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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


5.2.2. From Jesus Truth, the gift-commitment of studiousness

Jesus Christ is truth: for the intelligence: thus will follow the need to study the Christian doctrine, in a special manner the Gospel.

The first gift-commitment comes to us from the Master, Truth:

We must follow this supreme Master: because he is the only one; "Magister vester unus est," the others are Masters inasmuch as they are formed one with Him: because he has the most beautiful method of education, because he is God, and thus we shall have the grace of doing what he teaches and we shall please the Father for the life of our mind. "Ex fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos" [DF 131]

Jesus is Truth: wisdom of the Father, fidelity of the Father, definitive revelation of the Father. He is the "only" Master amidst the teeming of pseudo-masters and pseudo-guides: he not only teaches but "educates," his, in fact, is "the most beautiful method of education."

Jesus Master-truth activates the intelligence. It is indispensable to know what the Master teaches. With knowledge, however, the Master shall give "the grace to do what he teaches," always and only in order to "please the Father." Immediate consequence: the "need," not only the duty, to study.

We have to dutifully note the fact that, in the listing of the faculties with their related tasks, Fr. Alberione assigns the first place, at least habitually, to the intelligence.(28) And he give so much importance to studying. It is precisely study, studiousness in general, which ought to qualify the Pauline. In the mind of the Founder, the Pauline must feel the need to take out of the day the indispensable portion for studies: choice readings, updating, deepening on a theme, "specialization" in one sector of our apostolic horizon... "Need," therefore, not only urgent due to the modernness of the apostolate, but impelling due to the specific charismatic identity of the Pauline.

What are the principal subjects for the Pauline to study?

The first and unexchangeable nourishment of the mind is the Gospel.(29) It is in it that the Master reveals himself in a most immediate form. The Gospel has to be read, meditated upon, prayed with, and to translate in daily practice:

The Gospel must be the first reading, the first knowledge for all; hence, no other spiritual reading is more important [DF 128b].

Any comment would be superfluous. Let us only remember, as a complement, the veneration to the Gospel that the Founder introduced to the Institute by ordering that the Sacred Book be "enthroned," aside from the chapels, also in places of study and the apostolate.

With the Gospel, obviously, the whole Bible – the Sacred Scriptures – deserves the greatest care and attention:

Important: as the principal object of study, inasmuch as it has God for its author (who has read everything and not this?!); as the most universal and necessary knowledge; for us, as the model of books, in substance and in the divine method; as what God wants us to read. The Church proposes it, the saints prefer it.

3. Duties: highest respect, that which God showed and the Church practices: assiduous reading done with the spirit with which it was written; make it the guide of thoughts and of the heart; diffuse it with zeal among men.

How to read it: faith, humility, love.

How to spread it: make it well, be zealous [DF 139-140].

As we can see, it is an extremely engaging program. The Sacred Scripture is the "principal subject of study," "the most universal and necessary knowledge," "for us, as the model of books." Read it with "faith, humility, love"; spread it with "zeal"...

The study of the Sacred Scripture extends to the study(30) of the Christian doctrine. Speaking, in a wider dimension, of the Sacred Science, Fr. Alberione reminds us (DF 134ff) that it is "the complex of truths concerning the honor of God and the salvation of the soul." This science, as the direct fruit of the Word of God, "must be the first that we all must seek: it must be the first criterion, according to which we shall study, judge, regulate our lives; it must be learned with all humility."

In this regard, one cannot but remember the attention which Fr. Alberione gave to the Catechism: first of all, it has to be studied and spread the broadest.

Continuing in the school of Jesus Master, we shall understand the different aspects of our life (DF 134). Reflecting on the "divine infancy" one can know "how the child is and the duties towards him." But above all, one learns the need "of being small in order to have divine consolation." Through the pages of the Gospel, Jesus continues to teach: in "the divine role of pain" and he teaches us "the doctoring of grace or transformation in Jesus Christ with whom one becomes mystical body."

The dynamics of conformation with the Master, of our incorporation in Him, that is, the principal elements of asceticism and mysticism, have, meanwhile, to be known, in order that they be desired, and hence translated into concrete and workaday choices.

From Jesus Truth, finally, come other fundamental elements of knowledge. "The truth on man’s nature": from where he comes and where he is expected; the truth on the very "nature of God"; on what and how important is "religion"

I am the truth. That is, the truth on the nature of man and of his destiny; on the nature of God and on his qualities, on the nature of religion and on our duties... [DF 129].

In brief:

5.2.3. From Jesus Way, the gift-commitment of imitation

Jesus Christ is way: for the will, thus it shall follow the need to imitate Christ, especially to cultivate Holy Communion.

Since he is the Truth, Jesus Master can define himself the Way. He not only indicates the way, but He Himself is the way on which to walk: "May I, in every moment, place my feet in your footprints..." (DF 102).

Jesus Way appeals to the will. As a consequence, the will draws from Jesus: the need for imitation.

After him we should model ourselves: St. Paul says: "quos praescivit et praedestinavit conformes fieri imagini Filii sui." The Father says: "Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui." His was perfect virtue.

To imitate a saint is good: to imitate O. L. J. C. Is an obligation for all, even more, a need for us [DF 127f].

The need to imitate is expressed in our "modeling" ourselves after Jesus Way. Once more, this is in order to respond to the invitation of the Father who, as St. Paul remembers (Rm 8:29), has predestined us to be conformed with the image of His Son.

Jesus Himself has appealed to us "to learn from" Him. He shows us the example of "perfect virtue", above all meekness and humility of heart (Mt 11:29). He gave us the "demonstration" of these during his entire earthly existence. Meanwhile: to imitate Jesus Christ is not only a counsel: for everyone it is "obligation," for us also a "need."

A reductive understanding of the teaching of Fr. Alberione would raise a question: what virtue must we acquire? The analysis of the experience and the thought of our Founder does not offer quantitative (much or little) or qualitative (this or that) solutions, but he brings us always to solutions that involve the person in his totality. Conformation with Jesus Way, our allowing the Master Way to incarnate himself in the Pauline, does not limit itself as to acquire specific virtues (something that is already difficult to do...) but it leads the person to take to himself the "form" of Jesus, to will and act like Him. Even more, he behaves in a manner that it is the Master himself who lives virtuous attitudes and behavior in the faithful.

Some modalities

a) The "contemplation" on the whole life of the Master:(32) Contemplation of the crib: Jesus is entrusted to Mary Most Holy and to St. Joseph: Jesus entrusted himself completely. He allowed himself to be formed. This is the way: to esteem, love, and entrust one’s self to Mary Most Holy. (...)

Private life: Covers 30 of 33 years: hence 10 to one in importance. He grew in age, wisdom and grace. It is a mysterious chain of obedience, of prayer, of sacrifice, of family virtues.

Entrance to public life: (...) He enters public life by associating contemplative to active life.

Public life: Perfect correspondence to vocation: teach the Gospel to the poor, establish the Church, etc. Predilection and redemption of sinners, for the Apostles, for the little ones: "pauperes evangelizantur". Perfect dispositions, internal and external: only the glory of God, continuous interior life, love for souls and for bodies, virtues of mortification, meekness; fortitude perfectly sweet, prudence perfectly ardent, justice perfectly charitable, temperance perfectly superior.

Passion: Kingly way of the Holy Cross. In everything Jesus suffered... [DF 106-111].

Jesus Way is presented as model of entrusting of self to Mary Most Holy (in the crib); of growth in "age, wisdom and grace," building a "mysterious chain of obedience, of prayer, of sacrifice, of family virtues" (private life); of harmonization between contemplation and action (entrance to public life); of docility and full adhesion to his mission (public life), of total involvement in the salvific suffering (sorrowful life).

b) Jesus Way, model in doing the will of God: Doing the will of God is perfection; doing the will of God is the true love for the Lord; doing the will of God is the most secure way (...) However, the divine will in everything [DF 114.116].

Doing the will of God, one moves ahead to "perfection": the will of God in everything and always. It is the "most secure way." This has not to be understood absolutely as pure execution of God’s will, but so much as "true love for the Lord."

c) Jesus Way, model of purity of intention: Right intention: it is that which goes straight to God without turtuousness: to his glory, in order to do his will! (...) Our Lord Jesus Christ looked on to his Father alone: not on his glory. In fact: in his work, he went through numerous moments of humiliation, till the humiliation of the Cross... [DF 117.118].

In order to progress in the itinerary of Christian discipleship, one is reminded of the need to attentively watch over his intentions: always and only the glory of God (cf. Secret of Success).(33) "Let us question our intentions," Fr. Alberione would repeat somewhere else.(34)

d) Jesus Way, model in the intimacy with God: Our Lord Jesus Christ lived in the most intimate union with God. The person of Jesus Christ is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity: and who can speak of the supernatural intimacy between the Son and the Father? Here we find ourselves in a contemplation, more than a meditation. The Son who is one thing with the Father: "ego et Pater unum sumus:. He who knows the Son knows the Father, so deep is the unity! Here state of grace is surpasses, ennobled to the infinite level, to the Unity in the Trinity of God [DF 121].

For us to enter in this dimension of the life of Jesus, simple meditation is not enough: "Here we find ourselves in a contemplation". It is a gift that is obtained especially with the "cultivation of Holy Communion." From here comes the urgency to make our prayer become ever more "Christian:" only He, Christ Master, He who proceeds from the Fathers bosom (cf. Jn 1:1-18) and in the docility to his Spirit of Truth, can introduce us to the full participation in the divine intimacy, in the mysteries of God!

e) Jesus Way, model in method: that the work be done well: And thus the Divine Master worked: the Holy Gospel leaves no room for doubt: "bene omnia fecit"; let us understand that the omnia means: public, individual, family life; it embraces the internal and the external; his relations with the Father and with the Holy Spirit and with men. In a special manner we could contemplate on how He accomplished the Last Supper under all the prescriptions, how he preached, how he behaved with Judas, how he accomplished the sacrifice of the Cross.

How to start: by offering to God, by accepting everything from the hand of God, by starting well, immediately, willingly; to continue, under the eyes of God, with gentle application, with energetic constancy; ending humbly, completely [DF 124-125].

These are extremely concrete and enlightening indications, fit for one’s daily life. And every moment!

In brief:

The itinerary of conformation to the Master - 4


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

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