Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peter and Paul

On today's Solemnity (officially, a Holy Day of Obligation, though the US is excused), we honor the two "premier" apostles, one of whom is simply referred to as "the Apostle" even though he never knew Jesus during the Lord's earthly life. Both are considered the "founders" of the Church of Rome, even though neither was the first to bring the Gospel to the Eternal City. And while saints are usually commemorated on the anniversary of their death (their "birthday" according to the spirit), these two are honored together on the day their remains were transferred to new sites, long years after their martyrdoms.

Significantly for a Daughter of St. Paul, both saints are also writers. Inspired writers of the Bible itself! And just the other night, I was finishing our Founder's reflections fro 1954 and came upon his remarks about writing as a mission field. Actually, he used the word "redazione" (redaction) which sounds more like an editorial function, but for him it was all that stage of "preparing the message," whether it was in writing a book, a screenplay, a radio script...

Without further ado, I present you a very rough, literal translation of Blessed James Alberione on writing:

Writing/editorial this means many things. In general [our] publishing is the preaching of the doctrine of Jesus Christ; complete doctrine, concerning the dogmas, truths, and moral teaching, teaching about the spiritual life, the liturgy, the sacraments, the Mass. Preaching can be done either through the spoken word or through writing, and it can be transmitted in various ways, for example with television, radio. It is always an editorial task, whether for the press, or cinema, or radio, or television. The object is the same: the word of Jesus Christ, the word of the church.

Therefore we have to consider as sacred the apostolate of the Pauline Family. At the same time we have to include what the Pope said to Catholic editors a few days ago. It is not necessary that we always speak of religion. Everything that is good, is Catholic. And this includes all of the branches of knowledge, the way of teaching them and of promoting them. When the Lord, in creation, ended each day, according to the Bible's way of putting it, "He saw that it was good": (cf Gen 1:4). So we are like loudspeakers that repeat what was in the creative design of God, even when we publish about the natural sciences; we are [God's] loudspeakers even more when we publish Divine knowledge, that which Jesus Christ preached and the Church handed on by tradition, so that the multiform wisdom of God might be diffused and known everywhere [cf Ephesians 3:10].

Then we have to note: the writer/editor/publisher is one who communicates his or her thought. The thoughts that he/she formulates have to enter in to enlighten the mind of the readers, of the radio audience, of the viewers of the film and of television. The writer/editor has to be a person full of faith above all, and at the same time must be well informed; he or she must be a person full of hope, who looks toward heaven, whether in the his or her own work done for God, for His glory as well as with respect to the reader whom he/she wants to lead to paradise; he or she must be a person full of charity, that is, one who really loves the Lord and really loves souls. The three theological virtues, therefore, deep in the soul of the writer. He or she takes inspiration from the dispositions and the style with which St. Paul dictated his letters.

Then the writer/editor must consider him or herself [living and acting] in Christ, ... who for us men and for our salvation descended from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary. The writer/editor must be/make one who really lives among the people. Thus, like Jesus, he or she must turn toward the masses, to the greatest number of souls, to the multitudes who compose society for the most part; and then to everyone, as did Jesus, who "lived among the men" [Bar 3:38], as the Scripture says, to save us through the word of truth [cf Ephesians 1:13].

And the readers? They too must be guided by faith, or at least have the dispositions to receive the truth. There are always those who welcome the truth and those who are deaf to it. "His own received him not; to those who did receive him, he gives power to become children of God" [John 1:11-12]. Docility is required in the one who reads, in the one who listens, in the one who watches.

How can we turn toward Mary or address ourselves to Mary with regard to writing/editorial work? As a general principle: all grace came through Mary. Above all, grace includes the truth. Man must unite himself to God but above all with the mind. Grace includes eternal life; it includes interior and exterior holiness. Everything has passed through Mary and thus the truth as well. If we have learned from the divine model, [we know that] everything has come through Mary.

....We have to do this: consider the needs of humanity; then go to Jesus, consider the sacred sciences, make a beautiful visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and therefore, drawing from Jesus that knowledge of which the world has need, and breaking it for the little ones. One must always say, "there was no one who would break it for them” (Lam. 4:4). Humanity has need of bread, of the bread of which Jesus Christ spoke: not from bread alone does man live, but from every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4)

Two things, therefore: 1. Consider the needs of mankind, then consider those persons whom we must address, whether they are children, educated people, or pagans. To take the truth from him who is Truth itself, and therefore Wisdom itself, and break it for the people who need this bread. Sometimes the need is so great they don't even feel hungry, as happens when someone is extremely weak.

And further, ask Mary the dispositions for writing/editorial.

I have accented the three theological virtues which form the pedestal, the three feet on which writing/editorial has to support itself: Faith, Hope and Charity. But beyond this it takes prudence, love of the truth. Feel the heart full of the truths that one learns, that one is studying. Feel a holy fire in the soul. That these souls be saved, that they reach heaven.

Mary is Queen of writing/editorial; and so never attempt to write without having invoked her aid. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

During the summer of 1991, having decided to convert to Catholicism, but before the R.C.I.A. sessions began, my husband and I visited St. Paul Book & Media on Dufferin St. to purchase a Catholic Bible. Sister Hannah showed us a slightly water damaged leather bound, large print bible, reduced to clear. What a bargoon! We are still using it today, and think often of the Daughters of St. Paul and the invaluable service you perform for the Lord and those who seek him. With gratitude, Jean Clitheroe & family.