Blessed James Alberione

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I LETTER TO TIMOTHY. - This letter to Timothy is the first of the group of pastoral letters, so called because they are addressed to pastors of souls and give rules relative to the government of the Church.
It is a very intimate letter wherein the thoughts follow each other spontaneously in an entirely subjective order that cannot be reduced into a schematic unity. In fact, after a brief prologue, Paul exhorts Timothy to fight against false teachers, teaches him how to behave during public prayers and worship, what qualities must the sacred ministers have, how to behave with regard to heretics and various classes of Christians; he goes back to speak about false teachers, and closes with particular advices, then with the epilogue.
It was written between the years 64 and 67.

II LETTER TO TIMOTHY. - This letter, even more intimate and personal than the first, can be called St. Paul's testament since it was written in the year 67.
Timothy, left behind by Paul in Ephesus, was governing this Church when the Apostle, again imprisoned in Rome, wrote him this letter. Although, while narrating that he appeared before Nero, he says that he was freed from the mouth of the lion, he says that his death is certain and calls to himself his beloved disciple to be encouraged and to give him the last reminders.
This very tender letter, which unites exhortations with prophecies about the Apostle's death and the future of the Church, mixed with personal news, contains exhortations
for making fruitful the grace of the priesthood, animated by the example of Paul and by the resurrection of Christ; as well as instructions regarding heresies to combat, by remaining firm in the doctrine received, in the preaching of the Gospel, and in the accomplishment of one's duties.

LETTER TO TITUS. - Titus, converted by St. Paul from Gentilism, often accompanied his Master, to the Council of Jerusalem and during the third missionary journey. He was charged to visit this or that Church. After the first Roman imprisonment, St. Paul evangelized with Titus the island of Crete and left Titus there to organize the various Churches founded in the island. After leaving Crete, St. Paul visited the Churches of Asia, then of Macedonia, and in the year 64 or in 66, he arrived in Necapolis, the capital of Epyrus. Perhaps from Necapolis he wrote this letter to tell Titus to join him so he could give him instructions. This letter must be contemporaneous to the first letter to Timothy, for they have the same simple and natural style, the same phrases and deal with almost with the same pastoral issue.


The Bible shortens Purgatory
and augments the beatific vision

I will keep your teachings always,
for all time and forever.
(Ps 118/119:44)

Heaven is all our hope; it is our only treasure; it consists in seeing God face to face, in possessing him, and enjoying him.
It is in view of heaven that God wrote to men his long letter! For it we have been created, for it also we labor and live.
Our prayer must be like that of the Psalmist: One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the Lord's house all the days of my life, to gaze on the Lord's beauty, to visit his temple. (Ps 26/27:4) That is, so that we can win for ourselves heaven.
St. Thomas,1 the supreme and principal Theologian and philosopher of the Church, asked by the Lord what he wanted as recompense for his precious and numerous writings, replied: Non aliud nisi te: I want nothing else, O Lord, except You, and your Heaven.
In the second place, one who reads the Sacred Scriptures, not only learns that he is created for heaven, but shortens his Purgatory, if unfortunately he will fall there, because his eyes will sooner be capable of contemplating God's face.

* * *

First of all, we have said that the Bible makes man know his end, why he was created. And for well six hundred times the Bible speaks to us about heaven, our end.
The Divine Master narrated to us several and very beautiful parables regarding the kingdom of heaven.
But then, the whole of Holy Scripture, as we have hinted, is only to tell man that he is created for heaven. Both the Old and the New Testament are a continuous exhortation to live well and to flee from evil; and for what purpose? To be able one day to win the reward, that is, to enter heaven.
The Sacred Scriptures often are represented by a lamp that gives light to man so that he may not take the wrong road: Mandatum lucerna est, et lex lux: for the bidding is a lamp, and the teaching
a light (Prv 6:23) and the Lord Jesus said that on judgment day he will judge all men according to this light, that is, if they have acted, yes or no, according to the precepts contained in Holy Scripture: Scrutabor Jerusalem in lucernis. (Zep 1:12)2 And in the Psalms we read: Lucerna pedibus meis, verbum tuum, et lumen semitis meis: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. (Ps 118/119:105)
It is always the Lord who, through his law, brings light to our path, so that we do not deviate from the right path to heaven.
Ah, how the hope and the desire for heaven comes alive in him who often reads the Bible; he will quickly understand the misery of this earth and the beauty of heaven, such that he formulates resolutions of wanting to acquire it at all cost.
St. Basil says that the Bible is a great drugstore from where each can take at pleasure the best remedies, the strongest corroboration for one's spirit.

* * *

In the second place, the reading of the Bible accelerates and augments the beatific vision of God, that is, heaven, by the fact that it shortens Purgatory. He who reads frivolous and even bad books shall have as a consequence thoughts, earthly and worldly desires and hence, when he will present himself before God's tribunal, the eyes of his intelligence will be blurred and perhaps covered by mud; found therefore inadequate to contemplate God and not accustomed to those divine mysteries, he will first have to stay long in Purgatory and there be purified and make his eyes capable of contemplating the resplendent
face of the Lord, since heaven is nothing else but the face to face contemplation of our God.
Read the book on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa and you will soon be convinced of the immense pain that those poor souls suffer, forced to stay separated from their God!
Instead he who often reads the Sacred Scriptures demonstrates to want only one thing: to know the Lord and this desire of his shall certainly be satisfied because there is the infallible word of Jesus that says: Beati qui esuriunt, et sitiunt justitiam: quoniam ipsi saturabuntur. (Mt 5:6)3 In heaven no desire shall be left unsatisfied: the Blessed will pass from mystery to mystery, and God shall reveal himself to those who sought him: Inquirentibus se remunerator sit. (Heb 11:6)4
His eyes will be powerful as those of an eagle which, at a young age, is carried by its mother up high towards the sun, so that it may get used to solar rays.
He who reads the Bible gets used even now to contemplate what would constitute the object of his eternal beatitude; and as soon as his soul shall be free of this mortal body, he will fly towards God, and being used to contemplate the sublime mysteries, he will more quickly be admitted to the vision of God.
The Evangelist St. John who continually aspired to know the divine mysteries is almost always portrayed with an eagle close by, and this in order to indicate that his flights in the contemplation of God were marvelous. With what height and sublimity, in fact, does his Gospel begin! He even starts from the nature
of God, begins his Gospel with the narration of the eternal generation of the Word. In the face of such height we cannot but exclaim with St. Paul: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. (Rom 11:33)5
Let us then open the holy book and let us read it; let us nourish ourselves often with it because in this way we will augment our eternal blessedness, since the Bible is nothing but a preparation for it. And as St. Augustine says, the doctrine of Holy Scripture is the Science of sciences, the food, the delicious nourishment of archangels, the glory of the Apostles, the faith of the patriarchs, the hope of the prophets, the crown of martyrs, the strength of virgins, the relief of monks, the comfort of bishops, the dispensary of priests, the primer of children, the doctrine of widows, the beauty of the married, the resurrection of the dead, the everlasting protection of the living. This is the doctrine for which we are ornamented with faith, confirmed with hope, and strengthened in charity. This is the doctrine that Whoever shall have found it, shall find life and shall draw salvation from the Lord.6*
Observe one who has read, with right intention, a passage of the Bible. He looks around in wonder. It seems to him almost impossible that he is still on earth. Oh, yes, in body he is still on earth, but in spirit he is in heaven.

EXAMPLE. - St. Bede. - He made England and the Church famous for his holiness and his writings. Educated since childhood in piety and study, he very soon
manifested the very excellent qualities with which the Lord had favored him.
He very soon consecrated himself to the Lord through religious vows, dedicating himself at the same time to studies to which he felt himself strongly inclined.
However, it was not vanity or his own satisfaction that he sought in that noble occupation since he himself confessed that it was not vainglory that moved him to study literature, neither did he apply himself to the sciences for simple culture of the soul, but directed everything to the glory of God and to greater understanding of Holy Scripture. And for this purpose, although already very learned, he made himself a humble student in order to learn the Greek language.
His love and study of Holy Scripture was so known,7 that the Archbishop of York8 used to call him often so he may read and explain with him the Sacred Books and to talk about spiritual matters.
It is said that he read daily for six hours the Sacred Books and he learned them so well that later he knew neither to write nor speak without connecting verses of the Holy Bible.
His principal work is his commentary on Holy Scripture that even today is of immense use to Bible commentators.
His books were read in the Churches by Priests like the Gospel and the Epistles are read; they are so full of wisdom and interwoven with passages from Holy Scripture.

LITTLE SACRIFICE. - Recite an act of sorrow for the little care that till now the sacred book enjoys.


O LORD, you are my God,
I will extol you and praise your name;
For you have fulfilled your wonderful plans of old,
faithful and true.
For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the castle of the insolent is a city no more,
nor ever to be rebuilt.
Therefore a strong people will honor you,
fierce nations will fear you.
For you are a refuge to the poor,
a refuge to the needy in distress;
shelter from the rain, shade from the heat.
As with the cold rain,
as with the desert heat,
even so you quell the uproar of the wanton.

(Is 25:1-5)


Parables of the hidden treasure, of the pearl, and of the net

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Do you understand all these things? They answered, Yes. And he replied, Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.

[Mt 13:44-52]


Who am I, Lord GOD, and who are the members of my house, that you have brought me to this point?
Yet even this you see as too little, Lord GOD; you have also spoken of the house of your servant for a long time to come: this too you have shown to man, Lord GOD!
What more can David say to you? You know your servant, Lord GOD!
For your servant's sake and as you have had at heart, you have brought about this entire magnificent disclosure to your servant.
And so - Great are you, Lord GOD! There is none like you and there is no God but you, just as we have heard it told...

(2Sm 7:18ff)


1 Regarding St. Thomas Aquinas (1224/1225-1274, Dominican, canonized in 1323, doctor of the Church since 1567, feast on 28 January), often he is spoken of in LS: pp. 51f (of his example as reader, scholar and commentator of the Bible), p. 91 (as companion of Bonaventure and profound expert of the Song of Songs), p. 200, note 4 (of his thought regarding the truth and the freedom of biblical doctrine), p. 244 (as author of wonderful books). The doctor and supreme theologian of the Church, has had a primary influence in the scholastic system of seminaries and church universities, and hence also in the thought of Don Alberione and of the Paulines of the beginnings. Thomas, as a friar preacher, was dedicated to the reading of the word of God and to contemplata aliis tradere (to communicate to others the result of his own contemplation). As a thinker he attempted a synthesis between philosophy and Christian faith and between nature and grace. Patron of universities, colleges, and Catholic schools, Thomas was a master of clear and concise communication, free, rational, and capable of exercising his intelligence regarding the mysteries of the revealed Word.

2 “I will explore Jerusalem with lamps...”

3 “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”

4 “...he rewards those who seek him.”

5 Because of a printing error, LS indicates “Rom. XXI, 33.” (Rom 21:33)

6* St. Augustine, Serm. XXVIII.

7 A short time prior to his death that took place in 735, concluding the history of his people and giving a list of his works, Bede gives us this selfportrait: “I spent my whole life in this monastery [of Wearmouth and Jarrow], dedicating myself entirely to the study of the Bible and while I followed the discipline of the Rule and the daily duty of singing in church, it was always sweet to me to learn, to teach, to write... I ask you, O good Jesus, who benevolently have granted to me to draw with sweetness the words of your science, to grant me also, you who are kind, to reach you, source of all wisdom, and to stand before your face.” Bede was first of all a reader of the Bible. His exegetical work, his penetration of Scripture, make him one of the major interpreters of the Bible during the whole of the Latin High Medieval Age.

8 In the original text, there is “Jork”.