Monday, January 03, 2011
New Book by Anne, a Lay Apostle: Lessons In Love
I've just finished reading the latest book, Lessons in Love, written by Anne of the Direction for our Times apostolate. Anne is the public name used by the woman who receives locutions and a variety of mystical experiences from Our Lord. I always post on this blog the monthly messages she receives, and you can read all about the apostolate on this website. I've heard her speak a handful of times now and, while of course leaving all final judgment to the Church, I am convinced that what she receives and passes on is of divine origin.
But back to this book. I've read not only the messages she's received, but the books she's written, and this one I've found the most moving by far. That's not to say the others were pedestrian; it's to say that this one was breathtaking.
For some time now I have found the messages that Anne receives to echo what the Lord is doing in my own life right at the time I read them. But this entire book seems to echo a place God has been taking me over the last few years. It touches on matters of what holy relationships look like: intimacy with God, intimacy with other people, sins to avoid and virtues to pursue in step with growing in intimacy, and then a slew of issues related to marriage and sexuality. From these bare-bones words of description of the book's contents, it might not seem that one could expect more than some worn-out words of advice about the spiritual life and morality. No way. What I experienced in reading this book was Jesus Himself looking into my soul with His gaze of love, and my realizing that He knew everything about me, my life, and my experiences. He encouraged me to continue with Him, even closer. It's impossible to adequately put into words, really. But reading this book was an experience of Christ. It both affirmed and challenged me. At one point I simply broke into the hardest sobs of relief I have known in a long time as I knew His affirmation of my longing for Him. At another I was challenged to open my grasp and let Him rearrange things I have not been able to budge on my own. And throughout I saw how His merciful love and truth is extended to everyone on earth -- and how much He longs for His Church to imitate Him in this as well.
It seems to me that the reason why this apostolate exists at all was summed up in the message for January 1, 2011: "I want to assure you that I am present. I desire to assure you of this so that you can be confident about the plan I have chosen for your life." The plan Jesus has for us is that through us, He wants to make His love known to every person on the face of the earth, and to call them to make Him welcome as King of our hearts.
If you are someone who wants more of God, I recommend that you read this book. You can find it at this link.