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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


6. The Pauline and his Master-Lord (cf. Phil 3:8):
everything "in ipso et cum ipso et per ipsum"

At the close of the itinerary, undertaken on the footprints of the personal experience and of the teaching of the Founder, some conclusions and epilogue of the practical guidelines are a must: (summary)

6.1. With the Donec formetur, formation proposal for the spiritual-apostolic life of the Pauline is substantially drawn. As we know, eventually the Founder did not get tired of reminding and confirming, perhaps with the same terms, what has been pointed out – with so much clarity – in the pages of our volume.(37)

It is with pleasure that we remember especially two moments of special relevance.

1st On the occasion of the "gathering in Ariccia" (a month of spiritual exercises, 1960), he reaffirmed vigorously the "devotion" to the Divine Master as the way "to perfect worship of God." For the Pauline to live the spirituality of Jesus Master has as result, the conformation to the "Divine Exemplar Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ, sent by the Father, came so that he restored man, making of him a second edition, very much improved. Thus man, passing through Jesus Christ Mediator, shall stand before God purified and holy in his mind, will, sentiment...

The devotion to Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life brings to perfection the worship of God.

The more the Pauline lives it, the more he becomes like the Divine Exemplar Jesus Christ...

The whole man goes to God; God, through Jesus Christ, unites himself with man [UPS II, 159ff].

2nd On August 6, 1967, feast of the Transfiguration, Fr. Alberione wrote with his own hands the Spiritual Testament. On that occasion, he entrusted for the last time to his children, "of infinite values as to life and devotion," the Person of Jesus Christ, Divine Master, so that "he illumines all the religious and apostolic work of perfection."

"Dear members of the Pauline Family, on our temporary separation, trusting that we will be reunited eternally [...] Of infinite value as life and devotion is Jesus Christ, Divine Master, Way and Truth and Life; may he illumine all the religious and apostolic work of perfection [...] Always follow St. Paul Ap., teacher and father; always follow, love and preach Mary, our Mother, Teacher and Regina Apostolorum" (summary)

6.2. The period of elaboration and composition of the Donec formetur, years 1927-1932, seems to mark the moment wherein the two principal lines of Fr. Alberione’s thought – the title "Master" and the Johannine trinomial Way-Truth-Life – converge markedly. In the formation-spiritual area, perhaps more than anywhere else, the two lines seem inseparable.

For the Founder, to think of the Master is to mean the whole Master, the complete Master, as He defined himself, the Way and the Truth and the Life. The spontaneous reference is not only for Him who sits on the teaching chair, but Him who came to encounter the whole of man: to guide, travel with, make himself vehicle (= read: Way, Truth and Life) to man (DF 92).

At the same time, the total self-revelation of Christ Way and Truth and Life brings to Fr. Alberione’s mind in a very spontaneous and "apodictic" manner the more successful expression of Master... (summary)

6.3. Jesus, the Master, is the center of all the movement of consecrated life: spiritual-apostolic.

Fr. Alberione, in order to give maximum strength to his vision, does not hesitate to barrow the words of the "doxology" of the Holy Mass, although he changes its order, "in ipso et cum ipso et per ipsum." Later,(38) he would affirm: "Live in Him, for Him, with Him and by Him."

A basic condition for approaching this peak is the dynamics of the incarnation. Incarnation which is not narrowed to the period of nativity-Bethlehem, but must be understood as the summary aspect of the whole life of Jesus, in the accomplishment of the will of the Father, according to the economy of salvation. It is a global vision which thrusts its roots in the most ancient Tradition of the Fathers of the Church, as far back as the first centuries of Christianity.

The in-carnation of the Master brings to Fr. Alberione’s mind a dual movement:

a) to be and to live in Christ: the incorporation to the master, the intimacy with Him, the communion with Him...

b) to do everything for Christ, with Christ, in Christ: the daily activity of the apostolate, the entrusting to the Master of our energies for our brethren, the consequent fruits "formed in Christ." (39) - (summary)

6.4. Everything "in ipso et cum ipso et per ipsum." As we already mentioned, this synthesis of spiritual experience meant to express the centrality of Jesus Master in the life of the Pauline is taken from the Eucharistic and Liturgical Prayer, Christian prayer par excellence, model of every dialogue with God, in Christ Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. The Divine Master, as Fr. Alberione has affirmed for infinite times, is the Eucharistic Divine Master.(40)

Along this consideration may be inserted interesting developments either in the order of form of prayer in the Pauline Family as a whole, and in the Pauline in particular, either regarding the method: liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic celebration, Eucharistic adoration, etc...

Along this line, a very valid opportunity for us to live daily the spirituality of the Divine Master is undoubtedly that offered to us by the Liturgical Year. The Founder, we know, has been very wise in gathering fully the mystery of Christ made present in the liturgical season; always he recommended to the Paulines to give importance to the precious school of Liturgy, with the purpose of learning, through the orderly unfolding of the liturgical year, to "know" (Master-Truth) the Redeemer, to "meditate" (Master-Way) his examples, and to "live" (Master-Life) the effects of redemption done by Jesus Christ.(41) Furthermore, it seems worth noticing the fact that Fr. Alberione often connected the fruit coming from liturgical life with the commitment of spiritual growth, and specifically with the donec formetur Christus in vobis.(42)

On the usefulness of getting in contact in life with Jesus Christ celebrated during the liturgical year, in a very enlightening manner, Fr. Alberione was suggesting already in 1940:

The liturgical year, with its feasts, is geared towards three goals: to know Jesus; to imitate Jesus; to live Jesus [...]

Every liturgical year must bring an increase of grace, it must mark a step in perfection and growth in merits. The liturgical year is like the way which goes up the mountain in a circular manner. The traveler while journeying finds himself, in every turn, at a point parallel to the starting point but always much higher until he reaches the peak where life ends and introduces him into the eternal vision, possession, joy in God, in union with Mary Most Holy and the Saints.

He who lives the liturgical life detaches himself ever more from the earth and is raised in goodness..."(43)

Likewise in 1949, among the "practical means" for nourishing the spirituality of the Divine Master, Fr. Alberione affirmed:

Excellent means: follow devotedly the Liturgy of the Church during the turn of the holy year. The Church, through this book, Liturgy, which can be called the book of the Holy Spirit, continues and accomplishes the mission assigned to her by Jesus Christ: "Euntes docete omnes gentes baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, docentes eos servare omnia quaecumque mandavi vobis."(44)

The spontaneous connection of liturgy with expressions which more expressly recall the Master and his magisterium is noticeable in Fr. Alberione: "docete omnes gentes baptizantes eos..., docentes eos." To live daily liturgy is meanwhile the best introduction to the inexhaustible mystery of the Divine Master! (summary)

6.5. If we try to summarize the basic traits of the proposal of spiritual life contained in the Donec formetur, the following general picture emerges:

The process of conformation with the Divine Master is developed in three stages:

a) The first stage – theology of the Father, purgative way – has as its objective: total conversion:

b) The second stage – theology of the Son, illuminative way – has for its objective the incarnation of Jesus Master in the Pauline. We can follow its dynamics from the words of Fr. Alberione himself:

  1. Jesus is truth: the study of the doctrine of Jesus Christ; that is the sanctification of the mind, to love the Lord with all one’s mind (Gospel, religious instruction, thoughts and judgments of J. C.), exclusion of anything contrary, even if it were for mere apprehension.
  2. Jesus Christ is way: imitation of the life of Jesus Christ, by sanctifying one’s will, that is, love of God with all one’s will.
  3. Jesus Christ is life: supreme study of the divine grace: Mass, Visit, Communion, habitual union with all one’s heart [DF 171].

c) The third stage – theology of the Holy Spirit, unitive way – has for its objective the sanctification of the Pauline.

6.6. This prospect, stupendous and regenerating, shall not become life without the rigorous commitment and daily application of precise practical modalities:

a) for total conversion: the sacrament of reconciliation, the daily examination of conscience, a detailed spiritual project;

b) for the incarnation

c) for sanctification: aside from commitment to a sacramental life, the care of theologal life (faith, hope and charity) and the development of grace by means of prayer, acquisition of virtues and the giving value to the aids given by God, in the first place the guidance of the Spiritual Director. (summary)

6.7. Some question-proposals for us:

These are aspects of a challenge with which the charism of the Founder perennially appeals to us in view of its ever faithful and dynamic transmission to the new generations.*


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

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