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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


4. The two excellent models to inspire us

Mary, Queen of Apostles, and St. Paul

In the course of the "meditations and instructions" that make up the Donec formetur, Fr. Alberione proposes to the young some models of great decision to follow Christ: St. John Berchmans, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Gemma Galgani, St. John of the Cross, St. John Evangelist, St. John the Baptist, etc. They were the more famous behavioral models for the religious-spiritual formation of the youth during those years.

A much different consideration is given to two excellent models: Mary, the Queen of Apostles, and St. Paul. The Pauline shall constantly refer to them.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, remains the highest example that could be offered to the human person. She, we know, has had with Jesus a unique and unrepeateable relations; and in this aspect, she remains to be an inimitable model. But Fr. Alberione sees in Mary above all as she who made herself a faithful and attentive disciple of the Divine Master; she who allowed herself to be formed totally by the action of the Lord; it is she whom every apostle, every Pauline, can and must imitate in order to assume the "form" of Jesus, the form of the Divine Master incarnate for us.

Mary, Queen of Apostles. — 1. The "Regina Apostolorum." About her one must believe: that she was the mother of the Apostle of the Divine Father, the Divine Word; she became mother and teacher and queen of every apostolate at the birth of Jesus their head; that she was proclaimed so at the cross; that so she revealed herself among the Apostles especially on Pentecost; that she was always the inspirer, the protectress of every apostolate of the word and of the pen, and the formator of the Apostles of all times.

2. That towards her we owe: enlightened and unlimited trust and love, the most cordial, expressive, tender devotion; the most common and constant practice of the Rosary, the Angelus, three Hail Mary’s, the chaplet, Saturdays, etc.

3. That she ought to be honored: by writing about her, with preaching, by giving good example [DF 263-264].

Since the birth of Jesus, Mary then has become the "mother and teacher and queen of every apostolate,"; she was declared by Jesus on the Cross mother and queen of the Apostles; in the Cenacle she officially started her ministry by predisposing the apostles for the coming of the Spirit and the start of the mission; she must be considered, "the inspirer, protectress of every apostolate of the word and of the pen," as well as the "formator of the Apostle of all times and places."

The Pauline shall nurture for her "enlightened and unlimited trust; from trust she must move on to an attitude of "love"; the Pauline shall be committed to cultivate "most cordial, expressive, tender devotion"... Trust and devotion shall be nourished also with the most common Marian "practices."

Of notable significance is the fact that the better manner of "honoring" Mary is not primarily that of offering to her acts of veneration or of filial love, but more that of "writing about her" and "preaching about her," while always practicing first what one recommends to others: "by giving example."

Paul, has always been, among the apostles, the figure that greatly fascinated our Founder. The following brief but enthusiastic portrait is a proof of this.

St. Paul. — 1. St. Paul was vas electionis et doctor gentium, vessel of election, that is chosen, where the Holy Spirit gathered by pouring all the better gifts: an indestructible faith, most firm hope, most ardent love, most lofty knowledge. Doctor gentium who defended, who enlightened, who profited for our Lord Jesus Christ. His apostolate was a continued miracle in the manner, circumstances, in conversions. Abundantius his omnius laboravi.

2. What he does: From heaven he is most strong just as on earth he was very holy; he shall obtain for us till the end of time knowledge, chastity, apostles; he is there in a special manner for three graces: ardor, conversions, the apostolate. In heaven he honors God; on earth, he shall always be a glory of the Church, an eye for the pontiffs, model of every work of apostolate.

3. We must: Read him as model of most lofty knowledge which transcends the centuries, places, questions: and take him as a model of the Press Apostolate; pray to him especially with the chaplet, with the usual invocations practiced in the house; imitate him, in the spirit described to us by St. John Chrisostom [DF 260-263].

The Holy Spirit was pleased to pour on St. Paul "all the better gifts." Synthesized in the theological virtues all of which were lived in a superlative manner: "an indestructible faith, most firm hope, most ardent love." Of great interest is the accent on the gift-conquest of "most lofty knowledge": we shall see later some practical application.

His special qualification: "Doctor gentium," the teacher of the gentiles, the pagans whom he "enlightened" and above all led, as a "profit," to faith in Christ Jesus. His apostolate – for his enthusiasm, dedication, untiring zeal, up to heroism – is synthesized by Fr. Alberione as "continued miracle." As a protector in heaven, he manifests himself as "most strong", and the graces he shall obtain in preference are, significantly, "ardor, conversions, the apostolate."

Before the Apostle,(13) the Pauline is called above all "to read him," welcoming him in a very special manner as "model of the Press Apostolate"; furthermore, he shall "pray to him" by using first of all the "chaplet" and "the invocations" by now used in the "House"; finally, "to imitate him," by following in this regard the indications furnished by St. John Chrisostom.

In the itinerary of conformation with the Divine Master, St. Paul is the trusted travel companion because he is equipped with experience and doctrine; the Pauline is worthy of this name by virtue of his familiarity with the Apostle of the gentiles, who "was the most accomplished and faithful interpreter of the Divine Master."

The doctrine of St. Paul. — From passages spread in the revelation of the old and new Testament, Paul, instructed by Jesus Christ and enlightened in every step by the Holy Spirit, formed the body of doctrine which he called "his Gospel," and it is altogether dogmatically, or morally or liturgically that we now live; better still, which lives in the Church. Inasmuch as he was the most accomplished and faithful interpreter of the Divine Master, he understood and gave, elaborated by strong syntheses and tight logic, the whole and applied Gospel, so that the gentile humanity found what it was unconsciously looking for.

And thus:

His insight penetrated the depth of the original fall; in it he saw man made flesh; the sin which imposes the law over the parts of his body and makes it produce death; the weak will, almost wanting to be liberated from slavery and totally impotent to achieve justice, is elevated to divine heights. Justice in fact is not limited to natural law or natural virtue, but it is itself the same divine holiness of Jesus Christ communicated to our souls by the Holy Spirit thus achieving the uniformity of our will with the divine will.

And from where does he derive this communion with eternal justice? From the faith described by St. Paul in the letter to the Romans, as that faith which has supernatural power. Faith, working through charity, unites us to Jesus Christ in whom is incarnate holiness, the divine life. It does even more: it creates out of us a new being, animated by the spirit of Jesus Christ. United, abandoned in Him through this life, we can do and we do what he did: we die in him in the flesh and to sin, in order to be born to spiritual life. Speaking more precisely: Christ alone lives, thinks, works, loves, wills, suffers, dies and rises in us. Head of regenerated humanity, He forms, among all believers, a mystical body wherein the parts are closely united by charity which animates the same life, where only one heart beats, the Heart of Jesus Christ [DF 168-170].

The itinerary of conformation to the Master - 1


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