I first came across the “Flame of Love” devotion some years ago, at the back of a random church on some rather inelegantly typed duplicator paper. At the time, I dismissed it as one of many alleged private apparitions. But it was recently drawn to my attention again, and through the wonders of the Internet I find that it is a devotion with full church backing from the local ecclesiastical authority in Hungary. It is rooted in the spiritual experiences of Elizabeth Kindelmann – orphaned by the age of 13, widowed at 33 and called to a life of suffering by Jesus for the salvation of souls. Elizabeth kept a spiritual diary between 1962 and 1966 recounting various inner locutions from Our Lord and Our Lady.
Much of the diary recounts Elizabeth’s own personal calling to fast and offer other sufferings and humiliations. Our Lord asked her to do this for the salvation of souls, and for the rapid deliverance of souls, especially those of priests, from purgatory. He asked her to spread the devotion for the same purpose, and also to restore the unity of families.
As in many such cases of private revelation, the Lord instructed Elizabeth to obey her confessor above what she believed she heard directly from Himself. She experienced a roller-coaster ride with terrible doubts from Satan and glorious ecstasies with the Lord, in equal measure. But a significant part of the locutions concerned a devotion to be spread throughout the world, which I will describe below.
The revelations took place during the work of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and both Our Lord (25 Oct 1964) and Our Lady (early 1965) spoke positively about the Council’s work and fruits. The Flame of Love devotion will not, then, be favoured by those who believe the Catholic Church lost its way at the Council!
On 27 March 1963, “the Lord said that the Spirit of Pentecost will flood the earth with his power and a great miracle will gain the attention of all humanity”. On 15 May 1965 the Lord again promised “the repeated coming of the Holy Spirit”. The Pentecostal movement, which had already begun to touch Episcopalian and Lutheran churches since 1960, spread through the Catholic Church from 1967. Could this – with many millions of people experiencing baptism in the Holy Spirit and the outpouring of extraordinary charisms – be the prophesied miracle?
Elizabeth was called, through her conversations with the Lord, to be a victim soul. This call is not for everyone – the Lord made this clear to her:
A newspaper fell into my hands. After I read a few words, the Lord spoke, “I reserve you totally for myself. Do you prefer this reading that distracts you? Do I not give you all that you need? I do not demand this strict sacrifice from others, but you are my beloved. Even one instant away from me is too much. My love does not rest.”
30 Aug 1964, Diary of Elizabeth Kindleman – emphasis added by blogger
Nevertheless, others who do not have the same spiritual dialogue with Christ are also called to suffer:
My daughter was sick, and I thought of going to the doctor. The Lord said, “Do not go anywhere. It will be better if your daughter is not cured.” I grew depressed because she has a husband and a child. Jesus told me why: “Your daughter always has temptations. By a long sickness, I will fill her with abundant graces and her soul will be purified.”
February 1963, undated
Some Christians who teach on healing ministry claim it is never God’s will for a person to suffer on earth, and we should always pray in the expectation that immediate healing is available. This is not consistent with the words of Jesus here. (Bear in mind that these locutions have been approved as “not inconsistent with Catholic teaching” but that doesn’t mean that all questions are settled. Catholic teaching allows room for the conclusion that there is a vocation to be a victim soul, and for the alternate view that God wills to heal all on earth as it is in heaven. But if the latter is true, than Kindelmann could not have been hearing Jesus authentically, at least on these occasions.)
These four teachings were given on 11 July 1975:
(1) Our Lady spoke: “Many are blinded by material things. They cannot come closer to God because material goods are a wall. Even well intentioned souls only make sacrifices from time to time. Blinded by earthly goods and desires, they cannot receive special graces. They do not follow God’s inspirations and do not want to believe that God will lead them.
(2) Our Lord spoke: “People make donations, but they want their name listed. This remembrance is for their own glory. Give your donations anonymously, and the heavenly Father will reward you.”
(3) The Flame of Love prepares our souls for the Lord’s inspirations. If we depend on the Flame of Love, the Lord will enlighten our intellect and show us the most perfect will of God.
(4) The heavenly Father says that in the measure that we love God, the world will be freed from sin. We are responsible for one another, for our family, and our nation. Feel responsible for the fate of all humanity. Our Lady said, “All will see the results of their labours on behalf of the Flame of Love.”
Make the sign of the Cross five times, each sign honouring one of the Five Wounds of Christ in turn. This devotion can be practiced on waking, before sleeping, during the day, and to open and close a time of family prayer.
Parishes should form communities of prayer; people should bless one another with the sign of the Cross.
Spend time in night vigils; such prayer is powerful to save dying souls from damnation.
Anyone in a state of grace who attends Mass without obligation will “blind Satan” during Mass.
Anyone who fasts for a deceased priest will free that priest’s soul from purgatory on the eighth day after death.
The Hail Mary should be prayed with an extra phrase:
October 1962, request from Our Lady
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
spread the effect of grace of thy Flame of Love over all of humanity,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Three modified Hail Marys will free a soul from Purgatory – and one, in November, will free 10 souls.
Elizabeth was also taught a new prayer, the Unity Prayer:
May our feet journey together.
May our hands gather in unity.
May our hearts beat in unison.
May our souls be in harmony.
May our thoughts be as one.
May our ears listen to the silence together.
May our glances profoundly penetrate each other.
May our lips pray together to gain mercy from the Eternal Father.
Early in 1962, Our Lord proposed, through Elizabeth, a weekly pattern of devotions (no instructions were given for Sundays).
Monday – to fast on bread and water, at least until 6 pm, to obtain the promise that many souls will be liberated from purgatory each time that week when the one fasting receives Holy Communion (or if the one fasting is a priest, celebrates Mass). Medicine can be taken, but the food used should be bland. The one fasting should offer five decades of the rosary for Holy Souls (it is unclear if this is a substitute for attending Mass, or in addition). A night vigil is recommended – it’s unclear whether this is neccessary for the grace. The person who offers this fast will be liberated from purgatory 8 days after death.
Tuesday – make spiritual communions for each member of the family. Offer each person, one by one, to the Blessed Mother. Offer night prayer for them.
Wednesday – make a Night Vigil for the intention of vocations to the priesthood.
Thursday and/or Friday – Families should make a Holy Hour. This need not be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – begin this hour with a spiritual reading followed by the Rosary or other prayers in an atmosphere of recollection and fervor. Begin and end with the fivefold sign of the Cross. One day of fasting by a member of such a family is sufficient to free a deceased member from purgatory. Family prayer will also save souls from eternal damnation.
Friday – recall the Lord’s Passion throughout the day, and especially from noon until 3 pm, if possible.
Saturday – venerate the Blessed Mother. Seek for priests in agony the grace of a holy death, and offer the night vigil for this intention.
Private revelations are a challenge to every believer. They are, by definition, not essential for our salvation. On the other hand, if heaven is choosing to communicate with earth in a given age, we should sit up and take note. I’ve reflected before on how it would be impractical to try to embrace every possible devotion proposed by the gamut of approved and plausible private revelations; each one is an invitation to a loving response, and we must discern how and when we can engage.
That said, if we believe that Our Lord and Our Lady have spoken to many mystics through the ages, with messages intended for a wider audience, we do well to see if there is any pattern which invites us to a consistent response. I note the following links between Kindelmann’s diary and other private revelations:
- The “Flame of Love” devotion is about passing on the love of Mary’s heart for the salvation of souls and the healing of families. A similar promise was attached to the Green Scapular bearing an image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary aflame, revealed in 1840.
- There are explicit links with Fatima (1917). The very first time she spoke to Elizabeth (13 April 1962), Our Lady expressed her regret that so few people had embraced the First Saturdays as an act of reparation. Fatima also requested an addition to a popular Marian devotion, adding the “Fatima Prayer” for the salvation of souls to each decade of the Rosary.
- The Rosa Mystica apparitions of 1947 and 1966 (not fully approved by the Church yet, but recognised as an official shrine) began with a sign of Mary’s sorrow for priests and religious who fall into sin, and continued with a call for the faithful to practice reparation (penance on behalf of others as well as penitence for their own sins). The reparation was not explicitly linked to clerical sin, but presumably includes it and is consonant with Kindelmann’s call to pray for priests in purgatory.
- In the “Fourth Teaching” of 11 July 1975, the Father told Elizabeth that “We are responsible for one another, for our family, and our nation.” Responsibility for the nation was apparent in numerous Marian messages. Our Lady’s messages to Belgian mystic Berthe Petit resulted in both Belgium and England being consecrated to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1916, with powerful results in the context of World War I. Similarly, Fatima included a focus on Portugal (through the 1916 apparition of the Angel of Portugal), and the Virgin appeared in L’Île-Bouchard in 1947 to call children to pray for France in the aftermath of World War II.
- At Medjugorje (not fully approved by the Church yet, but recognised as an official shrine), the locutionist Jelena Vasilj received a prayer of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1983. This included the words:” May the flame of your heart, O Mary, descend upon all peoples,” and concluded with the words “converted through the flame of Your Heart”.
- Medjugorje also established a pattern of prayer with bread-and-water fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays (for peace in the world) and an invitation to a time of prayer on Thursday evenings reading anew the “Do Not Worry” passage from Matthew’s Gospel (6:24-34). The style of fast, though not the timing, echoes Kindelmann’s Monday fast; the Thursday night prayer, in families or prayer groups, echoes the invitation of the Flame of Love.
All of these connections build up into a consistent pattern: heaven is inviting the faithful to offer prayers of reparation for sin in general and fallen clergy in particular, along with prayers for the salvation of each member of the human race. Passing on the love of Mary’s heart – through Jelena’s prayer, the Green Scapular or the Flame of Love prayers – is a gift for the healing of families. There is also a call for people to pray especially for their own nation, entrusting it to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
There is a noticeably strong emphasis on prayer for priests in the devotions entrusted to Elizabeth Kindelmann. Wednesday focuses on prayer for vocations, Saturday includes the intention of priests in their death agony, and in some contexts, the Monday fast seems to be dedicated for priests in purgatory. Why so much prayer for priests? They (we) are a target for the Enemy, and by embracing celibacy have no family of their own to pray for them. Only the Rosa Mystica messages have a similar emphasis on prayer for priests. So of your charity, please pray for the significant priests in your life, living on earth or in eternity!