Sr. Margaret continues her series on desert spirituality, sharing snippets of her book awaiting publication.
“Taste and see it, feel and hear it, Hope and grasp His unseen Hand.” Spirit Seeking Light & Beauty
Blessed James Alberione
The explosion of technological brings many advantages, but it also poses serious challenges. Is it possible to integrate our present technological age with a deepening of our faith and spirituality? Is there a spirituality for our communication age?
These were the questions of a young James Alberione one hundred years before modern technological advances. James discerned a deeper vocation while praying for hours in front of the Tabernacle after Mass. The words engraved on the tabernacle resonated in his heart, “Come to me all of you” (Matt. 11:12). Astonishingly, James had been expelled from the seminary the year before. Certain books circulating among the seminarians piqued his interest, disturbing his studies. After time spent at home, he was able to get back into seminary on probation. This renewed his focus on Christ and prayer before the Eucharist. “Avoid formalism,” he wrote about time in adoration. “This holds true for all prayer, but especially for the Eucharistic Visit. The real Visit is a spirit which pervades all our time, thoughts, relationships, and life. It is a sap or life-giving current which influences everything and communicates its spirit to the most ordinary things. It shapes a spirituality that is lived and passed on. It shapes the spirit of prayer which, when cultivated, transforms every work into prayer.” Here is the essence of Alberione’s focus on integrality – the whole person given completely to Christ. His ideal is St Paul’s “for me to live is Christ (Gal. 2:20). Alberione treasured our call to live the whole gospel within the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. This, he said is secret of holiness and wholeness.
The Eucharistic Visit
The Visit* is a meeting of our soul and of our whole being with Jesus. It is the creature meeting the Creator; the disciple before the Divine Master; the patient with the Doctor of souls; the poor one appealing to the Rich One; the thirsty one drinking at the Font; the weak before the Almighty; the tempted seeking a sure Refuge; the blind person searching for the Light; the friend who goes to the True Friend; the lost sheep sought by the Divine Shepherd; the wayward heart who finds the Way; the unenlightened one who finds Wisdom; the bride who finds the Spouse of the soul; the “nothing” who finds the All; the afflicted who finds the Consoler; the seeker who finds life’s meaning. It is the shepherds at the crib, Mary Magdalene at Simon’s house, Nicodemus who comes by night. It is the holy discussions of the Samaritan woman, of Zacchaeus, of Philip, and of the Apostles with Jesus; especially in the last week of His earthly life and after the resurrection. 
Blessed James Alberione became a dynamic founder of ten institutes dedicated to harnessing the media for evangelization. Founding these religious institutes he also began a new movement of Spirituality in the Church – the Pauline Spirituality. Three Churches, movie studios, a world-wide publishing house, Pauline Media Centers and more grew from expressing this new charism.
In all this busyness, he sought out desert days and prayer. His attendance at Vatican II instilled a re-commitment to his belief that religious and laity taking up this work are called first to contemplation. Inspired to balance out a very demanding apostolate with times of meditation, Morning Prayer, daily Mass, and Eucharistic Adoration, he further gifted members of his Pauline family with another half-hour of prayer for a personal encounter with God. They would be fountains overflowing with the gospel for a thirsting world. “The goal,” he 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.” “Take everything from the tabernacle; lead everything to the tabernacle! Be of one mind, heart and will with Jesus in the Eucharist.”
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. Then he would return to his regular schedule refreshed, with new energies and initiatives.” 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.” Blessed James Alberione
Two Daughters of St. Paul were chosen to begin a third Pauline religious order, the Disciples of the Divine Master. The sisters asked what Alberione wanted them to do. “Silence, silence, silence,” was all the instruction he gave. Doing was not necessary. Along with Alberione they waited in silence and prayer. At the end of his life Fr. James readily entrusted the mission he began to his followers. He hoped they would do more than he did comparing 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.” His charism for embracing the media as gifts of God and not as means of power and manipulation gives us insight into God as communicator. He advocated constant communication with God. “Tell Jesus everything; if you have some troubles, if your heart is full of hope, full of the desire to be with him. Confide those worries that you dare not say to anyone, tell him even if your shoe hurts. Tell Jesus everything, with the simplicity of a child.”
“Our present time and future of the world are illuminated by Christ’s presence and are desperate for his action.” Blessed James Alberione, Society of St. Paul
Watch the film trailer for Media Apostle.
We celebrate Bl. James Alberione’s feast on November 26.
The term “Visit” is used by Alberione to describe the Hour of Adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist
 James Alberione, pg. 34
 Alberione, James, Christ Lives in Me, Pauline Books & Media
The hymn “Spirit Seeking Light & Beauty” was written by English Roman Catholic convert, Sacred Heart sister and educator Janet Erskine Stuart, Mother Janet Stuart RSCJ (1857 – 1914).
Copyright 2017 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp