary we intend therefore to know, to love and to possess God together with Mary; and to know, to love and to possess Mary together with God, continually going from one to the other, ever more closely united to one for the other and vice versa" (Ibid. p. 165).
"In imitation of the holy Virgin Mary, supremely daughter of the Father, spouse of the Holy Spirit, mother of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ and of every faithful, so the only divine union with the divine nature which is participated to us by grace, blooms in triple divine union with the three persons -
Our twelve periods of formation:
Alunnato, discepolato, postulantato, novitiate, devozionato, desponsionato, rivelazionato, missionato, predilezionato, vocazionato, ascensionato annunzionato. Every period, (with the prevailing occupation, science to be learned, ascensional level, devotion, commitment and respective area of formation) is a step that introduces us more and more in the mystery of divine union. One period precedes and prepares the following. Once all the periods have been completed they are relived, one every month of the year, starting with the month of January. Every period becomes a true gym to live and to ascend on the journey to the divine union.
Through this pathway of the periods of formation, (that never ends!) Fr. Justin teaches us that while, in a way, divine union is a state, a permanent relationship, seen from a different angle, it is an ongoing ascension with progressive phases. To assure its continuity these periods are relived every year, not in order to turn back or to live in the past, but in order to always keep them present and implement them in the present.
The path of progressive consecrations.
A gift is the result of love. After having consecrated (offered, reserved) to the Lord all that we have, every thing that belongs us, every activity of ours, apostolate or service, we proceed to offer every talent and faculty of ours, in order to arrive at the total oblation of oneself.
Every consecration is a new bond with the divine Trinity, a new right that is freely given to the Lord over our life and over our doing. That's why Fr. Justin wants that as in the liturgy every feast or solemnity has its peak in the celebration of the Eucharist, so, in our ascetical-
What Blessed Bartolo Longo says about the rosary "o sweet chain, that links us to God," with a lot of more reason can be said about our path of the consecrations.
As always Fr. Justin teaches us: "Which is the path we should follow to reach divine union? Let's study it adequately so that we can embark on it … He has come to our heart, because our heart he wanted. Through the heart he has come! To the heart he calls us.
Let's go to him through the heart! The ways of the heart are the pathways of the consecrations, of our oblations! Not the ways of violence and fear, not the ways of deceptions and lies, but of the consecrations (Ministero della Parola, P. 212).
The pathway of the divine inspirations.
God talks above all to the heart, through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. These inspirations are our ultimate norm of sanctification because they make us understand, they remind us or they push us to do all that the Lord wants us to do in the actual circumstances of our life. Through the inspirations the Lord exclusively talks to the individual, to me, to you. The inspiration is not a lesson nor a general norm; the inspiration that the Lord grants to a soul cannot and should not be applied to another.
Our life has to be all "fidelity, docility, generosity and obedience of love to all your inspirations approved by the Spiritual Director". The discernment of the inspirations is very important; in order to be divine, the inspirations must be in agreement with the teachings of the Church, they must be in accordance to one’s own vocation and mission received in the Church. They must be in accordance with one’s duty and his spiritual progress. As the devil can easily deceive us with false inspirations, it is necessary to submit them to the Spiritual Director and to follow his approval or suggestion.
Mortal and venial sins, Lukewarmness and lack of communion with the brothers are impediments to the inspirations. Fr. Justin introduces the Holy Spirit, the bond of love, as the Sanctifier and his work or mission is universal sanctification.
The Holy Spirit through the divine inspirations forms Jesus Christ in us; and through Jesus Christ drives us to his Father.
"O if I had welcomed well all the inspirations with which the Lord has been delighted to visit me every day, to accompany me in every step, to teach me every religious truth; o if I had well corresponded, in that ineffable divine union I would already be elevated and established! " (Faciamus Hominem p. 153, n. 601)
The path of the relationships of love.
As the periods of our formation, so the twelve relationships with the Lord are a real school of divine union. The twelve relationships are: God's creature, little levitate, brave soldier, affectionate companion, chosen disciple, personal servant, confidant of the heart, ideal friend, personal lover, soul daughter, soul mother, soul spouse. The adjectives used in this list denote the personal intimacy present in each of them. Is it possible to conceive the existence of such a relationship without love and without union? Absolutely not! Fr. Justin starts with the principle that man is created "to be a personal, living and exclusive relationship of love with the Lord". He sees man as a relational being by nature. "I only exist in order to be a relationship of love with the Trinity and nobody else is or can be this relationship; I am unique, I am alone in this relationship of mine" (Io sono la vite voi i tralci, p. 126). A relationship cannot be cultivated or lived because it is commanded or imposed by others. Every relationship, can exist only if it has two terms, an a quo term and a term ad quem, a starting point and point of arrival. So that a relationship can really be such it cannot be unilateral, it is necessarily mutual.
Fr Justin starts with "let us make man in our image and likenesse" and since every divine person is a relationship of love, it follows that also man is created to be a relationship of love with the divine persons. As in natural life, man is born as a child, then he tends to the relationship of friend with others and since this doesn't satisfy him, he continues to tend to lover's relationship, spouse and mother, so in the supernatural state the fervent soul is not satisfied to be daughter, it develops the relationship of friend in order to crown it with the relationship of spouse.
"The Lord wants to raise (the soul) more and more to himself in the relationship of friend, and if the soul corresponds to him, as he desires, God makes the soul his spouse".
Fr. Justin sees the ascension of the soul to divine union in three stages:
1. Spiritual adolescence, relationship of soul daughter. It is the first stage of divine union, therefore purifying, illuminating, sanctifying.
2. Spiritual youth. Relationship of friend (lover). It is the second stage of divine union and therefore triumphant and predominant union.
3. Spiritual virility. Spouse relationship. It is consumed union, therefore personal and nuptial. Fruit of the nuptial union is the relationship of soul mother, in which the soul lives a spiritual maternity; it becomes mother of Jesus in the souls and it expounds this relationship with the apostolate.
The soul, established in the grace, develops more and more the charity, synthesis of the Christian perfection. "Becoming all love, the soul will be in the image and likeness of God, who is all love in his divine persons and relationships". In order to stay and to grow in this ascensional charity Fr. Justin insists on the practice of the solo a solo with the Lord, the prayer of simplicity, the divine friendship, the spiritual engagement, the mutual love, the intimate facts of love, the exercises of love.
"The eternal being, generating, spiring of the spouse, God Trinity becomes the being, generating and spiring of the soul spouse… the bridegroom and the bride have become one”. It is the consumed union.
The path of assimilation.
The path of the assimilation or conformation to Christ, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the away to the Father, to divine union. This path puts Jesus to the center and therefore it is the christologic way.
As love brings to union, so union brings to assimilation. According to the teachings of the founder, as we find them in Faciamus Hominem, all of our religious life, every relationship of ours, every devotional practice aims at making us more perfect images, more similar to the reality of God himself, more complete and better refined images of God in us. This assimilation happens when it is no longer I, but Christ that speaks through me, when Christ, present in me, acts through me, when Christ lives in me. This process of unitive assimilation reaches its peak in the Eucharistic communion, "so that all men may become perpetual worshippers, may receive holy communion every day and truly become religious of God" (Asc. 237).
The proper environment for divine union
Every environment may be conducive to divine union. One can live in union with God wherever he is present, and he is present in every place; naturally not every place is equally conducive to divine union. The surest, the most adequate and the most effective environment to reach divine union is the very person of Jesus Christ and, more specifically, the very heart of Jesus. Christ is in me and I am in him, his heart is in mine and mine is in his. The Jesus with whom we live and with whom we relate, in the Justinian language becomes: Jesus-
The Word of God is alive and effective. Jesus is the Word, his word accomplishes what it says, it fulfils what it promises. We encounter Jesus and he gives himself to us in his word. “Blessed are those who listen to the word of God and they put it into practice… He who listens to you listens to me, and he who listens to me listens to the one who has sent me… Not on bread alone does man live, but on every word that goes out of the mouth of God."
The Word of God is life and gives life, that's why each of us has to greedily feed himself of this word, or even devour it as Jeremy, the prophet did. Jesus Gospel remains always the good news that I must announce, that I want to constantly hold on my lips, that I want to announce to the poor in order to give them liberty and fullness of life.
Fr. Justin says: in order to listen to the word, external and internal silence is necessary; this foments the desire of the word and it leads us to the invocation of the holy Spirit, who makes it possible for the Word to be incarnated in us today, as he did in Mary.
After listening it is necessary to meditate, to identify oneself with the word, especially with the "word of love" that more has touched our heart and our life. This direct word of Jesus in us must be meditated, prayed and memorized in order to be translated into practice. With Fr. Justin we pray: "Come, divine words, and plunge me in the circulation of the relationships of love". The word of Jesus conforms us to him and unites us with him.
The Eucharist is the synthesis of all the acts and states of Jesus; it is the synthesis of the sorrowful and glorious life of Jesus. It is all Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity, the immolated and risen Christ, it is the living Christ that gives life.
"As in holy communion he gives us his body, blood, soul and divinity, in food and drink, thus becoming all ours, so in the personal divine union he welcomes, receives and unites all of our being and person to himself, so we become wholly his, all him" (For the divine union, n. 29 and 30).
Jesus Euchasrist is the center of the community and the center of my life. With him I want, I am able to and must spend all my leisure time. The synthesis and the apex of divine union here on earth is reached especially in the sacramental communion. Jesus Eucharist is a transforming and assimilating strength; that's why Fr. Justin makes us pray several times a day: "Eucharistic heart of Jesus, unite us perfectly to your adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and intercession: Make us with you a host of sacrifice to the Trinity and sacrament to the souls."
The Church is the continuation of the work and mission of Jesus. The holy Church (militant, purgative and triumphant) in the Justinian language is the continuation of the work of salvation operated by Jesus himself; the Church becomes the same Jesus, and therefore Jesus Church!
One realizes divine union with Jesus living in his Church. "Who listens to you, listens to me: Who accepts you, accepts me. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Jesus is the head of the mystical body and we belong to his body. It is impossible to think of the mystical body without becoming aware of the intimate union that exists between the head and the limbs. Fr. Justin feels and expresses filial respect, obedience and service to the Pope, to the Bishops, to the clergy, especially in the service of the divine vocations, because they are the visible representatives of the reality of the Church.
Every brother, every sister, every member of the mystical body is (as I am) "temple of the Holy Spirit… a possible saint…worthy of our respect and love." Establishing communion with the brother near me, -
Apostolate of the divine union
Our ultimate goal compels us to engage in the apostolate of the divine union, because only through the apostolate we can bring the souls to this sublime destination. Fr. Justin asked himself, and we ask ourselves today: "The apostolate of divine union has ever seriously been started? "
Disappointedly in 1940, (and we, with a sense of guilt, today), answers: "Not only it has never started, but nobody thinks about wanting to begin it! And the reason must be found in what is enunciated in the goal: to become apostles of the divine union it is necessary that first individually we reach it; and since none of us experiences this personal impulse, we don’t even dream talking to others about it". (Io sono la vite…p. 79).
From this passage it seems that for the apostolate of divine union can be enough to talk to others about it. We don't need therefore great initiatives, organizations or extraordinary structures. It is enough to simply talk about it. For us, religious and priests, this should be easy because we can talk about divine union during the spiritual exercises (yearly retreat), the catechesis and in the homilies. There is already enough published material on divine union, so we cannot be excused by the fact that there is nothing written about it.
As we learn and we have experience of a particular relationship with the Lord, let's share it with others. Talking about the catechists Fr. Justin says: "Everyone must teach what he knows; if one knows how to pray only the Our Father, he will teach others how to pray the Our Father". If we wait to reach the consumed union before starting to talk about it, we will never start.
On May 7 th 1939, the Lord said to Fr. Justin (and consequently to each of us): "Now here is your penance, your prayer and your work: to incessantly help all of our religious (all those also who live outside, also those who live in the world and somehow get in touch with you) to reach divine union" (Book of the soul p. 415).
Let's see again and meditate on some words of Jesus and let us start with these our apostolate of divine union. "Remain in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit if it doesn't remain attaché to the vine, so you, if you don't remain in me. He who remains in me and I in him, will produce much fruit. He who doesn't remain in me is thrown away as the branch that has been cut from the vine. Remain in my love. You will remain in my love, if you keep the commandments as I have observed the commandments of my Father and I remain in his love. The Father is me and I am in the Father. I am not alone because the Father is with me. Father, I want that all those that you have given me, will be with me where I am. May the love with which you have loved me be with them and that I may be in them as well. That I may be in them and they in me. That they may be one with you, Father, as you are in me and I in you. I will beg the Father and he will give you another comforter, who will remain forever with you. If one loves me, he will observe my word and my Father will love him and we will come to him and we will take abode in him. It is no longer I, but Christ that lives in me."
Let us shout to the four winds how much the Lord loves us and our falling in love with him. If we live and enjoy the union with God and we will automatically become the apostles and the witnesses of the divine union.
If the word of God cannot be chained, can his love for us ever be chained?
The celebration of the liturgical year accompanies us and helps us in the growth of intimacy and union with God Trinity. While it seems that we reach the apex of every solemnity in the celebration of the liturgical feast of the holy Trinity, in the heart of the month of divine fervor, the soul thirsty of love and union never says enough and looks for something ever higher. "With the maximum solemnity, I will have to honor the supreme mystery of the Trinity in the heart of the year, on its liturgical day" (Asc. n. 37). Above and beyond the same solemnity of the Trinity, Fr Justin excogitates something more personal, more intimate, a feast that doesn't last one day, but that according to the spirit of the Old and the New testament lasts a whole week! "I will consider then as my personal feast of the divine union the eight complete and continuous days of rigorous annual spiritual exercises, that I will possibly do in the week of passion or in other opportune time. During the yearly retreat I will apply myself to grow in the respect and love, observance and apostolate of religious life; I will conclude these 8 days with the renewal of the religious vows" (Asc. n. 39).
O divine Trinity, you have given us as our inheritance as our possession your mystery of the hypostatic union, so that we may understand and explain to others your immense desire to be with the children of man, to be one with us. Grant that by grace, somehow, we may share in this mystery, which is present only in Jesus with the inseparable union of the human nature with the divine nature in the person of the Word.
Through this mystery of the hypostatic union you raise us to share and to enjoy the divine union with you, Father, Son and Spirit Saint, precisely because you want to make us a unity of love, a community of love. With your indwelling within us, you raise us to you, you unite us to you and you make us one with you.
"Lord,, grant us the grace to reach the divine union, and enable all soul to understand its beauty" (Io sono la vite, p.79).
May our Society be forever with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Halleluja. May the presence of God our Father, his grace and his love sustain and accompany us every day of our life.
Father Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V.
a) The 11th day May 2006, The most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, with a special decree erected the shrine of Our Lady of the Divine Vocations in our chapel and the external spaces open to the Marian devotion in Florham Park, N. J. Hearty thanks to Bishop Serratelli and Fr. Frank Hreno, S.D.V. promoter and builder of the project.
b) Interpreting the signs and the providential circumstances, we have accepted the renewed and pressing invitation of Bishop. Pietro M. Fragnelli of Castellaneta; we have accepted the pastoral care of the Parish of the Holy Spirit in Laterza, province of Taranto. As of June 15 Fr. Luigi Nuzzo has been named pastor. We have accepted this pastoral service above all for the fact that the bishop has asked our presence to offer the service and the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation to the diocesan priests.
c) On the first day of July 2006, our brother Sinoj Puruthur will be ordained a deacon in the parish of St. Phillip, Grottarossa, Roma, before his return to India, where he will serve as Vice Rector of our house in Mulayam.
d) On the 11th day of May, feast of Ours Lady of the Divine Vocations, in the parish church of Thalore, Kerala, India, pronounced their first vows our brothers AbilashVadakeolickal, Arun Pulicket, Noby Mulanthavayalil, Prince Chirayl, Vibin Kollannoor, Vipin Antony Chirayl. Our postulants Bijo Thomas, Joseph George and Shejith Sebasdtien have been admitted to the novitiate. Chittilappilly Benny, Kottisseril Rathish Mathew and Manjadikkal Shojo have professed their perpetual vows, while other fifteen brothers renewed their temporary vows.
e) On May 17 in Davao, Philippines, our brothers: Jereme Agocoy of the Good Shepherd, Dominador de los Santos of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Diony Torrentera of the holy family have professed their first vows. Brothers Alfred Briones, Andrew Martinez, Randy Diamante and Cherlon Gambong have renewed their temporary vows. The same day Andres Argon, Pio Cantillo, Marvin Daguplo, Benjie Ocampo, Sulpicio Panong and Joseph Peliño have started their novitiate. Father Steven Ehiahurike has been named "Assistant Novitiate Master."
f) The construction of Divine Union Novitiate in Purok Tugas, Barangay Lib-
g) Our confrere Fr. Joseph Pugliese has temporarily been assigned to the community of Altavilla as parish collaborator.
h) Brother. Babu Theolappilly and Brother Rijo Johnson will take their perpetual vows on june 25 in St. Michael’s church, Newark, N.J. In order to participate in the perpetual votes of these brothers I will be in USA from June 23 to June 28.
i) Our community of Davao consists of 31 students of philosophy, seven novices, seven professed brothers, 4 aspirant permanent-
l) Fr. Ciro Sarnataro has been appointed to take care of everything pertaining the future construction of the house of formation in Palombara Sabina.
m) In the meeting of the General Council of 24 and 25 June have officially been summoned to participate in the General Chapter our confreres Fr.. Armando Palmers and Fr. Denivaldo Dos Santos as substitutes of Fr. Lawrence Gomez and Fr. Domingo Savio Leal Souza.
n) I remind everybody that to get in contact with the General Chapter, you need to send messages or to ask information, using the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
o) If you have not booked for the annual spiritual exercises, I beg you to do it no later than June 15. The last two courses in Italy will be held from August 28 to September 2 in Pianura, and the other from 6 November to 11 in Siculiana. About thirty brothers did not do their booking yet!
q) I remind everybody to intensify the prayers and the penances for the good result of the XIII General Chapter and to keep on praying during the Chapter, changing in the first paragraph "but especially in preparation to" with "but especially during the XIII… "
r) Again, I remind all of you about the obligation not to get away from the community and to faithfully carry on the substitutions assigned to you in my last letter for the General Chapter.