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Synthesis of the papers of the Seminar
on the Spirituality of the Pauline Family (1984)

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

by Antonio F. da Silva ssp



The very positive result of the biblical-theological verification of the Christological heritage of Fr. Alberione has caused a truly favorable turn in the opinion of many participants of the Seminar and has spontaneously led the group to unanimously conclude the activties with the following declaration on the "Punti fermi della spiritualitą della Famiglia Paolina," voted upon in the assembly:

We put the premise that this synthesis of conclusions/results of our "encounter" cannot gather all the contributions had and much less all their nuances. Nonetheless, it intends to gather the essential elements, or basic points, of our spirituality that came out of it.

In putting into focus our spirituality, we have noticed a clear overcoming of conceptualism in the discovery of the biblical meaning of the expressions "Way, Truth, Life" and of "Master/Shepherd."

The ecclesial derivation (Tametsi futura) was also underlined as well as the kinship of our spirituality with others, which converge in the experience of the totality of Christ lived by the whole Church.

The trinomial Way, Truth and Life plus the title "Master/Shepherd" are both content and method given us by the Spirit as charism through Fr. Alberione.

We can enumerate and briefly illustrate the various points that surfaced: 1. Biblical element; 2. Charismatic element; 3. Anthropological element.

It was unanimously reaffirmed by all the participants that our spirituality is founded/centered on Jn 14:6 read by Fr. Alberione: "At the center is Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life."

1. Biblical element

Our spirituality is biblical: that is, it is founded on the Person of Christ who defined and revealed himself: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6), the "Master" (Jn 13:13), "the only one" (Mt 23:8) and "Shepherd" (Jn 10:11).

Meanwhile it transcends categories of culture, of philosophy, etc., and, overcoming the limits of space and time, it becomes perennial and inexhaustible.

Deepening the biblical aspect, the trinomial "Way, Truth and Life" is personified in Christ who, as such, that is "anointed" or "messiah", is Prophet, King, Priest; he is the Revealer, Mediator and Savior.

Reading it in the Pauline perspective – as Fr. Alberione points it to us – Jn 14:6 is enriched by the experiential perspective of dying and rising with Christ in Gal 2:17-21 and of the cosmic-eschatological perspective of Eph 1:10 (cf. Col 1:19f), and, in general, by the apostolic perspective.

Always starting from the biblical aspect, the trinomial Way, Truth and Life is trinitarian: Christ is the only one (none other) through whom (Way-descending aspect), by the work of the Spirit, the Father reaches man in a total fidelity (Truth) till death on the cross, in order to communicate to him the same Life; he is the only one inasmuch as he is the Way (ascending aspect) through whom the total man (mind/will/heart) and all men have "access" to the whole God, Trinity, source and peak of everything.

2. Charismatic element

Christ, in so far as "Way, Truth and Life," is the unifying element of the Pauline Family which, only in remaining undivided, gives the whole Christ to the world.

"Way, Truth and Life" indicates, for the Pauline Family, a distinction of ministries/apostolates. Diversity, but unity of Spirit.

In this vision, discipleship qualifies the life and characterizes the work of all the institutions of the Pauline Family, as an exercise of "magisterium: and of "pastoral". Only when it is disciple that the Pauline Family can be "teacher" and "shepherd" in turn.

The charism includes the synthesis of the two fundamental aspects: the "discipleship" or "apostolate" (contemplation/action, ora et labora).

"Disciple" means to have a living, personal, communitarian and ecclesial experience of Christ, through a liturgical-eucharistic "living-together," which, starting with the annual Spiritual Exercises is daily expressed in the eucharistic visit, in meditation, in "lectio divina" of the Word, in the examination of conscience, in consecrated life, according to the method "Way, Truth, Life", that is within the dynamics of: 1) listening, 2) confrontation, 3) prayerful dialogue. It is only when one is "disciple" that he can become "apostle".

"Apostle" for Fr. Alberione is one who puts on Christ Way, Truth and Life in his passion ("parresia," zeal) of Paul - and of Peter - for the Person of Christ in its meaning of responsibility before the Gospel and before all the Churches and of all men.

Mary (active contemplation) and Paul (contemplative action) introduce us to the total mystery of Christ, the Holy One of God, in whom there is perfect equilibrium between love for the Father and love for mankind.

3. Anthropological element

We start by observing the non-equivalence of the anthropology of John, nor of Paul, with that of Fr. Alberione which is derived from neo-Thomism (knowledge/will), completed with the contribution of philosophy of life and of the psychology of the time (sentiment).

Nonetheless, the meaning of the aforementioned anthropology is man taken in the globality of his dimensions (knowing, willing, living) for a total/personal relations of the whole man with the whole Christ.

The anthropological aspect is completed by the social aspect: all men in relation with the whole God (Trinity) through Christ Way, Truth and Life. Other anthropological-cultural mediations remain open. (return to summary)


Conclusive considerations

This very fast summary of the papers does not exhaust the presentation of everything "that has been achieved" during the Seminar of 1984 on the Christocentric heritage of Fr. Alberione founded on Jn 14:6. The book L’ereditą cristocentrica di Don Alberione, published in the manner of Acts of that international meeting, constitutes a document which becomes a significant part in the itinerary of our theme and, as such, it remains open to the possibility of multiple evaluation, not necessary reduced to a single point of view. (return to summary)


           Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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