2. THE MISSION OF THE PIOUS DISCIPLES (*)
Rome, Christmas 1946
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, and dedicated to adoration and to the priestly 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, could draw.
Later on, through prayer, the way of life of this Family and the concrete form of its relationships with the other families that were to be instituted, took on shape.
At that time I wrote the book: Woman Associated to Priestly Zeal, in which I expressed my ideas in the manner then possible. However, I did not restrict myself to this; I shed light on the apostolate of the woman working in union with and under the direction of the apostolate of the priest.
I was guided by what my Spiritual Director1 always told me: Before beginning any work, make sure you have a proportionate number of persons who will pray and, if necessary, will sacrifice themselves for the external works, if you want these works to be life-giving.
You have a fundamental and vital mission, hidden like the roots, but nourishing the trunk, the branches, the flowers, the leaves, the fruit.
Jesus-Priest and Mary his Mother are always united in the economy of the redemption and therefore, they always remain united in the economy of grace. Mary is the mediatrix and distributor of grace until the end of the ages.
a) Mary has given us Jesus, the Divine Master, priest and victim: Jesus is the flower of the Virgin Mother.
Through your prayers - Send good laborers into your harvest1 - many priests must come to the Society of St. Paul2 and to the Church. For this intention carry out an apostolate of interior life, desires, prayer and suffering, like Mary. You give much help to vocations with your work, the search for offerings, the service rendered to the candidates for the priesthood and the zeal exercised according to your situation. I would like to have very many of you! and that each one may bring in to the Society of St. Paul and to the Church alter Christus,3 a Priest.
b) Then, the priest must live and work.
Jesus carried out his mission; in the house of Nazareth, Mary carried out her duty to Jesus. During the public life, as well as during the passion and death of Jesus, she fulfilled her role; she prayed and after his death and resurrection, she still carried out her duty both to Christ and to his Mystical Body, the Church.
Therefore, you will continue your work, your prayer for priests in the active ministry; for sick priests, for deceased priests. You will have a special share in the fruits of the Masses, prayers and apostolate of the priest.
c) Jesus Christ is not only present in the world in his Mystical Body, but is physically, truly, really, substantially1 present in the Tabernacle. Every good present in the Church and in souls comes from the Mass, the Real Presence and Communion; all the water as from a font that pours forth, all the life-giving nourishment that flows in the sacraments and sacramentals. Persons must reach this source, union with Jesus; everything else is a means. Together with the eucharistic soul of Mary, we must ask everything from Jesus, the Divine Master, present in the Sacred Host.
This is your role before the Tabernacle:
Living Lamps before the Eucharistic Jesus.
Victims with Jesus: sacrifices are part of your apostolate.
Servants of honor of the Tabernacle and of its Divine Guest.
Angels of the Eucharist who receive and give.
Souls who hunger and thirst for the eucharistic bread and for the waters of his grace.
Hearts that share the desires, intentions, loneliness of their Eucharistic Spouse for all, but especially for the person dearest to his heart, the priest.
The first confidants of Jesus Host, listening to every word of life that comes from him and meditating on it in your heart, as Mary did.1
May the Divine Master look upon you with eyes of predilection; may he teach you his ways; may he fill you with the joy of your vocation; may he live in you with the fullness of his virtues.
Have faith, do not doubt; this Jesus is infinitely faithful to his promises.
d) Mary spoke about Jesus to the apostles and evangelists. The Fathers tell us that from her, St. Luke learned what he later narrated about the private life of Jesus: the annunciation, the visit to St. Elizabeth, the birth, the episode of finding the boy Jesus in the Temple, the obedience of Jesus and his growth in wisdom, age and grace at Nazareth.1
This is why a liturgical-eucharistic apostolate is reserved to you. With your soul full of Jesus Host, how could you contain and conceal in your heart your faith, your hope and your love? You are to express, manifest and spread it according to your vocation. You have made the way concrete with the totality of those initiatives which is already called, as a kind of summary word, Domus Dei1 May it live, may it be active, may it bear fruit.
To those who understand, my fullest blessing; with the promise of a dying priest, Fr. Perino,1 whom you attended so well: From heaven I will help you.
Watchword for 1947: pray and look for vocations.
(*) The volume Abundantes Divitiae - The Charismatic History of the Pauline Family - in Appendix III, concerning the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, this meditation is found in its entirety, with the marginal numbers 279-291, entitled “The mission of the Pious Disciples.” It was preceded by two critical “editions” of Luigi Giovannini and Ezechiel Pasotti.
This meditation was published for the first time for internal use, in the Ipsum audite (IA) series of the Pious Disciples, n.1, pp. 14-18.
1 Refers to Can. Francesco Chiesa (1874-1946). On December 11, 1987, with the recognition of his heroic virtues, he was declared Venerable.
1 cf. Lk. 10,2.
2 Initially, Fr. J. Alberione wanted that the male Congregation founded by him be called “Pious Society of St. Paul.”
3 Alter Christus, The term used by St. Pius X for priest in his encyclical letter E supremi apostolatus of October 4, 1903, ASS. 36, pp. 129-139.
1 cf. Council of Trent, III Session of October 11, 1551: Decree on the Most Holy Eucharist (Denzinger nos. 1635-1661).
1 cf. Lk. 2, 51.
1 cf. Lk. 1, 26-56; 2, 1-7, 41-52.
1 Domus Dei: since 1942, referred to all the works of the Liturgical Apostolate as a whole.
1 Fr. Perino Giovanni M. Francesco Saverio (1913-1946) was a Pauline priest who died in the House of Sanfre on September 7, 1946. He was assisted by the Pious Disciples during his illness until death; he addressed the sisters with the words cited before dying.