Alberione understood the secret of success as only the saints can
By Sr Bernadette M Reis, fsp
Priests, men and women religious, and lay faithful, gathered in grateful remembrance of Blessed James Alberione, the man chosen by God as the instrument through whom the various institutes to which they belong were founded.
The celebration opened with a procession bearing the reliquary in which lie the mortal remains of this man whom Pope John Paul II called “an authentic prophet of the new evangelization”. This reliquary, formerly kept in the sub-crypt of the Basilica, will now remain in the main church where it will be accessible to everyone.
Alberione closer to the people
Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, who presided over the celebration opened his homily saying that he did not want to hide his emotion at being requested to preside over the celebration. He also expressed his pleasure at the transfer of Blessed James Alberione’s remains, “so he might be closer to the people”.
He then expressed an invitation to everyone gathered that they lift up their gaze with him to “contemplate the heavenly Church…the church of the martyrs, confessors, virgins and pastors, the church of so many simple baptized” who with their hidden holiness allowed the Holy Spirit to walk on earth.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
The Cardinal stated that the first beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, is the only condition necessary to welcome a new Pentecost. He reminded Alberione’s disciples that the Alberione himself believed that the sanctification of the mind could be achieved by practicing this beatitude, thus making possible the living of the entire Gospel.
Poverty—secret of success
As we face various crises – fewer vocations, aging membership, changes in the world of communication, lack of hope, the pandemic – poverty is being forced on us, the Cardinal continued. This, however, “is not evangelical poverty”. Evangelical poverty is a “horizon, a favourable condition, a secret of success that Blessed James Alberione understood as only the saints can understand”. This secret, as expressed by Alberione is that everything needs to “begin from the poverty of Bethlehem”.
“We often ask what this means”, the Cardinal went on. In a nutshell, it is acknowledging with the multitudes presented in chapter 7 of the Book of Revelation that ‘Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb’. It is a confession, acknowledging this reality hidden behind the tapestry of salvation…. To be able to recognize that God alone saves, creates, brings things to fulfilment”.
True believers rely solely on God
On the other hand, the world constantly tempts us to “save ourselves, our institutes, our parishes” in the same way Jesus was challenged to save Himself by getting down on the cross. To save ourselves without God is one of the greatest temptations and deceptions of all times, he said. Many want to do God’s work without relying on His providence. The believer, instead, is the one who stops seeking comfortable solutions and relies solely on God’s providence – the one who lives by receiving.
The goal is becoming saints
Cardinal de Donatis concluded his homily reminding those present that losing the objective by confusing the means with the end is another great temptation against evangelical poverty. He recalled how Blessed James Alberione desired that his sons and daughters not just write about others who became saints, but that they become saints themselves. “Let’s not forget that our primary goal is to become saints”, he said. Rather than attaining ever greater professional competence, what is needed is the sanctification of our mentality by remaining in the Word and daily prayer, so that like Blessed Alberione, we might be capable of discerning the signs of the times “according to divine wisdom”.