There is no doubt that some of the writings of the Catholic mystic, Luisa Piccarreta, concerning the coming Reign of The Divine Will, have stirred controversy -- just go to the internet! Although Luisa had the support of clergy, and although 19 of her diary-volumes were published under the Imprimatur of her spiritual director and confessor for over 17 years (who is now a saint --St. Annibale di Francia, canonized by John Paul II on May 16, 2004), for a long time the Church placed some of her writings--not the diaries-- on the Index.
But those were not the pure, handwritten writings of Luisa-- they had been edited by others, explains author, Frank Rega (Padre Pio and America; St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims; The Greatest Catholic President: Garcia Moreno of Ecuador). The debate has not deterred a wide fervent Catholic following, but has only served to bring focus to her life, mystical journeys, visions and revelations. . . .
Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947) lived in Corato, in southern Italy, one of five daughters born to simple Catholic farmers who worked for a landlord. Her childhood was characterized by extreme shyness and nightmares of demons trying to carry her away. From this she turned to prayer so intense, she began to experience inner locutions from Jesus that continued throughout her long, impoverished life--bedridden for over 60 years. Ordered by her confessor to write down her experiences, her diaries fill 36 volumes from February 1899 to Dec. 1938. Luisa's almost nightly mystical encounters put her into a rigid, nearly petrified state that could only be undone by her confessor the next morning. Her diaries record her years of conversations and journeys with Jesus, His Mother, the angels, the souls in Purgatory, and describe all her sufferings, physical and otherwise, the dark nights of her soul, the invisible stigmata, the supernatural world she lived in and the coming of the reign of The Divine Will -- a world inside-out from our own earthly grounding. In short, the Divine Will unfolds, trying her spirit, slowly creating a victim-soul in Luisa, willing to save other souls through her suffering: "...her soul would leave her body and travel with Jesus to places of iniquity--and she would share the pain Jesus felt. He passed such bitterness into her soul that it felt as if knives were piercing her." (p. 43)
Her diaries leave no doubt, either, that she also experiences promises and rewards, and often a lyrical feeling of beauty and ineffable happiness not known in our world.
Luisa was a Dominican Tertiary existing mostly on the Eucharist, and became known as the Little Daughter of The Divine Will. Some photographs available show an aged woman with white hair drawn back, dressed in white and sitting upright in bed. One sees the shy dark eyes tinged with a grave humility and a sweet acceptance.
Rega, as a defender of Luisa, cites good references in evidence of the sincerity of her transcendent experiences. Since most of us would perhaps not even know about her or have time or inclination to read 36 volumes, he has taken on the herculean task of "sifting" 1000 pages of the first 12 volumes into some 270 pages in a fast-reading narration, opening the door to Luisa's mystical world of the Divine Will, what Rega calls "Heaven on earth. . . "
As often happens with mystics, they face conflict, doubt and questioning, but the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Luisa Piccarreta has found its way. Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "nullified the condemnations..." clearing the way for her Cause, which was opened on November 29th, 2004, the Feast of Christ the King. As part of the Vatican process for the Cause, her diaries are under scrutiny by the Magisterium, and they have requested that writers do not quote her work verbatim. Therefore, Rega has told the essentials of parts of her diaries in his own words, "from the perspective of an observer, reporting in the third person on what he has read."
For those who have never read Luisa's voluminous work--and I am one! -- the author has presented a chance to know her life and what she has to tell us of The Divine Will, of Divine Justice and Divine Love. "Her revelations and visions teach the way of personal sanctity and of life in the Divine Will, to prepare for a coming Era of Peace," Rega writes. I have not sufficient knowledge to offer an opinion on her vast diaries -- we'll have to wait until the Church speaks-- but in the meantime, reading Rega's book is a great help for those who want to ease into her writings. It flows like a simple prayer book that can be carried on the subway or bus to work -- easy to understand by the busiest reader of 'things Catholic,' while we await the outcome of her Cause for Beatification. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven..." All Christians want this.
Five stars for Rega's great effort-- and his fervent intention to bring the essence of the volumes before the world.
UPDATE ON THE CAUSE OF LUISA PICCARRETA
Frank Rega reported the following on November 14th 2012.
"His Eminence Archbishop Pichierri, who is responsible for Luisa Piccarreta's cause, rejects the claim that there are doctrinal errors in her writings. Further, not only is it not prohibited to spread the knowledge of her life and of her writings, but it is desireable to do so. Please see attached communication for details. "
To read the full statement by the Archbishop, go to Frank Rega's website.
Luisa Piccarreta's path to sainthood, long and labyrinthine as it may be, is now clear of cluttering misinterpretations and declarations of heresy, and so...her journey at last continues freely. Her time, her day approaches. . .
In the meantime, since many may not want to read the thirty-six volumes of her diary, Frank Rega will soon be bringing out his second volume of Luisa's diary, the middle years.--not translating it but "from the perspective of an observer, reporting in the third person on what he has read." It is indeed what is needed in these speeding times--a shorter path to get to the revelations of His Will.
To read an excerpt from this 2nd volume, a chapter entitled "Chastisement, Purges, Destruction - and a Remedy," check with Frank Rega's website.
We may wish to read some passages a second time, not because they are not clear -- they are! -- but because the ideas and explanations to Luisa by Jesus are so profound and beyond our natural imaginings and inclinations, we want to digest them thoroughly. They bring to mind Isaiah 55: 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts; nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Luisa's sacrifice is called on by Jesus to "prepare the act opposite to the many evils that inundate the earth." I think one can say Luisa is a seedling of the Divine Volition--indeed, one could say a 'seedbed' for she was bedridden most of her life and from there was infused through the years with the purpose and meaning of The Divine Will. Among the many thoughts that flood one is how many such acts of sacrifice are silently and invisibly preventing the great fall of humanity into the inundations of evils.
Rega writes that Jesus tells Luisa "The earth will be purified further, since He is disgusted with it and cannot bear its sight." "He cannot rest until He gives the last divine brush stroke to all Creation." And for this he needs souls like Luisa, filled with His Will. . . .