Blessed James Alberione

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He succeeded his father, David, in the government of the people of Israel; hence he was the third king of the chosen people.
He ascended the throne at age twenty but he manifested just how wise he was. Because as soon as he was elected king, the Lord appeared to him and said to him: Ask what you want and it shall be granted to you. The young king asked for wisdom and a righteous heart, in order to know the ways of good and evil and to govern with justice. It pleased the Lord that Solomon did not ask for wealth or earthly goods, and hence aside from the requested gifts, he gave him in addition also wealth and glory. And Solomon was in fact the wisest and richest king of the people of God.
On the fourth year of his reign, he started the construction of the Temple, already thought of by his father David. Sixty thousand workers worked on it to bring it to completion. Gold, silver, and the most precious marbles were lavished on it with great abundance; never was a magnificent building ever seen before. The Lord, to show his pleasure, manifested himself during the Feast of the Dedication by means of a cloud that covered the Lord's house; and a mysterious fire descended from heaven and burned the victims of the sacrifices.
The glory of Solomon reached the farthest nations; but so much greatness unfortunately made him forget the Lord and his law. Foreign women made him fall into idolatry and he stained himself with horrible impiety, making his salvation uncertain.
Attributed to Solomon are four books of the Bible, full of divine wisdom: the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs and Wisdom.


We ought to remember that among the Jews, aside from the popular sayings, also circulated elaborate dictums of the wise, with the purpose of teaching the people wisdom, that is, the art of knowing and practicing the will of God, the art of living well according to God.
The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings pronounced largely by Solomon, and then gathered on several occasions; it is a mirror of real life in contrast to the ideal one, according to the dictates of wisdom.


It is a collection of philosophical thoughts, manifested to the people, now in prose and at another time in poetry.
The Ecclesiastes, having taken as theme the vanity of all earthly things, examines them with a restlessness that makes it brusquely pass from one subject to another in writing, as it passed in the examination of things. Having knocked down the idols of knowledge, pleasure, and wealth, it shows that everything depends on God. Then it examines the miseries of life, and shows man powerless to free himself from pain and to reach happiness.
Having examined the miseries, it offers some practical rules for happiness and locates the philosophy of life in eating, drinking, being joyful in the holy fear of God and in the fulfillment of one's religious duties.
Having as aim to teach how to achieve possible happiness on earth and to set life in order, it concludes that everything is vanity except the fear of God and the observance of his law.

This book, by its title, means the most beautiful song; and it is truly the most lofty and difficult song in the Scriptures. In it human love is celebrated as a figure of the divine love, that is, of the love of God for the chosen people, the Church, and the soul.
Some take it as a short drama, with its protagonists, with its contrast in the seductions of the royal palace, to the pomp which the bride renounces for the life in the fields with her beloved spouse. Such dissimilar love represents the love of God for his people, threatened by the luxurious pagan civilization.
According to the majority of the Fathers, it is a very beautiful allegory2 of the mutual love between God and his Church and with the soul, and of the Word with humanity. God is the groom and as such he is called king; the soul, the Church, humanity is the bride.


It takes this name because it is a sublime hymn to divine wisdom shared with men in religion and in virtue.
By wisdom of God is meant the exact knowledge of divine things, which sees God in all things in order to follow his divine will and the fear of him in all of life. This wisdom, either speculative or practical, is a gift of God, hence it comes from God himself, and is a participation of the uncreated wisdom through which God created all things and governs them.
The sacred author makes two large portraits: in the first, he presents wisdom from the intellectual and moral side; in the second, he presents her from the historical side. Hence, we can divide the book into two parts.
In the first it exhorts the practice of justice and religion, the sources of happiness and immortality and shows the contrasting fate of the just and the impious in this life and in the next.
In the second part, mention is made of the origin and foolish immorality of idolatry in its different aspects. Finally, it makes the contrast between the just and the impious by contrasting the Jews and the Egyptians, especially in the plagues of Egypt.

Why and how must we read the Bible

Accipe librum et devora illum.
(Rv 10:8)3

In this last Hour of Adoration, we intend to make reparation for the sorrow caused to the Divine Master by many men and Christians who prefer the reading of human books rather than the Bible.
How many in the world read everything except the divine book! They go in search of the speck of gold lost in the bosom of the earth but they do not see the mountain of gold that is the Bible!
Any other charlatan is heard and believed; from him one obtains a definite object, infallible against any sickness; the object, perhaps made up of water and powdered brick, is paid dearly and jealously guarded. One goes to buy health from one who cannot give it and from one who does not seek anything but his own interests.
Any vulgar novel is sought after and dearly paid. The Bible instead is sought by very few!
You will find in a thousand bookstores any book, any novel, but hardly will you find the king of books, or at least, if there is, it is at the end
of all the others: it is covered, too! Oh, how much human respect!
There is a place for all, only for God is there no place.
Oh! Here, the work of the devil comes in, otherwise we could not explain such a phenomenon.
Let us make reparation! And on our part let us resolve to read the Holy Bible often and to advise others to do the same, and if we know that someone of our acquaintance has taken a bad or less serious book, let us advise him to burn it, and to acquire instead the Bible.

* * *

Now let us move on to reflect on the reasons why we ought to read the Bible and how to read it.
We must read the Bible:
1st Because God wills it: for as many as two hundred times we read from the Bible itself that the Lord orders the reading and investigation of the Scriptures.
The fact that He himself deigned to move the sacred writers to write tells us that it is his desire that human beings read and meditate on the Bible.
How could we imagine that that Jesus, who instituted the Sacrament of love, may not now burn with the desire that it be received? The same thing we can say of the Bible: if God has written it for us, it is an evident sign that he wants it to be read.
2nd Jesus wants it: he himself gave us the example. Every Sabbath he went to the Synagogue and there read it and heard it read. And he meditated on them. Then, he expressly commanded it
saying: Search the Scriptures... even they testify on my behalf.4
The first Christians, to whom the invitations of Jesus and of the Apostles to read the Sacred Scriptures still resounded in their ears, were reading them every day, even several times a day; and to have more ease to read them in moments of danger and persecution, they always brought them with them, at least the Holy Gospel. And from this they drew strength to persevere in their faith and for it, if it were necessary, even to give their life.
3rd The Church wills it. She divided the books in such a way that they could be easily and fruitfully read.
How greatly have the Supreme Pontiffs recommended the reading of the Bible!5 The Encyclical Providentissimus Deus by Leo XIII, Pascendi Dominici gregis by Pius X and that of Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus, all of them on the Sacred Scriptures, these are the brightest proof of the desire of the Church that the Sacred Scriptures be read.

* * *

How must we read the Bible and what are the necessary dispositions?
We know that the Bible was given by God to us out of love, and we too ought to read it out of love.
Furthermore, we must read the Bible as the Church gives it to us; we have to receive it from her hands. Unlike the Protestants who do not want to know anything about the Church; they go directly to the Bible and hence they are outside the path established by God, that is, the path that leads to heaven.
The Protestants made a Bible of their own: that is, they took the true Bible, stripped it of all the notes and took away those books and pages that somehow scourged their passions. Thus mutilated they passed it on to men telling them: read and you shall be directly enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and to the extent that you understand it, it is well understood.
Instead, for Catholics it is not so: they have to take the Bible from the hands of the Church and interpret it according to her orientation. And this is because God entrusted his book only to the Church, and only she can infallibly interpret it.
Catholics must not interpret the Bible with private interpretation as Protestants6 do, and retain what everyone understands because the Holy Spirit is not given to each one individually, but only to the Church; hence, only she can infallibly interpret the Holy Bible.
This is why the Council of Trent prohibits the reading of the Bible without notes: and he who did it would run the risk of losing his way.
Also, the Protestants read the Bible only to be instructed, not to learn the path to heaven and to have life. Catholics, instead, read the Bible in order not only to be enlightened but also to know better the law of God, the Commandments, the Precepts, etc., that is, the way to heaven; and the means to have from it the strength and the courage to walk with its help. Catholics seek in the Bible the truth, the way and the life; Protestants, only the truth;7 and thus, the explanation of their motto: pecca fortiter et crede fortius,8 sin much but believe even much more, and then you will be saved just the same. Hence, for the Protestants
works of charity, the virtues, morals do not exist; rather, they even reached the point of seeing, in some verses of the Bible itself,9 the negation of good works and they say that in order to be saved faith is enough: that good works are not necessary. This demonstrates that man abandoned to himself and without the infallible aid of the Church in interpreting the Bible, reaches the point of denying the most obvious and essential truths of our holy Religion.
Hence, in the first place, we have to read in a Catholic manner the Sacred Scriptures, that is, after having learned from the Church the essential truths and received the Bible from her.
St. Augustine explains well how the damnation of the Jews was caused by a false interpretation of the Bible, and says that wanting to interpret it in their own manner, they did not know Jesus Christ. That event happened anew among the Protestants who, having fallen into rationalism and then materialism, ended up shouting to Jesus Christ the Crucify him of the Jews and with Jesus Christ, they reject his vicar, the Pope, the divine motherhood of Mary Most Holy, the greater part of the Sacraments. In other words, they placed themselves out of the way to heaven.
Let us read the Holy Bible with true Catholic spirit, that is, to understand Catholic morals and learn the practical path to heaven. Thus did the Most Holy Virgin read it and thus did she learn from St. Anne; and in turn she taught the Divine Master Jesus.
Let us learn from these divine models.
Let us receive the Bible not from others but from the Church and her ministers and let us read it with infinite love and reverence the way the Church presents it to us.
The Bible is not an ordinary book, it is not a
book for the curious and for those thirsting for novelty, but it is the book of holiness, it is the book of God.10*
Let us pray so that all may read God's word under the enlightened and infallible guidance of the Church only with which Jesus Christ promised to be until the end of time: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Mt 28:20)

EXAMPLE. - Jesus says that we investigate the Scriptures. If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?

(Jn 5:31-47)

LITTLE SACRIFICE. - Let us listen to Jesus' voice, and to do him homage, today let us read the prophecy of Isaiah narrated in Chapter 53.


A new hymn I will sing to my God.
O Lord, great are you and glorious,
wonderful in power and unsurpassable.
Let your every creature serve you;
for you spoke, and they were made,
You sent forth your spirit, and they were created;
no one can resist your word.
The mountains to their bases, and the seas, are shaken;
the rocks, like wax, melt before your glance.
But to those who fear you, you are very merciful.
Though the sweet odor of every sacrifice is a trifle,
and the fat of all holocausts but little in your sight,
one who fears the Lord is forever great.
Woe to the nations that rise against my people!
the Lord Almighty will requite them;
in the day of judgment he will punish them:
He will send fire and worms into their flesh,
and they shall burn and suffer forever.

(Jdt 16:13-17)11


Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch

Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.
So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot,
he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, Go and join up with that chariot. Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, Do you understand what you are reading? He replied, How can I, unless someone instructs me? So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the scripture passage he was reading: Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In (his) humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth.
Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else? Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized? Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

(Acts 8:26-40)


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

(Lk 1:46-55)


Ecclesiastes or Qohelet. Don Alberione rarely cites this book, as he does Ecclesiasticus or Sirach.

2 It is only here that LS mentions “allegory” as a manner of interpreting the Bible (cf. PCB, L'interpretazione della Bibbia nella Chiesa, 31c).

3 Rv 10:8-9: “Go, take the scroll... take and swallow it.”

4 Jn 5:39. The verse is quoted as an invitation to read the Scriptures. It does not seem to be its original meaning.

5 Cf. pages 17 and 30.

6 In LS Don Alberione does not only exhort the reading of the Bible but to interpret it well, “infallibly” or in a Christian manner, as the Church knows how to do (pp. 9, 17, 111, 285, 310). The Scriptures would be interpreted badly by some Jews (pp. 40, 111) and by Christian heretics (p. 260). It is not enough to read them with passion for the Scriptures to transform their readers into authentic disciples of Jesus. According to Don Alberione, one must learn to interpret them as Jesus Master did in the synagogue (p. 319) and as the Church does. The rules of interpretation are those established by the Roman Catholic Church as in the case of the Council's Constitution Dei Verbum (cf. n. 12). The “humble” ones are those who penetrate the true meaning of the bible and interpret it correctly (LS p. 200).

7 This generalization is not correct. A controversial Mormon author, the Englishman Brigham Henry Roberts (born in 1857), expounded his thought according to the three fundamental words of Jn 14:6, while inverting however the order of the first two: The Truth, The Way, The Life: An Elementary Treatise on Theology. With this treatise, published towards the end of his life (1933), Roberts intended to consolidate his own reflection in a composite that would unite science with the Scriptures, by dividing his material into three parts: (a) the truth concerning the earth and the truth of revelation; (b) the way of salvation and (c) Jesus' earthly life - this last was considered capable of molding the entire existence of the Christian.

8 “Faith without works” could be an excessive simplification of the Protestant creed. Luther's exact statement was: “Esto peccator, pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide” (Be a sinner, sin much, but let your faith be stronger). The Reformed Diet of Worms, in 1517, confirmed it by condemning those who believed that works are indispensable for salvation. For a more correct evaluation of these positions and of LS, the necessary biblical reference is St. Paul's teaching (Gal 2:16; 3:2; 5:6; Ti 3:8) and James' (Jas 2:14,17,18,20,22,24,26).

9 Probably Don Alberione refers to the interpretation of the verses from the Pauline letters (Rom 3:27-28; 9:32; Gal 2:16; 3:2). An erroneous interpretation of Paul is possible when attention is not paid to the fact that he is speaking of the inadequacy of the “works of the law,” while he does not deny the necessity of charity (cf. Gal 5:6: “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love”; cf. 1Cor 8:1; 12:31-13:13).

10* “The Sacred Scriptures fall under the eyes of our mind like a mirror, for us to see in it our spiritual image. In fact, in it we can see the ugliness of our sins and the beauty of our good works: from it we see how much we advance in good and how far are we from perfection.” (St. Gregory the Great)

11 LS indicates, according to the Vulgate, “Giud. XVI, 15-21.” (Jdt 16:15-21)