Many people talk to me or write to me about the Night Vigils as they are an important part of the Flame of Love Devotion. I almost always hear the same two statements: “They’re amazing” and “They’re really hard!”
So why are we getting up twice each night for one hour to pray or, as if often the case with me, once for two hours? Why are we rearranging our days to get to bed earlier or up later to make time for all this vigil prayer? It seems crazy! But, as we keep saying in this series – “the things we do for love!” Yes, fill your nights with love!
I do hope that each of you have experienced the kind of deep love in your life where you chat with your Beloved and before you know it, the night is half spent – the experience of being so crazily in love that we don’t count the hours with our Beloved. Saint Catherine of Siena described God as “pazzo d’amore; ebbro d’amore” — as “crazed with love, drunk with love.” Do we experience God this way? If not, the night vigils may be your door to falling in love with God, i.e., if we don’t fall asleep instead!
Listen to these tender words between Jesus and Elizabeth:
On June 2, the sweet Savior awakened me for the nightly prayer with these words:The Spiritual Diary (first edition); Elizabeth Kindelmann, p. 52
“IN THE QUIET OF THE NIGHT, I SEEK SOULS”
Let whoever might one day read these lines not take it badly that once more I have to indicate that I was in tears. His tenderness and attention filled my eyes with tears. Then, He said:
Jesus: “Since this so pleases you, from now on, when I awaken you, these will be my words: In the quiet of the night, I seek souls.”
From these words, I knew that his eternal thought is to seek souls.
And there is the second way in which we fill our nights with love – the salvation of souls. Mary attached the most remarkable grace to our night vigils: “as long as your night vigil will last, my Flame of Love will act upon those who are dying throughout the whole world. I will blind Satan so that my Flame, gentle and full of grace, will save them from eternal damnation.” (p79)
Out of love for all humanity, what would you give to save each one of those who are at the moment of death? Well, Mary has told us what to give – make the effort to keep our night vigils – fill your nights with love.
Like all our efforts, these too must be driven by love and guided by wisdom. For love of our Beloved and love of our dying brothers and sisters, let’s expend the effort to make room for these love vigils but some of us cannot. Do not feel guilty. If, in true love and wisdom, we cannot, we cannot. For example, for the last few weeks, I’ve been working until late at night or early morning or even all through the night and have not been able to keep vigil as usual. I deeply miss my time with my Beloved and the opportunity to participate in the salvation of the dying but I don’t deem it wise to work until 2:00 AM, get up at 6:00 AM, and keep two hours of vigil in between!
So, whether you are blessed like me to have a key to the church and can spend the hours sitting at the feet of Jesus in the tabernacle, or join others in vigil in our on-line Perpetual Vigil Room, or simply keep vigil in your own room, give them a try. I’m pretty sure you will say, “this is hard” but will also say, “this is amazing,” as you fill your nights with love!
p41: Jesus: “You must renounce more of your sleep. I ask you for two hours of prayer, so that you have to get up twice every night for one hour. My beloved, can I count on you? I, the Man-God, ask this of you.”
p167: Mary: “You see, my little one, once the Flame of Love of my heart lights up on the earth, its effect of grace will also spread out to the dying. Satan will be blinded and, through your prayer at the nighttime vigil, the terrible struggle of the dying against Satan will end. Coming under the gentle light of my Flame of Love, even the most hardened sinner will convert.”
p257: Mary: “I want the holy night vigils – by which I want to save the souls of the dying – to be organized in every parish so there is not even one moment without someone praying in a vigil. This is the instrument that I place in your hands. By this, you and your companions will save the souls of the dying from eternal damnation. By the light of my Flame of Love, Satan will remain blind.”
p41: I found the nightly vigil very difficult. To rise from sleep cost me much. . . . The Blessed Virgin said: “. . . Listen to me, I beg you, do not let your mind be distracted during the night vigil . . . as it is an extremely useful exercise for the soul, elevating it to God. Make the required physical effort. I also did many vigils myself. I was the one who stayed up nights while Jesus was a little baby. Saint Joseph worked very hard so we would have enough to live on. You should also be doing it that way. Even on Sunday, your day of rest, you will do vigils”
p25: Elizabeth: “Lord, I usually sleep deeply. What if I cannot wake up to keep watch?”
Jesus: “I will help you with that as well. If there’s anything too difficult for you, confidently tell our Mother. She also spent many nights in prayer vigils.”
p234: While it was almost dawn, but still night, the Blessed Virgin said:
Mary: “My little one, I see that because of your great pains, you cannot rise for the nighttime adoration. In spite of that, you must regain all your strength. When you wake up, you will offer your sorrowful vigil for the dying.”
p262: It hurts me so much, my adored Jesus, that because of tiredness, I cannot pray tonight for the souls of the dying. But you see in my soul my great desire to do so.” In my great pain, He consoled me with these words:
Jesus: “I accept your soul’s great desire which you offer for the dying. Yes, I will grant this also in favor of the souls of the dying.”
I was calmed and went to bed. During the night, I woke up often and I immediately began to implore for the dying. However, I did not have the strength to get up to pray. During the same night, the Lord Jesus assured me that He accepted “my desire to keep vigil,” as He expressed it Himself.
Flame of Love Basics Series: Night Vigils