“I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
This is the text most quoted by Blessed James Alberione. It is an identifying passage for the Pauline charism. Here are some passages from his book“Abundantes divitiæ gratiæ suæ” recounting the foundation of the Pauline Family that highlight Blessed Alberione’s encounter with St Paul:
“Saint Paul: the saint of universality! My admiration and devotion began especially from the study and meditation of the Letter to the Romans. From then on the personality, the sanctity, the heart, intimacy with Jesus, his work in dogma and morals, his mark left in the organization of the Church, his zeal for all peoples, were the subject of meditation. He appeared to him to be truly the Apostle: therefore every apostle and every apostolate could take from Him”.6
Talking afterwards about the search for spirituality proper for the Society of Saint Paul and for the Pauline Family, Fr. Alberione reviews a certain number of traditions already existing and then explains:
“But then if we pass to the study of Saint Paul, we find the Disciple who knows the Divine Master in his totality; he lives him completely; he fathoms the deep mysteries of his doctrine, of his heart, of his sanctity and divinity; he sees him as teacher, victim, priest; he presents to us the total Christ, as he has already defined himself, Way, Truth and Life. In this vision is religion, dogma, morals and cult; in this vision is the integral Jesus Christ; through this devotion the whole man is taken and conquered by Jesus Christ. Piety becomes full and the religious like the Priest grows in this manner in wisdom (study and heavenly wisdom), age (maturity and virtue) and grace (sanctity) until the fullness and completed age of Jesus Christ; until he substitutes in man or to man: ‘I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20)”.7 (James Alberione; AD 64; 159-160)
The fascination that Saint Paul has on Fr. Alberione constitutes his “complete” style of loving and communicating to others an “integral” Christ. In Saint Paul is personified the model of a Christian life that is lived and proposed in its totality of way, truth and life. If it is true that the trinomial “way, truth and life” is a Christological definition present in the Gospel of Saint John, it is also true that Fr. Alberione gives it an “interpretation” starting from the style of life and preaching of Saint Paul. For Blessed Alberione the person and the work of Saint Paul are the exegesis (analyzing, classifying, interpreting, or evaluating) of the Johannine trinomial “way, truth and life”. Fr. Silvio Sassi, Superior General, 2009
“’Way, Truth and Life’; the foundations of true sanctity are there. And it is exactly the way that we must hold fast as Paulines. We must reach this point. ‘For me to live is Christ’ (Phil 1:21); and ‘I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20). (Meditazioni per consacrate secolari, 1976, p. 412) Remake oneself because we must become another person and have afterwards just one personality ‘in Christ’. Christ is one personality and the more one grafts himself to Christ the more he possesses an elevated personality: the divine one. So then ‘vivit vero in me Christus’ (Gal 2:20). How sublime is this!”( Alle Figlie di San Paolo, Spiegazione delle Costituzioni, 97.)
TRUTH - read the passage aloud once. Then read it again silently and slowly. Pay careful attending to your inner response.
- WAY – meditate Paul says “For me to live is Christ: Christ is my life, it is he who lives, who guides, it is Christ. What would St Paul do today? He would fulfill the two greatest precepts: love God with all your heart, with all your strength, with your entire mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Live as Christ who lives in you. Think of someone who has lived the life of Christ. What is it that attracts you to their way of living? Gospel for Paul is not a book but the person of Jesus Christ.
- LIFE – pray What do you feel when you pray the passage again? Do you believe that you are called to this fullness of life in Christ? Do you believe that Christ lives in you? St Paul is here to tell you: “My child, for whom I suffer again the pains of childbearing, until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). Paul reminds you that he lived by faith – not by sight. “I live by my faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Open your heart and pray aloud or silently: “Christ, live in me.” Invoke in prayer the fruits of the Spirit for a new life in Christ (Gal. 5:22-26). “When the Spirit penetrates a soul, it becomes a living plant that bears fruit for eternal life” (Alle Figlie di San Paolo 1940-1945, p. 61.)
- the Gospel LIVES in me – how can I live this passage in my life? Alberione says: “Live Christ first and then give him; live him first and then bring him to the world as St Paul has done. First Paul is able to say ‘I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me’ and then ‘I have made myself all to all.’ Through baptism the Christian ‘puts on’ Christ. Through baptism the Christian receives the gift of liberty that is used to love our neighbor. Paul invites you to “walk according to the Spirit” (Gal 5) and bear the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2). The Pauline mission is putting into action the charity of Christ. Write anything you want to remember or ponder later. When you have had an experience of living these words write it down in a journal that may be brought to prayer.
You are invited to share your reflections and experiences of life as inspired by this scripture passage, you may post them on the Internet site http://gospellivesinme.blogspot.com or send them for publication in the Pauline Cooperator magazine firstname.lastname@example.org Sr Margaret Kerry 50 St Paul’s Ave, Boston, MA 02130
A Sentence of Scripture offered as a monthly guide for inspiration and daily life.
© Daughters of St Paul 2009