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, there is a great emptiness in our lives, which 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 wants us to discover it, and He puts no obstacles between us and His love; we are the ones who put obstacles when we nourish our selfishness and our expectations.
St. Francis tells us about his earthly experience, of the discovery of pure love that he considered the hidden treasure and that marked his path 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, who 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; therefore, I believe that this message connects very well with that of the Holy Spirit of 12 September 2012, which explaines the laws of the Spirit. I would say that the words of St. Francis clarifies the message of the Holy Spirit, because the love of God is near to all of us, to the individual and the couple, to a consecrated community and to all of humanity.
Let us also allow ourselves 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 neighbour with the same love.
I bless you and pray with you. May the Lord give you peace.
Message of St. Francis of Assisi of 17 September 2012
“I bless you, my dear brothers and sisters! 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 the same love: selfless, spiritual love that does not want to own anything or anyone; love that does not seek advantage. This is the most important law, without which you cannot understand the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, nor can you be people of integrity, much less 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 truly was another Christ 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 deeply understood this, I felt welcomed and forgiven, and I began to love with the 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 to God, because without pure love you cannot offer yourselves to God. This is why many people have difficulty to understand what the offering of one’s life to God means, even though in words they proclaim to belong to Him, and this is because they lack pure love. Man cannot offer himself as a sacrifice without God; nor can he offer a sacrifice that pleases God if his heart is full of ambitions, expectations, interests, even spiritual ones, such as wanting to save himself or to put his conscience at peace. These are also personal interests.
Pure love is naked, it possesses nothing like Jesus on the Cross. You are called to find this love, and you can only find it in the total union with Christ. Only He communicates pure love to you and makes you understand it in all its depth. Only when you have received and understood it, will you 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. This will make you people of integrity. In fact, if your love is pure, your offering will also be pure; automatically the integrity of your person is born, because the love of God begins to flow into your deepest self, making you righteous and repelling evil from you. Finally, pure love will lead you to live in communion with others. When there is no pure love, there is no true communion, but only a bond based on interests, which has nothing to do with communion in God.
You can thus understand what happens among people, even among Christians: often, pure love is lacking, and hence 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, any work or sermon, are likely to remain useless, because they do not bear fruit.
The new creation will be founded on God’s pure Love. Human beings 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 expel evil and lead the entire humanity to becoming a new humanity, ready for the new creation. All Saints are committed to pray for the extraordinary instruments of this time and for the entire people of God so that they may discover God’s pure Love.
Selfish people are afraid of pure love because it gives selfishness no chance. If one does not reach pure love, even in the spiritual life, one does not reach anything, despite beautiful words and good works, which, however, do not always demonstrate the love of God: every prayer, every word, every action should be nothing but pure love, alive and working through those who accept it. If you do not act out of pure love, 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 His pure love within you; all of Heaven desires this. However, nobody can help you in this search if you do not sincerely 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 path you have to walk on Earth, which is also help you can give to others, is this: place yourselves before God with 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.
God’s pure Love 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 law will govern the new creation.
Everything derives from God’s love, from the Love that went upon the Cross for all of us. We are called to do the same. In my earthly life, I often wept because I understood that God’s pure Love was not loved by the people. I felt immense pain in my heart, 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 the people, and often my friars too, 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, God’s Love 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 God loves us, this is the supreme law that people try to wipe out through 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 how the people refused to accept pure love. At the same time, however, I always kept before my eyes the image of Jesus going up the Calvary, crushed by suffering, mocked, insulted, not understood. I realised that pure love had acted in Jesus unconditionally and freely, even when He was nailed to the Cross, unable to move even a finger of his hand.
My eyes were fixed on the Son of God, crucified for the sins of humanity; I never got tired of meditating on His Passion, to enter into the mystery of a love so great. I finally understood that every person is called to receive the love of Christ and to sublimate it, to strengthen it through the Cross. The Cross would have no meaning for humanity, nor would it have had meaning for Jesus, if He had not elevated His love for humanity to the highest power through the suffering of the Cross. Christ’s pure Love was sublimated in His suffering, just as in the power of miracles and the triumph of the resurrection, because pure love always works, whatever the circumstances may be. God’s love is at work in each one of you, in any situation: in times of success or failure, strength or weakness, when you are admired or vilified. God’s Love is the greatest manifestation of His power, which knows no obstacles.
May God’s pure Love be the lighthouse that illuminates your life! Do not be disappointed by people, by their limits and sins; offer all your pain to God and let His pure Love fill you and put your heart aflame. In each trial, do not remove your gaze from the Lord’s Cross, 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 redeeming love, rising stronger with every trial.
This love inflamed my earthly life and is still burning in my spirit; it is love that transformed me into the Beloved: the stigmata I received in my body were only the outward sign of my union with the crucified Christ. The love that I wanted to give to the people of the Earth, to my friars and to all the poor who came to me seeking light and comfort was nothing but the sublime love of Christ. From the top of the Cross, Jesus looked at His Mother, at John, at the women, at the repentant thief and at those who had crucified Him with the same pure love. It is the same love with which He watches each one of you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, remember that the suffering that you offer 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 people. God would not want all this, but humanity, cold and insensitive to the love of God, separated from its Creator, generates suffering within itself, holds it in its womb and gives birth to it every moment. 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 the entire universe. Put this power into action, and you will see great fruit in you and around you!
The children of God on Earth happen to live in an environment that is hostile to God, and they are suffering; however, they can sublimate their suffering and transform it into redeeming love. This is a precious pearl, which the true Christians of the Earth offer to their Lord and which 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 sacrificed Himself.
Over the centuries, many children of God on this planet walked the path of Christ to the end, sublimating God’s Love 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 all 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 there were no sin on Earth, God’s pure Love would be able to flow freely in every man and woman and among the people; they would be walking beside the Creator to govern creation, as it should have been from the beginning. However, the condition of the Earth is serious because sin reigns in the hearts of too many people. Nevertheless, 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 takes humanity towards 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 humanity; the triumph of the Son of God who will offer the entire creation to the Father in the Holy Spirit and submit Himself to Him. In Jesus Christ, all the children of God and creation itself will triumph, because humanity triumphs when it submits itself to God. Submission to God is never servility or slavery because God does not dominate but govern with love, leading people on the road to happiness.
This is the spirit in which I lived, the spirit of the Franciscans: to desire and accept God’s pure Love; to live the pure love that seeks nothing for itself; to love all living beings with this love, allowing oneself to be transformed by the love of the Beloved. From this derive perfect joy and highest poverty.
I hope you become able to live in this way; may you encounter God’s pure Love, and may you protect it within you as the most precious treasure. This is my prayer for you, my dear brothers and sisters, along with St. Clare and all the saints born in the bosom of the Franciscans, and I bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
 See 1 Cor 13, 1-13
 See Rev 3,20