Blessed James Alberione

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The book is composed of numerous discourses and prophecies made in a span of forty years, with numerous news that illustrate and confirm the prophecies. A chronological order is not followed, but a certain logical order that develops the threats and the execution of divine justice against the Chosen People and against the Gentiles. Everything, however, can be reduced to a certain unity by the idea of divine justice. If, however, the description of God's vindictive justice prevails, the prophet did not fail to build and plant by preaching mercy and restoration.
What order the prophet had in forming his book, we do not know. He certainly put order to many of his prophecies which he let Baruch write in a book burned by King Jehoiakim, and it's possible that the book dictated anew to Baruch may have served as the basis of the collection of prophecies we now have.
Jeremiah did not have the sublimity or the eagle's eyes of Isaiah, but he is so simple, spontaneous, and natural that he can be the model narrator in all of literature; he is the prophet of the heart, and just as he was one of the most vibrant figures of Christ, so he represents in himself all the sorrows and the hopes of the chosen people.

This small book of five elegies took the name of lamentations from its Latin title. They are five different, short poems. The first four are alphabetical in Hebrew, that is, every verse begins with a letter in alphabetical order. The third short poem repeats for three times the same letter.
The first lamentation describes the event: desolate Jerusalem, compared to an abandoned woman, laments. The second lamentation describes the cause of the massacre of Jerusalem: God justly angered at her sins. The third lamentation expresses the deep mourning of Jerusalem that trusts in the mercy of God. The fourth lamentation makes a dramatic contrast between the present and the past of Jerusalem, enumerates the sins that have been the cause of so many misfortunes and ends angrily addressing Idumea. The fifth lamentation is the prayer of the chosen people that lays bare her misfortunes and asks that God's anger be not eternal.


After a historical introduction, the prophet confesses the sins of Israel and asks for mercy. Then, he warns on the causes of the national ruin and promises the greatest consolations. In appendix he includes Jeremiah's letter to the exiles.


Baruch, Son of Neriah, disciple and secretary of Jeremiah, belonged to a noble family of the tribe of Judah. During the fourth year of King Jehoiakim he read Jeremiah's oracles and rewrote them after the king burned them. Under Zedekiah,
he suffered imprisonment like Jeremiah until the conquest of Jerusalem. He followed Jeremiah to Massah and then to Egypt. On the fifth year after the fall of Jerusalem, we find him in Babylon reading to the exiles, gathered around King Jeconiah, the confession of sins. It seems that he died in Babylon about twelve years after the fall of Jerusalem.


From Holy Scripture flows the virtue of charity

In my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
(Sal 118/119:11)

As we have seen, through the reading of the Holy Scriptures, we nourish our faith and enliven our hope. Today we shall see how the virtue of charity grows.
Charity is that virtue by which we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves. A virtue not coming from earth but from heaven, it was brought to us by Jesus Christ himself. Before the coming of Christ, human beings did not know what charity was. On the contrary, for the ancients it was cowardice to forgive an enemy; one had to avenge himself at all cost. After the appearance of the Divine Master, however, things changed! The infinite number of charitable works that today arise in every country and city are a brilliant proof of it.
It is not exaggerated to say that charity is the daughter of God.1 It was seated in the divine Heart of Jesus and flowed from it. Jesus in fact loved the Heavenly Father and human beings with an infinite love: Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God. (Eph 5:2)
Men, with but their natural strength, would not know how to love each other according to the spirit of the Gospel; it was necessary that the Divine Master should come from heaven to teach it to them. This he did first by giving example, then by teaching it verbally; but this teaching of his had not to end with his mortal life; God disposed that the same teaching should be passed on to descendants through the Sacred Scriptures.
How fervent in love does one become who reads in the Holy Gospel the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist! How is love for God ignited when reading the very beautiful parable of the good shepherd, where God is symbolized as one who goes in search of the lost sheep and, having found it, embraces it, takes it in his arms and brings it to a secure place!
Also love towards neighbor is energized and made to grow while reading, for example, the miracles performed by Jesus, whether he cleanses the lepers or heals the paralytics and the afflicted with every kind of sickness, or frees those possessed by the demon, or gives back life to the dead, etc.
What tender sentiments of love and of confidence in God arouses in us the episode of the Magdalene, to whom was forgiven so many sins so that she loved much. However, it is not only the New Testament that energizes and increases our
charity; also the books of the Old Testament contain very beautiful examples and precious teachings on charity. In the Exodus, for example, we read that God exercises mercy until the thousandth generation to those who love him and observe his teachings: Ego... faciens misericordiam in milia his qui diligunt me, et custodiunt praecepta mea. (Ex 20:5-6)2
The same things that we read in the Gospel of St. Matthew had already been written centuries and centuries ago by Moses: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength (Dt 6:5) with the only difference that in St. Matthew we have: With all your mind, instead of with all your strength.
In the book of Genesis, chapter 45, we read the very beautiful example of Joseph who generously forgives his brothers who had sold him as a slave and embraces them and kisses them.
This virtue of charity is recommended at least 200 times in the Scriptures.
In his letters, St. Paul speaks of this virtue, its qualities, its necessity, its fruits and rewards on every occasion. The Gospel and the letters of St. John who drew his love directly from the heart of the Divine Master, are a continuous recommendation of this heavenly virtue.
He who reads the Bible assiduously will learn how one must love God and neighbor, how one must forgive and not hate his enemies.
St. Alphonsus, from his reading of Holy Scripture, was so convinced of the need and beauty of
this theological virtue that he even wrote a book: The practice of the love of Jesus Christ as commentary to the verse from the Gospel of St. John: Qui habet mandata mea et servat ea, ille est qui diligit me. Qui autem diligit me, diligetur a Patre meo - Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father... (Jn 14:21)
We also read in the Holy Gospel how Jesus, before giving to St. Peter the threefold power to administer, govern and judge and before entrusting to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, wanted from him a threefold profession of love.
Hence, let us read the Bible with the intention and desire to let the three theological virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity - grow: and in it, let us look for deeds and sayings that can make them grow and become strong and we shall soon see the effectiveness of such reading.

EXAMPLE. - The Bible and the Christians of the first centuries. The history of the Church narrates that the love of the first Christians for Holy Scripture was very great. The Bible and the Eucharist were the two principal springs from where they drew the strength to fight against enemies in the inside and from the outside.
Majority of the Christians carried in their breast the Holy Gospel. The Breviary expressly tells us that St. Cecilia always carried the book of the Gospels in her heart: Virgo semper in corde suo Evangelium Christi ferebat, and this to have the ease to read it often during the day and during greater and sudden dangers.
At the start of the IV century, Emperor Diocletian issued a decree where he ordered the surrender of the books of Holy Scripture under pain of death. The impious decree did nothing but increase the love and attachment of the Christians for the sacred books. And many preferred to give their life rather than surrender their treasure. Eusebius makes the number
of Martyrs of Holy Scripture to reach several hundreds. So much so that the Church, unable to celebrate the feast of each of these martyrs, established January 2 as the so-called feast of the Martyrs of the Holy Scripture.
In another place, Church history narrates how those fervent Christians were writing, on special tablets, the most beautiful verses of Holy Scripture, and then they attached them to the walls of their Churches and homes so as to be reminded always of the divine words.
So here we explain the heroic courage of those first Christians who preferred a hundred thousand deaths rather than deny their faith. Here we explain their great love for each other that stupefied and evoked the admiration of the pagans who, seeing it, said among themselves: Look how they love one another!... they all seem to be brothers and sisters!

LITTLE SACRIFICE. - In imitation of the first Christians, I shall write on my books and notebooks some verses of Holy Scripture.


Listen, my faithful children: open up your petals,
like roses planted near running waters;
Send up the sweet odor of incense,
break forth in blossoms like the lily.
Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise;
bless the LORD for all he has done!
Proclaim the greatness of his name,
loudly sing his praises,
With music on the harp and all stringed instruments;
sing out with joy as you proclaim:
The works of God are all of them good;
in its own time every need is supplied.
At his word the waters become still as in a flask;
he had but to speak and the reservoirs were made.
He has but to command and his will is done;
nothing can limit his achievement.
The works of all mankind are present to him;
not a thing escapes his eye.
His gaze spans all the ages;
to him there is nothing unexpected.
No cause then to say: What is the purpose of this?
Everything is chosen to satisfy a need.
His blessing overflows like the Nile;
like the Euphrates it enriches the surface of the earth.
Again, his wrath expels the nations
and turns fertile land into a salt marsh.
For the virtuous his paths are level,
to the haughty they are steep.

(Sir 39:13-24)


Characteristics of charity

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(1Cor 13:4-13)


Hear, LORD, my plea for justice;
pay heed to my cry;
Listen to my prayer spoken without guile.
From you let my vindication come;
your eyes see what is right.
You have tested my heart, searched it in the night.
You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me.
My mouth has not transgressed
as humans often do.
As your lips have instructed me,
I have kept the way of the law.
My steps have kept to your paths;
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you; answer me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my prayer.
Show your wonderful love,
you who deliver with your right arm
those who seek refuge from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.

(Ps 16/17:1-8)


1 This insistence on charity in LS, by Don Alberione, is justified by the words of Jesus himself in Mt 7:12; 22:40: the meaning of the whole Scriptures, or at least of the Law and the Prophets, can be synthesised in doing or not doing to others what one does or does not want to be done to oneself. It seems that this is the best definition of fraternal charity among the sons and daughters of God.

2 “I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God... bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.”