In Alberione’s own words

Note: Because Blessed James Alberione died in 1971, he uses several terms in ways that are now unfamiliar. For example, by the word “apostle,” Alberione is not referring to the twelve apostles, but to anyone who participates in the mission of spreading the Gospel of Christ (which he calls “apostolate”). All Christians are called to share in the mission of Christ; we are all “apostles” of Christ’s truth and love to the world, through our specific vocation. I have taken the liberty to edit a few of these words for clarity. Words in brackets [ ] indicate more notable changes. 

 On the vocation of the Christian writer:

The writer-apostle must conform to the Bible as the model book. God created man and knows very well how his heart is made. God’s Word corresponds to the deepest needs of the human heart.

*

Jesus, in fact, taught people by making use of stories, parables and charming similitudes that he adapted to the type of audience listening to his word.

The apostle [Christian artist] can thus employ this genre [stories] as an effective means not only to safeguard people from the poison of the bad press but also to nourish them spiritually.

To achieve their purpose, both in a negative and positive sense, works of fiction prepared by the apostle [Christian writer] must have at least three essential qualities. These are: a good story line, an appeal to all the person’s faculties, and a refreshing style.

…The Eucharist and the Bible harmonize well together; so do the apostolate of the press and the Eucharist and the Bible complete each other….  The Eucharist and the Bible form the apostle of the press.  Let these two things be inseparable and unseparated in your hearts.

Thus we have to apply the Gospel to our times and give the Gospel to the present world with the means which progress presents to us as capable of transmitting the thought and the doctrine of Jesus Christ.  This involves living our own times and making the world aware of the reality of Jesus Christ.

*

In the apostolate do not do just anything, but rather whatever helps us give Jesus, Way, Truth and Life to the world.  This means giving the truth of faith, giving morality in the practice of virtue and the commandments; and giving the spirit of piety in the liturgy.  In this way, faith, Christian unity, and religious life may be lived and the soul may be rooted in union with God, an ever more intimate union that prepares one for heaven.

Imbue all thought and human knowledge with the Gospel. Don’t speak only about religion, but speak about everything in a Christian way.

*

[Jesus] spoke in a simple and clear way
even when he was teaching lofty doctrine.
He adapted his teaching to the needs
of every audience.
The Gospel notes that he knew
what was in every person (cf. Jn 2:25).
He adapted himself to fishermen and shepherds,
to those from Galilee and those from Judea,
to the Pharisees, to his disciples,
and to his opponents.
How different is his conversation
with the Samaritan woman
from that with Nicodemus,
who came by night!
How different his teaching to the crowds
from that given to the close circle of apostles!
Yet it was always a question
of the message of salvation.

He wanted his disciples to work in the same way.

The apostle,* in fact,
is not some great thinker
who proposes his or her own conclusions,
or has to defend his or her own teachings…..
The apostle is a witness
of what he or she has seen and heard
from the Divine Master
and from the Church
in which [Christ] continues
to live, teach, and guide.

What an immense privilege:
to follow the Divine Master
and cooperate with Jesus Christ
in proclaiming his message
of light, grace, and salvation.

Father Alberione addressed these words to the Daughters of Saint Paul, but they could easily apply to any Christian artist:

             The mission of the Daughters of St. Paul is this: to spread the truth. You must fulfill in the Pauline spirit the desire of our Lord Jesus Christ that all people may come to the truth, because God wants all to be saved, and to be saved they must know the truth.  The truth is that doctrine contained in the Gospel and taught by the Church.  Your ministry, therefore, is a Pauline ministry.  What was Saint Paul’s mission?  Precisely this:  to give the world what he had received from God, from Jesus Christ.  And what had he received from Jesus Christ?  The light.

             Why, therefore, has the Lord chosen you? The Lord has chosen you to bring the Word of God to the world according to your condition, as did St. Paul.  And it is according to your condition, which in the Church is sublime, that, on the one hand, you write, and, on the other hand, you print and diffuse.  Therefore, the Pauline sister must know Christian doctrine well, love it, feel it, and after having meditated on it, put it on paper and multiplied it by means of machines, she must diffuse it in the world…. This mission of giving Jesus to the world is similar to Mary’s. It is a virginal mission, and the purer you are, the more effective it will be. It is a mission of charity, and the more charity you have in your heart, the more industrious you will be in the apostolate. It is a tiring mission, but the more fervor there is in a soul, the more strength will there be. It is a mission that has no boundaries; its limits are those of the world.

             Peak efficiency. To us especially come the command and the ineffably sweet and persuasive invitation:  “Be perfect…” (cf. Mt. ). Holiness is virtue at high tension; it is the impetus and poetry of goodness….
             Saints are not worn-out, half-awake people who cannot make up their minds to do their share in life.  

             For Saint Paul holiness is the fullness of human maturity; the holy person is the perfect person…. The saint is not self-centered, but reaches out. He or she does not come to a standstill; rather, the motto is growth and progress. Holiness is life, movement, nobility, and effervescence.

On film and television:

By Catholic cinema we mean one which draws its inspiration from the principles of Catholic doctrine in the treatment of any subject – sacred or profane, educational or recreational.

*

The cinema is a gift of God’s munificence to humanity, a priceless medium of instruction and apostolate: “A good movie can make a deeper impression than a sermon.”

*

Beseech God that such progress of the arts and science, acknowledged as a real gift of God, be directed to his glory and to the salvation of people.

*

Motion pictures that are morally wholesome and artistically valid enjoy the public’s favor much more than those that aim simply to stimulate morbid sensuality, because the human heart, even the most depraved, has, after all, a secret aspiration for what is good.

There is a need to give moral assistance and religious training to movie producers, directors and actors because they will not be able to conceive, interpret and uphold moral religious thinking in a genuine and effective way if they do not know about it or do not practice it in their life.

*

At present, the press, the cinema and the radio are the most pressing, rapid and effective means of Catholic apostolate. It may be that the future holds other, even better, means. But for the present it seems that the heart of the apostle can desire no better means for giving God to people and people to God. May it please the Divine Master, through the intercession of the Apostle Saint Paul, to raise up a host of generous people who will direct the whole of their activity – prayer, work, sacrifice and daring – to these three noble forms of apostolate, setting as their goal Redemption’s own goal: “Gloria Deo, pax hominibus.  [Glory to God and peace to mankind.]

 *

We cannot stop young people, in the name of faith and morals, from viewing shows that concern everyday life and, as such, are not to be condemned. The onus is on conscientious parents and teachers to choose, apportion, accompany and correct.

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