My dear brothers and sisters all around the world, you are dear to me. I pray for all of you by name and know how many of you are under relentless attack by the evil one so please indulge me to send a note of encouragement.
These attacks are everywhere. I hear it from several of our leaders in the US. I was speaking to our leaders in Trinidad and Tobago who shared that they had experienced a remarkable spiritual event but now realize it was to prepare them for the great trials that came upon them - a bit like the Transfiguration preparing Peter, James, and John. I know many of you have been ill and even in hospital. I was chatting with Gigi earlier, about the Philippines and the difficulties and distractions of life and the attacks of the evil one to try to weaken our souls and drag us down. She was concerned about becoming lukewarm and lethargic in light of these withering attacks especially after all the admonitions she shared about not being lazy.
So let me borrow a line from Saint Peter in his second epistle "to stir you up by way of reminder" "even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you." Let us battle back the pull to lethargy, to let down, to discouragement by calling to mind what an extraordinary work our Blessed Mother Mary has set before us.
There is a danger that we can fall into habit, become attached to what is comfortable, and reduce the Flame of Love to just another of many prayer groups. Keep in mind that even "just as a prayer devotion" the Flame of Love is one of the most powerful ever given to the Church with its power to blind Satan and break his hold on society! So please do not take that statement negatively in any sense but the Flame of Love is so much more. It is nothing short of our Blessed Mother's greatest miracle ever!
Lets' state that again. Do we grasp how big this is?! So much bigger than "just a prayer devotion". The Flame of Love, into which we have been called, is our Blessed Mother's greatest miracle ever.
Let that sink in for a moment. No wonder the evil one will do everything in his power to stop us, discourage us, settle us into complacency, and reduce the Flame of Love Movement to "just another prayer devotion". The Flame of Love is Mama Mary's greatest miracle ever to renew the entire Church and the entire world by the effect of grace - nothing less. We have been called to renew the entire Church and the entire world by the effect of grace of the Flame of Love of her Immaculate Heart. That's how big this is; that's what we are called to do. She has called us to execute the plan for the triumph of her Immaculate Heart - the fulfillment of Fatima.
This is why we have been emphasizing that the Flame of Love is for everyone. Not everyone is called to the Apostolate of the Flame of Love, not everyone is called to a prayer cenacle, but everyone is called to the intense binding love that unites us to Jesus by the effect of grace so that we enter so completely into His life that there is no room left for evil. This is what we are called to spread. To awaken every Christian to that which they have always been called to do - to live the Unity Prayer by the effect of grace. Indeed to awaken every human being for this is what every human who has ever drawn breath has been created for - to live the Unity Prayer by the effect of grace - that IS salvation and we have been called to spread it. We are called to open the eyes of a sleepy and drugged humanity both by our prayers to blind Satan AND the example of our lives poured out in every breath as an offering of love for others - to live Jesus' life - for our feet to journey together and our hands to gather in unity - AND TO SPREAD IT.
I am sure Győző Kindelmann's theme (International Cooordinator) for this year was prayerfully and carefully chosen - "Convey This Flame that I Present to You". This is not just a nice slogan. It has a specific purpose - to emphasize the urgent, evangelical nature of the Flame of Love. There is a danger that after months and years of service we can lose that evangelical zeal. The Flame of Love becomes what we do every Wednesday night or every Saturday after Mass. It becomes some powerful prayers that we say during the day and when we get up and go to bed or when we are in trouble. All of that is good but it can start to become all about our prayer life, our spirituality and we can forget that our Blessed Mother (and our Lord) have called us to set the world on fire!
Let us break out of this being "our prayer devotion" and be about living for others - conveying the Flame of Love - setting the world on fire. Great words but how do we do this practically - our little inadequate selves?
Maintain perspective in prayer. Let us not fall into this being our prayer, i.e., our personal spirituality. Remember that each cenacle, each Flame of Love Hail Mary, each Unity Prayer is another artillery shell against the walls of Satan's prison where he holds our loved ones captive. Each prayer, each profession of our love for our Lord is to bring Him joy. Each word is with purpose. Each one has meaning.
Jesus: “Do not be lovers of comfort or cowards. Do not allow yourselves to be convinced and do not make others believe that everything is meaningless. Everything has meaning! It is easier to wait for the end of a storm rather than to confront the tempest and to save souls. You do not need more examples or more explanations. Give yourselves to the work. If you do nothing, you abandon the earth to Satan and to sin. How can I wake you up? Open your eyes and see the deadly danger that claims victims all around you and which threatens even your own souls.” (The Spiritual Diary, p.66)
Live the Flame of Love fully. To fully participate in our Blessed Mother's greatest miracle ever . . . well . . . participate! What is the purpose of the Flame of Love?
"This priest understood the essential message, which is ‘to blind Satan.’ This is the principal and only purpose of the Flame of Love of the Blessed Virgin." (p. 198)
How do we do that? Praying the Flame of Love Hail Mary, the Unity Prayer, our cenacles - yes, absolutely! But how else? Mass (more than anything), Adoration, Night Vigil, our embracing rather than fleeing our sufferings, even our every day chores done in grace:
Mary: “Throughout the day, you should offer me your daily chores for the glory of God. Such offering, made in a state of grace, also contributes to blind Satan. Live in accordance with my graces so that Satan will be blinded even more and in an increasingly large range of action." (p. 113)
In short, by living a life of grace, a life suffused by the effect of grace, transformed by the effect of grace, a life that is united to Jesus in every breath - living, not just praying, the Unity Prayer. As much as health and wisdom allow, live fully all the dimensions of the Flame of Love until our entire life is an offering poured out for others and acceptable to the Heavenly Father through the wounds of Jesus upon the cross - as, for love of Him, we join Him there are on the way to the Resurrection - may our feet journey together.
Spread it - "Convey This Flame that I Present to You". I am definitely not a spreader. Chain emails die with me. If you send me an email that wants to make me feel guilty if I don't pass it on, you can be sure it is in my trash folder! But the Flame of Love? Here I can only echo the words of Peter and John in Acts 4:18-20.
So, they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “. . . It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
How can we NOT share the greatest outpouring of graces since the Incarnation, our Blessed Mother's greatest miracle ever?! So let us step out of our comfort zone and speak up. Yes, prayer is critical and we must never stop but the Flame of Love goes beyond our prayer - we pray, learn, live, and spread the Flame of Love.
So let us not lose heart or be discouraged. We have been given the Flame to light the world. Let us not "forsake our first love" (Rev 2:4) nor grow weary in well doing (Gal 6:10) but gather our strength in the Holy Spirit and realize each moment is an opportunity to love, to live the effect of grace, to blind Satan and free the world - each moment has meaning.
My brothers and sisters, you ARE making a difference. That's why Satan attacks so relentlessly yet with each trial, each suffering, his efforts only backfire as we take each one as an opportunity to love - to love with the love of Jesus on the Cross, the love that blinds the one who has no comprehension of what that love is and, at the same time, opens the eyes of the blinded when the see the beauty of true love being lived in us through our trials.
Yes, let us not grow weary, lethargic, or complacent my brothers and sisters. We have only just begun. Our Mother's greatest miracle is before us. Let us realize how big the Flame of Love is - how enormous the work which she has entrusted to us. It is nothing short of renewing the entire world by the effect of grace. Let us pray, live, and spread the Flame of Love.
And please pray for me, that I may give every ounce of my being for our Blessed Mother's cause. Peace and great Joy as we live every moment in our Blessed Mothers service.
John A. Sullivan III
Director of Communication and International Dissemination
Flame of Love Movement