Friday, January 2, 2009

January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009
From A Year With Blessed James Alberione, Compiled by J. Maurus
The Gift of the Morning
It is necessary first of all that, in the morning, we be careful to wake up in time and place ourselves at God's service. We should consider ourselves to be God's servants whom the master calls. "Come and follow me" (Mt 19:21). Jesus invites us every morning.
Be up, rise and come. Begin the day quickly as I do, as I used to do. Come and follow me and you will have a great treasure in heaven! One day, spent well, is enough to make one a saint; even only one Holy Communion would be sufficient.
On this point, we shall recall a thought from the book Un segreto di felicita: "No one who fails to impose the self-discipline of getting up promptly at a fixed time can become holy. The beginning of the day determines the entire course of the day."
Your first thought, gaze, word should be turned to Jesus and to Mary.
"From the moment I wake up my soul turns to Mary," used to say Blessed Susone.
It is this first act that sets the tone, gives the decisive note to the day.
(FYI - the picture above is Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee).
From Saint and Thought For Every Day, by Blessed James Alberione
A Motto for the Entire Year: Have Trust!
And now I am telling you something which you should remember and which must accompany you all the days of this year and of your life: have trust. Jesus Christ said the same thing to His apostles: have trust!
Trust in the Providence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. What is the Father's Providence? He takes care of all men and directs all events with His infinite wisdom and power, moving everything by His ordinance and for His greater glory. Have trust in the Providence of the Son. He is the wisdom of the Father. He enlightens us with heavenly light. Furthermore, let us believe firmly what we hear and what we read in the Gospel. Trust in the Providence of the Holy Spirit. He will give us the grace to be holy. He will give us His gifts and His fruits. He will give us the increase of faith, hope and love that we need. There will be duties to be carried out and difficulties to be overcome this year. Therefore, let us trust in the Providence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
What Strikes Me Most
I like the idea of "one day, spent well, is enough to make one a saint." Although I am no way near being a saint, living my faith life as best as I can one day at a time can be a realistic goal. "Getting up promptly" in the morning... I need to work on that one!
What strikes you most?

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Why a blog? Why St. Paul? Why do I think I have any business doing this?
We are all on a spiritual journey. We all want that journey to lead us to heaven, to eternity with God. For this journey, we need one another.
The journey so far has led me to read and learn about so many forms of authentic Catholic spirituality - Ignatian, Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, Franciscan, etc. My biggest problem was that I came to love each one tremendously. I began reading more and more, spending more and more time at the Daughters of St. Paul bookstore on Watson Road here in St. Louis. Who would have thought my greatest conversion story would take place in a bookstore? Mine was not quite as sudden or dramatic as St. Paul on the road to Damascus, but getting to know the Daughters of St. Paul affected me no less significantly.
The sisters are Eucharistic by nature. The first time I entered the chapel in their bookstore, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and one of the sisters was on her knees, gazing at Christ, with an indescribably beautiful smile on her face. I had a glimpse of heaven. I knelt at one of the other kneelers and noticed on the wall behind the monstrance the words: "Fear not, I am with you. From here I want to enlighten. Atone for sin." I had that brief moment of absolute certainty that I was on the right path.
Over the last several years I have worked my way through as many books, CD's, DVD's and conversations with the Daughters of St. Paul that time has allowed. Time is at such a premium for all of us. Years ago we were told that with advances in technology we would have much more free time on our hands. We all know this has not been the case. Our lives are busier and more hectic than ever. Even if we are unable to find time to read good books, see enlightening movies or attend lectures and discussions, maybe we could all spend a little time on the internet supporting one another on our faith journeys. Many of you know more about many aspects of Catholic spirituality than I do.
Pope John Paul the Great called us all to a New Evangelization, to share the Gospel with the world. I am hoping we can all be St. Paul in this blog space by sharing Christ with one another and with others. St. Paul travelled to many foreign and often hostile regions to evangelize the world; we are fortunate to be able to use the internet to reach even farther and more quickly.
The idea of using today's means of social communication to spread the Gospel was given to Blessed James Alberione on the night between the centuries (December 31, 1900 - January 1, 1901). He was a 16 year-old seminary student adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament when a special light came to him from the Host. Following this, Blessed James Alberione became the founder of the Society of St. Paul priests, the Daughters of St. Paul, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Sisters of the Queen of Apostles, and numerous institutes that are also part of the Pauline family.
So what is Pauline spirituality? In my experience, Pauline spirituality encompasses all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and love of all the other spiritualities and Saints of the Church. It is the members of the Pauline family who are the happiest people I know! It is loving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with all our hearts and souls, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and St. Paul.
So why St. Paul? I can relate to St. Paul. We first meet him in the New Testament as a sinner. He has a thorn in his side that God decides is best not to take away. I sometimes wish I knew what that thorn was, but it's probably better I don't know. I like to pretend it is one of my many weaknesses or faults. If St. Paul could go from persecuting Christ and His Church to becoming the person responsible for spreading the Gospel and establishing the Church in foreign lands, the least I can do is start a blog. I have been especially inspired by my two favorite bloggers, Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, and a Pauline Cooperator named Rae Stabosz. I believe Sr. Margaret and Rae are doing just what St. Paul and Blessed James Alberione would be doing with the internet.
In future blogs (which will be shorter than this first post!), I would like to share writings of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione, and many others. I look forward to others sharing writings from other Catholic spiritualities and writers. An especially Pauline way of sharing is to point out to one another what aspects particularly speak to each of us.
Another Pauline trait is to pray for one another. My prayer is that we support one another on our path to holiness. Our goal is to glorify God in all that we do - so let's do it!