The Simple Path to Union with God:
an overview from Lourdes’ heart
to the contemplatives of St. Joseph, 9-25-21
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit amen. Jesus, we adore You, we praise You, and we thank you for this opportunity to be together. I thank you for the immense joy, the gift of meeting these brothers and sisters of California for the first time. I thank You for this technology that allows us to be together in this way.
My Lord, we know that you have a perfect plan for this time; therefore, we submit ourselves totally to your Sacred Heart, to the Immaculate Heart, our most Holy Mother, in union with St. Joseph. I abandon myself totally as your insignificant vessel so that you, Jesus, and our Blessed Mother can speak whatever you wish to these beautiful sons and daughters of yours, that this time together be for the glory of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to continue to open our hearts, to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us as men and women in the image and likeness of God so that that love can triumph through us. Our Blessed Mother, cover us with your mantle on this Saturday, your day, your mantle of purity, open our hearts to hear what it is that you want us to hear, and open the mouth of Maria and mine to speak what you want us to say. Cover these means of communication and each of us with the Precious Blood of your Son and protect us from any snares of the devil. Amen.
Betty invited me to speak with you and asked me to begin by giving a testimony and explaining the Simple Path to Union with God that many of you have, what this Path is, and how this Path came about. So, I began to pray, like I always do: my Lord, what do you want me to say to these beautiful souls in California? The Lord placed absolutely nothing specific in my heart, and a retired priest that lives with my family gave me a Bible verse this morning and said, “this is what the Lord wants from you, Lourdes, it’s from Matthew 10:19”:
Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
So, I realized that I needed to have vulnerability. I’m a teacher, and I’m used to giving very organized teachings that the Spirit inspires, as Maria knows. So, I think this is the first time that I come to a group with no paper and no notes, just to speak to you from the heart so that I can get out of the way and our Lord and our Blessed Mother can say to each of you whatever they want through me.
So let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Lourdes Pinto; I have been married to Peter for 43 years; we have eight children: seven sons and one daughter. She’s our eighth, the gift of Our Lady of Guadalupe for us, so her name is Lourdes, also named after our Blessed Mother. My husband and I are now expecting our 14th grandchild. This is very much who I am. Maria, do you want to give a little introduction?
I have been at the side of Lourdes for a long time. Before we started with Love Crucified, the Lord had already put in my heart that I needed to accompany this beautiful lady wherever she would go. My name is Maria Hickein. I started with her as a home school mom. I’m also married and a grandmother. I have seven children, five of them adopted. Two Russians, one Ukrainian, two African-Americans, one Spaniard, and one born in the United States, so I have a little bit of everywhere in my heart and home. I can say that the teachings of Love Crucified have given meaning to my life. I say to the Lord, “thank you for giving sense to my life, for everything God connected.” The Lord calls us from the moment of conception, so it’s just a matter of putting every little part of it together to understand who we are.
Love Crucified –the beginnings
The Lord had prepared me for this call through a beautiful blessed woman; maybe many of you know her, Blessed Conchita, a Mexican mystic, wife, and mother. A friend gave me one of her books in 2004, and that was the beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I began to fall in love with Jesus crucified. He became my one and my all, and we started a beautiful and profound, deep spiritual walk.
I got the call in 2006; that was before the community began in 2008. Peter and I, with six of our children, were on a pilgrimage, which ended in Medjugorje. There, one early morning, while my husband and all my children were still sleeping, I heard an invitation very clearly in my heart. I did not know what it was to hear the voice of God so clearly in your heart. It was a very short invitation. I heard the Lord say to me, “will you be my victim soul?” At that moment —I feel God always prepares us in advance— I said, “yes.” I said yes in the most simple way of my heart as a mother. Mary is my mother, and I said, “she is the victim mother united to her son; if I want to truly follow Jesus Christ and follow his mother, I say ‘yes.’” So, not having the slightest idea what I was saying yes to, not even understanding what the invitation was or what it meant to be a victim soul, I simply said “yes.” From that yes, that simple yes, began this whole walk. That was the beginning of the Simple Path to Union with God. The Lord began to form me into the type of victim He specifically wants for these decisive times.
I was amazed that the words of the Lord in my heart began to come like military talk:
I’m forming my warriors for these decisive times; I’m forming my army of men and women, courageous men and women of all walks of life, of all different orders of all different religious communities to be my army, to be our Blessed Mother’s army to fight the great battle that is upon you.
This was the type of voice coming to my heart, but I needed a profound formation and began to receive it. In 2008, without us even planning it, the community of Love Crucified started with, I think, four of us praying together. Father Jordi is the founding father priest with me. The Lord united me to him for spiritual direction, and, through his guidance, all of this began. Next, the Lord asked us to write the Simple Path because it is for the whole Church.
The Simple Path: an experience of life in Christ
In Love Crucified we have never recruited or fundraised. I had no idea how more Mothers of the Cross would come. Yet, today I can tell you that we have Mothers and Missionaries of the Cross from different states in the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Switzerland, and Honduras. The Lord began to expand His work. So, the Simple Path is an experience of life. I always tell everybody, it’s not a book you read, it’s in the form of a book, but it’s a way of life you live. The goal of the Simple Path, the Lord says, is simple, yet to live it is very difficult for us humans because, due to our woundedness and our brokenness, we are so complicated. But God is simple.
God knew the difficult times in which called us to live, and He wanted to form us to be transformed in Christ and through Christ into the unity of the Most Holy Trinity. He wanted us to live this profound union with God here on earth, to experience the goodness, the love, the mercy, the power, the majesty, personally with God here on earth. He also wants formed men and women warriors for the battle that now has begun in the world.
Going deep into the heart to empty us and unite us to Him
The goal of the Simple Path to Union with God is to take us deep into our hearts and to open our hearts in a way that God can begin to purify us, to empty us of all our darkness, of all the lies that we have come to believe about ourselves. Why? Because it is all a blockage to union with God. The more we allow God to purify us, to cleanse us, to empty us, the more veils drop from the eyes of our hearts so that we can live more and more in profound union with Him, knowing Him in the sanctuary of our hearts, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls our conscience.
The Path begins with Mary leading us to the Cross
The Lord began by uniting us to our Blessed Mother through consecration to her. Only with Mary can any of us reach the Cross, and only through the Cross can we enter the fullness of union in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why Satan has done so much to scare people about the Cross. I was very innocent when I began this mission. I knew that every priest is ordained priest and victim, yet to my great surprise, I was shocked to find that most priests, the minute I mentioned ‘victim soul,’ wanted nothing to do with what I had to say. They did not understand, and that was such a mystery to me. How could it be that our priests, who are ordained priests and victims, have no idea of what it means and how to live the victimhood dimension of their priesthood, which is where the greatest power is. The Lord has given me the opportunity to come to know many priests in different religious orders who have found in the Path a means to understand how to live the victimhood dimension of their priesthood on a regular, ordinary life. So, that is one of the blessings.
After we were consecrated, our Blessed Mother received us, just as she took Mary Magdalene, the other holy women, and St. John. Very few made it to the Cross, but those who were united to our Blessed Mother did. St. Louis de Montfort tells us Jesus has many friends of the banquet, but very few friends of the Cross. I see more and more that there are few men and women that truly have been transformed. We have a lot of good men and women, we have a lot of good priests, but we lack transformed men and women, which is what the world needs now. This is what our Lord desires: that we be men and women with the guts, with the courage to enter the deepest recesses of our hearts to see the ugliest parts of ourselves, the darkness within ourselves, that we’d love to keep hidden. How easy it is to put on masks, but how difficult it is to allow the Holy Spirit to remove our masks, to remove all our fakeness, to bring us to be totally unveiled before him, naked before our God, so that He can dress us in the gowns, the white linen gowns of the pure ones of the book of Revelations, the ones that have been washed and cleansed with the blood of Christ. That takes courage; that takes love. And that is the goal of God and the Simple Path to Union with God. For this, he brought us, in chapter two, to the foot of the Cross with Mary. To give you an idea, our community spent about an entire year at the foot of the Cross. You have it in a short chapter, so this shows that you don’t just read; you live the Path.
During that time, the Lord brought us to St. Catherine of Sienna's beautiful teachings and confirmed to us the importance of being at the foot of the Cross. There, the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of knowledge. This is very important because most of us do not know ourselves and, of course, we don’t know God very well either.
The work of the Holy Spirit at the Cross: Knowledge of God and self-knowledge
We began to pray earnestly with Mary, to kiss the feet of Jesus and say: “begin to give me the self-knowledge I need at this moment of my life, grant me the grace to see something in my heart that you want to reveal to me.” We were amazed at what God did when we permitted Him. When we asked the Holy Spirit for the gift of self-knowledge —because it is a gift— He actually gave it to us. It can come as inspiration in prayer; it can come from scripture, but most of the time, self-knowledge comes from those we live closest with and then it is very hard to accept it. My husband gives me self-knowledge, my children will give me self-knowledge, also in the community, brother to brother. Boy, when they tell us something about ourselves, sometimes, ah, it’s not so easy, right? Yet, when we sit with it in prayer and really allow God to take us deep, a beautiful gift is given to us, and that’s the goal of precious repentance, that is living in divine mercy.
We can’t receive mercy and enter into mercy if we don’t receive the knowledge of what’s wrong with us, the knowledge of what has to be healed in us, the knowledge of what’s broken in us. Then God begins, through the humility of repentance, to begin to transform us.
Our wounds healed by the Cross
I want to focus now on an area that the Lord revealed to us as important: our wounds. Why? Because as long as we live stuck in our wounds, we’re stuck, as in an elevator or a pit. Think of a pit; if you’re in the bottom, your vision of life is very limited. You can only see up; you can only see very little. That’s how most of us live our lives: we live stuck in our wounds; therefore, our ability to see is very limited.
The Lord brought me to an experience years ago when I was already married and had quite a few children. My husband and I have a beautiful marriage. He loves me dearly, yet, even with all the blessings in my life, I felt a profound emptiness deep within my heart, and I felt there was a part of me that was dying inside but did not know why. I’m maybe older than some of you, so I remember growing up watching Tarzan; I used to love Tarzan. In those movies, people would fall in the quicksand. At that time, I could relate to that slow sinking. I was in quicksand. On the outside, everything seemed perfect, but on the inside, something was not right. One day, I began to sense the Lord reaching out to me with a wooden cross. In prayer, I held out my hand, and I grabbed it, and I felt I was pulled out. And that was very significant because it was through the Cross that Jesus came to pull me out of my darkness to bring me into the light.
The power of the hidden life
The Lord began to reveal to me the power of the hidden life. And how did He do it? In the most ordinary of my life, very much like Saint Therese, the Little Flower. I’ll give you two examples because they impacted most my formation in the hidden life as a victim soul.
My son, Alex, who is now 23, was about four years old. I was homeschooling most of my children and came into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. In comes this little boy, and something happened. I’m a mom, very much used to being affectionate and kissing my children. Motherhood has been the highlight of my life, but something different happened that morning; I got on my knees and hugged him. Time seemed to stop. I knew I had just received a grace. I knew without a doubt that the hug I gave Alex was received by children throughout the world that were in desperate need of a mother’s hug and that someday in heaven, I would meet and know those children. It was a moment of grace that I will never forget. It was an instant, yet I was changed forever as a mother, as a wife because the Lord revealed to me that when we enter and live our lives in Jesus crucified, God touches every act and gives it an impact that affects the world, just like the miracle of the multiplication of the bread.
The second experience was while being the head of the Catholic homeschooling association of south Florida. Many mothers who were being called to homeschool came to me for training on the how-to of homeschooling. As you can imagine, when we receive that call, we’re all so nervous, so all these nervous women came to me, and I would spend hours with them, showing them, giving them the courage to answer the call, answering all their questions. One morning, I’m in the Blessed Sacrament in prayer, and I feel the Lord asks me, “Lourdes, what do you think was the most pleasing thing you did yesterday?” Of course, with my human thinking, I immediately said, “helping the women, teaching them to homeschool,” because in my human logic, I tend to judge things according to how many people I impact or how much time I spent doing that. So that was my immediate answer, but the Lord said to me, “no, that was not the most pleasing act, what pleased me most.” Then He brought to my memory the night before. I was in the habit of preparing chocolate milk for my children before bed. Having eight children, I lined up eight little glasses of milk on my kitchen counter. That night, each glass represented one of my children, and from the depths of my heart, as I was stirring that chocolate milk, I was praying for each of them in the most profound way. Nobody saw this act. I even forgot it. It was one of the many things we do and don’t even think of them. The Lord revealed to me that that act was the most pleasing to Him that I had done that day. Making chocolate milk. Boy, what a lesson from God that was for me! It began to transform my life as I could see the value of the most insignificant, the most boring.
The world was telling me your life as a woman is not worth much. Spending your day cleaning dirty diapers, breastfeeding, looking like a mess most of the time. You’re not doing anything. But the Lord began to reveal that my most hidden life —I was home a lot homeschooling— was my domestic monastery. The bell was constantly ringing, calling me to embrace the next shore. Maybe it rang more than it does for you, beautiful monks and brothers! But I had to learn to listen to the bell, and my prayer life was of the essence. I fell in love with Jesus in the Eucharist. How much the Eucharist has to be the center of our lives! I went to the Blessed Sacrament very early every morning while my husband stayed with the children. If I were breastfeeding, I would bring them with me. More and more, the Blessed Sacrament became the center of my life. That is where the Lord revealed to me the meaning of the hidden life, both His and mine. I saw that our hidden life has to become one with His hidden life in the Eucharist, that the power of God is in the Eucharist, and that, as we live our hidden lives united to Him, more and more as victim souls, we become living hosts.
The Cross, victim souls, and love
Blessed Conchita teaches the union with Christ as living hosts is the mystical incarnation. My brothers and sisters, the mystical incarnation is a grace that God wants to give all of us, but it is not possible outside of the Cross. Do not fear the Cross; the Cross is the place of transformation; the Cross is the place of freedom; the Cross is the place of the greatest joy and happiness. Satan has done so much to make us fear the Cross.
Years ago, they wanted me to change the word “victim soul.” A priest who was not part of our community told me, “it’s not going to go well for you; nobody is going to respond to your call.” So, I was told, “Lourdes, maybe we should not say ‘victim souls,’ let’s give it another name.” I took it to prayer, and I said, “my Lord, what do you want?” He didn’t beat around the bush with me; He said to me, “will you be my victim soul?” And I had to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I did not understand; I was scared. Do not be scared. Being victim souls is a blessing that Satan doesn’t want us to have.
The Sacred Heart
The Path does not keep us at the foot of the Cross; it takes us into Christ crucified. We tend to romanticize the Sacred Heart with beautiful pictures and devotions, but how many live consumed in the fire of the Sacred Heart?
My brothers and sisters, the Sacred Heart is full of love and full of suffering. Pain because God, who is perfect love, suffers for us. You and me, ordinary men and women, mothers and fathers, can understand that from a human perspective. Why do we suffer so much with our children? Because we love them so much. Why do we suffer so much with our spouses? Because we love them. You cannot separate love and pain.
When we learn to unite our suffering to Christ, we come to touch His love. That is why the motto of our community is the words from our Lord to us: “suffer all with me, no longer two, but one in My sacrifice of love.” Suffer all. How difficult! It’s so simple, but boy, it’s so hard for us! I’m struggling all the time! Maria is my spiritual accompanier, and she’s amazing. She’s constantly helping me remember when I get piercings of rejection humiliation. As mothers, as fathers, how unappreciated are we! But I can never come to know the suffering of our Lord for being unappreciated if, in my heart, I never suffer the pain of being unappreciated. Everything we suffer: rejection, betrayal, humiliations, misunderstandings, they’re all in the heart of Jesus Christ.
Healing our wounds
Everybody has wounds. Some psychology is good, but it may keep us focused on our woundedness. In chapter three of the Simple Path, the Lord taught that the simplest yet most powerful way to be healed is to draw our wounds into His wounds. This way, we are set free from the tendency of being stuck in our wounds.
When we learn to suffer our brokenness and woundedness in Christ, our wounds are transformed in Him, and they become the chalice. Think of the chalice that the priest cleans at Mass as representing our heart and our wounds. Those wounds are infected with lies about ourselves that Satan planted long ago. This infection causes disorders in our lives. When we place those wounds in Christ’s Heart, He begins to heal them and unite them to His wounds. He doesn’t get rid of them; that’s the beauty. Instead, He transforms them into His living chalices, and He fills those wounds that we carry with His blood, His life. Like Saint Paul, we can say:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. –Gal 2:20
His love and His mercy and His healing power live in us, move through us. We become the living Christ. That is the Simple Path to Union with God.
The Path is not finished. We’re still living it in our community. In chapter four, the Lord teaches us the meaning of the three nails of the crucifixion. In the past two years, He has taken us deep into the nails so that we need to put it into writing someday.
Prophetic preparation for the decisive battle
The end of the Path, chapter eight, is important. It is about the signs of the times and covers some prophecies from our Popes, approved apparitions of Our Blessed Mother, and the saints. It ends with prophecies to our community for the world. My brothers and sisters, we have entered the decisive battle.
What we are living with this pandemic is worldwide. Satan’s destruction wants to bring forth a new world order of Communism. They are using the pandemic to step by step take away our freedom. We must understand. We must see with the eyes of God the decisive times because if we are going to be warriors, we have got to know how to battle. The Path is a beautiful preparation, one that you’re all also walking.
We are in a spiritual battle against the forces of Satan. Jesus Christ pierced the darkness of Satan with the power of his divine love at the Cross. Only the power of love can pierce the darkness, and that is why we need to be men and women transformed.
We are so blessed to be living in these times. Why? Because we have the grace from God to become saints at a much faster pace than most saints did in the past. It’s really a blessing. God is pouring out His grace to raise the saints that Saint Louis de Montfort talked about. Saints of the end times, these are us, and it takes one thing: I had to say ‘yes,’ that was all. The Lord didn’t give me this long explanation. I had the choice to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ And if I am here and if each of you received the Simple Path to Union with God, that was not my doing; that was God’s doing. If you got this book, it’s because each of you is being called by the Lord and asked the same question, “will you be my victim souls?” He waits for your answer. The only reason you have the Path and that God brought me here is that He wants to make you a saint.