The day, on which the Franciscan Family celebrates the memory of the impression of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, this great saint spoke to us about the pure love of God in the message you will read below.
Pure love descends from God and He gives it to us generously. It is the true and only love that gives life to all creation and makes us children of God. We all feel the burning desire to be loved and to love with this love, but we cannot always reach it. When pure love is lacking in us, a great void is created in our lives, a void that we try to fill in many human ways, without ever feeling satisfied.
We are all called to discover this love, if we want to, because it is already within us as a seed. God desires that we discover it and He puts no obstacles between us and His love; we are the one who put obstacles when we nourish our selfishness and our demands.
St. Francis speaks to us of his earthly experience, of the discovery of pure love that he considered the hidden treasure, and that has marked his walk as a man and as a believer in such a way as to transform him into an Alter Cristus, that is, another Christ on Earth, which he carried in his flesh, the image of the Beloved, crucified for love.
St. Francis reminds us that pure love is the most sublime law of the Spirit; thus I believe that this message connects very well with that of the Holy Spirit of September 12, 2012, which, in fact, talks about the laws of the Spirit. I would say that the words of St. Francis materialize the message of the Holy Spirit, because the love of God is near to all of us, to the individual as well as to the couple, to a consecrated community as well as to all of humanity.
Let us allow ourselves, also, to be guided in this discovery that can change our life, with the help of St. Francis and of all the saints who, throughout history have welcomed and loved the love of God, by loving the neighbor with the same love.
I bless you and pray with you. May the Lord give you peace.
Message of St. Francis of Assisi given on September 17, 2012
“I bless you, my beloved brethren! I would like to tell you this: always remember that the supreme law of the Spirit is pure love. God loves us with His pure love and we are bound to love one another with that same love: a spiritual love, selfless, that does not want to own anything or anyone, that does not seek self-interest. This is the most important law, without which you cannot understand the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, nor can you be whole and live in communion.
Pure love is the first law that descends from God. You are all called to discover pure love.
I have been called “Alter Cristus” that is: another Christ, and I was another Christ, for real, because I found pure love. This is the hidden treasure of which I spoke: the pure love of God. I was able to understand the love with which God loved me. When I understood this deeply, I felt welcomed, forgiven and I began to love with that same pure love.
Pure love descends from God and lives in every child of God. This love is the foundation of the offering of yourselves, because without pure love one cannot offer himself to God. This is why many people have difficulty to understand what it means to offer their life to God, even though in words they proclaim to have donated it to Him: they lack pure love. Man on his own cannot offer himself in sacrifice; nor can he offer a sacrifice pleasing to God if his heart is full of ambitions and pretensions, full of interests, even spiritual ones, such as the one to save himself or to put his conscience at peace. These also are interests.
Pure love is naked, it possesses nothing like Jesus on the cross. You are called to find this love, and you can find it only in total union with Christ. Only He communicates pure love to you and makes you understand it in all its depth. Only when you will have received it and understood it, you will begin to love with the same love by which you feel loved.
First of all, pure love will lead you to offer yourselves to God. From here your integrity will also descend. In fact, if love is pure, your offer will be pure as well; automatically the integrity of your person is born, because the love of God begins to flow into your depth and makes you whole, repelling evil from you. Finally, pure love will bring you to live in communion with others. Where pure love is not present there is no true communion, but only a bond based on interests that have nothing to do with communion in God.
You can then understand what happens among men, even among Christians: often there is the absence of pure love and, therefore, there is no communion. People relate to each other out of interest or need. The time has come when the people of God are called to discover pure love; and without this love, any doctrine, however holy, every work, every sermon, are likely to remain useless, because they do not bear fruit.
The new creation will have its foundation in the pure love of God. Creatures will not be renewed magically, nor through a unilateral action of God, but by the pure love that will live in God’s people. This love will drive out evil and will bring the entire humanity into becoming a new humanity, ready for the new creation. All the saints are committed to pray for the extraordinary instruments of this time, and for the entire people of God, so that it might discover the pure love of God.
The selfish person is afraid of pure love, because this love does not leave any space to selfishness. If one does not reach pure love, even in the spiritual life, one does not reach anything, despite the beautiful words and the good works, that not always demonstrate the love of God: every prayer, every word, every action should not be anything else than pure love, alive and working through those who accept it. If you do not act prompted by pure love and without any other desire than to expand this love, every work remains an end in itself, even if done in the name of God.
God wants you to find within you His pure love; the entire Heaven wants this. Nobody, however, can help you in this search if you, sincerely, do not want to find and live the love of God, if you are not willing to stand face to face with this love in your spirit. Without your sincere desire, not even the prayers of the saints can help you.
The journey you have to do on Earth, and which is also the help you can give to others, is this: place yourselves before God with a sincere openness of spirit to receive from Him His pure love. God is discreet: He does not impose a gift on those who do not wish to have it. God never breaks into the soul with force, not even with His love. He remains at the door and knocks; if you open Him, He communicates you His love.
The pure love of God gives life to all creation; this is why I told you that the first law of the Spirit is love. The law of love is this: God loved us and we are called to love God, ourselves and others with the same love. It is a universal law that governs all creation and it is valid throughout the whole universe; this very law will govern the new creation.
Everything derives from the love of God, from that Love that went upon the cross for all of us. We are called to do the same. In my earthly life I often cried because I understood that the pure love of God was not loved by men. I felt an immense pain within, because the rejection of pure love by the others always causes pain in those who wish to live and communicate that love. I understood that men and often my brothers also, expected to fill the lack of pure love with other things: rules, structures, systems, etc. The same happens today: the sublime law of love is replaced by other laws, dictated by interests, selfishness and fears. Even today, the love of God is not loved; even today many saints suffer because of this refusal, just as I was suffering. Loving God, ourselves and others with the same love with which we are loved by God. This is the supreme law that men try to wipe out by means of man-made precepts that have no value before God.
My pain was not anger or disappointment: it was the zeal for God’s house; I was shocked by the refusal of men to accept pure love. At the same time, however, I always kept before my eyes Jesus going up the Calvary, crushed by suffering, mocked, insulted, not understood. I realized that pure love had acted in Jesus unconditionally, freely, even when He was nailed to the cross, unable to move even a finger of one hand.
My eyes were fixed on the Son of God crucified for the sins of men; I never got tired of meditating on His Passion, to enter into the mystery of a love so great. I finally understood that every man is called to receive the love of Christ and to sublimate it, to strengthen it through the cross. The cross would not have any meaning for man, nor would have meaning for Jesus if He had not raised His love for mankind to the maximum potential through the suffering of the cross. The pure love of Christ was exalted in suffering as well as in the power of miracles or in the triumph of the resurrection, because pure love always works under any circumstance. The love of God is at work in each one of you, in any situation: in success or in failure, in strength or in weakness, when you are admired or vilified. The love of God is the greatest manifestation of His power that knows no obstacles.
May the pure love of God be the light that illuminates your life! Do not be disappointed by people, by their limits and sins; offer any pain to God and let His pure love fill you and put your heart aflame. In each trial, do not remove your glance from the cross of the Lord, and the cross will act with power; it will make your love sublime, it will purify it more and more, to the point where all pain, offered to God on the cross of Christ, will be transformed into a redeeming love and rising stronger with every trial. This is the love which inflamed my earthly life and that still burns in my spirit; it is love that transformed me into the Beloved: the stigmata I received in my body were only the outward image of my union with Christ crucified. The love that I wanted to give to men on Earth, to my friars and to all the poor who came to me looking for light and comfort, was none other than the sublime love of Christ. From the top of the cross, Jesus looked at His Mother, at John, at the women, and at the repentant thief and at those who crucified Him with the same pure love. It is the same love with which He watches each one of you.
Therefore, dear brethren, remember that suffering offered to God becomes a precious gift for your sanctification and for the salvation of many. On Earth, suffering is everywhere, and it is so great that it often destroys man. God would not want all this, but humanity, cold and insensitive to the love of God, separated from his Creator, within itself generates suffering, broods it in its womb and gives birth to it at every instant. You who believe in Christ have His love in you, you have the power of His Cross, which is the symbol of salvation and of victory over evil in all the universe. Put this power into action and you will see great fruit in you and around you!
The sons of God on Earth happen to live in an environment hostile to God and they suffer; however, they can sublimate their suffering and transform it into redeeming love. This is a precious pearl that the true Christians of the Earth offer to their Lord and that the universe admires. In fact, the faithful humanities of the universe admire those on Earth who offer their lives to God, following Jesus Christ who on Earth sacrificed Himself.
Over the centuries, many sons of God on this planet walked the path of Christ to the end, sublimating the love of God through the cross. I myself walked this path, learning to sublimate suffering through the cross of the crucified Christ. Do not forget that the cross in itself would have no value without the crucified Jesus; therefore, look for Jesus in anyone of your crosses, because He is on all of your crosses and transforms them into resurrection if you know how to be united with Him.
If on Earth there were no sin, the pure love of God could flow freely in every man and among all men; man would be walking along side of the Creator to govern creation, as it should have been from the beginning. The condition of the Earth, however, is serious because sin reigns in the heart of too many people. However, in this situation the sacrifice of Christ is operating sublimating the suffering of the Earth, lifting it up to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Thus God destroys corruption and brings humanity toward the new creation.
All of humanity will have to walk the path that Jesus walked, purifying itself from sin through the cross, in order to reach resurrection. The new creation will be the resurrection of all mankind; the triumph of the Son of God who will offer the entire creation to the Father in the Holy Spirit and will be submitted to Him. In Jesus Christ, all the children of God and creation itself will triumph, because man triumphs when he submits himself to God. Submission to God is never servility or slavery, because God does not dominate but governs with love and leads man onto the road to happiness.
This is the spirit that I lived, the spirit of the Franciscans: to desire and accept the pure love of God; to live the pure love that seeks nothing for itself; to love all creatures with this love; allowing oneself to be transformed by the love of the Beloved. From here derives the perfect joy and the highest poverty.
I wish for all of you to become able to live this way; may you come to meet the pure love of God and may you protect it within you as the most precious treasure. This is my prayer for you, my beloved brethren, along with Santa Chiara and all the saints born in the bosom of the Franciscans, and I bless you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”