|Group photo taken at Pauline Convention 2016|
|photo from SSP Centenary showing several Pauline family branches|
SSP, DSP, IGS, APC HFI & PDDM.
What a vision, both inspiring and daunting! When I came home, I felt inspired to dig into the Founder's teachings more closely. As Blessed Alberione explains it, the Incarnation makes it possible for every one of us to imitate the perfect One who is not just divine but fully and perfectly human:
"Jesus Christ, apostle of the Father, was first of all the perfect man: 'perfectus homo.' This concept of 'perfect man' not only implies that He had a rational soul and an organic body, but signifies perfect order in His faculties. On the one hand they were in harmony with God; on the other, in harmony with reason.... He was the perfect child of the family, the perfect boy, the perfect young man, the perfect worker, the perfect citizen, the perfect subject, the perfect king. He was perfect at home, perfect in society, in dealing with others, in prayer, in solitude. His prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance were perfect. He was perfect in learning as a disciple and perfect in teaching as a master, perfect in seeking the glory of God and the salvation of man as an apostle. " (Carissimi in San Paolo (CISP), 755)
Gulp. Suddenly I become worried. Perfect man, perfect child, perfect boy? Perfect in learning, perfect
in teaching? How can I ever hope to follow Christ? How can I take him as my model?! I don't know about you, but the idea of perfection can be intimidating. Yes, I DO become enthusiastic when I read the stirring words of Blessed Alberione -- the call to arms, the zeal for the apostolate of social communication, the thrilling challenge of becoming St Pauls for the modern world. Dear Lord, how I aspire to that! How I long to spend myself in an authentic imitation of my divine and lovable Savior. How I long to turn friends, family, and even strangers on to the blessings and mercy of our amazing Triune God! Oh if only people would give Jesus a chance, would take Him at His word and trust Him!
But I know that I will fall down on the job. I know that even though my heart is full of love as I write these words, tomorrow will be different . I will lose my enthusiasm. I will wander away. I will binge on television, popcorn and beer. I will forget what the weekend has prompted in me. Not just once or twice, but over and over again.
Quick, can I find a remedy to this dark knowledge? I scan my notes from the convention. There they are! Some lines I jotted down from the talks:
"Worry always comes from the devil."
And also, "Armageddon took place on Calvary, and evil lost!"
And again, "The mercy and forgiveness of the Lord is without bounds."
Well, okay then. Whew. Bad as I am, I can strive for perfection with the best of them. I can join the priests and the consecrated religious of the Pauline Family in that legion of souls working in tandem. Woman that I am, I can heed the words of Blessed Alberione: "God the Creator's designs for women, confirmed by God the Redeemer, have been elaborated and realized through a winding history of anguish, obstacles, and small and great heroism." I can strive to be the Founder's picture of the whole woman: "... a person who is cultured but not at the expense of spiritual values; at home in the family and in society; one who can make an effective contribution in civil and religious undertakings; a being who can so give herself to God as to belong to Him totally, and also belong to man so as to complete him." (CISP 1272, 1273.)
Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 46 years, have six sons, three daughters, nine grandsons and seven granddaughters; they eagerly await the birth of grand #17. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile.