Second Week of Lent – Fasting and Blanding of Meals

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” – author unknown . . . but probably an Italian grandmother

As someone with an Italian mother who I still think is the best Italian cook in the world, I have some experience with this saying 🙂 But although we think of it in the world of romance, it is quite helpful in the world of spirituality. How we approach food in our lives can give us great insight into the state of our hearts. Consequently food, both its quantity (fasting) and taste are parts of the Flame of Love devotion.

We must be careful to be neither lax nor obsessed about this topic. Here is the key: make your food about loving others. How do we normally decide what to eat or not eat? We eat what we want for ourselves – for our pleasure and our health. Like most things, our decision revolves around ourselves – just like choosing what we wear, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time. The effect of grace of our Blessed Mother’s Flame of Love turns this upside down. In complete union with Jesus by the power of grace, our lives are now completely poured out for others including what we choose to eat or not eat, what to wear, how we spend our money, and how we spend our time.

In the Diary, we are encouraged to fast and we are encouraged to make our meals tasteless:

Jesus: “I want you to increase your fasts if you accept. Do not give yourself to any pleasure. Let your breakfast and your afternoon meal be bread and water. You can have other foods only at your principal meal, but make them tasteless. Do not eat to please your taste but only to nourish your body.”

Spiritual Diary p.41

But why? If we fast and bland our meals only as a matter of discipline, it may give us mastery of our senses and build a sense of personal detachment but it is largely devoid of spiritual power. How subtly we can fall into spiritual selfishness, doing things for our own salvation or even spiritual pride. Rather, let us do these out of love. It is love for our Lord as we allow Him to continue His life of redemptive sacrifice in us – choosing union with Him over our own pleasure. It is love for our brothers and sisters because we may offer these voluntary sacrifices for their salvation as Jesus offered His voluntary sacrifices for their salvation. Love drives our fasting and our blanding of meals – not discipline, not guilt, not obligation. Make your food about loving others.

At the risk of being lengthy for a reflection, let’s explore this as it is essential to our spiritual health. We often receive questions about what fasting do we have to do as part of the devotion. The Diary mentions fasting on bread and water on Monday, Thursday, and Friday as well as blanding all meals. Asking what we have to do may quickly set us on the wrong path. Christians should not generally be asking what must I do but rather, what can I do. This takes us from the realm of obligation to the realm of love.

It could be you should not fast at all. Maybe you are diabetic. Maybe you have an incredibly physically demanding job where you will put people at risk if you are faint from hunger. Maybe you have a constitution and life that allow you to fast almost every day as an offering for others. This approach of what can I do in love rather than what am I obligated to do does two important things:

  1. It banishes guilt. If you sincerely are offering your life for others and cannot fast, do not feel guilty. Just make your food about loving others.
  2. It makes the sky the limit for what you can do if you are able. You are not limited by fixed amount of fasting (though you should be limited by wisdom). Just make your food about loving others.

Some have asked if the Thursday and Friday fasts were for Elizabeth or for everyone. Not wanting to assume I could definitively understand the Diary without the oral tradition, I asked Győző Kindelmann, our International Director and Elizabeth’s grandson. He replied:

Jesus gave Elizabeth a task of atonement and prayer every day of the week, which includes lot of fasting (April 10, 1962). However, this strict daily agenda was not obligatory for her either! The Lord said about this: “Come, if you have time. If this is too much, just let me know, please. The will is yours, I have great respect for that. ” Therefore, we should also, only undertake as much as we can, not to have a detrimental effect on our work or harm our health. In any event, members of the Flame of Love Movement are recommended to take on some form of fasting or self-restraint (self denial) at least 1 day a week. According to the tradition of the Church, Friday is the most common day of fasting.

So we come back to where we began. We do not fast for obligation. We do not fast to some minimum requirement. We fast as we can, guided by wisdom, not asking how much do I have to fast but rather how much can I fast. It’s simple. Stop eating or not eating according to what you want. Make your food about loving others. Indeed, our stomachs can tell us much about our hearts!

p56: Jesus: “My little one, get rid of anything that gives taste to your meals. Only in this way, will I be your guest. What is tasty for you is tasteless for Me. I ask you, therefore, that if you invite Me, seek what pleases Me.”

p163: During lunch, it was very difficult to make my meal tasteless. So, I decided to eat one half and to make tasteless the other half. Our Lord sadly observed.
Jesus: “I accepted sufferings without a thought and I saved you from all your sins, not just from some. Do not be stingy. May our hands gather in unity.”

p166: Today is my fast day for the priestly souls. The Savior has asked me to fast each Monday on bread and water to free a priest soul from purgatory. Although the fast weakens me, I can do my housework and help with the children.

p84: The Lord Jesus asked me to write especially about how we can help souls.
Jesus: “By observing the fast I ask for, priests will be freed from purgatory on the eighth day after their death.”

p98: While He was speaking to me, I got out my little lunch. On Thursday and Friday, at the Lord’s request, I eat only bread and water, and I offer it for the twelve priests and to make reparation to the Lord. Meanwhile, the Lord sat – in a spiritual way – next to me and said:
Jesus: “Oh, how this pleases Me. So few times have I enjoyed participating in such an intimate banquet. The souls that make reparation and faithfully follow My desires are so few.”
Jesus: “May our souls be in harmony. In this way, our hands will gather in unity.”

Flame of Love Basics Series: Fasts
Flame of Love Basics Series: Blanding of Meals

First Week of Lent – Continuous Spirit of Repentance

Continual Repentance and Reconciliation is a theme spread throughout the Diary. As we focus our Lenten reflections on all we do, we do for love, let us re-examine why we repent and seek reconciliation. Love always moves toward other and so it is with a repentance built on love. Ideally, our repentance is not about seeking forgiveness for ourselves and saving our souls from hell but rather is about others because sin is about others. Sin is sin because it wounds others. Of course, it is possible to sin against ourselves but most of our sins wound others.

I remember as a parent praying one day, “Lord cast me into hell rather than let my children suffer for my sins.” God immediately seemed to shoot back, “That’s why it’s sin! It’s not that you broke a rule and now I’m spitefully punishing them. I gave you that rule to keep them from being hurt. Now that you have broken it, they are hurt. That’s what sin does; that’s why it is sin.”

So this Lent, let us renew our commitment to continual repentance as part of the Flame of Love but based upon love – repenting in order to stop hurting others. Our heart is broken not because WE have failed (in our pride) but for what we have done to others especially our Lord – perfect contrition. Our love for our Beloved drives us to remove any blemish that would dismay Him; our love for our brethren drives us to remove our sins that wound them and any impediment to our being Jesus to them by grace. Our continuous sense of repentance and desire to be always in a state of reconciliation with our Lord clears the way for Him to work for the salvation of souls through us by means of the effect of grace of the Flame of Love. This is why we repent and seek reconciliation – all we do we do for love.

As we recommit ourselves to this life of grace, let’s commit to a regular examination of conscience and frequent participation in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

p279: Mary: “My Flame of Love and your repentance work together. Through this, many souls return to my Divine Son.”

p219: Jesus: “What unites Me with you? Your inexhaustible repentance! Yes, this is what inebriates Me. Poor little soul, listen to My words giving recognition to what you’re capable of. You inebriate the most high and all powerful God. Understand this great marvel: you can make Me happy by your repentance for your sins.”

p221: Jesus: “ . . . You, beloved! You! Your sorrow for sins makes your soul – and that of all who come close to Me with true sorrow for sins – beautiful and pleasing.”

p36: Jesus: “Let there be repentance in every beat of your heart. With every breath, take in My love, and when you exhale, pass it to your neighbor.”

p126: His words led my soul to a great repentance. The Lord Jesus said: “Repent on behalf of others also.”

p49: Jesus: “I instituted the Sacrament of Penance, yet you make no use of it. For this, I have sweated blood. For this, I was crowned with thorns. I let myself be nailed to the Cross. I endured unspeakable suffering.”

Flame of Love Basics Series: Continual Repentance

Ash Wednesday – Humility

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”

Humility is the gateway grace, the foundation of love. When we are completely free of concern for ourselves (humility), we are free to completely love others. All our practices of the Flame of Love must never be about us. They are always on behalf of others, most of all our Lord and Lady. As we begin our renewal and recommitment to The Flame of Love, let us set it on the right foundation of humility. Let us commit ourselves through fervent prayer and the power of grace to be so free from any thought for self that we are completely available for others.

p196: Jesus: “Although you feel so weak, that is not an impediment, because neither the manifestation of your weakness nor your constant effort will bring our Cause to a successful conclusion. Your humility is the only instrument in your hands that helps the Cause to succeed.”

p244: Jesus: “You know well that I make use of your littleness, your ignorance and your humility to gain My purpose. Above all, I stress your humility.”

p36: Mary: “My daughter, now that you are over this great temptation [attacks from Satan], I will reward you. You have overcome a great trial. We wanted to increase your humility. This is why my Divine Son let Satan get so near to you, to make you more able to propagate the Flame of Love.”

p81: Mary: “It is precisely because of your littleness, incapacity and humility, that my Flame of Love will move ahead gently and without disturbance. Therefore, be careful and remain hidden in humility. You will be continually subjected to humiliations, both internal and external. It is only thus that I can guard you so to pass on my Flame of Love.”

Flame of Love Basics Series: Humility

Our Lenten Theme

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Our theme for Lent is renewal of our commitment to the practices of the Flame of Love. We must be sure this renewal rests upon the proper foundation – we do all for Love – love of our Lord and love of our brothers and sisters: “if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” I Cor 13:3
Only when our actions reach into our deepest longings and purpose – to love and be loved – will our commitment be sustainable. All we do, we do for love for, if we have become Jesus by the effect of grace, we have become Love for God IS Love.

Let us, in this series, re-examine the various aspects of this great devotion and particularly explore how they flow from the Flame of Love, not The Flame of Responsibility or the Flame of Saving Our Own Skin – yes, the Flame of Love who is Love Himself. May God make us an ever greater blessing for others during this season of Lent.

Győző Kindelmann’s 2021 New Year’s Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, All of You Who Have Accepted into Your Heart the Flame of Love of the Blessed Virgin!

As you well know, around this time we always pick a short section of the Spiritual Diary which will serve as a motto for the members of the Movement for the entire year. With the help of the spiritual assistants and coordinators, we have done so again this year. We chose one of the promises of the Blessed Mother, which can fill us with hope during these difficult times: ”I, the Beautiful Ray of Dawn, will blind Satan!” (May 19, 1963)

I ask you to accept with open hearts my thoughts concerning the motto for 2021. . . .

Download the full text here:

Eileen Piergiovanni – December 3, 2020

Eileen Piergiovanni is the National Director for the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Movement in the United States.

She is a cradle Catholic from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who attended Catholic grade schools, Notre Dame Academy HS, and Mount St Mary University).

In 1995 while listening to the rosary, a spiritual awakening stirred her heart leading to a desire to attend daily mass and Consecration to Jesus through Mary.
  
Eileen is a lay Discalced Carmelite assisting with the formation of aspirants. She leads 2 rosary cenacles in 2 different parishes. 

Previously she was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and a CCD/PREP instructor.

Eileen speaks on the Extraordinary Grace of the Flame of Love and shares her personal conversion testimony and stories. 

A Prayer from Győző Kindelmann

Dear Brothers and Sisters . . . .

I wish you to always experience the Lord’s blessing, and with this prayer beg the Virgin Mother to be with you and with every member of the Movement:

Mary, our Mother,
in this worrisome time in which we live,
and in a world which has changed so much,
we beg you to bless every member of our Movement,
especially those who are suffering the most
from the consequences of the pandemic.
Wipe away the tears of pain,
stand beside the lonely afflicted,
help the faithful working in the health care field,
that they may be witnesses to the love of your Son.

Give us strength through your Flame of Love,
that we too might be instruments of God’s healing mercy
among our afflicted brethren!
Give us courageous hearts, which do not shrink from danger,
but which are able to recognize , love and help
everyone in need in these difficult days!
May you work in us at every moment.
May the flame of your motherly love put an end to the darkness,
which the enemy of souls feeds in hearts.

Finally, allow us, begging your intercession,
to call you by the name you called yourself:
Virgin Mary, the Beautiful ray of Dawn,
spread the grace of the Flame of Love over all humanity!

Budapest, November 23rd, 2020, Feast of Christ the King

Father Mike Davis – November 19, 2020

This week’s guest on Radio Maria is Father Mike Davis who was ordained a priest on May 16, 1987. He has been a parish priest for all but five years.
He had taught at the former Bishop Kenrick High School in Norristown from 1990-1993 and was the School Minister at the former St. Maria Goretti High School in Philadelphia from 1993-1995.
He is currently the Pastor of Assumption BVM parish in Feasterville where there has been a Flame of Love Prayer Cenacle for more than two years.
Father Mike believes in the reality of evil, strongly rooted in a person’s choice to rreject a relationship with God who has made us for Himself, and truly believes Blessed Mother Mary is a powerful Mediatrix of graces. While evil exists and Satan is always working as the “Grand Liar,” God’s Mercy and The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary are the antidotes.

Father Kevin Barrett – November 5, 2020

Father Kevin Barrett serves as the Chaplain of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. He has been working with this lay family movement since 1982 and was ordained a priest at Saint Peter’s in Rome by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1992. His priestly labors are spent primarily with staff and families who attend events at Catholic Familyland in Bloomingdale, OH, to strengthen families in the joyful, Eucharistic, Marian, and family-centered spirituality of Pope Saint John Paul II.

Maria Darlene Sarcevic Milas – October 29, 2020

Darlene Sarcevic Milas lives in Dalton, PA, with her husband, their two children, and her mother, Helen. The daughter of Croatian immigrants, Darlene follows her parents’ footsteps in responding to our Lady’s call, guiding pilgrim groups since 1987 to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in the Croatian village of Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Darlene studied fine art and illustration at Marywood University and strives to use her artwork and every other opportunity to reflect God’s love and the love of our Blessed Mother into the world.