June 21, 2014


The Pauline Family's Official Feast Day of St. Paul is June 30


Antiphon: O St. Paul the Apostle, preacher of truth and doctor of the gentiles, intercede for us to God.
  1. After that, Saul began to harass the Church.  He entered house after house, dragged men and women out and threw them into jail.
  1. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Sir,” he asked.  The voice answered, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.”
  1. For he who worked through Peter as his apostle among the Jews had been at work in me for the gentiles, and they recognized the favor bestowed on me.
  1. With my many more labors and imprisonments, with far worse beatings and frequent brushes with death.
  1. And so I willingly boast of my weaknesses instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  1. But by God’s favor I am what I am.  This favor of his to me has not proved fruitless.
  1. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on a merited crown awaits me; on that day the Lord, just judge that he is will award it to me.


Day One
Rom 8:28-30

In the letter of Paul to the Romans we contemplate the divine plan of the Father. We are destined to resemble his Beloved Son and everything is ordered to this end: “All things work together for good for those who love God”, those who are called according to his plan of love. We have been in the mind of God from eternity, even before the beginning of time – destined to resemble the Son. What a source of wonder and awe, evoking trust and a generous response of love! God loves us, wants us to be perfect, holy, united to him in intimate communion. And he provides all the means so that his plan might become reality. He gives us the strength, the light and the desire to correspond to his gifts of grace.

Day Two
Rom 8:31-39

We are called to sanctity! When we reflect on this we might be tempted to confuse sanctity with the sum total of all the virtues, but Paul tells us that sanctity is to be united and in communion with God Most Holy. God is Holy; God is Other. He has done everything, even the impossible, the incredible, to draw us to Himself!  That is why we have such confidence – not in ourselves, but in the Love of Him, who handed over his Son for us all. And through Him, who has loved us, we are able to conquer every obstacle separating us from the God of mercy. This is holiness – to open ourselves to the sanctifying action of God, believing that every obstacle will ultimately lead us to communion with the Other in our life.

Day Three
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

St. Paul tells us in this passage that our lives, as individually lived out, do not have a self-contained meaning. It is not the psychological quality of our belief or the motivation of our work that gives meaning to our life. Meaning is bestowed on our lives through our incorporation in God’s overall salvific plan. What one may do may seem to have no meaning in itself. Many years later it may be picked up by another who builds upon it, often without knowing what went before. It is at this later date that the meaning of what went before is revealed. Events may happen in our lives that are seemingly absurd and trust may seem reckless. But it is Jesus Christ who bestows meaning on every event, on every mission, on every human life. It is this faith that gives us hope.

Day Four
1 Corinthians 15:3-10

Our lives have been set in motion for a purpose. Within the larger event of Christ’s paschal mystery each of our lives plays out: calling (“he appeared to me”) – mission (“I am the least of the apostles”) – sanctification (“the grace that has been given to me has not been wasted”). At a certain point in our lives, as St. Paul himself realized, we cannot help but seeing that our lives are on a trajectory which by our own powers we could not attain. For in the mystery of the Master our lives are taken up “whole and entire into God” (von Balthasar). We too live our lives within this “tradition” of the Lord’s loving death and resurrection. It is this alone that bestows meaning on our daily toil in the Lord’s vineyard.

Day Five
1 Cor 12:1213, 27
Together we are Christ in the world. Together. A tough word. It would be easier to do it one by one, individually, alone, on my own time, in my own style, to my own end. But we can’t get away from that little word: together. We are all members of one body, and that body is Christ. This means that whenever one of us is present to another, there Christ is present to that person. When someone ministers to us, Christ is ministering. When I teach someone, Christ is teaching. We do not need to be afraid of conflicts. They are created by our struggles to grow in maturity and to overcome individualism, collectivism, isolation, and self-serving agendas. These conflicts sand away the sharp edges of our characters and transform our selfishness until the body can live together as one, in harmony, in mutual obedience, growing in love and freedom. Each of us is not simply a cell in the body of Christ. Each of us individually and together is Christ’s body. Each of us can build up the body of Christ within ourselves, for the sake of others, in the Church and in service to the world. How can it be that I--and each of us--have been raised to the honor of being members of the Body of Christ? For this, Lord, I praise you. 

Day Six
Ephesians 1:3-10

St. Paul returns several times in his letters to this theme of being chosen from the beginning. For example, we hear in Galatians: “But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace” (Gal 1:15). Our own Constitutions echo St. Paul: “Through Baptism, the Father has chosen us to live in his Son. In calling us among the Daughters of St. Paul, he has consecrated us to himself more intimately to send us to proclaim the unfathomable riches of the mystery of Christ” (Constitutions #4). God, who is the source of our hope, has been faithful to us from the foundations of the world – before we even existed. He draws us into his fidelity and enables us to communicate this message to everyone around us.

Day Seven
Ephesians 2:3-10

At the end of 1953 Blessed James Alberione wrote a series of notes about the beginnings of the Pauline Family and its mission. He titled these writings Abundantes divitiae gratiae suae:  “the immeasurable riches of his grace.” In his testimony to us, the founder links our own story to this passage of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. God, who is rich in mercy, has saved us by his own faithfulness. He bestows on us an overabundance of grace and gifts for the building up of the Church. Our “good work” as Paulines is precisely this, to announce the Good News with all available forms of communication.

Day Eight
Colossians 1:3-8

We discover hope through relationships. Paul and the Christians at Colossae and Epaphras build up one another in faith in Christ and love for one another. This life, lived so intensely among themselves, spills over into thanksgiving to God the Father. The circle of life brings freshness to their expression of love for each other and their longing to be filled even more with the Spirit. “The Spirit creates, purifies and nourishes the affective climate characteristic of a family that transforms the world into God’s abode—the place where he dwells among us. It is an Abode to be enjoyed; a dwelling place in which to rest and stay; a space in which to live. To know, communicate and ‘dwell’ in God in the Spirit and in truth means to receive the beneficial effect of his being-with-us without seeking to halt the life-giving flow of his love, which is free as the wind and blows where it chooses” (Professor Giusseppe Mazza).

Day Nine
Romans 8:18-27

When our first parents walked with God, all creation was subject to them; they were free, enslaved by nothing. With sin, their mastery over creation, though real and intrinsic to their nature, was no longer easily attained. As long as we human beings allow something other than God to master us, our attempts to enter into a relationship with God and to subject nature to our dominion are an exercise in futility.

The Holy Spirit of God breaks through this groaning, agonizing dead-end. We are not without hope. What will be ours is already ours in Jesus, because the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead raises us, too. God is on our side! God wants us to reign with Jesus. Like the prodigal, we already have access to our inheritance: “Everything is ours and we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” If we follow the will of God, we know that in spite of all the painful things that could happen to us, we will never lose God, our final refuge. To quote Benedict again: “You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One who loves you” (op. cit., p. 38).

You are a vessel of election, O St. Paul the Apostle.
Preacher of truth to the whole world.

Our Father and apostle, St. Paul, you are preacher of truth and doctor of the gentiles.  Intercede for us to God who chose you.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior;
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
And has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
For he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
To Abraham and his children forever.
Glory to the Father…

Repeat the Antiphon:  Our Father…

Final prayer:

Lord God,
You appointed Paul your apostle
to preach the good news of salvation.
Fill the entire world with the faith
He carried to so many peoples and nations.
Through Christ our Lord.

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