Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blessed Alberione & Lenten Penance

Baptism of the Christ
 Artist Daniel Bonnell

In Hebrew, the verb to sacrifice means, literally, “to draw near”. It is not up to us to renounce our lives, but it is up to us to draw near to the Lord.

Don Guido. SSP
"Few spiritual teachers have presented  positive penance as much as Blessed James Alberione. For him all was oriented toward “....developing one’s energies and putting them at the service of the glory of God and for souls: teaching, the sacraments, dedicating oneself to the evangelization...”[1] So what is penance for Father Alberione? “It is an interior struggle, an effort to keep oneself far from sin and to progress in virtue. It is renunciation, detachment, a crucifixion, dying to self; at the same time, it is a conquest, an elevation, a new life, a true sanctification, a resurrection, an upright command of oneself, an education for the will, a setting out of the soul towards Heaven. The person puts good in the place of sin.[2] This is a marvelous synthesis the Founder proposes to us: distancing ourselves from sin while progressing in virtue; renunciation and rising to new life; crucifixion and new life; interior death and resurrection. They are opposites that follow a unique dynamic: not to obtain emptiness, but to reach fullness of life.
   Let us remain in communion of prayer, often using the invocation used by the Founder “O most sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary, grant me the grace to better know you, love you, imitate you. I offer you my heart, that it may always be yours”. [5]
 “The value of our sacrifice is determined not only by what we renounce, but also by the end for which the renunciation is destined. In Hebrew, the verb to sacrifice means, literally, “to draw near”. It is not up to us to renounce our lives, but it is up to us to draw near to the Lord.”[6]  May the Spirit give us the perseverance to walk in newness of life so we can live in God.



[1] San Paolo January, 1951
[2] G. Alberione  Brief Meditations for Every Day of the Year (BM) pp 252 ff.
[3] G. Alberione, Brief Meditations for Every Day of the year (BM) p 255
[4] See pages 252-265 of Brief Meditations for those given by the Founder on “mortification”.
[5] Cf, Pauline Prayer Book, page 180 ~Way of the Cross, 4th Station
[6] Abraham J. Heschel, God in Search of Man  (Borla Press in Italian)

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