Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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Things to be achieved
Today there is a greater and greater sense of confusion: the ills of scientism and pure technique. Each and every science, invention and discovery is a chapter in the great book of creation; each is a body of knowledge of God’s creative work; each must serve as a means for humans to reach God, as the eye, the tongue and the will are an aid to them. But just as it often happens that some fail to ask themselves: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I alive?, so, too, with knowledge, inventions and discoveries. Delighting only in possessing them, they do not ask Who made them? Why do I have them? What are they for?
All things must serve human beings, with a view to Jesus Christ, to God, in accord with [the words of] Saint Paul: Omnia vestra sunt, vos autem Christi, Christus autem Dei.2
Studied in depth, the sciences lead to Jesus Christ, who is the way to God; that is, they prepare [the way] to receive the revelation of Jesus Christ; who, as God, while creating things enlightened humans to know them, willed to reveal other truths not impressed in nature, in order to uplift humans; [and] thus prepare them to see God, welcomed and believed through revelation, if they have used their reason properly.
Just as sin led to bewilderment in morality, in worship, and among peoples, so it led to confusion in Philosophy and in the other sciences. Because of human pride: eritis sicut Dii,3 these sciences often do not lead to Theology or to Faith. Instead of being a service to humans they enslave them, and thus hinder the attainment of their goal.
Human knowledge is a noble weapon, but it is often used against humans. But do we priests, who continue the work of Jesus Christ, fulfill our ministry of mastering knowledge? Do we enlighten and guide intellectuals to deepen their own knowledge and in the end to find Jesus Christ and God? If the priest is to work in this way and uplift intellectuals from reason to Revelation, from human knowledge to divine knowledge, he must seek out these intellectuals where they are, just as the Son of God became man to seek out humans, lost sheep, and lead them back to God the Father. This is why pontifical programs today require clerics to learn much more about human knowledge than before [the time of] Pius X.
There is a need: 1st, to study, at least to a sufficient degree, human knowledge; 2nd, to unify the branches of knowledge into the Philosophy of knowledge; 3rd, to show Philosophy [to be] a handmaid that leads directly into Revelation.
In the oremus4 for the feast of Saint Albert the Great5 we pray: O God, you have made Blessed Albert, bishop and doctor, great in submitting human wisdom to divine faith; enable us to follow his teaching so closely as to rejoice in the perfect light of heaven.
What is lacking at present is the unification of the sciences into a Philosophy that would lead intellectuals to the doorstep of Theology, and instill in them a desire for further light, that of Christ, which will lead to the fullness of light in heaven.
During his theology courses, while studying, apart from the class tracts, the (philosophical and theological) Summa of Saint Thomas and conferring regularly with Canon Chiesa on the Saint’s venture to assemble all the ancient sciences (especially the philosophy of Aristotle) and unify them, we always concluded: Let us join in prayer that God’s Providence will raise up a new Aquinas who will assemble the scattered members – the sciences, in other words – into a synthesis that is systematic and clear, concise if needs be; and mold them into a sole body.
Thus, besides the help of God’s grace, intellectuals will also have the human help of their knowledge: every science will beam its own ray of light through Philosophy toward Theology; and the manifold sciences will also find their unity in multiplicity, and through the humility of faith the door opens on to the third revelation, lumen gloriæ.6
We find all this in the Divine Master: natural sciences that we come to know through the natural light of reason; theological sciences revealed by Jesus Christ, that we accept through the light of faith; a vision of everything in God, in eternal life, through the light of glory.
After much prayer it was decided to produce a tract, or some kind of attempt in a Course in Theology.7 Canon Chiesa was acquainted with the Germans, the British and the French among whom he had spent considerable time; he had degrees in Theology, Philosophy, in civil and Canon Law, and a broad knowledge of the human sciences (not every detail, but their principles, use, application, aim, etc.).
We consulted many treatises, with the Divine exemplarism as our guiding light;8 yet many made no attempt to examine it or they considered it a childish illusion...
Still, the adoration that he9 is certainly making to the Divine Master in heaven, where he intended to join Saint Paul, the worldwide Apostle, in his eternal hymn to Christ, Eternal Truth; and the adoration that the Pauline Family makes in this world, including the Pious Disciples (who carry out this mission), will obtain this grace from the Divine Master in the Eucharist. If it is true that anything we ask for in Jesus Christ’s name will be granted us,10 then let us believe, let us await, and go on working in humble faith.
The Pious Society of Saint Paul is to reflect often on ad quid venisti?11 Let it always find a place in its heart for intellectuals; the Gospel is something divine: after all, it speaks to the minds of everyone; it is able to satisfy all demands [giving an answer] to the peoples of every age. If you win over intellectuals you are fishing not with a fish-hook, but with a net.
Then [there will come about] the complete embrace of the two sisters, Reason and Faith, in Christ-God.
We need to achieve a level of studies so as to confer the degrees of Philosophy, Sociology, Theology and Canon Law. The Seminary of Genoa was a pontifical faculty that conferred degrees.12 Canon Chiesa had told him: It is not a degree that gives you knowledge; but a degree is a more solemn declaration and approval that you can carry out your sacred ministry. You can take up your priestly role with greater assurance, while reflecting: I have committed myself to become fit, in so far as knowledge goes, to teach Christian doctrine: now I believe that for what is lacking, the major part, I can count on God’s promise ‘dabit verbum evangelizantibus.13
Particular light came on 30 June 1906.14
God will give this treasure to the Pauline Family to the degree that it conforms to its mission.
Steps can be taken to work in that direction.
In one of his dreams he asked Mary what kind of homage the Pauline Family could make now, and what homage did she expect from Christendom in this period of history. Mary appeared enwrapped in a golden-white light, as the [one] full of grace. He heard: Sono la Mater divinæ gratiæ.15
This responds to the present need of poor humanity; and it helps to make better known the role that Mary carries out at present in heaven: Universal Mediatrix of grace.16
Here is a half-blind man, who is being led; and in moving along he is enlightened from time to time, so that he can proceed further: God is the light.17
Some other matters can be seen to later on.
I thank the Lord for these gifts:
1) During my philosophy course I was clothed with the cincture of Saint Thomas for purity.
2) During my theology course I was enrolled in the Group of the Immaculate [Virgin Mary] among the clerics.
3) During my theology course I belonged to the Child Jesus Group.
4) Later on I received the scapular of Mary Immaculate, of [Our Lady of] Carmel, and of [Our Lady of] Sorrows.
5) In my first year of priesthood I was enrolled in the Priest Adorers.
6) To belong to the Third Order of Saint Dominic and to be its Director for the city of Alba was a great blessing for me.
7) Above all, the Apostolate of Prayer since 1902.
8) To belong] to the [sodality of] Saint Joseph’s Death and to the Madonna for a Happy Death.18

1 Regarding this whole subject: cf. San Paolo, February 1955-September 1959 (CISP pp. 1195-1254) and UPS II, 149-161.

2 “All are yours; but you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s” (cf. 1 Cor 3:22-23).

3 “You will become like God” (cf. Gen 3:5).

4 Cf. Collect from the Missale Romanum, “Proprium de Sanctis”, 15 November.

5 Saint Albert the Great (1193-1280), canonized in 1931; patron of natural science studies.

6 The “light of glory” is a supernatural “virtus” [virtue] which empowers the cognitive faculty, making it capable of penetrating the essence of God. The Council of Vienne (France) defined the necessity of the “lumen gloriæ” against the Beghards who denied this: cf. the Constitution Ad nostrum qui, 6.5.1312: Denz.-Schönm. 891ff.

7 Francesco CHIESA, Lectiones theologiæ dogmaticæ recentiori mentalitati et necessitati accomodatæ. Vol. I: De constitutione theologicæ mentalitatis. Vol. II: De Deo Uno - De Deo Trino - De Deo Patre. Vol. III: De Deo Filio - De Deo Spiritu Sancto. Vol. IV: De Sacramentis - De Sacramentalibus - De Oratione.

8 Cf. E. DUBOIS, De exemplarismo divino seu de trino ordine exemplari et de trino rerum ordine exemplato, Rome 1897.

9 The pronoun refers to Canon Chiesa.

10 Cf. Jn 14:13.

11 “Why did you come here?” A query whereby one usually expresses the finality of existence or of a particular undertaking.

12 Within the Seminary of Genoa there was an “Almum et Apostolicum genuensium theologorum S. Thomæ Aquinatis Collegium”. Priests went there from a number of dioceses in Italy to sit exams and to gain their academic degrees in Theology. It was here that Fr J. Alberione gained his baccalaureate, his licence and his doctorate in Theology, on respectively 18.2 and 17.12.1907 and 9.4.1908. The document whereby he was declared a Doctor in Theology bears the date 10.4.1908.

13 “He will give the word to those who evangelize” (Ps 67:12, according to the Vulgate). The original text, according to the Jerusalem Bible, is: “The Lord gave a command, the good news of a countless army” [Ps 67(68):11].

14 For the present we do not know what this “light” refers to. We would only recall that the previous day, 29 June 1906, the cleric Alberione had received the subdiaconate.

15 “I am the Mother of Divine Grace.”

16 How dear this title of Mary was to Fr Alberione can be seen from a series of events which, like a golden thread, intertwine the whole of his existence. He dedicated his first book to B. M. Vergine delle Grazie di Cherasco (1912). A propos of his dedication, he says: “Out of gratitude to Mary he began the [publishing] apostolate in 1909 [with the] booklet: La Madonna delle grazie. Start out with Mary, as did the Divine Master [when he began] the work of Redemption: it is a guarantee of special graces; God appointed Mary the way to Jesus and then appointed Jesus the way to the Father” (fragment ms of 1953). – One of his last endeavors was his support of the “Mater Divinæ Gratiæ” Center of Rosta (Turin) under the leadership of Drs Luigina G. Provera and Lydia Bonicco. – Especially notable is the proposal he put forward at Vatican Council II for the approval of the relative dogma (cf. A. DAMINO, Don Alberione al Concilio Vaticano II, Ed. Archivio Storico Generale della F.P., Rome 1994, pp. 19ff.).

17 “Here is a half-blind man…”, handwritten, almost illegible, which well testifies to his physical condition at that stage.

18 With this handwritten passage the Author intended to conclude with a final and animated “thanksgiving” the list of the “overflowing riches of grace which God has bestowed on the Pauline Family.”