Performing Your Daily Duties in the Divine Will
“It is necessary to work through the veil of the Humanity of Christ to find God. That is, to operate with Christ’s own Humanity as if it is one with our own, to please Him…calling Him into all that we do as if He Himself performed our actions. So doing, the soul is in continual contact with God, because Christ’s Humanity was like a veil that covered the Divinity; so, operating within these veils one finds himself with God.”
(Vol. 6: October 17, 1904)
you learned that to do your acts in the Divine Will it is necessary to have the divine attitude of doing everything for and in Jesus. You also learned that to live continuous Life in the Divine Will it is necessary to maintain this divine attitude at all times. Since this is not an easy task, this chapter is presented to bring you some practical help.
1. The Prevenient and Current Acts
In order to help you live daily life in the Divine Will, Jesus has given you the Prevenient Act to begin your day, and the Current Act to keep you attentive throughout the day. He explains these two acts in the following passage:
There is both a prevenient act and a current act. The prevenient act is when the soul, at the break of dawn, sets its will in Mine and decides and affirms that it wants to live and act only in my Will. With this act it prepares all its acts and makes them flow in my Will. With this predisposing consent my Sun surges and my life is replicated in all your acts as if in one single current act. But the prevenient act can be eclipsed and clouded by certain human ways: by self-will, by self-esteem, by carelessness, by neglect, etc. All these things are like clouds that interfere with the sun and render its light less vivid as it falls on the face of the earth.
The current act, on the other hand, is not subject to the possible interference of clouds but rather clears away any clouds that may exist. It makes rise other suns in which my Life is replicated with ever-more-intense light and heat, each more beautiful than the other. Both acts are necessary; the prevenient act assists, creates the disposition and makes room for the current act. The current act preserves and enlarges the disposition of the prevenient act
(Vol. 14: May 27, 1922).
The Prevenient Act, then, can be compared to the Morning Offering. For ages, Catholics have been making the Morning Offering to express to God their desire to make every act of the day an act of love for Him. In a similar manner, by the Prevenient Act, the Child of the Divine Will renews each morning his desire to make all his acts flow in God’s Will. And just as the effect of the Morning Offering is easily spoiled by self-love and thoughtlessness, and thus needs to be renewed throughout the day by many loving aspirations, so the Prevenient Act is easily spoiled “by certain human ways,” and also needs to be renewed throughout the day. Therefore Jesus has given the Current Act.
The importance of Being Faithful And Attentive to the Current Act can be summarized in the following illustration. In the early morning a farmer asks his two sons to go out and work in the field; the weather is going to turn soon and he needs to get the harvest in quickly. Both boys agree to go to the field and work. The first boy begins by working hard, but is soon distracted by field mice, butterflies and the nearby children flying a kite. The second boy, knowing that, he too, like his brother, is easily distracted, ties a string to his finger. And, in fact, he frequently begins to be distracted. But as soon as he sees the string on his finger, he remembers
his purpose, and with a strong act of his will, turns away from the distractions and becomes attentive to his duty. Both boys spent the whole day in the field, but it is only the second boy who, by frequently remember in his purpose and being attentive to his duty, actually makes his day in the field a fruitful one.
A Method for Making the Current Act
The Prevenient Act is made at the beginning of the day, it’s now up to you to continue making Current Acts throughout the day. In the following passage, Jesus gives a beautiful method for making the Current Act: In order for the soul to be able to forget herself, everything she does or has to do must be done as if I wanted to do it in her. If she prays, she should say “It is Jesus Who wants to pray, and I pray together with Him.” If she works: “It is Jesus Who wants to work; it is Jesus Who wants to walk; Who wants to get up; Who wants to enjoy Himself.” And it should be like that in everything for the rest of her life, excluding errors.
Only in this manner is the soul able to forget herself. For not only will she do everything because I want it; but, because I want to do it, she will need Me
(Vol. 11: August 14, 1912).
As you see, Jesus wants you to become accustomed to the idea that you no longer exist apart from Him. You must become one single thing with Him. For this reason, in another place He says:
…from now on between you and Me, I don’t want “you” and “I” to exist. Therefore, it will no longer be said “you will do,” “I will do,” but “we will do.” Also, that “yours” and “mine” must disappear. Instead, we will say “ours,” of all things…
(Vol. 1: Chapter 39)
To put this advice into practice, you may find it helpful to “put on Jesus” as actors “put on” the character they must portray. First, imagine Jesus in your place, using your mind, your heart and your members to do that which is to be done. How would He think? How would He feel? How would He act? Allow Him to act through you. Second, strive “to act with the gentleness, kindness and love [etc.] of Jesus.” By this second point, you will, as Blessed Dina says, make your “small contribution to the work at hand.” Finally, always keep in mind the following counsel of Luisa:
All that occurs within us that is not sinful, we ought to consider a divine operation. Should we consider it otherwise, we then deprive the Father of his glory, cause the divine life to flee from us and lose sanctity. All that we experience within ourselves: inspirations, mortifications, graces, are none other than the operations of love. But do we accept them in such a way as willed by God? Do we afford Jesus the liberty to operate; or rather considering everything from a merely human standard or as something of little importance, do we reject the divine operation and constrain Jesus to interrupt the work He had begun? Do we abandon ourselves in his arms as one who is dead, so as to receive all those blows which the Lord disposes for our sanctification? (Companion to the Hours of the Passion — 9 p.m.)
2. Overcoming Obstacles
As said above, maintaining the divine attitude is not an easy task. Moreover, it becomes particularly difficult when you must converse much with others, or be involved in fast-paced or mind-engrossing work. For this reason, you must become like the boy who tied the string around his finger and frequently remember your purpose. It will be necessary to form the habit of periodically making a pause in your activity and renewing your intention of doing everything for and in Jesus — in short, making the Current Act. This pause can be made every quarter hour, or when you come to a natural periodic pause in your work. It can be done simply, in a brief moment, and even without words when necessary.
Work that you naturally love can be still more difficult to do for and in Jesus. More difficult to do for Jesus because when one enjoys the work one does, one tends to do it for the personal satisfaction or pleasure one derives from it. More difficult to do in Jesus because this enjoyment often causes one to work with a passion, and to become absorbed in it, making it difficult to leave one’s “own thoughts, style and tastes.” Therefore, in work you love to do, it is all the more necessary to make these pauses in order to mortify your desire to delight in this personal satisfaction. In this way, even though you may still experience pleasure in your work (which is perfectly fine), these pauses will keep you from becoming absorbed in this pleasure and will continually purify your intention.
Little by little, the more you come to understand and try to put into practice this attentiveness to the divine attitude, the more sensitive your conscience will become. It will begin to bother you for seemingly little things for which it was never bothered before. When this happens, it will be telling you that you’ve lost the divine attitude, have stopped working in a divine way, and that you have returned to working in your own will. Jesus explains:
Since I, benevolent Father, am always on guard of the human heart; seeing it slip away from Me (that is, working and loving in a human way), I place thorns in its way, displeasures, bitternesses, which by stinging and causing bitterness to that human work and love, make the soul realize that her way is not divine. She enters into herself and behaves differently because the stings are the sentinels of the human heart and are administered to it to see who or what moves it — God or the creature. On the other hand, when the soul leaves everything, and works
and loves all things divinely, she enjoys my peace. Instead of having sentinels and eyes looking for ways to sting, she has the sentinel of peace which distances her from all that could disturb her, and has eyes of love that drive away, put to flight, and burn, those who want to agitate her
(Vol. 10: February 10, 1912).
Do not grow impatient with yourself. It takes time to form this habit, and Jesus understands this. What He wants is your constant effort, for as Luisa says “Fickleness escapes from the steadiness of the Divine behavior.” Strive then always to Be Faithful And Attentive.
3. Short Prayers for Daily Activities
Acquiring the habit of offering short prayers for routine activities can also be helpful in your effort to do everything for and in Jesus. By offering a certain prayer for every act of your daily routine, your attention will be brought back to Him Who wants to do all these simple acts in you.
— When making your bed in the morning: Lord, as I put my bed in order in your Will, I call all souls to put their day in order in You by making their Morning Offering. I call the Children of the Divine Will to do so, by making their Prevenient Act. I also beseech You for true order in the world through the coming of your Kingdom.
— When dressing: While dressing in your Will I call all souls to discard the gloomy garment of sin, and to dress themselves in the beautiful and bright garment of your grace, or still better, in the “Royal Vestments”
(Vol. 16: Jan. 14, 1924) of your Holy Divine Will.
— When brushing your teeth: While brushing my teeth in your Will I call all sinners to repentance so that we may brush away their sins. I call chosen souls to greater faithfulness so that we may brush away everything in them that could displease You in the least. Thus let us prepare the world for the coming of your Kingdom.
— When writing: Lord, as we write, let us write names in the Book of Life and in the Kingdom of your Will on earth. As we make this ink flow, let us make your Blood flow over the souls in Purgatory to purify them.
— When taking a walk: Lord as we walk, let us walk in your Will above all the acts of all creatures, and cover them with the mantle of your Will. By this means let us make them perfect and complete in the eyes of the Supreme Majesty.
Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you with similar prayers for your other routine, daily activities.
4. Working in Favor of All Creatures
Be aware, dear soul, that by learning to act and live in this “divine way” (as Jesus calls it) you will be working in favor of all creatures. That is, God will receive the perfect glory that would be his, if all creatures — past, present and future — were doing what you are doing in his Will. Thus, in return, God will pour out his grace on everyone universally; and the creatures will benefit from this grace according to their dispositions. Jesus explains this in the following passage:
…I want you closely united with Me. But do not believe that you should do this only when you pray or when you suffer. No, but rather always and forever. If you move, if you breathe, if you work, if you eat, if you sleep — all this you must do as if you were doing it in my Humanity, as if all of your work came out of Me.
In this manner nothing can be yours. Rather, all must be in you only as a shell, and opening this shell of your work there has to be found the fruit of the Divine Work. You must do everything like this — and in favor of all creatures — as if my Humanity were in the midst of all creatures. Hence, by doing everything with this intention of receiving life from Me, even the most indifferent and small actions acquire the merits of my Humanity.
Being man and God, I contained all in Myself. That is to say, in my breath I contained all the breaths of everyone. In my movement, I contained everyone’s movements. In my thought, the thoughts of all. Consequently, all were reformed and sanctified by Me.
Now you, working entirely with the intention and the attitude of receiving your work from Me, will come to embrace and contain all creatures in yourself. Further, even though the others give Me nothing, I will receive everything from you
(Vol. 7: November 28, 1906).
5. A Final Encouragement
To encourage you to put the lessons of this chapter into practice, listen to Jesus as He speaks of the great wonders you will accomplish when you are attentive and your acts are flowing in the Divine Will:
It is really I; it is my fingers that work in yours. My daughter, when I was on earth didn’t I humble Myself working with wood, hammering nails, helping my foster father, Joseph, in his carpentry labors? And while I was doing that, with those same hands and fingers, I was creating souls, while calling others to another life. I was divinizing all human actions; I was sanctifying them, giving divine merit to each. Through the movements of my fingers, I was calling all the movements of your fingers as well as all other creatures’. And if I saw them laboring for Me, because they wanted Me to perform these acts in them, I would continue my life of Nazareth in them. And due to them I felt, as it were, refreshed in the sacrifices and humiliations of my hidden Life, while I offered them the merit of my own Life.
…the hidden Life which I practiced at Nazareth is neither known nor valued by men. With the exception of my Passion, however, there was no greater good I could have accomplished. By lowering Myself to perform all these little acts that men perform in their daily lives such as eating, sleeping, drinking, working, lighting the fire, sweeping — acts that everyone does — I placed in these souls a divine money of an infinite value. For if it was my Passion that redeemed them, it was my hidden Life that courted their every human action, even the most indifferent, with divine merit and infinite value.
And while you are working — working because I want to work — look how my fingers are in yours. And, at the same moment I work in you, to how many do my hands bring to the light of this world? How many do I call and how many others do I sanctify, correct, chastise, etc.? You, then, are also here with Me to create, to call, to correct, and more. And since you are not working alone, neither am I in all my works. Could I have given you a greater honor?
(Vol. 11: August 14, 1912)