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JESUS MASTER IN OUR APOSTOLATE
ACCORDING TO FR. ALBERIONE

Acts of the International Seminar
on "Jesus, the Master"
(Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996)

by Teófilo Pérez ssp

 

Notes

52 SP March 1936; cf. CISP 59. The Chapter Documents of 1969-1971 (no. 409) summarize this fundamental attitude thus: "Our Community, born as intention of love (cf. AD 15) thus brings charity to reality: prayer, studies, religious consecration, the various manifestations of our life had their end and assume a face from our apostolic vocation, destined to a great service to men, our brothers." And this "intention of love," for Fr. Alberione, is not limited to an intimistic or almost romantic attitude, but has very concrete applications even in the area of organization: "A manifestation of charity [is] the connection among countries of the same language. ... This within the possible limits, but the principle must be followed; the apostolate and the members will find advantage in it’" (UPS III, 34). (come back to text)

53 This nearness to the mission of Jesus ought to be a strong stimulus: "The Pauline should be filled with holy pride in belonging to the Congregation wanted by God and according to the needs of the times, confirmed by the Church with her authority and divine assistance... Does it not have for its apostolate the teaching of Christ through modern means, ‘ut innotescat per Ecclesiam multiformis sapientia Dei’? And to reveal to all the whole Christ, Way, Truth and Life? Does she not teach the broadest and most secure way of lofty sanctification? ... Does it not have a very broad mission, to the whole world? ... This Congregation, as St. Paul did, does it not have to proclaim the ‘magnum pietatis sacramentum, quod manifestum est in carne, justificatum est in spiritu, apparuit Angelis, pradictum est gentibus, creditum est in mundo, assumptum est in gloria’ (1 Tim 3:16)? And these things, meditate on them well, shall they not fill the heart of a Pauline with holy enthusiasm? Certainly, there were and there are evils among us... but the good, the good things, the fruits prevail much more" (CISP 1050f). (come back to text)

54 Esercizi alle Suore, 1964. The figure of Christ is in some way brought near by Paul the Apostle who "tells the Paulines: Know, love, follow the Divine Master Jesus: ‘Imitatores mei estote sicut et ego Christi.’ This invitation is general, for all the faithful and his devotees. For us there is something more inasmuch as we are his children. Children have life from their father; hence live in him, for him, and with him, in order to live Jesus Christ. His words to his children of Thessalonica are appropriate for us. He remembers that for them, he made himself a mold: ‘Ut nosmetipsos formam daremus vobis.’ Jesus Christ is the perfect original: Paul was made and made himself a mold for us. Thus in him we are molded in order to reproduce Jesus Christ. St. Paul-mold is not so by physical reproduction as if he had physical similarities, but he is so in order to communicate to us the maximum of his personality: mentality, virtues, zeal, piety... everything. May the Pauline Family, composed of many members, be the living Paul in a corporate body" (SP October 1954; cf. CISP 1152). (come back to text)

55 Repeatedly Fr. Alberione affirmed his conviction that "the fundamental problem is the seminary" (SP December 1958; cf. UPS I, 21): "the greatest problem of the Church are vocations (UPS I, 342), and he made five-year plans "to double" the number of professed members of the Society of St. Paul by assigning to every house, pro rate parte, the index of growth of vocations (ibid., 86-87). (come back to text)

56 "Wandering with the mind into the future, it seemed to him that in the new century generous souls would have felt what he felt and that, associated in organization, they would bring to reality what Toniolo repeated said, ‘Unite!’" (AD 17). (come back to text)

57 SP April 1957; cf. CISP 159. (come back to text)

58 SP April 1957; cf. CISP 157-158. (come back to text)

59 Cf. L. Rolfo, op. cit., 209. Nonetheless there were some moments when Fr. Alberione seriously thought of "resigning" and to leave his work in other persons’ hands. At the start of 1923 "it seemed that his body could no longer bear the hard regimen that imposed itself. His legs could hardly support him. He often felt pain in his throat, his stomach rejected most food" (ibid., 184). It was precisely then, in coincidence with the death of his mother Teresa, that he was pulled down by a strong crisis of tuberculosis and had to withdraw from the House for some months: "It seems certain that at that time, Fr. Alberione was deeply convinced that he would die soon [the doctors were giving him at most 18 months to live], or at least that he would no longer be able to go back to his ordinary occupations. Hence, he had designated Canon Chiesa as the perpetuator of his work" (ibid., 186; cf. T. Giaccardo, Diario, Pagine scelte, 1996, 262: 29 March 1919). Some years later, in 1926, when the process for the diocesan approval of the Society of St. Paul was being undertaken, Fr. Alberione had a statement of "abdication", and wrote Msgr. Re, bishop of Alba: "In the eventuality that Your Excellency should approve the Regole for the constitution of the Society, I propose: to withdraw from the office of Superior and that Your Excellency and Your Associates (and it is a proposal I make only once) elect Theo. Giaccardo as Superior. I ask to join the Pious Society of St. Paul and to stay there in some assignment, just like another person: if only this grace were granted me" (ibid., 208). The proposal did not have any effect and the "retirement" did not take place. Also a "project" of a General Chapter at the end of 1935 did not take place. It was a Chapter that foresaw "the nomination of a Superior General and a Council with regular functions" (ibid., 347; cf. CISP 52). This time it was the Sacred Congregation of Religious itself, in the person of the Secretary, Msgr. Pasetto, to discourage the "project": "Work. Do not lose time in general chapters; do not spend money in trips to hold chapters; now work and be consolidated" (G. Barbero, Giacomo Alberione, op. cit., 531). (come back to text)

60 SP April 1957; cf. CISP 157f. (come back to text)

61 Cf. CISP 174. (come back to text)

62 Regarding the aspect of suffering, see what is referred above (footnote 4). I add only a testimony of Fr. Domenico Valente reported by him during a conference to the Juniors of Rome in October, 1981: "On December 30 last year, I sought to have this declaration by the personal doctor of Fr. Alberione. Doctor Bussetti states: ‘I have been near Fr. Alberione as a doctor for ten years, the last ten years of his life. During the last two or three years I was near him almost every day. His docility in letting himself be cared for was unique. He never refused a therapy, even the painful ones. But what amazed us doctors was his spinal column already reduced to Z (zed). This deformation of the spinal column caused atrocious pains... He, however, never complained about such pains. Only once did he confide to me: How many nights have I passed with my back leaning on the wall as I prayed the rosary! When we tried to find a cure for these pains, he resisted, because, he said, My aches began with the start of the work and they keep me company. His suffering was a continuous offering to God for his Institute. Being near him as a confidant, he spiritually suffered for the sins committed by his own people and offered his pains in reparation for the sins.’ We can say that all the big things he did, Fr. Alberione brought them to maturity through pain. When we speak of pain, I do not mean physical pain alone. There were, just as all of us have, pains we call psychological, moral pains..." (come back to text)

63 SP December 1971; cf. G. Barbero, op. cit., 903-904. (come back to text)

64 The book, re-elaborated and updated (first used for the "Scuola di apostolato": cf. G. Barbero, op. cit., 457), would have other editions in the years 1944, 1950 and 1955, with the title L’apostolato dell’edizione [some "Apostolato delle edizioni"]. Manuale direttivo di formazione e di apostolato. The content (in the edition of 1944) is distributed into two parts: I. L’apostolato (6 chapters); L’apostolo (13 chapters). II. L’apostolato della stampa (38 chapters); L’apostolato del cinematografo (4 chapters); L’apostolato della radio (1 chapter); in the 1950 and 1955 edition, a chapter on L’apostolato della televisione (cf. A. Damino, Bibliografia di Don G. Alberione, 19943, 49-50) would be added.

Here are the titles and subtitles of the 29 chapters of the first edition (1933): 1. What is the A(postolate) of the P(ress)? It is proclamation, of the divine Word, through printing. 2. Object of the AP: is threefold: dogma, morals, worship. 3. Origin of the AP: the AP comes from God, adopted by the Church, universally practiced. 4. The character of the AP: it is pastoral in character, in thought, in form. 5. Preparation for the AP: is threefold: mind, will, heart. 6. The minister of the AP: ordinary minister of the AP is the priest, who in various offices, administers sacred science for the salvation of souls. 7. Three demands of the AP: to feel with Christ, feel with the Church, feel with St. Paul for souls. 8. Catholics in the AP: in the AP Catholics have an important role: to write, to print, to spread. 9. Material work in the AP: it is a wise human activity, utilized for the A, with every greater means. 10. Mary Queen of history: presided over the creative idea of God, presides over its development, shall preside at its consummation. 11. Holy Mass in honor of Jesus Master: three parts: Jesus Truth (from the start to the offertory, excluded), Jesus Way (from the offertory to Pater, excluded), Jesus Life (from the Pater to the end of the Mass). 12. The Visit of the Apostle of the Press: to make the Visit means: to go to the school of Jesus, to copy Jesus, reconfirm communion. 13. The Communion of the Apostle of the Press: union of mind, of will, of heart. 14. Order of the AP: the doctrine of the Church, Sacred Scriptures, Tradition. 15. The illustrations: what are they, their importance, practice. 16. The parish bulletin: what it is, importance, practice. 17. The parish library: what it is, importance, practice. 18. How to give the doctrine of the Church to beginners: what it is, method, practical norms. 19. How to give the doctrine of the Church to proficients: what it is, general principles, particular norms. 20. How to give the Doctrine of the Church to the perfect (or learned): what it is, general methodology, special methodology. 21. "Omnia vestra sunt": let us subject ourselves to Jesus, just as Jesus was subject to the Father, with all our being. 22. Editorial in the AP: what it is, how important, how it should be done. 23. Diffusion: what it is, importance, means of distribution. 24. Cult of the Sacred Scriptures: to the Gospel and in general the Sacred Scriptures has to be rendered a relative cult of latria: with the mind, with the will, with the heart. 25. The religious in the AP: area, effectiveness, hopes. 26. The sins of the press: they are offenses to Jesus Master, which easily are multiplied, we need to avert them and make reparation. 27. Feast of the Divine Master: preparation, guide, conclusion. 28. The Holy Bible and the AP: the Bible for the AP is the truth, the way, the life. 29. Propaganda on the Apostolate of the Press: propaganda in periodicals, commonly called also advertisements, has three scopes: intellectual, moral, economic. Conclusion: application: in the editorial, in the printing, in diffusion. (come back to text)

65 For example, as the preceding note shows, chapter VIII (pp. 34ff) is dedicated to "Catholics in the Apostolate of the Press", wherein they have an important part: to write - to print - to spread. And in chapters XVI and XVII (pp. 72ff), topics on the "Parish bulletins" and of "Parish libraries," as important means of pastoral, are tackled. (come back to text)

66 Notice that we are in the context of the famous dream/revelation (cf. ibid., nos. 151-158), when Fr. Alberione re-examined "his whole conduct" in order to see if he was proceeding according to the designs of God. (come back to text)

67 "Our Congregation is born for the spread of truth and how useful it is to live in an ever elevated manner and especially for eternal salvation" (UPS III, 131). "The Pious Society of St. Paul is born for the Apostolate of the Press. It intends to make known and spread the doctrine of the Church with the press, the way oral preaching does. In this apostolate what matters is not only the diffusion of books and periodicals, not only the technical or typographical work, but above all what matters is editorial, writing... In this work what is given to souls what, in the very first place, an Apostle of the press must give: dogma, morals, worship. The Apostolate of the Press is the continuation of the work of the Hagiographers, of the most holy Fathers, of Doctors" (SP no. 16, 30 June 1933); cf. CISP 39-40). "There are diocesan [priests] and religious who perform direct pastoral service. Then there are many priests from both clerical sectors employed in different offices more for the good of the whole Church and of all souls... These perform an indirect pastoral service, but more necessary, more lofty, more broad. Here the apostolate of the editions enters more directly, complementary, necessary, broad, tiresome" (UPS I, 427). The Chapter Documents of 1969-1971 (no. 71) underline this same point of departure by presenting it as the horizon for all Paulines: "Placed, through the profession of the evangelical counsels, in the front lines of the apostolic commitment of the Church, we have received a message of salvation to propose to all men (cf. GS 1) and we are committed to bring the proclamation of the Gospel (cf. AG 1) and the gift of the goods of grace to all those who are called to become the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. LG 17). Evangelization is therefore the principal end towards which our apostolic vocation tends, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit calls all men to Christ through the seed of the word and the proclamation of the Gospel (cf. AG 15)." (come back to text)

68 "Our apostolate is on the same lines as Christ’s preaching: ‘It is the continuation of the Divine Master’s apostolate’ [AS 31]" (Chap. Doc., no. 134): "Attributing the category of preaching to our apostolic activity, we not only define our space in the apostolate of the Church, but we also configure our mission as communication... wherein man meets God through the mediation of the human word; that is, insofar as through it is manifested, proclaimed and communicated to men God’s salvific plan. This communication, in turn, not only proclaims salvation but confers it, being ‘the power of God for the salvation of every believer’ [Rom 1:16]" (ibid., no. 137). (come back to text)

69 Today the term preaching, aside from its exact technical meaning, can bring to mind a certain old manner of doing, something rhetoric and artificial (cf. Chap. Doc. no. 71, note 2). The term evangelization comes from the ward "evangelium" which in the Old Testament means the joyous message (the news that brings joy) and the recompense given to the messenger-bearer of such good news. To evangelize is equivalent then to announcing matters of salvation; it is a concept from Deutero-Isaiah (52:7: "How beautiful in the mountains are the feet of the messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who tells Sion, ‘Your God reigns!’)". The New Testament does not use the abstract term evangelization, but the verb to evangelize (57 times; 28 in St. Paul, 15 in the Acts, 10 in Lk) and the substantive evangelium (76 times: 60 in Paul, the rest in the Synoptics, none in John). Gospel is the good news of God or of Jesus Christ. According to Mark, the gospel is the story of Jesus through his actions; John substitutes the term gospel with those of testimony or sending. The use of the term evangelization was firmly established in usage towards 1900, by the work of the Protestant theologian R. Speer, and has been used by Catholics (also before Vatican II) in order to benefit ecumenism and to keep afar colonialist connotations which the word mission had assumed. After the publication of the apostolic exhortation of Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi (12 Dec. 1975) the term evangelization almost entirely substituted for some years that of mission. This last, however, in its turn, was "renewed" or taken up again in its strong meaning: mission is derived from Latin "mittere", (which translates the Greek "apostello," to send) and includes in its meaning both the act of sending, and the content of such sending, that is the relationship between him who sends and the person sent (cf. C. Floristán, Evangelización, in Conceptos..., 461f). With the same weight the term mission is used in the document "Apropos Priority III" no. 1.1, Rome 1992. (come back to text)

70 "With the name of your apostolate we understand a true mission which can be defined as preaching with technical means of the divine word through publication. To oppose the arms of error with the arms of truth. Publication is a conquest of progress; it is the use of modern means that are gifts of God, destined for His glory and for the salvation of souls (Pius XI). It is the proclamation of the good news, of the truth; hence, true evangelization" (UPS III, 124: cf. ibid., the whole of Instruction VI, 123-134). (come back to text)

71 He returns to these reasons in chapter III: "Origin of the Apostolate of the Press" (pp. 10-14), passing in review through biblical texts, the magisterium of the Church, the use made by the Apologists, the holy Fathers, the Doctors, the Saints, the Clergy, the religious... to conclude: "The Apostolate of the Press comes therefore from God, the Church adopted it, it is universally used." Fr. Alberione saw this key idea of his with the solemn approval of the apostolate with the means of social communication in the decree Inter mirifica of Vatican II which he welcomed with so much joy: "The feast of the Divine Master in 1964 [then it was celebrated in January: this writer’s note] assumes a special solemnity. In fact our apostolate is approved, praised, established as a duty for the whole Church. ... In very many pontifical documents, it has been spoken about, occasionally or expressly. Now it has been discussed, cleared, defined by the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, representing the whole Church, with the Pope present, which ‘approved, decreed, established.’ The Pauline activity declared apostolate, beside the oral preaching, declared highly esteemed before the Church and the world" (SP December 1963; cf. CISP 323-326). (come back to text)

 

           Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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