THE PIOUS DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER
1. Prehistory of the Pious Disciples
On pp. 443f of Mi protendo in avanti, speaking of the beginnings of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Sr Maria Clelia Arlati PDDM suggested the following 1946 document of Fr Alberione. We can regard it as being pertinent, to some degree, to the prehistory of the Pious Disciples and it ties in well with the spirit which gave rise to his memoirs in Abundantes divitiæ.
In 1908 I began to pray and I had others pray for the birth of a religious family of secluded life, devoted to adoration and to the priestly and liturgical apostolate: belonging wholly to Jesus the Divine Master present in the mystery of the Eucharist…
One morning in July, around 1920, following a wonderful novena to Saint Paul and Saint James, I was walking with the late Canon Chiesa on the terrace of the rectory of Saints Cosmas and Damian Church in Alba. I was experiencing a complete fascination with our apostolate, and the voice of God who wanted me to be his more and more. Conversely, I saw in a vague way the various difficulties that would arise, the uncertainty of many things, the painful detachment from many muchloved persons, goods and ministries... To close my eyes and put myself solely and completely in God’s hands and abandon myself totally to his love had a strong appeal, indeed, it was almost like a spur digging deeper and deeper into my soul.
Having listened yet again to everything, Canon Chiesa, with his clear, faith-filled, God-inspired words, said: Go ahead resolutely; put aside all patently human views and support, but count completely on God and aim solely at God. Seek the help of prayers.
So we prayed and we reflected. Two life-giving and steadfast prayers were adopted: [the outcome was] the Association of Holy Masses and a Religious Family that would remain in adoration before the Tabernacle to obtain the graces necessary for those engaged especially in the apostolate.
Linked to these two Works were:
The recruitment of Vocations and the sanctification of the Priests and the Professed [members].
The canonical erection, the approval and the invigorating of the religious life of the Pious Society of Saint Paul.
Their establishment and expansion throughout the world.
The construction of our churches that for now are: Saint Paul, the Divine Master, and the Queen of Apostles.
The project regarding the Bible.
The press, the cinema and the radio, as the latest means, were then seen on the whole as the swiftest and most fruitful.
2. The mission of the Pious Disciples
At the end of that same year, 1946, Fr Alberione was preparing a very compact and important text with regard to the mission of the Pious Disciples. To make sure that he expressed his thoughts correctly (because at times his words were interpreted arbitrarily and reported to the Holy See in a distorted way), Fr Alberione wrote the text. M[other] M. Lucia Ricci PDDM typed it up, and he passed it on to Fr Giaccardo, who made minor corrections to it here and there. The Founder then read the meditation to the novices of the Pious Disciples, in the chapel of the Daughters of Saint Paul. M. M. Lucia Ricci, who was also present, had it printed, together with other meditations, which, as we know, were submitted to Fr Alberione before going to press. The meditation was included in the first volume of Ipsum audite. This is the definitive printed text.
[Handwritten and typewritten drafts omitted] 251-278
Rome, Christmas 1946
In 1908 I began to pray and I had others pray for the birth of a religious family of secluded life, devoted to adoration and to the priestly and liturgical apostolate: belonging wholly to Jesus the Divine Master present in the mystery of the Eucharist.
Why? So that it would become a source of grace, from which other religious families, dedicated in a special way to the apostolic life, could draw.
Subsequently, and with no let-up in prayer, the lifestyle of this family and the actual form of its relationship with the families to be instituted began to take shape.
I then wrote the book La donna associata allo zelo sacerdotale in which I voiced my ideas in the way then possible; not just limiting myself to this [aspect], but throwing light on the apostolate of women in union with and under the direction of the priestly apostolate.
My guiding light was what my Spiritual Director always told me: Before starting any work, make sure of a proportionate number of people who will pray and, if needs be, sacrifice themselves for these works, if you want them to be life-giving.
Yours is a fundamental and life-giving mission, hidden like the roots, but nourishing the trunk, the branches, the blossoms, the leaves, and the fruit.
Jesus the Priest and Mary his Mother are always linked in the economy of Redemption and thus they remain always united in the economy of grace. Until the end of time Mary is the mediatrix and the distributor of grace.
a) Mary has given us Jesus, the Divine Master, Priest and Victim: Jesus is the flower of the Virgin Mary.
Many priests must come to the Pious Society of Saint Paul and the Church as a result of your prayer: Send good laborers into your harvest. For this you undertake an apostolate of interior life, desires, prayer and suffering, like Mary. Through your work, the seeking of alms, your service to those aspiring to the priesthood and your zeal in keeping with your situation, you give great help to vocations. I should love to see you a great multitude! and that each of you would gain for the Pious Society of Saint Paul and the Church another Christ, a Priest.
b) The Priest then must live and work.
Jesus carried out his mission; and Mary carried out her role as regards Jesus, in the house of Nazareth; then, again, [there was] her role of prayer during the public life, the passion and death of Jesus. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, she continued her role both as regards Christ, and as regards his mystical body, which is the Church.
Thus you will continue your work and your prayer for the Priest who is active; for the Priest who is sick; for the Priest who has died; and you will have a special share in the fruits of the Masses, prayers and apostolate of the Priest.
c) Jesus Christ is present in the world not only in his mystical body, but he is [also] physically present, vere, realiter, substantialiter in the Tabernacle. Every good in the Church and in souls comes from the Mass, the real presence, and communion; an overflowing spring of life-giving water, life-giving sap that rises in the sacraments and sacramentals. Souls have to reach this source, this union with Jesus; the rest is a means. With Mary’s eucharistic spirit we must implore everything from Jesus, Divine Master, present in the Host.
Your role before the Tabernacle [is to be]:
Living lamps before Jesus in the Eucharist;
Victims with Jesus; atonement is part of your apostolate;
Handmaids of honor of the Tabernacle and of its Divine Dweller;
Angels of the Eucharist who receive and who give;
Souls who hunger and thirst for the bread of the Eucharist and the water of his grace;
Hearts that share with their Spouse in the Eucharist his desires, his goals, his self-sacrifice for all, but especially for the person [who is] dearest to his heart: the Priest;
The intimate confidantes of Jesus in the Host, listening to his every word of life and meditating on it in your heart, as did Mary.
May the Divine Master show a predilection for you; may he teach you his ways; may he fill you with the joy of your vocation; may he live in you in the fullness of his power.
Have faith and 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 Saint Luke learned from her what he then narrated of Jesus’ private life: the annunciation, the visit to Saint Elizabeth, his birth, the story of finding [him] in the temple, the obedience of Jesus and his growth in age, wisdom and grace at Nazareth.
This is why there is set aside for you a liturgical and eucharistic apostolate. Since your soul is full of the eucharistic Lord, how will you be able to compress in your heart and always hide your faith, your hope and your love? You will declare it, reveal it, and spread it in conformity with your vocation. You have embodied this in those overall initiatives which, in a word, are already known as domus Dei. May it live on, be active and bear fruit in the construction of churches and chapels, in tabernacles and church furnishings; in interpreting and explaining the sacred treasures of the liturgy.
My fullest blessing to those who understand; as well as the promise of a dying priest, Fr Perino1
, whom you assisted so well: In heaven I will come to your aid.
Password for 1947: pray and look for vocations.
3. The liturgy taught by the Church
The original sheet is kept in the Fr Alberione Archives of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. We omit two-thirds of the front page, which refer to particular events, but we have kept the date: Rome, 28.III.1947.
I am very grateful for the Pious Disciples’ good work: they will give much honor and love to Jesus Master.
If we are in time, let us correct some articles that will allow wider scope for the liturgical apostolate. For example:
Let them understand the Liturgy as taught by the Church: as piety and prayer – that honors the divine Mysteries; that flows from Christian dogma and leads to the practice of the Christian life. Let them thus practice it in this way and make it known with all the means in use in the great Benedictine liturgical centers.
4. Three needs and three apostolates
Three unnumbered sheets without a date. The original is kept in the Fr Alberione Archives of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. Almost the whole of this text, except for the last paragraph, was quoted on pp. 453 and 456 of Mi protendo in avanti, with some slight changes.
[Handwritten draft omitted] 294-303
[The Founder had reflected at length on] three needs and three apostolates up to then apportioned to various institutions:
Eucharistic apostolate, practiced widely but still lacking a definitive plan and organization... Eucharistic devotion needs to become apostolate and to be carried out in the Divine Master.
Liturgical apostolate. God wanted oral preaching in the Church. However, history teaches the effectiveness that the preaching of worship has. The Liturgy is, at one and the same time, worship [given] to God, a partaking in the divine life, applied instruction on faith and morals, and a means whereby the truth preached and the moral law taught may, with God’s help, be accepted and lived out. The Liturgy, in the wake of the work of the great Masters, must be popularized; it is the book of the Holy Spirit that must be preached with modern means. But such preaching is filled with difficulties; therefore the Apostles and the apostolates need special graces.
Apostolate of priestly service. To found the Pauline Family in accordance with the Divine Master, in Christ, necessitated living [as] the Holy Family, the first religious family; thus, also needed was someone to take the part of Mary as regards Jesus and Joseph. A need, in a word, for priestly service in the spirit of Mary who prepared the Divine Master for humanity, the eternal Priest, the sacrificial Victim. Such service comprises: expectation – the Pious Disciple asks for Vocations and helps them –; domestic service; the aid of prayer during [a priest’s] ministry; the role of nurse, and suffrages after death.
The eucharistic apostolate of the Pious Disciples is aimed in particular at the triumph of the Divine Master, which is the triumph of the Catholic faith: [that is, that] teaching in the world – universities, newspapers, philosophy, sciences, cinema, radio, television, conferences and so on – [be] wholly inspired by the Gospel and conform to it...
Moreover, it is aimed at Catholic moral teaching, in Canon Law and in Church laws, in the commandments and in the evangelical counsels, in civil law; healthy morals in the individual, the family, society, and the country; the sanctification of people, the dying, and the souls in Purgatory.
Furthermore, it is aimed at acquiring the life of grace in people’s souls through the use of the Sacraments, the sanctification of the Clergy and of the hierarchy in general, love for Confession, Communion and the Mass, the development of the apostolate from all points of view, priestly zeal; a widespread move toward the religious life, and toward Catholic and missionary action.
1 Giovanni, in religion Francesco Saverio, Perino, born at Front Canavese (Turin) on 31.10.1913; died on 9.9.1946 at Sanfrè (Cuneo). He was noted for his love of the truth and for his charity. He said: “Throughout my life I have always sought the truth and should I have to give up my life for it I would do so every day, if that were possible.” Another time: “Until recently study was my goal. Now, no longer; I am aiming for one thing only: charity.” He was the elder brother of Fr Renato Perino, third successor of Fr Alberione as Superior General of the Society of Saint Paul.