Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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At the end of the thirty1 reflections that we made on the Sacred Scriptures, let us reflect still on how to use the Bible to our special benefit and we shall see:
1. When to read it; 2. Where to read it; 3. How to diffuse it and have it read.

When to read Holy Scripture

Every Christian ought to make a law for himself and that is: to receive Holy Communion and to read the Bible every day. Better still, during the year there ought to be more readings of the Holy Bible than Sacramental Communions: Sacramental Communion in fact cannot be done by us except once a day. The Bible on the other hand we can always have with us and we can read it several times a day.
There are Religious Institutes, for example, the Salesians, who do that not just as a pious practice, but precisely as a rule established by their institutions. Bl.2 Don Bosco, the glorious founder of said Religious, said that he did not know of any better method to become good Preachers,
than to read the Bible. And at another time, he revealed about himself that in order to become a good Director of young people and of Clerics, which he was, he did not know of anything better than to read the Holy Bible. To his Missionaries who were about to cross the Ocean, he advised that they take with them the Book of the Holy Gospels.
Was the work of the Salesian Missionaries effective? Oh, what an immense good the sons of Bl. Don Bosco accomplish throughout the world, especially among the youth!
The Imitation of Christ places the Gospel on the same level as Sacramental Communion. And that should not surprise us. In fact, the Ecumenical Council Chalcedon IV goes even further and says that to the Holy Gospel is due the same act of adoration that is due to the Cross of the Savior Jesus Christ: We establish that the Book of the Holy Gospel be adored with the same honor with which the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, liberator and Savior of all, is adored.
We should reach the point of feeling pain on that day when, for some serious reason, it was not possible for us to do the usual reading of the Holy Bible; to feel that very deep pain that those devout souls feel when they cannot receive Holy Communion. For them that day seems lost; they are not satisfied; they feel in themselves a thirst, a mysterious hunger.
Oh, the Bible! Let us carry it with us, at least some chapter like a Viaticum of our life, and as a burning lamp in our hands, so that it may give light to our life and scatter the darkness of the infernal evil one.

Where to read Holy Scripture

The Holy Bible can be read in schools, before the start of lessons. For one who is already ahead in the study courses, the reading of the Bible must be done every day. It is a light in their hands: Lucerna in manibus vestris.
How many times, during moments of affliction, doubts, difficulties in life, upon taking the Holy Bible one is consoled, enlightened, guided. Lots are thrown there casually, but the Lord guides them so that our eyes see the verse that suits us.
It is said that the very learned St. Alphonsus, when he failed to solve a difficult question, took the Sacred Scripture, opened it by chance, and found there the solution to the question.
In our days, books of piety and devotion have increased in number, but we shall not find any so practical and universal as the Holy Bible: it is for every class of persons, and is useful for any time of life.
He who is on the way to the Press Apostolate, without the Bible, will never understand anything of his divine apostolate. He would be like a Priest without power. What is a priest without power? How can he communicate light and strength to souls if he does not possess them?
One who is called to the Press Apostolate, who does not read and assimilate the divine truths of the Bible, places himself outside of his vocation. He could do some work of apostolate, but it will not be the life of souls. It will be a simple parade, something that is external and nothing more.
How easy it is for one who loves and reads the Holy Bible to understand, follow and penetrate immediately
the center of things. He, however, who does not love the Bible in the Press Apostolate, looks for peripheral books, fanciful titles, but does not go to the core. He could be compared to those superficial souls who have many devotions; they venerate this or that Saint, and entering the Church they immediately go straight to the picture of their Saint, and there perform reverences, bows and even genuflection's, and the Most Holy Sacrament, the Holy of Holies that should be the first to be greeted and respected, they do not give attention to.
May these souls find their way: it is the Church; may they find the truth: it is in the Bible; may they find their life: it is in the Holy Gospel!

How to spread the Bible and how to have it read

The Bible must be read in schools, in families and by individuals. It is here that we must aim; we should let the Bible enter here. But in order to do this, it is necessary to arm ourselves with courage. It is necessary first of all to compose it, print it, and bind it with pure hands and heart: Innocens manibus et mundo corde.3
Then right intention is necessary. If this were wanting, whatever sermon, whatever sheet of paper, will have some effect, but it will not accomplish good, neither will it save souls.
Oh, if the grace that the Apostle desires for souls he himself possesses, indeed, his writings will do good, and souls will be sanctified!
Do not believe that to do the Press Apostolate it is enough to enlighten and teach souls; needed still is to move their will, stimulate their heart and make it love to practice virtue. For all this, indispensable is
grace which we cannot have except through prayer, mortifications, and sacrifices. Without them grace cannot pass from the Apostle of the Press to souls.
Another thing that is necessary in order to be effective is to practice ourselves what we want to teach to others. That we walk ahead of others.
Let us now imagine the most beautiful scene of the Most Holy Virgin who, devoutly recollected, reads the Sacred Scriptures with immense love: every word for her is a thunderbolt of love and a push towards God.
In a second picture, let us imagine ourselves contemplating the Divine Master in the Synagogue who, on a Sabbath day, reads, interprets and meditates on the Sacred Scriptures. And let us conclude thanking the Lord as we sing the Magnificat, since he has given us this divine book, wherein we have the truth, the way, and the life.

1 These initial lines and perhaps the whole conclusion seem to have been written by the compiler, B. Ghiglione, and approved by Don Alberione. - To the thirty reflections are to be added the chapter taken from Apostolato Stampa and placed on pages 306-314 of the original text.

2 St. John Bosco, blessed at that time. See note 4 of p. 147.

3 Ps 23/24:4: “The clean of hands and pure of heart.”