“TO THE PIOUS DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER”
Collection of meditations and teachings
By Maria Lucia Ricci, pddm
with the collaboration of Clelia Arlati, pddm
Fr. Joseph Barbero, ssp, for the notes
Initials of the work: APD
I am glad to give the requested
IMPRIMATUR for the whole
series of transcripts, composed
volumes of the preachings
of Fr. James Alberione “To the
Pious Disciples of the Divine Master.”
Albano Laziale, 21 June 1986
+ Dante Bernini, Bishop
General House, Pious Disciples of the Divine Master
Via Gabriele Rossetti, 17 - 00152 Rome (Italy)In 1908, I began to pray and to have prayers said
that a religious Family might come into being,
a family marked by a hidden life,
dedicated to Adoration
and to the sacerdotal and liturgical apostolate;
a family which would completely belong
to Jesus the Divine Master
present in the Eucharistic Mystery.
Why? So that it might become a source of grace
from which other religious families,
those more especially dedicated to apostolic life
You have a fundamental and vital mission,
hidden like the roots, but nourishing the trunk,
branches, flowers, leaves, fruits.
Jesus Priest and Mary his Mother,
are always united in the economy of redemption;
therefore, they always remain united
in the economy of grace.
APD (1946), 21; 24-25.
I do not exactly know up to what point
God will lead your souls, but I know that
your vocation is a vocation of intimacy,
of special perfection. Vocation of love,
similar to that of the Most Blessed Virgin.
Will you give to Jesus that which he
expects from you? To the Church all that
you should? To the Priest all the charity
that is expected?
You are invited to follow Mary,
to walk on the most intimate way of
communication with the Divine Master.
APD (1947), 244, 245
PRESENTATION The collection of “meditations” in this volume shows a particular character compared to the preceding publications.
It needs to go back to the years 1946-1947 when the magnetic recorder was not yet in use; notes were handwritten in strict fidelity to the word heard. With solicitude, typewritten notes were sent to Fr. Alberione who looked over them, made corrections and gave the go signal for printing for private use.
The meditations published here were given by the Founder from Christmas Eve of 1946 to March 30, 1947, in the chapel of the Daughters of St. Paul, now in Via Antonio Pio, # 75.
The Daughters of St. Paul were present, in whose community was included from November 1946 the group of the Pious Disciples novices. Such union had been decided by the Sacred Congregation of the Religious and transmitted with other reso-lutions in the Decree of August 24, 1946.
The Decree was the answer to a subsequent and more explicit request of Fr. James Alberione, who humbly asked the competent Authority to approve the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master as a Congregation distinct from the Daughters of St. Paul.
For all those concerned (about 300 Pious Disciples), this was
a period of obscurity, of suffering, in a delicate and ambiguous position. It was a matter of being respectful to the Church's dispositions, but the profound suffering of many souls could not be ignored, who in various dates, freely made their choice to respond to one's own “callingl.”
Fr. Alberione was the first to obey the Decree and to lead others to obedience, but in his soul, he felt the pressing force of a particular foundational charism. He spoke to his daughters and expressed in humility and prudence what he thought was necessary. The “ex-Pious Disciples” especially, understood and accepted what concerned them.
It was evident how it is confirmed in the text that the specific apostolate of the Pious Disciples has to be carried out in forms distinct from those of the Daughters of St. Paul.
Blessed Joseph Timothy Giaccardo, most faithful interpreter of Fr. Alberione's thought and will, after the two Christmas meditations, wrote:
“The meditations of Primo Maestro are illuminare tenebras in all things. His words are overflowing of the Spirit that made him Father of many souls and which give light, comfort, life” (January 5, 1947).
The one entitled “The mission of the Pious Disciples,” was entirely autographed by Fr. Alberione; for this reason and for its contents, we consider it a precious inheritance.
The original is conserved in the archives of the Pious Disciples.
The 21 meditations dated between June 12 to 21, 1947, constitute a course of Spiritual Exercises. They were given two or three times a day, depending on the availability of Fr. Alberione. They were taken together with the method above-mentioned.
The Retreat was held in Albano Laziale (Rome), in the Novitiate House of the Pious Society of St. Paul, on Via Castro Partico # 12. Following the suggestion of Fr. Alberione himself, the participants were chosen among those who were mainly responsible for persons and works, and the “elderly” or those who were part of the initial nucleus of the Institute.
It was a very important historical moment, either for the canonical organization achieved which opened a new journey, or
for the new horizons enunciated in the name of God and by the will of the Church.
They were days of intense light and a profound presence of the Spirit. The word of the Founder which was freely expressed by then, the trusting serenity of the participants, created a climate of
the Cenacle, in silence and in prayer. The Pious Disciples who came out from the obscurity and the fears of a recent past, ventured themselves with enthusiasm on the new apostolic openings.
If the first 16 meditations obliged the Founder to take the needed restrictions, from June 1947 onwards, it can always be noted in his word a firm communication and joyful at times, that leads to live a “new” present, offering to the Pious Disciples the ample perspectives of a future which, especially for the apostolic action, indicated higher summits and wider expansion, always in fidelity and in creativity that is asked in the programmatic motto: “To be Pious Disciples living and active in Christ and in the Church.” In the period towards the end of 1946 and the beginning of 1947, the word of the Founder was invested with prophetic inspiration which made the divine presence perceptible, so as to give light in darkness, to guide the doubtful journey of the moment, to transmit the certainty he had in the light of faith and which he expressed confidentially to his vicar, Fr. J. Timothy Giaccardo:
“I am always more convinced and persuaded, for natural and supernatural reasons, that the institution of the Pious Disciples is in accordance with nature, is in accordance with Canon Law, is in accordance with the Gospel and with the Divine Will” (11-19-46).
In June 1947, to the assembly gathered for the Spiritual Exercises, the prophetic voice was more sure, vibrant, expressed great things courageously, touching, that gladdened the whole being.
It deals with the projects which must become gradually and courageously a reality, always founded in the indispensable condition of a deep interior life, of the following of Christ on the footsteps of Mary Most Holy.
Thus, the Pious Disciple is qualified for the proclamation, in the fulfilment of the triple apostolic mission which “spring forth from one single Love and which are directed to one single end:
love of Jesus living in the Eucharist, living in the priesthood, living in the Church” (Constitutions 3).
The following meditations: of June 7, Retreat of June, August 15, were given by Fr. Alberione in Alba, Mother House, Piazza San Paolo, in the Pauline complex “Casa Divina Provvidenza.”
Maria Lucia Ricci, pddm
Rome, September 8, 1990
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary