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in the spirituality according to Fr. Alberione

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

by Guido Gandolfo ssp


3. A specific "environment": The Pauline Mission

Now we must introduce here another essential element.

We have already affirmed that spiritual life is not at all abstract, ethereal life or a simple interior dimension of the Christian experience. Consequently, for the Pauline, God’s appeal and the consequent response oriented to the conformation with the Divine Master according to the example of St. Paul is not, and neither could it be, an unincarnate journey. The Pauline’s vocation is apostolic, his consecration is apostolic: mission is the specific environment of his living and working.

The commitment to the conformation with the Divine Master has therefore to be fully located in the mission. This with dual meaning: the journey of conformation, serious and persevering, is in itself mission already; apostolic activity allows one to give as gift to other persons that "experience" of Christ – conformation, that is – which the Holy Spirit brings to reality in us!

The same availability to the formative action of the Master opens the way for the proclamation which He continues to bring to the world; at the same time it makes the laboriousness of him who lives the "sequela Christi" as discipleship filled with grace and of salvific value. Not only that. The same apostolic activity, lived with the required dispositions (let us not forget the "to perform the apostolate in a holy manner" of the Secret of Success), has the power to enliven the desire for greater communion with God and, as a consequence, it begins to be "in itself sanctifying."(10)

Such harmonization and reciprocity between sanctification and activity remains to be – as is well known – one of the stumbling blocks most difficult to overcome in our tiring workaday journey... But it is indispensable that we insist with that "holy obstinacy" of which our Founder(11) spoke, in the certainty that such grace will be given us, since it is included in the gift of Pauline vocation itself.

It could have been this motive which urged Fr. Alberione to insert, in the Donec formetur, at the conclusion of the work, some pages meant to present the fundamental aspects of the topic "Press apostolate,"(12) wherein he continued reflection in the same years of the writing of the DF.

Press apostolate. — 1. To write: is to preach, comment on, popularize, apply to life the Holy Gospel. Just how God spoke and wrote, how Jesus Christ spoke and made others write, how the apostles spoke and wrote. Preaching in print is more precise in its principal parts in order to reach everyone.

2. To print: this embraces technical aspects in view of doing things faster, better, independently. It is the preparation of elements, scientific organization, typesetting, printing, binding. It is not art, nor industry, but utilizes industry: and it raises art and industry to the heights of apostolate.

3. Popularization: let it reach everywhere, to all, according to the needs. a) the nature of the needs determines the nature of the initiative. b) The aim is everyone, including those who have no access to the Church.

The Press as Apostolate, is, in its substance, divinely instituted. It is God who commanded that things be written; the Apostles exercised it: it is the Church which practiced it; it was the Fathers, the Doctors, the Saints, and the Bishops who made themselves illustrious in it. Some divine truths reach the faithful by means of living voice; others, through Writing [DF 251-253.257].

The press apostolate – today we say: evangelization through the apostolate with the means of social communication (cf. Const. 2) – intends to provide continuity to the salvific work of the Master, who "spoke and made others write". With it, we must let the message of salvation reach "everywhere, to all, according to the needs". "The aim is everyone, with the fastest and most effective means."

It is precisely the nature of the apostolate, the continuation of the evangelizing work of Christ Master, that comports a high level of conformation with Christ Jesus. In exchange, how should the awareness of offering to the Divine Master one’s mind, heart, word and energies not "excite" (to use a word very dear to the Founder) the desire of an ever living configuration with Him?

The two excellent models to inspire us


       Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever   A historical-charismatic survey

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