Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturdy, March 28, 2009

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,

Compiled by J. Maurus

Keep the balance

On the stage of the world take place so many things. Everyday has its share of news and events. And the world moves on as does the time: one moment is so fine and tranquil and suddenly there comes a storm.

Saints know how to profit from everything: the good as well as the bad. They sanctify the good thanking the Lord for it and loving him ever more who is the giver of all good, for "every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven" (James 1:17).

Sanctify also what is not good, accepting it with resignation and offering it all as expiation for our sins and giving glory to God always.

Always keep the equilibrium: don't exult in good fortune and don't despair in ill fortune. Offer everything to the Lord, knowing that we have to sanctify both the good and the bad.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,

by Blessed James Alberione


A continuous interior struggle between the spirit and the flesh is waged within us. How many weaknesses there are in the spirit! So the flesh takes advantage. It is Jesus who makes reparation for everyone; He asks the heavenly Father to give us fortitude, so that we may resist our concupiscence. How many pure and virgin souls there are!

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "Sanctify also what is not good, accepting it with resignation and offering it all as expiation for our sins and giving glory to God always." The timing of this was perfect; I needed this one today. Yesterday was incredibly busy at work. I was way overbooked, and I was on call for our whole group. I wound up getting so many emergency cases from the ER that I was performing procedures until 2:30 this morning, and I had to get up at 5:30 this morning to start another full day. I was exhausted today, and finding myself upset and edgy and actually feeling sorry for myself. I have no trouble offering the good up to God and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life, but today I am going to sanctify what is not good - I will try to use it as an opportunity to offer up my exhaustion and even my self-pity as an offering to God. As an offering of atonement for sin, I don't come close to repaying the debt I owe. What I am finding is it causes me to think of Christ in a positive way, when I am most stressed and most likely to deal with stress in more sinful ways (like the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and/or pride.) Perhaps in these more difficult moments, our desire to be nearer the Lord rather than separate ourselves from the Lord must be pleasing to Him.

What strikes you most today?

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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!