Thursday, April 16, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

From Saint and Thought For Every Day,
by Blessed James Alberione
From Eucharistic Communion to Transformation in Christ
It is in Holy Communion that our natural life is replaced by the divine life of Jesus Christ. Grafted onto Jesus, we will produce supernatural fruits. We affirm our desire to speak and think like Jesus, to live Jesus, to die with Jesus and to have no other ideals except to be a living image of Jesus Christ. "It is not I that live, it is Christ who lives in me." If this happens, Mass will leave a deep impression on us.
Communion is the consummation of the sacrifice. It is the transformation of man, the moment when our personality is entirely dominated by the Person of Jesus Christ. "It is no longer I that live, it is Christ living in me."
What Strikes Me Most Today
Blessed Alberione is a lot like St. Paul - both had a lot to say, and we're fortunate that they both wrote a lot of it down for us to have. Both had so much to say that neither repeats themselves often. So I think Blessed Alberione is really wanting to stress his St. Paul quote above by stating it twice. It is a hallmark of Pauline Spirituality - that I understood. What was more of a revelation to me is Blessed Alberione's point of how Eucharistic this quote is, and therefore, it stresses the strong Eucharistic nature of Pauline Spirituality. It all makes sense -we want to be living images of Jesus. We want Jesus to live in us, and when is Jesus more alive in us than in the Eucharist.
The practical application of this for my life is also spelled out by Blessed Alberione --> he is telling me to pay more attention to what is happening at Mass. This weekend after Mass I am going to make a conscious effort to stop and meditate after Communion about the reality of the living Christ within me - the awesomeness of that reality - rather than immediately preparing to leave and think about people I do or don't want to talk to after Mass, where I parked and what I'm going to eat. Then, hopefully, the Mass will leave an even deeper impression on me and I'll give Jesus more of a chance to live in me. Like Blessed Alberione says in today's title, "From Eucharistic Communion to Transformation in Christ." It sounded daunting when I first read it, but my baby step this week is to make that conscious effort after Mass this weekend, and see what God can do with that little effort.

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!