I was always impressed as a young sister that Blessed James Alberione was a great student of history. If I remember correctly, as a seminary professor he set himself to the task of reading a 20 volume history of the world. Even as a founder of a religious congregation the time he spent reading the newspaper was sacred.
Lately I have become a fan of Flipboard, an app that collates articles by topic, source, or author through social sharing. As a user you have a fantastically rich and organized collection of articles on whatever topics you wish to follow. With all this news about the world’s events carried around literally “in my pocket” where I keep my iPhone, I found myself getting more and more depressed. I wondered how Alberione read the newspaper? What was in the back of his mind? What was in his heart? He lived through two world wars so the news was as tragic and perhaps more so than what we read today.
A confessor once offered me some good advice. “Remember,” he said, “that Alberione lived in a world not unlike our own. But he didn’t run around wringing his hands or afraid. His goal was to get the Gospel into everyone’s hands. Let that be yours.”
Yesterday I found a wonderful quote from our Founder on just this topic:
“Life loses all sense when it excludes the doctrine of Providence. It becomes a blind process left to the mercy of physical forces and the malice of men. When faith in Providence is alive, however, the entire meaning of human history is clearly defined, elevated and profound. It is God who conducts all things and makes them converge, rather than a chance succession of intertwined passions and individual interests. Let history be well taught, in the light of reason and faith.
“Through faith in Providence we discover the God who cares for greater and little things: from the atom, the hair on our head, the lily of the field, to the development of the physical, intellectual and moral world. From creation to the end of time, life is guided by the light coming from eternity, universal judgment and the certainty of eternal justice.
“How much reasoning is done without the use of reason, and without the light of the Gospel and the crucifix!” (Blessed Alberione, Thoughts, page 33)
When I surrender myself to God’s care for the world and for me, I can find the light that ever shines in the darkness. The light doesn’t remove the darkness, it never has. Instead it bursts out to shed light, show a path, reveal a pattern, assure us that God has the whole world in his hands.