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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit "Fortitude"

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“When I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10)

What is the meaning of this sentence? How can we consider ourselves strong if at the same time we feel that we are lacking  the force that allows us to stand, to deal with situations, not to collapse, not to let ourselves fall down? St. Paul adds: " I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions".  He who persecuted and used force against the weak!

At this point it is clear that St. Paul is no longer talking about physical strength, but about the strength that comes from God, a strength that is contrary to human laws, to oppression, to the same persecutions that men inflict on other men. Saint Paul in fact completes the concept with: persecutions and hardships  suffered for Christ's sake.

He admits his weakness, his useless and ephemeral, strength, “St Paul understands clearly how to face and how to live every event, especially suffering, difficulty and persecution. The power of God, who does not abandon us or leave us on our own but becomes our support and strength, is revealed at the very moment when we experience our own weakness.

Therefore, to the extent that our union with the Lord increases and that our prayers become intense, we also go to the essential and understand that it is not the power of our own means, our virtues, our skills that brings about the Kingdom of God but that it is God who works miracles precisely through our weakness, our inadequacy for the task”. (Benedict XVI General audience, June 13,2012)

So, we are no longer talking about strength, but about fortitude that the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as: "the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good." (No. 1808)

He who works for God always works for the good and does not need any physical, material, psychological strength. Fortitude supports the Christian in the pursuit of good, in reaching the Good that could be difficult to conquer; It serves to give him courage and constancy needed to the continuation of the endeavour.

And when we work for God, when we choose to follow Jesus, and begin a spiritual journey, we are called to persevere in the effort. We should continue in spite of suffering and adversity, with patience and humility, and we should have the capacity to endure with serenity the sufferings that we can not avoid when we follow Jesus.

The gift of fortitude that the Holy Spirit with His grace pours upon the souls and that they intimately require, comes in support of this same virtue, it leads it to perfection, and leads to perfection all the other virtues that have been infused into man at the time of Baptism, and that they are constantly overstretched in life and in everyday situations.

Every day temptations undermine human life, which in itself is weak and miserable. The gift of fortitude allows you to undertake the struggle and overcome what obstructs the path and growth in holiness.

It is indispensable to ask it to continue our earthly pilgrimage without discouraging us, to be guided "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13).

According  to Pope Francis, the Holy Spirit, which constitute the tenor of our Christian life, must be testified every day through our acts. It is a gift that infuses joy, it is a feeling of victory that accompanies our effort and the passing of the test: to become strong in our weaknesses, preserving peace.

The Holy Spirit acts and works, in the ordinary life of simple people, of those who daily follow Christ in hiddenness, praying, working, looking after their own family, facing illnesses and sufferings of any kind. In the same way, It also acts in the extraordinary life and in the great endeavours of saints and martyrs, raising them to the rank of heroes.

It is God who stays in them, through the gift of fortitude, and makes them submissive to sufferings. They are capable of accepting their sufferings and offering them to God. They suffer with joy because their Faith is great. Although sometimes God remains silent,  in order to forge them allowing them to grow spiritually, they never cease to trust in Him. The Lord does not free us from evils, but helps us to mature in sufferings, difficulties and persecutions. Faith, therefore, tells us that if we abide in God, “though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day”, in trials ( Pope Benedict XVI).

They can make difficult actions, enduring hardships, criticism, hostility of all sorts, even with joy, because they are supported by Hope, they have the heart full of His Love and act in His Will.

The Divine Will and fortitude enable the realization of great works concerning the spread of the Kingdom of God, through those saints and martyrs who, by denying themselves, are the initiators of the works for the glory of God, for the building up of the Church and for the good of humanity.

With Luisa God opens a new path, "a new yard" through which He, step by step, instructs her and gives her the right strength so that she can accomplish her task fully. We know, God begins by entrusting to the soul that He has chosen a task that seems light, but then slowly He adds a greater burden that the soul in turn is able to bear because she is never tested by God beyond her strengths, and always supported by His arm.

In her Diary Luisa writes that Jesus reassures her by saying that He will support her in all her trials, His arm will guide her, His Light will illuminate her path, His strength will be the push that will make her continue without breaks in the harsh battles that she will have to face.

Jesus  recommends to Luisa courage, as the thing that an opposing army fears the most is to see courage, strength, the way in which one confronts the most dangerous fights, without fearing anything. There is nothing they fear more than a courageous soul who, all cleaving to Jesus, with a strong spirit, goes into their midst - not to be wounded, but with the firm resolve to wound them and to exterminate them. The demons would rather flee, the divine presence will put them to flight.

Jesus Himself prays to the Father for Luisa, so that she could receive such strength in order to fulfill the Most Holy Will perfectly in everything, that her actions be so conformed to His, that one might not be distinguished from the other, so that He may accomplish His plan upon her:  to make her Enter into His Will.”

As the creature enters in the Divine Will, everything is transformed: darkness is turned into light, weakness into fortitude, poverty into riches, passions into virtue.

Jesus instills such fortitude to Luisa that she is also able to disarm the divine justice. She wants to take its blows upon herself to save the other creatures. And every time it is as if she receives more and more fortitude so that, as Jesus says again,  she doesn’t falter even if she feels hurt and  dejected. She is encouraged to continue. Jesus is always by her side,  He helps her, He gives to her a dress, with which her soul acquires more courage and strength.

Jesus says to Luisa that the divine strength is like a hedge which surrounds the soul. He delights in choosing souls, surrounding them with divine fortitude in such a way that no enemy may enter into them. But the souls, in turn, must be attentive not to break this hedge that keeps them well guarded. The enemy does not only come from the outside; the passions may come out and break this hedge. So, everything is in repressing the first motions, so that fortitude  can remain firm and surround the soul.

But if the soul is not attentive in this, if as soon as she perceives it, she enters into herself, humiliates herself, repents, and remedies it with courage.

The gift of fortitude allows the soul to have the dominion of herself, to know how to govern herself and to remain mild, docile to the attacks, imitating Jesus. Jesus, in fact, in His earthly life, showed His mildness in the last moments of His Passion. Throughout the time of His worst torment He remained mild, silent, giving us an example of His strength.

It’s a mildness that upsets us; even when on the cross He was abandoned by God, Jesus, with confidence, committed His spirit into His Father’s hands.

It’s the same strength of mind of the Celestial Sovereign Lady, who reached the point of loving the Divine Will more than the very Humanity of Her Son Jesus. How many times the Divine Will commanded Them to separate from each other, and She had to remain without her Son, without following Him. And She stayed with such strength and peace as to place Her very Son after the Divine Fiat.

The Sovereign Queen received everything from the Divine Will – fullness of grace, sanctity, sovereignty over everything, and even the fecundity to be able to give life to Her Son

The Divine Will gave Her everything and denied Her nothing; so, when the Divine Will wanted Him to go far away, with heroic strength, She gave back to the Divine Will what She had received. The Heavens were stupefied in seeing the strength, the heroism of She who - yet they knew - loved Jesus more than Her very life.

So Jesus would like to see the little daughter of His Divine Will: strong, peaceful and, with heroism, giving Her Jesus back to the Divine Will when It wants her to remain without Him. Jesus said to Luisa that He would rather not see her disheartened, melancholic, but with the strength of the Celestial Mama; and just as for the Sovereign Queen of Heaven the separation was only external and apparent, but internally the Divine Volition kept Them fused together and inseparable, so it will be with Luisa and all those with whom The Divine Will will keep fused within Itself.


My life and strength,

by myself I am weak and can do nothing,

but with You I can do everything.

Therefore, strengthen my weakness

by infusing your very strength.

      (Luisa Piccarreta)

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