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A historical-charismatic survey

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

by Eliseo Sgarbossa ssp



At the end of our "survey" we can synthesize some results of the exploration with the following observations:

1. In the Alberione journey, a process of growth is evident either on the level of doctrine or of life;

2. Such growth took place in parallel, on two tracks: magisterial and Johannine, but with different rhythms, times and motivations:

3. In the youthful years of Fr. Alberione and of the Pauline Family, all the seeds of doctrine and of spirituality are present. These we find fully developed in the following years either on the level of principles or of apostolic works. One could document a linear development, neither chaotic nor disorganized, of the principal Christological-apostolic themes bound to the figure of Jesus Master, as well as of Mary Queen of Apostles and of St. Paul. The effective factors of development were:

4. The devotion to Jesus Master was, in its turn, chronologically preceded by the devotions to St. Paul and to Mary Immaculate-Queen of the Apostles. Although primary in importance, it was completed and enriched by them in its concrete and apostolic expressions.

An interesting proof on the matter is the thematic development of the "prayers" to Jesus Master, chronologically anticipated and prepared by those to St. Paul and to Mary Queen of Apostles, as one could document it by the successive publication of the Pauline manual.

Such prayers, in their shortness and doctrinal density, express the essential themes of the Alberione vision of the Master. For this reason, we wanted included in this paper a collection of the more significant but often less considered prayers.

5. Throughout the entire discourse on the Divine Master brought ahead by Fr. Alberione in the course of his life, one could perceive a continuity of inspiration which corresponds well to the awareness of the Founder himself: "The hand of God was on me from 1900 to 1960" (UPS I, 374). This affirmation, taken from Ezekiel (1:3), leads to the same experience by Isaiah: "The Spirit of God is over me..." taken for himself by Jesus in the Synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Is 61:1-2 and Lk 4:16).

Fr. Alberione felt he was guided by the Spirit like Jesus and the Prophets all along his entire life: this appears with special clarity in his references to the charismatic inheritance received from God and transmitted to the Pauline Family, above all regarding the devotion to the Divine Master (cf. CISP 539).

6. Comparing our actual situation with that of the start of the 1900s, we notice that the cultural and apostolic need of "opposing teaching chair against teaching chair" is being reproposed: not in the polemical and apologetic sense of frontal opposition but in the sense of a clear evangelical proposal.

7. One of the areas of clashes in the current ideological debate is that of the School, with its complementary or alternative expressions: communication and entertainment. The cultural and religious situation of the people, above all of the young, points out to the fundamental importance of education, either institutional (scholastic structures of all levels and classification), or that of the masses (TV, artistic and sports celebrations, etc.).

What specific cure could be offered to these schools, often polluted and desecrating because of their bad teachers, if not that of Christ Master Way Truth and Life expressed in new forms? To respond with specific remedies to the ills of the current culture by offering appropriate replies to the questions which arise from among the masses shall be the ever urgent duty of those who are called to be "teachers," representing the Master par excellence.

The conclusion drawn by Fr. Alberione, after the analysis of his own experience, weighs on everyone: "The first concern of the Pauline Family shall be sanctity of life, the second is sanctity of doctrine" (AD 90).

And for all of us the wish contained in the confession-testament in Fr. Alberione’s intimate notes of 1946 will remain valuable: "Every day I am more and more confirmed in the devotion to Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life. – For all those who practice it: an abundance of graces and consolations, ease in becoming saints, effectiveness in the apostolate."(189) - (summary)

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