Blessed James Alberione

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St. Jude, is different from Judas Iscariot;1 his surname is Thaddeus which means praise, confession; and also Lebbeus, found in the Greek text of St. Matthew and meaning man of ingenuity and intelligence.
He was the brother of St. James the Lesser, of St. Simon of Jerusalem, and of one called Joseph. They were all sons of Cleophas and of Mary, sister of the Most Holy Virgin.
This apostle was dear to his divine Master; and this, more than because of bonds of blood, is due to his contempt of the world, his ardor and the vivacity of his zeal. It is not known when and how he became the disciple of Jesus Christ. The Gospel says nothing about him until the place where he is numbered among the Apostles.
After the Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit, Jude joined the other Apostles in order to spread the doctrine that had to lead men to salvation.
It is said that he preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumea and Syria and above all in Mesopotamia. The holy apostle returned to Jerusalem in 62, after the martyrdom of St. James his brother, and assisted at the election of St. Simeon for the governance of the Church of this city.
Nothing is known of the place and time of his death. His feast is celebrated on 28 October.
St. Jude left us a letter.

This letter has many similarities with the second letter of St. Peter. We do not know, however, which of the two is anterior to the other, but certainly they were almost contemporary and the similarity depends on their almost equal time and scope. That of St. Jude, however, is better and more sustained in style, without so many repetitions.
He vigorously attacks the proud and lascivious false teachers, threatening for them the most severe punishments, while he exhorts the Christians to remain firm in their faith and to do their duties.
It seems that the letter was written to the Jewish Christians of the diaspora, towards the year 65.


For the Press Apostolate the Bible is life2

In your kindness give me life,
to keep the decrees you have spoken.

(Ps 118/119:88)

Today's reflection is connected with those of days 9 and 193 as the continuation of the topic: The Bible and the Apostolate of the Press.
a) The motive with which God was moved to give to men the priceless gift of Holy Scripture was love. God, in fact, is called: he
who loves souls: Deus qui amas animas. (Wis 11:27) It is the same for the Apostle of the Press. The motive that moves him to work, is likewise love: Amor mi mosse, che mi fa parlare. (Love moved me; love makes me speak)4
Love is a sacred flame in the heart of the Apostle. God is fire itself: Ignis, charitas. When the flame is very much alive, it tends to expand; and by its nature heat warms; and what is good wants to communicate itself: bonum est diffusivum sui.5
Saints want Heaven, but not alone by themselves; and St. Paul said to his disciples: Gaudium meum et corona mea. (1Thes 2:20)6 And to win as many as he can, the apostle of the press has gone up the highest pulpit: Clama, ne cesses, quasi tuba exalta vocem tuam. - Cry out full throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast. (Is 58:1)

* * *

b) The effectiveness of the Press Apostolate is similar to that of the Holy Bible: it possesses an interior force that is truly divine. Reading the divine Scriptures, the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church obtained light and urgings to become saints and to ardently desire the salvation of souls; reading the divine Scriptures, St. Augustine, St. Ignatius, St. Anthony Abbot, St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi proposed a new life that not only attained perfect observance of the commandments, but rose up to the evangelical counsels and to the highest perfection. All the Saints, all men, from the reading of the
Bible draw the virtues of fortitude, justice, prudence, and love of neighbor. It works on everyone, having divine powers: it is a sacramental.
And a similar virtue is also inherent in the Press Apostolate: 1) for what it contains, that is Truth God, or God-Truth; 2) for its end of healing the mind and raising the will and the heart to eternal goods; 3) for its origin and institution.
The apostolate always has such power, but especially when it publishes, comments on, applies the Bible. All the powers of the Sacraments, Sacramentals and prayers originate from the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, that is, from Calvary; and the more they draw from this divine spring, the more they are effective.7*
Likewise, the entire Press Apostolate, periodicals and books, is effective by power of the Bible, of the preaching of Jesus, of the Gospel; and has much more efficacy to the degree that it draws from, approaches, defends, responds to, ardently desires, and applies the Gospel itself.
c) The sacred writers do not rely on themselves, but on God; hence, the spirit of prayer. Furthermore, they aim at the Lord, that is, at his divine glory and peace for men; and here enters right intention. These are two elements, essential for effectiveness: so that the apostle may sanctify himself and may save men.
The spirit of prayer and right intention
are the conditions of divine grace; they can be translated thus: I rely on God, I aim at God. That is justice, truth, order, because it means recognition of what is God and what is man. Philosophy and Theology, ascetics and experience, the Church and the Councils are in accord in proclaiming these principles. But aside from the theoretical part, one must will and feel in conformity with the faith. Let prayer precede, accompany, and follow the apostolate: right intention should be the moving spirit that determines writing, printing, and diffusing.

* * *

The diffusion of the Gospel in particular and of the Bible in general must remain as the essential work of the Press Apostolate.
The Apostle of the Press who did well this part, would already accomplish the essential part of this ministry; all the rest, done alone and without the Bible, would not be sufficient since Biblical work is necessary and irreplaceable.
The task is: aim so that in every family the Gospel be put in a place of honor; that it be read by the Head of the house to the whole gathered family; that it be explained in a convenient way and with the guidance of a good approved commentary.
See to it that the Gospel is read in Schools: God is the best educator, Jesus Christ is the true Teacher by nature, by office, and by vocation. The soul of the child, in his innocence and simplicity, is most suited to receive the divine teachings: Revelasti ea parvulis. (Lk 10:21)8
Let it be read in every school, from kindergarten to the University. This is unthinkable: schools excluding Him who is the only Teacher.
See to it that it is read in Church: on Sundays at least let the Gospel be read: and where possible, its explanation; let it be read during Lent, during the hours of adoration, during evening prayers, in Catholic Action meetings.
Work that it be read and meditated upon by individuals; inasmuch as it is especially here that reflection helps to penetrate well the divine thought and the heart to generate resolutions. Let especially the professionals, artists, government people or those posted in public offices read it.

EXAMPLE. - Origen. - He is the most fruitful writer the Church has had. His biographers in fact tell us that the works written by him number more than six thousand of which the principal ones deal with Holy Scripture.
While yet very young,9 his father, St. Leonidas, made him study by memory passages of the Sacred Scriptures and he learned them so well that whatever passage he was asked, he could recite what comes after without mistaking a syllable.
Having a very ardent desire to read the letter of the good heavenly Father, in the genuine language in which it was written, he completely dedicated himself to the study of Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Latin, and because of his tenacious will, and assisted by divine grace, he came to know them perfectly so much so that later he was able to compose his principal work, the Exapla.10 Such a grandiose work gives and arranges in six columns the Hebrew text and the Greek versions11 in such a way that with a glance one can see what the Hebrew text says and what the Greek version say. In the first column the Hebrew text written with Hebrew letters is given. In the second column is the same Hebrew text written with Greek letters. In the third, fourth, fifth and sixth columns there are respectively the translations12 into Greek by Aquila, Simmacus, the Seventy, and Theodosius.
Commenting on the Gospel of St. John, the great doctor says that no one can understand the meaning of this Gospel, all of it to demonstrate the Divinity of Jesus Christ, if he has not, like St. John, rested on the heart of the Divine Master, and has not received from Jesus himself, Mary as Mother.
Origen, like St. Augustine, propounds as principal means for progressing in the way of perfection the reading of Holy Scripture; and he says that in order to grasp its meaning well, the work of Mary Most Holy, who knew perfectly the Bible, is necessary.
The study of the Bible, Origen continues, makes us know Jesus, his virtues, while indicating to us the means for practicing them; it makes us know his commandments and precepts, following which we shall reach safely the top of the mount of perfection.

LITTLE SACRIFICE. - Recite the prayer: O gloriosissimo Apostolo (O most glorious Apostle), found at the end of this book, so that all those called to the Press Apostolate may learn to draw from the Bible the truth, the way, and the life.


The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky proclaims its builder's craft.
One day to the next conveys that message;
one night to the next imparts that knowledge.
There is no word or sound; no voice is heard;
Yet their report goes forth through all the earth,
their message, to the ends of the world.
God has pitched there a tent for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom from his chamber,
and like an athlete joyfully runs its course.
From one end of the heavens it comes forth;
its course runs through to the other;
nothing escapes its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;
More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold,
Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.
By them your servant is instructed;
obeying them brings much reward.
Who can detect heedless failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults.
But from willful sins keep your servant;
let them never control me.
Then shall I be blameless, innocent of grave sin.
Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor,
keep the thoughts of my heart before you, LORD,
my rock and my redeemer.

(Ps 18/19)


Opposition between the Gospel and human wisdom

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside. Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might
boast before God. It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

(1Cor 1:17-31)


Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you. As when brushwood is set ablaze, or fire makes the water boil! Thus your name would be made known to your enemies and the nations would tremble before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean men, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; We have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; For you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands. Be not so very angry, LORD, keep not our guilt forever in mind; look upon us, who are all your people. Your holy cities have become a desert, Zion is a desert, Jerusalem a waste. Our holy and glorious temple in which our fathers praised you Has been burned with fire; all that was dear to us is laid waste. Can you hold back, O LORD, after all this? Can you remain silent, and afflict us so severely?

(Is 63:19-64:11)13


1 Or Iscariota, literally “man from Kerioth” (a Palestininan village). Thaddaios, a word of uncertain origin, could mean, like the Hebrew Lebbeo, “of great heart, courageous.” Comparing the catalogue of apostles in Lk 6:16, Mt 10:3 and Acts 1:13, it seems that Jude, son of James, and Thaddeus were the same person, the probable author of the letter of Jude.

2 Regarding scientific and popular publications dealing with biblical exegesis, see PCB, L'interpretazione della Bibbia nella Chiesa, 1993, n. 36.

3 See pp. 97ff and 191ff.

4 DANTE ALIGHIERI, La Divina Commedia, Inferno, II, 72.

5 It is a Neoplatonic saying, taken from the writings of Plotinus (philosopher who lived from 203/5 to about 270 A.D.) and eventually entered, perhaps through a Syriac monk of the V-VI century, the Pseudo-Dionisius Areopagite (De coelesti hierarchia 4) the writings of Thomas Aquinas and hence Scholasticism. Important for the metaphysics of Plotinus was the process of emanation or outward flux of realities from the invisible One. Plotinus offered metaphors of this emanation, as the radiation of heat from fire, or cold from snow, or the fragrance of a flower, or light from the sun: what is good, he concluded, spontaneously spreads for the simple reason that it is good. Those beings that have reached their perfection of being do not keep it for themselves but express it, thus generating external images of interior activities. The same concept is adopted today as a slogan of free and spontaneous communication in the Internet.

6 Cf. 1Thes 2:19-20: “For what is our hope or joy or crown to boast of in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming if not you yourselves?”

7* “Read therefore the Sacred Scriptures, my brothers, read them so that you may not be blind and guides of the blind. Read the Sacred Scriptures and you will find clearly what to accept and what to flee. Read them, for they are sweeter than any honey, sweeter than any bread, more inebriating than any wine. Study them and you will see that the God of gods is the breadth of his charity, the height of his majesty, and the depth and immensity of his Wisdom.” [Author not named: probably it is St. Augustine]

8 “You have revealed them to the childlike.”

9 Moved by youthful radicalism, he sells the Greek manuscripts he possessed for a tiny sum (to indicate renunciation of anything that is not knowledge of God) and dedicates himself to an extremely austere life.

10 The Exapla is one of the most important works of Origen. It consists in the edition of the Old Testament (compiled around the year 240 AD) where the Hebrew text and the various Greek translations appear side by side on six columns. Unfortunately, of the work that reveals an impressive penetration in the search textual criticism, only fragments remain.

11 Together with Jerome, Origen is the greatest “literal” and critical exegete of antiquity. He possesses an inexhaustible curiosity for the different readings or variants that he finds in the manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments. He takes note and explains everything. For him, however, the Greek text prevails over the Hebrew because it was that which the apostles gave to the Church. The literal meaning of the text is explained accurately with the aid of Greek philology and the history of the usages and customs of the Hebrew people, and hence with the help also of Hebrew interpretations, inasmuch as he was also in touch with some rabbi. The “literal” meaning for Origen is the philological and etymological meaning of the word or phrase. Instead, by literal meaning, we mean what the human author intended and wanted to express. With his literal meaning (better to say literalist, or adherence to the letter) Origen runs the risk of not grasping the figurative language which exists as well in the biblical text (for example, the parables and metaphors). Origen nonetheless knows also the “spiritual” sense, inspired by the Spirit. Like Paul he accepts that the entire Old Testament had been written as “a figure” or “as a warning to us” (cf. 1Cor 10:11), as a prophecy or figure of Christ. As to the exegesis of the New Testament, it ought to apply to every Christian what is said of Christ. In short, Origen's method - which has influenced so much the reading of the Bible in the Church - foresees a threefold meaning of the Scripture in its totality (cf. De Principiis, IV, 2), which corresponds to its three-point anthropology: a corporal (or literal) meaning; a psychic (or moral) one; and one that is spiritual (or mystic). H. de Lubac, Exégèse Médiévale I/1, 198-211, traces to the exegetical practice of Origen the doctrine of the four-fold meaning that will be enunciated by the monk Cassianus (360-435): the literal meaning; the allegorical meaning which consists in the affirmation of Christ as the center of history; the tropological meaning, which concerns the behavior of the Christian; and the anagogical meaning which makes one experience and have a foretaste of the future, eternal goods (see note 7 of p. 40).

12 In LS there is allusion to the translation of the Bible by Msgr. Martini (p. 81, note 8) and to the translation of the Vulgata by Jerome (pp. 245-248). For Don Alberione translations have a considerable pastoral and apostolic value. On the matter, Dei Verbum reaffirms the need for appropriate and correct translations (no. 22).

13 LS, in accordance with the Vulgate, indicates “Is. LXIV, 1-12.” (Is 64:1-12)