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.

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