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JESUS, "THE MASTER"

A historical-charismatic survey

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

by Eliseo Sgarbossa ssp

 

Appendix: Chronological history of the deepening on the doctrine of the Divine Master after 1936

Having left the Mother House in Alba in the hands of Maestro Giaccardo to settle definitely in Rome during the summer of 1936, Fr. Alberione began that stage of Pauline life which we may consider as the consolidation of the institutions he founded and the deepening of his charism. This second engagement on the dual direction, spiritual and apostolic, found its focal point in the figure of the Divine Master Way, Truth and Life. We are listing here the determining steps of such a journey.

1936 (Autumn) — Fr. Alberione entrusts to some priest-writers and to some Daughters of St. Paul teachers the task of doing a specific research on Jesus Divine Master. Assigning her to review and expand the book Apostolato Stampa (1933) for a new edition (L’Apostolato dell’Edizione, 1944), he recommends to Maestra Luigina Borrano to start from doctrinal foundations. "You must study the philosophical and theological foundations of our devotion to Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life. Get in touch with Fr. Lamera, Fr. Peliccia and Fr. Dragone: meet together and talk about it among yourselves. Then we must see to its publication." As to the Devotion to the Divine Master’s being founded, the Primo Maestro nurtured an absolute certainty, but he could not transmit that certainty with that much clarity. "What I have taught you about the Divine Master and regarding what is still to be discovered, I am most certain. I assure you that it is the way it is, I am most certain. However, I can’t tell you why. Also the other founders did not know how to explain their spirit and the reasons of their foundations. This was something the theologians who came later did: for example. St. Bonaventure theologically explained the spirit of St. Francis; St.Thomas explained that of St. Domenic; St. Robert Bellarmine explained that of St. Ignatius. Also among us, theologians – men and women – shall come and they will explain what I cannot explain to you" (Verbal testimony of M. Luigina Borrano, 15 October 1995).

— Along the same line, Fr. Alberione wrote a preface to the treatise of Fr. Desiderio Costa, Via, Veritą e Vita (three volumes, Alba 1933), emphasizing the need that the figure of the Divine Master be illustrated and proposed not only as object of principal devotion of the Pauline Family, but also as a condition for a true apostolate (cf. CISP 40-41).

1936 (San Paolo, 28 October) — Letter to Maestro Giaccardo: "Let us resolve to give the first Sunday of the month to the Divine Master, by divine will... with physical, perceivable sing..." (cf. CISP 77).

1938 (June) — Spiritual exercises preached in Alba, wherein the book Sectamini Fidem (Later Mihi vivire Christus), was born. It contains important autobiographical normative references either for spiritual life or for the Pauline apostolate.

— In the same year, with the foundation of the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd (Pastorelle), the figure of Jesus Master is enriched with a special pastoral connotation and to the Sisters the Founder proposes the devotion to Jesus "Good Shepherd" and to Mary, "Mother of the Good Shepherd" and to Saints Peter and Paul.

1942 Writing of the Chaplet to Jesus Master and of a significant article on the meaning of the devotion to him, published by the Unione Cooperatori Apostolato Stampa (July 1942), on the occasion of the indulgence granted by the Holy See for the recitation of the invocation, "O Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life, have mercy on us."

1944 — Publication of the book Gesł Maestro by Giovannina Boffa FSP (see Studi e redazione delle FSP..., 85).

— In the same year 1944 the new edition of the Preghiere Paoline, with the Coroncina a Gesł Maestro, came out.

1946 — Fr. Alberione requests Fr. Vittorio Genovesi SJ, a famous pontifical hymn writer, the five hymns to the Divine Master (Verbum Patris, Unus est Magister vester, Ego sum Veritas, Ego sum Via, Ego sum Vita), having exemplary clarity and theological density.

1947 — Presentation to the Holy See, for liturgical approval, of an outline for the celebration of the Mass of the Divine Master, with elements of clear Alberione imprint (Introit: Jn 13:13-15; Epistle: Heb 1:1-8, Gradual-alleluia: Psalm 26:1; Mt 17:5; Mt 28:8-10; Gospel: Jn 13:1-15; preface: proper); the Sacred Congregation of Rites preferred instead the formulary proposed by the University of Commillas and approved for the whole Church on 5 May 1973.

1948 (24 January) — Death of Maestro Giaccardo: Fr. Alberione exalts him as a true representative of the Divine Master (cf. CISP 396-397).

— Booklet: Appunti di predicazione su Gesł Maestro Via, Veritą e Vita, 32 outlines for preaching proposed by Fr. Alberione.

1949 — Publication of the book Gesł Maestro Via Veritą e Vita, by Fr. Stefano Lamera, with an introduction by Fr. Alberione.

— In the same year the first Costituzioni della Pia Societą San Paolo, approved by the Holy See were published. Articles 154 and 177 canonize as fundamental principle of the spirituality and the Pauline formation the vision of Jesus Master Way Truth and Life (cf. AD 96-98).

— Beginning of the intercontinental trips of Fr. Alberione. The motivation behind them: "Jesus said, ‘Ego sum lux mundi – vos estis lux mundi.’ The Pious Society of St. Paul derives and draws its doctrine, its piety, its apostolate, from the Divine Master. The light that comes from him concerns the whole of science, of revelation, the teaching of the Church Teacher..." (cf. CISP 1031-1032, 1037).

1952 — Foundation of the catechetical magazine Via Veritą e Vita. It "bears [this title] in order to better express, in a complete manner, the three fundamental points of that Christian doctrine which it must illustrate: dogma, morals, worship, and also the homage to the Divine Master who has defined himself with such a trinomial" (cf. CISP 841-842).

1953-1954 — Writing of the "Charismatic history of the Pauline Family," published first with the title Io sono con voi and then with Abundantes divitię gratię suę, a fundamental work, which has as its basic topic the foundational experience of the Pauline life under the light of Jesus Master.

1954 — Publication of the book, "Mi protendo in avanti," a commemorative publication of the 70th birthday of Fr. Alberione and the 40th year of foundation: a notable collection of essays which are first time ever attempts at a reflection on the Founder, on his work and on Jesus Master, "the master key" of the whole Pauline institutions (cf. especially the essay of Fr. Roatta).

— 20 August: celebrations in Alba for the 40th year of foundation. Notable is the speech of Fr. Alberione before the visitors of the Pauline Exhibit, with autobiographical revelations (regarding the "dream" and the words of the Divine Master) and the conclusion: "In the devotion to Jesus Master, everything is there: dogma, morals, worship..." (cf. CISP 145-149).

— 28 November: in Rome, Dedication of the Sanctuary of the Queen of Apostles, with the solemn Alberione prayer of consecration and the exposition of the Marian theology of the apostolate (cf. CISP 595-600).

— Publication of the booklet "Amerai il Signore con tutta la tua mente," with bright affirmations regarding the truth, the magisterium, the apostolate of the editions, the function of "Jesus Divine and only Master, Way, Truth and Life", for the foundation of a new Christian anthropology (cf. CISP 1123-1194).

1955 "Year dedicated to the Divine Master": a series of monthly articles, with proposals for systematic catechesis, in special celebrations in honor of Jesus Master (among which the "Feast of Master") and the introduction to the cause of beatification of Maestro Giaccardo given us an exemplary mirror of Christological and Pauline magisterium (cf. CISP 1195-1207).

— Book by Fr. G. Roatta on Gesł Mestro Via Verita e Vita, with significant patristic-theological synthesis, recommended by Fr. Alberione for all Paulines to study.

1956 — New proposal for the liturgical celebration of the Divine Master for the whole Church, and consultation of the Episcopate from the part of Fr. Alberione (cf. CISP 1216-1217).

1957 (Spring) — The first General Chapter of the Society of St. Paul (followed by the other congregations for women): "It is the duty of the priests to be Masters...; the disciples are united in the same apostolate... The superior is like Jesus Master Way Truth and Life... The government is in Christ Master Way and Truth and Life... Piety must be according to Jesus Master Way and Truth and Life" (cf. CISP 158-163).

— 29 June: Jubilee Mass for Fr. Alberione’s 50th year of priesthood, with a testament-homily: "The priestly office is this: to be Alter Christus... Master, Way and Truth and Life" (cf. CISP 180).

— Editorial program for the news magazine [Orizzonti]: "The whole world, the whole country, the entire work of the Church [shall be object of news and comments]: while always seeing [reality] under the light of Jesus Master" (cf. CISP 882).

— Apostolic program for an African mission [Zaire], with the famous declaration: "Everything is here: to live Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life; and perform Christ’s love for those peoples who are deprived and hungry..., by giving in deeds the total Christ, Way, Truth and Life. This in such a manner that all can say: "We have neither gold nor silver; we give instead what we have: Jesus Christ, his doctrine, his morals, his means of grace and supernatural life" (CISP 862).

1958 — Commemorating Tametsi futura: "A ‘sacred inheritance’: Go back to the beginning and to principles..." Rereading of the ‘three principles.’ Jesus Christ "Way, Truth and Life," taken up in piety, in study, in the apostolate, in life, is the criterion for "being Paulines," apostles of truth like the Apostle (cf. CISP 1218-1225).

1959-1963 — Vatican Council II: Proposals of Fr. Alberione, among which is the establishment of a Pontifical Congregation "Verbum Dei" which would promote the Catholic Truth to preach with the new means: in order to honor Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life, and become the propeller of the catechetical, biblical and liturgical teaching... (CISP 312-313, and Don Alberione al Concilio by A. Damino).

1959 — Proposal for a "Divine Master Encyclopedia": plan and outline of a general synthesis – the "Summa Vitę" – on the Revelation outlined in four "manifestations": Creation of the cosmos, Biblical Revelation, Life of Christ in the Church, Parousia (cf. CISP 1225-1253).

— Preface to the monumental work of Fr. Dragone, Gesł Maestro Via Veritą e Vita, in three volumes (1961-1962).

1960 (April) — Month of Spiritual Exercises in Ariccia, with normative and testamentary "instructions" by the Founder on the charismatic heritage of the Pauline Family. Fundamental text: Ut perfectus sit homo dei (UPS, volumes I-IV). In particular on Jesus Master: I, 368-369; II, 148-161; 190-191, 243-244; III, 228-229, 240-241 (the Master Giaccardo); IV, 45-58 (synthesis by Fr. Tomatis); 91-95 (Days of the Divine Master and Weeks of the Gospel); 187-201 (the spirit of the Disciple of the Divine Master); 234-244 (Mary, Disciple and Mistress).

1961 — Days for Master formators (cf. CISP 784).

1962 Days for Disciples (cf. CISP 368-369).

— Second Course of Spiritual Exercises in Ariccia (cf. CISP 202).

1964 (80th birthday of Fr. Alberione and 50th year of foundation) — Reply to Cardinal Antoniutti: "At this moment I feel so indebted pro beneficiis: for having practiced and preached the devotion to Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life since the year 1900..." (CISP 539).

— Explanation of the pauline symbol: "...the Holy Host which illumines everything... is Jesus Christ Divine Master, Way Truth and Life... The divine light, the Book-Bible (cf. CISP 207-210).

1966 (18 March) — First mass celebrated by Fr. Alberione in the crypt of the Church of the Divine Master built in Rome (Via Portuense), during which the Founder entrusts to the Pious Disciples the following intention: "that truly the Divine Master be understood and followed by the whole Pauline Family" (APD [1966] no. 149). – Significant is the decoration of the upper hall, with its 20 stained glass windows which illustrate the "Via Humanitatis" (cf. La Via dell’Umanitą raccontata dalle vetrate della Chiesa Gesł Maestro, booklet edited by Sr. M. Micaela Monetti, pd, 29 October 1995).

1968 (19 March) — Spiritual testament: "Of infinite value, as life and devotion, is Jesus Christ, Divine Master, Way and Truth and Life; would that he enlighten all religious perfection and apostolate."... "Always follow St. Paul, Teacher and Father and Mary, Mother, Teacher and Queen of Apostles."

1969-1971 — Special General Chapter. Restatement of the charism (cf. Documents).

1973 Alberione anthology by Fr. G. Roatta: on Jesus Master, Punti di referimento della nostra vita spirituale: III, Via Veritą e Vita (mimeographed).

1984 — International seminar: "Al Centro sta Gesł Cristo Via Veritą e Vita (cf. L’ereditą cristocentrica di Don Alberione).

Final note: "Should we remove from the writings of Fr. Alberione what refers to the Divine Master Way, Truth and Life, nothing but a series of holes would be left. Nothing would be understandable about him" (Fr. Roatta, Pauline course on Prayer, September, 1983). *Note - (summary)

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