Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,

by Blessed James Alberione

Redemption Through His Blood

May God be blessed! How good He is! Men are not like God. Generally, men remember evil more than they remember good. But the Lord is goodness itself. In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul stresses very much this thought: that the glory of God lies in the very fact that He showed goodness towards us when He gave us His Son, and that His Son is glorified in giving us His blood in the redemption. And this means: trust in God, go ahead serenely!

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,

Compiled by J. Maurus

A two-fold story

If Fr. Alberione were to recall some of his memories which you think would be useful for the Pauline Family, he would narrate a two-fold story: the story of Divine Mercies and sing a lovely Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men.

But he would also tell a humbling story of lack of correspondence to the abundance of divine charity, and he would compose a fresh and sorrowful Miserere for the numberless negligences, sins, and offenses.

Daily in his converstation with Jesus, he meditated and grieved over the various aspects of the second story considering it part by part, hoping to obtain pardon for them through the intercession of Mary and St. Paul.

What Strikes Me Most Today

OK, I have to be honest and admit that I had to do some homework on this one, especially the "lack of correspondence to the abundance of divine charity." After much googling and reading, I saw this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2093: "Faith in God's love encompasses the call and the obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity. The first commandment enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for him and because of him."

So what did Blessed Alberione mean by his lack of correspondence? 2094 goes on to describe various ways one can sin against God's love, or divine charity. They are:

  • indifference

  • ingratitude

  • lukewarmness

  • acedia or spiritual sloth

  • hatred of God

I really could not imagine any of these applying to Blessed Alberione, but then I read more what each means. For example, lukewarmness can mean "hesitation or negligence in responding to (or corresponding with) divine love (or charity); it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.

I think I get it now. After reading Blessed Alberione's biography, it is clear he felt personally responsible for each and every member of the Pauline Family. He was understandably worried about making sure they were physically and spiritually well, and able to meet life's daily needs. He was like a father to a tremendous number of people.

As a husband and father, I am constantly trying to anticipate the needs of my family. I am responsible for providing food and shelter and an education to my children. I have to admit my first thought is not that I should hope in God's abundant charity that all will be provided. I go to work to earn a living and support my family. I try to pray for our needs and thank God for all our blessings, and I try to teach my children to do the same. But I know well how easy it is to feel that all we have is a result of our hard work, rather than giving all thanks to God and trusting in His divine charity. I suspect any time Blessed Alberione felt that he was counting on his own ideas, thoughts, work, plans, or projects, he was somehow failing by not trusting totally and completely in divine charity alone. I know he was much better at giving all thanks and glory to God than I am. So I'll try to use Blessed Alberione's thoughts on this matter as a reminder for me to try to recognize that all in life is a gift of God's divine charity, and I'll continue to work hard to use these gifts from God to be the best husband and father to my family, who are God's greatest gifts on Earth to me!

The video I chose for today shows Blessed Alberione in an audience with Pope Paul VI. You can see the Pope return frequently to Blessed Alberione, thanking him for his contributions to the Catholic Church. And Blessed Alberione thought he had a lack of correspondence to the abundance of divine charity? Boy do I have a long way to go!

What strikes you most today?

Click on "COMMENTS" below to share your thoughts - sorry my writing went on so long today - feel free to go on even more if you like!

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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!