Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Holy Restlessness: A new Lenten discipline

Paulines learning the language
of the digital camera

“How is it possible that thousands and thousands of people are bored with the church and pass it by? Why did it come about that the cinema really is often more interesting, more exciting, more human and gripping than the church? …It is because we talk too much about false, trivial human things….It are because we prefer quiet and edification to the holy restlessness of the powerful Lord God.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is the same restlessness of all Paulines who have inherited the “holy restlessness” of Blessed James Alberione. During his lifetime Blessed James Alberione recognized new means of communication as ways that could reach people so that there would not be “a desert around the Master of life.” He also realized that the churches were not filled and the preaching was not reaching people where they lived, worked, played and in their intellectual pursuits.  Today media presents us new emerging challenges to evangelize in many forms. We Paulines continue Alberione’s  discourse with technology and communication first by learning the language of each medium and the culture in which we proclaim the Word, while continuing to be true to the gospel message which is not limited by language or culture. This is what St. Paul did as he journeyed to many parts of his known world speaking directly to cultures in their languages about the wondrous heritage everyone was now invited to in Christ Jesus. He said the the word of God is not chained (2 Timothy 2:9).
Blessed Alberione and Paulines with a "new" camera.
As early as 1939, the Founder had already prepared Paulines for the film apostolate asking them to pray for this intention in their hour of adoration. Mother Thecla Merlo, who also worked with the medium of film, immersed herself in Alberione’s spiritual formation for this project: discipline, sacrifice and the apostolic spirit, and guided the Pauline sisters according to three fundamental values: clear principles (broad vision), ardent desires (God’s glory and peace to humankind), and intense commitment to the interior life (humility and trust).

Alberione at Prayer
This lent, as a spiritual discipline, we can take time to learn a new language of media. It may be film, social media (twitter, etc), e-mail, media literacy, publishing (e-books), apps, or any new form that is presenting itself. Even if we don’t employ it for mission we can certainly pray for this medium – for the producers, creators, consumers – that the gospel of Jesus Christ may be spoken and enter into the hearts of those who seek God through these means. God is constantly communicating to us. God is the ultimate communicator in God’s Trinitarian communion. How can we deepen our communication skills – the languages used today – to share the good news of God’s love? What are the questions people are asking today? What is our call to witness? Communication includes the ability to listen, to be a sign of love, to be silent, to be prayerful and to proclaim the wonders that God has done for us.

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