11. THE PIOUS DISCIPLES' APOSTOLATE LEADS PERSONS TO THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
Rome, Pauline Formation House, Via Grottaperfetta 56, February 10, 1947
Today, let us give thanks to the Lord for all the graces he has given you since 1908 and in the years especially important for you: 1919, 1923, 1924, 1947.1
The first duty is always to give thanks.
Then, let us pray to the Lord in this way: Visit O Lord, this your Family ... Lord, guard this vineyard which you yourself had planted 1 so that it may produce grapes, worthy to be made into wine for the Holy Sacrifice. Bring to perfection now this vineyard and make it produce the fruits you desire, those which are pleasing to you: devotion, eucharistic life.
Let us also ask pardon for the stains of sin, faults and defects which are still present.
May the Lord come to your aid, make you grow, help you to advance in the religious spirit and increase the number of vocations.
It is a fact that the Divine Master calls many souls to the religious vocation, but then it is necessary that someone may guide them, come to their aid, help them to grow and encourage them. You must become mothers of vocations and of beautiful vocations. Oh, what a reward awaits those who have kindled vocations, who have worked to bring them to fulfillment! May there be many persons who dedicate their life to the glory of the Divine Master, present in our midst!
I have always been struck by the words: Vere, tu es Deus absconditus!1 Indeed, you are a hidden God! He dwells in the Eucharist. Who knows him? Who loves him? Many years ago, when I stopped to reflect on this consideration, I ended up saying: Lord, grant me the grace to obtain that there may be a religious Family in the Church, who does not only know you, but who may love you with dedication and complete devotion, honor you in your sacrament of love, lead innumerable souls to your Tabernacle!
1. To lead souls to the Eucharist. It is necesary that Christians may not only be so, by manifesting their faith publicly, but for them to go to confession, repent and be cleansed of their sins, to approach the Eucharistic table and partake of the food who is Jesus.
The Lord wants that you greatly honor the title given to Our Lady in the Litanies: Mater divinae gratiae. Our Lady is Mother of the divine grace also because she is the Mother of Jesus present in the Most Blessed Eucharist. She is to help you obtain the grace that the souls may not only know Jesus, which is the particular task of the apostolate of the press, but that they may come to the bannister, to the altar, to communion.
True Christianity is to be lived and let there be no repetition of the gospel scene which so saddened the Divine Master's Heart. When he began to speak of the Eucharist to the very crowd who had their fill of the miraculous bread, this crowd began to dis- appear; almost all of them went away. Only a handful of people stayed with the Divine Master and to them Jesus, with deep sadness and longing, addressed this question: Do you want to go away, too? Because I am not changing my teaching, my will...
Then St. Peter answered for all: Domine, ad quem ibimus? Verba vitae aeternae habes;1 Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
I am repeating this so as to explain to you another point concerning your purpose, your finality and in order that your duty may become more and more clear in your mind. You do not withdraw from the propaganda to become idle, but to give the Church your valuable collaboration in the exercise of your ministry.
You must become religious who are recollected, more with-drawn, so as to become more women apostles and to work more effectively.
2. Let us recall St. Scholastica,1 the sister of St. Benedict.2
The Lord established that the woman was to be the administrator of life, thus he gave Eve, mater viventium, to Adam. Even in the supernatural field, the woman has to be administrator of life.
So is Mary Most Holy, who brought Jesus into the world, she grew him up, offered him up. From her, every grace comes to us. Mary is the Mother of our spiritual life.
In most cases, where there is an Institute for religious men, there is a Family of religious women close to it. Think of the Dominicans, Franciscans, Salesians, etc.
We find St. Scholastica close to St. Benedict. Through them, God raised up two religious Families that collaborate mutually.
St. Benedict and St. Scholastica were close to each other in birth and in life, in their undertakings and in their death. They are close to each other in glory, too.
This day is very important for you because it marks your birthday, it recalls the anniversary of your birth. Many years ago today, by divine will, those who were to dedicate themselves to your special apostolate were set apart. The sowing took place a long time before that, but externally, it was on February 10, 19231 that the formation of your little community was realized.
Honour St. Scholastica and collaborate as she did in religious life, in accordance with the spirit of the Church.
St. Gregory1 describes the event that is narrated in the life of St. Scholastica, on the occasion of the last conversation she had with her brother St. Benedict...totum diem in Dei laudibus sacrisque colloquiis ducentes...and then, Rogavi Deum meum, et audivit me...Sicque factum est, ut totam noctem pervigilem ducerent, atque per sacra spiritalis vitae colloquia, sese vicaria relatione satiarent (...they spent the whole day singing God's praises and conversing about spiritual life...and then, I turned to my God and he heard my prayer...So it came about that they spent the entire night together and both of them derived great profit from the holy conversation they had about interior life).
For St. Scholastica, this was like the recommendation of her soul, which does not consist only of a some ritual prayers, but in the ardent desire and preparation of the heart to go to see and enjoy God.
Three days later as St. Benedict stood in his room loking up towards the sky, he beheld his sister's soul leaving her body and entering the court of Heaven in the form of a dove.
May there always be very delicate relationships between you and the Priests. Let there always be due separation, due regard for one another, mutual respect, as the Mother of God did towards her Jesus.
May each one think that she bears God in her own heart and acts as if she carries the ciborium; each one of you indeed, is like a holy ciborium, abode of Jesus and of the Most Holy Trinity.
In the commemoration of St. Scholastica, call to mind the liturgical function that the Benedictine monks and nuns1 had and still have in the Church.
Therefore, let there be great esteem for everything that refers to the sacred liturgy.
You ought to do even more; do not stop at whatever is exter-nal, but enter into the inner sense of the Liturgy, do something more, different from that which everyone else is doing and arrive at the true apostolate: to lead souls to the Eucharist!
I pray the Divine Master to grant you the necessary graces in your mission and I give you my blessing.
1 1919 - In the news of the time, it was called the “hour of great test for the Institutes of St. Paul, which came out in 1914 (Pious Society of St. Paul) and in 1915 (Daughters of St. Paul)” .
1923 - On November 21, the Founder “set apart” the two young ladies Orsolina Rivata and Metilde Gerlotto, so as to start off the Pious Disciples.
1924 - February 10 was considered the starting date of the Congregation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master; on March 25 of the same year, day of the Annunciation, for the first time, the first eight took the religious habit and made the private profession of vows.
1947 - on April 3, Holy Thursday, the Institute of the Pious Disciple of the Divine Master was canonically established and received the Diocesan Approval.
1 Cf. Mt. 21, 33 ff.
1 Is. 45, 15.
1 Cf. Jn. 6, 60-70.
1 St. Scholastica (c. 480-543). February 10, the day of St. Scholastica was chosen by the Founder himself as the foundation day of the Institute, in remem-brance of St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict. The benedictine motto “ora et labora” , much similar to the spirit and apostolic action of the Pious Disciples, was emphasized.
2 St. Benedict of Norcia (c. 480-547).
1 The date 1923 referred to November 21 exclusively (as already said in foot- note n. 129); February 10, 1924 was the true beginning of the Institute of the Pious Disciples.
1 St. Gregory I, Pope (540-604) narrates in Book II of the Dialogues, the lives of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica.
1 Cf. Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, the Benedictines as headword.