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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



87 Cf. Diary 28 February and 7 March 1917. – Worth noticing is a reference to an even referred to during a conversation with Fr. Alberione: "The state of the times is most serious [the topic concerned the war and press censorship]... The Good Press is a mission of restoration and of strength" (29 November 1917, 39). (Text)

88 To be precise, the title Master referred to Jesus appeared the first time in Giaccardo’s diary on 29 June 1918 as he took notes of a homily by Fr. Alberione. He wrote: "Let us pray very much for the Pope; let us not commit sin, let us be very good, faithful to the exercise of virtues at home in order not to displease the Divine Master present in the minds of us [in the Eucharist]." (Text)

89 Cf. CISP respectively, 396-397 and 1206-1207. – Regarding the "fundamental articles of the Constitutions", cf. AD 96-99. – On the oneness of Giaccardo with Don Alberione, see also PP 221. (Text)

90 Cf. G. Rocca, op. cit., Doc. 31: "A Pious Society of St. Paul has been instituted... Aim: the spread of the kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ... Means: the vows in view of sanctification; the good press for the spread of the kingdom... Members: of the male branch: religious priests called "masters" and lay religious called "Signori,"; of the female branch: religious writers with the title of "mistress"; and religious workers called signore... Government: the House is governed by a "Maestro Generale..." – Doc. 40: "The Pious Society of St. Paul is governed by a Primo Maestro..." – Cf. L. Rolfo, op. cit., 161, and G. Barbero, op. cit., 335-337. (Text)

91 "Since there were no professed members to whom, according to the rule, belongs the appointment of the Primo Maestro, I elected with a decree the Teologo Alberione to such an office, and in the following day I accepted in the bishop’s residence his three-year profession of simple vows..." (Archives of the Diocesan Curia of Alba; cf. L. Rolfo, 209). (Text)

92 "In July, 1922, Fr. Alberione told the Daughters of St. Paul: You shall be called so [maestro] not only in order to honor Jesus Master, but also because you have to be, like Him, example, guide and light... Before souls, you must represent Christ, the Divine Master" (Testimony of Sr. Teresa Raballo; cf. L. Rolfo, 191). (Text)

93 Cf. AD 87-100: Following his "Thomist" experience, cleric Alberione received a strong light on his future mission; he understood the words of Jesus "You are the light of the world..." and he felt that that doctrine represented "the thought of the Divine Master’" from here came the aspiration to live integrally the Gospel and the "life of Christ Master," and "to give [in the future apostolate] first of all the doctrine that saves. To penetrate the entire human thought and knowledge with the Gospel, do not speak only of religious, but speak of everything in a Christian manner..." (Text)

94 Cf. AD 121: "The Bishop of Alba, a Dominican tertiary, had elected him director of the Dominican Tertiaries in the diocese. Because of this, he had various contacts with the Dominican Fathers, and read books and periodicals of this Order." And in AD 204: "That I had the great grace to belong to the Third Order of St. Dominic and to be the Director of the Dominican Tertiaries in the city of Alba" – "From among the notebooks of Fr. G. Alberione there was one that contained the sermons given to the Dominican Tertiaries and to the Dominican Sisters of Alba. In spite of all the searching done, such a notebook could no longer be found" (G. Barbero). (Text)

95 "Abbot Serafini Mauro o.s.b. (1859-1925), Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Religious, had suggested the term "Maestro" as the proper qualification of the Superior General of the Society of St. Paul being founded. It is because of this that in the decree of Msgr. Giuseppe Francesco Re [bishop of Alba] dated 12 March 1927 is found the title of "Primo Maestro" of the Pious Society of St. Paul referred to the founder of the same Institute. The title... consequently became familiar and took the place of Signor Teologo" (G. Barbero, Nel XIX Centenario del martirio di San Paolo: Il Sacredote Giacomo Alberione e gli Istituti Paolini, in Palestra del Clero, 46 (1967) 246-261). – As an hypothesis I add a verbal conversation which was referred to me as received from Fr. Paolo Marcellino. The idea of calling Don Alberione "Primo Maestro" was proposed by the same Marcellino, in the autumn of 1917, when cleric Giaccardo moved from the Seminary to the Scuola Tipografica and was presented as "il Signor Maestro"; "If he is Signor Maestro, then you Signor Teologo shall then be the "Primo Maestro!" He wanted it to be a touch of the Spirit, but perhaps it became "seed." (Text)

96 "On Sunday 28 July 1929, the feast day of Teologo Giacomo Alberione was celebrated in the P. S. S. P. in Alba (Cuneo). It was anticipated for three days in order that it be celebrated properly. After the reading of the letter of thanksgiving and of wishes, the celebrator spoke and invited that from now on he was to be called Primo Maestro" (G. Barbero). (Text)

97 Cf. G. Rocca, op. cit., Doc. 72. (Text)

98 Cf. e.g., CISP 116. From among the circular letters to the Daughters of St. Paul it appears that the signature "M[aestro] Alberione begins from 21 December 1928 (cf. Considerate la vostra vocazione, circ. 7) and goes on unchanged in the following years. – The complete signature "Primo Maestro" appears exceptionally in a circular of 1932 (circ. 25). (Text)

99 As we shall mention later, Fr. Alberione speaks of "devotion" to mean a living and global, of mind and of heart, relationship with the person of the Master. (Text)

100 For the iconography: from May 1916 to May 1919, the picture that hung in the visiting room and in the chapel, beside that of St. Paul, was "the artistic Sacred Heart by Morgari" (cf. PP 290-298). And so was it in 1923, as G. Barbero tells: "In the chapel built amidst the garden, at the right of the altar, there was the picture of the Queen of the Apostles, and at the left that of the Sacred Heart" (Handwritten notes). (Text)

101 "When the first boys were gathered, in 1914, in a small house and a small printing press, a curious thing, almost an alarm, happened: "Take away bread and work from the printers." Recourse to the authorities were made... Civil authority replied: "It is something born dead... We will watch over it. On the first illegal act, it will be closed." We had to be born even smaller, and not to let even a sigh be heard... So we had to cover ourselves up with the title, "Scuola Tipografica Piccolo Operaio" (The Little Worker Printing School. It was a crib... (Greetings to visitors of the Pauline Exposition in Alba for the 40th foundation anniversary, July 1954, cf. CISP 148). (Text)

102 Cf. UCBS July 1921; PP 137-138. – Cf. also Vita Pastorale [VP] July 1921. (Text)

103 "Machines are material; [... ] but they become dear and worthy of reverence just as the pulpit is sacred and worthy of reverence by the orator... How beautiful are the machines destined for the evangelizers of goodness. The apostle of the Good Press before the machines experiences something more than what St. Francis experienced when he raised the hymn to Brother Sun... The divine wisdom of the divine Word has nourished the heart and the soul of the apostle who meditated on the Divine Scriptures; from his soul it moved on to become consistent, to be incarnate, to become material through the gears of a machine: the soul has come out with a body made of paper; it shall be the though of other men, of other souls... The divine truth enlightens the world..., wins over new minds, new spirits, new hearts... (PP 141-142). (Text)

104 In Gazzetta d’Alba (GdA) dated 23 and 30 September 1921 news is given that the Scuola Tipografica would be called from then on "Pia Società San Paolo". (Text)

105 Cf. PP 285; cf. G. Rocca, op. cit., 505. (Text)

106 Cf. G. Rocca, op. cit., Doc. 40, 565-569. (Text)

107 Cf. Letter of 6 February 1922 to Fr. Pechenino, cf. G. Rocca, op. cit., 574. – Towards such an objective two collections of narratives drew inspiration: "Tolle et lege" and "Fons aquĉ," launched in 1921. (Text)

108 See above, title 4: "The devotion to Jesus Master." We can anticipate here that Fr. Alberione was aware that the term devotion could lend to misunderstanding, thus running the risk of devotionism. Hence he carefully clarified its meaning. (Text)

109 Theme which would be taken up in AD with the image of the river and brooks: cf. AD 6. (Text)

110 Cf. Diary of T. G. Giaccardo, 19 October 1917; Extract from the Diary, 8-9 (Text)

111 Regarding the effective birth of the Brother Disciples, as a group distinct from the clerics and having their own kind of formation, cf. G. Barbero (pp. 366-367), who locates them in the same year as the sisters Pious Disciples. Nonetheless, according to the testimony of a Brother of the earliest times – Bro. Maggiorino Spirito Caldellara – such birth has to be anticipated for some years and rightly so (cf. Diario of Fr. Giaccardo, 19 October 1917), even if the Brothers were then called "Workers" and addressed as "Signori". Their "baptism", with the official imposition of the name, dates back to October, 1928. It was "one Sunday at the end of October 1928" when, under the proposal of Fr. Alberione, the group of 31 Brothers chose unanimously the name "Disciples of the Divine Master" instead of the name "Giuseppini" suggested by some (cf. Letter of Bro. Maggiorino S.Caldellara to Bro. Giovanni Marengo, (April 1, 1974). (Text)

112 "The devotion to the Divine Master in the house is concentrated in the Holy Tabernacle" : this is the opening lines that summarizes the history of Eucharistic piety from 1918 to 1923: cf. "Date eucharistiche," PP 183-185. (Text)

113 Cf. PP 182 and GdA of 9 December 1921: "La domenica della Buona Stampa" (Text)

114 It is not to exclude that such "dreams" or visions were known much earlier. Sr. Luigina Borrano FSP recalls: "Regarding the famous dream of the Primo Maestro, my brother [Fr. Francesco Saverio] told me about it. He was the first to meet him when he left the room where he was closed in for three days." (Testimony written on February 20, 1996). (Text)

115 First dream: "When this piece of land had to be bought, the boys came to play in this place: I was looking up and down... and I thought whether it was the will of God that I should take these expenses... and it seemed to me to have fallen asleep briefly: the sun shone brightly as the houses were being built; then the sun became dark and I saw that the greatest sorrow came from those called by God, who would eventually abandon their vocation...; then the sun came back stronger... and the building was started" (MV 138). – "Around 1922, he began to undergo the strongest pain – as soon as he entered the first house that had been built. He had a dream. He saw the number 200, but did not understand. Then he heard a voice saying; ‘Love everyone; there will be many generous souls. However, you will suffer because of deviations and defections. But persevere, you will receive better ones.’ The number 200 had nothing to do with what he heard. Nevertheless, this pain always remained like a thorn fixed in his heart" (AD 26).

Second dream: "...what I saw at the end of the house, in that room [the office that the Primo Maestro used in the Casa San Paolo during the first years after its construction] in one of those days when I don’t work, is clear to me: the Divine Master was walking and he had with him some of you and he said: "Do not be afraid, I am with you; from here I want to enlighten; one condition, though, that you remain humble... and, it seems to me, be sorry for your sins... (MV 139). – In moments of particular difficulty... it seemed to him that the Divine Master wanted to reassure that the Institute, started only a few years previously. In a dream which he had afterwards he felt he was given an answer. In fact, Jesus Master said : "Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here I will cast light. Be sorry for sins." The from here came from the tabernacle and with strength as to make him understand that from Him – the Teacher – comes all light that has to be received. He spoke of it to the Spiritual Director, explaining the light in which the figure of the Master had appeared. He replied: "Be serene. Dream or otherwise, what was said is holy. Make it a practical program of life and of light for yourself and for all the members." From this he always oriented himself more, and he drew all from the Tabernacle" (AD 151-155). – In the following paragraphs (156-160) Fr. Alberione explains his understanding of the dream and the meaning of the "devotion to the whole Jesus Christ." (Text)

116 "From Christmas of 1900 to the end of January 1901, this devotion was preached to the clerics for the first time by the Rector of the seminary who nourished a special love for Jesus and when he spoke to us, he always spoke of Him. At the end I felt, as if a revelation. I understood that this practice involved the whole life of the man and I felt the desire that all knew, practiced and lived this devotion..." (Alle Suore Patorelle [AAP] I, 12). – Cf. CISP 1218-1225 and the quoted study of R. F. Esposito on the Tametsi futura. (Text)

117 "Devotion" (from Latin devotio) is defined as the total dedication of self to a person summarily admired and loved. It describes the typical behavior of the sports fan towards his preferred champion, or of the student towards a charismatic teacher towards whom they are disposed to be associated with all the passion of the heart and of life: enthusiasm, admiration, blind trust and unconditional obedience. (Text)

118 "...in this vision is the whole Christ; through this devotion man becomes completely taken up, completely conquered by Jesus Christ. The piety is total, and the religious as well as the priest grow thus in wisdom (study and heavenly wisdom), age (maturity and virtue), and grace (sanctity) unto the fullness and perfect age of Jesus Christ, to the point of putting Him in their own place; "I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me." This devotion includes all the devotions to the person of Jesus Christ, the Man-God" (AD 160). (Text)

119 In our own words, we can affirm that the "devotion" to the Master is the global response of the disciple to his global magisterium. – On the origin of the devotion to Jesus Master, cf. also L. Rolfo, op. cit., 191-192, and AD 22 and 160. (Text)

120 "We always need to show with sufficient clarity the distinction between two realities: 1) the "Christology" of the Master Way, Truth and Life and 2) the "method" of following in the life of every person, in the identity of every institution of the Pauline Family; in the apostolate in general, in its various dimensions, activities and means... (Sr. Luigina Borrano FSP). (Text)

121 Cf. "Date Eucharistiche", PP 183-185. (Text)

122 The "resolution" made by the Pauline chronicler after participating in the Eucharistic Congress in Genoa (9 September 1923) is interesting: "Now we, full of God, adore him with faith made more youthful in the humility of our church, [...] and with the press, today’s armament, and with faith that wins over the world, and with the truth which comes from the tabernacle, we shall be witnesses for him [...] so that his kingdom may reach the ends of the earth..." (PP 199). (Text)

123 Noteworthy is the description of the first part: "Adoration; to Jesus Christ Divine Master, sent by the Father to communicate the wisdom that saves: to Him who is the essential and eternal Truth, splendor of the Father; [...] to the Author of the whole doctrine [proposed by the Church]; to the only Master, Way, Truth and Life; Author of the Gospels; [...] to the Resident of the Tabernacle from where he teaches, enlightens, comforts, guides and consoles the souls: ‘lux mundi’. The testimony is dated 1954 (Amerai il Signore con tutta la tua mente, in CISP 1123; cf. Ibid., 1125 and 1189). (Text)

124 "We celebrate it in January: a month of meditations, of spiritual union with Jesus, of visits; a practice and characteristic of the month is the visit to the Eucharistic Divine Master: adoration, thanksgiving, propitiation and reparation, petitions after the example of Jesus, after the teachings and on the grace that the Divine Master gives. He is in our midst: there, from the Host he wants to enlighten. Jesus, the Divine Master, is the Way that leds, the Truth that enlightens, Life that sanctifies. How God one is when he comes out from adoration to the Divine Master!" (January 1924, cf. PP 209). (Text)

125 "There was a time [from 1906 to 1910] in which a clearer light was given him during his Eucharistic adoration about a great treasure the Lord wished to grant the Society of St. Paul: the diffusion of the Gospel" (AD 136; cf. AD 139-145). (Text)

126 This usage, like that of showing the Gospel in all rooms, was common to either the male or female group. (Text)

       Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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