Messages For Our Times  







Note: Click on any label, number, or icon on the diagram to find out information about it. 


Details on Hell were added based on St. Faustina’s description of Hell from excerpts of her book, “Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska”.  The categories for each of the days of the Novena to Divine Mercy  relate to various categories of souls positioned along the World portion of the  “Journey of the Soul (JOS)” diagram as they choose their location by their thinking and acting in accordance with becoming more Christ-like (Loving) or less Christ-like (Hating).


St. Maria Faustina Kowalska details the environment in Purgatory that she witnessed.


Details on the composition of the Trinity and the Divine Will as resides in heaven is based on the Last Vision Print by artist Joe De Vito representing Sr. Lucia’s last vision at Fatima of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus on the Cross who is also represented by the Holy Eucharist and whose lanced Sacred Heart is pouring Blood and water into a chalice as observed by the Blessed Mother whose aching pierced Immaculate Heart is also shown with Sr. Lucia visioning all of this.  Sr. Lucia details the vision she had.



Throughout Archbishop Charles Chaput's two books, we are made aware of the features of the potential darkness of this world (individualism, materialism, competition, sensuality, consumerism, etc.) that opposes the light of God and tries to lead us from Him.  However, his writings are meant to not only make us aware of these obstacles and diversions but to give us the direction we need to keep us focused on the path toward the light of God so that we make our way home to Him when we die. 


The Archbisop's words not only apply to those souls in all the categories in the Divine Mercy Novena but alos to other souls in the World portion of the JOS diagram with the exceptions of Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell since these people are those who have already died.  For those still alive which of Anne’s writings apply depend on where they are located in the remaining categories on the diagram at the current time since a person can move from one category to another over their lifetime.


To help us along this journey of our soul throughout our life time we need to develop a relationship with our God as with any of our friends by spending time with Him.  This is why the practices of St. Ignatius of Loyola are valuable for us to emulate and why a brief outline and version of his Examen Prayer or Examination of Conscience is included on the diagram as an important aide for allowing Jesus to nurture our growth in holiness and to let us to experience the Kingdom of God while on earth. 


The discussion that follows gives a piece by piece account of the development of the architecture that results in the one page summary of our soul’s journey with its obstacles, detours, and choices that confront us along the jouney toward or away from holiness.



The World in general is described as driven by darkness with features such as Individualism, Materialism, Competitiveness, Consumerism, Sensualism, etc.  which lead us from holiness or one away from the Love of God and they draw people further and further away from them unless one actively disciplines oneself to move toward the light instead.



We choose from two paths. God's way, the path to Love and Holiness , which is characterized by obedience and humility.  Or, there is the other way, Satan's path, which is characterized by pride and disobedience.  Bottom line, we are either moving closer to Christ or we are stagnant and/or moving away from Him.




Where St. Paul Describes the Armor of God necssary to achieve holiness

Ephesians 6: 10 - 20


10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.

11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics
     of the devil

12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the
     powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with evil spirits in the

13 Therefore, put on the armor of God that you may be able to resist on the evil day
     and, having done everything, to hold your ground.

14 So stand fast with your loins girdled in truth, clothed with righteousness as a

15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows
     of the evil one.

17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of

18 With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit> To that
     end be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.

19 and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known
     with boldness the mystery of the gospel.

20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak
     as I must.





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Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska 


Where St. Faustina Describes Her Experience In Spirit of Heaven

Diary 777, "...Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I was it's inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death."


See all of Dairy 777, 779, 780, 592, 1604 for St. Faustina's experience


Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska 


Where St. Faustina Describes Her Experience of Accompanying Her Guardian Angel to Purgatory

Dairy 20, "...[the next night] I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him.  In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls.  They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. "


See all of Diary 20, 36, 594, 1375 for St. Faustina's experience


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Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska 


Where St. Faustina Describes the 7 Levels of Torture When She Visited Hell Accompanied by an Angel

Diary Section 741, "Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of torture I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second torture is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one's condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it - a spiritual fire, lit by God's anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the dammed see each other and all the evil, both others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.  These are the tortures suffered by all the dammed together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.  There are special tortures destined for particular souls.  These are the torments of the senses.  Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned...."    


See all of Section 741 for St. Faustina's experience.



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The Examen can be a useful method for seekers, skeptics, and doubters or anyone trying  to discover how to improve their daily life. It is a versatile method that can be altered to fit the timeframe of interest (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.) and the chosen scenario.  For example, a daily Examen fundamentally consists of five parts that addresses three basic questions:


Where have you been?

1)   Recall anything from the day for which you are especially grateful, and be thankful.

2)   Recall the events of the day, from start to finish, noticing where you did a good deed or

       where you avoided a good deed or maligned and hurt someone.


Where are you now?

3)   Recall any actions for which you regret, are sorry for, and would like to fix.


Where are you going?

4)   Resolve to apologize and/or reconcile with those you have maligned or hurt (make a

       sincere effort - if they do not accept, you have done your part and move on)

5)   Prepare yourself to be aware for the next day and repeat steps 1 - 4 tomorrow evening


The Examen can also be used in a family setting.  Here is an example from a real life story of a married woman, the mother of four young children, relating her experience of what she calls "the family examen".


     "For the last several years my husband and I have introduced the Examen as part of our evening meal with our four children (ages thirteen, ten, seven, and four). Using a very simple adaption of the Examen we pose these two questions: What have you been most grateful for today? What have you been least grateful for today? (Emphasis mine)


     The sharing of our responses to these two questions becomes the material for our dinner table discussion. Each member is given a turn to respond to the questions with the other members of the family listening respectfully (on this point we try!). What has struck me about the practice of the Examen in this context is the enthusiasm with which the children participate. It is often the children who initiate the sharing before the adults.  It has certainly shaped our dinnertime sharing into something different from what it would be without the focus of these particular questions. It places our day's experience in the context of gratitude and allows us to share both the parts that have positive meaning for us and those that were difficult. It often surprises me what each of the children will choose to share, often not what I thought would have been the focus of the sharing at all. It encourages us to listen to each other, and at times to bed challenged to listen more than superficially. It also helps the children to learn to get in touch with their inner experience, and to learn to share that with others. ..."


Excerpt from "The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today", Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV  Crossword, 2006, pp. 167 - 168


The more traditional version of the Examen is attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola.   As Ames Martin, SJ notes, it is a way of "finding God in all things."  "... In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius includes a prayer designed to enable believers to find God in their lives.  ... He calls it the "examination of conscience".  And he used to say that it was so important that even if Jesuits neglected all other forms of prayer in their day, they should never neglect this one."