Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
Maria di Francia, having commanded the Servant of God
Luisa Piccarreta under Obedience to write “The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”,
then published them under his name because Luisa did not want her own name to appear.
Following is the transcription of the Preface
to the “The Hours of the Passion” written by Saint Hannibal.
Messina, October 29, 1926
Intelligentes quae sit voluntas Dei.
We begin, with this first printing, the publication of more than 20 handwritten volumes of sublime revelations which, always excepting the judgments of the Holy Church, we piously believe to have been given by Our Lord Jesus Christ to a soul, a dearest daughter and disciple of His, who is the pious author of the Hours of the Passion.
Even now we make known that these revelations, which are continuing and will continue, we don't know for how much longer, have as their goal the establishment of the complete Triumph of the Kingdom of the Divine Will upon earth.
Who is this beloved daughter and disciple of Our Lord, the author of the Hours of the Passion, who, up to now, has written 20 volumes of divine revelations?
We cannot disclose her name and address because this would mean prostrating her to the most severe affliction, and to the most deeply felt crushing of soul and body.
She wants to live solitary, hidden and unknown. For no reason in the world would she have put into writing the intimate and prolonged communications with adorable Jesus, from her tenderest age until today, which still continue, who knows until when, if Our Lord Himself had not repeatedly obliged her to, both personally and through holy obedience to her Directors, to which she always surrenders with enormous violence to herself, and also with great strength and generosity, because her concept of holy obedience would make her refuse even an entrance into Paradise, as did actually occur, and will be seen in the revelations of October 11 and 30, 1909.
So very gracious are her discourses and dialogues with Lady Obedience, as she calls her, almost wanting to get even for the subjection to which she is forced. Now she speaks to her as to a great Princess and Queen who imposes herself severely, now she portrays her as a most powerful Warrior, who arms himself from head to foot, ready to strike the moment one dares to contradict him.
In substance, this soul is in a tremendous fight between an overwhelming love of hiddenness and the inexorable empire of Obedience to which she absolutely must surrender - and Obedience always wins. This constitutes one of the most important traits of a true spirit - of a solid and tested virtue, because she has been submitting to the dominion of the great Lady Obedience, with the greatest violence to herself, for about forty years!
This solitary soul is a most pure virgin, wholly of God, who appears to be the object of singular predilection of Jesus, Divine Redeemer. It seems that Our Lord, who century after century increases the wonders of His Love more and more, wanted to make of this virgin with no education, whom He calls the littlest one that He found on earth, the instrument of a mission so sublime that no other can be compared to it - that is, the triumph of the Divine Will upon the whole earth, in conformity with what is said in the ‘Our Father': Fiat Voluntas Tua sicut in Coelo et in terra.
This virgin of the Lord has been placed in bed as victim of Divine Love for more than 40 years, from the time when she was still adolescent. It has been a state of a long series of sufferings, both natural and supernatural, and of inebriations of the eternal Charity of the Heart of Jesus. The origin of these pains, which exceed every natural order, has been, almost continuously, an intermittent privation of God, which constitutes that dark night of the soul, called "bitter and terrible" by the mystic and Doctor, St. John of the Cross, so much so, as to compare it to the pains which the souls in Purgatory suffer because of the privation of God. He compares it somehow to a suffocation of the soul, as when someone is breathless, because the breath of the soul is God: Christus spiritus oris nostri (Jesus Christ, the breath of our mouth).
In the course of these publications one will be able to read the laments of this wounded dove searching for her Beloved - so intimate, sharp, sensible, as to leave a profound impression of this victim of Divine Love. But sometimes the thick veil is torn, the soul sees Jesus, they embrace, they delight in each other, and the soul asks for the mystical kiss of the Sacred Spouse of the Canticles. At times, the inebriation is such that, in a delirium of love, her human resistance grows weak, and the soul exclaims: "Enough, enough! No more, Lord, for I cannot sustain it!", as once St. Francis Xavier exclaimed in similar circumstances.
All of these operations of Divine Love take place mostly in the silence of the night, and in the morning, after Holy Communion, when she remains cloistered and recollected for a couple of hours.
The sufferings of the body add to those of the soul, and occur at a mystical level for the most part. With no sign appearing on her hands, feet, side or forehead, she receives frequent crucifixion from Our Lord Himself. Jesus Himself lays her upon a cross, and pierces her with nails. And then, what Saint Teresa described when she received the wound from the Seraphim, happens within her: a pain most sharp, such as to make her faint, and at the same time, a rapture of love.
But if Jesus did not do so, it would be for this soul an infinitely greater spiritual suffering, because, with the Seraphim of Carmel, she also says: to suffer or to die.
Here is another sign of her true spirit. Often times, when Our Lord appears to her crowned with thorns, after He has abstracted her from her senses, she gracefully removes the crown of thorns from His head and drives it onto hers, experiencing atrocious spasms, but mystical contentments.
In the course of these publications one will remain astonished in noticing an extraordinary intimacy of Our Lord with this soul, which is in nothing inferior to those of St. Gertrude, St. Metilde, St. Margaret or any other saint. Often times, as the aforementioned mystic and Doctor observes in similar cases, the familiarity and intimacy with which Our Lord deals with this soul, renders her daring in using certain expressions and in advancing certain demands, which would appear excessive if one did not consider that Adorable Jesus, in the matters of Faith, has given us proofs of His love even greater than those which can be found in the intimate conversations between Jesus and any privileged soul. It is enough, above all, that He has given Himself to us even as food in the Most Holy Eucharist.
After having mentioned her long and continuous stay in bed as victim, for years and years, with the experience of many spiritual and physical sufferings, it might seem that the sight of this unknown virgin would be afflicting, as though seeing a person lying with all the marks of past pains, of current sufferings, and the like.
Yet, here there is something admirable. In seeing this spouse of Jesus Crucified, who spends the night in painful ecstasies and in sufferings of every kind, during the day, sitting on her bed doing her needlework - nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing appears, of one who has suffered so much during the night; there is nothing, not one thing extraordinary or supernatural in her air. On the contrary, she appears as a healthy person, happy and jovial. She speaks, converses, laughs when appropriate, but receives few friends.
Sometimes, some troubled heart confides in her, and asks for her prayers. She listens kindly and comforts, but never advances to make prophecies, never a word which might hint at revelations. The great comfort which she presents is always one, always the same: the Divine Will.
Although she possesses no human knowledge, she is abundantly endowed with a Wisdom all celestial - with the Science of the Saints. Her words illuminate and console. By nature her intellect is not poor. She studied up to the first grade when she was a child; her writing is filled with mistakes, although she does not lack appropriate terms, in conformity with the revelations; terms which seem to be infused by Our Lord.