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Teaching/Learning 2:

Poverty, Chastity and Obedience

OUR LORD: My children, these three vows or promises are the pivot on which your spiritual life grows. These three safeguards of a holy life - the practice and perfection of which elevates you to the heights of sanctity. My children, you are all called to this sanctity by the adherence in your daily lives to these treasures of grace. They are not part of the religious life for nothing. They are the holy directions of the Triune God, so necessary to be followed in the religious life.

The vocation to the religious life is a great gift. Never treat it in any other way - a beautiful gift. My children, think about a beautiful gift, perhaps a silver tea service. It is beautiful, costly and precious because of what it is made of. But, My children, if the silver tea set is left on the shelf and never used, it becomes stained, dull, dusty and unattractive. Now, if you use your beautiful tea service regularly and shine it often with Silvo, it becomes a warm, preserved, shining, expensive piece of your daily life and a costly jewel in your cabinet. Yes, you see its worth and it is precious to you. You love it and treasure it and you hand it on to future generations. Well, My dear ones, your religious vows are very precious gifts of solid gold, but to see the full effect of the expensive and costly item, you must shine it, buff it up, treat it with a cleaning fluid, make it sparkle and shine and use it often. In your religious life, you do this in a way by embellishing your gift, by practising continually, without cease, the three evangelical counsels.

Poverty, My children, does not refer to walking about in a threadbare garment, avoiding meals, saving expense on goods necessary to the normal way of life and such like. You may look back to the saints of old who practised such austerities but, at this present time in the modern era, one has to take stock of the meaning of this vow. You may see the cardinals, bishops and popes living in palaces and grand homes, and yet, some of these princes of the Church may be practising the vow of poverty in a more excellent way than one who has nothing at all. It all depends on the spirit and heart of the individual. Poverty ties in with obedience. I want you to consider an aspect of this vow in relation to the spirit, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." To be poor in spirit is to rely totally on Me and My Providence. Poverty of spirit. This is the true meaning - to be poor in spirit, to relinquish your will to that of your superior in obedience and meekness. Such a holy and vibrant virtue. Acceptance of Godís Will for you as directed in the line of grace.

Naturally, it refers also to the physical in as much as you must practise detachment from material things. You may be surrounded by luxury, yet still be detached from it. You will recognise self-indulgence, My children, which is opposed to the virtue. You will understand it but, My children, you know how I deal with you. I like you to have some little treats now and then to uplift your spirits. That is healthy and enjoyable. You experience this often. You understand, in this Order, it is a new way of life, yet the same holy vows are voiced, and the same holy efforts are to be made to perfect these virtues. It doesnít matter where you are. You can practise this vow to perfection. Detachment of self from self-will.

Have you understood My dealings with you this week on your holiday? Yes, you have enjoyed many luxuries, for I have ordained it so, but, My children, as long as you are focused to do My Will, to be ready to follow My Voice and to give all, whether it is in material goods, or the physical offering of all your life, you are in line with My demands of this vow. Your heart, mind and will, a beautiful gift of yourself to Me, and one of great acceptability to Me. Poverty - My children, you have need of the things of this world and, if they are used in their proper place and context, all is well and good. Reliance on Divine Providence. But always remember, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

Obedience, My true and holy children, this perhaps can be the hardest blow against your ego, your self-will, your self-love, but most of all, your will. Obedience walks hand in hand with poverty. Obedience, My children, if practised, can take all the worry, stress and strain out of your daily life, and you are beginning to understand this. My children, if you practised obedience more perfectly, you wouldnít have a worry in the world. To practise this vow, takes all the responsibility for your daily life off your shoulders and places it squarely upon Mine, through your holy superiors.

Have you noticed in holy convent life, the happiness of the nuns? In days gone by, people would comment, that they could never guess the age of a nun enveloped in the habit. She rarely had any wrinkles or signs of care on her face and she never suffered from ulcers and generally lived a long life. Yes, some of My holy spouses of decades past, who practised this vow so well, knew its true meaning. They knew God was in charge and were happy to be directed in His Will.

In these modern times of assertiveness, of demand, of ego, of the "I know better," it is a hard lesson to learn, but, My children, it is so easy if you focus on it. Your superior is your director. The superior has the grace of state. The superior represents the Voice of God. Certainly the decisions made by the superior may be defective at times; they are not infallible; they also have to heed My Voice. But, My children, the graces you receive from your acceptance of your daily directions are very great. Look at the great saints. They lived obscure lives, some of them, and died unknown, but their sanctity was revealed world-wide by Godís grace, and they were named saints because they performed their daily duties as best they could in obedience.

Simple carrying out of your directions cheerfully and obediently will win you a glorious crown. Your will must be subdued to My will through your superior. It does not mean you remain mute if you know that something can be better done in another way. No, you have a voice. You can assist your superior. You can ask to discuss a topic in a gentle and respectful way. You can do this; then leave it to the discretion of the superior. We are all one family. We help each other. This is what I am trying to instil into you, My little ones - all one family, which I am pruning to shape into a glorious tree of life for those who need your help.

Let me also explain another fact to you, My children. Obedience is all very well - the act of obedience, but, My children, school yourselves to align your mind with that of your director. Not only should you take on the mind of your superior, but your obedience should be in your heart and mind as well as in your action. Do you understand this, My children? What good is obedience if there is a seething bed of resentment in your heart? Obedience walks hand in hand with humility. If you progress in these virtues, you are knocking on Heavenís door. Read, My children, of these evangelical counsels in your holy books, for much food is there to nourish and sustain you. I am sad to say, many who have taken these vows, do not have a full appreciation of what these vows entail. It is your duty as religious to keep yourselves informed, so you do not relax in this area. Holy obedience is the flower of My Heart and implies trust and confidence in Me and My Providence. Meditate on these vows, sweet ones, for they are very holy and sacrosanct.

Chastity, My loved ones, is most pleasing and holy in My Sight. Chaste, pure, clean. There are many definitions of this word. Like purity, chastity includes that of the mind, heart, soul and body. The virgins, My holy spouses, who have relinquished their right to maternal happiness and spousal love in the earthly sphere, belong to Me. They are My spouses, and I treat them and their holy vow, with great respect and reverence. Chastity refers not only to virginity, but also of a state of mind, chaste in heart and mind - "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall be called children of God." My children, the lack of chastity in this modern world has sickening effects throughout the whole of society. Movies, shows, the theatre - so much of this entertainment media decries holiness, pureness, innocence and wholesomeness. The evil one attacks this virtue with great strength, because he knows that many do not have the will, or the moral strength, to combat temptations in this area. My children, many of the children of the world who have lost their chastity in heart and body have become desensitised to what they do. This often leads to the downhill slide of sin, misery and loss of any feelings of health and goodness. They sink into the mire and canít raise themselves. They often disappear into the quicksand.

My children, look to My foster father for the example of chasteness in family life. He who guarded his chastity, living in the holy family, can help you in this modern world to do likewise. Prayer and good works lead you along the narrow road. Avoid any sphere of contamination, which may cause you temptation, whether it be in thought, word or deed. Guard yourself, for you carry Me within you, and I do not wish My temple to be sullied. My pure foster father, why he was the model of religious, for he was a perfect religious. Poverty was his, chastity was his, obedience was his. Your patron, Saint Charbel, too was a perfect model - chaste and obedient above all praise.

Read of the lives of the saints. They struggled manfully against such temptations and it was generally for a lifetime. There was no rest for My holy saints until they took their last breath. And for you, who have taken these holy vows, which are so dear to Me, inform yourselves as to what they are, what they mean and what is expected of you, for you cannot say these words lightly. Embrace these vows, sweet ones. They are your tickets to Heaven and they will shine like diamonds in your heavenly crown. Persevere, listen and learn, and you will find that the road for you will reach the summit of perfection.


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