Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mindful Acts of Consecration for Media

Blessed James Alberione invited people from all walks of life to consecrate themselves for the spread of the gospel using the media. Included in this consecration are mindful acts of reparation for the misuse of the media.  Even while opening movies studios, publishing houses, and media centers Alberione realized everyone who took up this work was first of all called to contemplation. His genius was to balance out a very demanding mission with times of meditation, Morning Prayer, daily Mass, and Eucharistic Adoration. He further gifted members of his religious family with another half-hour of prayer for their continual encounter with God. Paulines are called to be fountains overflowing with the gospel for a thirsting world.  Our true goal, Alberione wrote, “is to establish ourselves totally in Jesus Master Way (will) and Truth (mind) and Life (heart); ever more to reach the summit of his personality: I who think in Jesus Christ; I who love in Jesus Christ; I who will in Jesus Christ; or Christ who thinks in me, who loves in me, who wills in me.”

The time of prayer gives space for the seed of God’s word to grow allowing the Word to take on flesh in the publishing house, in the technology, and most of all in the person dedicated to evangelization. Prayer for Alberione was mindfulness throughout the day. Valuing times of silence he often went on month long retreats leaving behind all of his projects as a way to surrender them to God. At least once a week, after celebrating Mass, he would withdraw to his room and remain there the entire day. Sometimes he did this for several consecutive days returning to his regular schedule refreshed, with new energies and initiatives.”[1]  The secret of his apostolic energy was prayer and silence, “Silence allows a person to speak with God, to hear God, and to receive from God; in holy silence the soul withdraws into itself, comes to know itself better, and achieves greater union with God. The person will be fascinated by God, enter into intimate conversation with God….”


At the end of his life Blessed James readily entrusted the mission to his followers. His practice of “handing over” all of his work to God expanded his heart. He prayed that all Paulines would do more than he did. He compared his impending death to a priest removing his vestments after celebrating Mass. “The priest removes the vestments and remains, in all his insignificance, what he is before God.”[2] This gives us insight into his understanding of the Pauline Charism as embracing the media as gifts of God and not as means of power and manipulation. For Paulines God is communicator par excellence and we are his microphone, pen, paper, ink, press, computer, keyboard, and whatever media we adopt to express God’s love.

Prayer to Jesus Divine Master
Jesus, Way between the Father and us, I offer you all and await all from you.
Jesus, Way of sanctity, make me your faithful imitator.
Jesus Way, render me perfect as the Father who is in heaven.

Jesus Life, live in me, so that I may live in you.
Jesus Life, do not permit me to separate myself from you.
Jesus Life, grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love.

Jesus Truth, may I be, light for the world.
Jesus Way, may I be example and model for souls.
Jesus Life, may my presence bring grace and consolation everywhere.
Blessed James Alberione



[1] James Alberione, pg. 34
[2] http://paulines.ph/fsp/fsp-downloads/marvel-of-our-times.pdf

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to Love and Communicate as St Paul


“I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

Galatians 2:20 is the text most quoted by Blessed James Alberione. It remains an identifying passage for the Pauline charism.  In his book Abundantes divitiæ gratiæ suæ, Blessed Alberione recounts the foundation of the Pauline Family. This book comprises one of the seminal documents of how Blessed Alberione came to realize the insights given to him as a sixteen year old seminarian on "the night between the centuries." Here he writes of his encounter with St Paul:
 “Saint Paul: the saint of universality!  My admiration and devotion began especially from the study and meditation of the Letter to the Romans. From then on the personality, the sanctity, the heart, intimacy with Jesus, his work in dogma and morals, his mark left in the organization of the Church, his zeal for all peoples, were the subject of meditation.  He appeared to me to be truly the Apostle: therefore every apostle and every apostolate could take from him” (Alberione, AD6).
Fr. Alberione reviewed a certain number of traditions already existing: 
As we study Saint Paul, we find the Disciple who knows the Divine Master in his totality; he lives him completely; he fathoms the deep mysteries of his belief, of his heart, of his sanctity and of his divinity. Paul sees Jesus as teacher, victim, priest; he presents to us the total Christ as he defined himself, Way, Truth and Life. In Paul's vision we find religion, dogma, morals and cult. In Paul we find the integral Jesus Christ. Through devotion to Jesus Master the whole person is grasped and conquered by Christ growing in wisdom, virtue and grace until, "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me" Gal 2:20 (Cf. James Alberione; AD 64; 159-160).
The fascination Fr. Alberione has for St Paul lies in his complete style of loving and communicating to others an integral Christ. Saint Paul personifies the model of a Christian life lived in the totality of way, truth and life. The trinomial “way, truth and life” is a Christological definition present in the Gospel of Saint John.  For Blessed Alberione the person and the work of Saint Paul are the exegesis (analyzing, classifying, interpreting, or evaluating) of the Johannine trinomial “way, truth and life” (Cf. Fr. Silvio Sassi, Superior General, 2009).

Pauline holiness is "For me to live is Christ" (Phil 1:21), "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me,"Gal 2:20 (Cf Alberione; Meditazioni per consacrate secolari, 1976; 412). Let the Holy Spirit remake us so that we become the personality of Jesus. The more we graft ourselves to Christ through prayer and the sacraments the more Christ, the Divine one, elevates our personality.

"So then ‘vivit vero in me Christus’ (Gal 2:20). How sublime this is!” (Alberione; Alle Figlie di San Paolo, Spiegazione delle Costituzioni, 97.)


LECTIO DIVINA Praying with the Word of God


         TRUTH - read Gal 2:20 and Phil. 1:21 aloud once. Then read it again silently and slowly. Pay careful attention to your inner response.


         WAY – meditate - Paul says “’For me to live is Christ’: Christ is my life, it is he who lives, who guides, it is Christ. What would St Paul do today? He would fulfill the two greatest precepts: love God with all your heart, with all your strength, with your entire mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Live as Christ who lives in you. Think of someone who has lived the life of Christ. What is it that attracts you to their way of living? Gospel for Paul is not a book but the person of Jesus Christ.


         LIFE – pray - What do you feel when you pray the passage again? Do you believe that you are called to this fullness of life in Christ? Do you believe that Christ lives in you?  St Paul is here to tell you: “My child, for whom I suffer again the pains of childbearing, until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).  Paul reminds you that he lived by faith – not by sight. “I live by my faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Open your heart and pray aloud or silently:  “Christ, live in me.”  Invoke in prayer the fruits of the Spirit for a new life in Christ (Gal. 5:22-26). “When the Spirit penetrates a soul, it becomes a living plant that bears fruit for eternal life” (Alberione, Alle Figlie di San Paolo 1940-1945, p. 61).


         The Gospel LIVES in me – action - How can I live this passage in my life? Alberione says: “Live Christ first and then give him; live him first and then bring him to the world as St Paul has done. First Paul is able to say ‘I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me’ and then ‘I have made myself all to all.’  Through baptism the Christian ‘puts on’ Christ. Through baptism the Christian receives the gift of liberty that is used to love our neighbor. Paul invites you to “walk according to the Spirit” (Gal 5) and bear the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2). The Pauline mission is putting into action the charity of Christ.


Write anything you want to remember or ponder later. When you have had an experience of living these words, write it down in a journal that may be brought to prayer.


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Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DIRTY FINGERNAILS -- Changing the World One Soul at a Time


The family is in crisis.  Anyone who has paid attention to the news over the past few decades is probably not surprised by this.  But what to do?  How can we bring families back from the brink of extinction?

Our Heavenly Father, who foresees all, has provided for us an example to follow and a foundation to build upon.  The Holy Family of Nazareth may provide for us some insight into building a stronger family, a stronger faith and a stronger society.

Over the past few decades, a slow but steady deterioration of the family has taken place.  Abortion on
demand has made children a commodity to be accepted only when convenient.  The degradation of traditional marriage has altered the face of the world...not to mention the very definition of the word “marriage”.  With the basis of a strong society under attack, it is time for Catholics, and all people of faith, to step up and push back.

Previous Popes saw this coming.  His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, in Humanae Vitae stated that the use of contraception would lower the moral standards of society regarding sexuality.  He went on to state that the widespread use of contraception would lead to a devaluing of women and marriage.  Sadly, the Holy Father was correct.  More and more children are born out of wedlock, especially among the poorest of society.  This leads to increased poverty among those peoples.

With Father's Day just around the corner, let us turn to the example set by St. Joseph.  Although we know very little of the foster father of Jesus, we know that he was the foundation of the family unit. He took our Blessed Mother, at the time a very young girl, under his wing and cared for her. When faced with a potential crisis, Joseph did not run off and abandon Mary.  He didn't divorce her or have her put to death.  No.  He stepped up to the plate and raised Jesus as his own.  He instilled within Him a strong work ethic and taught Him the tenets of the Jewish faith.  Joseph, in his actions, showed us what we fathers ought to do.

The charism of our wonderful Pauline Family is—as you well know—the use of the mass media.  Of course, not all of us can be publishers, authors, artists or broadcasters.  Those that have these skills ought to be using them daily to promote a strong family, a strong and orthodox Catholic faith, and a consistent life ethic of “Pro-Life For The WHOLE Life”.  This includes not only being pro-birth, but also supporting programs and ideas that make it possible for women to have their babies.  It also includes support of a strong economy, an adequate social safety net and care for those who cannot care for themselves.

Those who are unable to write, publish, speak or otherwise actively participate in the media, ought to be praying for those who do.  We ought to be using the media in ways which are glorifying to God. How do we use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?  Do we post jokes that are questionable?  Or, do we use it to edify the family, our society and our faith?  We don't need to be preachers...but we DO need to be witnesses.  I know that I have failed in this myself.  It is an area of prayer for me...and probably for many of you as well.

So what is the ultimate answer?  What can we do—really--to make a difference?  First and foremost,
of course, is prayer.  One of the prayers we Paulines say daily is the Invocation to Jesus Master.  One of the petitions in that prayer asks, “Jesus Way, may I be example and model for souls.”  We have already mentioned that we are to be a witness to the world.  We must do more than give lip service to the Lord.  If our lives do not correspond to our faith, people notice.  What kind of witness am I?  What kind of witness are you?

Secondly, we can model our faith to others.  This goes along with being a witness.  This is the “roll up your sleeves and get your fingernails dirty” part of our faith.  What do we do for the poor and under-served of our society?  Do we simply feel pity...or not even notice them at all?  Scripture tells us about the rich man who daily simply walks right by the beggar, not noticing or caring about his condition.  In the Gospel of Luke we read, “22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz′arus in his bosom. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz′arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz′arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. (Luke 16:22-25 RSV-CE).

What sort of model was this rich man?  What kind of difference would he have made, not only to Lazarus, but to other poor and suffering souls who have gone ignored by those best able to help them?  Had the rich man shown compassion and mercy, would not other rich men have noticed?  Perhaps.  And perhaps then they would have acted on the example they were given.  Thus one life, and then another would have been changed.

My challenge to the Pauline Family is this:  Go and make a difference in the world.  Use the media for good.  Pray for those who are unable to help themselves.  Then, let's work to become known as the Christians with dirty fingernails!

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Mike Maturen is a member of the Holy Family Institute, having taken his temporary vows in September of 2012.  Maturen ran for President of the United States in 2016 under the banner of the American Solidarity Party, a party largely based on Catholic Social Teaching.  He and his wife Sue are active members of their home parish, St. Anne Catholic Parish in Harrisville, Michigan, where they live on a farm with their two dogs, two cats and eight chickens.  They have three grown children.  In his spare time, Mike is a professional magician.  He is the author of “A NEW DAWN:  Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life”, a weekly devotional.  Mike has appeared as a regular guest on EWTN Radio's “Catholic Connection” with Teresa Tomeo, and has also been a featured guest on “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi on EWTN Television.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus


“Martha, Martha!  You’re anxious and upset over many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the better part which will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:41-42)

The story of Martha and her sister, Mary, is a familiar one.  Jesus was invited to their home.  Martha was the perfect hostess but was distracted by all of the work that needed to be done and worried about the problems of the day.  We too can find ourselves anxious and upset like Martha -- our never-ending “to do” lists, news hitting us 24/7, political dissension, threats of terrorism,  protests, demonstrations, airplane brawls, etc.  

Mary probably had the same worries as Martha and was also busy, but she chose the better part – sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him. When Jesus was speaking to Martha of Bethany that day, He was speaking to all of us.  

Most of us can relate to both Martha and Mary.  We need to attend to the daily necessities of life like Martha but also desire to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary.  How do we balance living a full family, social and spiritual life with the additional distractions of cell phones ringing, texts buzzing, tweets and emails constantly popping up?

I don’t have the answer, but I do believe that a good prayer life will help to keep us in balance.  Some thoughts:

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  BE PERSEVERING IN YOUR PRAYERS (Colossians 4:2
Excellent advice from St. Paul, but we can’t always be on our knees in prayer.  We can, however, keep an awareness that God is always with us. My favorite place to “sit at the feet of the Lord” is during my early morning prayer time.  As an empty nester, I am fortunate to have a spare bedroom that I now use as my prayer room – my private little chapel. I begin with a hot cup of coffee, the Scripture verses from the liturgy of the day, my journal and a lit candle in front of the statue of MaryQueen of Apostles.  Reading and meditating on Scripture helps to quiet my mind. Journaling my thoughts from a passage that I can apply to my daily life helps to keep me focused and less distracted.  Many times throughout the day, especially in a stressful situation, I will recall the verse and remember that God is with me.

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century French monk, is a good role model.  He learned to practice the presence of God at all times – even among the pots and pans, making meals and washing the dishes!

The Rosary - After making my consecration to the Blessed Mother last year, I was drawn to praying the Rosary daily.  I have found it to be a calming and uncomplicated prayer for anytime of the day.  Praying the Rosary is like holding the hand of Jesus and walking with Him through His life.

A favorite variation is the Queen of Apostles Rosary prayed by our Pauline Family.  This Rosary is a meditation on the first Joyful Mystery, the fifth Sorrowful Mystery and the third, fourth and fifth Glorious Mysteries.

Today we might meditate on the 2nd Joyful Mystery as we celebrate the feast of the Visitation – what a beautiful way to end this month of May dedicated to our Blessed Mother.  We don’t know the conversations that took place between our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth, but they probably shared their feelings of joy and anxiety and prayed while helping each other with their daily chores.  Sounds like a mix of Martha and Mary!  

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD (Psalm 46:10)
Don’t we all yearn for a quieter, simpler and peaceful lifeIn a busy world full of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., we can easily get overwhelmed.  Although great, modern tools of technology, if not kept in balance, they can distract us from prayer and being really present to others. I need to often remind myself to be still and reduce a lot of the outside noise – limit Facebook time and spend less time checking texts and emails.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION -- one of the best ways to pray and silence the noise in our lives. The Pauline Family was born from the tabernacle. Our founder, Blessed James Alberione, chose to make Eucharistic Adoration the soul and strength of the Family.  He refers to the Eucharistic hour as a “visit” with Jesus – something we would make to a dear person, our mother or best friend.  What better way to be still than to sit in quiet adoration?  It is the closest thing to sitting at the feet of Jesus.

How do you sit at the feet of Jesus in your daily life? Are you a Martha or a Mary or a little of each?  Part of evangelization is sharing our stories and experiences.  Please share!

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Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010.