35. DISPOSITIONS FOR DOING THE APOSTOLATE WELL: WISDOM AND HUMILITY
The last day of the Exercises is day of gratitude. There is a great deal of grace at work in these days, there is much communication of goods given by the Lord. To the many graces correspond much gratitude.
Love this God who loved you first and who thinks of you from all eternity. He made you to be born of pious families, in a Christian nation, he endowed you with many good inclinations, he gave you the grace of the vocation. Love this God who has much predilection for you.
May your day be eucharistic. Concentrate on a single point: the Sacred Host; rest on here: the consecrations of the Mass. May everything be a preparation and thanksgiving to the consecration of the Mass and Communion. It is Jesus who calls you to such intimacy and gives you the grace.
May all your life be a Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. You will spend eternity in this: to glorify the Father through the Son, to go to the Father through the Son, in the Holy Spirit! This is the way which Mary followed, which St. Paul indicates to you, the way which you must take.
Today is a great harvest of intimate joy, of good reso-lutions, of petition to the Lord that he may make you persevering.
The difficulties are not lacking, but the Bridegroom is with you, fear not!1 The way is narrow, the path that leads to Heaven is tiring.2 You will meet harshness, thorns, but look towards the end. Where is this narrow way leading? Remember that heavenly Land where you will finally find Jesus forever in the purest joy. I got away from the world and came in solitude. So it is every day of your life, until the eternal day which has no setting.
The Institutes have also their trials, like the life of every individual, of every person who wants to be a saint. Do not be surprised of the difficulties, do not stop in the daily work. Go ahead! It is necessary to be very good and wise. May those who have little education, be at least, very good. The educated persons obey more easily, but instead, it is much difficult to deal with someone who is proud and in addition, ignorant. The most difficult thing is to deal with the ignorant persons who are not good. It needs discretion.
If you will meet someone who stands in your way, who speaks ill of you, do not stop, but follow grace and its invitations, do not get lost.
Whoever goes to Communion everyday, cannot but seek to become similar to Jesus. Up to where does your goodness reach? How similar are you to Jesus already?
Treat the persons well. In receiving a letter, in welcoming someone, first, speak to Jesus: Lord, make me understand well this person whom you sent me and to answer according to your wisdom and goodness. Grant me and her to walk through your ways without making mistakes.
At times, there are Superiors who understand nothing of government, who treat the sisters as if they were statues of plaster. Every person has its own needs, it is necessary to know how to understand. As God did not make two leaves alike, thus, we will not find two persons perfectly similar. Each one has its own needs, tendencies, peculiarities and nuances.
Do the apostolate with wisdom. May your apostolate be wise, enlightened, above all on three points: Eucharist, Priesthood, Liturgy.
All the eucharistic mystery, as presented to us by the Church; as that by St. John in chapter 6; as described by St. Paul. Ego enim accepi a Domino, quod et tradidi vobis quoniam Dominus Iesus in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem et gratias agens fregit et dixit: Accipite et manducate: hoc est Corpus meum...1 (I received from the Lord what I handed on to you, namely, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said: This is my Body...)
Be enlightened on the Priesthood. Who is the priest, who is Mary and how the mission of Mary Most Holy in relation to the Priest, helps, coordinates and completes the Priestly ministry.
May you have a clear knowledge of God's will on your Institute. Up to now, you are a bit lost here and there. Now, one direction in simplicity. Be Pious Disciples and may you have the freedom to walk fast under your government. You have had many friends, but only one Father: Jesus Christ.1 May you have few counsellors. You will advance better, following the spirit that guides the whole Congregation.
In 1911, I started writing a book: The woman associated to priestly zeal1 and I finished in 1913, to prepare for the Pious Disciple light on her vocation and on the vocations.
Grow in the knowledge of the liturgical apostolate. Before long, choose and prepare those whom you want to go for study. Start them off with the study of Theology, with the knowledge of the Liturgy, Sacred Scripture, morals, asceticism and mystical theology.
Make a pact with God: Lord, give us good health and sufficient means; Lord, sustain us in the difficulties which we will encounter.
You must have your periodicals1 from which your apostolates may come out: Eucharist, Priesthood, Liturgy.
To arrive at this, do not take ignorant ladies and if there are, may they have the dispositions of intelligence and the capacity to learn and educate oneself. May they be upright persons, open, ready, because it is needed to give to Jesus the best flowers. Reserve for him the most intelligent persons, the most beautiful things, persons capable to run in the ways of God.
The Church is wise and the treasures of her wisdom were poured out in the Sacred Liturgy. Welcome them and spread them a little at a time.
May you have patience with those who are slow, because in all the religious Families, the Lord permits that there are those who only add to the number; as he allows the mistakes even in the acceptance, in the admission to the novitiate, to the Profession.
At other times, the admission is not mistaken, but the correspondence is lacking on the part of the subject.
Jesus had forgiven all, because he knew the human weakness; you are also to forgive and to help. All the more when the mistakes and failures sometimes, are not fruit of malice, but of the little preparation, of previous unpleasant experiences, of less favorable environment.
Therefore, yours must be a wise apostolate, an apostolate accomplished with true piety, according to the spirit of the Church.
In addition, may the apostolate be accomplished with humility. Do it according to your state.
You are not priestesses, you are Pious Disciples and your work must be done in collaboration with and under the guidance of the Priest.
You are women and preaching is not entrusted to you, nor the direction of souls, nor the administration of the sacraments. Thus, you must accomplish your ministry in union with the Priest, depending on the Priest, following the wise rules of the Church.
With all that, you can become holier than the Priests, like Mary Most Holy who surpassed St. Peter and the other Apostles in holiness.
According to her nature, the woman is more inclined to piety, humility and union with God. This is your strength. Pro devoto femineo sexu.1
You have the power of the heart more than the others. To the woman who is pious, humble, who loves with the Heart of Mary Most Holy, one cannot resist, she always win.
May you not have the pretence to do that which you must not do, but may you have the holy ambition to remain in humility and to make use of the strength and powers that God gave you for his glory and for the good of the Church and of persons.
This humility shall bring you great fruits and be careful of these fruits. In fact, those who are proud, those who trust in themselves are those who fall into error, who make damages, who impede the good. Humility shall make you careful, prudent, in a way to avoid intellectual and moral failures.
Do the apostolate with wisdom and humility.
Do not rely much on what I tell you, but rely on the action of the Holy Spirit, on the reflections that you will do, because God speaks directly in the silence of the soul. Be always very recollected after the preachings.
1 Cf. Mt. 28, 20.
2 Cf. Mt. 7, 14.
1 1Cor. 11, 23-24.
1 Cf. 1Cor. 4, 15.
1 J. Alberione, Woman associated to priestly zeal. The first edition of this book came out in Alba(Cuneo) in 1915, after a long and ardous editing, by the printing school “Piccolo Operaio.” Many other editions and versions followed, however, the first edition still remains the best.
1 Since 1947, the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master had already internal bulletins which changed title as years passed. They have a monthly Liturgical magazine since 1952 entitled: La vita in Cristo e nella Chiesa.
1 Pro devoto femineo sexu: from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, antiphon of the Wednesday and Saturday matins.