Falling in love with Jesus…

God is love.  He is simply love in itself. Knowing how Jesus loves, experiencing His love is a great joy in one’s heart. His love is unfathomable and never ends, meaning it is everlasting. Contemplating Him as a God of love, the source of all love, I am drawn to Him. His love is limitless such that words are just not enough to describe everything about Him. His heart communicates only with and for love.  His heart touches people’s lives.  His heart always sings a lovely song for us.

Image of painting by artist Greg Olsen

Image of painting by artist Greg Olsen*

God walks with us in love and we always feel assured that He will never leave us alone nor lonely. His heart listens to our stories of success, pain and difficulties.  His love is perfect.

Falling in love with Jesus is a journey of life. When we listen to the beats of our heart they sound like this:

love God, love God, love God

He is there in our hearts reminding us of His love for us.

Thinking of Jesus’ love, we are in His presence and we intimately feel the deep joy, peace and love within us. I think I am on the ongoing process of loving Him and although my love is not perfect, it is He who makes it perfect.

Falling in love with the unseen God is the delight of my heart and anybody’s heart who sees and feels for Him.  His  mysterious heart is burning with love and affection. Loving Him again and again surpasses any other human love that I have experienced in life. I know that He chose me to love Him and there is no reason not to choose Him too. I am falling for Him above any other things here on earth. For me, to say  forever is not just enough to say, “I Love You Jesus, Lord or God”. He is always faithful in His love and what I am praying for is that I may be able to respond to His love with generosity and perseverance, until the end of my life, and that I always choose Him above any other things.  I pray also for all those who follow Jesus, that their love will never fade in the midst of temptations, difficulties, trials and anything else that can separate them from Jesus.


*Image of Greg Olsen’s painting, Forgiven, found in a gallery at turnbacktogod.com

“From an early age I have always been fascinated by paintings that create mood, emotion and atmosphere; especially those paintings that lift me and transport me to some far off place. These are the elements I strive to create in my paintings. My paintings in many ways record what is most important to me: my feelings and experiences with family and friends along with the spiritual aspects of my life. My hope is that in these images you will find something familiar, something which will resonate and remind you of what is important in your own life.”  — Greg Olsen | You can find more of his beautiful paintings on Greg Olsen’s Official Site

A look back in time: Padre Annibale’s Relic comes to Australia

The Richmond FDZ Community welcomes the Relic

The Richmond FDZ Community welcomes the Relic

Saturday 10 November 2001 marked the most important event that transpired in the life of the Daughters of Divine Zeal (FDZ) in Australia.  On that day, the Relic of our Founder, Padre Annibale Maria Di Francia, touched the soil of Australia.  The Relic had been accompanied by a Rogationist priest, Fr Carmelo Capizzi RCJ, who had come from Korea.  Fr Carmelo and Sr Floriana Lapolla FDZ were the official escorts of the Relic while it toured Australia, visiting the places where the Daughters of Divine Zeal were ministering.

The Relic first came to the community of the FDZ Sisters in Richmond and, along with a number of friends,  they welcomed the Relic with a sense of gratitude and awe.  Moments later, all gathered together in the FDZ Chapel for a Welcome Liturgy.

Padre Annibale painted on the ceiling of St Anthony's Shrine, Hawthorn VIC

Padre Annibale painted on the ceiling of St Anthony’s Shrine, Hawthorn VIC

Saint Annibale was a fan and devotee of St Anthony of Padua.  He placed St Anthony as the celestial benefactor and protector of all his works of charity, especially among children.  He even named his orphanages in honour of St Anthony and maintained a pious devotion to this saint as a regular observance of the Institutes he founded.

Hawthorn, a suburb adjacent to Richmond, is where the National Shrine of St Anthony of Padua is located.  Feasts of different saints are celebrated in this Shrine and the portraits of many saints and blesseds are painted on the Shrine’s ceiling.  On the occasion of the coming of Padre Annibale’s Relic to Australia, his portrait was added to those already there, with the permission from the Capuchin Fathers.  Indeed, all the devotees of Blessed (as he was at the time) Annibale rejoiced as he joined the company.  The first Mass in honour of Blessed Annibale was celebrated at St Anthony’s Shine on 10 November 2001 at 5:30pm.

Mass at St Ignatius' Church, Richmond VIC

Mass at St Ignatius’ Church, Richmond VIC

On Sunday 11 November 2001, several Masses were celebrated at St Ignatius’ Church in Richmond in honour of Blessed Annibale.  After the last Mass at 5:30pm, the Relic was brought in procession from the Church to the FDZ Chapel just across the road, under a drizzling sky.  People who had attended the Mass at the Church formed part of the procession.

Sr Isabella Carlone FDZ, the Superior of the Daughters of Divine Zeal Community in Richmond at that time, expressed her gratitude to the people who had joined the Sisters’ community in celebrating the presence of the Founder’s Relic.  She also shared the Mission that the Lord had entrusted to Blessed Annibale: to pray and work for more holy labourers in the Church.

Congregation venerates the Relic in the FDZ Chapel in Richmond VIC

Congregation venerates the Relic in the FDZ Chapel in Richmond VIC

As an expression of their homage to Blessed Annibale, the Sisters with several friends sang a song to our Founder: “How Wonderful You Are O Blessed Hannibal“.  The song describes the blessed man’s heart that loves, especially the orphaned children and the poor.  By his life and work he inspired men and women to

labour in love… Pray, pray for us, that we may keep God’s love forever burning… that in our hearts is His divine zeal

Congregation venerates the Relic in Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church, Chatswood NSW

Congregation venerates the Relic in Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood NSW

On Sunday 18 November 2001, a Mass in honour of Blessed Annibale was celebrated in Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church in  Chatswood, New South Wales, where the Daughters of Divine Zeal had been ministering to the community in the Parish.

The congregations attending these Masses around Australia had the privilege of kissing and venerating the Relic.  There was also a “Book of Intentions” available for them to write their particular intentions through the intercession of Blessed Annibale.  This book was later sent to Italy.

The Relic of Padre Annibale Maria  Di Francia

The Relic of Padre Annibale Maria Di Francia

To this day, in the midst of this fast-changing world and advancing technologies, the Church still needs committed people to work for their brothers and sisters around the world.  Let us, therefore,

Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to His harvest (Mt 9:38)

Do you have any memories of the visit of St Annibale’s Relic to Australia?  Feel welcome to share them here or on our Facebook page.


With Thanks
  • Bernadette for asking about the Relic’s visit to Australia
  • Sr Cielo Tanio FDZ for her research in our community archives

My heart is full of gladness

Hands hold the FDZ emblem

My heart is full of gladness!
While celebrating your love with madness
a love that conquers and sacrifices
Leads me to God to its fullness.

My heart is full of gladness!
Knowing persons who have followed your footsteps
Padre Annibale is one among the best
who live his whole life in holiness.

My heart is full of gladness!
Every time I think and pray of you O Padre
Your life was consumed for the Christ of the Rogate
That keeps your heart’s delight burning untiringly
In loving God and neighbour with fidelity.

My heart is full of gladness!
As you God challenge me constantly
To renew my commitment daily
As I lively live Rogate humbly and joyfully
With sincerity I fervently pray
To ask God the Father of Mercy
O how to live this life fully
Prayer is the only way to reach towards sanctity.

This poem is a simple and a joyful expression to thank God for the gift of Padre Annibale to the congregation. As his spiritual daughter, I am happy and proud to have a holy spiritual father like him who always find time in communion with God praying for good labourers and doing good service to the poor. I pray that we as his spiritual children will continue this mission to pray for more holy vocations, to spread the prayer to make it known and universal, and to become what we pray to be holy, to be the first authentic witnesses and good and holy labourers of the Lord of the Harvest.

Send, O Lord, Holy Apostles into your Church!

St. Annibale’s legacy

Rogate - praying for vocations is the key

Rogate – praying for vocations is the key*

St. Annibale Ma. di Francia was proclaimed by the Church The Apostle of Prayer for Vocations and the Father of the Orphans and the Poor on the day of His canonization, May 16,2004. ROGATE, to pray for Holy Vocations, is his legacy that he handed to his spiritual children, the Daughters of Divine Zeal and the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus, the two congregations he founded. He was inspired by the gospel of Matthew 9:35-38:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

This text was his fixation and became the rule of the life, spirituality and charism of the institute. This charism, a gift from the spirit, was inspired by St. Annibale and this gift is the gift, too, for the Church.

*ROGATE key shown in illustration drawn by Sr Cielo Tanio, FDZ

 

The sunflower

The sunflower follows the sun

The sunflower follows the sun

Prayer is lifting up our hearts and minds to the Lord. It is indeed a way of communicating with God or being in communion with Him.

I believe that our attitude of prayer can be compared to a sunflower in which the life of the sunflower is always following the direction of the sun where it goes from the rising to its setting down. It always focuses directly on the sun. Likewise for us, we focus on God because we are for Him. It is the main reason, the purpose of our existence. We are here because of Him. Therefore, we have to give back to God what belongs to him – and we belong to Him.

The sunflower looks like the sun. We too we become like Him and the main purpose of our life must be for Him, in Him and with Him. Our minds and hearts will be like Him. In centering our attention on God, we become like Him and reflect His ways, particularly in the way we love others. Therefore, the power of prayer will be an assurance that He can transform us to be like Him.

Moments with Fr. Annibale…

Avignone Quarter, Italy

Avignone Quarter, Messina, Italy

A beautiful moment experienced in Rome, Italy that lingers in my mind was when I joined the International Juniorate. We were four junior sisters come from different communities and with different nationalities: Africa, Korea, Italy and me from Philippines. It was a historic-charismatic year for us. We  visited historical places and were deepening the Charism of the congregation “Rogate”, which means to Pray. A part of the Juniorate activities was visiting the historical places where Father Founder Annibale Ma. Di Francia and, with the collaboration of Mother Nazarena Majone who was one of our first Sisters, established some communities. While doing this spiritual pilgrimage, I intensely felt his presence every time we visited a place like a church or convent that was very significant in his life. It seems that he was the one telling me “Sr. Cielo this is where I met the beggar Zancone who challenged my life”, “this is the place where I helped the poor in this squatters area of Avignone”, “this is the first convent of the Sisters”, “in this Church I was baptized”, “this is where I was ordained”, “this is the church where I prayed and felt the intuition of the importance of praying for vocations that is so strong for me”, “this is the place where I spent the last days of my life”. That was a significant moment and a beautiful spiritual encounter with Him. I am glad that I had this privilege to visit the places that has helped me a lot to deepen my knowledge about Him, the Sisters who work hard for the congregation, the knowledge of the culture, the people and learning of the Italian language.

St Annibale meets Zancone

Fr Annibale meets the poor and blind Zancone who challenged Father’s life.

On this day of your birthday that we are commemorating, it is a joy for me to remember that you were born for a purpose for the congregation and for the Church. A life you have dedicated for the love of the harvest, praying for good and holy labourers that the Church has benefited. What a mission – you are not here but you continue to challenge us, your spiritual children, to pray and to become what we pray so that we may live what Jesus has commanded us according to his heart which is merciful, loving and compassionate. Happy Birthday! Auguri! Cheers!

A special date with Jesus

Eucharistic Adoration

Yesterday we commemorated the first of July.  This date is so important for all the spiritual children of St. Annibale. This is a moment in front of the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. I am always looking forward to this day because I am with Jesus.  I  consider this time like I have a special spiritual date with the beloved.

Staying with Jesus is a worthy way to spend time to thank Him for all the blessings that I have received, recognizing His love and renewing my vows as my commitment to Him. It is also a moment where I can ask forgiveness from Him for the many times I have failed to love, where I have been unkind in words and deeds with others, where I have not been punctual or I have been distracted with my prayers, and where I have not been humble enough to accept my failures. It also a moment for me to tell Jesus about our family and especially those who have asked for our prayers, and for those who are in most need: the sick, the old, the lonely, those in mission, etc.

As a community, one of our moments in the adoration is to pray for all consecrated persons, particularly as this year we are celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life.  We feel close to Him because He becomes a real presence. For the whole day in prayer and adoration,  the time passes by so quickly because I enjoy contemplating Him. There is no room for tiredness  because I only feel peace and His love.

Our FDZ community has Eucharistic Adoration on the first day of each month – you are welcome to join us.

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