38. VOCATIONS - NORMS FOR THE APOSTOLATE
Persons called to the eucharistic life are so many. It is necessary to cooperate with Divine Providence to set them on their right path.
The problem of vocation is the great worry of those who understand the desires of the heart of the Divine Master and want to support them. Nevertheless, the problem of vocations and their formation is not sufficiently understood and is hindered.
The Divine Master preached for three years, without getting out of Palestine, a land not bigger than Piedmont. He dedicated most of these three years to vocations. Those called to the apostolate were the continuous object of his care. Come after me; I will make you fishers of men.1
If we would take away from the Gospel the discourses made to the Apostles and those that refer to their formation, we will remove a great part, indeed. He taught them, brought them with him and sent them to preach two by two. When they returned, he welcomed them with kindness and was interested of the fruits of their work.2 He, the Master, gave us the example. He recommended to pray for vocations;3 he promised and sent them the Holy Spirit. I call you friends, since I have made known to you all that I heard from my Father.4 In the priestly prayer at the eve of his death, he reserved a major part of the prayer for his Apostles. That not one of them is lost...Pater volo ut ubi sum ego et illi sint mecum 5 (Father, all those you gave me I would have in my company where I am).
He saved them. If I am the one you want, let these men go.6
They had abandoned him, yet he did not complain. Risen from the dead, he reserved his apparitions to Peter and the Apostles; he continued to occupy himself of their formation, until the descent of the Holy Spirit that confirms and completes the work.
To conclude: care of vocations, their recruitment and formation, according to the direction of the Constitutions.
The liturgical apostolate is at the heart of the Church. It is not a matter of an added apostolate nor of a suggested work, but it deals substantially with a commanded work that the Church is carrying out for about 2000 years and you assumed it as your proper task.
The Church precedes you in this great apostolate. Your task is to be docile Disciples and to support the cares of this Mother, the teachings of this Teacher.
Therefore, what are you to do, you who are in the a, b, c?
Concentration of the intelligence, heart, will. To serve God totally. This apostolate is carried out with the means that you know, with those that have been suggested to you. An immense and a very sublime field is extended before you.
The Benedictines take care particularly of the Liturgy. They do it in a special way and give us the example of it.
Everything which is an extension of this apostolate belongs to you. Do as much as you can.
Can you have centers of diffusion? Yes, in a convenient manner, in a way that one is not much exposed to the public.
Can you have cooperators in this apostolate? Certainly, and you must get to this. To have the help of: parish priests, kind believers who know, who diffuse. Therefore, take good care of the cooperators and may such care become more and more wise.
It would be important and useful to have a little center in every parish.
Can you have it done by others? The more you will succeed to make the outsiders work, to increase the religious objects, to promote liturgical life, I am sure the more you will do well.
Oh, if we could place at the service of God many lay persons! It would be a great glory to God and a contribution for the salvation of souls. Wherever it is possible, your initials has to be there, even though the objects are made by others. Certainly, it is much better, if you can have your machineries and everything that the different works require.
Follow the rules of the Liturgy and may you have artistic taste. Follow the Church well in everything. There are pictures, frames, statues in which there is no devotion at all, but profanation even in the Churches.
Do things clearly and do them well. The more you make the thing difficult, the less popular it shall be. Symbolism is not so easy, but you must give it its part. Take care, above all, of that which is useful for the Mass. Moreover, Liturgy has already such many models, that it is good to copy before inventing, when what had been taken is good. However, as the liturgical spirit develops little by little, then, you can also precede, make beautiful works, create.
It is dangerous when invention is too daring. First, make the common things well; take care to make them better and multiply them, so that they can serve every parish, every family.
This kind of apostolate can also enter in the midst of pagan people and under a certain aspect, it shall be much more useful and effective than other forms of apostolate. What is beautiful always pleases, always find and sing the glories of God!
Imitate nature, reproduce God's works.
If Our Lady is not well represented as much as possible, that devotion which is to arouse an image of All Beautiful is not kindled.
Liturgical sense and artistic taste are God's gifts. Ask for them for his glory and for the good of persons.
Many conversions take place through the sentiment. For example, what good impressions are left in a person and how many people can get closer to God, through a well-celebrated Mass, a praise sang with devotion! Beautiful things conquer the hearts.
There are three ways to obtain conversions: enlighten the intelligence, stir the will, touch the sentiment.
God shall be with you in your apostolate, because you accomplish it for his glory and you are animated by his love.
Through the liturgical apostolate, you reach everyone. You reach also those who cannot read, yet have eyes to see.
How interesting and edifying would it be, for example, a Bible in cards or in pictures! How useful it is to illustrate that which is dogma, morals, worship.
Work with zeal. Up to where will you arrive? I do not know. It depends upon the number of vocations and the dedication of each one in the apostolate.
Put the mind, will and heart. Remember: Whoever makes me known, shall have eternal life.1
Therefore, courage and keep on.
Now, recite the Act of contrition. I give you the blessing with the plenary indulgence added to the course of the Exercises.
End this Holy Retreat well. Begin an intense spiritual year.
Always fix your eyes to Paradise.
Let us strip off the pages of the life's calendar, until we will arrive at the last day, called the day of death, but which I prefer to call: dies natalis, the entrance day to Heaven!
1 Mk. 1, 17.
2 Cf. Mk. 6, 7; 31.
3 Cf. Lk. 10, 2.
4 Cf. Jn. 15, 15
5 Jn. 17, 24.
6 Jn. 18, 8.
1 Eccl. 24, 31.