Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let's go to the Lord by the right path

From A Year With Blessed James Alberione,

Compiled by J. Maurus

As the direct line is the shortest to join two points, so the right intention is a direct gaze that starts from our heart and without halting at secondary stations or objects, goes directly to God.

The simplicity of heart counsels:

  • "I want to please the Lord,

  • I want to please our Lady,

  • I want that my day be eucharistic,

  • I want to do penance for my sins,

  • I want to provide for paradise."

On the contrary, the wrong intention leads to deflect the motives of our good actions. That is to do them:

because they are seen,

because I want to cut a good figure.

If my aim is only to please my body, to satisfy my vanity, to satisfy my love for comfort and laziness, in short, if instead of aiming to please God, I aim at something human, I do not have the right intention.

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,

by Blessed James Alberione

Suffering and Comfort

Sooner or later everyone is subjected to physical or moral sufferings. They could come from different causes. There are sufferings which perhaps we cannot even manifest to others. Some have personal sufferings; some suffer for others; and some suffer for both reasons. Let us offer the fourth sorrowful mystery of the rosary for those who suffer. May every Christian obtain a merciful heart, like the heart of Jesus.

What Strikes Me Most Today

What strikes me most today is the line, "If instead of aiming to please God, I aim at something human, I do not have the right intention." I like to think I aim only to please God, then I see the list of other aims we may have, and realize human aims play a larger role than I would like to admit to. I especially worry that some motivations are because they are seen by others or because I want to look good. It does help me to read Blessed Alberione pointing it out for us --> not only to be aware of the motivations behind my actions, and striving for "right intentions," (as these form the straightest line between God and me), but also as a way of letting me know that I must not be the only one struggling with human motivations outweighing Godly motivations. This Lent I'm going to try to find opportunities to perform Christian acts without others knowing I did it, to avoid the temptation to make myself look good to others, but to do it for Christ alone (although I may have just blown that one already by announcing I'm doing it, trying to look good to people reading this blog!) Boy do I have a long way to go!

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!