8. ROGATE DOMINUM MESSIS
Rome, January 24, 1947
I think that you ought to put all the intentions of Fr. Giaccardo1
in the prayers you say throughout this day. He has done and continues to do a lot of good for you in different ways.
I wrote in San Paolo,1 the circular of the Pious Society of St. Paul, that every Priest would work for the (P)Disciples and each one would find a Pious Disciple who will be like a lighted candle burning for the whole Congregation.2 Among a number of letters sent to me, I received one that gave me great pleasure: We intend to work for the good of the Pious Disciples, we help them with our ministry and in the search for vocations, we hope that they may have their house soon...
After receiving Holy Communion, think of yourselves as the Virgin after the Annunciation, the Virgin who gave her yes1 and carries within her the Blessed Jesus, hidden for nine months in her virginal womb. What does Mary do? She takes Jesus to John and he is sanctified; to Elizabeth, and she is filled with the Holy Spirit; to Zachary, and his tongue is loosened. With Jesus hidden in her womb, Mary breaks out indeed into a magnificent song Magnificat anima mia Dominum.2
Pray for the protestants, for the vast throng of schismatics, that they will once again venerate Our Lady. They have forgotten her and by doing so, they have fallen into heresy and are unable to find the way back. With Our Lady they will surely return to Jesus.
Another intention and for this one you will offer your prayers for six years: the construction of your main house which must be started quite soon.1 The prayer intention is that your house may be built quickly, in accordance with your needs; that it may be paid for; that it may be occupied in a worthy manner; that it may be made holy with your virtues. You are not to decorate it with marbles, with precious stones, but you will adorn it with your religious life, with your silence and will fill it with songs, virtues and merits. You will also offer the recitation of the Little Office2 for the same purpose.
I have already specified your various duties and your roles especially that very noble role of becoming Mothers of the Priest-hood. Look about you and you will see how all the institutes have very holy goals, but you will not find one as wonderful as this: to promote vocations to the priesthood, to give the Church many and holy priests, apostles, missionaries, preachers, confessors, teachers! Pius X1 called this the work of works.
The Pious Disciple has a special rapport with the Priest and she must obtain the grace:
1. That there is a priest;
2. That he is assisted during his life, in the carrying out of his ministry;
3. That he is prayed for after his death.
The process of canonization of Donna Zelia,1 a woman from Brazil, is underway. She was the wife of a man who shared her feelings, and the mother of very many children. Each day without fail, she would make an hour of Adoration for the Priests and especially for the intention that there would be priests among her children. The Lord rewarded her. She had six daughters who became Sisters and three sons who became priests: a Jesuit, a Lazarist and a Franciscan. When her husband died, she herself became a Sister of the Order of the Blessed Sacrament, adorer, so as to be a lighted candle for her sons and for all priests. She died in 1917.
I would like you to have a map where all the nations of the world are represented and over every nation, to write the number of Priests there. You would have before your eyes such a picture as to move you to compassion: - the devil reigns! For example, in China, in some regions which are as extensive as Piedmont, at times, there is only one priest! What then is to be done? Oh, may those words of the devil never come true: I will give you all the kingdoms of the world if you will fall at my feet and worship me...1 How many people are there who do not know Jesus, the Church, the Priests, Redemption! Can you understand what it means never to have a Mass, a baptism, a confession; never to have a priest to assist the dying? Where will all these people end up?
Be imitators of Donna Zelia: pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament that the number of Priests may be multiplied. To have any hope of good results, we would need at least two million priests, while at present there are just about 400,000. We still need to have 1,600,000.
Here is another intention that I wanted to recommend to you.
Out of contempt and to impede the good that you are doing, the devil has circulated this rumour: you are the servants of the priests. It is not true. You are like Our Lady, you are the Ancillae Domini. With her prayers, tears, weeping, invocations, the Blessed Virgin quickened the incarnation of the Divine Word, she advanced the hour of salvation. Think of that baby girl conceived without sin, how well she prayed in her crib; think of her in the temple; wonder at that child praying to God for the heavens to open: Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant Iustum...aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorem...1 (Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Saviour). Praying in this way she hastened the Incarnation of the Word.
This is your duty: to pray for Priests, to obtain Priests for the world, to help create well-established seminaries; to take care of vocation houses and worthy formation! To obtain holy Priests! So pray the Lord of the harvest to send good labourers into his harvest.1 It is a divine counsel to which you are bound. The first evangelical counsels are: poverty, chastity, obedience and to these you are called to observe, but there are others which require your commitment. One of the principal ones is this: Rogate Dominum messis..2 (Pray the Lord of the harvest...).
Someone may work in the refectory, another in the eccle-siastical tailoring, the third, still in some other assignment, how-ever, what is important is that you all have the same intention, to pray for the Priests, wherever is the place you work or the duty you undertake. Make such intention perceptible, which for you ought to be dominant. Prepare leaflets, study some occupation, have at heart something that could remind you: this is my mission! No other mission surpasses this one.
Are you able to thank the Lord considerably for this duty he has given you? Thank him greatly; put yourselves in the attitude of Mary Most Holy when she answered the Angel: Ecce ancilla Domini...1 - Behold the handmaid of the Lord. I want to carry out his word. I am convinced that if you will be fervent, every Pious Disciple shall obtain a Priest and even more. Be united together and may you have this ambition: to give Priests to the world! Take no time off for rest, but always work towards this goal: Priests, Priests! When sacrifices shall be asked of you, when renunciations are to be accepted, remember to do so: to obtain Priests for the Church, preachers, confessors, holy teachers and enlightened writers.
Oh, get into the Heart of Jesus! Make yours his intentions, his desires and his interests. He says: Venite ad me omnes...et ego reficiam vos1 (Come to me all of you...and I will give you rest). See the flock that is lost, without a shepherd, errors which dominate, the devil being worshipped, people who are on the march towards damnation.
Priests are needed, Priests who baptize, who preach, who write, who hear confessions. Have faith in your prayer, because this being your ministry, you are more effective to obtain them.
1 The Founder urges the sisters to pray for the intentions of Fr. Giaccardo on his feastday: St. Timothy, January 24 then.
1 The circular “San Paolo” dates back on October 10, 1934.
2 Since the beginning in 1924, many circular-letters were written, signed by the priest J. Alberione so that the new Institute of the Pious Disciples may be known. Every vocation sent to the new Institute was presented as a living candle. Cf. Barbero G., James Alberione: a man - an idea, (Rome, 1988), pp. 38-40.
1 Cf. Lk. 1, 26-38.
2 Cf. Lk. 1, 39-80.
1 Refers to the need of the Pious Disciples for their own house which was started in 1947, in Alba (Cuneo).
2 Fr. Alberione introduced the recitation of the Little Office of Our Lady, to the Pious Disciples, in preparation to the subsequent recitation of the breviary
1 St. Pius X, the Pope of the Eucharist (elected on October 4, 1903; died on August 20, 1914). The date of his death corresponds to the birthdate of the SSP.
1 Donna Zelia, an edifying figure of a Brazilian wife and mother, who was often talked about at that time.
1 Cf. Mt. 4, 9.
1 Is. 45,8.
1 Lk. 10, 2.
1 Lk. 1, 38.
1 Mt. 11, 28.