14 January 2011
Message of Jesus of 13 January 2011
I bless you, dearest children, at the beginning of this new year, which opens before you like a big white sheet; allow the hand of God to write on this sheet another piece of your history. Open your spirit to receive all the graces that will be given to you again this year if you are willing to walk with Me.
Today, together with you, I want to deepen an aspect that is very important for your spiritual life and for your discernment: the relationship between faith and religiosity. This aspect touches each one of you, but few think about it; therefore, I want to help you understand.
Above all, you must understand that the action of the Holy Spirit in your spirit awakens the image of God you bear within you and nurtures the desire to know God; the Holy Spirit awakens the love for the Father and for Me and brings forth the need to live according to the divine laws. The Holy Spirit gradually leads you to perceive the Trinitarian life enclosed in each one of you like a seed destined to sprout through the stages of your existence thanks to the warmth of God’s Love. To all this, the man of good will responds with faith, that is, with a great act of trust in the Creator, which involves the readiness to be submitted to God in order to be guided towards the good. Faith encloses hope in what will be but is not yet visible, which the faithful person perceives as true, certain and good for Him. Therefore, faith is the synonym of certainty.
Man has always tried to express his faith in the most different ways, depending on the epoch and place, thinking that, by doing so, God would listen better to him; also, to manifest his faithfulness. These ways of expressing faith represent religiosity, which is present in the human being as the expression of a profound need, which is that of being in contact with God. Therefore, religiosity derives from faith and is its tangible expression. However, it is not always like that. In fact, religiosity often hides a lack of authentic faith and can even become a mask that is able to deform the features of the person who wears it and corrupt the relationship between man and God. Does that shock you? I want to tell you what happens in many of you.
Consider this: man feels little before God; he knows that he is not perfect, and it often happens that he makes mistakes, which make him feel guilty. He is afraid of being punished and is taken by fear. Thus, the relationship of trust with God breaks, and man no longer perceives God as a loving Father but as a strict judge. Consequently, he feels compelled to multiply his efforts to please God, to appease His likely anger and takes refuge in religiosity. This is the starting point of many problems. In this case, religiosity is no longer the expression of true faith, but of an inner discomfort towards God, which is the exact contrary of what it should be.
Many people invoke God out of fear and the sense of guilt, which have nothing to do with faith. Tormented by the need to please God, they recite long prayers, practice fasting and penance, but their heart remains filled with fear. Their spirit is suffocating in religiosity, but they do not understand it. They increase their religious practices, and thus a subtle mechanism sets off: fear pushes them towards religiosity, which still cannot solve the problem of the fear of God and the sense of guilt. Consequently, faith begins to waiver, and they become even more religious without ever reaching true liberation. Therefore, it often happens that beneath the appearance, many “righteous”, who pray endlessly, have a hardened heart, closed to God’s goodness, unable to entrust themselves to divine mercy.
Others invoke God as Father but do not feel as true children. They constantly affirm that they are unworthy of the graces and proclaim to everyone that they are sinners. Here, too, the same problems appears: man does not trust in God’s fatherhood; he is afraid of God’s omnipotence. Instead of living happily as a child of God, he wastes his energy seeking to prove God his nothingness, hoping to soften Him with his humbleness. I tell you, though, that this is not true humbleness but servility that comes from fear, subtle distrust due to a lack of awareness of one’s identity. True humbleness is awareness of one’s limits, which however, always goes hand in hand with the trust in God’s goodness, which can compensate for all weaknesses and even leave your sins behind. Whoever feels unworthy is not a humble person but simply someone who has not discovered his identity as child of God. In this case, too, the person takes refuge in a religiosity that sometimes has obsessive features: exhausting prayers, exaggerated penance, which do not solve the fundamental problem. There is a lack of faith, and thus there is no perception of one’s dignity.
There is also another kind of religiosity: that of those who invoke God to please themselves and appear righteous before the people, just as the Pharisees did. They linger in beautiful prayers, fine words, good quotations and are satisfied by all this; they sit back inwardly and think they are all right before God. Since they feel all right before God, they also feel all right before their neighbour; thus, they make themselves judges of others and expect praise and consideration. Their religiosity covers ambitions and expectations. It does not arise from faith but from egocentrism. They are so in love with themselves that they remain blinded, which prevents them from recognising what is taking place in them. By praising God, they praise themselves in a sort of self-celebration that undermines their faith. Thus, many egoists hide beneath fine words, rituals and formulas of religiosity, thinking that God should thank them for so many beautiful prayers. They do not have the faith that leads to humbleness; the faith, which is trust in God, not in themselves and in their own justice, is missing.
Quite a few invoke God out of habit, because of their upbringing, the traditions of the place where they live or because everyone does it and it would be inappropriate not to do it. These people do not question their faith; they are used to going listlessly to Church on Sundays, endure the sermon of the priest, pray morning and evening as their grandmother taught them, just as they are used to taking the bus to work in the morning. All is grey, without depth, involvement or inner joy. The religiosity of these people is like an overcoat that one puts on and takes off when needed. As soon as they are out of the church and the rituals and prayers are finished, they return to their everyday life, which is not even slightly touched by faith. They do not feel the presence of God, and yet they pray, and the priest might even praise them for being always in the first row.
Not to mention those who enthusiastically join patronal feasts, organise banquets, lotteries and illuminations in honour of this or that saint as previous generations used to do, without getting much involved on an inner level. Here religiosity is dangerously mixed with the spirit of the world and faith is weakened once again.
Finally, there are the ones who invoke God to solve their problems. They make up a very high percentage! All of you need God to solve your problems, but this should not be the main purpose of your relationship with God, otherwise, faith is contaminated by the worries of life. The people I am talking about do not use religiosity to express faith but their need for its own sake. They pray to obtain something, and their offerings always expect something in return. If God does not fulfil them, they rebel or become so disappointed to fall in despair. They want something, and they want it immediately and the way they think, otherwise God is no longer God. Here, too, religiosity with its beautiful forms hides great egoism and the expectation that God acts on command. It is as if they prayed: “Father … our will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I have given you a few examples to help you understand how faith and religiosity do not always go hand in hand. Why? And what can you do? Let us go back to the beginning: faith is trust in God. However, I also tell you that faith is not a general trust in God but trust in the living God and in the saving God.
True faith leads you to the One and Triune God who is the living God. Living because He is the source of life, because He lives in you and manifests His life through you. If you do not understand that God is alive in your spirit, you will not understand His action either. God acts in you and for you, and you must be certain about this. Whoever has faith cannot consider the action of God as something remote and uncertain, nor can he think of God as an unreachable being, immobile in His perfection, who needs continuous invocations for His compassion to be moved. No, dear children, the Father loves you with infinite tenderness and not even your slightest moan leaves Him indifferent. He sent Me to you as the Saviour to be closer to you, to prepare a new path for you to walk: that of belonging to Him as true children of His Son. He has given you the Holy Spirit, who has the power to make the seed of holiness sprout in you, that is, new, uncorrupted, sublime life.
I died and rose again to overcome all that is dead in you and around you. I died and rose again for you, not for anyone else. I made Myself your brother to walk with you. Why do you not feel that I am close to you? Why are you looking for Me somewhere far away while I am by your side right now? I am alive in you; I am the Living. What are the long prayers for if you turn to Me as you do with one of those statues you kiss in your churches, while I am right there, walking past you and you do not see Me? Faith lets you see the living God with the eyes of your spirit whereas religiosity lets you only see a beautiful image of God. Do you want an image or reality? Give Me your life, surrender to Me and your faith will grow and become strong and mature. Stop keeping the situations, the people, the problems under control; you do not have any solutions, nor will you find them by multiplying your prayers to be listened to. I listen to you even before you speak to Me. I listen to the life that pulsates in you because it is I who have given you life; who can know you better than Me? I have the solution for all your troubles because I regenerate you with My Blood.
Faith is trust in the saving God. My children, I see how you struggle to find salvation; I see how you are sliding into a false religiosity made of activism and human works; how often do you turn around yourselves! You travel miles to visit sanctuaries and seek visionaries, only to return home, feeling even emptier than before and just as fearful as before. Have you not understood what I did for you? I died in your place to pay your debt before the Father in order to reconcile you with Him. When you feel guilty and fear God’s punishment, when feelings of guilt torment you, when you are unable to forgive yourselves and others, think of Me; think of the One who died in your place to allow you to approach the Father without being afraid. My flesh, which knew no corruption, was crucified to eradicate the root of corruption.
Satan, your true enemy, seeks to frighten you and makes you feel guilty. But do not be afraid! If you have faith in Me, you have Me, and if you have Me, you have the strength of life, which cannot be overcome by death. Does the enemy accuse you? Seek Me and I will face him for you because I have already defeated the Accuser of my brothers and sisters. Children of Mine, if you only understood the love I have for you! My Blood, given for you, and My crucified flesh are before you; they are present on the altars of the Earth. Yet, without your faith, I die alone and you, too, will die if you do not fully unite with Me.
Return to true faith; when you pray or go to church, honestly ask yourselves, why you are doing it, and purify your heart from human needs, interests, ambitions and fears. Lay your problems before God; leave them in His hands with serenity. Raise the pure gaze of children to the Living God who loves and saves you; be joyful to be with Him; love Him sincerely; just love Him. Then, you will receive His Love in return; the Love that fills life and cannot be achieved by human efforts because love is won with love. You will see the false religiosity, which is hypocrisy, disappear and faith rise victoriously. The invocation of My Name will be your salvation, your joy, your peace. Then, and only then, will you be able to invoke Me, “Lord, Lord,” and I will truly be your Lord. I will be the joy of your life.
I bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 Stefania Caterina has widely explained God’s action inside and outside of us in the book, “Riscrivere la storia – Vol. I – Nel pensiero di Dio”, 2010, published by Luci dell’Esodo