I lift up my hands to your commands;
I study your laws, which I love.
1 John Damascene (650 ca. - 750 ca., priest, doctor of the Church). In the many areas wherein he exercised his capabilities as writer and orator (dogmatics, exegesis, morals, asceticism, poetry), he did so in perfect harmony with the tendencies proper to his time and with the expectations of the reading public to which he wanted to address himself.
2 Cassiodorus (490 ca. - 583 ca.). A Roman politician and writer. He was probably born in Calabria of a senatorial family of remote Siriac origins. His father was a prefect of the praetorium of Theodoricus, king of the Goths, and Cassiodorus followed the same career. In 535 he tried but failed (in collaboration with Pope Agapitus) to establish a Christian university in Rome. In the year 537 he retired to private life, dedicating himself ever more to study and religion. In the lands of his family (in Squillace) in Calabria he founded a religious community called Vivarium, whose characteristic feature was the acknowledged importance of the intellectual activities of the monks. The Vivarium, although it did not survive beyond the VII century, was important for its preservation of ancient Greek and Latin books and for the creation of a model of monastic life that was to influence later the Benedictine order. Cassiodorus is one of the founders of medieval civilization in the West.
3 Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face (1873-1897), Carmelite, canonized on 17 May 1925; the “most beloved child of history” (Pius XII) was proclaimed doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II on 19 Oct. 1997. Therese's discovery of what will be “an entirely new little way” of sanctity goes back perhaps to the end of 1894. Her encounter with the words of the prophet Isaiah belongs to this period: “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find comfort.'' (Is 66:13) Ah! Never have most tender, most harmonious words have made my soul joyful. The lift that must raise me till heaven are your arms, Jesus! For this I do not need to grow, on the contrary, I must remain small, and become so ever more.” Therese is doctor of pure grace: she saw that everything depends on the gratuitous Love of the Father. Another great intuition of Therese consists in the discovery of love, starting from the reading of 1Cor: “Love gave me the key of my vocation. I understood that if the Church has a body composed of many members, the most necessary, the most noble organ of all of them is not lacking; I understood that the Church has a heart and this burns with love. I understood that love alone moves the members of the Church... I understood that love encloses all vocations, that love is everything, that it embraces all times and all places; in a word, it is eternal... my vocation is love (Ms B, 3v, in Opere complete, p. 223).
In the original edition of LS the passage quoted above, as the other two respectively of Damascene and Cassiodorus, were placed in the note, out of context. We thought it more opportune to insert them in this section of the text.
4 Jean-Jacques Olier (Paris 1608 - 1657), priest, founder of the Society of St. Sulpice. He studied with the Jesuits and his spiritual director was Vincent de Paul, who assisted him even in the moment of death. For the sharpness of his introspection and the finesse of his sentiment - manifested also in the formation of the young - he can be compared to St. Francis de Sales.
5 Lorenzo Scupoli (Otranto 1530 - Naples 1610), Theatine priest-writer of ascetics since 1577, calumnied and accused for an unknown fault, he was, through a decree of the General Chapter of 1585, reduced to the state of lay brother. His most famous work, Certamen spirituale, appeared anonymous in Venice in 1589. In 1610, a few days after his death, it was released in Bologna for the first time (it was already in its 50th edition) with the author's name. Il combattimento spirituale (The spiritual combat) is a “treatise of spiritual strategy” carried out with an ascetical method that is simple and practical, in 66 chapters of solid doctrine. It aims to lead the reader towards a perfection entirely interior, based on the denial of self and consummated in union with God.
6 Francesco di Paola Cassetta (Roma 1841 - 1919). He studied in the Roman Seminary and graduated in theology and in utroque iure. A priest since 10 August 1865, he wanted to go as a missionary among the non-Christians. Out of obedience he remained in Rome, where he dedicated himself to the education of the youth. He was ordained bishop and in turn he ordained Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII. He was the prefect of the Congregations of the Council and of Studies, and librarian of the Holy Roman Church. Even as a cardinal, he was a generous and ardent promoter of the most modern forms of Catholic activity, having as his ideal in life the effusive love of St. Paul. His rich inheritance from his family, by testament, was placed entirely at the disposition of the Propaganda Fide for the poorest missions.
7 Don Alberione will still say: “There is no other solution for all the questions that are being fomented even today among men than this: Instaurare omnia in Christo. Does not salvation come from there?” (Pr 5, p. 28; Sermons to the Pauline communities - for the canonization of Pius X - 23 May 1954). In April 1960, during the retreat-convention of the Paulines in Ariccia, he will add: “Know better, imitate, pray to and preach the only Master Jesus Christ: in whom everything is unified and recapitulated, omnia instaurare in Christo - In ipso omnia constant - Magister vester unus est Christus” (UPS II, pp. 243-244). A few days earlier, he had said: “The Son of God came to repair the first construction, to restore man and his faculties. For this he restored the mind (he is Truth), restored the will (he is Way), restored the sentiment (he is Life)” (UPS I, p. 369).
8 See note 9 of p. 203.
9 An example of moral and spiritual “reawakening” with a consequent change of life is found on p. 21. Here Don Alberione speaks of a reawakening obtained through a more assiduous reading of the Gospel. La Bibbia nella vita della Chiesa (CEI 1995), in no. 9 says: “In synthesis, we can register three fundamental signs of a promising biblical reawakening among us: a radical and interior renewal of faith, drawn from the fount of the Word of God; the conscious affirmation and assumption of the primacy of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church; the promotion of a more prompt ecumenical journey sustained by the Scriptures.”
10 “He who reads the divine Book assumes the divine language, speaks the divine language, acquires the divine effectiveness... Many sermons, many books, many exhortations would be much more effective if, instead of man, God spoke” (15 January 1935, Unione Cooperatori Apostolato Stampa, n. 1, p. 3). “Do not look for books of asceticism that foster a sentimental piety, but the Gospel and therefore a solid piety.” (June 1941, IA 1, p. 34)
11 Giovanni Papini (Florence 1881 - 1956). Since his youth he had no patience for conventional studies, he was a voracious reader and a frenetic cultural organizer. His adventurous wanderings from pragmatism to futurism, fascism, and Catholicism are the demonstration of his restless conscience as an intellectual, active in a world that has consumed every certainty and value. The outbreak of the first world war generated in him a profound examination of conscience that ended with his adhesion to official Catholicism. Such conversion was publicized with enormous resonance, as an exemplary result of a manifestly desacralizing intellectual event. With his book La Storia di Cristo, (The Story of Christ) of 1921, he won great international fame. During the last years of his life, a long sickness forced him to immobility and deprived him of the of sight and speech, yet without taking him away from an intense activity as a scholar and writer. - Also this citation of Papini, located in the footnotes, we have thought more opportune to insert in the text.
12 LS shows “Is. XLV, 15-26.” (Is 45:15-26) In the Vulgate ch. 45 of Isaiah has 26 verses, while the new translations have 25: verses 23 and 24 equal verse 23.