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JESUS MASTER:
A SPIRITUALITY FOR THE MISSION

Orientations by Fr. Alberione to the Daughters of St. Paul

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

by Caterina Antonietta Martini fsp

 

III. JESUS MASTER,
SOURCE OF A SPECIFIC APOSTOLIC SPIRITUALITY

Going through the teaching of the Founder, it there clearly emerges that the Master is the foundation of the apostolic spirituality of the FP, built on two gospel movements that constitute the heart of the Alberione experience: "Come all of you to me"; "Go and teach all peoples". The two movements fuse as a single attraction of the Master, who attracts to himself the apostle and all men; he lets the need of the mission be felt and sends, as he is sent by the Father, in order that all men may be led to him. Only for didactic reasons do we make a distinction between the two movements that are indivisible by themselves. (return to summary)

1. "Venite ad me omnes" ["Come all of you to me"]: personal attraction

The meditations of the thirties are adapted to the cultural level and age of the Daughters. One meets then a simple manner of speaking, often proper to a father who speaks to small children, but it is important to note how the Founder already brings the attention of the community on Jesus who attracts,(37) who does first and then teaches, and hence he teaches with the word and by example; "We have to listen to him because so is the Father’s command, ‘Hear him’",(38) and imitate him,(39) "trying to love him, follow him and become little by little like the Master,(40) until the "identification with Christ." (41) It means going to his class in the principal schools: the Gospel and the Eucharist.

The school of the Gospel: the references to the words, gestures, virtues of Jesus to learn and apply to one’s own life in order to reach the point of doing as He did, are continuous. Equally many are the invitations to personally come to the school of the Gospel, considered as a textbook (cf. CVV 108) and of prayer: "The Gospel is the book of God, the book which God made to be written for us: to read the Gospel is to be in communication with Jesus, Divine Master. The soul that nourishes itself on the Gospel, nourishes itself of Jesus Christ, true life of the soul; it draws directly from the fountain of divine truth; models hitself after the marvelous examples of Jesus... To understand the Gospel one must read it, re-read and read it once more, without ever tiring to meditate on it. At the first reading one will understand little, on the second reading one understands better and thus one makes progress in knowing the divine truths" (cf. CVV 176). The classrooms of this school are: meditation, the hour of adoration, the study of sacred subjects, but also the examination of conscience defined us "contemplation of the life of Jesus". The learning, however, is not only of the mind, but of the whole person, which must be transfigured by Christ by taking the course of a gradual journey until "conformative identification," until the point of substitution.

— The school of the Eucharist: "He opened a school during His earthly life and now continues this school from the Tabernacle, in His eucharistic life... The Tabernacle is not only a throne of grace but also is a teaching chair.(42) "In the Eucharist there is the Baby born of Mary, who cried in the crib, who lived with her in Nazareth; there is the young man who worked as carpenter with St. Joseph; there is the Divine Master of the public life who preached and welcomed Magdalene; there is the Crucified One whom Mary assisted on the cross; there is the glorious Jesus who now is in Paradise." (43) (return to summary)

2. "Go throughout the world and teach all peoples": Apostolic attraction

As we have already underlined, the "Venite ad me omnes" ("Come all of you to me") in the heart of the Founder finds completion in another interior attraction: "He always felt alive: Go, preach, teach" (AD 82). The Pauline apostolate, Fr. Alberione insists since 1922 when the Institute was just constituted, is the "euntes, docete omnes gentes of the Divine Savior, it is always the command of the Divine Master to preach to all peoples... with the new means." (44) It is "the great apostolate of the press from which woman cannot stay out,(45) and expressly the FSP. The Founder tells them in 1935: "You have been made noble and raised to the point of standing side by side with the priestly mission, even more to the point of participating in it! Also to you the Divine Master commands: ‘Go and preach.’ Echo what you know until the farthest points of the world; preach from the housetops what has been told you in secret" (ER 107). The FSP therefore follows in footsteps of the Master, in his very own intentions, when he proclaimed the Beatitudes from the mountain and when through the streets of Palestine he revealed the face of the Father to the little ones, proclaiming a new doctrine which is not his, but which he receives from the Father. The FSP, almost physically, felt and feels at the side of the Master in this his journeying. He was and he is, when she knocks at all the doors during house-to-house propaganda; he was and he is when in the silence of the "Sala San Paolo" she thinks, studies, works on Christian thought and transforms it into publications or other similar forms in order "to make it reach people, especially the poorest and the children in the faith and even more those who do not have faith" (CVV 70).

The FSP have been formed by the Founder to feel the mission as a continuation of the mission of Jesus, exercised in the name of the Church: "I always thank the Divine Master because your apostolate has the distinctive character as that of Jesus himself: ‘To the poor the Gospel is preached’" (CVV 11). "Your apostolate must be the continuation of the life of Jesus Christ, who has been the first missionary of the Father. The Divine Master in his turn sent the apostles. Now the Church also sends you" (CVV 108). Fr. Alberione thought of the propagandists as messengers of their Master, when he wrote: "Blessed are the postwomen of Jesus who bring to every home his Gospel of love. Blessed are the assistants of the priestly zeal, who preach Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life in silence" (CVV 118). The use of all the inventions of science is "in order to communicate to people the doctrine of Jesus Christ" as "men and women collaborators of the Church among men, in order that they may know what they ought to believe; what they ought to do, what means they must use to be saved... She who is zealous for souls desires and uses the fastest and most effective means. That the Gospel may run, be widely diffused, bring salvation... The prudent apostle always possesses great love for souls and uses those means which are fastest and most effective." (46) (return to summary)

Continued: The response to the Alberione prophecy: Jesus Master in the works of the FSP and in spiritual experiences - 1 -

return to summary

 

           Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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