Thoughts from Fr.

Alberione

THOUGHTS Where is man going? Humanity is like a river Flowing to the sea of eternity. Will they be saved? Or will they be lost forever. Presentation The death of Fr. James Alberione, Founder of the Pauline Family, on November 26, 1971, at the age of eighty-seven, brought public attention to his slight figure. As he left this world, his role in the Christian history of this century began to be clearly outlined. At his death, the instruments of social communication: the press, film, radio and television, to which Fr. Alberione had dedicated passionate attention for sixty years, transmitted the image and meaning of his undertakings to millions in Italy and throughout the world. Questions arose widely and with increasing frequency about him: who really and truly was Fr. Alberione ? What did he do? What did he say or write that deserved to be known? The repercussion of those days of mourning showed Fr. Alberione to be at the center of an apostolic undertaking of worldwide proportions, qualified by his courageous adaptation of the mass media as instruments for communicating the message of the Gospel. Deeper questions were put about Alberione the man, about this figure so hidden and so dynamic, so frail and yet so strong, who could galvanize tremendous amounts of human energy to create, out of practically nothing, imposing means to create, out of practically nothing, imposing means for the service of the Church in many countries. What is the true human and spiritual stature of Father Alberione? What were the levers of his courage and action? What is there of himself and his thought to be usefully assimilated by the Christian of this dramatic age of history, an age which demands clarity of ideas, the courage of pioneering new ways, work in depth toward a durable building up and correspondence with the solicitation of the Spirit for our times? In various ways, these questions were posed to the religious family he founded, a family made up of the following Congregations: the Society of St. Paul (1914), the Daughters of St. Paul (1915), the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (1924), the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (1938), the Sisters of the Queen of Apostles (1957), the aggregated Secular Institutes of Jesus the Priest, St. Gabriel the Archangel, Mary of the Annunciation (1958), the Holy family (1960) and the Pauline Cooperators (1917).

After his death, they began gathering whatever Fr. Alberione had communicated by word or writing, both in addressing himself to whole groups and in all his correspondence with the thousands of individuals who had joined his worked. The spiritual dynamism and apostolic force which emanated from Fr. Alberione’s silence and prayer gave his simple, straight character depth and charm. Prolonged and careful study of all his thoughts and works, plus the verified reflections of those who shared his life and mission intimately, will slowly bring his full figure to light. The Center of Pauline Spirituality established in Ariccia (Rome) shortly before his death has the task of researching the master concepts of his spiritual thought and missionary action, so as to put these at the disposition of the Church. In the meantime, a selection has been made from an improvised collection of what Father Alberione wrote and said to his sons and daughters. This series of extracts and excerpts will sufficiently introduce the reader to the guidelines of his action, to his evangelical interiority, to his style of thought and method, to his sober, concise mode of expression, which could be both labored and spontaneous. Through them, it will be possible to understand the consummate interests and vivid convictions of his life. Chapter 1 reveals his commitment in body and soul to unquestioned mission given him by God, and before which he always sorrowfully felt the inadequacy of his response. United to this, however, was a sure, tender and unfailing abandonment to the guidance of the Lord. Chapter 2 gives an idea of the dynamic vision he had of life and of human history, so strongly transmitted to every person with whom he came in contact. Chapter 3 notes the sources and points of reference of his spiritual and apostolic devotion. He glorified them in writing and in the monumental shrine-churches he built and offered for public worship, which remain the centers of strength for all his institutions. These inspirational sources are: Jesus the Divine Master, honored by him as the Way, truth and Life of mankind; Mary, Mother, Teacher and Queen of Apostles (Chapter 4); St. Paul, the apostle of excellence and exemplar of evangelical daring, who is an indispensable presence for our time (Chapter 5). Following this, there is his absolute and total dependence on the Bible, the fount of life and action in Christ (Chapter 6). Chapter 7 deals with his fidelity to the Church and to the Pope. He looked on the Vicar of Christ as the immediate guide of his action, a firm refuge from the confusion of human ideology and a protection against disintegration. On this groundwork, with unrelenting certainty, he looked around in search of companions and strength. Chapter 8 suggests how deeply he felt the grave problem of vocations for his own mission and for that of the whole Church.

In Chapter 9, he refers to the priesthood and its use of the means of social communication as an apostolate and ministry. Chapter 10 explains the quasi-priesthood he envisioned for lay persons who want to consecrate themselves to God and take an active and specific part in the apostolate of modern means. The Disciples of the Divine Master were to work in close union with priests. His clear and noble vision of women is seen in Chapter 11, where he associates them in priestly work in new and audacious efforts for the diffusion of the Word of God and the advent of its reign. He calls thousands of persons and proposes two great themes to them. The first is consecration to God in the religious life and the second is service to humanity through the apostolate of social communications. These two ends became the overriding topics of his reflections and writings. Chapter 12 treats his profound and completely up-to-date understanding of religious life. Chapter 13 discusses prayer as the source and continuous nourishment of this life. Chapter 14 analyzes poverty and its specific characteristics for our time. In Chapter 15 is a vital interpretation of apostolate, which must always be a total emanation from Christ. The final Chapter explores the courage that is needed to adapt the modern language of the press, film, radio and television, without shame as St. Paul says, for the sake of the Gospel, which is the power of God that will save mankind. These are the principal and constant directions taken by the thought and teaching of directions taken by the thought and teaching of Fr. Alberione. He is rarely preoccupied about style. His talks or writings are never elaborated on or refined. He does not search for originality of expression or doctrine. He insists on certain fundamentals, repeating, deeply etching his preferred concepts, re-proposing them over and over again. But we are struck very often by the ideas he brings out, especially I the specific field of his mission (the apostolate with the means of social communication, constructive and balances poverty, religious life as a total response to God, prayer, etc. He sculptures clearly. He checks out his intuitions, opening them to himself and to others so that they can respond to God all along the way. From these profound reflections and personal experiences, certain expressions spring to life and are full of light, vigor and resonance. These do not need elaboration. They engrave themselves lastingly on the lives of those to whom they are directed. His audience, often young, unknowing and in need of formation and stimulus, prompts him to use moderate but effective images taken from the activity itself. This confers the character of immediacy on his language. The compilation, then, is what we believe to be the best reply to the various questions raised in so many places after the death of Fr. Alberione. These first fruits of his thought can help us to know him in a simple and direct way.

The thoughts themselves, without comment and now extend to a wider public, are a treasure of spiritual teaching which he bestowed without reserve on his sons and daughters of the Pauline Family. They constitute his best endowment and are one of the most precious fruits of his life. Father John Roatta Center of Pauline Spirituality 1. Conscious of a mission During 55 years, from August 20, 1914, to August 6, 1969, Bl. James Alberione founded and gave life to the Pauline Family (a group of ten institutions comprising religious congregations, secular institutes and a lay association). The Pauline Family was intended to respond to certain necessities of the Church in the twentieth century, especially to the urgency of diffusing the Christian message through the means of social communication. Recognizing the finger of God in these institutions, the hierarchical Church officially approved and launched this multi-faceted work. Bl. James Alberione was aware of being moved by God and of having been an instrument in His hands. He affirms this in humility and reveals certain stags of the actions of God in his life. • The hand of the Lord has been upon me from 1900 to 19601. The will of the Lord is accomplished in spite of all that is lacking in this unworthy and inadequate instrument. From the start and throughout the journey, light, grace, inspiration, strength and vocations have come from the tabernacle. Every priest encounters two judgments: that of man and that of God. For the latter, which is really the only one that counts, I beg everyone in time to obtain the mercy of the Lord for me. In the “to us sinners also” of the Mass, we ask the mercy of being admitted into the company of the saints, “not through our merits but through the richness of your pardon.” Before God and man, I feel the gravity of the mission entrusted to me by the Lord, who would have preferred a still more unworthy and incapable person. Nevertheless, for me and for everyone, this is the guarantee that the Lord has willed and done everything Himself. I am like a paint brush of little worth, not knowing what is to be painted, which the artist uses, even when he executes a fine painting of the Divine Master. We were founded on the Church and on the Vicar of Jesus Christ. This conviction inspires security, joy and courage.
1. The night between December 31, 1900, and January1, 1901, when Alberione was sixteen years old, was decisive for his life and mission. He recalls it himself in the second passage of this chapter. In 1960, he conducted a thirty-day course of Spiritual Exercises (the month of April) for one hundred and twenty-five priests and brothers of the Society of St. Paul, among whom were his

first followers. He took the occasion to carefully explain, in definitive form, the meaning of the Constitutions and of the Pauline vocation, and to reconfirm before all of them the fundamental certainties which had supported his apostolic action.

No matter what, Fr. Alberione is the instrument elected by God for this mission; thus he has worked for God and according to the inspiration and will of God. Everything has been approved by the highest Authority on earth and until now he has been followed by many generous souls. And for the future? Father P. Colin replies: “When an institute with its rules has been approved, the superior or founder (unfortunate expression) must be obeyed and must exact obedience.” As an individual, instead, Father Joseph James will present himself for the judgment of God with the enormous responsibilities he has faced in life. The Lord has been pleased to continue to give me the health and possibility of completing the Pauline Family with the three Secular Institutes begun after the General Chapter of 1957. They are making headway. Our life began in Jesus Christ and like Jesus Christ in the crib: “Glory to God on high and peace on earth to men of good will.” I assure everyone that everything has been done only and always by the light of the tabernacle and in obedience. The approval of the Church is an assurance that the Institutions are good and can lead to holiness and that they conform to the needs of the times. (UPS I 347) • The night which divided this century from the last was decisive for the specific mission and particular spirit in which the future apostolate was to be born and brought to full life.2 Solemn and continuing adoration before Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament was made in the Cathedral of Alba following midnight Mass. The seminarians in philosophy and theology were at liberty to remain for as long as they wished. A short time before, there had been a congress (the first he had assister at). He had clearly understood the calm but profound and fascinating address given by Toniolo. He had read the invitation of Leo XIII to pray for the century just beginning. Both spoke of the Church’s necessities, of the new means of evil, of the duty of opposing the press with the press, organization with organization, of making the Gospel penetrate the masses and influence social questions…. A particular light came from the Host in greater understanding of Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all of you….” He seemed to understand the great Pope’s heart, the invitation of the Church and the true mission of the priesthood. What had been said by Toniolo about the duty of being apostles of today and of using the means exploited to prepare to do something for the Lord and for the men of the new century with whom he would live. He had a sufficiently clear grasp of his own insignificance and at the same time is awareness of the words: “I am with you…until the end of the world,” in the Eucharist. There was awareness, too, that light, comfort and victory over evil could be obtained before Jesus in the Host.

2. In 1954, forty years after its foundation, a group of Pauline priests planned the first study of
the Pauline Family and its Founder. The result was the commemorative volume published in Italian, Mi Protendo in Avanti (EP, Alba, 1954, pp. 570). For that occasion, Fr. Alberione wrote down, in the third person, his most intimate recollections so that they would serve the above-mentioned study. He underlined the highlights and essential motivations by which God had guided him from his youth to the accomplishment of his mission. That precious manuscript was recently published in Italian under the title, Abundantes divitiae gratiae suae (EP Rome, 1971, pp. 164) and in English under the title, I Am with You.

Trying to envision the future, he felt that other generous persons would share this urge to do something in the new century and that organized together the idea repeated over and over again by Toniolo could be realized: “Unite yourselves; if the enemy finds you alone, he will overcome you one by one….” His prayer lasted four hours after the Mass—prayer that the century would be born in the Eucharistic Christ; that new apostles would restore true meaning to law, school, literature, the press, public morality; that the Church would have a new missionary impulse; that the new means of apostolate would be better used; that society would absorb the great teachings of Leo XIII’s encyclicals, especially those dealing with social questions and the liberty of the Church. The Eucharist, the Gospel, the Pope, the new century, the doctrine of Count Paganuzzi regarding the Church, the necessity of new ranks of apostles—all to dominate his every thought, prayer, interior work and aspiration from then on. An obligation was felt to serve the Church, the men of the new century and to work with others. (AD 17-19) At first he thought of a Catholic organization of writers, technicians, librarians and Catholic book vendors, to whom he would give direction, work and a spirit of apostolate…. But soon, in a time of greater enlightenment, in 1910, he took a definitive step: there would be writers, technicians, distributors, but religious men and women. On one hand, they would be brought to the highest perfection through the practice of the evangelical counsels joined to the merit of the apostolic life. On the other hand, more unity, stability, continuity and a sense of the supernatural would be given to the apostolate. An organization would be formed but a religious one, where energies would be united, where dedication would be total, where doctrine would be purer. And this society of souls, loving God with all their mind, strength and heart, would spend themselves in work for the Church, content with the divine stipend: “receive a hundredfold, and possess life everlasting.” He rejoiced, therefore, considering part of this new army of souls as belonging to the Church on earth and part belonging to the Church in heaven. (AD 21-22) Providence operated according to its ordinary divine method, “strongly and gently.” It prepared and made all things converge toward an end. It enlightened and provided necessary helps. Its hour was awaited in peace. Providence always

begins in a manger; it acts so naturally as to make it difficult to distinguish grace from nature. It certainly uses both…. On the other hand, it was not for us to force the hand of God. It was enough to be vigilant and open to guidance in our various duties, striving to dedicate to them our mind, will, heart and physical energy…. Man has so many imperfections, defects, errors, insufficiencies and doubts in his way of going about things. It becomes necessary to put everything in the hands of divine mercy and let ourselves be guided. Never force the hand of Providence! Prayer had already been offered for the Good Shepherd Sisters in 1908, but the Congregation was not to be founded as such until about thirty years later. There was often no choice but there be a serene and calm maturing. The Lord would dispose a brief period of illness for him. After being closed in a room for a while, he would come out refreshed and clear-headed, prepared to attend to what had to be done. Projects would then be submitted to the Spiritual Director who would correct and depending on the case, add to them. If required, they would be presented to ecclesiastical authority. The moment was not always right, but the Lord made things understood and known, leaving His servant the work, even the mistakes. Later there would be the Lord’s intervention and the correction of errors and defects. (AD 31-32) • In a moment of particular difficulty, every aspect of conduct was re-examined to see if the action of grace had been personally impeded. It appeared that the Divine Master willed to reassure the Institute now begun but a few years. In a dream on this, a response seemed to come. Jesus Master, in fact, said: “Do not be afraid, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Be sorry for your sins.” The “from here” came from the tabernacle and with emphasis. It was to be understood that from Him, the Master, would come all the light to be received. The Spiritual Director was spoken to and it was pointed out in what particular light the figure of the Master had been outlined. He replied: “Be at peace; dream or otherwise, what has been said is holy. Make it a practical program of life and light for you and for all the members.” From then on, everything was directed to the tabernacle more and more and derived from it. (AD 93-94) • There were many who offered themselves in self-sacrifice for the fruitful outcome of the Institute. The Lord accepted the offering of some of these…. A circle of virtuous and devout individuals who prayed continuously in adoration for it was formed. At the head of these was Canon Chiesa. There were hardships of various kinds: personnel, finances, written and verbal accusations. Day-today life was precarious and uncertain, but from St. Paul help always came. In meeting expenses, advice was sought and this examine made: Is this necessary? Is my intention right? Would we do this if we were at the point of death? If the replies were in the affirmative, trust was placed in God.

At times necessities were grave and urgent and all human resources and hope closed. Recourse was then had to prayer and an effort to do away with sin and every lack of poverty. Inconceivable solutions came, as well as money from unknown sources. Voluntary loans, new benefactors, other such things which could never be explained. The years and many forecasts of certain failure passed; the accusations of madness faded away, and everything worked out, under pressure perhaps, but in peace. No creditor lost a penny and suppliers, contractors and firms always continued their confidence in us. There were many benefactors whose charity bore triple fruit. (AD 97-99) • • Here was a half-blind man being guided. With the passing of time, light came little by little so that progress could be made. God is the light. (AD 117) As for this poor person, he has accomplished some part of the divine will, but must disappear from the scene and from memory—even if, being the eldest, he had to receive from the Lord and give to others. It is as when the Mass is completed: the priest divests himself of the chasuble and remains what he is before God. I often pray: “Father, I am not worthy to be called your son; I have sinned against heaven and against you; keep me as your servant.” It is in this way that I intend to belong to this admirable Pauline Family—as a servant, now and in heaven, where I will tend to those who use the most modern and efficacious means of good in holiness, in Christ, and in the Church. (AD 10)

2. A dynamic vision of man and of history
Training in hard work at home, a pledge at sixteen years of age to do something for the Lord and for men of the twentieth century, long meditations in his youth on world history (C. Cantú, Rohrbacher, Hergenrother), the mission which intensely committed his whole life to the creation of new energy for the service of the Church—all of this brought Father Alberione to a broad and dynamic vision of history. And through it he saw the life of man as an incessant, unchanging release of power for God and for mankind.

Life loses all sense when it excludes the doctrine of Providence. It becomes a blind process left to the mercy of physical forces and the malice of men. When faith in Providence is alive, however, the entire meaning of human history is clearly defined, elevated and profound. It is God who conducts all things and makes them converge, rather than a chance succession of intertwined passions and individual interests. Let history be well taught, in the light of reason and of faith. Through faith in Providence we discover the God who cares for great and little things: from the atom, the hair on our head, the lily of the field, to the development of the physical, intellectual and moral world. From creation to the end of time, life is guided

by the light coming from eternity, universal judgment and the certainty of eternal justice. How much reasoning is done without the use of reason and without the light of the Gospel and the crucifix! FP 86) • • In himself man evidences and reproduces biblical history. (UPS II 152)

At times God uses a chisel. Events to which we give scant attention are the hands of the good God working and shaping our souls. (Pr CN 183) Don’t lose heart. Always preserve a healthy optimism. History is the teacher of life and our past experiences school us for the future. A battle lost, we have time as long as we live to succeed in another. “All things work together for good,” when there is good will. For what turns out right we give glory to God; for what turns out poorly we humble ourselves and pray in order to try harder. There is an excellent book known as “The Art of Profiting by Faults.” The most terrible temptation is desperation, but the more common one is semi-desperation. Faith is the first virtue, but the second is hope. We give belief in His goodness. A friend expressed bewilderment to Caesar Cantú at how he could have written so much and so well. The historian replied: “By perseverance.” (CISP 1088) history of nations serves the greatest historical fact, the Incarnation. By it, God came to bring creatures to Himself. As their Head, He would introduce them on “the great day” to His Kingdom, a faithful and immense court praising the divine King. Young people, open your eyes to the general sweep of history, to the light of the Gospel, to the study of philosophy. For thousands of years the fullness of time was prepared, Jesus Christ passed as the greatest man of history, nay as the God of history. Now through the Holy Spirit He carries out that which He began. History, like our lives, flows into eternity. Oriental and Greek history, Roman, medieval and modern history, general and world history—all are the immense work of the Father who creates and governs, of the Son who illumines and saves, of the Spirit who vivifies and makes holy. Let Jesus Master always be your light in the study of the ages and of peoples. Study history and confess that “to the immortal King of ages belongs honor and glory.” Let the peoples of the East and the West come to Jesus Christ. May the Spirit go forth and renew the earth. Study history and learn from its works and mistakes. “And now, O Leaders, understand; instruct yourselves, you who judge the earth.” (CISP 27) • Study is for life. Life is for eternity. Everything is for God. You who are young, consider nature and learn from it. Think over what Christian philosophy teaches about it. Then, through sacred theology, you will lift yourselves to the height of divine truth. The Church of Jesus Christ, Master of the noblest theological science, is likewise at the summit of every human science. (CISP 28) •

What does it mean to study? It means to commit oneself. This attitude must accompany us until death. It should oblige everyone to want to learn new things. We cannot always do things in the same way during life. We have to progress each day, improve ourselves each day. After twenty years or more, we ought not to find ourselves at the starting point. Nor can we say: “I am no longer a learner.’ All of us are obliged to learn! (SC 211-12) The greatest good for a young man, both for life and eternity, is to train him to work; this will be his good fortune and it is the best thing we can do for him. When a man lives disciplined and in command of his senses and circumstances, whether in the intimacy of his family of society, he will be respected and admired. He serves himself and his neighbor. He gives his own worthwhile support to humanity and to the Church. Be a man! (CISP 1080) All of this requires a base, a point of departure, which is the upright man. On this it becomes possible to build the good Christian, the son of God. (FP 5) Discouragement is not permitted the Christian, much less the surrender of self to a world that lures humanity towards a godless life. God is infinitely more powerful than man. The Christian among men is the most decided advocate of scientific and technical progress. Only those who acknowledge themselves as sons of God are free of every slavery. (CISP 868) The only defeat in life is to yield to difficulty, to abandon the struggle. For man, to die fighting is to win. To desert the battle is to be conquered, and the situation of the vanquished is hell. “To the victor I will give hidden food.” It is well worth the effort to fight for knowledge and for truth. The unity of man has to be rebuilt. A vocation does not consist only of knowledge (not even an excellent exponent of theology, or an apologist, or a shred and fascinating writer constitutes such). A wall, even if it is the main one—as is knowledge—does not constitute a house. (CISP 131) A healthy mind in a healthy body. God is life! Don’t kill the body –not even by excessive play or work. Do not diminish your strength and talents by imprudence or neglect. Strive rather to develop these in yourself with good educational methods. Develop your skills, improve the way you do your job, enlarge your sphere of action and your own knowledge. For the sake of yourself and those around you, develop your personality, being mindful of truth and not appearances. Work which increases through our industry is an imitation of God and brings us closer to Him who is the purest of Acts. It will also be a prime kind of mortification, whether intellectual, moral or predominantly physical. “Imitate God as beloved sons.” Money is a gift of God. Use it well. And if you can obtain more, multiply the works that promote God’s glory. “Put on your sandals,” the angel said to Peter.

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He was concerned, even about shoes! Take care of everything, you clothes, house, furniture, books, means of work, etc. Created things are meant to help us know God, to bring us to love Him and serve Him worthily. Don’t violate things, our nature, our reason. Make use of everything as an instrument for the glory of God, for elevation, for our goal. Practical examples can be found in the psalms and in the lives of the saints, especially in St. Francis of Assisi who even composed a hymn to the sun. (CISP 756-57) • It is not for us to speak about ourselves, but sometimes it can be useful. If I had been concerned about every little ailment of mine, I would have been confined to my room for forty-five years now, closed off and avoiding drafts, asking to be served. Excessive cane can weaken us. Do not be imprudent, but give the body as much exercise as it can take. When I am not pressed by time or necessity, I climb the stairs on foot—an exercise that is good for the health. Let us not make an idol of ourselves. A man is educated when he has accustomed himself to using his freedom well. (FP 13) Know yourself…not the multitude of things that are of little or no account, or are even harmful. How much idle news or concern about things that are none of our affair, while we fail to know ourselves! And how much less do we occupy ourselves about that which is of eternal interest, our one and only business! (UPS II 80) How much intelligence is wasted! (UPS II 171) Read the book of your own conscience, taking a little time out from useless reading, entertainment and films. (UPS II 80) A period of reflection and examine, centering judgment and prayer on ourselves, is such a good thing. Any small exploration made with the idea of discovering ourselves brings us closer to the pinnacle of knowledge. And he who knows himself has reached a great height. We can read a little bit of this book everyday since it is always at our disposition. “That I may know myself” (St. Augustine). So much for achieving human understanding. Because we are of Jesus Christ, who is God, there must follow “That I may know You.” Jesus Christ is the divine graft on nature and it is He who changes the fruit of our natural thought, work and aspiration. (CISP 64) • Life is a great journey toward eternity and each day is a stage of that journey. The wise driver starts out with prudence, a cardinal virtue. In his mind he goes over the road to be traveled. This represents the preventive examine. He

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supplies himself with fuel, oil, good tires, everything necessary for the trip. This represents the help of God through prayer. (UPS II 120) • What would happen if the driver loses control of the car? He must always stay alert and handle the steering wheel well. But to drive ourselves is much more difficult than to drive a car. We have to be in control of everything internal— our thoughts, for example, which are difficult to govern. We have to govern our whole being at all times: in church, on the street, traveling, in the book centers, at recreation, at table, from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night. At whatever speed, we must always have control of ourselves. As it takes but one drowsy instant to swerve off the road, so, not vigilant over ourselves, we can skid into mistake on top of mistake…. If the tongue is not governed, who knows what can be said before night falls? The uncontrolled words of persons whose mouths are never closed always bring repentance afterwards. (Pr E 349)

If in the dark we bang our nose against a post, it’s more than certain that the next times around we’ll remember and be more careful, because we have our nose at heart! And why don’t we at least do the same for our souls? (Pr E 383) If we don’t weep for time lost, for what shall we weep? (Pr E 325) Watch your minutes. This is not a very good phrase, but it clarifies an idea. “To waste time is more displeasing to those who know better” (Dante). Those five and ten minutes multiplied by five and ten times a day added up to half and full hours. Multiply ten times by a year, ten years, twenty years and more. There was a cleric who subtracted ten minutes a day from useless conversation, indifferent reading and easy distraction and put them toward the reading of books on ascetics, sociology, history, literature, etc. He thus advanced ahead of his classmates in very precious mental acquisitions. (CISP 1089) We must be aware of the reality of life, the little simple, small progress made each day towards a meditated, desired, counseled, definite goal. We do not live by dreams but begin at the rank and file level and proceed along the slow, sure road of the virtuous. (SM 78) Small change makes for capital and it is the attentive person who gains treasures for heaven (Pr E 355) This must be insisted on: don’t have hallucinations about grandiose things. Are you really sure that you can accomplish them? And then? And then you will incur grandiose debts. (CISP 177)

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It is not possible to reap without having planted. Don’t be misled by outward results which actually hide the shallowness of a work. The gold shining today from sacred vases on the altar was extracted from deep in the womb of the earth by simple men—who have their own merit. (CISP 22) Life passes and we come nearer to the end of our days. We will leave this world soon enough for heaven where everything is peaceful and serene. Let us prepare ourselves and prepare ourselves for heaven! (HM II 108) We will die as we have lived. There are those who are not resigned to accept this. At the beginning of my priestly ministry, I heard a dying person say: “What have I done to the Lord for Him to treat me in this way?” I have never forgotten that. Make it a habit of life to do the will of God, because virtue as summed up in that expression of perfect love of God, “Your will be done,” in the acceptance of death. May the Lord grant us the grace to live well so that we may die well. (IA 40 29)

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The last day of our life should be our most fervent one and the last year of our life our most fervent year. (FM II0 24) It is an error to restrain the young from manifesting their thoughts, however strange these may be in adolescence and crisis. Instead, encourage them to talk and give them explanations. Offer them support, make it easy for them to open up and to make themselves known…. Then counsel and correct their ideas, supply books suited to their situation, offer reasons and use the greatest possible wisdom and goodness. (SM 41) • Character examination is of great importance in relations with one’s neighbors. A good character which knows how to adapt itself to others is a potent lever for the apostolate. A bad character is one of the greatest obstacles to good. A person with character is one who has strong convictions and strives with firmness and perseverance to conform his conduct accordingly. A good character is a blending of goodness and firmness, of gentleness and strength, of frankness and respect, winning the esteem and affection of those with whom it has to deal. A bad character, instead, lacks frankness, goodness, finesse and firmness. By allowing egoism to predominate, it becomes coarse in manner and repugnant, at times even hateful to its neighbor. (UPS II 78) One insists on a certain thing, sees only that thing, and that’s that! Be balanced as Jesus Christ was! His was perfect balance—perfectly God and also perfectly man, as the Athanasian symbol notes. (Pr A 441) It is a natural duty to respond to a letter, even if only to say that you can’t, or that you don’t know what to say! It’s a great mistake to ignore, or pretend to ignore, social conventions. Urbane manners and evidence of regard facilitate a

happy common life and earn respect…whereas cutting, vulgar, ill-mannered and cruel words upset and displease those who utter them as well as those who hear them! Wisdom, instruction and virtue are not enough. They must be complemented by manners and ways characteristic of a true religious. (CISP 759-60) • • • • All of us are here to serve; there are no bosses. All of us are striving for perfection; no one is already perfect. (UPS I 292) He who does things makes mistakes (sometimes). But he who does nothing lives a continuous mistake. ( FP 70) Through faith we see all men as souls to whom we owe truth, edification and prayer. (FP 26) Through faith, we recognize all men as companions in a journey toward eternity. Out of this rises the duty of mutual help. (FP 26)

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JESUS CHRIST: CENTER OF THOUGHT AND ACTION

As an intimate follower of St. Paul, Father Alberione had an altogether Christ-centered thought. The dynamic core of every one of its manifestations is dynamic core of every one of its manifestations is found in the expression of the Apostle of the Gentiles: “I live no longer; it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Reading the Gospel, he became enamored of Christ the Master, the molder of integral man. This inspired him to take the Divine Master as the point of reference of his spiritual life and the fountainhead of his apostolic mission. “You call me Master and you say well, for so I am” (Jn 13:13). “Go, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 29:19). Under the inspiration of an encyclical by Leo XIII aimed at guiding twentieth century man (“Tametsi futura,” Nov 1, 1900), he learned to grasp the mystery and fullness of Christ in the trinomial of John (14:6): “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” At the center of all the thought, prayer and action of his religious family, Father Alberione therefore placed the Christ of these dynamic attributes, as revealed in the Gospel. “We were born to give man Jesus Master, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” • Jesus Christ is the Master (Teacher) who best respected the human person, who develops our natural and supernatural faculties, elevating and guiding us to share God’s life in time and in eternity. (FP 36) The Pauline Family aspires to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life, integrally, in the spirit of St. Paul, and under the watchful guidance of the Queen of Apostles. It does not have many particulars, special devotions or excessive formalities. What is sought is life in Christ the Master and in the Church…. The secret of greatness is to model ourselves on God, living in Christ. So the thought is always clear to live and work in the Church and for the Church;

to insert ourselves like wild olives into the living olive, the Eucharistic-Christ; to think about and be nourished by every phrase of the Gospel, according to the Spirit of St. Paul…. The whole man must live in Jesus Christ, in total love of God: intelligence, will, heart, physical strength—everything: nature, grace, vocation for the apostolate. Our “vehicle” moves on four wheels: sanctity, study, apostolate, poverty. (AD 63-64) • • “The common good requires that we have recourse to Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life” (Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter, “Tametsi futura”). The Pope says that genuine piety manifested during the Holy Year offers good promise for the new century. It is a piety directed to Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life. The Pauline Family has accepted this as a sacred inheritance, knowing that receiving Jesus Christ according to the “three principles necessary for salvation,” is a matter of life or eternal loss for all. To receive him more fully means to be a Pauline: “There is salvation in no other. In fact, there does not exist under the heavens any other name given to men by which we can be saved.” If Jesus Christ alone is the fullness of salvation, it is necessary to find it in Him alone. And the more we become part of Him, the more we will live in spiritual health. Living Christ integrally, the whole man will be sound—sound in mind, heart, will and body, morally sound. “We have been given a pledge of future glory.” (CISP 1224) I don’t have silver or gold, but I give you what I do have: Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life. (CISP 63) • • This Council (Vatican II) is the great, historical religious fact of our time. It is an examine that Christianity is making of itself, a reflection on many points which can by reduced to three: A) How much is Christian life practiced today in conformity with the Gospel? In what way is this life lived in the world today? In what is it lacking? What means are to be adapted for a valid purification and elevation in Jesus Christ the Master? “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” “Learn from me.” “I am the Way.” B) How far has the doctrine of Jesus Christ been spread? With what acceptance and understanding? How has it been preserved in its wholeness and purity in the world? What are the means by which it can win all minds?—in keeping with the mandate of Jesus Christ the Master to the Church: “Teach all men.” “This is eternal life, that they may know the one, true God, and him alone whom he has sent, Jesus Christ.” “I am the Truth.” C) How and in what way do we pray in Christ and in the Church, “in spirit and in truth’? How and in what way do we produce the fruits of life and grace, of true sons of God and His heirs, co-heirs of Jesus Christ? How do we better our practical application of the words, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done”? What are the difficulties and improvements in

actual practice? “Prayer must be made without ceasing.” “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, it will be given you.” “I am the Life.” (CISP 315) Let us make of ourselves the pen and tongue of God, through Jesus Christ, our Master! (CISP 53) The process of sanctification is a process of Christification: “until Christ is formed in you.” Therefore we will be saints in the measure in which we live the life of Jesus Christ —or better, in the measure in which Jesus Christ lives in us. “The Christian is another Christ.” This is what St. Paul is saying of himself: “I live, but no longer I; it is Christ who lives in me.” This occurs gradually until we reach “the virile age of Jesus Chris, just as a child gradually grows into the adult man. Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth and Life. Spiritual work involves: a) imitating the holiness of Jesus Christ who shows us the way by His examples and teaching: “be perfect”: b) a spirit of faith in Jesus Christ who is Truth, thinking according to the Gospel, New Testament, and the Church which communicates them; c) grace, which is a participation in the life of Jesus Christ through the sacraments, and all the means of grace. This is how Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life is formed in us: “Be conformed to him.” So Jesus Christ will nourish the soul in its faculties of will, intelligence and sentiment. (CISP 11-12) • Our adoration is planned along the lines of devotion to Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. Jesus forms His apostles by communicating a spiritual doctrine to them and then interposes the example of a holy life. He prays incessantly for them. The conduct of Jesus and the way He does things must be the conduct and way of doing things for all teachers. (CISP 778) In the morning, let us place ourselves at Jesus feet and say to Him: You are the Way; I want to walk in your footsteps and imitate your example. You are the Truth: enlighten me! You are Life: give me grace! (ER 132) In having recourse to the Divine Master, we will not find a law but a Person, even though He operates in the manner of a law: “In Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit of life.” (CISP 133) Jesus Christ, apostle of the Father, was the first of all the perfect man: perfectus homo. Here, too, He is the Way. This concept of “perfect man” not only implies that he had a rational soul and an organic body, but signifies perfect order in his faculties. On one hand they were in the harmony with God; on the other, in harmony with reason. Who could accuse him of sin on any account? He was the perfect child of the family, the perfect boy, the perfect young man, the perfect worker, the perfect citizen, the perfect subject, the perfect king. He was perfect at home, in society, in dealing with others, in prayer, in solitude. His prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance were perfect. He was perfect in learning as a

disciple and perfect in teaching as a master, perfect in seeking the glory of God and the salvation of man as an apostle. (CISP 755) • Christian, religious and priestly perfection lies in this: to establish ourselves mind) and Life (sentiments). Indeed this is the way to reach the supreme height of our personality: I who think in Jesus Christ, I who love in Jesus Christ, I who will in Jesus Christ, I who love in Jesus Christ, I who will in Jesus Christ: or: Christ who thinks in me, who loves in me, who wills in me. (UPSI 187) To radically change our way of thinking, living and dying was the marvelous reversal desired and achieved by Jesus Christ. This is especially evident in the Beatitudes. (CISP 1396)

“Life” and “death” are two words often repeated in the Gospel. Spiritual writers and those spiritually inclined emphasize one or the other, depending on their temperament or background. Some say that the sacred text is a ‘Gospel of life,” and in fact, from its beginning to its end one breathes the vigor of new life in Christ. “In him was life and this life became the light of mankind.” Others say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of death. “If the seed planted in the earth does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” “I die each day,” St. Paul wrote, “for I carry in my body the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Both these classes of persons possess only part of the Gospel. Life and death in the Gospel are always joined. We die in Christ in order to live joyously in Christ. “Whoever loses his life will find it.” Life and death eco one another and alternate in regular rhythm. I renounce my I in order to let His life live in me. I relinquish certain goods in order to acquire superior ones. Chastity is the sacrifice of an introverted life for a life that is apostolic and divine. It is a love that is greater. Obedience is the fullness of freedom. Poverty is the maximum of wealth. (CISP 132) • • Every wearying effort, when associated with the passion of Jesus Christ, becomes an element of individual and social redemption. (FP 51) Many have wanted to reform the Church, but without reforming themselves first. They possessed neither a mission not virtue nor true piety. Jesus Christ, however, first set the example Himself, preached His doctrine and died to win grace for us. (UPS I 515) Some are saying that what is needed today is another kind of education, another way of living, another form of discipline. I answer: “holiness is and always consists in, living Jesus Christ as He is presented in the Gospel, the Way, Truth and Life. The mistake lies always in detaching ourselves from the Gospel, from Jesus Christ, from the examples of the saints, from theology. Religious life is always the one which Jesus Christ taught, the one proposed by the Church, lived by religious who achieved sainthood and the one indicated by the Constitutions.

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Conscientiousness is not rigorous. Laxity is not modernity, but worldliness of heart. (CISP 264) The mystery of Christ the worker seems to us a deeper mystery than the passion and death. So many years at the carpenter’s bench! “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” “Isn’t he the carpenter?” The sweat o his forehead at Nazareth is no less redemptive than the sweat of blood in Gethsemane! (CISP 1079) The wearying labor of the apostolate is to be joined to the labor of Jesus. The apostolate brings fatigue, discouragement, disappointments. There are those who do not understand it. But did they understand the whole apostolate of Jesus? Let us think of Him. (HM II 10 82) A good part of the world today suffers from a shortage of bread. There is an even greater shortage of the spiritual bread Jesus Christ brought from heaven— Himself. “I am the bread of life.” Innumerable men live totally unaware of their destiny. They think of nothing else but the present and yet in a short time, death will propel them into eternity. There is no one to give them this bread. “There is no one to break it for them.” They die of hunger, without truly understanding their hunger. Jesus without truly understanding their hunger. Jesus Christ is BreadTruth. The apostle of the media of communication is another Jesus Christ who repeats to men of every age and place that which Jesus Christ preached in His temporal life. (CISP 124) Did Jesus Christ stop when confronted with difficulties? In Jesus Christ there is “pure wine,” whereas various authors give diluted wine—a little wine with a lot of water. Sometimes they even replace the Gospel—human pride!—with speculations, reasoning and knowledge of their own. Men replace God, or at least attempt to put something there of their own as a substitute. Now then, to understand them, read Scripture. (CISP 1367) It sometimes happens in various books and sermons that little stress is given the preponderant role of Christ in our sanctification. Devotion to our Lord is presented as just one of many means towards this end. Our devotion and incorporation in Christ is the beginning and end, the very substance itself of our supernatural life. Herein lies asceticism and mysticism. Practices are helps or consequences. Truly desiring to sanctify ourselves, we will avoid disputes and controversies about the different schools of spirituality and instead devote ourselves to living the life of Christ more and more completely. This is how the goal of sanctification is quickly reached. Don’t deform the piety of the faithful nor promote ideas that confuse spiritual progress.

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Christological doctrine as related to the spiritual life may be summed up thus in its fundamental ideas: live Christ as he defined himself: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (CISP 1379) The work of religion and civilization effected by missionaries is very much worthy of the enthusiasm and admiration of youth, the faithful and every reasonable person. Theirs is a conquest of the world by truth and love, giving Jesus Christ to men and men to Jesus Christ. (CISP 47) THE PRESENCE OF THE MOTHER OF GOD

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Founder of an apostolic family, Fr. Alberione was especially sensitive to the presence of the Mother of God in the realm of his apostolic labors and invited his Congregations to venerate her under the title of the “Queen of Apostles.” The principal houses of these Congregations in Rome are located around the shrine-church he erected and dedicated to the Queen of the Apostles. It is his filial homage to the patroness of his entire work. Every Marian title is simply the starting point for a deeper grasp of the whole reality of the Virgin Mary, in the mystery of Christ her Son. Fr. Alberione’s perception of the Virgin Mother begins with his profound consideration of her as the Queen of the Apostles, bearer of the whole Christ and therefore the unsurpassed example of “apostolate.” • There is nothing more valuable to be given to this poor, proud world than Jesus Christ. Mary gave the world grace in Jesus Christ and continues to make this offering for all time. She is the universal mediatrix of grace and in this role is our mother. The world has need of Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life. Mary gives Him by means of apostles and apostolates which she inspires, forms, assists and crowns with fruit and the glory of heaven. (AD 108) Every apostolate is an irradiation of Jesus Christ. It gives something, so to speak, of Jesus Christ: doctrine by the apostolate of preaching, grace by the apostolate of the sacraments, formation by the apostolate of the young, etc. Mary gives the whole Christ, Way, Truth and Life. God established her as an apostle, that is, an apostle with Christ and for Christ, just as she is the Co-redemptrix with Christ the Redeemer. (UPS IV 271) Publishers posses the word. They multiply it and distribute it clothed in paper, type and ink. On the human level, they have the mission that Mary had on the divine level. She was the Mother of the Divine Word. She contained the invisible God and made him visible and accessible to men by presenting him in human flesh. (CISP 599) Like a branch ever bearing its fruit and offering it to men, Mary always gives Jesus: suffering, glorious, Eucharistic, the Way, Truth and Life of men. She is the apostle of Jesus, not only in word, but in mind, will and heart. She always said what was necessary and essential: “Fiat.” Her actions were marked by constancy and perfection. Her entire will was committed; she lived by love.

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As to her intelligence, from the moment of the annunciation she knew what a Son was to be born of her. More than with ink, she wrote Jesus, that is, formed him of herself by the power of the Holy Spirit, with her blood. Giving Jesus, she gave us the holy Gospel in him. Giving Jesus, she presents every perfection in him. Giving Jesus, she gave us the redemption, the eucharist, the life. “Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope….” Mary is therefore the apostle, the queen of Apostles, the exemplar of every apostolate, the inspiration of every apostolic virtue. May the heavens sing to her! May the earth sing to her! And through her, with her and in her, may all praise rise to the Holy Trinity. (CISP 38)

Now we can understand what Queen of Apostles means. It was she who brought the physical Jesus into the world. It is she who forms and nourishes the mystical Christ, the Church. She is the true apostle, with Jesus Christ and in dependence on Jesus Christ. All the other apostles participate in the apostolate of Jesus and Mary. As planned from creation, Jesus is the great Architect. Mary was made great, chosen among all creatures, raised up to be the apostle. Let us carry out the threefold plan of Jesus Christ: the apostolate of truth, charity and grace. (Pr RA 168) • We do not yet know enough about Mary as the Queen of Apostles. This is so true that one time I heard this odd statement: in the image of the Queen of Apostles there is nothing referring to the apostolate.1 But isn’t Mary depicted giving Jesus? What else is the apostolate but the giving of Jesus? You do not distribute bread; you distribute truth and by this you give Jesus to the world. (Pr RA 178) For the apostolate to be fruitful, it is morally necessary that it be accompanied by devotion to Mary. Unhappy is he who with the passing of the years loses or allows a weakening of this devotion! (HM II 10 69) It is said that with costs so staggering today it seems imprudent to build (the shrine-church of the Queen of Apostles in Rome.) Many considerations could lead to that conclusion and yet, if we do not do this, we will not even pay for other things, not help our other works. To build a church dedicated to this Mother, who deserves a beautiful one, is a duty. It is to dig a well from which water will come for everyone and for everything. It is a need—a real need felt by all. (CISP 591) To avoid pain when teeth are pulled, what do we do? We take an injection. We have to inject a little of the spirit of Mary into our lives. Certain kinds of reasoning do not lift us two inches off the earth, whereas we must bring ourselves to the height of God, seeing things from his viewpoint. (IA 4 133)

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An allusion to the painting representing Mary, Queen of Apostles, depicted by the Roman artist, G. B. Conti at the suggestion of Fr. Alberione. In it, Mary appears at the center of the apostolic group in the act of presenting her Son Jesus Christ to the world. He is shown with the scroll of the Good News in his hand.

5. ST. PAUL TODAY In searching for the best guide to Christ’s full mystery for the salvation of mankind, Fr. Alberione discovered St. Paul. He became one of modern time’s most ardent disciples and imitators of the Apostle. Through his multi-form institutions and the media of social communication used as an apostolate, he strove to revive within the Church the figure of the Apostle of the Gentiles. What would St. Paul do today? How would he love Christ in today’s milieu? What would he do to announce the message to men of our time? Thus, St. Paul became the patron of two of his Congregations, a number of churches, hundreds of book centers and film agencies and many other apostolic works which he wanted to be nourished and sustained with the great openness and courage of the Pauline spirit. • The Pauline Family was raised up by St. Paul as a means of continuing his work. St. Paul is once more alive, but composed today of many members. We did not choose St. Paul; it was he who chose and called us. We must do what he would do if he were alive today. And if he were alive, what would he do? He would fulfill the two great commandments as he knew how to fulfill them: loving God with all his heart, all his strength, all his mind and loving his neighbor unsparingly because he lived Christ. “Christ lives in me.” He would use the greatest pulpits of modern progress: press, film, radio and television, to announce the thrilling discovery of the doctrine of love and salvation found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Paul made himself our “mold.” (Pr SP 291) Before the Institute was placed under the protection of St. Paul the Apostle, very much prayer was offered. A saint was needed who excelled in holiness and who at the same time would serve as an example for the apostolate. In himself, St. Paul had integrated holiness and apostolate. He truly loved Jesus Christ: “What will separate me from the charity of Christ? Nothing. Neither life nor death.” After having served Christ in life, he intrepidly faced the martyrdom of being beheaded. “Neither life nor death will separate me from Christ!” Before rendering his ultimate witness to the Master, he gave his whole life to the apostolate. We often all attention to the activity of St. Paul, but first we should call attention to his piety. (Pr SP 302) To St. Paul goes our most heartfelt gratitude as the true Founder of the Institute. Indeed he is its father, teacher, exemplar and protector. He created this family by intervening in such a physical and spiritual way, that not even now, in retrospect, can we fully understand it, much less explain it. Everything is his. It belongs to him who was the most compete interpreter of the Divine Master. It was he who applied the Gospel to nations and called nations to

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Christ. His presence in theology, moral teaching, church organization and the adapting of the apostolate and its means to the times is still vivid and substantial and will remain as such until the end of time. He moved, illumined and nurtured everything. He was the guide, the bursar, the defender, the sustainer—wherever the Pauline Family was established. He merited the first church and its great sculpture (the “Glory of St. Paul” as the motherhouse) which shows him carrying on his apostolate and represents his paternity toward Paulines. (CISP 147) Everyone who has developed a taste for reading St. Paul has become a sturdy soul. (SP 414) St. Paul is the disciple who knows the Divine Master in all His fullness. He lives Him completely. He searches the profound mysteries of His doctrine, heart, holiness, humanity and divinity. He sees Him as the supreme Teacher, the Host, and the Priest. He presents the total Christ as He had already defined Himself: the Way, truth and Life. (AD 96) If St. Paul were alive, he would still burn with that double flame of the same fire: zeal for God and His Christ and zeal for men of every land. And in order to be heard, he would mount the most commanding pulpits and multiply his words with the current means of progress: press, film, radio, television. His doctrine would not be cold and abstract. Whenever he reached a given place he did not just give an occasional conference. He stayed and he formed. He obtained intellectual consent, persuaded, converted, united in Christ, started others on the road to a fuller Christian life. He did not leave until there was the moral certainty that his flock would persevere. Presbyters would be left behind to continue his work, but he communicated often by word and writing. He wanted to hear news of them, was with them in spirit and prayed for them. (CISP 1152) The Letter of St. Paul to the Romans is the first and principal example of the apostolate of the editions, the example on which every Pauline book should be modeled. For this reason, when the church dedicated to St. Paul was built at the motherhouse, it was decided to depict the Apostle dictating his grandiose Letter to the Romans. In its totality, the sculpture ideally represents the spirit and purpose of our apostolate: to bring the Gospel to all peoples of every time and place. (Pr A 135) His style of writing is highly personal, the mirror of a soul truly made to lead: ardent, fiery, sure of truth, affectionate as a mother, strong as a father. (CISP 614) Why is St. Paul so great? How did he do so many wonderful things? How is it that year after year his doctrine, apostolate and mission in the Church of Jesus Christ become better and better known, admired and celebrated? He is one of those saints who day by day are rejuvenated, stand out, and conquer hearts. Why? The answer lies in his interior life. The secret is here. Inflated balloons empty themselves and vanish in a day. But where there is richness, where there is true doctrine, true merit, genuine interior life, seeds are germinated. The plant remains hidden fro a while because everything is closed within the embryo beneath the soil. Once the embryo develops, however, the seed begins to show itself as a small plant, then as a sapling, finally as a great and magnificent tree. Now then, the Apostle Paul was a man of great interior life. (Pr SP 259)

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The whole secret of St. Paul’s greatness is his interior life. It can be said that he conquered from within: from his great spirit of poverty, study, profound knowledge, love of Jesus Christ, spirit of mortification. We ask St. Paul in vain for the grace to become heroes before men. Our first need is to ask him to obtain the graces that will make us dear to God and only then the graces to become apostles in the midst of the world. Children must resemble their father. Every friend of St. Paul must look to him and learn his spirit. The more we read and are penetrated by the life and Letters of St. Paul, the more we will love them and set out on the true path of sanctity and the true spirit of the apostolate. (Pr SP 260-261) “You are a unique Congregation,” someone observed to me last week, “silent yet always in motion.” St. Paul was like this. Our organization, our schedule, our activity, our undertakings must be just as St. Paul would have them now if he were alive today. Yesterday, returning from Bari, we saw the places where St. Paul stopped on his way to Rome as a prisoner… the forum along the road beyond Cisterna called the “Ribbon,” and a little way ahead, the Tre Taverne”— two stops where he met Christians who had come from Rome in search of him. But if St. Paul were making the journey today, he would not have traveled this way. He would have boarded a plane and arrived as quickly as possible to have more time for preaching and other work. (Pr A 34) Imitate the virtues of St. Paul better. He was a true man of God, a man who in an exceptional way was overwhelmed by grace, a man who in a particular way was entrusted with the things of God, a man obligated in a special way to God, a man who could declare: “His grace has not been vain in me.” Singer of God’s praises, herald of God’s grace. Promoter of God’s worship, champion of God’s law, set apart by God, prisoner of Christ, living in Christ—this is St. Paul. (CISP 602) The saint is not a worn-out man, a half conscious individual who doesn’t know how to take his part in life. For St. Paul, sanctity is the full maturity of man, the perfect man. The saint does not wrap himself up in himself; he opens himself up to development. He does not stay still; rather, his motto is growth and progress. Holiness is life, movement, nobility, dynamic enthusiasm—not the kind that falls off but the good kind that keeps rising upward! But holiness will be only and always in proportion to the spirit of faith and to will power. God is with us! We cooperate with Him. (SM 26-27) “We strive and strain forward!” Always be mindful of what is lacking. There isn’t time to congratulate ourselves on the past, to talk about the things that have been done, or the results achieved in this or that diocese, in this or that exhibit, in this or that Gospel, catechetical or Marian display, etc. There isn’t time! If we want to be wise men and apostles formed after the heart of St. Paul, there will only be time to recall what is still lacking. (Pr A 130) I have told you that St. Paul wrote fourteen Letters. In twelve of them he reproves chatterboxes, because those who talk too much disrupt peace. Does this mean that we shouldn’t speak? Speak, but speak well, at the right time, as duty demands.

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You can make yourself holy, very holy, with good will, the absence of agitation and active loving silence. (IA 4 110) There will be those who approve our apostolate and those who will not. But you yourselves know that it is pleasing to God and useful to the Church. Know that this is what God has called us to. God ahead, therefore, with courage, remembering that “those who have worked and instructed others will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Keep before you, also, the example of St. Paul working so hard and suffering so much in the exercise of his apostolate. In the face of everything, he remained tireless, up to the time when he declared: “I have finished my course.” You, too, if you have exercised you’re apostolate with faith and zeal, will be able to say at the end of your life: “I have accomplished the noble apostolate assigned to me and now I await the reward.” (HM II 10 83) Vigilance and attention must be employed that the apostolate maintains the pastoral level found in the Letters of St. Paul. The Love of Jesus Christ and of souls will allow us to distinguish and clearly separate what is apostolate and what is industry and business. The maximum criteria for judging is always the spirit, notwithstanding its four aspects: the moral and intellectual aspects, apostolate and poverty. Great is the program drawn from the tabernacle: “From here I want to enlighten. Do not be afraid. I am with you. Be sorry for your sins.” The Congregation has reached a third of its manifestation. (CISP 59) In the international book centers, let us be guided by this thought: what would St. Paul say to the world if he came today? In particular, what would he say to the country in which this book center is found? He would procure the best books available in the country and from around the world and offer them first to the clergy and then to the people. All assigned to the book centers should make the effort to be holy, preaching by good example, praying daily in the Hours of Adoration, Communions, Masses and rosaries to attract every social class to the truth and to spread it among them. Their devotion to St. Paul should be fervent. And each evening they should examine their consciences on this special point: how do I carry out my assignment in the book center? (CISP 128)

6 THE WORD OF GOD In the spiritual life and in the apostolate, Father Alberione always bases himself on the Bible. Biblical instruction, meditations inspired by the sacred texts, the Gospel and Letters of St. Paul, were the basis of the formation given by him to his religious family. The Book of God displayed in every place of prayer, life and work, the publication of countless editions of the Gospel and Bible, the institution of the fast of the Gospel and that of Bible Week, the house-to house propagation of the Word by the Daughters of St. Paul, whom he loved to refer to as the “postmistresses of God,” the Visit before the Blessed Sacrament based on biblical reading—all of this recalls the fact that the font of Pauline spiritual thought and apostolic action was and continues to be the Word of God.

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Believing souls know that every word and action of the Master contains a special grace which facilitates the practice of virtue in readers and hearers. They adore the Word of God hidden beneath its outer appearance and they pray to be enlightened, to be able to understand, savor and practice its teachings. This reading is like a meditation and a devout conversation with Jesus. And souls go away from this colloquy more resolved to follow Him whom they admire and love. (CISP 1155) The Bible is God’s letter to mankind. It is the first and principal book to be read, especially the New Testament, in order to grasp the thought of God Truly devoted souls find their delight in the holy Gospels because it is here that the teachings and examples of our Lord Jesus Christ are found. No better form exists for satisfying our piety. No way is more effective in leading us to the imitation of the Divine master. (CISP 1155) This is my wish for you: nourish yourselves on pure bread, the best bread (the Bible) (Pr B 239) Those who read the Scriptures increase their faith. Those who prayerfully and frequently take this book into their hands and make of it their daily bread gradually become supernatural in their reasoning, supernatural in their judgment and aspirations. They become the kind of people described by the Holy Spirit: “the just man lives by faith.” (OA 11-13-1932) Love of the Gospel is the sign and characteristic of individuals whom God singles out for great undertakings. (ICA 2-12-1933) It is said that the Gospel is difficult. No, it isn’t so. For the Lord made it precisely for our heads, the way He made bread for our stomachs. When you are sad, open the Scriptures and you will find the passage that will console you. Do the same in times of doubt and fear. During every uncertainty or anxiety, the saints went to this fount. God will guide and direct you – how many times have we been witnesses to this! (ICA 2-26-1933) The Bible should be read with simplicity. When your father writes you a letter, you do not study it for grammar and syntax. You simply read what he wants to tell you, the news he wants to give you. You look for the meaning of his expressions. If one were to receive a letter from his father and set it aside without reading, he would be blameworthy. Let us not go before the tribunal of God without heaving read all of the heavenly Father’s letters, because he will say to us: you had neither respect nor love enough for that which I wrote to you! (EA 2-22-1961) And if we have not read the Bible, we deserve to be reproached at the judgment of God. “You have not read my word. You did not want to know my will. You did not read the letters I wrote to mankind.” (Pr CB 281) What a mistake it is to abandon the reading of the Bible, especially the Gospel, in order to give preference to other books! What an impression it makes to go into a religious house, ask for a Gospel and be told there isn’t one around! And yet, there in the chapel pews are a great number of books, selected more or less wisely —everything from sentimental outpourings to private revelations not yet approved by the Church. (Pr CB 283)

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This continuing de-Christianization of life, art, thought, etc., is due to the lack of liturgical-biblical oxygen in which we’ve allowed the people to live for centuries. The centuries-old phenomenon of separating the Liturgy from the Bible sadly resulted in great numbers of people who had no understanding of the Mass, the sacraments, liturgical celebrations…. Preaching that was not related to the Bible was not heeded as the Word of God, but rather as human reasoning. (CISP 685) The Bible does not only teach us how to live well as individuals; nor does it only teach us about domestic virtues, or only about what refers to religion. It also teaches us about all that can be grouped under the heading of social virtues. The Bible teaches love among nations, love among the various social classes; duties of owners toward employees and the duties of employees toward employers. It teaches justice and honesty in commerce and business, love for work, various forms of apostolate for the young, the elderly, and the sick. It teaches the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. (OA 1-22-1933) Would we ever have understood the meaning of humility, gentleness, patience, the bearing of wrongs, virginity, and fraternal charity spurred to the point of selfimmolation if we had never read and meditated on the examples and lessons of our Lord? Pagan philosophers, particularly the Stoics, wrote some beautiful pages about some of these qualities. But what a difference between their literary exercises and the persuasive, powerful accents of the Divine Master! (SM 62-63) It is clear that a spirituality based on the Bible will give us a complete, full prayer life, pleasing to God. (Pr VI 38) What can you give, therefore? Give God! Give His Word! How powerful you are when you cite a phrase from the Gospel! The Word of God is the maximum authority. Who can oppose God? We read in the psalms: “By reason of your Word I am wiser and stronger than your enemies! Wiser than the elders who have studied and gained experience.” Therefore, when you bring the Word of God to others, and when your word is accompanied and affirmed by a scriptural phrase, who could oppose it? (Pr A 188) Since we have to communicate divine doctrine,, we must on one hand be very well enlightened and on the other be able to convey the wisdom of God. We quote this author and that…. Quote God! Say: This is what God taught us! This is how Jesus Christ preached! At times we want to display what we know….Let us display what God knows and what God taught, because He came to teach humanity. The truth which has to be followed is the truth which He revealed in His sermons and teaching. (Pr B268) The writer-apostle must conform to the Bible as the model book. God created man and knows very well how his heart is made. Therefore His word corresponds to the deepest needs of the human heart, much in the same way that a mother making clothes for her child prepares them according to size. (UPS III 10) The Bible is the book that we have to give, whether it is through film or print, through radio or records, through filmstrips or other forms. We present it through all the means that the Lord furnishes, just as we clothe and nourish ourselves with what He created.

It is prohibited for you to carry the Eucharist while traveling. But you can always carry the Sacred Scriptures. This is like being accompanied by Viaticum. It is the companion you must have beside you always. (Pr CB 277) • These are the promises that the apostle of the editions should make, especially those who do the editorial work: --I promise to honor the Gospel with the veneration that is its due; --to give the Gospel as the Truth, the Way, and the Life of my apostolate; --to consider the Gospel as the Truth, the Way, and the Life of my apostolate; --to read and meditate on the Gospel in keeping with the spirit of the Church; --to spread it and work to multiply copies of it in tireless love; --to conform my entire life to the Gospel; I want it near me in death and upon my breast in my coffin. (RS 87-88)