POWER IN POWERLESSNESS A Key to Formative Dialogue between Alberionian Christology and Asian Traditions of the Spiritual Masters
DOCTORAL PROJECT presented to the Graduate Theological Foundation in Donaldson, Indiana, U.S.A. in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate in Education (Ed. D.)
by Carlita R. Grau, fsp
This doctoral project would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of many persons. It is a joy to acknowledge what roles they have played and indicate, however briefly, their contribution to this work. My heartfelt thanks go to: – the former Mother General of the Daughters of St. Paul, Sr. Giovannamaria Carrara, who asked me to be part of the FSP International Research Commission on Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life and thus opened the door to the possibility of going deeper into the Christology that informs our Pauline spirituality. – the three provincials of the Philippine province, Srs. Inocencia Tormon, Evangelina Canag, and Monina Baybay, who urged me to embark upon doctoral studies and gave their support all throughout the process, thus allowing me to pursue the research on our Christology on a more professional level. – the Pauline formators and formands and the Sisters, first in my own province, then in Asia, and all over the world whom I personally know, and whose hunger for a deeper grasp of the Pauline charism I share. They have been a constant inspiration during these years of study and in the writing of this project. – the Graduate Theological Foundation and its staff: especially Dr. John Morgan, President, Ms Valerie Relos, Dean of Students, and Dr. James Puglisi, head of the Centro Pro Unione, Rome. These not only accepted me as a student, but have been unfailingly cordial, available to help, understanding of the delays in my studies. – Peter Merkx and Lanny Suhendra of Stichting Porticus, who facilitated my studies with funding and who personally gave their encouragement and support. – Fr. James Kroeger, of the Loyola School of Theology, my project director, who carried out his task with commitment, drawing from his expertise in the area of my research, and assisting in the writing of the project with his considerable editing skills. May Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life bless their lives and the works they do for his glory and make these fruitful for the spread of the Father’s Kingdom in the world through the love of the Spirit.
Documents of the Pauline Family: AD C/D CISP DF GGFS PA PPF UPS
James Alberione, Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae Constitutions and Directory of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul James Alberione, Carissimi in San Paolo James Alberione, Donec Formetur Christus in Vobis General Guidelines for Formation and Studies James Alberione, The Publishing Apostolate James Alberione, The Prayers of the Pauline Family James Alberione, Ut Perfectus Sit Homo Dei
Ecclesiastical Documents: (Roman Catholic) DFRI DM DP EA EN ET GS ICF JT RH RM UR
Directives on Formation in Religious Institutes (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 1990) Dialogue and Mission (Secretariat for Non-Christians, 1984) Dialogue and Proclamation (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, 1991) Ecclesia in Asia (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, 1999) Evangelii Nuntiandi (Apostolic Exhortation of Paul VI, 1975) Evangelica Testificatio (Apostolic Exhortation of Paul VI, 1971) Gaudium et Spes (Constitution of Vatican II) Inter-Institute Collaboration for Formation (Congregaton for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 1998) Journeying Together (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, 1999) Redemptor Hominis (Encyclical of John Paul II, 1979) Redemptoris Missio (Encyclical of John Paul II, 1991) Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree of Vatican II)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW ........................................................................................................ 7 Background .............................................................................................................................. 7 Goal of the Project ................................................................................................................... 7 Importance ................................................................................................................................ 7 Scope and Limitations of the Project ....................................................................................... 8 Method .................................................................................................................................... 9 Terms used in the title of the project ............................................................................... 10 Terms related to the title and the theme ......................................................................... 11 General Outline ...................................................................................................................... 12 Pivotal Sources ...................................................................................................................... 14 PART ONE FOUNDATIONS FOR A FORMATIVE DIALOGUE CHAPTER ONE ESSENTIAL ASPECTS OF ALBERIONIAN CHRISTOLOGY .............................................................. 19 Background ............................................................................................................................ 19 The Traditional Alberionian Presentation of Jesus Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life ......................................................................................................... 21 Context of Alberionian Christology ......................................................................................... 21 Source of Alberionian Christology .......................................................................................... 21 Spirit of Alberionian Christology ............................................................................................. 23 Goal of Alberionian Christology .............................................................................................. 23 Process of Alberionian Christology ........................................................................................ 23 Various Dimensions of Alberionian Christology ..................................................................... 24 Methodology of Alberionian Christology ................................................................................ 27 Master with the Heart of a Shepherd .............................................................................. 27 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS .................................................................................................. 30 CHAPTER TWO ASPECTS OF SOME SPIRITUAL MASTER TRADITIONS IN HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM .......................................................................................................... 34 The Spiritual Master ........................................................................................................ 34 The Guru of Hinduism ..................................................................................................... 35 Central Significance of the Guru for Spiritual Development .................................................. 35 Nature, Roles and Functions, Characteristics of the Guru .................................................... 36 Guru-Sisya (master-disciple) Relationship ............................................................................. 37 The Spiritual Master in Buddhism ................................................................................... 37 Central Significance of the Master for Spiritual Development ............................................... 38 Nature, Roles and Functions, Characteristics of the Spiritual Master ................................... 38 Bodhisattva ...................................................................................................................... 38 Kalyana-mitta .................................................................................................................. 39 Zen master ...................................................................................................................... 40 Disciple-Master Relationship ................................................................................................. 41 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS .................................................................................................. 42
CHAPTER THREE TWO SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS: GURU CHRISTOLOGY AND THE ASHRAM EXPERIENCE ............................................................... 44 Guru Christology ............................................................................................................. 44 Hymnology .............................................................................................................................. 44 Apologetic Discourse ............................................................................................................. 45 Theological Discourse ............................................................................................................ 45 Narrative Discourse ................................................................................................................ 47 The Ashram Experience .................................................................................................. 48 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS .................................................................................................. 50
PART TWO AN ASIAN FORMATION PROJECT FROM THE POWER PERSPECTIVE CHAPTER FOUR THE POWER PERSPECTIVE ............................................................................................................... 55 Meanings and Applications of Power ..................................................................................... 55 Possible Corruption of Power ................................................................................................ 58 An Alternative Paradigm of Power ......................................................................................... 59 Aspects of an Alternative Paradigm of Power ........................................................................ 60 A Supporting Structure for Transformative Power .................................................................. 61 The Power of the Master and Divine Power .......................................................................... 64 Divine Power as “Power in Powerlessness” .......................................................................... 65 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS .................................................................................................. 67 CHAPTER FIVE THE PAULINE FORMATION PROJECT AS FORMATION TO POWER IN POWERLESSNESS ........................................................................ 69 Background ............................................................................................................................ 69 Culture of Communication: Context of the Pauline Identity and Formation Project ....... 71 Essential Elements of the Pauline Formation Project ..................................................... 74 Spirituality ............................................................................................................................... 74 Mission .................................................................................................................................. 78 Consecration: ......................................................................................................................... 80 Pauline Chastity .............................................................................................................. 81 Pauline Poverty ............................................................................................................... 82 Pauline Obedience .......................................................................................................... 85 Community ............................................................................................................................. 87 Formator-Formand Relationship ............................................................................................ 89 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS .................................................................................................. 91 CHAPTER SIX THE SPIRITUAL MASTER AND THE THEME OF POWER IN FILM .................................................. 93 Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 93 Format of Film Analysis .......................................................................................................... 94 Films Selected for Analysis .................................................................................................... 94 Karate Kid I, II, III ............................................................................................................ 95 Kundun ............................................................................................................................ 97 Holy Smoke! .................................................................................................................... 98 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ................................................................................... 100 CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS ................................................................................................ 102 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................................................................... 103 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................. 107
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Background The Daughters of St. Paul are a Roman Catholic missionary congregation1 of religious women. They were founded in 1915 by the Rev. James Alberione, a priest belonging to the diocese of Alba, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. The purpose of the congregation is the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all women and men, particularly through the media of communication. The spirituality that sustains the congregation’s vision and mission is Christocentric, and the specific approach to the mystery of Christ is summed up in the title “Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life.” At present, the congregation is established in more than 50 countries, and has a total membership of 2,572 Sisters, 694 of which are Asian.
Goal of the Project The project aims at exploring one specific way by which the Christology at the heart of the charism2 of the Daughters of St. Paul (known also as “the Pauline charism”) can be inculturated in Asia. This is in view of forming the Asian members of the institute in a manner that respects and reflects their cultural reality while remaining dynamically faithful to their founding charism.
Importance In terms of the Christian vocation, this study is important because it is one concrete expression of the efforts Christianity makes to carry out cross-cultural dialogue with the other religions to which the majority of Asian people belong—a dialogue aimed at the inculturation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Asia. The inculturation of the charism of a religious institute deals with many of the same questions that are addressed by the inculturation of the Christian faith. Central to this dialogue is the “Jesus question,” that is, the significance and role of Jesus Christ as a response to the universal human quest for life’s ultimate meaning and fulfillment, to which every religion provides its own answer. This study is a contribution to an inculturated Asian Christology, and thus would facilitate interreligious dialogue at the very point where the greatest difficulties to that dialogue arise. On the level of the Pauline charism, it is imperative at this time of the congregation’s history to respond to the challenges of inculturating the Pauline charism in Asia, given the fact that the total number of Asian members is second only to Italy (where the charism first took root). Moreover, this number is on the rise, since 50% of the young women entering the institute are Asians, and this trend shows no signs of abating. The inculturation in Asia of Alberionian Christology—which lies at the heart of the Pauline charism—would therefore benefit a significant portion of the congregation. It would also, in the long run, benefit the entire congregation’s understanding and living out of its charism.
Scope and Limitations of the Project According to James Alberione, the Pauline charism centers on Jesus Christ defined as “Master, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This Christology characterizes the spirituality of the Institute as well as its specific mission to evangelize with the media of social communication. The doctoral project focuses on the following questions: how can this Alberionian Christology be communicated to Asian Daughters of St. Paul in a way that will be meaningful to their cultures? How can this inculturated Alberionian Christology then enable them to carry out their Pauline mission in a manner relevant to present-day Asian religious, historical, socioeconomic, and political situations? For the purposes of this study, the most suitable point of contact between Alberionion Christology and Asian cultures appears to be the figure of the spiritual master. On the one hand, it is an element that is given an indispensable place in all Asian religious traditions including Christianity; on the other hand, it can be readily linked with Alberione’s preferred title for Christ: Master, Way, Truth and Life. It is also appropriate to the formative goal of this doctoral project. What is being attempted here is not so much a philosophical or theological study per se as an exploration into one way by which a spirituality can be communicated to those aspiring to deepen their relationship with the Divine according to a particular tradition of the consecrated life. If the spiritual master tradition may be considered as the oldest form of religious education still in existence, at least in Asia, and is also a rich and indispensable means for spiritual growth, it certainly can cast light upon the formative relationship between Christ Master and his Asian followers among the Daughters of St. Paul. The spiritual master in Asia is known by many names, such as avatar, kalyanamitta (or kalyana-mitra), bodhisattva, guru. The latter title, however, originating in the Hindu tradition, seems to have acquired widespread significance and is readily understandable even to religious and secular cultures beyond Asia. Even more important for this doctoral project, systematic attempts at an inculturated presentation of Christ by Asian Christians have made use of the guru tradition. In fact, there exist theological studies and pastoral applications of what is known as guru christology, dating back to several centuries ago and continuing down to the present. The paper will refer particularly to the Hindu guru tradition, therefore, and to guru christology. However, the spiritual master tradition in Buddhism will also be referred to when necessary, since Buddhism, even more than Hinduism, has shaped the religious cultures of many of the countries from which Asian Daughters of St. Paul come. Being a doctoral project and not a doctoral dissertation, this study does not pretend to offer an exhaustive in-depth theoretical study of its topic. It is exploratory, it indicates possible connections, it calls attention to relevant areas—of similarities as well as of differences—for cross-cultural formative dialogue between Alberionian Christology and Asian traditions. It raises questions and attempts to provide possible answers to some of those questions. The efficacy of these answers will be seen as these are worked out and tested in actual dialogue and in the formation process. The study paves the way so that the dialogue can be attempted and the formative relationship made relevant and effective. Within the framework of the spiritual master tradition, the analysis will make use of a key, or guiding perspective to sharpen the focus of the study even more. The choice of this key or guiding perspective has been made in line with three criteria:
– that it be relevant to both partners in the dialogue (i.e., Alberionian Christology and the Asian spiritual master tradition); – that it be conceptually valid but praxis-oriented, rooted in experience, not merely abstract, in keeping with the formative or educational goal of this study; – that it help to focus the treatment of the subject, but that it be at the same time open to wider themes within the context of the Christological question and interreligious dialogue as a whole.
The guiding perspective is the theme of “power in powerlessness.” Its importance for the project is such that it has been chosen as the title of the study. The project has to be situated in the context of the different types of power. In regard to the first criterion, the figure of the spiritual master is, in any tradition, a power figure, though his or her power may be envisioned in different ways, some of which, like “power in powerlessness,” are paradoxical. Similarities among the various traditions will be noted when the above guiding perspective is used for analysis; at the same time, significant differences also emerge. The study will attempt to show how crosscultural religious dialogue in Asia can be most fruitful in the area of formation precisely when these paradoxical differences are explored. The requirement of the second criterion is met in the choice of power as a concept, which is not the fruit primarily of an intellectual exercise but which flows from the concrete experience of power rooted in the human heart and expressed in human behavior particularly in interpersonal relationships. The formative exercise of power is of particular relevance to a religious congregation that honors Christ as Master, as the one who incarnates a type of power that offers an alternative to power as domination and control. That the guiding perspective focuses the unfolding of the subject, as required by the third criterion, will be clear in the development of the succeeding chapters. At the same time, this perspective opens up to related and broader themes which, though they are barely hinted at and not explored directly in this study, reveal the significance of this perspective not only for the “Jesus question” but for the “God question” and for interreligious dialogue as a whole. One final point must be taken into consideration: the choice of the guiding perspective and the manner in which it is developed here is the most original element of the whole study. In the entire body of Pauline congregational research, no systematic studies exist regarding Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life from this point of view of power. Although this could be interpreted as a limitation of the study, it may also become a stimulus for further studies to be made along the same lines.
Method The basic method employed by this study is that of comparative analysis. Essential elements of both Alberionian Christology and the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual master traditions (with special emphasis on the Hindu guru tradition, and on guru Christology) will be indicated and compared in order to point out similarities and differences. The key to the choice of elements and their comparison is, as mentioned above, the paradox of power in powerlessness. The spirit with which this analysis is undertaken will be that of respectful and open dialogue with a view to mutual understanding and enrichment.
TERMS USED IN THE TITLE OF THE PROJECT POWER. This word is used in the paper in its meaning of authority, control and influence, dominion especially over other people and their lives. It connotes the superiority of the powerful person over the reality under his or her control. It may be benevolent, used for the good of others, or it may be manipulative and oppressive, used to control others for egoistic purposes. In contrast to this common understanding of power is the paradoxical concept of divine power as revealed in Christ, a power that is self-emptying, a total giving of self in love. This concept is crucial to the theme developed in this doctoral project. FORMATION. This word is defined and used to mean the preparation to, and growth in living consecrated religious life in the Roman Catholic tradition. In the 1995 General Guidelines for Formation and Studies (GGFS) of the Daughters of St. Paul, formation is described as a process and a pedagogical program by which those aspiring to be members as well as the members themselves of the Institute gradually assimilate and faithfully live its charism and identity.3 It is in the process of formation that the charismatic identity is acquired. This identity is necessary not only for the maturity of the members in order to live and work in conformity with the foundational charism, but also for the identity and unity of the Institute, as well as for the authenticity of its expressions in diverse cultures, and for the Church’s communion-mission.4
DIALOGUE. The definition adopted here is that given by the 1991 document of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples entitled Dialogue and Proclamation: Reflection and Orientations on Interreligious Dialogue and the Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (DP). As noted in this document, the term “dialogue” has a threefold significance. As a human process, it means reciprocal communication whereby the partners involved move toward the attainment of a common goal and to communion with one another. As an attitude or “spirit,” it is characterized by openness, respect, listening, and love. Finally, when applied and used in a context of religious pluralism, it means “’all the positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and communities of other faiths which are directed at mutual understanding and enrichment’ (DM 3), in obedience to truth and respect for freedom. It includes both witness and the exploration of respective religious convictions” (DP 9). Interreligious dialogue is different from ecumenism, which is “a movement for the restoration of unity among all Christians… and those who take part in it invoke the Trinity and profess belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior” (UR 1). ALBERIONIAN CHRISTOLOGY. This term indicates the specific approach to the mystery of Jesus Christ which is at the heart of the religious charism (also known as “the Pauline charism,”) of the Daughters of St. Paul. This Christology is expressed in the title accorded to Jesus Christ as “the Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life.” “Alberionian” refers to Fr. James Alberione (1884-1971), the Founder of the Daughters of St. Paul. SPIRITUAL MASTER. “Master” in the context of this doctoral project means teacher and guide; the adjective “spiritual” further qualifies the role and functions of this particular master, as having to do with human fulfillment in its most ultimate sense. The spiritual master is a fully human person who represents God and who in some traditions is an incarnation of God. In soteriological terms, he is one who has reached a high level of intimate union with God, such
that he or she becomes the instrument of salvation for others; this person is therefore essential for spiritual growth and the attainment of perfection or holiness. In addition, “Master” is a relational term; there is no master without a disciple. Though the spiritual master is known by many names in different religious traditions, there is one term, which has become, at least in the West, almost synonymous with “master”; that term is guru. In this paper, the guru tradition that is explored is taken primarily from the Saiva Siddhanta religious philosophy of Tamilnadu, considered to be one of the most systematic and well-articulated schools of Hindu religious thought in India today. “Saiva” refers to those Hindu schools that use the name “Siva” for the Ultimate Being or God. Another Hindu school, Vaishnavism, so called because it looks to Vishnu as the Supreme Being, provides other aspects of the guru tradition that are utilized in this doctoral project.
TERMS RELATED TO THE TITLE AND THE THEME BUDDHISM. This is one of the two major Asian religious traditions with which the doctoral project is concerned, as it explores the Asian concept of “spiritual master.” The teachings of Buddhism, originating in India some 2.500 years ago and attributed to Gautama Buddha, have the greatest number of adherents especially in Southeast Asia, in comparison with other faiths. It is said that strictly speaking, Buddhism is not a religion since it recognizes no God nor eternal life in the way that these are held by other religious traditions. Buddhism rather stresses doctrines and disciplines that enable the human being to transcend material things and to attain to a state of inner freedom and peace. It has two great schools: the Theravada school, representing the older tradition, and the Mahayana school, which belongs to the second phase of Buddhism. There are points in the latter that are strikingly similar to Christian tenets, such as the emphasis on compassion and loving kindness as central virtues, and as embodied in bodhisattvas, compassionate ones who sacrifice their lives for the liberation of all. HINDUISM. This is the other Asian religious tradition that the doctoral project explores in regard to the concept of “spiritual master.” Hinduism is one of the principal Indian religions, without a founder, consisting of a vast and complex “mass of religious systems, a mosaic of probably all known forms of religious philosophies and social structures, rich traditions, myths, of peoples of various epochs. It is not a static religion but in the course of its history has developed and is still generating many reform movements.”5 Hinduism believes in a God who is totally other, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, blissful in himself, but who is also intimately close to us and can (in some traditions) descend, take on visible form and be a friend to human beings (avatar). INCULTURATION. This term connotes “the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration in Christianity and the insertion of Christianity in the various human cultures” (RM 52; cf GS 58). PARADOX. The term is here used to mean “a statement or sentiment that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet perhaps true in fact”6 or “a statement or proposition which on the face of it seems self-contradictory, absurd, or at variance with common sense, though, on investigation or when explained, it may prove to be well-founded (or, according to some, though it is essentially true).”7 In the context of theology, paradox points to
truths about the Divine that seem to be illogical and contradictory to human reason because they point to realities beyond its scope. SPIRITUALITY. Joann Wolski Conn provides definitions of spirituality that range from a more inclusive to a more specifically Christian perspective. She notes: Spirituality refers to the totality of human life energized by an inner drive for self-transcendence, that is, for moving beyond self-maintenance to reach out in love, in free commitment to seek truth and goodness. When this basic human capacity for spirituality is believed to be actualized by the holy, there is religious spirituality, and when this capacity is experienced in relation to the divine mystery as Source, and Incarnate Word, and life-giving Spirit there is Christian spirituality.8
These definitions are relevant for the comparative analysis that this doctoral project makes between faith traditions that are not Christian and the Christian tradition. All of these traditions are imbued with spirituality in the more inclusive sense. To be able to note differences and similarities, the project has to have a framework that is broad enough to include all traditions. Obviously, when the project speaks from a specifically Christian perspective, the third definition is most applicable.
General Outline This doctoral project consists of an Introduction, six chapters, and a Conclusion. A Selected Bibliography of sources is provided at the end.
Introduction and Overview The elements covered by the Introduction are: the essential background and context for the doctoral project, the goal of the study, its importance, its scope and limitations, the method utilized, a brief explanation of significant terms, a general outline of the content, and a list of â€œpivotal sources,â€? that is, the material from the general bibliography which has more profoundly shaped the insights into the theme of the study.
PART ONE FOUNDATIONS FOR A FORMATIVE DIALOGUE The first three chapters provide a summary of basic concepts regarding the spiritual master tradition in Alberionian Christology on the one hand, and in Hinduism and Buddhism on the other. This summary is provided with a view to facilitating the dialogue between these three traditions. The selection of basic concepts is made keeping always in mind the key perspective of power as a constitutive element of the figure of the spiritual master. Chapter I: Essential Aspects of Alberionian Christology
This chapter gives an overview of Alberionian Christology. It is intended especially for those to whom this Christology is not familiar. Chapter II: Aspects of Some Spiritual Master Traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism
Since the doctoral project is exploratory, not attempting a complete synthesis of all Hindu and Buddhist spiritual master traditions, it makes a selection only of certain traditions in these living faiths, which will be indicated in the chapter itself. Chapter III: Two Significant Developments: Guru Christology and the Ashram Experience
These two trends especially in Hindu-Christian traditions, with links also to the Buddhist tradition, have been given special attention because they are important as fundamental elements for the formative dialogue that is to be unfolded.
PART TWO AN ASIAN FORMATION PROJECT FROM THE POWER PERSPECTIVE Chapter IV: The Power Perspective
With this fourth chapter, the attempt is made to indicate possible tracks for a formative dialogue regarding the spiritual master, between the partners of the dialogue, from the perspective of power in powerlessness. Chapter V: The Pauline Formation Project as Formation to Power in Powerlessness
The fifth chapter explores the implications of the study for Pauline Formation in Asia. This is done in the context of the Pauline mission, which is to proclaim the Gospel with the media of communication. At this stage of human history the media are not simply instruments of communication; they have brought about a new, world-wide culture that transforms the human being from within and gives him more control over human life. What would a Master whose power lies in total self-gift and the vulnerability that comes with love have to say to such a culture? In view of the integral formation project of the Daughters of St. Paul, this chapter also attempts to answer such questions as the following: â€“ what will the over-all impact be on Pauline formation, if it is structured around the central figure of Christ Master, Way, Truth and Life viewed from the perspective of power in powerlessness?
What kind of formative and transformative relationship between Christ and the Daughter of St. Paul will be fostered by such a perspective? – how would the formation to the vowed life be carried out if the vows are seen as radical modes of discipleship at the school of a Master whose power is best understood from a stance of powerlessness? – what would the formation to community life be like if at the center of the community is a Master who washes his disciples’ feet, a Master whose power is for service, who gives his life for his disciples? – what insights into the formator-formand relationship emerge when viewed from the perspective of the master-disciple relationship?
Chapter VI: The Spiritual Master and the Theme of Power in Film
This chapter aims at underscoring some essential elements of the spiritual master tradition—always from the key perspective of power in powerlessness—already touched upon previously. The chapter does not so much add new content as it provides one pedagogical tool for Pauline formation. The films selected do not exhaust the possibilities of choice; they provide a sampling of possible resources in line with the goal of the doctoral project. They are: Karate Kid I, II, III; Holy Smoke; Kundun; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To this list could have been added George Lucas’ Star Wars series—the original trilogy and the prequels. In fact, tracing the gradual deformation of Anakim Skywalker to Darth Vader would make a fascinating study of how a person can gradually be corrupted and commit himself to the Dark Force of power as domination instead of service. The figure of the spiritual master is a constant in all the films of the series. However, the series is not complete as yet; it lacks one more prequel. Conclusion and Recommendations
The concluding chapter will be a brief summary of the content of the whole study and its more important insights. It will especially aim at indicating areas for future research on the topic and how this research can be facilitated.
Pivotal Sources Pauline Congregational Materials: Key writings of Fr. James Alberione (originals are in Italian and bibliographical information is given in the Bibliography; the official English translations, when available, are referred to here): Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae: Charismatic History of the Pauline Family. Trans. by Mike Byrnes. Rome: Societa’ San Paolo, Casa Generalizia, 1998. Donec Formetur Christus in Vobis: Appunti di meditazioni ed istruzioni del Primo Maestro (1932). Editor – Andrea Damino. Roma: Societa’ San Paolo: Casa Generalizia, 1984.
Acts of Seminars on Jesus Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life: Jesus, the Master, Yesterday, Today and For Ever: The Spirituality of the Pauline Communicator. Acts of the International Seminar on “Jesus, the Master,” Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996. Trans. Andres R. Arboleda. Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1997. Acts of the Continental Meeting on the Formation of the Daughters of St. Paul: Integral Formation of the Paulines of Asia/Australia, Manila, 15-26 February 1999.
Basic Documents on the Formation of the Daughters of St. Paul: Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul. Constitutions and Directory. Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1984.
__________. General Guidelines for Formation and Studies. Rome: Daughters of St. Paul General House, 1995.
Materials on the Hindu and Buddhist Spiritual Master Traditions Books Cornille, Catherine. The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation. From the series: Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs. Louvain: Peeters Press, 1991. Thangaraj, M. Thomas. The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994. Articles Boyd, James W. “Buddhas and the Kalyana-mitta.” Studia Missionalia 21 (1972): 57-76. Dhavamony, Mariasusai. “The Guru in Hinduism.” Studia Missionalia 36 (1987): 147-174. Irudayaraj, Xavier. “The Guru in Hinduism and Christianity.” Vidyajyoti 39, no. 8 (1975): 338-351. Smithers, Stuart W. “Spiritual Guide.” The Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 14. Ed. Mircea Eliade. New York: Macmillan, 1987. Wayman, Alex. “The Guru in Buddhism.” Studia Missionalia 36 (1987): 195-213.
Materials on Power Carman, John B. Majesty and Meekness: A Comparative Study of Contrast and Harmony in the Concept of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1994. Kramer, Joel and Diana Alstad. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1993. Schneiders, Sandra M. Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. New York: Crossroad, 1999.
NOTES 1 “Congregation” is used here not in the sense of a group of people that habitually attend a particular church for worship. In the Roman Catholic tradition, especially when the word is qualified by the adjective “religious,” the term refers to a society of men or women who feel called and set apart by God to follow a particular form of Christian life marked by public profession of chastity, poverty and obedience (known also as the religious vows) to be lived in community for a specific mission. In C. V of the doctoral project this is explained in greater detail. 2 “Charism” is the term used to define the specific identity of the religious congregation; it includes the vision and mission of the congregation, as well as its spirituality and specific approach to the mystery of Christ. 3 Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul, General Guidelines for Formation and Studies (Rome: Daughters of St. Paul General House, 1995), nos. 0.1, 1.0. 4 Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Inter-Institute Collaboration for Formation (Pasay, Philippines: Paulines Publishing House, 1999), n. 7.2. 5 Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Journeying Together (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999), 24. 6 Webster’s Dictionary, 1986. 7 Oxford English Dictionary, 1971. 8 Joann Wolski Conn, “Dancing in the Dark: Women’s Spirituality and Ministry,” in Women’s Spirituality Resources for Christian Development, ed. Joann Wolski Conn, 2nd ed. (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1996) 9.
FOUNDATIONS FOR A FORMATIVE DIALOGUE
CHAPTER ONE ESSENTIAL ASPECTS OF ALBERIONIAN CHRISTOLOGY
Background The Daughters of St. Paul are not the only congregation established by Fr. James Alberione. He was the Founder of what is now known as “the Pauline Family,” made up of 10 institutes. The Pauline Family began with the foundation in 1914 of the Society of St. Paul (priests and brothers), followed in 1915 by that of the Daughters of St. Paul (women), and three other religious congregations for women: the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master (1924), the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd (1938), the Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles (1959). Part of the Pauline Family too are four Aggregated Institutes: St. Gabriel the Archangel (for laymen), Our Lady of the Annunciation (for laywomen), Jesus the Priest (for diocesan priests), and the Holy Family (for married couples and their families). There is also the Association of Pauline Cooperators, roughly equivalent to what is known as a “third order” in other religious institutes. All the Pauline institutes are distinguished from one another by the specific mission they were founded for; what unites them is the Pauline spirituality presented here. This spirituality has a strong Christological core. The following passages culled from the Founder’s numerous writings and talks sketch out this Christology and its significance for the identity of the Pauline Family as a whole. Among the things to be learned in the Pauline Families (sic), the first and principal place is to be given to the devotion1 to Jesus Master. Such a devotion is not reduced to simple prayer or to a song, but invests the entire person…. Our devotion to the divine Master is to be applied to spiritual work, study, the apostolate, and the whole of religious life.2
Master is qualified by connecting it intrinsically to Christ’s self-definition in Jn 14:6, that is, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Fr. Alberione asserts: “There is only one spirituality and it is that which the Lord has given us: in Jesus Christ Master, Way, Truth and Life.”3 “One may sum up the fundamental concepts of Christological doctrine in relation to the spiritual life thus: to live Christ according to his own self-definition: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”4 This devotion to Jesus as Master, Way, Truth and Life takes in the total Christ and draws the entire human person into a unitive relationship with him. Two Alberionian passages point to this relationship:5 The devotion to the divine Master sums up and brings to completeness all devotions. For it presents Jesus as Truth in whom we must believe, as Way whom we must follow, as Life of which we become partakers. We must consider the divine Master in all his completeness. In this vision is to be found religion, dogma, morals, and cult; in this vision we find the integral Jesus Christ; through this devotion the human person is wholly taken up, conquered by Jesus Christ.
These points of Alberionian Christology will be expanded below; other features and characteristics will be brought in. What is important to note is that Alberione considers this Christology to be constitutive of the Pauline’s very identity: A person would not truly make her profession if she did not acquire this spirit. She would have the body but not the soul of the Congregation. To conform our life, our study, our prayer, our apostolate, our religious discipline to Jesus Master is not simply a beautiful expression or merely a word of advice. It is the very substance of the Congregation. It is the basis for being or not being a Pauline.6
It becomes indispensable, then, to form all those called to Pauline life in this spirituality, starting with its Christocentric core. An authentic formation would involve inculturating this devotion for a more vital assimilation. There is not one comprehensive source that provides a clear idea of the essential elements which characterize this devotion. Alberione has not written any particular book dedicated wholly to this topic. From an examination of his written and spoken words, with special attention to his prayers,7 and through a close look at his praxis, especially in the area of the apostolate, one may presume that on the level of his personal life and relationship with Christ Master and with the Pauline Family, his Christology gradually unfolded, grew in depth, clarity and prophetic insight, expanded and forged new links with significant trends of the times in which he lived. He grew in the conviction of the vital importance of this Christology for Pauline life, in his fidelity to this way of living the Gospel in the spirit of Paul the Apostle, in the gradual transformation of his being into Christ. However, he lacked both the inclination and the time to work out a complete systematic exposition of his thought; therefore it must be gleaned and pieced together from his writings and activities, and its implications and applications drawn out from different angles and perspectives. This doctoral project is one such attempt, one contribution to the efforts being made by the entire Pauline Family to “unpack” the treasures of Pauline spirituality, with special attention to its Christocentric core. Having clarified these limitations, one may ask: is there a specific work or works that can be a starting point to construct a summary of Alberionian Christology? Among the writings that make up the authentic Alberionian corpus of primary sources, one book serves the purpose of this doctoral project. It is entitled Donec formetur Christus in vobis: Appunti di meditazioni ed istruzioni del Primo Maestro8 (abbreviation: DF). There are several reasons for basing the following summary of Alberionian Christology on this book. First, it is unquestionably an authentic Alberionian text, and it contains in seminal form9 the most essential concepts regarding the Pauline charism as centered upon Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. Guido Gandolfo, a Pauline priest who studied this text for years, affirms that here “we discover the fundamental coordinates on which it will be possible to verify our identity as Paulines.” He also says: “This work… marks the starting point of the spiritual and pedagogical vision regarding Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life, in its systematic form.”10 In the “Introduction” to the critical edition of DF, the editor Andrea Damino points out that especially in the second, most original, part of the book there appears “the first written and explicit formulation of the devotion to Jesus Master, way, truth and life…”.11 A second reason for basing the following summary on this book takes into account the formative purpose and context of this doctoral project. DF was intended as a formation manual for the novitiate. However, as the work proceeds, it goes beyond this initial intention and becomes more of the Founder’s first attempt to summarize what he at that point in time understood of the spirituality he felt had been given him to develop. Gandolfo thinks that DF “appears to be the writing that most completely gathers into one both the spiritual experience and the teaching of the Founder on the theme of spiritual formation, according to the Pauline charism.…”12 What follows in the next section,13 then, is a summary based principally on DF, of the traditional teaching on Alberionian Christology, given to formands and members of the Daughters of St. Paul and of other institutes of the Pauline Family, as well as to the audience of the Pauline apostolate. All quotations are taken from DF unless noted otherwise.
THE TRADITIONAL ALBERIONIAN PRESENTATION OF JESUS CHRIST AS MASTER, WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE This section will develop its content according to the following points: the context, the source, the spirit, the goal, the process, the dimensions, and the methodology of Alberionian Christology. Under “dimensions” the significant elements to be treated are: the relational, the Scriptural, the Eucharistic, the experiential, the apostolic, the Marian, and the integral dimensions.
Context of Alberionian Christology Alberione’s Christology is rooted in the traditional Catholic theology of his time. This fact is obvious in the concepts and language he used to describe his Christological spirituality. The Trinitarian foundation is also explicit; DF is structured according to it. In addition, Alberione views human life as a journey which, as it were, sets the stage and indicates the necessity for a Master who is way, truth and life for human beings. This perspective emerges in the Founder’s writings: Coming forth from the hands of God to glorify him in eternity, man has to make a long journey of testing which is called life. The Father himself has sent his Son, the Master, to point out, to walk, and to make himself the [very] way of man, so that at the end man will be judged as to whether he has conformed himself to that Son: in mind, will, life. In that conformity is love, and so one who has loved continues loving [as his] compensation for eternity; one who has not loved will remain far from God for all eternity (DF 92; translation by the writer; emphasis added).
This period must incarnate in us Jesus Christ: Truth, Way, Life so that the “new man” may result (DF 98, emphasis added). Jesus Christ is truth for the intelligence; thus follows the need to study Christian doctrine, and in a special way, the Gospel. Jesus Christ is way for the will; thus follows the need to imitate Jesus Christ…. Jesus Christ is life for the heart; thus follows the need of investing ourselves with sanctifying and actual grace, especially through holy Mass (DF 99; emphasis added).
Source of Alberionian Christology It is not common for a Founder of a religious family to choose as the center of his spirituality Christ under the title “Master,” and even more uncommon to put it in conjunction with “way, truth, life.” Alberione could have used other titles such as “Redeemer” or “Savior.” His charismatic choice merits a closer look. First of all, “Master” as well as “way, truth and life” is not drawn from some obscure source; it has genuine Gospel roots. The wealth of exegetical material that has grown around each of the words enriches and opens new horizons of relevance for the interpretation of Alberione’s charismatic insight. This study is not concerned with going deeply into an exegetical analysis of Alberione’s Christology; other members of the Pauline Family have attempted this analysis and it would be a field of research to be explored in its own right. However, to understand something more of what Alberione meant by “Master,” and why it was so important to him to qualify that title with “way, truth, life,” one may point out briefly the significance of the title in Scriptural terms.14 This has a bearing on the content of Chapter 2, below.
In the Gospel, what is translated as “Master” or “Teacher” in English is the Hebrew word rabbi (Greek: didascalos). In the Jewish tradition, rabbi meant an outstanding exponent of the divine will as contained in the Law and the prophets. Rabbis shared this superior knowledge with disciples that gathered around them to be taught. Such teachers were revered, served, assisted in their daily needs by their disciples. Jesus was referred to as “Master” in this first sense; it is the title by which his disciples and even the scribes and Pharisees, the teachers of Israel, most often addressed him. The worth of the teaching of the masters, of their wisdom, was rooted in their ability to throw light upon the human being’s relationship with the Divine, to make God’s will known, and therefore to open up to the disciple a path to follow that would lead to fullness of life. Their teaching was not meant to reach only the mind but to indicate the right way by which the human being could order all life toward its legitimate goal; the master, then, was also a guide, and a model, even a mediator to bring God and the person together. Another word, kathegethes, that is, “guide,” “conductor,” gives this more complete meaning to didascalos; in fact, it is also translated as “master-teacher.” Christ applies both meanings of “master,” that is, “teacher” and “guide,” in the well-known injunction from Mt 23: 8-10: “As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher (ho didascalos), and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’ (kathegetai); you have but one master, the Messiah.” Another Scriptural term, “lord” (kyrios), has also been translated as “master.” It means one who has the power to command, who is a head, a boss; it is also used to indicate the master of a household, or even the master of a slave. In a religious context, it may refer to God, his sovereignty over all, his majesty, his power. Kyrios is applied to Christ, not only in the Gospels but in other New Testament writings, notably in Paul’s letters. Jesus acknowledges that the use of this title in reference to him is appropriate; after the washing of the feet, John reports him as saying: “You call me Master and Lord, and you are right; that is what I am” (Jn 13: 13-14). In his own way, Alberione tried to make clear that the term “master” as applied to Christ was something more than the popular and often reductionist understanding of “teacher,” especially in a Western context. This is why he preferred the term “master” to “teacher” and makes the following distinctions between them: We know that the word master had a meaning quite different from that of teacher. The teacher imparts the knowledge he has learned; the master communicates life. The teacher speaks to the intelligence; the master speaks at the same time to the mind, to sentiment, to the will. The teacher makes a learned individual, the scientist; the master forms the righteous person, the Christian, the citizen. The teacher keeps an eye on time; the master keeps his eyes both on time and eternity. For a teacher, it is enough that he be competent in a subject. The master is busy with giving example, imparting moral formation, establishing communion of life…. And he [Christ] summarizes everything in his self-definition: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”15
Why is “way, truth, life” a summary of the threefold meaning of “Master”? It is possible to link Jesus as truth, as incarnate wisdom of the Father, with the meaning of Master as Teacher in its full, integral sense. Jesus is guide, example, mediator who by his life and especially his total self-giving on the cross points out the way back to the Father; he is thus the very Way itself
for humanity. Jesus, as God’s own Son incarnate and Lord of all creation, is the source of divine life, which he shares to all who are willing to accept him and to be transformed into himself through love. The negative connotations of power that the title kyrios has, are absent when that title is applied to Christ, whose lordship is expressed not in overpowering but in empowering his followers, not in domination and exploitation but in sharing his very life with them. This vision of Christ as Master, Way, Truth, and Life, rooted in Scripture as its source and wellspring, is what lies at the heart of Alberionian spirituality.
Spirit of Alberionian Christology The title “Master, Way, Truth and Life” is not found in Paul’s writings. Yet Alberione repeatedly and unequivocally insists that his spirituality is Pauline: Alberionian Christology is Pauline Christology. This fact is evident in certain affirmations that Alberione consistently made in his ongoing attempt to clarify his Christological spirituality. For example: In the section entitled “The doctrine of Paul” in DF 168-170 Alberione says that Paul “was the most perfect and faithful interpreter of the Divine Master; he understood, gave, and elaborated by powerful syntheses and strict logic the Gospel, whole and applied, so that … humanity found what it had unconsciously been seeking” (DF 168). And like Paul, human beings are called to attain to that state whereby “…Christ alone lives, thinks, acts, loves, wills, prays, suffers, dies and rises in us” (DF 170). This end-state of formation, the omega point of human fulfillment, Alberione finds perfectly expressed in Paul’s letter to the Galatians 2: 20-21: “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me”16 (emphasis added). And Paul was the disciple who attained the heights of union with Christ; he did not only envision it or speak of it.
Goal of Alberionian Christology The ultimate goal to which all enlightened Christians aspire, a transformed existence, Alberione calls Christification, or “being conformed to Christ.” He notes: The process of sanctification is a process of Christification: “until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). …we will be holy in the measure in which we live the life of Jesus Christ, or better, according to the measure in which Jesus Christ lives in us. “The Christian is another Christ,” and this is what St. Paul says of himself: “I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).17
Process of Alberionian Christology Christification not only indicates the achieved goal of Pauline spirituality; it is also the term used for the process to reach that goal. The Founder’s first circular, cited above, continues with a description of this process: This gradually takes place in us until we “reach the full manhood of Jesus Christ,” just as a baby gradually develops into an adult. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Spiritual work involves the commitment: 1. to imitate the holiness of Jesus Christ, who marked out the way with his examples and with his teachings: “you are to be perfect”;
2. in the spirit of faith according to Jesus Christ-Truth, to think in accord with the Gospel, with the New Testament, and with the Church which communicates it to us; 3. to live in grace, which is a sharing in the life of Jesus Christ, through the sacraments and all the means of grace. Thus Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life is formed in us: “to be conformed.”
In DF, Alberione speaks of the itinerary of Christification as structured according to the classic threefold way for spiritual growth: the purgative, the illuminative, the unitive stages. What is original about the way Alberione presents this itinerary is the connection he makes with the Trinity. He attributes to one of the three divine Persons of the Trinity each of the classic three ways: the purgative stage (conversion and a new creation) to the Father, the illuminative stage (incarnation) to the Son made human—here he brings in “Master Way, Truth and Life” once again—and the unitive stage (sanctification) to the Spirit. It may be difficult to justify this ingenious insight theologically and scientifically.18 This may be why Alberione never pursued the idea in subsequent writings. What is important to grasp here is that Alberione’s spirituality is centered on Christ but cannot be understood except in the light of the Trinity, and Christification develops in a Trinitarian context.
Various Dimensions of Alberionian Christology Relational dimension
Alberione asserts that his Christology incorporates the belief in a Divinity that is One but at the same time Triune and is therefore of its very essence relational; this belief sustains the importance for Alberione of the relational dimension of Pauline spirituality. Christ is defined as the only begotten Son of the Father, ineffably united to him in the Spirit. Through his incarnation, he enters into a relationship of intimacy with the human race, for whom he becomes Master, Way, Truth and Life. Acceptance of that relationship to the point of Christification is what saves the human person. For Alberione, “To become saints, we are to incarnate God in us (DF 90).” This is achieved by entering into the school of Jesus Master, relating to him as disciple. This involves a lifetime of self-detachment, of self-giving, of devotion, until the disciple is one with the Master. “Entering the school of Jesus Master” is a familiar phrase in Alberionian teaching. For instance, a Marian prayer19 composed a few years after DF says: Present me to Jesus, for I am an unworthy sinner, and I have no other recommendation to be admitted to his school than your recommendation. Enlighten my mind, fortify my will, sanctify my heart, during this year of my spiritual work, so that I may profit from this great mercy and may say at the end: “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.” (PPF 222-223).
Another prayer that speaks of this union between Christ Master and his disciples, is entitled “To the Divine Master,” the earliest known Alberionian prayer that explicitly addresses Christ with that title. It is found in DF 101-103: O Master, You have words of eternal life. Substitute Yourself for me in my mind, in my thoughts. O You who illumine every man and are Truth itself, I want to reason only as You teach, judge only according to Your judgments, and think only of You, substantial Truth, given to me by the Father. “Live in my mind, O Jesus Truth.” Your life is precept, Way—certain, unique, true, infallible. The crib, Nazareth, Calvary—all trace the divine way: of love for the Father, of infinite purity, of love for souls to the point of total sacrifice. Grant that… every moment I may follow in Your footsteps along the path of poverty, chastity
and obedience. Every other way is broad… it is not Yours. Jesus, I ignore and detest every way not indicated by You. What You want, I want; establish Your will in place of mine. Substitute Your heart for my heart. Substitute Your love for my love of God, for my love of neighbor, for my love of self. With Your divine life, which is most pure, and above all nature, replace my sinful human life. “I am the life” (Jn 14:6). Therefore, that You may live in me, I will give great care to Holy Mass, to Communion, to the Visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament, to devotion to the Passion. May this Your divine life be manifested in my deeds… just as happened with St. Paul: “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Live in me, O Jesus, eternal Life, substantial Life.
The relational dimension is nourished by the dimension of the Word that God addresses to humanity through his incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. That Scripture is an integral part of Alberionian Christology is obvious even in the choice of a title for Christ, which are all from the Gospel. And the Founder repeatedly enjoined his Paulines to steep their being in a continual reading and meditation of Scripture, as he did. Even a superficial analysis of DF will reveal how thoroughly he himself assimilated that Word. It appears not only in the liberal use of specific quotations but even in his expressions that often paraphrase Scripture. Eucharistic dimension
To further emphasize the relational and unitive dimension of Christification, Alberione in DF uses the image of food which becomes one with the person who eats it. This has Eucharistic implications; for Alberione, access to Christ and growth of intimacy with him is achieved through contact with him as Eucharist. He writes: The action of sanctifying the soul consists in our transformation in God …through the food that is Jesus Christ himself. We are to nourish ourselves daily with Jesus Christ, way, truth and life…. We need to masticate and assimilate [him] (DF 7, translation mine).
Union with Christ also brings human beings into relationship with one another. The section of DF on Paul referred to above concludes with the following words: …Head of a regenerated humanity, he (Christ) forms all believers into a mystical body, the members of which are closely united by the charity that animates one same life, in which beats one sole heart, the Heart of Jesus Christ. (DF 170, translation mine)
The stress on experience rather than abstract theorizing is essential for an understanding of Alberionian Christology. One must go beyond the attempts Alberione makes at a systematic theoretical presentation—not always successful and certainly not complete—and allow oneself to be drawn into the spiritual dynamism that transformed him. This dynamism is communicated best in the mysterious interactive unfolding of a living charism common to him as Founder and Primo Maestro (“first teacher”) and to those to whom the Spirit gives the same gift. One must delve into the life experiences of Alberione, and especially his prayer life, and allow that experience to illumine what he says. This search requires that each person bring to the process his or her own personal experience, and see where it resonates with Alberione’s own experience. It is a matter of heart speaking to heart, using that term “heart” in its most profound Scriptural sense, which goes beyond the level of feelings. In this experiential dialogue, gradually one may hope to “catch by contagion” what cannot be taught merely in words. An enlightened heart floods also
the mind with insight and stirs up the will to reach out to the ultimate meaning that has become the goal of one’s life. A will on fire moves the person to loving action. Apostolic dimension
The “loving action” will certainly involve an apostolic thrust to share with the whole world the treasure one has discovered: Christ Master, Way, Truth and Life is meant to be transmitted to the whole world for its transformation. The treasure is not a heirloom to be kept under glass, but is wealth to be traded with and made to increase a hundredfold for the good of as many people as possible. It is good news that must be shouted out from the housetops, not whispered in a secret chamber. Others must learn of the possibility of relating to God through Christ and entering into the fullness of truth, love, and life that he offers. The apostolic dimension of the devotion to Jesus Master involves Alberionian Christology as content of the message to be proclaimed, as energy source for the mission in its concrete activities, and as spirit that pervades the apostle’s life and relationships. This apostolic dimension is much more explicit and is the main thrust of another important Alberionian writing composed around the same time as DF and entitled Apostolato Stampa. It is a manual for the formation of the Pauline as apostle. Here too the stress on Jesus Master is central but the focus shifts from personal transformation to apostolic zeal. However, even in DF there are hints of this apostolic characteristic as part of Christification. Alberione notes: In three ways one walks with Jesus Christ: the way of the commandments—Christian life; the way of the evangelical counsels—religious life; the way of zeal—apostolic life (DF 267; emphasis added). St. Paul was the Doctor of the Gentiles. He defended them, enlightened them, and won them over to our Lord Jesus Christ.… From heaven… he intercedes in a special manner for three graces: ardor, conversions, apostolate. (DF 260-261; emphasis mine)
Our Christification and that of the whole world flourishes in a Marian climate, in the atmosphere generated by the presence and action of Mary, Mother of the Divine Master and Queen of Apostles. Father Alberione notes: “Our devotion toward Jesus divine Master will be brought to perfection if prepared for and preceded by the devotion to Mary the Teacher.”20 Mary is the most faithful disciple of her Son, and more than any other, casts in a feminine mold his being as Master, Way, Truth and Life. Because of this, she can instruct, guide, and form persons to discipleship. We can give no greater wealth to this poor and proud world than Jesus Christ.… The world needs Jesus Christ Way, Truth and Life. [Mary] gives him through apostles and their apostolates. She raises them up, trains them, assists them, and crowns them with good results and glory in heaven.21
It should be clear at this point that the devotion to Jesus Master both as goal and process is wholistic and integral, and that in two ways. It brings one into contact with the mystery of Christ in his totality (Master, Way, Truth Life), and it draws into intimate union with Christ the whole person’s being and life—mind, heart, will, body. “The Pauline Family strives to fully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life, in the spirit of St. Paul, under the gaze of the Queen of Apostles.”22 “The whole person in Jesus Christ, in view of loving God completely [by means of one’s intelligence, will, heart and physical strength].”23
Methodology of Alberionian Christology The concern for integrality is reflected in Alberione’s attempt to work out a formative and pedagogical method able to sustain the wholistic transformative process of human growth toward perfection. He devised what is known in the Pauline congregations as “the way-truthlife, mind-will-heart method.” In that part of DF which speaks of the “Visit,” the daily hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which is normative for all Paulines, Alberione explains the method thus: Many methods are taught, especially those of the four ends…but that which honors Jesus Master, Truth, Way and Life, is particularly indicated (DF 204). This method is important because it is pleasing to the Divine Master, who seems to have taught it to us by declaring: “I am the truth, the way and the life…”. It is in conformity with our nature, because we have intelligence, will and heart. Little by little this method realizes in the soul the “love the Lord with the mind, and the strength, with the heart” (cf Mk. 12:30). It greatly helps the disciple to be complete: it utilizes everything: study, means of grace, natural gifts (DF 205).
Unfortunately, the above method and the anthropology underlying it did not in practice always create the desired integration; rather, it led to artificial divisions in regard to human faculties, and to compartmentalization of aspects of personal reality that were not meant to be taken piece by piece but lived in interaction with one another. Be that as it may, what has to be understood as valuable is Alberione’s effort to make sure that no aspect of human life should be left out in the following of Christ, Master, Way, Truth and Life.
MASTER WITH THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD In the 1990s, the traditional presentation of Jesus as Master, Way, Truth and Life was significantly enriched by the emergence of an element which had been present in Alberione’s thinking from the beginning but had not been integrated into the usual presentation of his Christology. This element involves another Scriptural title of Christ—that of shepherd (cf especially Jn 10). For all their loyalty and commitment to “Master, Way, Truth and Life,” Paulines have often tended to feel this approach as too intellectual, lacking in warmth, remote; it has not always captured on the existential plane all the richness of their concrete relationship with Christ. The clarification regarding “Shepherd” as intrinsic to a clearer and fuller grasp of what “Master” means in its totality brought a sense of completeness and vital warmth to Alberionian Christology. The two titles are linked in the Founder’s thinking; this may be seen in affirmations such as the following: He said: “I am the Good Shepherd.” And also said: “You call me Master and Lord and you say well for so I am.” It is thus that he prepares the new man….24
Even more significant than his words is the fact that on October 7, 1938 the Founder officially brought into existence the fourth of the Pauline congregations, called the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd, more popularly known as the “Shepherdess Sisters” (Pastorelle in Italian). Over a year before this founding date, in April 1937, he had already announced his intention to give life to a congregation “to the honor of Jesus Good Shepherd, a religious family whose primary objective is the glory of God and the sanctification of self, living Jesus Good Shepherd.”25
Only to this congregation in the Pauline Family did Alberione, from the very beginning, explicitly entrust a spirituality centered on Jesus the Good Shepherd; the rest of the Pauline Family lives the devotion to Jesus as Master. However, the Founder did not seem to sustain the idea that for the Shepherdess Sisters the devotion to Christ as Shepherd should take the place of Jesus as Master. The Shepherdess Sisters have taken it upon themselves to study in depth their spirituality, and what connection it has with Jesus as Master, and whether or not their spirituality is to be taken as a separate and parallel track, a second Alberionian Christology side by side with what is given to the rest of the Pauline Family.26 That Alberione himself was aware of the difficulty in situating the Jesus Good Shepherd devotion within a Pauline Family committed to Jesus as Master, is obvious from the following, taken from a homily to the Pastorelle in January 1955: You asked me: “Why do we honor Jesus under the title of Shepherd and not of Master like the rest of the Pauline Family?” The answer: “Because you should act like Shepherdesses. Jesus is always the same, but you should form yourselves for souls and, like Jesus, know how to give your life for the sheep.”
It would seem from this reply that the Pastorelle have to be given a spirituality that sustains their charismatic mission in the Church, which is to work closely with the pastors of the Church and take care of the flock; it is a pastoral task, the spirit of which is common to the various apostolates of the institutes that make up the Pauline Family, but which is to be more visibly incarnated in the Pastorelle.27 The Shepherdess Sisters are still continuing the work of establishing the links that bind them with the rest of the Pauline Family in terms of its common spirituality centered on Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. To them Alberione gives the task to articulate “Pauline spirituality according to the Good Shepherd.”28 To this Elena Bosetti responds: …the teaching of Fr. Alberione to the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd reflects the constants of that common patrimony which we call “Pauline spirituality”: the novelty consists essentially in the pastoral perspective within which the various elements are located.29
For instance, the indispensable link to “way, truth, life” is as much a part of Jesus Good Shepherd as it is of Jesus Master. The Pastorelle are exhorted to place “at the center of life Jesus Way, Truth and Life, Divine Shepherd.”30 And in a meditation to the Pastorelle in September 1942, Alberione asks: Who is the good shepherd?… It is he who makes himself so, for the sake of his fold, in imitation of Jesus Christ, Way, Truth and Life. …Way, that is, model. The Good Shepherd indicates to the people the way more with his life than with his words…. He tends to us with his holy examples. – Truth, Jesus taught the loftiest truths, necessary for all, in an easy, practical way.… Jesus tends with his doctrine. – Life, Jesus Good Shepherd makes us live with his own life. “My life is Christ” (Phil 1:21)… Jesus tends our hearts.31
During the Spiritual Exercises of December 1948, Alberione explicitly points out the connection: “The two definitions ‘Ego sum Pastor Bonus’ (Jn 10: 11) and ‘Ego sum Via, Veritas et Vita’ (Jn 14:6) complete each other.”32 The connection between the two selfdefinitions of Christ is easier to establish than that between “Master” and “‘Way, Truth and Life” because it has a liturgical precedent. In the antiphon to the Benedictus for Good Shepherd Sunday33 the Latin text reads: Ego sum Pastor ovium: Ego sum Via, Veritas et Vita. Ego sum Pastor bonus, et cognosco over meas, et cognoscunt me meae. (I am the Shep-
herd of the sheep: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.) In regard to the Eucharistic dimension, Alberione substitutes for the term “Eucharistic Master” the phrase “Eucharistic Good Shepherd.” Bosetti comments: The Eucharist brings to reality the promise of the continued presence of the Good Shepherd in the midst of his people and the singular paradox of love, the “making one’s self food” for the sheep.… “We adore you, O Jesus eternal Shepherd of mankind! You live in the Tabernacle in order to continually stay in the midst of your fold. From here you nourish, you watch over, you guide towards the heavenly fold.” Jesus is the Shepherd who gives himself as food: “The shepherd feeds the sheep and Jesus gives the Eucharistic Bread, gives himself as nourishment. What food more precious? The Son of God incarnate!” …Let it be noted finally that the same phrase “Eucharistic Shepherd” expresses a connection that has profound roots in the biblical-liturgical tradition, with Psalm 23 where the Divine Shepherd prepares the table, at (sic) the sequence “Lauda Sion”: Bone Pastor, panis vere, tu nos pasce nos tuere….34
These two instances prove that the essential elements of the Pauline Family devotion to Jesus Master are linked to the Good Shepherd devotion. Rather than tracing all the connections to the other essential elements, a response should be given to the basic question: what changes are worked in the Jesus Master devotion by putting it in conjunction with Jesus Shepherd? Bosetti considers the question and proposes the following reply, quoting what the Founder said to the Pastorelle: What does the entrance of the new Christological title mean in the Pauline Family? More than adding or substituting, it seems to specify an eminent characteristic of the Divine Master. …“Your family… has the most beautiful mission, the most similar to that of the Divine Master… who wanted above all to be the Good Shepherd, the good savior, the great benefactor of humanity, he who cured every spiritual and temporal ailment.” …undoubtedly… the second title… is subordinated to the first and specifies it.35 …How is it that in the maturity of his life Fr. Alberione introduces into the Pauline Family a Congregation “in honor of Jesus Good Shepherd”? Does he perhaps intend to say that the reference “to the Divine Master, which summarized every devotion to Jesus Christ” (AD 180) has to be understood in the perspective of Shepherd?36 (Emphasis added.)
Highlighting the shepherd-qualities as intrinsic to the meaning of “Master” safeguards that word from its inevitable popular connotations of over-intellectualism and lack of warmth, of power exercised as domination and arrogance, of a relationship based on superiority and inferiority. “Shepherd” has connotations of humility and compassion, of loving service rendered by the stronger to the weaker. In Jesus’ self-description as “good Shepherd” the original Greek word used is kalos, which actually means “beautiful.” This fact makes it easier to connect to “shepherd” the ideal of friendship which seeks to establish equality between the friends, of an intimacy that can reach the depths of spousal love. In a Master who has the heart of a Shepherd willing to love to the point of giving his life for his sheep, the paradox of “power in powerlessness” emerges most clearly and becomes invested with beauty. It is significant that during the adoration before the Blessed Sacrament on the night that divided the nineteenth from the twentieth century, which marked for Alberione the emergence of his charismatic intuition, the vision of Christ which was the hinge of that spiritual experience was not defined at that moment by Jn 14:6 but rather by Mt 11:28-30. “I am the way, the truth and the life” was already in his consciousness through assiduous study of Leo XIII’s
encyclical Tametsi futura. But what surfaced during his Eucharistic adoration in Alberione’s consciousness was the figure of Christ stretching out his arms to all humanity and inviting them: “Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Emphasis added). These are qualities associated with “shepherd.” Bosetti comments: …in the mind and in the heart of the Founder the titles of Master and Shepherd are much closer than what it may seem at first: one sheds light on the other. On this matter, I think Mt 11:28-30 could be helpful since it is a part of the common charismatic heritage, inasmuch as it has profoundly marked the spiritual experience of Fr. Alberione. In that text, the Divine Master invites all to his school, the way Wisdom does: “come to me, learn from me.” Let us observe, however, that in the Matthew text, that come to me all of you is not at all general. It is addressed to “those who are burdened.” It is as if to say that Jesus Master has the eyes and the heart of a Shepherd. He pities those who are stooped under too much weight (he is a “compassionate shepherd”!) and promises rest, even more, “peace” to him who is willing to carry “his burden…”. …The consolation lies in the fact that “his” burden is “easy and light” …because he himself intends to carry it with us. Jesus is the Master who makes himself “conjugated” (cum jugo, with/ under the same burden). But this is on the condition that one takes seriously the invitation to learn from him, who is meek and humble of heart. …It is necessary that we assiduously come to our Master in order to learn to live as he did, with the same heart 37 (Emphasis added).
Bosetti then proposes another Gospel text which also shows the link between Master and Shepherd; it is that of Mk 6: 24. “…the Master with the shepherd’s heart.” Jesus was leading… his disciples to a solitary place, to rest. Disembarking, however, he sees a big crowd and was filled with compassion (esplagchnisthe). They were, in fact, “like sheep without a shepherd.” And immediately “he began to teach” (erxato didaschein). Behold the pathos of the Divine Master for the crowds of yesterday and of today, victims of ignorance and of no-meaning. The Master of the Pauline Family has the heart of a Shepherd, even more its motherly viscera of compassion (Emphasis added).38
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS The diagram on the next page seeks to present the content of this chapter regarding the essential elements of Alberionian Christology.
NOTES 1 In Alberionian thinking, it is important to distinguish between devotion and devotions. The difference may be likened to that between “the rules of good manners and a good formation. Devotions are practices of piety which may differ from person to person and may at times not even be a good thing. True devotion is God’s gift … it does not consist in many practices of piety but in donation and perfect consecration. [This means that] one thinks only of the things of God or of those things inherent to his service. One wants only God and his glory in the brethren” (From a sermon to the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd, March 27, 1949. Translation mine). 2 Giacomo Alberione, Vademecum: Selezioni di brani sulle linee qualificanti del suo carisma, A cura di Angelo Colacrai. (Milano: Edizioni Paoline, 1992) n. 590, pp. 225-226. This collection of Alberionian writings has not been translated into English; all translations from this source, unless otherwise specified, have been made by the writer of this doctoral project. The writer also emphasized certain phrases in this and other quotations by placing them in italics. 3 Ibid., n. 597, p. 228. 4 Ibid., n. 590, p. 228. 5 Ibid., n. 579, p 222 and n. 582, p. 223. 6 From a talk of Alberione to the Daughters of St. Paul, 1957. Translation and emphasis mine. 7 Most of the prayers are found in Prayers of the Pauline Family composed by Alberione himself (the bibliographical information will be given in the endnotes when specific quotations are utilized from this book). This manual remains one of the most authentic sources of light to understand Alberionian spirituality, particularly in terms of his personal relationship with God. 8 The original edition was published at Alba and Rome by the Society of St. Paul, in 1932. Edizione critica a cura di Andrea Damino ( Roma: Casa Generalizia della Societa’ San Paolo, 1984). At the time of the writing of this project, there is as yet no official translation of the critical edition into English, but a translation exists, with the title Until Christ Be Formed In You, Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1983. Quotes are taken from this translation, though the numbering of the passages follows that of the critical edition because this English text is not numbered. At times the quotations have been translated by the writer of this doctoral project; this will be noted as “translation mine.” 9 The book is actually little more than a collection of notes and brief comments on aspects of Pauline spirituality. An attempt is made to order these insights in a systematic way, but the book is not a well-developed presentation so much as an outline. However, even a brief phrase or a particular word acquires significance in view of later Alberionian writings. Significantly, these notes do cover the essential elements of Alberionian Christological spirituality. 10 These two quotations are taken from a series of commentaries written by Guido Gandolfo on Donec Formetur Christus in vobis (hereafter referred to as DF) which was published in the Society of St. Paul Bulletin, San Paolo. These passages are from the June 1997 issue, p. 12. Translation mine. 11 Damino, “Introduction” to DF critical edition, 14. 12 Ibid. 13 This section is a revised version of part of a paper given by the author in February 1999 during the Asian-Australian Continental Meeting on the Formation of the Daughters of St. Paul, held in Manila. The whole paper was entitled “The Centrality of Jesus Master Way, Truth, Life in Pauline Formation for Asia and Australia” (cf ACTS, 1-29 and the attached Bibliography, i-iv). The particular portion dealt with here was n. 3 – “Alberionian Christology in Donec formetur Christus in vobis “ (ACTS 13-17). 14 Any good theological dictionary of the New Testament will give these meanings, which are, by now, well-known. 15 From a homily given by Fr. Alberione to a group of Catholic teachers, about 1960. Primary source is available in the Pauline Archives in Rome. 16 The Founder utilized many passages from the Pauline letters to explain his charism, and the passage he quoted the greatest number of times was precisely Gal. 2:20. Giovanni Roatta, ssp, who made a study of this, found that Alberione referred to it 105 times; the next passage most frequently cited was Phil 2:8, in a total of 35 times—much less compared to the Galatians passage (cf San Paolo e la Famiglia Paolina nel pensiero di don Giacomo Alberione, Ariccia: Centro di Spiritualita’ Paolina, 1973, p. 10). 17 From the first circular letter of the Founder, 1934, as reported in the Appendix (no page numbers indicated) to the Constitutions and Directory of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul, translated and printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, 1984. Primary source is available in the Pauline Archives in Rome. 18 Cf the taped talk of Charles Bernard, Jesuit professor of Spirituality at the Gregorian University, to the FSP Jesus Master Commission, Rome, 1998. 19 The prayer, entitled “Consecration of Oneself to Mary” was composed around 1937-1938 for the consecration of novices to Mary. Cf Prayers of the Pauline Family, translated and printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, 1991. For a commentary with notes on this prayer, cf Eliseo Sgarbossa and Silvano M. De Blasio, eds, The Marian Prayers of Father Alberione: History and Commentary, trans. Claire Philip Paquette, Mary Nazarene Prestofilippo, Mary James Berger (Rome: Editions of the General Historical Archives of the Pauline Family, 1988), 58-62. 20 Rosario Esposito, ed., Carissimi in San Paolo: Lettere, articoli, opuscoli, scritti inediti di Don Giacomo Alberione dal 1933 al 1969 (Roma: Societa’ San Paolo, 1971), 1331. 21 Giacomo Alberione, Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae: Charismatic History of the Pauline Family, trans. Mike Byrnes (Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1998), n.182. 22 Ibid., n. 93. 23 Ibid., n. 100. 24 Homily to Catholic teachers, given around 1960. Primary source is available in the Pauline Archives in Rome. 25 Reported in Elena Bosetti, sgbp, “The Master-Shepherd: The Ineritance of Fr. Alberione for the Pastorelle Sisters,” in Jesus, the Master Yesterday, Today and For Ever: The Spirituality of the Pauline Communicator – Acts of the International Seminar on “Jesus the Master,” Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996, trans. Andres R. Arboleda, Jr. (Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1997), 195. 26 The writer of this project is indebted especially to Elena Bosetti of the Shepherdess Sisters who communicated the results of her research on her congregation’s spirituality in her talk given during the 1996 Seminar on Jesus the Master (cf note n. 25 for bibliographical information). 27 Following the apostolic criterion of Pauline spirituality, Christ as Master is eminently suited to the common mission of the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul, called to teach, to communicate the Gospel to all, and bring humanity as disciples to the school of Jesus Master. The other Pauline congregations too find obvious links between their apostolates and the Jesus Master devotion.
Ibid., 203. Ibid., 208. 30 Ibid., 200. 31 Ibid., 201. 32 Ibid., 202. 33 In the Roman Breviary of 1914, certainly familiar to Alberione, this feast was fixed on the Second Sunday after Easter; it is now on the Fourth Sunday after Easter in the current Liturgy of the Hours. 34 Ibid., 204. 35 Ibid., 199. 36 Ibid., 208. 37 Ibid., 208-209. 38 Ibid., 209-210. 29
CHAPTER TWO ASPECTS OF SOME SPIRITUAL MASTER TRADITIONS IN HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM
THE SPIRITUAL MASTER All religious traditions, however different they may be from one another, believe in the necessity of a spiritual master to bring about full spiritual realization. He—or she—may be known by different names, but the basic roles of “master” common to all traditions are that of teacher of wisdom, guide along the path toward perfection, and vehicle by which fullness of life is communicated to the disciple. So indispensable is this person in all religions that Catherine Cornille, following Jung, speaks of the “archetypal figure of the spiritual master.”1 “Master” is never to be seen as an isolated reality; it is essentially in relation to a disciple (or disciples) that the master becomes such. “While a disciple is born when a true master is found, it is in turn the surrender of the disciple which makes the master.”2 Moreover, every master-disciple relationship is different from all others, since what is communicated is the master’s uniquely personal experience of spiritual fulfillment; it is transmitted in a manner that respects the uniqueness of the disciple. A third thing to note is that “master” is a figure of power. His power is essentially charismatic rather than institutional or juridical; though he may at times also hold positions of authority in the latter sense, his power is not conferred by these positions. It flows from the fact that he embodies in his life the highest and ultimate aspirations of the religious tradition he belongs to—spiritual liberation, perfection, sainthood. It is for this reason that he can enlighten and guide others to follow the same path and attain the same goal. While “master” requires sanctity, a saint may not always be called to become a master; the two terms—saint and master—are not identical. A saint only becomes a master when disciples follow him, that is, when he becomes a spiritual teacher. Cornille notes: “The spiritual master may be regarded as a saint become teacher.”3 However, here again a distinction is to be made, between “teacher” in the ordinary sense, and “spiritual teacher” or “master.” Cornille continues: Like the teacher, the spiritual master is one who possesses a body of knowledge or experience which he is willing to transmit to others, and which puts him in a position of authority. The basis of their authority, as well as the content and the form of their teaching differentiates, however, the spiritual master from the teacher.4
In the teacher-student relationship, what is central is the content to be transmitted, whether this involves knowledge, an art or craft, and certain skills. What matters is that the teacher is an expert in what he teaches, and the length of the relationship depends on how quickly the student assimilates that content. The teacher’s personality is much less important than what he teaches. This fact is not so for the master-disciple relationship. Even though there is an objective body of knowledge as well as skills to be transmitted, what matters more is the master’s personal attainment of the ideal of human fulfillment that he communicates. It is because of this that the master is able to touch the core of the disciple’s being so that he too experiences the breakthrough to transformation.
When Pauline Founder Alberione chose to structure his spirituality around the figure of Jesus Christ as Master, Way, Truth, and Life, he anchors the roots of his spirituality into the ideal of “master” found in his own Christian tradition with its Jewish underpinnings as expressed in Scripture.5 However, Alberione is also tapping into the rich vein of the universal (archetypal) religious tradition of “master,” which therefore becomes a starting point for interreligious dialogue and the inculturation of his spirituality. For this doctoral project the area of the inculturation of spirituality is Asia. It is indispensable to look more closely into some of the more widespread Asian traditions of spiritual master, particularly those of Hinduism and Buddhism.
THE GURU OF HINDUISM The religion of Hinduism, predominantly Indian and one of the principal and most ancient (at least three millennia old), is without a founder. It consists of a vast and complex “mass of religious systems, a mosaic of probably all known forms of religious philosophies and social structures, rich traditions, myths, of peoples of various epochs.… In the course of its history [it] has developed and is still generating many reform movements.”6 Hinduism asserts belief in a God who is totally other, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, blissful in himself, but who is also intimately close to us and can (in some traditions like the Vaishnavite) descend, take on visible form, and be a friend to human beings (avatar). In the Hindu religion, the term for spiritual master, taken from the Sanskrit, is guru.7 The guru tradition referred to in this doctoral project is for the most part that which is found in the Saiva Siddhanta religious philosophy of Tamilnadu, considered to be one of the most systematic and well-articulated schools of Hindu religious truth in India today.8 “Saiva” refers to those Hindu schools that use the name “Siva” or “Sivam” for the Ultimate Being, God. Another Hindu school, Vaishnavism, so called because it looks to Vishnu as the Supreme Being, provides other aspects of the guru tradition utilized in this project.
Central Significance of the Guru for Spiritual Development This section presents the basic presuppositions about life, God, the human person, and the ultimate meaning of life, that underlie the guru concept. Essential to Hindu doctrine is the belief that “all life, whether supernatural, human, animal, insect, or with some sects even vegetable, is governed by the same law,” that of samsara or transmigration9. All living beings have souls that are essentially equal, differentiated only “through karma, or the effect of previous deeds, which conditions the integuments of subtle and gross matter imprisoning the souls and thus leads to their successive re-births in different types of body.”10 Taking into account this basic doctrine, the focus here is on human life in particular. The key words in considering human destiny are God (pati), soul (pasu), and bondage (pasam).11 God is the Supreme Being, infinite bliss. The soul, as distinct from the body, is eternal and destined to reach union (advaita) with God. What hinders it is the threefold bondage of egocentrism (anavam, which leads to ignorance because it blinds the soul to the truth), the action-result dynamic (karma), and matter (maya). It is God who frees the soul from bondage, and the guru is essential to that salvific process.
Nature, Roles and Functions, Characteristics of the Guru Guru is a word laden with connotations of power, starting from its etymological meaning: “heavy,” “weighty,” “one bearing much power.”12 Though the title guru has been referred to parents and other kinds of teachers, its usual meaning indicates a person—whether man or woman—who unveils the true significance of life, being the custodian and transmitter of the sacred writings and religious traditions of the faith, and the exemplar of the perfect liberated existence toward which he or she guides the disciple. Ultimately, it is only God who saves the soul, releasing it from the recurring cycle of samsara. However, the guru is instrumental in this salvation, so that he can be considered as Siva himself in human form. In his presentation of the guru in Saiva Siddhanta, Thangaraj seems to be following this line of thinking: “Sivam enlightens the soul, concealing Sivaself in a human guru. Thus the guru is not a mere teacher in the popular meaning of that term; rather the guru is teacher-initiator-savior.”13 Because of this, the disciple surrenders to the guru as to Siva himself. Some currents of Saivism have gone so far as to speak of “deifying the guru,” who, “considered venerable in the beginning, began to be treated in [the] course of time as sacred and divine, and later, became the object of devotion and worship, representing and mediating the divinity.”14 Some important distinctions are to be made. In Saivism, though the guru can be considered as God in human form, he is not, as in Vaishnavism, an avatar or incarnation of God.15 As J. Carman notes: Some Hindu thinkers who consider Siva rather than Vishnu to be the supreme Lord have rejected the avatar doctrine. In this view God is formless but manifests himself in various playful appearances and is paradoxically present in human teachers. These gurus are to be regarded by their disciples (but not by themselves) as the human form of the Divine Guru.16
For Saivism, “being God in human form” must be understood not ontologically but functionally, in terms of the role the guru plays as God’s instrument in the liberation and transformation of the disciple. The only real Guru is Siva himself. But the human guru is an instrument so finely tuned to the Divine, so one with him, that in a certain sense he makes the Divine visible. As Thangaraj writes: “It is the very transparency of the guru to Sivam that makes the disciple see the guru as the very Sivam.”17 Xavier Irudayaraj presents a classification of the guru into four types according to the function or functions performed by him.18 These are not to be taken as rigidly exclusive, one of the others; in concrete gurus they are often found in combination. These four types are: 1. the Vedic-Guru (Karma Guru) who is a preceptor knowledgeable in Scripture and the mores of right living and therefore functions as a guide; 2. the Vedanta-Guru who has achieved perfection and thus is the revealer of the way to liberation through the enlightenment he communicates; 3. the Yoga-Guru who is a master of techniques that lead to liberation; 4. the Bhakta-Guru who symbolizes or represents the Divine, and is a mediator between God and the soul, and an instrument by which the soul attains perfection.
Guru-sisya (master-disciple) Relationship As for all spiritual masters in various religious traditions, the status of guru cannot be an achievement of the person alone; it comes when the guru is acknowledged by disciples and other gurus. Vaishnavism insists on the guru being connected to a clearly mapped-out lineage of gurus. Saivism does not require this but believes that the guru’s importance and beneficial role in regard to the sisya depends more on his attainment of genuine spiritual maturity than on his lineage. The point is that the guru is such in virtue of his relationship to the sisya. To be of assistance to a sisya, the guru in the view of Cornille is to be imbued with certain indispensable qualities:19 1. he has the same characteristics he trains his disciple to attain: tranquility; self-control; detachment from pleasures; freedom from pride, deceit, jealousy and all other vices incompatible with a blameless life; 2. he has achieved a permanent state of liberation (moksha); 3. he has a thorough knowledge of the sacred writings; 4. he has no more need of rituals, since these are based on a sense of duality between the Divine to whom ritual is directed, and the performer of the rite, while the guru has attained oneness with the Divine; 5. he becomes a transparent communication of God’s presence, and having transcended himself, can reach out to help others in the quest with compassion and skill.
The disciple in his turn is characterized by Cornille with the following traits:20 1. a singlehearted desire for salvation which urges him to seek out a guru, and to abandon everything else to follow him; 2. surrender and obedience to his master, devoted service to his person, bringing about the humility, self-surrender, and liberation from the threefold bondage of egoism, action-result dynamic, and matter; 3. dynamic, total involvement in the disciplines of the learning and liberating process, which may take years of practice in rigorous techniques. Moreover, he needs to listen patiently and submissively to the guru’s teachings expressed not only in oral and written instructions but in the guru’s actions and behavior. On these he spends hours of meditation and repeated practice until the breakthrough to enlightenment.
Finally, the guru-sisya relationship ceases when the sisya attains to full liberation and can then become guru to others.
THE SPIRITUAL MASTER IN BUDDHISM The dhamma or dharma of Buddhism, that is, Buddhist teachings, originated in India around the sixth century BC; they are linked decisively to the figure of Gautama Buddha. These teachings, which have branched out into many schools and currents through the centuries, have the greatest number of adherents especially in Southeast Asia. At present, there are three distinct groups of Buddhists: (a) the oldest traditions are taught by the Theravada group, which predominates in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand; (b) the Mahayana adherents, established in China, Korea and Japan, represent the second phase of Buddhist development that arose around the beginning of the Christian era, though many of its basic ideas go further back, at least to the fourth and fifth centuries before Christ, it claims to be the “Greater Vehicle for going Beyond,” to salvation, to Nirvana; (c) the Vajrayana
school, found in Tibet, is in reality an offshoot of the Great Vehicle, but distinguishes itself by certain techniques developed in the tantras, as its basic texts are called. These techniques help to achieve a more rapid attainment of enlightenment.
Central Importance of the Master for Spiritual Development: Like Hinduism, Buddhism starts from the presupposition that human existence is inherently flawed, out of joint, in a state of ‘dis-ease’ (dukkha). For the Buddhist, as for the Hindu, the wheel of samsara turns repeatedly for all living beings, including humans, till the passage through births and rebirths leads to purification. For human beings, the process of liberation can be speeded up through well-directed, well-tested and constant personal effort to attain Nirvana, defined by I.B. Horner21 as a state …where there is no more coming to birth and aging and dying… where life is [no longer] led under the thrall of sense-desires to which a man is tied by his ignorance and his consequent incapacity to realize that neither the sense-organs nor the sense-data nor the meeting of the two in the appropriate field of consciousness are mine or I or my self, any more than are the five aggregates of existence.22
Unlike Hinduism, which believes in a Supreme Being who saves, Buddhism stresses that every person can attain salvation by his own efforts. This lack of belief in a Supreme Being is why Buddhism strictly speaking does not consider itself to be a religion. “It is an education, not a religion.”23 However, the process of liberation is arduous, and some achieve the goal more quickly and with more skill. These persons are the spiritual masters.
Nature, Roles and Functions, Characteristics of the Master The master is known by many names in the various Buddhist traditions. Some of these names are: sastr (teacher), acarya (master), lama (transmitter of traditions, guide to perfection), bodhisattva (“enlightenment being,” the compassionate one), kalyana-mitta (or kalyanamitra, friendly guide, good and virtuous friend), Zen master (teacher of an oral tradition, master of experiential techniques for enlightenment).24 For the purposes of this study, attention will be paid to the last three titles: bodhisattva, kalyana-mitta, and “Zen master.” Bodhisattva
This word may be roughly translated as “the Being set on Enlightenment,” and in Theravada Buddhism, there is really only one Bodhisattva, that Great Being who millennia ago made a vow to the first Buddha who had declared his intention to achieve complete enlightenment. This Bodhisattva underwent many births, faithful to his vow of pursuing his quest, enduring the hardships involved. The last of this Bodhisattva’s births was accomplished in Siddhartha Gautama, who entered upon the quest for Nirvana, “the Unborn, the Unageing, Undecaying, Undying, the Sorrowless and the Stainless,”25 and became the Buddha on the Night of Awakening, under the bodhi-tree (or bo-tree), winning complete and full enlightenment by himself.26 This momentous event secured for him the unique title of “the Wholly Self-Awakened One.” All other spiritual masters look to him as the supreme teacher. The roots of the spiritual master tradition in Buddhism are traced back to the fundamen-
tal decision that the Buddha made when he broke through to transformation on the Night of Awakening. Meditating after that experience on the joy and freedom he had achieved and knowing how many still were in need of transformation, he decided out of compassion to postpone his definitive entry into Nirvana and not to keep his experience to himself but to share it. He felt his task to be that of helping others tap into the inner spiritual powers latent in everyone, through teachings and the way of spiritual disciplines and the practice of virtues. This is basically what makes a bodhisattva. Edward Conze speaks of the Mahayana ideal of bodhisattva (he includes here the Tibetan branch as well), in the following terms: Here was the image of an ideal man, who could stir the hearts of all, whether rich or poor, learned or ignorant, strong or weak, monks or laymen. It could easily win their admiration, for it reflected what was best in them. It could also become a basis for immediate action, because it could be adjusted to the infinite variety of human circumstances. Put forth with self-sacrificing zeal, with all the resources of eloquence and all the refinements of art, the Bodhisattva ideal has been one of the most potent ideas of human thought…. What then is a “Bodhisattva”? …the Sanskrit term bodhi means “enlightenment,” and sattva “‘being” or “essence.” A Bodhisattva is thus a person who is in his essential being… motivated by the desire to win full enlightenment—to become a Buddha. Destined to become a Buddha, he nevertheless, in order to help suffering creatures, selflessly postpones his entrance into the bliss of Nirvana and his escape from this world of birth and death. From another angle a Bodhisattva is said to be dominated by two forces—compassion and wisdom. Compassion governs his conduct toward his fellow beings, wisdom his attitude to Reality.27
Compassion and wisdom go together; for compassion, to be true and selfless, must be guided and motivated by wisdom which comes from enlightenment, from “a thorough and complete understanding of the nature and meaning of life, the forces which shape it, the method to end it, and the reality which lies beyond it.”28 The stress on the humanness of the bodhisattva, his accessibility and nearness to people, is one of the reasons why this type of spiritual master succeeds in attracting disciples. The Bodhisattvas… are much nearer to us in their mentality, and they take good care to remain in touch with the imperfect by having the same passions as they have, although, as distinct from them, these passions neither affect nor pollute their minds. Not yet having become everything, the Bodhisattvas are not quite beyond our ken, and we can appreciate that, while all the time intent on their transcendental goal, they remain during their struggles always aware of their solidarity with all that lives, in accordance with the famous saying: “Can there be bliss when all that lives must suffer? Shalt thou be saved and hear the whole world cry?” (H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of Silence, p.78)29
The figure of the spiritual master as bodhisattva, the enlightened and compassionate one, is most compatible with the ideal of the master as “spiritual friend,” kalyana-mitta, which is stressed in early Buddhism and is still one of the current ways by which the master is regarded. Wayman quotes from the Mahayana-Sutralamkara, XVII, 10, the following passage which describes this ideal: Rely upon the friend who is disciplined, self-controlled, puts to rest (his mental defilements) and leaves the merits (active), strives, is rich in scriptures; comprehends reality, skillful in speech, compassionate by nature, and never wearies (to teach).30
James Boyd31 develops the features and functions of the kalyana-mitta, choosing as exemplar the figure of the Gautama Buddha himself who can be regarded “as a mediating friend of a special sort… who helped his contemporaries come to the realization of the Truth (dhamma) and who through his Teaching (dhamma) and established Order (sangha) continues to be an important guide for Buddhists.”32 The term kalyana-mitta brings together two words: kalyana and mitta. The latter signifies “friend.” Kalyana, according to Boyd, refers to the qualities of this special friend: Kalyana has to do with a beauty, both physical and moral, that graces a person’s actions and attitudes; a graciousness of character that one is attracted to and wishes he could possess in the same manner. This beauty of character stems from, is rooted in, the clarity of moral goodness and righteousness which defines man as he should be rather than what he usually is.… The teaching of the Buddha, the Dhamma, is often described as ‘kalyana in its beginning, its middle and end.’… The Buddha established conformity with what is truly kalyana, i.e.,with what is truly good, beautiful, noble and worthy, the Truth (dhamma).33 A kalyana-mitta is a friend (mitta) who possesses all the qualities of a person who is ‘good at heart,’ and does so with an appropriateness which is aesthetically and morally compelling to others. His voice, choice of words and delivery, his character and deeds, hence his reputation, are all kalyana. He who has a ‘kalyana-mitta (friend), a kalyana companion, a kalyana comrade,‘ has established the conditions which enable him to follow the Path to Enlightenment. Such association and friendship will help him become established in virtues, and in good mental states, and eventually to attain to freedom…34
The spiritual friend’s relationship with the disciple is marked by the pleasing qualities that attend a friendship. However, it is not all sweetness and light. As a real friend will need to be firm in pointing out to his friend what in his character or actions is not in accord with the truth and the good and the beautiful, so the kalyana-mitta does not hesitate to lead his disciplefriend by way of various disciplines that are intended to break down selfishness, greed, cravings, and hardheartedness that block the road to enlightenment. The kalyana-mitta’s compassion is not weak and sentimental. Zen Master
Disciplines and rigorous techniques to bring the disciple to enlightenment are a priority concern for the sect of Buddhism known as Ch’an in China and Zen in Japan. It is noted for its marked emphasis on direct, intuitive experience of enlightenment that goes beyond dependence on texts and words and concepts. Its “founder” and first patriarch in China, Bodhidharma, is the reputed author of the following verses: A special tradition outside the scriptures; No dependence upon words or letters; Direct pointing at the soul of man; Seeing into one’s own nature, and the attainment of Buddhahood.35
The Zen master is noted for his use of paradox, absurd statements (koans), physical shock tactics that may even be violent (shouting, nose-pulling, hitting with a cane)—all of which are meant to bring about a direct, unexpected encounter with reality that precipitates the disciple into enlightenment more than hours of quiet absorption in meditation. One Japanese master, Hakuin, attacked what he called “silent-illumination Zen” or “dead sitting.” Yampolsky writes:
Monks and teachers of eminent virtue, surrounded by hosts of disciples and eminent worthies, foolishly take the dead teachings of no-thought and no-mind, where the mind is like dead ashes with wisdom obliterated, and make these into the essential doctrines of Zen. They practice silent,dead sitting as though they were incense burners in some old mausoleum and take this to be the treasure place of the true practice of the patriarchs. They make rigid emptiness, indifference, and black stupidity the ultimate essence for accomplishing the Great Matter (Yampolsky, 1971, p. 170). 36
Disciple-Master Relationship Looking at the figure and roles of the spiritual master in some forms of Buddhism, it is possible to summarize at this point the more typical characteristics of both master and disciple and the relationship between them that is defined by these characteristics. The qualities of the master as bodhisattva flow from his reality as a wise and compassionate being, won by his own efforts and experience. It is this compassion that moves him to share with unselfish love his grasp of the Truth, to guide with an expertise born of experience those who seek the Truth, to lead them to their own experience of enlightenment and freedom. His relationship with each disciple is unique, since he sees clearly what each one is and needs. This relationship may be described as the intimacy that marks true friendship; this ideal makes of the master a kalyanamitta. Boyd37 draws out the implications of this relationship; for him the master possesses these characteristics: 1. his love is disinterested, respectful; 2. he is a true and provident helper and refuge in need; 3. he is constant in the friendship, whether in happiness or misfortune; 4. his love excels in four aspects: metta (loving-kindness or friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkha (equanimity); 5. he confides his secrets and keeps that which the disciple entrusts to him; 6. he offers the most suitable advice, being a good counsellor; 7. he is uncompromising and firm regarding what is for the real good of the disciple and is not afraid to be harsh when needed for the purification of the disciple from what keeps him unfree; 8. he can lay down his life for the disciple.38
The Zen master is distinguished especially in regard to methods and techniques that link up with the seventh characteristic above. He is radical in his efforts to break down not only the greed, selfishness, desire and all that blocks the person from virtue, but he goes even deeper, to challenge the most basic and subtlest illusions of self-consciousness. Direct experience of enlightenment is the goal of all the paradoxical, startling, even harsh training that he makes the disciple undergo. As for the disciple39 the qualities required in Buddhism are similar to those in the Hindu tradition: 1. he seeks out the master with a heart bent on perfection, and for this he is willing to leave home, family, possessions, career, worldly honor, to stay with the master; 2. he puts his whole being into the search for the Truth, and submits to the masterâ€™s teaching and guidance; 3. he responds to the masterâ€™s friendship with faith, trust, love, honor, reverence, and devotedly ministers to his masterâ€™s every need, serving him even in the most ordinary things; 4. he can, when he has attained perfection, be equal to his master and become in turn a master to others.
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS This chapter has presented an overview of spiritual master traditions found in some schools of Hinduism and Buddhism. Aspects of these traditions explored were: the central significance of the master for spiritual growth toward perfection (enlightenment, wisdom, liberation, transformation); the nature, roles and functions, and characteristics of the master, and essential elements of the master-disciple relationship. Worthy of note is the stress on experience rather than speculation as the basis of the masterâ€™s achievement of salvation and his credibility, and of the training that he provides for the disciple. In terms of power, it is clear that the master is a power figure. He is so because of his oneness with the Omnipotent Supreme Being in some traditions (i.e., in Hinduism); thus, he can command the discipleâ€™s surrender and total submission, and these are ultimately directed to the God of which he is an instrument. Or (as in Buddhism) his power stems from his personal achievement of perfection, of full awakening to reality, to which all aspire. It is to be noted, however, that such power does not make him a god. In Hinduism, he as it were disappears into Siva, the only real guru. In Buddhism, personal achievement of perfection is not equivalent to self-realization in the Western sense. This is true because the perfection that the master reaches is the perfection of no-self and of freedom from egocentrism and its manifestations: desire, greed, domination of others, and hardheartedness. In Asian spiritual master traditions, power must be interpreted in categories different from the usual meaning given to that word in ordinary parlance.
NOTES 1 Catherine Cornille, The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation? From the series: Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs (Louvain: Peeters Press, 1991), 10. 2 Ibid., 29. 3 Ibid., 23. 4 Ibid. 5 In Chapter One of this doctoral project this Judeo-Christian view of “master” was briefly presented. For a fuller discussion, cf Cornille, Chapter Three, 50-74. Elements from this source will be referred to in the fourth chapter of this doctoral project, when Alberionian Christology is compared with the Hindu and Buddhist views of “master.” 6 Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Journeying Together: The Catholic Church in Dialogue with the Religious Traditions of the World (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1999), 24. 7 Though belonging to the Hindu tradition, guru has become a familiar term for spiritual master, and has been taken into Western culture, where it retains its meaning of teacher, expert and guide though it has lost its essential link to the spiritual dimension and may refer also to other areas of life such as business, politics, the media, and so on. 8 Cf M. Thomas Thangaraj, The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christianity (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1994), 35 and ff. 9 A. L. Basham, “Hinduism,” in Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions, ed. R.C. Zaehner (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1988), 217. 10 Ibid. 11 Cf Thangaraj, 40-46. 12 It is noteworthy that even in the Hebrew, rabbi, the word for “master,” etymologically signifies “my great one” (from the root rav, meaning “great, powerful”). 13 Thangaraj, 58. 14 Xavier Irudayaraj, “The Guru in Hinduism and Christianity,” Vidyajyoti 39, no. 8 (1975), 342. 15 It is important to note that the Vaishnavite concept of avatar is not what Christians mean when they speak of God’s incarnation in Christ. More will be said of this in later chapters. 16 John B. Carman, Majesty and Meekness: A Comparative Study of Contrast and Harmony in the Concept of God (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1994), 208. 17 Thangaraj, 53. 18 Irudayaraj, 340-341. 19 Cf Cornille, 45-46. 20 Ibid., 43-44, 46-47. 21 “Buddhism: The Theraveda,” in Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions, ed. R.C. Zaehner (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1988), 288. 22 “These five aggregates [khandha] form the psycho-physical stuff of which a ‘being’ consists. Physiologically, the body or material part (rupa) is composed of… earth, water, heat and wind. The non-material parts (nama) of a ‘being’ are feeling, perception, the volitional activities or habitual tendencies, and consciousness. [The]… nature [of nama-rupa] is that each of the five khandha of which it consists is a group of grasping: after sense-pleasures, speculative views, rites, and ceremonies and the theory of a persistent self…. These are fetters, unreleased from which the uninstructed person is not free from birth, ageing and dying, from grief and sorrow, or from anguish.” I.B. Horner, “Buddhism: The Theravada,” in Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions, ed. R.C. Zaehner (N.Y.: Barnes and Noble, 1988), 280. 23 Amitabha Buddhist Society (Singapore), A Path to True Happiness, audiocassette. 24 These names are cited in Alex Wayman, “The Guru in Buddhism,” Studia Missionalia 36 (1987), 196 and Stuart W. Smithers, “Spiritual Guide,” in The Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 14, ed. Mircea Eliade (New York: Macmillan, 1987), 34-35. 25 Horner, 270. 26 Cf Ibid., 268. 27 Edward Conze, “Buddhism: The Mahayana,” in Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions, ed. R.C. Zaehner (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1988), 297. 28 Ibid., 300. 29 Ibid., 302. 30 Wayman, 197-198. 31 James W. Boyd, “Buddhas and the Kalyana-mitta,” Studia Missionalia 21 (1972): 57-76. 32 Ibid., 57-58. 33 Ibid., 63. 35 4Ibid., 64. 35 Quoted in Smithers, 35. 36 Ibid., 36 37 Cf Boyd, 58 and ff. 38 Ibid., 72. 39 Ibid., 74 and ff.
CHAPTER THREE TWO SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS: GURU CHRISTOLOGY, THE ASHRAM EXPERIENCE
GURU CHRISTOLOGY The inculturation of Alberionian Christology based on Jesus Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life, in dialogue with Asian traditions of the spiritual master, cannot ignore the development of guru Christology in Indian Christianity. It has been described as the attempt—spanning several centuries—to use the Hindu concept of guru as a christological model, as a way of understanding the figure of Jesus Christ from an Asian perspective. There seems to be no equivalent attempt in Buddhism to evolve a bodhisattva Christology, although there is great respect for Christ in Buddhist circles, and he is regarded as an outstanding teacher. The Buddhist-Christian dialogue runs along other lines. Even in Hinduism there are differences in the way of envisioning the figure of the guru. The following presentation of guru Christology owes much to M. Thomas Thangaraj;1 his work is one of the pivotal sources for the project as a whole. Thangaraj confines his study of guru Christology to the Saiva Siddhanta concept of guru especially in Tamilnadu, with references made also to Vishnavite thought when necessary. Thangaraj classifies his analysis into five areas: hymnology, apologetic discourse, theological discourse, narrative discourse, and pictorial representations. The focus of this presentation will be on the first four areas, since the analysis of the last area is not as developed as the others, according to Thangaraj: “it is difficult to come to any definite conclusions regarding the christologies that inform the various paintings.”2 Aside from being dressed like a guru, Jesus exhibits various poses or gestures (mudras, taken from Indian classical dance) that recall the functions of the guru: the Abhaya mudra (refuge-giving gesture), the varada mudra (boon-conferring gesture), and the jnana mudra (wisdom-granting gesture). “The discussion of pictorial or artistic expressions leads us merely to the observation that the christological use of guru finds its place in Indian paintings as well.” 3
Hymnology The repeated use of guru as a title for Christ can be noted from the nineteenth century onwards, when Christian Tamil poets began to write indigenous hymns. These became a necessary element of Tamil Christian worship and were the Christian equivalent for bhakti, i.e. “loving devotion,” the popular, most widespread form of religiosity in India. In these hymns, free and frequent use is made of guru in respect to Christ. One example may be given: O! Thou true guru, Christ, the true guru! Life-giving Word, the guru! The good guru of eternal joy! Heavenly golden guru! Lord!4
It must be noted, however, that the title of guru applied to Christ is but one of various other titles. The meaning of the term is not unpacked, nor is it used as an alternative to avatar by those Christians who had been converted from Vaishnavism. Moreover, it is not applied exclusively to Christ; it is also used for the Holy Spirit, and for pastors and priests.
Apologetic Discourse In the area of apologetics, guru is clearly used to express and uphold the decisive importance of Jesus Christ. Apologists affirm that Jesus, not Siva, is the true guru. Thangaraj quotes from The Dawn of Wisdom, a Tamil apologetic tract, which takes the position that the Saivite understanding of guru is inadequate and that only Jesus has the genuine qualities of the real guru which are: “divinity, humanity, truth, miraculous power, generosity, meekness, patience, love, mercy, devotion to God, faithfulness to the Scriptures, omniscience, and compassion toward all living beings.”5 Another tract, Hinduism’s Own Witness,6 classifies guru into two kinds: the kariya guru, who works for egoistic motives and lays stress on rituals and ceremonies, and the karana (instrumental) guru who seeks only to guide the disciple to perfection and oneness with God. “Jesus is the only karana guru who is utterly selfless, even to the extent of giving his life on the cross.”7 Another book, The Bazaar Book, written by an American, Henry Martyn Scudder,8 asserts that the guru is necessary, and it is God alone who can become our real guru. Jesus then, who is “God-Guru incarnate,”9 is obviously the only guru for humanity. Whether the apologists are Tamil converts critical of the Saivite tradition from within, or non-Indian evangelists who take up a similar position from without, one flaw especially in the latter might be noted: a deep, well-researched understanding of the philosophical tradition of Saivism is sometimes lacking. Furthermore, the latter are not always free from an attitude of triumphalism and Western imperiallism.
Theological Discourse It is in the theological area that one finds a deliberate attempt to examine the use of guru as a christological model. It is done by both Hindu and Christian thinkers. Some of the Hindus embraced Christianity; others did not but remained open to interreligious dialogue. Among the non-Christian Hindu thinkers are Raja Rammohan Roy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sri Parananda. All three of them view Jesus as Teacher. Roy and Gandhi value his teachings as eminently suitable for a reformed humanity, as a guide to peace and happiness. Both emphasized the teachings rather than the person of Jesus. Parananda wrote commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John and calls attention to Jesus as “Teacher of the Universe,” identifying him with the Logos. But he does not believe in the incarnation. Christian theologians who use the idea of guru to explain the significance of Christ go all the way back to the seventeenth century with Roberto de Nobili, an Italian Jesuit missionary, to John Chettimattam and Xavier Irudayaraj, both Indian Jesuit theologians of more recent times. Other theologians, all of them Indian, are V. Chakkarai, A.J. Appasamy, and Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya. De Nobili was a pioneer of guru Christology. He presents Jesus as tivviya guru (divine guru), sarguru (true guru), tevaguru (God-guru), using as starting point the incarnation according to the Christian tradtion. This unique incarnation of God in Christ is to be differentiated from the Vaishnavite idea of avatar as the manifestation of Vishnu, which is, at least in theory, endlessly repeatable. De Nobili would agree with the Saivite insistence that there is only one guru, Siva himself, acting in and through the human guru; “just as there is ultimately only one guru for the Saivite, there is only one Christ for the Christian.”10 However, as Francis Clooney notes:
It is necessary for many reasons to reject the temptation to equate this view with de Nobili’s view of the Incarnation. Most immediately, it is a fact that the general theological and anthropological terms in which the Saivite and Christian traditions express their soteriologies are different enough to caution us against any kind of facile equivalence. Nevertheless it is possible that de Nobili turned to this local Saiva Siddhanta theology when looking for terms in which to explain what the Incarnation was all about. Portraying Christ as a guru helped make the Gospel intelligible.11
The idea of Jesus as guru, however, makes him more than an ordinary teacher. It is Jesus’ teaching that leads the way to moksha or final liberation from human sinfulness, of which ignorance is a primary aspect. But as guru, he teaches not simply by words; his whole life is an exemplification of what truly saves. Thangaraj puts the matter this way: …de Nobili uses the concept of incarnation when he discusses the nature of the person of Christ, and opts for “guru” in his discussion of the function or work of Christ in the scheme of salvation. So de Nobili’s Christology is a combination of incarnation and guru. At the time of incarnation, God spoke to the soul of Christ, according to de Nobili, in this manner: “With body I am sending you to the world. There going about as a guru, show all men clearly by your conduct and words, that they must renounce all that is sin and that they must walk in the path of virtue so that they may attain the shores.”12
Roberto de Nobili did not find the Vaishnavite concept of avatar suitable to his Christology, but two Hindu Christian theologians feel that the concept is worth some attention, though as Christians they too do not equate the Christian idea of incarnation with avatar. Chakkarai, originally of the Vaishnavite bhakti tradition before he became a Christian, finds that avatar lends itself better to the idea of “a more intimate union between God and humanity which for him is a soteriological necessity.”13 Appasamy criticizes the Saiva Siddhanta tradition for being docetic and for not going far enough in the development of its belief in a God of Love who, “out of His boundless compassion comes to the world to help his devotees. But it does not go further. The Christian belief is that love goes further. God identified Himself entirely with men. He was born as a child.”14 Like Chakkarai and Appasamy, Brahmabandhab Upadhaya thinks that the guru concept (whether Saivite or Vishnavite) is a good starting point for Indian Christology, but is ultimately inadequate for a well-developed complete Christology. He focused on Christ as the Teacher Universal, which is implicit in the concept of guru. J.B. Chettimattam brings out yet another facet of Christ as guru. He speaks from the perspective of Advaita philosophy which stresses personal and mystical experience, and for him Christ the guru is not so much an example as a living presence: The most significant aspect of the Guru as applies to Christ is the effective divine presence it implies. Guru is a presence, an intensely energizing personal presence, or rather a supra-personal presence. For the Sishya the Guru is identical in function with God, because he opens up a personal relationship that embraces all persons in a single mystery of the supra-personal Absolute. Thus Chettimattam finds Christ as the one guru who is “God’s decisive, eschatological, and soteriological presence to the individual.”15
For Thangaraj, the theologian that more than others has attempted systematically to use the Saivite concept of guru for Christological purposes is Xavier Irudhayaraj. But his guru Christology is only sketched out, not completed. In his article, “Christ—the Guru,” speaking of a theology of the guru, Irudhayaraj suggests several approaches: The divine character of the guru can be studied and its implications, including its incarnational dimensions, examined. This would be a speculative and dogmatic approach. Or one could com-
pare and contrast the guru title with such biblical titles of Christ as Rabbi, Rabboni, Master, Prophet, etc. This would imply a thorough analysis of both the traditions…. We intend to pursue a simpler way, and offer certain observations born of Christian reflection on the Hindu theology of the guru.16
Irudhararaj then points out features of such a guru theology.17 It would take into account the following: 1. the relational dimension of the guru; 2. the function of mediation that the guru exercises in terms of a new, divine existence for the sisya, so that the guru becomes “not only revealer but diviniser;”18 3. the fact that the liberation communicated is not only individual but open as well to the interpersonal, in the sense that the common experience shared by all the sisyas binds them as one; 4. the link between the personal guru-sisya relationship and the personal direct experience of Jesus Christ, Son of God that is opened up to the disciple. The apostles, in proclaiming the Word, could not pass it on simply by speaking. Since the Word is a person, and no person can be adequately expressed by words, their witness had to be the communication of a Presence and the relationship with a Person. All Christians were to participate personally in the experience of Christ in the Spirit, and in the experience of the apostles.19
This experience of Christ in terms of the guru-sisya relationship then becomes the ground of the life of the Church, according to Irudhayaraj. Finally, Thangaraj points out that Irudhayaraj moves beyond other Christian theologians who use the guru concept simply as a starting point for Christology. Unlike the metaphysical (two natures and one person: Chalcedon) and functional (Scholastic soteriology) approaches to Christology, the Guru-Sisya tradition inspires us to focus on the mystical approach to the person of Christ, based on the experience of His personal love and grace (since Guru is the transparently divine communicator of grace). Such a complementary approach in Christology would help us to see that the Guru-Sisya bond symbolizes the intimate and immediate relation between Christ and the faithful…. Indeed Christ is the Sad-Guru and the baptized are His chosen disciples who must always sit and listen at the feet of the Master and Lord.20
Narrative Discourse This stress on the personal, relational experience of the guru is the focus of autobiographical accounts written by Western Christians who have encountered Jesus Christ as guru. While in India, Robert Van de Weyer met different Hindu gurus and then, as he writes in Guru Jesus, he “became a follower of Jesus, by regarding him as a Guru… as a supremely wise and happy man… [to whom I] gave… my complete and unquestioning obedience so that he could show me the way to wisdom and happiness.”21 Van de Weyer bypasses the question of Jesus as incarnate Son of God; his experience is centered on the absolute obedience that the disciple owes to the guru, the kind of obedience often found in the popular guru movements though it is not explicitly recommended by Saiva Siddhanta.22 The other autobiographical narrative cited by Thangaraj is Guru and Disciple by Henri Le Saux, a Benedictine monk better known by his Hindu name Abhishiktananda. Part of Abhishiktananda’s writings are experiential, and in fact, spiritual experience is the focus of his life-long quest for union with the Absolute, which he sought through the Advaita Vedanta23 tradition. He also dedicated a good deal of theological reflection on this experience. In Thangaraj’s opinion, guru as Christological model is not dominant in Abhishiktananda’s writ-
ings, not even in the more theological ones.24 But another writer, Catherine Cornille, in her more extended analysis of Abhishiktananda,25 does not totally agree with Thangaraj. Part II of her book is entitled “To Jesus Christ through the Guru: The Experience and Reflections of Abhishiktananda.” Here she affirms: “It is from the surrender of a Benedictine monk (Abhishiktananda) to gurus of the tradition of Advaita Vedanta that the most radical reflections on Christ as guru have emerged.”26 Abhishiktananda’s constant struggle both on the experiential and the reflective planes, to grasp Christ and the Christian tradition through the categories of Advaita Vedanta and the guru system, is a prime example of radical inculturation. Whatever one may think of the conclusions that he reached, his commitment to this journey makes him one of the pioneers of the inculturation of the Christian faith in India. While it is outside the scope of this project to dwell at length on what is treated in Cornille’s analysis, several points are important to note. 1. Abhishiktananda’s theological reflections are not primarily systematic but experiential: his approach “was not so much an intellectual exercise as an existential struggle.”27 The reflections bring us face to face with “the theological implications of understanding Jesus Christ through the Hindu category of the guru,”28 keeping in mind that we are dealing here with a theology which engages the person’s whole life, based on a radical change of outlook that springs from experience. 2. Abhishiktananda’s journey involves entering into guru-sisya relationships with several Hindu gurus, not merely a study from without of the guru tradition. Only after that is he able to affirm that this experience “could become a hermeneutical key for understanding the mystery of Christ.”29 3. It is not only the experience of the external guru but of the inner guru or purusha that is a key to understanding Christ. It is in following this hermeneutical key that certain fundamental Christian beliefs about Christ are brought into question, including that which is the main stumbling block in the interreligious dialogue, namely, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
THE ASHRAM EXPERIENCE The rapid overview of the guru tradition and of guru Christology given above cannot be complete without a consideration of the actual guru-sisya relationship as it operates within the special community known as the ashram. The formative goal of this project requires a closer look at the structures and modes of interaction between guru and sisya, and the ashram experience provides that understanding. Cornille—the other major writer from which this doctoral project draws its ideas—has studied this reality in depth. She concentrates on Catholic ashrams as they have developed in India—on their goals and on their varied characteristics—as one of the expressions of existential cross-cultural dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism. In the process, Cornille brings up for comparison the Christian and particularly the Catholic tradition of spiritual master. The fact that Alberionian christocentric spirituality is rooted in that tradition makes Cornille’s study significant for this doctoral project. Again, one cannot enter here into all the aspects of her study; only certain affirmations pertinent to the project will be cited. I. Just as the guru is only such in relation to a sisya that seeks him out to be enlightened and guided toward transformation, so the ashram does not truly come into being without the charismatic figure of a guru whose spiritual status is such that disciples gather around him. His spiritual authority flows from his qualities and the surrender of the disciples to him. The guru, then, is the constitutive presence and center of the ashram.
II. Every ashram, depending as it does on its spiritual master, is unique and autonomous. This is especially true of Hindu ashrams. Catholic ashrams, instead, do not enjoy absolute autonomy because they are in some measure also under ecclesiastical authority. They do not escape the tensions inherent in the relationship between charismatic authority and the institutional authority of office that have always existed in the Church. III. In regard to the head of the Catholic ashram community, the charismatic human figure around which the disciples flock does not often adopt the title of guru as in the Hindu ashram. The prevailing idea is that the real guru is only Jesus Christ; the leader of the ashram is called acharya or teacher, master, and the term connotes a formative function. Sara Grant, the acharya of her ashram, describes her role in terms of facilitating the disciples’ spiritual quest by being herself a transparent medium of the Light.30 The acharya’s role is not constitutive for the group but secondary and subservient to Christ the Sadguru. Even when some Catholic ashrams call their human leader guru, the word is qualified with such terms as: karana meaning ‘instrumental’ or upa - signifying a guru who is near but submissive to the real guru, Christ. When the disciple surrenders to the human guru, the submission is not directed to him but to God who acts through him. IV. The number of Catholic ashrams is relatively insignificant in the Indian context, and the total number of people that form the core groups of such places do not go beyond a few hundred. However, ashrams have been seen as important for the efforts to grow in the inculturation of the faith through their experiments in integrating Catholicism with Indian spiritual structures (practices, schedules, dress, food and the like), rituals and methods, and religious life-styles derived from Hinduism. There are radical implications in the adoption of Hindu rituals within Catholic ashrams, which give rise to ambiguities, especially regarding the figure of the guru. While it is stated clearly that in Catholic ashrams the real guru is Christ, the Hindu rituals and practices adopted by these ashrams from their Indian counterparts are founded on the assumption that the human guru who heads the community has absolute status. Cornille says: Any absolute understanding of the status and the authority of the acharya or upaguru in Catholic ashrams is theoretically denied, but in practice, rituals are adopted which in the Hindu tradition presuppose belief in the absolute nature of the guru. The Samdhyas31 are traditionally gatherings around a realized being. The receiving of the mantra in the initiation to yoga is based on the belief in the extraordinary power of the guru, condensed in the mantra. Sannyasa32 is believed to be a state beyond all rituals and symbols, including the symbol of Christ. The one who initiates the disciple to sannyasa is supposed to have already reached this state. The expressions of veneration of the guru33, however minor, are based upon the faith in the divinity of the guru. In introducing these rituals within Catholic ashrams, a certain confusion may thus arise concerning the status of the human guru. While Christ is referred to as the only guru in Catholic ashrams, the head of the Catholic ashram fulfills exactly the same ritual function as the guru in Hindu ashrams (Emphasis added).34
Catholic ashrams are aware of these ambiguities and have taken steps to modify some rituals aiming to make them more consistent with the basic principle that Christ alone is the guru, and that the human guru occupies a secondary place. The next chapter will take some of these modifications in greater detail, from the perspective of power. V. The initiation to sannyasa, one of the rituals referred to in the passage from Cornille reported above, merits a closer examination because of its link to religious formation. Cornille points to Francisacharya, head of a Catholic ashram, who has adopted sannyasa as a way of inculturating formation in the Indian setting. The practice in religious life of structuring the
formative process of gradual insertion into that life by passing through formation stages is carried out in terms of the stages of sannyasa. Worthy of note is the fact that sannyasa centers around the figure of the guru. The one who desires to embark upon the religious life is first admitted as aspirant or sadhaka. This is a probation and preparation period of about two years. Then follows the state of brahmacharya. As opposed to the Hindu, but like the Buddhist tradition, Francisacharya views brahmacharya as a preparation for sannyasa. It Involves “austerity of life, abstinence, self-control, chastity and sanctity in a life of service of the guru, including the humble task of housework, together with the performance of sacred rituals.” After a period of brahmacharya which may last from six to about twelve years, the disciple may be found ripe for the final initiation to sannyasa.35 The Christian sannyasi needs to keep to the three observances of obedience, poverty and chastity. The vow of obedience is understood as to the Father, the Paramguru, through Christ, the Sadguru, represented by the human guru of the Catholic ashram.36
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS This chapter has tried to cover salient points regarding two trends relevant to the theme and the goals of the doctoral project. These two trends are: guru Christology and the ashram experience, both within the context of Hinduism, though parallels may be noted between Hinduism and Buddhism regarding some aspects. Guru Christology is the attempt—spanning several centuries—on various levels to explore the guru tradition as a way of understanding the figure of Jesus Christ using Asian categories, and as a possibility for creating an inculturated Christological model. What has been noted in the exponents of this position in the theological field, is that a number of them, Hindus as well as Christians, seem to use the guru tradition only as a starting point for an inculturated Christology rather than as the consistent framework for such a Christology. In terms of inculturation, the exploration especially in the earlier stages of Christianity in India was done with the conscious or unconscious intention of clothing Western Christian concepts with Asian garb to make it more acceptable. Only more recent theologians like Irudhayaraj and Abhishiktananda have tried the reverse process, entering into the Hindu guru tradition and then seeing what effect the categories of this tradition have upon the Christian traditional position. Irudhayaraj has been unable to offer a truly systematic and complete guru Christology; the value of his work lies in his having sketched out areas that need to be explored for this type of Christology. Abhishiktananda’s penetration into Hindu guru traditions is profoundly experiential as well as reflective. This has generated tension and anguished soul-searching as he sees certain Christian categories shaken to the core in his mind as a result of the encounter between two world-views that in some vital aspects are radically opposed. This tension has not been resolved on the theological level and needs to be confronted through ongoing dialogue. In regard to the ashram experience, light has been shed on the figure of Christ as guru, or more precisely, sadguru as it appears in the concrete lives and practices of the community of disciples who are drawn to him under this title. However, if the cross-cultural dialogue on the theological and reflective levels are marked by ambiguity, the same is to be said regarding the practical working out of the implications of “Christ as guru” through the adoption of gurucentered Hindu structures, rituals, methods and the attempt to adapt these to Christian categories, in the context of the ashram. This author agrees with Cornille in the conclusion of her study, when she states:
The encounter between the Catholic and the Hindu tradition in India has given birth to the Catholic equivalent of the Hindu guru. Around these Catholic “gurus” Indian-style religious communities called ashrams have emerged. The notions “guru” and “ashram” are, however, foreign to traditional Catholicism. They are imbedded in a radically different world view, philosophical tradition and belief system, and they cannot be incorporated into Christianity without representing a fundamental challenge, both theologically and institutionally. Catholic ashrams and their gurus thus find themselves in a position of ambiguity which, however, may reveal itself as a healthy challenge and an opportunity for the church (Emphasis added).37
NOTES 1 M. Thomas Thangaraj, The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994). 2 Ibid., 85. 3 Ibid., 86. 4 Marian Upatesiyal, quoted in Thangaraj, 61. 5 The Dance of Wisdom, J.R.T.S.: General series, no. 38 (Jaffna: American Mission Press, 1841), 2nd Ed., 9 and ff. Quoted in Thangaraj, 66. 6 Hinduism’s Own Witness, part of a collection of tracts entitled Select Tracts (Madras: American Mission Press, 1842). 7 Ibid., 56 and ff. Quoted in Thangaraj, 67. 8 H.M. Scudder, The Bazaar Book or Vernacular Preacher’s Companion, trans. J.W. Scudder (Madras:Graves, Cookson and Co., 1869). 9 Ibid., 15. Quoted in Thangaraj, 67. 10 Francis X. Clooney, “Christ as the Divine Guru in the Theology of Roberto de Nobili,” Chapter 3 of One Faith, Many Cultures: Inculturation, Indigenization, Contextualization, ed. Ruy O. Costa (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1988), 34. 11 Ibid., 33. 12 Thangaraj, 75-76. 13 Ibid., 76. Emphasis added. 14 A.J. Appasamy, The Gospel and India’s Heritage (London: S.P.C.K., 1942), 262. Quoted in Thangaraj, 78. Emphasis added. 15 J.B. Chettimattam, “Theology as Human Interiority: Search for the One Teacher,” in Unique and Universal, ed. J..B. Chettimattam (Bangalore: Dharmaram College, 1972), 186. Quoted in Thangaraj, 80. Emphasis added. 16 Xavier Irudhayaraj, “Christ—the Guru,” Jeevadhara, 2, n. 9 (May-June 1972), 245. 17 Cf ibid., 245-248. 18 Ibid., 247. 19 Ibid., 248. 20 Irudhayaraj, “Discipleship and Spiritual Direction in the Light of Tamil Saivite Tradition,” Journal of Dharma, 5, no. 3 (JulySeptember 1980), 289 and ff. Quoted in Thangaraj, 81-82. 21 Robert Van de Weyer, Guru Jesus (London: S.P.C.K., 1975), ix. Quoted in Thangaraj, 82. 22 Cf Thangaraj, 83. 23 This Hinduist philosophical school of non-dualism founded by Shankara in the ninth century focuses on the basic belief that the “ultimate and only reality is that of Brahman without qualities, nirguna Brahman…which is not different from the Self, atman… All perception of differentiation is based on maya, illusion. “ Cornille, 206. 24 Cf Thangaraj, 82. 25 Catherine Cornille, The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation, from the series: Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs (Louvain: Peeters Press, 1991), cf 75 and ff. 26 Ibid., 75. 27 Ibid., 76. 28 Ibid., 77. 29 Ibid., 76. 30 Cf Sara Grant, Lord of the Dance (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 1987), 119. 31 These are spiritual peak moments of the day—just before sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight—during which the community gathers for prayers and meditation around the guru, whose high level of spiritual experience is communicated to the disciple in those moments. 32 Cf point no. 5 which follows this passage, for an explanation. 33 Cf Cornille pp. 179-180 for an explanation of these signs of veneration which include guru puja or ‘worship of the guru.’ 34 Cornille, 180-181. Emphasis added. 35 Ibid., 176. 36 Ibid., 177. 37 Ibid., 197.
AN ASIAN FORMATION PROJECT FROM THE POWER PERSPECTIVE
CHAPTER FOUR THE POWER PERSPECTIVE
The first three chapters of this doctoral project have provided elements of the Alberionian Christological tradition which refers to Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life, as well as of some Asian spiritual master traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism, with a view to indicating contact points for dialogue between these two traditions, that is, the Alberionian and the Asian traditions.1 The dialogue has a formative intention: to foster in Asian formands of the Daughters of St. Paul the inculturation and assimilation of the Congregation’s spirituality centered on Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life. The doctoral project utilizes an organizing principle for the selection of those elements on which to construct the formative dialogue. That key principle is power, intrinsic to the figure of a spiritual master in any tradition. It reveals the similarities between the traditions of master under consideration, functioning as an integrating thread that allows for intercultural and interreligious connections. By this the Asian formand is helped to see that the Christological spirituality she is asked to assume as a Daughter of St. Paul is relevant to the religious and cultural traditions in which her life has been embedded and shaped. At the same time, the perspective of power brings to light basic differences in the two traditions. Ultimately, these differences point to radically diverse world views, as well as philosophical and theological foundational principles which may well be irreconcilable. The challenge is not to allow the dialogue to come to a halt at this point, but to explore these differences with openness, sensitivity and respect. Further exploration will permit a more enlightened understanding of one’s chosen belief system with its traditions, and an increased ability to share its riches with others. At the same time, one grows in the understanding and appreciation of the riches that are present in the other traditions, which have shaped the Asian formand’s personal experience of the Sacred in a predominantly non-Christian culture2 and are still formatively active in one’s life.
Meanings and Applications of Power Making use of power as the perspective by which to compare and contrast the Asian with the Alberionian (and therefore Christian) traditions of the spiritual master will require a clarification of what power means and what are the ways it is practiced and experienced. There is need first of all to distinguish between power and authority. These terms are often used as synonyms for each other. However, Webster’s Dictionary3 defines power as “an ability to do, a capacity to act,” with the connotation of force, vigor, strength, while authority is “the power or a right to command, act, enforce obedience, or make final decisions” and further, “the power derived from opinion, respect, or esteem; influence of character or office” (emphasis added). Power is inherent in a person’s being; authority on the other hand is conferred on the person and is largely dependent upon cultural and societal legitimization, even in cases where such legitimization is obtained by force. Having been given or having seized authority, a person acquires the power to impose his will on others. On the other hand, having a particular
power—in the sense of capacity or ability—invests a person with authority, but that authority is effectively exercised only to the extent that it is acknowledged by others. A person may have both power and authority, but the two need not be linked. When the infuriated Pharisees confronted Jesus after the casting out of the sellers from the Temple, they demanded to know by what authority he did such things; there was no question about his power to do so (Mt 21: 12-17, 23:27). When a formator is appointed by legitimate superiors to carry out the training of a group of formands, this is no guarantee that she possesses the intrinsic power to carry out her task effectively. Max Weber4 proposes three types of authority, according to its source. There is legal or juridical authority, with roots in the rational; there is traditional authority, which springs from tradition; and there is charismatic authority, which Weber defines thus: The term ‘charisma’ will be applied to a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a ‘leader’ (Vol. I, 241). Charisma is self-determined and sets its own limits. Its bearer seizes the task for which he is destined and demands that others obey and follow him by virtue of his mission. If those to whom he feels sent do not recognize him, his claim collapses; if they recognize it, he is their master as long as he ‘proves’ himself (Vol. III, 1112-13; emphasis added).
The interplay between power and authority is evident in these passages. And the concepts expressed are readily applicable to the spiritual master of any tradition. The very title “master” (guru, rabbi, etc.) etymologically means “weighty” or “my great one.”5 Charismatic power is particularly applicable to the Eastern master, who is not appointed to his task by any earthly authority. The same holds for Christ as Master, whose authority comes from the Father. A characteristic common to both power and authority is that they are intrinsically relational. Moreover, the relationship ideally develops along the lines of human transformation, according to Anthony Giddens who defines power as “the transformative capacity of human action.”6 Transformation is what the spiritual master in any tradition intends his followers to achieve, helped by his power and authority over them. The highest kind of transformation is aimed at, that is, spiritual transformation of the whole person who is thus brought to fulfillment, perfection, bliss. The patterns of power and authority are those of dominion and ascendancy on the part of the master, and obedience and submission on the part of the disciple. The relationship involved between the holder of power and authority, and those subject to him and called to be obedient to his guidance is based on inequality of status and functions. This is common to the traditions of spiritual master that are being examined in this study. “Disciple is not superior to teacher,” says Jesus (cf Lk 6: 40), and in the Asian tradition, when the disciple achieves enlightenment and becomes a master in his own right, the former master-disciple relationship dissolves. The justification for the hierarchical structure by which the master is superior to the disciple is the master’s higher knowledge and experience of the true path to fullness of life, whatever names the specific traditions may use to describe it: enlightenment, awakening, liberation, perfection, holiness, Nirvana, the kingdom of heaven. This makes him more than a mere teacher: he is “teacher-initiator-savior”7 or, in Alberionian Christology, he is “Way, Truth, Life”—implying the totality of his impact upon the disciple.
To follow him, the disciple leaves home and renounces possessions, position, work, other relationships—all that has been part of his life up to that point. The ways Jesus Master called followers to himself and his demands upon those who aspired to be his disciples, are similar to the ways that disciples are drawn to the Asian master and their acceptance of the renunciations and disciplines required to follow him. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God,” says Peter to Jesus (Jn 6: 68-69). To the rich young man who wants to be his follower, Jesus says: “Go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mk 10: 21). At another time Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mk 8: 34). To a disciple who asked leave to bury his father, Jesus answers “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead” (Mt 8: 22). In exploring the demands of following a master in the Asian tradition, two passages from an Asian master, Patrul Rinpoche,8 will suffice to give an idea of the submission involved: A courageous disciple, armoured with the determination never to displease his teacher even at the cost of his life, so stable-minded that he is never shaken by immediate circumstances, who serves his teacher without caring about his own health or survival and obeys his every command without sparing himself at all—such a person will be liberated simply through his devotion to the teacher. Be skilled in never displeasing the teacher, And never resent his rebukes, like the perfect horse. Never be tired of coming and going, like a boat. Bear whatever comes, good or bad, like a bridge, Endure heat, cold and whatever else, like an anvil. Obey his every order, like a servant. Cast off all pride, like a sweeper, And be free of arrogance, like a bull with broken horns. This… is how to follow the teacher.
Such absolute power and authority of the master over the disciple has, ideally, a benevolent intention, a transformative goal, as Giddens indicates. Power is not for the self-aggrandizement of the master but for the gradual empowerment of the disciple. This empowerment is accomplished through the formative interaction between master and disciple. Their relationship unfolds in their day-to-day shared life, fostered by structures that facilitate the transmission of wisdom through teachings by word and example on which the disciple meditates. It also progresses through the practice of ascetical disciplines and practices that gradually complete the detachment and purification from hindrances to perfection, and the honing of skills that cultivate and nourish the transformed life. As an ideal of this benevolent, unselfish use of authoritative power and superiority, Buddhism holds up the figure of the bodhisattva, who although he has achieved enlightenment, makes a vow not to enter definitively into Nirvana, because of his compassion for his fellow human beings who have not yet attained their spiritual breakthrough. Hinduism speaks of the guru as kalyana-mitta, spiritual friend, who manifests all the qualities of care, tenderness, love toward the other that characterize friendship. The ideal qualities of the Asian spiritual master that have been enumerated earlier (cf Chapter Two, p. 36 & 37 ff.) bear out this othercentered use of power and authority. With regard to Jesus as Master, Chapter One has presented the Alberionian insight into someone who indeed is Master, but one with the heart of a
Shepherd; this fact brings into the very concept of “masterhood” the qualities of constant care and nurturance of the sheep, with which he establishes a bond that makes him put his life at their service, even to the point of giving his life for them. Though the shepherd is by nature superior to the sheep, his attitude of service to the sheep goes beyond that superiority. And the concept of the master-friend also enters into Jesus’ relationship with his disciples; this will be developed further below.
Possible Corruption of Power In spite of the ideal sketched out in the preceding section, power can also be exercised deformatively, especially when it is imposed, when ascendancy and dominion become control and domination of others. Whatever authority such a power is invested with becomes authoritarianism, and the interaction between leader and follower is defined by structures of conquest and subjugation, of manipulation and enslavement. On this topic, one finds an interesting analysis written by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad regarding the dehumanizing effect of power when it is practiced in an authoritarian mode. It is relevant to this study because the authors choose the guru-disciple relationship as the prime exemplar of authoritarianism; in fact, the title of their book is The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power.9 The authors explain why they consider the guru-disciple relationship as “the primary vehicle in deciphering authoritarian power:” We focus on the relationship between guru and disciple because it displays the epitome of surrender to a living person, and thus clearly exhibits what it means to trust another more than oneself.10 The traditional framework between guru and disciple is as absolute in authoritarian demands (total surrender and obedience) as any on the planet. By unambiguously exhibiting the mechanisms of control and surrender, it offers a quintessential example of mental authoritarianism, whose power lies in controlling minds rather than in overt physical coercion. Our intention in using this relationship as an exemplar is to show the seductions, predictable patterns, and corruptions contained in any essentially authoritarian form. Though extreme, the guru model illustrates well the workings of authoritarian power that occur less overtly in many other relationships and contexts. Its relatively simplistic structure, combined with very sophisticated justifications, displays the dynamics of authoritarianism writ large.11
The problem, according to the authors, does not lie so much on the level of individual gurus who abuse their power, but in the very structures of the guru-disciple relationship, which are of their nature tainted with the dynamics of control and manipulation. Although gurus are already tainted with corruption in the minds of many, this is ordinarily seen as the failing of individuals. Instead we wish to show that the abuses of power that occur in such contexts are structural rather than personal. … The papers on gurus and cults depict in concrete terms the mechanisms, rewards, disguised collusions, and dangers of surrendering to those who position themselves as knowing what’s best for others. Decoding the dynamics of manipulation can help people avoid such traps12 (emphasis added).
The corruption of power especially in the guru-disciple relationship is inevitable, according to Kramer and Alstad. The reason is that no matter how benevolent in reality a particular master is toward the disciple, their relationship rests on the fundamental inequality between them structured on the paradigm of superiority (master) and inferiority (disciple). Inequality leads to domination. This inequality is then justified and maintained by supporting ideologies,
some of them extremely subtle, which prey on the fears and needs of the immature person— for instance, his need to be dependent, his fear to take responsibility for his own life. Even more, these ideologies touch the spiritual needs of the human person, and are therefore more difficult to unmask. What is epitomized in the guru-disciple relationship is present in many other forms and their attendant ideologies. Kramer and Alstad do not bother to analyze the secular—political, social, cultural—forms of corrupt power, which are readily identifiable. They focus on the corruption of spiritual power as more insidious; the ideologies that justify this are largely impregnable to attack, precisely because they concern the highest spiritual ideals of humanity. What are some of these spiritual idealogies, according to Kramer and Alstad? Listed among the most pernicious masks of authoritarianism are renunciate moralities that advocate self-sacrifice, forgiveness, mysticism and the ideal of oneness with the Divine. The underlying spiritual principle of all these ideologies is unconditional love and selflessness, presented as normative for the happiness of human beings; Kramer and Alstad seriously question this principle. Their skepticism extends to the use of this perspective as a way to grasp the very nature of God himself—if one accepts God (the impression given is that belief in a Divine Power is the most dangerous delusion of all). Certain expressions of corrupt power and authoritarianism are rooted in these religious ideologies. Some of the more serious and destructive expressions are: fundamentalism, satanism, addiction, cults. It is clear that power and authority can be and have been easily abused, to the detriment of human growth and fulfillment. And even the most sacred realities can be twisted to serve the ends of domination and oppression. The authors’ painstaking and uncompromising efforts to show this deformation may be salutary in the sense that they invite to a profound reviewing of the realities in question and to an expanded awareness of their abuse. The unmasking of these forms of control is vital to planetary survival at this point of human history. What is obviously deficient in the analysis is that it is weighted heavily, even exclusively, on the side of the negative structures and exploitation of power and authority. And the only way to handle these, it seems, is to unmask the evil, reject it and uproot it. However, the question must then be asked: what is to take its place?
An Alternative Paradigm of Power Kramer and Alstad would have done better if they had proposed another paradigm of power which is more positive, which promotes human development and growth toward fulfillment. It may not be new, but that paradigm has to be recognized as operative in history, and in personal experience on the intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. Sometimes this different, positive way of viewing and practicing power—with its attendant structures and praxis— has been able to penetrate authoritarian structures that seemed impregnable and to erupt between the cracks, as it were, to challenge the forces of dehumanizing power. The search for an alternative, transformative paradigm of power must dig deeper than the structural level, and examine the workings of the human heart in which are rooted both the good and the evil tendencies that shape individual lives and human history. Authoritarianism is an expression of the fatal tendency in the human heart to domination and control. Kramer and Alstad admit this when they define their purpose for writing their book:
This book examines the workings of authoritarian power, including its deep roots in the human psyche. Though critical of authoritarianism, we do not suggest it is possible to eliminate authority, hierarchy or power from human interaction. History notwithstanding, we maintain their utilization need not necessarily be authoritarian.13
The authors also admit: “The corruptions of power occur when maintaining power becomes central and more important than its effects on others.”14 Unfortunately, the authors do not develop the implications of these statements. Perhaps the authors should have considered the possibility that it is precisely in the spiritual ideologies that underpin the guru-disciple relationship15 and which Kramer and Alstad have anathemized as hopelessly corrupt, that the basis and elements for a different paradigm of power can be drawn. This seems a provocative and paradoxical statement to make, but its validity is worth exploring.
Aspects of an Alternate Paradigm of Power In this exploration two presuppositions are to be accepted from the outset, both of which are present in the ideal of the guru-disciple relationship. First, as it has been pointed out earlier, the possibilities for corrupt power do not spring in first place from corrupting structures, but rather from the human heart’s tendency to absolutize power. And this absolutization does not aim first of all at the domination over others, but at the total control over one’s own being and life. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” when made absolute, situates the locus, subject and justification of power in oneself; to maintain that, the person then finds the need to subjugate others who threaten his self-mastery. Weber’s definition of power hints at this: “power,” he says, “is the capacity of an individual to realize his will, even against the opposition of others.”16 When brought to extremes, this attitude views even God as a rival to self-power; “I will not serve!” is the battle cry, and “I did it my way!” is the ideal. Second—and this is related to the first—it must be accepted that the source of whatever power the person has over himself and over others does not originate from himself. Power and authority are received and therefore must be used for the purpose for which they have been given, that is, not only for personal growth and fulfillment but also for the service and advantage of one’s fellowmen. Power and authority ultimately come from God himself, who created human beings, and God’s way of exercising power is normative for any power holder. Distortions in the understanding and applications of these presuppositions can happen in the guru-disciple relationship. However, the presuppositions exist; they are not simply a cloak to justify authoritarianism. There are also actual examples of gurus and masters in all traditions who have lived a transformed existence and brought about that same transformation in others. The bodhisattva and the kalyana-mitta ideals and praxis referred to above, and the figure of Christ, “Master with the heart of a shepherd” and the Master who no longer calls his disciples servants but friends, indicate a power paradigm that successfully breaks away from the “control and domination” paradigm of authoritarianism. What is offered is an authentic lived vision of power that is other-centered, disinterested self-giving through a service willing to go all the way, even to death, for the welfare of others. Both traditions of spiritual master (Asian and Alberionian) are similar in adhering to the above presuppositions. Jesus explicitly taught and ordered his life and work on precepts that deal with self-forgetfulness in the service of others; the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) is normative in this regard, and Church lists these precepts as the corporal and spiritual works
of mercy. The climax of self-giving is reached when Christ laid down his very life on the cross, as shepherd of the flock and as friend to his disciples. In Asian traditions these ideals are also adhered to. To cite one example, the Tibetan schools of Buddhism speak of “transcendent generosity” as one of the six “transcendent perfections” leading to liberation and enlightenment. As P. Rinpoche notes: Generosity can take three forms: material giving, giving Dharma and giving protection from fear. There are three kinds of material giving: ordinary giving, great giving and exceptionally great giving…. Ordinary giving. This refers to the giving of anything material, even if it is no more than a pinch of tea-leaves or a bowl of barley.… Reduce your desires…, learn to be content with whatever you have…. Great giving. This means to give to others something rare or very precious to you personally, such as your own horse or elephant, or even your own son or daughter. Exceptionally great giving. This refers to making a gift of your own limbs, body or life. Examples are Prince Great Courage giving his body to a starving tigress, Nagarjuna giving his head to the son of King Surabhibhadra, and Princess Mandabhadri also feeding a tigress with her own body. However, this sort of generosity should be practised only by a being who has attained one of the Bodhisattva levels.…17
It is precisely on this point, however, that differences in the Christian and non-Christian traditions also begin to surface. This is clearest in the ideal of the spiritual friend, common to Hindu and Christian traditions, but brought in the latter tradition to a higher degree which can ultimately demolish the nature and structures of power and authority as control and domination. The following analysis is based on Sandra Schneider’s interpretation of Jn 13: 1-20.18
A Supporting Structure for Transformative Power Jn 13: 11-20 refers to the incident of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. It symbolizes a service so profound and radical that it makes possible a real conversion in the conceptualization and praxis of power. Schneiders writes: Service is generally understood quite univocally as something that one person does for someone else, intending thereby the latter’s good. In service the server lays aside, temporarily or even permanently, his or her own project, goal, good, or at least convenience for the sake of fostering the good of the other. The finality of the served, is allowed, at least for the moment, to take priority over the finality of the server. In its most extreme form, therefore, it would consist in the server’s laying down his life for the sake of the served. [This] is the ultimate preferring of another’s good to one’s own. Service, in other words, by its inmost structure, is capable of expressing ultimate love.… Every act of service, however ordinary, because it consists in preferring another to oneself, is essentially an act of self-gift and, therefore, an expression of love, which, in principle, tends toward the total self-gift.19
However, Schneiders says—and here Kramer and Alstad would agree—the actual living out of this ideal of service “rarely, if ever, is realized in fact.”20 Service can be understood as concretely structured according to three models. The first model is based on a fundamental inequality between the server and the served, and the service reinforces that condition. Schneiders continues: …service denotes what one person (the server) must do for another (the served) because of some right or power that the latter is understood to possess. The server may be bound for any number of reasons, such as being a child in relation to parents, a slave in relation to an owner, a
woman in a patriarchal society in relation to men, a subject in relation to a ruler, a poor person in relation to the rich. In other words, service in this model is a basic element in a structure of domination, however benevolently exercised. It expresses not the free preference of another’s good to one’s own but the subordination of one person to another. [And] …the structure of domination tends of its own weight to become exploitative and oppressive because the service is demanded as the right of the superior and must be rendered as the unavoidable duty of the inferior.21
All that the above passage says may mark and deform the devoted service that the disciple renders the master, which partly explains Kramer and Alstad’s stand regarding the guru-disciple relationship as the prime example of corrupt power. A second model brings in the note of service entered into freely by the server, because he or she perceives some need in the served which the server can meet. Examples of this model are: the parent serving the child, the rich serving the poor, the strong serving the weak, the knowledgeable professional serving the client. One can add as well the example of the master meeting the need of the disciple for deeper wisdom, guidance, inspiration. This model not only stresses the freedom of the server to serve, but implies also the compassion, the altruism and the benevolence that are part of the bodhisattva tradition. But, says Schneider, …a deep flaw resides in the heart of this situation. The basis of the service is still inequality. The server is perceived by him- or herself and by the served as acting, however generously, out of genuine superiority to the other, and the service situation lasts only as long as the server remains superior. This is why such seemingly altruistic situations have such an inveterate tendency to corruption.22
The parent-child relationship becomes a way of satisfying some need of the parent, to dominate or to possess the child, or to use the child to satisfy the need to be needed. The teacher may make use of his students as living proofs of his excellence or, again, to satisfy his need to exercise power over others. The professional mystifies his client by keeping him uninformed, to maintain his hold on the person. The master fosters expressions of submission from his disciples and allows himself to be deified, thus strengthening his absolute power over them. Schneiders continues: The dynamism at work in this second model is more subtle than in cases of outright domination (and, needless to say, not all such cases of service yield to the flaw in the situation), but is no less distant from the ideal of service. The server seeks his or her own good by “detouring” through the good of the other.23
It is precisely this masked authoritarianism which Kramer and Alstad want to expose, using the guru-disciple relationship as the prime example of this twisting of service to maintain a position of inequality, to exercise total control over the served in the name of spiritual growth. Kramer and Alstad end their analysis at this point, proposing no way out of the oppressive situation. Schneiders, instead, points to a third model of service “operative in the only situation in which service, of necessity, escapes this fundamental perversion, namely, friendship.”24 She insightfully observes: Friendship is the one human relationship based on equality. If it does not begin between equals it quickly abolishes whatever inequality it discovers or renders the inequality irrelevant within the structure of the relationship. In perfect friendship, which is indeed rare, the good of each is truly the other’s good and so, in seeking the good of the friend, one’s own good is achieved. But this selffulfillment involves no subversive seeking of self; it is simply the by-product of the friend’s happiness. This is why service rendered between friends is never exacted and creates no debts, de-
mands no return but evokes reciprocity; and never degenerates into covert exploitation. Domination is totally foreign to friendship because domination arises from, expresses, and reinforces inequality.25
The vision of the guru as kalyana-mitta is in line with this ideal; the same is also true of Christ’s definition of his “masterhood” in terms of friendship, even to the giving up of his life for his friends, his disciples. But Christ provides a clearer teaching and living out of this ideal than any other spiritual master tradition. In so doing, he holds out the only real alternative to the deformative possibilities of power and authority, and he does so to a greater degree than any other master, demonstrating this paradigm not only in his teachings and his example, of which the foot-washing is a symbol, but above all in his death on the cross for all humanity. The reaction of Peter—as representative of all the other disciples, and of ourselves—is one of shock and spontaneous refusal: “Never!… you shall never wash my feet” (Jn 13: 8). All human beings have the control-domination paradigm of power so deeply engraved in themselves and in their relationships that they are scandalized and struggle against its subversion by the paradigm of power as friendship. There is a paradox at the heart of Christian power, which may be described as “power in powerlessness,” taking “powerlessness” to signify the rejection of authoritarian, self-centered control and domination as principle and praxis in human relationships. It is powerlessness because in putting the good of the other before one’s own good, one becomes vulnerable to the other and empowers him, not out of weakness, fear or immaturity, but out of love. Schneiders explains this point further: Jesus symbolizes his impending death, his love of his disciples unto the end, by an act of menial service. He did not choose an act of service proceeding from his real and acknowledged superiority to them as teacher [master] and Lord. Such an act would have expressed the inequality between himself and his disciples, their inferiority to him. Instead Jesus acted to abolish the inequality between them, deliberately reversing their social position and roles. To wash another’s feet was something that even slaves could not be required to do, but which disciples might do out of reverence for their master. But any act of service is permissible and freeing among friends. By washing his disciples’ feet Jesus overcame by love the inequality that existed by nature between himself and those whom he had chosen as friends. He established an intimacy with them that superseded his superiority and signaled their access to everything that he had received from his Father (see 15:15), even to the glory that he had been given as Son (see 17:22).… Peter realizes that Jesus, by transcending the inequality between himself and his disciples and inaugurating between them the relationship of friendship, is subverting in principle all structures of domination, and therefore the basis for Peter’s own exercise of power and authority. The desire for first place has no function in friendship.26
In his life with the disciples Jesus frequently attempted to wean his disciples from the control-and-domination pattern of power, which brought them into competition with one another and into the preoccupation as to who was the greatest among them. Even at the Last Supper they fought for the best places at table. The footwashing is an attempt to shock them out of this power syndrome, which will be definitively proven as deformative, by the still greater and more profound shock and scandal of the death on the cross, the actual event of total selfgiving of Christ Master-Friend. In reference to the traditions of spiritual master being examined in this doctoral project within a structure of dialogue and from the perspective of power, it should be pointed out that Christ’s paradigm of power markedly differs in quality and degree from that which other traditions do allow for, but do not develop and exemplify as fully as the Christian tradition does. The first to be shocked and even scandalized are Christians themselves!
Fruitful dialogue between the spiritual master traditions may be initiated by this difference regarding the very ideal of power which imbues the figure of the master. Thangaraj expresses this hope indirectly when he says regarding Jesus Master’s death on the cross: No longer was it [the cross] the tragic and unfortunate death of a guru. The cross became the supreme and climactic point at which the guru was seen as being fully himself—the embodiment of what he taught and did. It became a symbol of the guru’s victory over sin and death. By his powerlessness on the cross, the guru gives a fresh and novel understanding of wherein lay true power—the power of love and self-sacrifice. On the cross the guru is no longer seen as a mere pointer to the way of liberated existence, but he himself can now be seen as “the way, the truth and the life.” There the reign of God is at its fullest manifestation—a reign of love and justice and of God’s judgment and mercy. It is no longer the teacher-guru who dominates the scene, but the victim-guru, the dying guru, the crucified guru who appears as the guru par excellence.27
Schneider’s interpretation of power using as key the ideal of friendship between Jesus Master and his disciples sustains Thangaraj’s insight regarding the importance of the crucified guru as the true master.
The Power of the Master and Divine Power If “power in powerlessness” expressed in friendship is something subversive to the usual meaning of power applied to the figure of the spiritual master, the central element in the Christ Master tradition becomes an even deeper source of scandal. This involves the claim, which only Christianity makes, that Jesus Christ is the incarnate Son of God, the Divine made visible in human flesh. Asian non-Christian religions find this incompatible with their philosophical and theological world-views. A crucified Master may be admissible, even admirable, but a crucified God is folly, a blasphemy and a stumbling-block to belief. Jesus as Master is generally acceptable to Asian traditions, as long as Christians do not put forward the claim that Christ Master is the only real Master in so far as he is the unique, irrepeatable incarnation of God himself. It is when Christology ends up becoming a statement about God and the Divine Nature that interreligious dialogue can break down. An incident is narrated of Edith Stein’s mother after her daughter’s conversion from Judaism to Christianity—an incomprehensible event bringing much suffering in its wake. Edith’s mother said, “I don’t want to say anything against him [Christ]; he may have been a very good man, but why did he make himself God?”28 The same reaction is expressed by adherents of non-Christian Asian religions. The Hindu traditions readily admit that the spiritual master’s ultimate source of power lies in his relationship with the Divine. Saivism looks on the guru as having attained to oneness with Siva to the point that he can be said to be Siva in human form, which is why he has power to teach, guide and bring others to liberation. But as indicated in Chapter Two of this project, the guru’s union with Siva does not affect the essential Divine Nature which remains out of reach, ineffable in its omnipotence and bliss, in its perfection. Incarnation in human nature, the assumption of human frailty and the suffering involved in this have no real place in the concept of the Divine. Vaishnavism speaks of the master as being an avatar, one of the visible appearances of Vishnu in human form. But the avatar’s “incarnation” of Vishnu is not what Christians mean by the incarnation of God in his Son made flesh. For Buddhism, the whole question of power—at least in Pure Land Buddhism—is focused on “self-power” and “other-power” which is ascribed not to a transcendent Being but to
Buddha, the one who has preceded others in realizing perfection and who in compassion assists the practitioner in his efforts toward holiness. Thich-Thien-Tam notes: As far as the question of “self-power” vs. “other power” is concerned, it is wrong to understand the Pure Land method as exclusive reliance on the Buddha’s power. The Pure Land practitioner should use all his own power to rid himself of afflictions, reciting to the point where his own Mind and the Mind of the Buddha are in unison. From that state, in this very life, the Buddha will emit rays to silently gather him in [i.e., he is in symbiotic relationship with the Buddha ], and at his deathbed he will be welcomed and escorted back to the Pure Land. The “welcoming and escorting” is really the principal manifestation of the “other-power.”29
The question of the Divine (which for other religions is central) is not the concern of Buddhism; Buddhists themselves can affirm that their faith tradition is not really a religion.30
Divine Power as “Power in Powerlessness”: Francis Moloney has said that Christology is in actuality Theology.31 When Christ as Master is held up as the incarnate revelation of the true nature of Divine Power, defined in terms of “power as powerlessness,” revealed in the flesh-taking and above all in the shameful death on the cross, interreligious dialogue becomes more challenging. Even for Christian theology and ordinary believers, a crucified, suffering God is an absurdity. Perhaps the dialogue between the traditions at this point, if it is to be at the service of formation and transformation, must look for other links besides rationalist philosophy and theology. Such links will not shy away from the essentially paradoxical nature of Divine “power in powerlessness” and will explore the question of polarities in the nature of God as viewed by human eyes. This is what John Carman attempts to do in his comparative study of “contrast and harmony in the concept of God,”32 which addresses both Christian and non-Christian religions. That theology, even Christian theology, is wary and uncomfortable regarding paradox and divine polarities is understandable. As Carman notes, the reaction comes from the very nature of theologizing: Thus theologians’ own desire to show a consistent pattern, as well as their need to persuade others, leads to as much emphasis on rational consistency as can be combined with their essential beliefs. This means not only that theologians generally deemphasize the paradoxical elements in divine polarities but also that such polarities themselves, since by definition they are concerned with contrasts, are accorded as little place as possible in systematic theology. The first strategy of the theologian, who is almost always writing in prose, is to ignore the paradoxical polarities of poetic description on the ground… that such description is poetic hyperbole. A second alternative to paradox is more systematic: to reinterpret the polarity in terms that remove the paradox and show that the two contrasting qualities fit together harmoniously in the mind of God.… A third alternative is that characteristic of many mystics: to try to transcend the duality of the two poles in a higher unity.… The final alternative is to dissolve the polarity by rejecting one pole or the other as an unworthy characterization of God.33
Something similar happens in the traditional presentation of Jesus as Master Way, Truth, Life in Alberionian spirituality, which is explained in the rational theological terminology of Alberione’s time. The Founder holds up as exemplar Paul’s doctrine and way of discipleship;
notwithstanding that, inadequate attention is given by Paulines to this central issue of Christ Master’s power being made manifest in kenosis, in God’s power being weakness to human beings. The usual tendency is to downplay one of the two polarities (power or powerlessness) or to give a meaning to one or the other which erases the paradox. Thus, Christ is acknowledged indeed as supreme teacher, but his wisdom tends to be conceived of in a narrow sense, which emphasizes the intellectual and rational part of the human person. As way, model, exemplar, Christ is imitated along more external lines, or his divinity is underscored at the expense of his humanity so that he becomes unreachable, or—on the contrary—he is recast in the image of weak humanity and his divinity recedes into the background. As Lord of life, Christ’s power is given the trappings of worldly domination and his followers may tend to maintain their distance from him, or may even fear rather than love him. From a formative viewpoint, which is concerned with all that facilitates the experience of God for the formand, the theological stance that underpins the concept of “master” has immense and essential value; however, it necessarily must be a theologizing that takes into account the poetic, the mystical, and the cultural dimensions, all of which allow for more direct, experiential and intuitive ways of mediating the experience of Divine Power and of the Divine Nature. It may be recalled here that while theology grapples with difficulties in working out a complete guru Christology, the hymnic expressions of this reality reveal no such difficulty (as was noted in Chapter Three). What Xavier Irudayaraj says in one of his articles regarding guru Christology is worth repeating here: Our reflection on the Guru focuses, first of all, on the personal approach of Christ to each man in his own unique history of salvation and thus makes clear that Christ is unique not only as the universal Saviour of mankind, but also as he enlightens every man in all his particularity and individuality. Secondly, it emphasizes the fact that discipleship is the basis of fellowship in the Church. It suggests certain new structures for the Church more interpersonal in nature. In fine, what is the theological contribution of this study? In contrast to the metaphysical (two natures and one person: Chalcedon) and functional (Scholastic) approaches to Christology, the Guru-tradition inspires a mystical approach to the person of Christ, based on the experience of his personal love and grace (since Guru is the transparently divine communicator of grace). Such an approach would help us to see that the Guru-sisya bond symbolizes the intimate and immediate relation between Christ and the faithful. This means that the individual christian receives revelation not only from men and sacred books, but also from Christ himself through his indwelling Spirit34 (emphasis added).
Two other Asian theologians—Choan-Seng Song (Taiwan) and Kosuke Koyama (Japan)35—provide this more formative experiential approach to theology and christology, and are directly concerned with the incarnation and with the cross as revelatory of the Divine Nature and its kind of power. In his presentation of these two theologians, Volker Kuster writes: [For Song] the theology of incarnation and cross or the paradigm of creation and redemption and death and resurrection… fuse together. “The cross shows how a new creation must come into being through intense pain and suffering. The whole being of God aches in Jesus Christ on the cross. And the God who suffers is the God who redeems.” The span of the incarnation holds the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ together. Christology at the same time becomes the hermeneutical key for the action of the triune God in history.36
Koyama explicitly tackles the question of the cross and power in such writings as No Handle on the Cross37 and “The Crucified Christ Challenges Human Power.”38 Technology
puts handles on things for a more efficient management and control of their reality; the cross instead has no handle. It is the locus of God’s self-emptying and powerlessness in love, his embracing of failure, suffering, death to bring salvation to humanity. The disciple of Christ is a cross-bearer like the Master. Paul invites those who would be followers of Christ to put on the mind of Christ, but that mind is a crucified mind adhering to the paradox (in a human perspective) of God’s wisdom being foolishness and God’s power being weakness. Frequently, it is said that the Asian mind is more attuned than the Western mind to paradox, and to intuitive and experiential modes of knowing. The concept of reality as yan and ying, and the Zen koan as a direct, non-logical way to grasp reality, are examples of this Asian mindset. Understandably, as has been pointed out above, Christians themselves—particularly Western Christians with their stress on the logical—are the first ones to be scandalized at the idea of a guru who subverts the usual categories of power. This is even more if this guru is meant to reveal the nature of God’s power and very being. Both Christians and the followers of other faith traditions ultimately have to explore the paradoxical manifestations of Divine Power and what that would imply in terms of relationship with such a God. This will also radically affect the formative relationship between master and disciple, as well as the interpersonal relationships among the community of disciples. The Asian affinity for paradox, for intuitive, experiential and wholistic modes of knowing might be able to contribute to real growth in the understanding and living out of Alberionian Christology. In addition, the Scripture-based idea of Christ as Master might challenge Asian traditions not only in regard to the different vision it offers of the spiritual master’s power, but also to what it has to say about the nature of Divine Power itself.
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS This chapter has attempted to indicate some ways of bringing into formative dialogue the two traditions of spiritual master (Alberionian and Asian) from the perspective of power. The concepts and praxis of power and authority have been briefly analyzed and the analysis from the perspective of power has brought to light elements of similarity in the two spiritual master traditions, as well as fundamental differences between them. A uniquely different paradigm of power has emerged which seems to be more elaborated in the Christian tradition. In Christianity, this paradigm of “power in powerlessness” is built upon friendship, the only structure of human relationships that of its very nature subverts other relationships inevitably based on inequality, control and domination. Obviously, “power in powerlessness” is essentially paradoxical, and it becomes even more so when it is applied, as in the Christian tradition, to the nature of Divine Power itself in relation to human beings. Christ, the crucified guru who reveals the face of God as self-emptying love, is at the center of the spirituality of the Daughters of St. Paul. Asian traditions of master have much in common with this “power in powerlessness” spirituality, though fundamental and apparently irreconcilable differences also exist. What would a formative project be like, that centers upon Christ as Master, Way Truth and Life in an Asian setting? How will it be radically based on the paradox of the cross? These are the questions that the next chapter will attempt to explore.
NOTES 1 However, Alberionian Christology is part of the Christian faith tradition and therefore “two traditions” can also refer to the Christian tradition as a whole in dialogue with non-Christian traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. 2 The only exception in this regard are formands from the Philippines, which is a predominantly Christian and Catholic (85%) nation. Instead, a large percentage of formands in Japan and Korea are converts from non-Christian faith traditions, or else, they belong to a small Catholic minority in the midst of a non-Christian population and have much contact with the prevailing culture and religions. 3 Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 2nd ed. 4 Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology (3 vols: ed. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich; New York: Bedminster Press, 1968). Passages are quoted in Sandra Hack Polasky, Paul and the Discourse of Power, Gender, Culture, Theory, n. 8, ed. J. Cheryl Exum, The Biblical Seminar, n. 62, ed. Stanley E. Porter & Craig A. Evans (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., 1999), 29. 5 Cf Chapter Two, p.36 of this doctoral project. 6 Anthony Giddens, New Rules of Sociological Method: A Positive Critique of Interpretative Sociologies, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2nd ed., 1983), 117. Quoted in Polaski, 36. 7 M. Thomas Thangaraj, The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1994), 58. 8 Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Kunzang Lama’l Shelung), trans. Padmakara Translation Group, Second rev. ed., Boston: Shambhala, 1998, 144-145. 9 Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power (Berkeley: Frog, Ltd, 1993). 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid., 7-8. 14 Ibid., 12. 15 This relationship does not only refer to the Hindu expression but to the entire master-disciple relationship in all traditions. 16 Weber, ibid., Vol. I, p. 224. 17 Patrul Rinpoche, ibid., 234-236. 18 Sandra M. Schneiders, Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (New York: Crossroad, 1999) 162-174. 19 Ibid., 169-170. 20 Ibid., 170. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid., 171. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid., 171-172. 26 Ibid., 172-173. 27 Thangaraj, ibid., 101. (Emphasis added) 28 Quoted in John M. Oesterreicher, “Edith Stein, Witness of Love,” in Walls Are Crumbling: Seven Jewish Philosophers Discover Christ (London: Hollis and Carter, 1953), 306. 29 Dharma Master Thich-Thien-Tam, Pure Land Principles and Practice (Singapore: Amitabha Buddhist Society, 1997), 75. Cf also pp. 71, 77, 239, 284. 30 This is repeated in multimedia popularizations of Buddhist teaching, one example of which is an audiocassette tape produced by the Amitabha Buddhist Society of Singapore, entitled “A Path to True Happiness” and spoken by the Ven. Chin Kung. 31 Francis J. Moloney, Story and Spirituality – CBAP Lectures (Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines) 2001 (Quezon City: CBAP and Loyola School of Theology, 2001), i. 32 John B. Carman, Majesty and Meekness: A Comparative Study of Contrast and Harmony in the Concept of God (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994). 33 Ibid., 404-405. 34 Xavier Irudayaraj, sj, “The Guru in Hinduism and Christianity,” Vidyajyoti 39 (1975): 350-351. 35 For a brief but enlightening presentation of the lives and work of these two theologians, cf Volker Kuster, “Christology in the Overall Asian Context.” This is Chapter Nine of The Many Faces of Jesus Christ: Intercultural Christology, trans. John Bowden (London: SCM Press, 2001), 118-134. 36 Ibid., 132-133. The portion in quotes is taken from Song’s Third-Eye Theology, Rev. Ed., Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books 1991, n. 15, 70. 37 Kosuke Koyama, No Handle on the Cross: An Asian Meditation on the Crucified Mind (London: SCM Press, 1976). 38 Kosuke Koyama, “The Crucified Christ Challenges Human Power,” in Asian Faces of Jesus, ed. R.S. Sugirtharajah (London: SCM Press, 1993), 149-162.
CHAPTER FIVE THE PAULINE FORMATION PROJECT AS FORMATION TO POWER IN POWERLESSNESS
The heart of the whole doctoral project is contained in this chapter. It proposes an approach to Pauline formation that has never (to the writer’s knowledge) been systematically developed before in congregational writings. It therefore is the most original part of the doctoral project. Nevertheless, as the presentation will show, “formation to power in powerlessness” is present already in congregational documents, particularly in the Constitutions and Directory (C/D). The power in powerlessness perspective is intrinsic, not alien, to the fundamental understanding of Pauline religious life. Previous chapters have brought out the importance of this perspective in understanding Alberionian Christology which centers upon Christ as Master-Shepherd, Way, Truth and Life. The concept of powerless power has also been a key to the formative dialogue between the Alberionian spiritual master tradition (rooted in the Christian faith tradition) and some spiritual master traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism. This dialogue has paved the way for the inculturation of Alberionian Christology in Asia, which is part of the goal of the doctoral project. This chapter has been written principally for the Daughters of St. Paul, especially for the formators—the persons entrusted with training those who aspire to become part of the congregation, and with facilitating the self-formation of the full-fledged members. Keeping in mind, however, that this doctoral project will be read not only by Paulines but by others who may not be familiar with what Pauline religious life is about, the writer offers here an overview of the contents that will be treated in this chapter. This overview is also needed to avoid confusion because the points to be covered are many. An initial section gives background information regarding what a “formation project” is. A section follows that treats of “the culture of communication” as the context of the Pauline identity and of the formation project. The essential elements of the Pauline formation project are then taken up one by one: spirituality, mission, consecration (the vows of chastity, of poverty, and of obedience), community. Each of these elements is identified by a title in quotation marks, taken from the Constitutions. At the end of each essential element, some “Formative Implications” are given. A section is added after the essential elements, which has to do with the formator-formand relationship, since this project has to do with formation. The whole chapter ends as usual with a concluding synthesis.
Background To understand what a formation project is, one should recall that every religious congregation has its own history1 and its unique identity, formed by the way that the three basic dimensions of religious life—consecration, community and mission—are linked together and interact with one another. What holds and shapes these connections, ultimately, is the congregation’s spirituality, that is, the relationship of the religious group to Jesus Christ, who is at the center of its life. The spirituality of a congregation also determines the image of Christ
that the group proclaims and witnesses to. According to Lumen Gentium (LG), every religious congregation makes visible a particular aspect of the mystery of Christ. Let religious see well to it that the Church truly shows forth Christ through them with ever-increasing clarity to believers and unbelievers alike - Christ in contemplation on the mountain, or proclaiming the kingdom of God to the multitudes, or healing the sick and maimed and converting sinners to a good life, or blessing children and doing good to all men, always in obedience to the will of the Father who sent him (LG 46).
The response to a call or vocation to religious life is not learned all at once; the personal acquisition of a congregation’s specific identity needs time. A period of apprenticeship, of formation, divided into clearly defined stages, is required. During this period, the candidate, or formand, progressively acquires a knowledge of the congregational vision and mission, of the spirituality that informs this particular society, of its manner of living the vowed life, community life, and mission. The formand is also given training in the skills needed to follow her vocation. She is given time to test herself in the actual living out of the responsibilities that go with membership in the religious group. During this entire formative period, known also as the period of initial formation, the formand evaluates her suitability for religious life, and is in turn evaluated by authorized representatives of the congregation. Among these representatives are the different formators, older members assigned to supervise the formand’s training, as well as the superiors who have the power to admit her from one formation stage to the next, up to perpetual profession which is the official moment that she becomes a member of the congregation for life. Formation does not end with perpetual profession. In what is known as “ongoing formation” or “continuing formation,” which lasts for the rest of one’s life, the religious fully undertakes the responsibility of self-formation, meaning her personal efforts to be dynamically faithful to what she has professed, and to grow in her chosen state of life. The congregation, for its part, is committed to provide structures and means that facilitate the person’s self-formation. The formation project, therefore, is the over-all plan that guides the whole formative process. The description given by the General Guidelines for Formation and Studies (GGFS) of the Daughters of St. Paul describes the formation project in terms that are expressive of the Pauline identity: Pauline formation is a vital process by means of which we grow in discipleship and become always more conformed to the Divine Master, following the example of St. Paul. It is a development of the whole personality, starting from that foundation which is the upright and honest person, and moving progressively towards the heights of Christ lives in me, according to the project of life delineated in our Constitutions. The formative process involves the person and the Congregation in a gradual and progressive journey of fidelity whose purpose is to help us embrace, develop and witness to our specific vocation in the Church and world: to live Christ and to announce him with all the means of social communication so as to respond to humanity’s longing for salvation. (GGFS 23) The formative effort of our entire life is to place ourselves in the school of the Master, allowing him to shape us into docile instruments and intelligent collaborators in the work of evangelization. The principles of Pauline formation find their foundation in Christ the Master Way, Truth and Life. Fidelity to humanity, to the Church, to history and to our specific charism comes into being as a consequence of our fidelity to Christ, the sole way to the Father, in the Holy Spirit. Every aspect of our personality and every dimension of our life is modeled upon and unified in him: consecration and mission, formation and study, spirituality and poverty.
The desire that the entire person find total fulfillment in Christ implies that the formative process must respect the principles of integrality, formation for the mission and in the mission, universality, and inculturation. (GGFS 29)
THE CULTURE OF COMMUNICATION:2 CONTEXT OF THE PAULINE IDENTITY AND FORMATION PROJECT The relevance of Pauline religious life in the present time cannot be fully understood and appreciated unless some idea is given of developments in the human area of communication, particularly in relation to what Paulines refer to as “mediated communication,” meaning that which makes use of the media (means) of social communication. The world of the communication media is a technological world. Viewed from the perspective of power, technology represents human mastery over creation, over life itself—a mastery that holds out seemingly unlimited possibilities for control over all reality. Technology flows from the human capacity for ingenuity and creativity, which is God’s gift. It can, however, very quickly lead human beings to “play God”—a temptation as old as the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit because they wanted to be like gods. Human pride finds a bastion in a technological world, from which God is excluded as something out of date and irrelevant. Jacques Ellul—called the prophet of the technological society because he has analyzed its menace more thoroughly perhaps than any other thinker—makes a distinction between technology and technique. Both these terms, however, hold out a common danger for human beings: Technique refers to any complex of standardized means for attaining a predetermined result. Thus, it converts spontaneous and unreflective behavior into behavior that is deliberate and rationalized. The Technical Man is fascinated by results, by the immediate consequences of setting standardized devices into motion.… Ours is a progressively technical civilization… committed to the quest for continually improved means to carelessly examined ends. Indeed, technique transforms ends into means.… And, conversely, technique turns means into ends. “Know-how” takes on an ultimate value. The technological person is one dominated by the search for more and more efficient means to the point of being unconcerned about ends. Indeed, the means become the ends.3
The glorification of functionality—how to get things done efficiently—brings with it an intoxicating sense of power that obscures the goals, the “why” of this functionality. Ellul points out that technique has its roots deep in humanity’s “mystic will to possess and dominate.”4 In the area of communication, technique is rampant and technology evolves at a dizzying pace, making possible an instant network—a world-wide web—of connections among human beings by means of increasingly sophisticated inventions. It is taken for granted that this technological progress will automatically lead to a better quality of human life; deeper questions are ignored, such as those that relate to human nature, its hunger for communion, and its thrust toward transcendence and ultimate meaning. One priest of the Society of St. Paul, Silvio Sassi, has long studied the phenomenon of communication development in our times; he points out: From the [latter] half of 1800 onwards, one sees… in the field of communication a bursting out of inventions which, related with the other social changes of the industrial revolution, create a special environment which exalts progress and human capability.5
The ideology of the “modern” and “industrial” period (which was presented in messianic terms as being able to resolve every problem) has been forced to cede its position to the “utopia” of an information society.… The “communications opulence” in which we live gives rise to unbridled projections into the future.… Communications technicians and inventors… foresee the further strengthening of communication… presented as “humanity’s future...”.6
Relevant to the doctoral project is a reflection Sassi makes regarding the influence of the passage from a mass media world to a multimedia world upon the traditional concept of “master” as “teacher” in society. The privileged access to and possession of knowledge that is at the heart of the master’s power and gives him control over the process of communicating the truth comes up against the fact of interactive media technology, by which the control over the communicative action is put in the hands of the receiver. The communications culture is a culture that takes the self as a reference point, since the receiver is both the starting point and the finishing point of the communication process. The data to be manipulated are in function of the curiosity of the receiver who becomes autonomous in all the traditional phases of the communication process.7
It is to be noted that the basic concept of power has not really been transformed. Only the locus of power has shifted, from the master to the pupils or disciples. Each individual has the potential to be his or her own master in the communication field, and to be master of those who wish to listen and to accept one’s message. Alberione’s prayer about the men and women of our time, “many of whom are wandering in darkness, without a pastor, a father, a teacher (master)”8 should be revised to read “many of whom have set themselves up as their own master.” In regard to the truth, the concept of metaphysical and absolute certitude is challenged by a plurality of viewpoints, by a mutually constructed, open-ended piecing together of possible interpretations of reality undertaken by teacher and audience. Truth shifts with every recontextualization and becomes relativized in the light of new insights. This plurality of truths is matched by a proliferation of models and projects for “the good life.” One’s way or life direction is no longer clearly and univocally mapped out. For both truth and way, then, human freedom is faced with a multiplicity of choices, and this freedom is jealously guarded as a sign that the human person has at last come of age. Life is seen as the fruit of this freedom to choose one’s preferred truths and paths from a variety of possible directions. Sassi states that “life in multimedial communication finds a totality of meanings, a totality of interests and of ends. …The communication universe of life pushes toward a totality of ‘experiences’…”9 There is indeed an opening also toward a possible spiritual quality to life, but its adoption is not a foregone conclusion, much less an ideal valued above all others. What will this postmodern world make of Christ as Master, Way, Truth, and Life? There is a subtle implication in this question, which favors the image of the world as putting Christ in the dock, demanding that he explain himself. For Alberione, instead, it is Christ who asks the questions, challenging the world to give an account of itself, of its deepest hopes and needs, and whether or not it is seeking what will truly make it happy. What makes this questioning even more urgent is the fact that communication technology has worked its way into the very psyche of the human being to the point that the media are no longer to be regarded simply as instruments external to the person which he or she
can manipulate without being changed from within. The media have thus given rise to what can truly be called “a culture.” This culture by now is global, though the concrete expressions and spheres of influence may vary from place to place. Sassi has already described some dangers of such a culture in the passages quoted above: the increased temptation to center on one’s autonomy, one’s power to choose from a seemingly unlimited range of life directions and values. There tends to be a leveling of these very values, none of which is seen as objectively more significant than others. The specific identity and therefore the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul is precisely to insert themselves within the technological world of communication and probe its conscience with Christ’s own questions regarding the ultimate meaning and values of life. The Pauline formation project, then, works within this context. Alberione poses this challenge to his Pauline apostles: How many times do you ask yourself the great question: where is humanity heading, how is it moving, toward what goal is it aiming as it continually renews itself on the face of the earth? Humanity is like a great river flowing into eternity. Will it be saved? Will it be lost forever?10
This question flows from the faith that human life is not an end in itself but is set within the infinite horizon of a divine, transcendent reality that is the source, the ground, the meaning and the ultimate goal of all existence, human as well as non-human. This faith is anathema to postmodern pretensions regarding the human being’s absolute autonomy, freedom, power. The real issue of evangelization in our time ruled by the technological mindset, especially in the communication field, is to proclaim Christ as challenging the presumption of human pride and self-sufficiency by the fact that he, as the incarnate Word and Son of God, is the only Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life for all humanity. Sassi’s talks bring out this issue of power, but he does not develop the possible answers to the questions he raises. He merely indicates directions in which answers may be found. For example, he points out not only the dangers but also the positive side of the present communication culture, which allow for many points of contact and interfacing with the Christian view of existence. An interactive, multimedial communication set-up is certainly preferable to the earlier one-way, easily manipulative mass-media communication which treated the audience as passive receivers of the message. Interactive communication opens a door to dialogue and participation in one’s development, and a truly global intercommunication. The weight given to human freedom, too, could be an enormous gain, as also the broader range of possibilities to choose from for a life direction. The importance given to the imagination brings a much-needed balance to the tendency—which has prevailed for centuries—to favor the rational and voluntaristic aspects of human nature. Creativity and a more integral human development are thus fostered. All these positive aspects could allow powerless power to emerge as a real possibility, there where the danger of worldly power is greatest. Sassi also insists on the need to understand inculturation not only in reference to the cultures of peoples and nations, but also in regard to communication culture. EA refers to this when it points out: “’it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is necessary to integrate that message into the “new culture” created by modern communications’” (art. 48, which quotes from RM 285). In regard to power, Sassi says in one brief but meaningful sentence: “The mentality which inspires our ‘teaching activity’ is the witnessing that rejects every form of [worldly] power (emphasis added).”11 Simply to proclaim Christ as Master to a world that clings to self-cen-
tered power could easily arouse antagonism or rejection, or a defensive stance, or worse, arouse no reaction except indifference. What is needed is witnessing, says Sassi, the type of witnessing that sustains the message with the example of one’s own dedication to an alternative, other-centered power. The more radical and counter-cultural the witnessing, the more effective it becomes. Apostles of communication do have to inculturate themselves in media culture, but paradoxically, they are also to challenge with their very lives whatever in that culture is opposed to the Gospel that they proclaim. If witnessing is the way by which the Daughter of St. Paul most effectively lives her discipleship and communicates Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life in a postmodern world, religious life offers a possibility of witness that is of its very nature a radical form of Christian life. Alberione’s first insight into the Pauline vocation did not include religious life for the members of his congregations. He writes: His initial idea was for a Catholic organization of writers, technical people, book-sellers and retailers; Catholics to whom he would give direction, work, and a spirit of apostolate.… Toward 1910 he took a definitive step. It became much clearer that the writers, technical personnel and promoters [would have to be] religious men and women. On the one hand, [this would] lead people to the loftiest perfection—the perfection of those who also practice the evangelical counsels—and to the rewards of the apostolic life. On the other hand, [it would] give more cohesion, stability and continuity, [not to mention] a more supernatural sense to the apostolate. [He was] to form an organization, an organization of religious. Here efforts would coalesce, dedication would be total and the doctrine purer. A society of people who would love God with all their mind, all their strength; people who would offer to work for the Church, happy with the wages God pays: “You will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29).12
The perspective on religious life and the vows expressed by this quotation from the Founder reflects that of the Church of his time and has undertones of triumphalism and functionalism. But the point to be grasped here is that Alberione saw as essential that his apostles of communication uphold their proclamation of Christ with a witness of life that prophetically challenges the assumptions of power as domination, as the lust to have and to hold, and as self-centeredness. Paul VI points this out in Evangelii Nuntiandi: Religious… find in their own lives consecrated to God an instrument of special excellence for effective evangelization… they are the living expression of the Church’s aspiration to respond to the more exigent demands of the beatitudes. By their manner of life they constitute a symbol of total dedication to the service of God, of the Church and of their fellow men. Accordingly, religious have a special importance in regard to that form of witness which… is a primary element of evangelization. This silent witness of poverty, of detachment from the things of this world, of chastity, pure innocence of life, and voluntary obedience, as well as offering a challenge to the world and to the Church herself, constitutes an excellent form of preaching which can influence even non-Christians…(EN 69).
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE PAULINE FORMATION PROJECT Spirituality: “Called and Consecrated to Live in Christ the Master…” The Founder has made it abundantly clear that Pauline life, and Pauline formation therefore, is Christocentric. The following quotations specifically pointed at formation, summarize the conviction of a lifetime on this matter.
When it comes to religious formation, we should let ourselves be guided by the words of St. Paul: “that Christ may be formed in you” (Ga. 4: 19) and “I am alive, yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me” (Ga. 2:20). “You have only one Master: Christ.” He is our sole Master because he is Way, Truth and Life; our formation will be complete when the image of Jesus Christ has been reproduced in us. In Christocentric formation, the Pauline too becomes, in due proportion, way, truth and life, according to the spirit of the Constitutions (cf UPS 2: pp. 190-191).13
To Asian formands among the Daughters of St. Paul, the presentation of Pauline religious life as a call to follow Christ Master should be easily grasped as resembling in many respects the call of a disciple to leave her former way of life and to follow her spiritual master. Previous chapters have given the elements that justify this approach. This call “consecrates,” sets her apart, so that her entire life is henceforward dedicated to the pursuit of salvation, enlightenment, perfection, holiness through the guidance of her Master to whom she pledges total obedience and trust. This chapter examines further the relationship between the Asian Daughter of St. Paul to Christ the Master, from the perspective of “power in powerlessness.” There is no doubt whatsover in Alberione’s mind that in Jesus Master dwells the fullness of power, the power of the only-begotten Son of God. At the same time, the figure of the Master that he presents is of a person distinguished for his humility and meekness, his compassion, his love even to death on a cross. Alberione’s choice of favorite Scriptural passages highlights the figure of God’s Son choosing powerlessness and vulnerability as his way of being Master. Among these passages are the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12), Paul’s passage in Philippians (2:5-11) regarding Christ’s kenosis or self-emptying, Jn 10 on the Good Shepherd, Jn 13:1-17 regarding the washing of the feet, and of course the Gospel narratives of the Passion, Death and Resurrection. Jesus is a Master who does not hold himself aloof from human suffering and weakness and even sinfulness, but one who identifies himself with the weakest of the brethren. How did Christ, then, live out his being Master? What were his characteristic uses of power? How did he, the Son of God, secure a foothold in human affairs? How did he enter this world, he who has power to dominate his creatures if he chooses? He came by the back door, as it were, by the entrance reserved for the poor and insignificant, the beggars, and the servants. Member of an oppressed race, of a noble but impoverished lineage, he grew up in a back-water village that even among his countrymen had an unsavory reputation. As an itinerant preacher, he had nowhere to lay his head; he depended for his livelihood on contributions and on free meals now and then. His closest followers were mostly of the poorer class. It is true that power flowed out from him to heal all. His followers spoke of him as a “prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Lk 24:19). Even his enemies had to admit that he had the power to draw crowds to himself by his eloquence, his miracles, his very presence. So popular was he that at one point the crowds wanted to force kingship upon him. His popularity and personal power were so great that the leaders of the people envied and feared him, to the point that they finally succeeded in handing him over to death. Christ possessed power as the world knows power. But he revealed by his entire life that true power at its very core is something radically different from power as the world conceives and expresses it. At the heart of true power is not the fist clenched around the scepter of
domination and poised to crush all who are in its way. Real power is strong enough to be open-handed, vulnerable, ready to serve and empower others. It is self-forgetful and moves out to others in love. It stoops down, and lifts up. In Christ, “master,” the word of power, takes on a new face and energy source. Christ is Master, indeed, but a master with the heart of a shepherd, a servant, a friend, a lover. One passage from Isaiah brings out the contrast between the power of Christ MasterShepherd and worldly power: Here is Lord Yahweh coming with power, his arm maintains his authority, his reward is with him and his prize precedes him. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, Gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes (Is 40:10-11).
In the realm of knowledge, Christ Master Teacher comes bearing divine truth—a truth superior to human wisdom, a truth that shatters and turns upside down the usual categories of human thinking and re-frames the entire perspective on life. But that truth breaks upon the person only to expand and elevate his vision and his very being. It is communicated as secrets are shared between friends and lovers, secrets that reveal the Lover’s mind and heart in a gesture of profound trust and vulnerability. “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:15). Christ Master’s way to genuine fulfillment and happiness is a journey of self-emptying and self-transcendence, at the service of others and ultimately of the Other, God himself. He who could rightfully have claimed his followers’ service and submission came among them as one who serves. He washed their feet. He gave his life for them. Jesus Master Way, the royal road to life, is not satisfied with simply indicating that way; he himself opened it up for us, braving its perils, tasting its fatigue in his own person. He walks ahead as guide and model, and at the same time walks the way at our side, smoothing out difficulties, comforting, healing, strengthening, inspiring. And what of Jesus, Master of Life? Earthly masters glory in subjecting other lives to their own, feeding on others, exploiting and diminishing the very being of others. Jesus Life, instead, gives his followers unlimited access to his own vital energy, to the infinitely superior quality of his undying life which transforms them even as it unites them to him in an intimacy that fulfills the human heart’s deepest longings for communion. He gave his life for his own that he might share his life with them. He nourishes that life, cultivates it, makes it grow. This is the Master at the heart of the Pauline formation project. And it is particularly relevant to the present Asian situation. EA states: …the Synod Fathers stressed many times the need to evangelize in a way that appeals to the sensibilities of Asian peoples, and they suggested images of Jesus which would be intelligible to Asian minds and cultures and, at the same time, faithful to Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Among them were “Jesus Christ as the Teacher of Wisdom, the Healer, the Liberator, the Spiritual Guide, the Enlightened One, the Compassionate Friend of the Poor, the Good Samaritan, the Good Shepherd, the Obedient One.” …In the midst of so much suffering among Asian peoples, he might best be proclaimed as the Savior “who can provide meaning to those undergoing unexplainable pain and suffering” (EA 20, emphasis added).
A further word should be said regarding Christ, the suffering Master, since this aspect is particularly relevant in the Asian setting. It was on the cross that Christ Master lived his powerless power most fully, revealing the totality of his love for his own. Other Asian religious traditions contain a similar ideal of master, for instance, the figure of the bodhisattva in Buddhism. The disciples who want to follow him must walk the way he trod, which is, ultimately, the way of suffering. At ordination a Buddhist monk undergoes the ceremony by burning—some spots on his body are burned. This is a symbolic act with profound meaning. The pain caused by the burning reminds the monk that life is suffering, that the world is pain. Through the act the pain of humanity penetrates him. The Buddhist ceremony of ordination is a sacrament of pain. The monk takes up the pain of the world and bears it on his body. It is said in the seventh-century Buddhist scripture: All creatures are in pain, all suffer from bad and hindering karma… so that they cannot see the Buddhas or hear the law of Righteousness or know the Order.… All that mass of pain and evil karma I take in my own body.… I take upon myself the burden of sorrow; I resolve to do so; I endure it all. I do not turn back or run away, I do not tremble… I am not afraid … nor do I despair. Assuredly I must bear the burdens of all beings… I must set them all free. This is Buddhist faith at its most sublime.… The divine power to save gets expressed in the human power to endure. The divine compassion for the suffering multitudes becomes actualized in the human compassion to bear the burdens of karma for others. At this deepest level the Asian spirit that gives glimmers of light through, for example, Buddhist faith can and must move the heart of Jesus who bore the pain and suffering of the world and died on the cross.14
This suffering Jesus is the Master whom the Asian Daughter of St. Paul must be helped to encounter, to experience and to proclaim in her own life and in the life of her people. Her formation is to unfold at the school of the suffering Christ. The image of the humble, suffering Servant-Master overturns the fatal tendency to see Christ as a foreign master, remote, unreachable, to be feared rather than loved. This tendency prevails for many Asians who come from a background of Western colonization; Christ Master is often seen as part of the oppressive, exploitative colonizing power. Only an alternative counter-image of Christ can help to overcome this tendency and to bring Asians to Christ. Formative Implications
From the earliest stages of formation, the formation project should foster a master-disciple relationship with Christ Master marked by intimacy, friendship, total dedication, aimed at union as expressed in St. Paul’s “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Some concrete formative areas of concern to achieve this are: 1. A prayer life built upon the Word—the Master’s teachings—and the Eucharist as the celebration of Christ’s total self-sacrifice as well as the humble abiding presence of the Master in the midst of his own. 2. The Alberionian prayer of the “Pact” or “Secret of Success” (PPF 211-212) as an organizing principle of one’s discipleship in as much as this prayer is built upon a covenant of mutual love and trust between Master and disciple. 3. The formation to sacrifice and the loving acceptance of the cross. This becomes a challenge in today’s world, with its stress on the pleasure principle and instant gratification. 4. The offering of one’s life in reparation for the evil that exists in the world, especially the evil perpetrated by the abuse of the media of communication. The Alberionian prayer that best expresses this is the Pauline Offertory (PPF 46-48).
5. The development of a media spirituality, by which the means used to proclaim Christ Master are first of all experienced as vehicles for the personal and community experience of the Master speaking through these means. 6. Growth in “contemplation in action,” by which the Pauline develops the sense of her Master’s presence in every moment of the day, in all that happens, in the midst of activity, in the persons she meets and serves. 7. A constant effort to inculturate Pauline prayer in the Asian context.
Mission: “To Proclaim Christ with the Means of Social Communication” To follow Christ as one’s Master, Way, Truth, and Life does not lead to an intimistic, spiritualistic, one-to-one relationship with him. To leave one’s former life behind does not mean to detach oneself from “the world” and to forget one’s links to all humanity and its suffering. Alberione constructs the Pauline identity and mission around Christ Master as center, but this Master with the heart of a Shepherd is, to use a phrase from Kosuke Koyama, “always in motion towards the periphery; he challenges the power of religious and political idolatry.”15 What Koyama means by “periphery” is what Jesus Master refers to when he speaks of “the least of my brethren,” the poorest, the most insignificant in the eyes of worldly power, the most exploited, the mass of human beings condemned by injustice and poverty to an inhuman existence. As the preceding section has shown, Jesus is most truly Master when he exercises his power to identify particularly with suffering humanity, to share its sorrow and pain and take it upon himself. …to make contact with the center is to come into contact with salvation. The center is the point of salvation. It is there that the confusing reality of life finds a point of integration and meaning. The church believes that Jesus Christ is the center of all peoples and all things.… But he is the center who is always in motion towards the periphery. In this he reveals the mind of God who is concerned about the people on the periphery.… Jesus… affirms his centrality by giving it up. That is what this designation “crucified Lord” means. The Lord is supposed to be at the center. But he is now affirming his lordship by being crucified!.… His life moves towards the periphery. He expresses his centrality in the periphery by reaching the extreme periphery. Finally on the cross, he stops this movement. There he cannot move. He is nailed down. This is the point of ultimate periphery.… From this uttermost point of periphery he establishes his authority. This movement towards the periphery is called the love of God in Christ. In the periphery his authority and love meet. They are one. His authority is substantiated by love. His love is authoritative.... Jesus Christ moves toward the periphery. He thus bestows his authority upon the periphery. With the presence of the center at the periphery the periphery becomes dynamic. Our thoughts on mission, evangelism and theological education must be examined in the light of the peripheryoriented authority of Jesus Christ.16
What connection does this faith in a Master who suffers with and for humanity have with the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul? That mission is to proclaim Jesus as Master, Way, Truth, and Life as the salvation of a suffering world, in the area of human communication, which because of technological developments has become a stronghold for human pride and oppression. There is need to examine seriously the concept of social justice in terms of com-
munication culture. The exploitation of the weak and the poor is not to be understood only in material terms, but also in the more subtle manipulation of minds and hearts worked by the powerful of this world through media. It is the explicit task of the Daughters of St. Paul to lay bare this type of oppression and to “redeem” the media by using them for their rightful purpose, which is to proclaim the Good News—news that will subvert the anti-Christian values prevailing in modern society and culture. Alberione’s apostolic intuition at the start of the last century foresaw this challenge. He did not follow the trend in the Church of his time (a trend that prevailed in ecclesiastical thinking until recently) to take the position of lofty detachment from media and its evils. At best, media were to be used in an instrumental, functional way, to “dress up” the Good News, but these instruments were to be handled with caution because they were sources of danger for the faith of the Christian. Instead, Alberione founded two congregations—one for men, one for women—with the explicit mandate to immerse themselves in the world of communication in order to transform that world with Gospel values. One article of the C/D expresses this apostolic mandate thus: In accordance with the clear-cut directive of the Founder that “our priority is to give the doctrine that has the power to save,” we effect the work of evangelization through the means of social communication, above all by making the Gospel message known in a manner that is unambiguous and by a catechesis that develops a growth of faith that goes hand-in-hand with growth of life. We evangelize the various human cultures, moreover, by communicating all that promotes the whole person and regenerates the Gospel values present in every people (15).
The Pauline apostolic endeavor cannot be successfully accomplished if it does not emphasize the value of personal and community witness to the message it communicates. Witnessing is the fundamental “medium” by which Gospel values are transmitted. Without persons and communities dedicated to proclaiming with their lives and actions Jesus Master and his commitment to power in powerlessness, the mission is endangered. The peril comes from the fact that Pauline apostles are inserted into the very culture that poses serious threats to the validity of the Gospel message. Paulines are to be in that media world without being of it; the strain of living this paradox can at times be overwhelming although the ensuing tension can also be creative. Temptations specific to the Pauline mission flow from the above situation. First, the fascination with technology could take over, to the point that more importance is given to the latest developments in this area, forgetting the purpose for which the technology is to be used. On the other hand, Paulines bewildered by the proliferation of technological means may refuse to open up to these new possibilities of proclaiming the Gospel. A real, and at times painful conversion of mind and attitudes is demanded. Second, faced with the highly competitive environment and the need for professionalism in the media field, Paulines may adopt structures and methods that are based on worldly power and therefore against their apostolic aims. The C/D warns against this in such articles as the following: So that the Gospel proposal may reach the audience as an appeal to their freedom … we shall reject … the temptation to change these means of apostolate into instruments of power, profit, or ambition. For love of the truth and out of respect for persons and the demands of professional ethics, we will avoid all forms of pressure and manipulation (C 19). So as not to empty the cross of Christ of its power, our service to the Word demands us to be faithful heralds of the truth—without any form of reductionism or alteration (C17).
On the other hand, Paulines may fail to be professional enough in their apostolic field, satisfied with productions that are undoubtedly pious and blamelessly in accord with ecclesiastical standards, but inferior in the quality of content and technically flawed. These productions may not answer truly to the real needs of the audience in a given place and time. Again the C/D gives clear directives on the matter: Imitating the example of Christ, the perfect communicator, we commit ourselves to adopt a way of expression consistent with the circumstances of the audience and suited to the time, the place, and the instrument of communication. All this so that dialogue can be brought about between God and men and among men themselves (C 19). At the same time, out of fidelity to the human person in his diverse socio-cultural situations, we will know how to shape content to audience with wise pastoral discernment (C 17).
The personal and community experience of Christ Master, Way, Truth and Life as the ground, center and goal of human life is the dynamic source of mission. Apostolic formation then must facilitate contact with this source. Having made sure of this, apostolic formation needs to take into account several important elements: 1. Growth in a pastoral mentality. This means cultivating in the formands, and in all the members of the congregation, the ability to grasp the deep-seated need of people for what will truly bring them happiness. It also involves fostering the ability to read the signs of the times and to perceive something of what the Spirit is working out in human history. It means feeling Paul’s apostolic torment which led him to spend and overspend himself for the spread of the Gospel. 2. Formation to creativity and apostolic daring. Working in the constantly developing area of communication demands that Paulines cultivate a capacity for prophetic vision and the courage to try new means so that the Gospel may be proclaimed in ways relevant to people of the modern age. 3. Professional training. Without this, the mission runs the risk of stagnating or being largely ineffectual. 4. Capacity to live creatively the tensions inherent in the apostolate, not the least of which is immersion in communication culture while upholding Gospel values without compromise. 5. The acceptance that what one can do is never enough in the face of an apostolate that surpasses one’s abilities. The spirit of the Pact is what sustains the Pauline apostle in her efforts to echo Paul’s cry, “It is then about my weakness that I am happiest to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9). 6. Capacity for sacrifice and the mystery of the cross from which flows true apostolic power.
Consecration: “In the spirit of the beatitudes” If witnessing is the way by which the Daughter of St. Paul most effectively lives her discipleship and communicates Christ as Master, Way, Truth and Life in a postmodern world, there can be no more radical witnessing than a life consecrated by the vows, or evangelical counsels, of chastity, poverty and obedience. Such a life is patterned after the Magna Charta of Christian life, the beatitudes, which are founded on the paradoxical kind of power in powerlessness that this study has been examining. The C/D begins its section on the vows with the following article:
We live out the universal call to holiness in the midst of the people of God by following the Master in the way of the evangelical counsels. This vocation, which is a special gift of the Father, brings to fulfillment in us the grace of Baptism and Confirmation and makes our life a prophecy of the Kingdom. The more radical our commitment to Christ, the more surely will there come into being that apostolic community of consecrated persons willed by the Founder which lives the demands of the Gospel, radiates the spirit of the beatitudes, and announces the message of salvation with total dedication (C 34).
1. PAULINE CHASTITY 17
In the pre-Vatican II presentations of the three evangelical counsels, the list of the vows started with poverty, followed by chastity, and then by obedience. The criterion used for ranking the vows in an ascending order of importance had to do with what was renounced by the particular vow. Poverty involved a giving up of material goods, chastity a renunciation of marriage and of genital sexual activity, and obedience—the most excellent of the vows—a surrender of the more spiritual power of self-determination. After Vatican II, the list starts with religious chastity, which is now emphasized as “the primordial and constitutive core of consecrated life, and also what differentiates it most noticeably from other states and ways of life in the Church.”18 Schneiders offers an explanation for this affirmation: Consecrated celibacy is not first and foremost about what one does with one’s sexuality; it is about what one chooses to love, or more exactly, who and how one chooses to love. For all Christians the ultimate love, the horizon of life toward which self-transcendence continually reaches, is God. The primary life commitment one makes to spouse and/or children, to the arts or the intellectual life, to the welfare of the neighbor, to the care of the poor or the marginalized, to the cause of justice or truth, is the mediation of that ultimate quest for God that is the deepest motivation of Christian life. The Religious chooses to engage in the God-quest in an immediate way, exclusive of all mediating primary life commitments. The renunciation of the paradigmatic primary commitment to spouse and family is the symbolic expression of the exclusive commitment to the unmediated Godquest.… Remaining unmarried creates a visible and tangible life form, not only expressing the bypassing of mediating primary commitments but actually removing such mediation from the life of the celibate. The immediacy to God and social marginality that ground the prophetic character of Religious Life… are the direct result of this choice.19
Celibacy is also part of the search for perfection that motivates a disciple in many religious traditions to go beyond the ties of marriage and the family in order to dedicate himself exclusively to the spiritual quest. There is less of a difficulty in an Asian setting to understand the rationale for this vow. It is much harder for postmodern societies in the West to grasp the value of celibacy, freely and perpetually embraced. It is looked upon as unnatural and antinatural, says Schneiders, when it is rather “nonnatural,” that is, not the ordinary and common choice of human beings as the basic orientation for their lives.20 It requires a special call. Further, consecrated celibacy provides a revolutionary witness to the absolute character of religious life—revolutionary in the sense that celibacy provokes questions and reactions, subverts the categories of postmodern culture. …consecrated celibacy also has the greatest potential witness value of all the aspects of Religious Life, especially in the cultural context of postmodern society. Freely chosen, religiously motivated, publicly lived, chaste nonmarriage cannot fail to raise questions in our sex-saturated
and pleasure-obsessed culture. Both poverty and obedience… have high witness value in a materialistic and power-driven society. However, they can be easily seen as directly conducive to community and ministry, which are the most visible aspects of Religious Life. Whether or not our contemporaries correctly understand Religious community or ministry, they can at least understand that people desire connection and support (which might motivate one to community) and that at least some people want to do something with their lives that will make this world a better place both in the present and for the next generation (which might motivate one to ministry). If some kind of common possession and submission to a form of group government is necessary for or at least conducive to community and ministry, they make a certain kind of practical sense. But the choice to willingly forego both marriage and sex is a genuine conundrum within a rampantly narcissistic and hedonistic culture.21
In the Constitutions and Directory of the Daughters of St. Paul, the typically Pauline mode of living religious chastity is described by the word “transparency.” “Chastity lived as transparency of mind, will, heart, and behavior causes us to become a communication of Christ’s love even in the demanding field of social communications” (C/D 37). This transparency brings out the primacy of God’s love, clearly seen as absolute and total, setting the person free to love with God’s own heart. As a consequence, …we will grow in the ability to view persons and events with the eyes of Christ. We will open our hearts to a great respect for the human person and for authentic values, and so that every person may know the dignity to which God calls him, we will commit ourselves with the means of our apostolate to promote all that is true, just, pure, and good (C 37).
In other words, the Daughter of St. Paul becomes a transparent communicator of Christ’s all-mastering power of love. She does not call attention to herself so much as to Christ whose love shines through her. In that light, she brings out Christ’s challenge to the prevailing media culture that absolutizes human love, over-emphasizes the bodily, genital dimension of human beings, cultivates the pleasure principle as the standard of love, fosters unhealthy and unrealistic romanticism. Formative Implications 1. The need of human maturity in the formand. Only those who have reached a certain level of human maturity, especially in the emotional sphere, can understand and live religious celibacy. Part of the reason why initial formation takes a number of years is to provide the formand with the time to discern whether or not she is truly called to this commitment, and to help her grow in its observance. 2. The importance of providing guidance for a deeper fidelity to the vow even after perpetual profession. The formation project should help the Daughter of St. Paul to live with creative fidelity, in the various phases of adult life, this vow that is necessarily absolute in character. This is imperative especially for a Daughter of St. Paul who carries out her mission in a media culture that is hostile or at the very least indifferent to the values of a celibate life. 3. The formation to friendship. It is the paradigm of a rapport built on “power in powerlessness,” used by God himself in relating to human beings and proposed as the pattern of human relationships. As such, this capacity must be carefully nurtured from the earliest stages.
2. PAULINE POVERTY
If chastity is the core element that constitutes religious life in its essence, the vow of poverty and the life style that results from it is what distinguishes one religious congregation from another. The specific mission of the congregation determines its manner of living pov-
erty. For Paulines, evangelization with the media results in a style of religious poverty that is in some respects unique. The C/D introduces Pauline poverty thus: The Divine Master who became poor for our sake is the way of our poverty. In communion with the mystery of his self-emptying and service, we abandon our lives in total dependence and freedom to the hands of the Father to proclaim his manifold riches and the liberality of his gifts. Following the example of Mary who excelled among the humble and poor of the Lord, and of St. Paul, who in abundance and in want relied exclusively on Christ, the source of his strength, we open our hearts to hope, and we affirm that God is the supreme good and that he takes care of our lives (C 41, emphasis added).
The vow is clearly based on the choice of powerless power, with its consequences of letting go of egoistic control over one’s life, giving the direction of it to the Master, accepting vulnerability. The same can be said also of religious obedience; what differentiates one vow from the other is the good that is renounced. By poverty one renounces material goods as central to one’s life and one source of worldly power. That this vow is endangered in the Pauline mission of proclaiming the Gospel in the world of communication is obvious. The media are manipulated by wielders of worldly power, who use them to accumulate wealth. It is by now a truism to say that the media are “big business.” For commercial purposes, the consumer mentality is deliberately cultivated in society, to make sure that there is a market for material products. To live her vow of poverty faithfully, the Pauline struggles first of all with her own human tendency to have, to have more, to have all, that is, to find security in material possessions. The struggle is intensified because the Pauline, inserted by her mission into the media sphere, must constantly stand up to being bombarded at close range with stimuli from a consumer culture that goes counter to the Gospel injunction to seek first the kingdom of God, not material well-being. By her vow of poverty, the Pauline commits herself to becoming “a credible sign [of Gospel values] especially in the field of social communication” (C 45), through “a daily process of conversion and evaluation, [by which she rejects] the lures of consumerism and the temptation to possess, placing all [her] trust in the Lord” (C 50). So important is poverty for the Pauline vocation and mission that the Founder considers it one of four hinges upon which that vocation turns, or to use his metaphor, one of the four wheels that have to be aligned to make the cart of the Pauline vocation run. (The other three hinges are spirituality, mission, and study.) Alberione would agree with what Paul VI writes: In a civilization and a world marked by a prodigious movement of almost indefinite material growth, what witness would be offered by a religious who let himself be carried away by an uncurbed seeking for his own ease, and who considered it normal to allow himself without discernment or restraint everything that is offered him? At a time when there is an increased danger for many of being enticed by the alluring security of possessions, knowledge and power, the call of God places you at the pinnacle of the Christian conscience (ET 19, emphasis added).
After the tension on the personal level, other challenges come on the institutional apostolic level. No congregation can seriously and wholly commit itself to the Pauline mission without the investment of capital to meet the demands of a professional media apostolate. Costly equipment, buildings, business structures are required, which externally do not differ from secular enterprises in the same field. The impression given is that Paulines, like their secular counterparts, are out to acquire wealth and power. This can constitute a real danger
to the integrity of the Pauline identity. So important is the need to safeguard that identity from being deformed, that in the C/D three articles are inserted on the subject: So that the Gospel proposal may reach the audience as an appeal to their freedom, the service we offer will be a disinterested one. We shall reject, then, the temptation to change the means of apostolate into instruments of power, profit, or ambition (C19, emphasis added). In carrying out its mission, the Institute excludes every speculative aim and avoids the investment of capital for profit. All income is ordered to the upkeep and formation of members, to the development of apostolic works, and to the promotion of non-profit enterprises for spreading the Christian message (D19.1). We will be faithful to community discernment and evaluation, so that our activity will not become a quest for profit, nor of efficiency for efficiency’s sake (D 46.1).
Is the ideal of Pauline poverty possible? It certainly requires a paradoxical “solution” typical of the Gospel beatitudes. The C/D says: Compelled by the ardent desire that the Word of God spread rapidly and be accorded honor, and with faith in providence, we courageously adopt the swiftest and most effective forms and technical means of social communication, even if they are costly. As against this we will avoid luxury and elegance in all that concerns our own person, our houses, our furnishings, and our lifestyle (C 46).
Care must be taken constantly to maintain a balance between costly apostolic means and a poor, simple style of personal and community life—not an easy task. It is not easy, either, to grasp how the Pauline lives the preferential option for the poor— specifically the materially poor—that the entire Church has undertaken as a commitment. Can the Daughters of St. Paul really claim fidelity to this task while retaining their costly media enterprises? The answer to this dilemma is to be found within the parameters of the mission to which Paulines have pledged their lives. The liberation of the victims of oppression and injustice must include liberation also from the subtle manipulations media are used to exert upon the very hearts and minds of people. The distortions of truth, the creation of false needs, the deceptive lure of materialistic goals as the ultimate meaning of life and human fulfillment can be fertile ground for oppression and enslavement as much as the more obvious forms of injustice. Paulines are committed to address this issue by raising the consciousness of people to the need for a critical stance against the camouflaged attacks upon their human integrity waged through the media. Formative Implications
What are some of the attitudes and convictions that formation should help to impart, in regard to Pauline poverty? 1. The virtue of detachment from material goods and the power they provide. Concretely, on a day-to-day level, this demands renunciations and a spirit of sacrifice. Only a teaching accompanied by the corresponding personal and community life style will be effective. 2. The option to liberate those who are victims of consumerism. Because it means working for a change of values and mentality and requires time and patience, it may seem even to the Pauline herself to be less effective and urgent in the face of concrete instances of poverty waiting to be relieved immediately by concrete and externally verifiable actions. But this task is to be understood as a legitimate expression of poverty, as much as direct actions to help the materially poor rise up from their destitution.
3. Willingness to share the community’s goods with the materially poor. This can be done through the sharing of facilities, of time. A typically Pauline way of serving the poor is also the use of apostolic media to inform society about concrete situations of poverty that exist in the world. 4. Accepting a life of hard work in solidarity with the poor who have to work for their living. The Daughters of St. Paul are not permitted to undertake money-making investments such as stocks, even for the apostolate, and much less to assure themselves of financial security. The only investment permitted is that of depositing income in the bank and making judicious use of the interest gained. It follows that poverty requires a wise and professional administration which makes the most of the income that the community earns.
3. PAULINE OBEDIENCE
Of the three vows, obedience is described explicitly as addressing the issue of overcoming worldly power and its spirit of domination and control with Christ’s powerless power. The C/D says. The evangelical counsel of obedience helps us to live in profound communion with Christ who, having come into the world to do the will of the Father, Gave his life for our salvation, becoming obedient even to death on the cross. With the complete offering of our will to God, we enter more decidedly into his plan of salvation and into the service of the Church for the proclamation of the Gospel; we declare that by imitating Christ in his total obedience we conquer our spirit of domination and grow in true freedom (C 51, emphasis added).
True freedom and human maturity are not wholly attained by reaching a level of selfdetermination and control over one’s being and life; this is indeed a turning point that brings a person to adulthood. It is not the end-point of maturity, however. It becomes the foundation for what opens the person to fullness of life, which is achieved in self-transcendence. One finds himself to give himself away, freely, in love. Because love is at the heart of obedience, this vow is rooted in religious celibacy as its ground. Because obedience cannot be practiced if the person has not attained freedom from inordinate dependence on material security for his self-affirmation, this vow is linked to religious poverty. Obedience is commitment to Christ as one’s only Master, to the acceptance of Christ’s absolute power over oneself just as Christ was totally surrendered to the Father’s will. Christ’s obedience is the pattern of religious obedience. In concrete, how is this lived out? One indispensable way is the way of mediation. If chastity is, as Schneiders has said earlier, “the exclusive commitment to the unmediated God-quest,”22 obedience expresses surrender to God through submission to what the Constitutions call “intermediaries,” particularly to the superiors, those who exercise authority in the congregation: “Authority is … set up for the benefit of all, as a sign of unity and a service of mediation in the search for the will of the Father… (C 123, emphasis added). And on the part of those called to obedience, “With the vow we take on the obligation to obey our legitimate superiors in all that they command according to the Constitutions and the Directory” (C/D 52). With the element of authority comes the whole question of power presented in the previous chapter of this study. Obviously, the structures and expressions of religious authority and obedience must adhere not to the norms of worldly power but to Christ’s power in powerlessness. The key words then, are servant leadership and service. Christ Master is in the midst of his disciples whom he calls to friendship, as “one who serves” (Lk 22:27), and said of himself, “The Son of Man is not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life” (Mk 10:45). He
repeatedly attempted to teach them the lesson that the power categories of the rulers of this world to lord it over their subjects must give way to another power by which those who want to be first must put themselves as last of all and servant of all. This is the spirit behind the description of the Pauline superior given by the Constitutions: The Daughter of St. Paul who has the duty of serving in the government at whatever level is a sign of the presence of the Divine Master in our midst and is called to a great exercise of charity. Therefore, she undertakes to live in intimate communion with Christ, and she stimulates the fidelity of the sisters by living in evangelical simplicity and in loyalty to the Pauline vocation. Docile to the Spirit, she animates the community and, together with the sisters, seeks the will of the Father by rousing them to voluntary obedience while respecting them as persons; she listens to them willingly and unifies the undertakings of them all, thus fostering collaboration. At the proper moment she makes the necessary decisions (C126).
On the part of those asked to obey, the vow is a call to renounce the final control over their lives, to work against the tendency to individualism, to turn away from the power to dispose of themselves as they see fit. The vow is a call to let the Master truly be Master over themselves, as Jesus was totally surrendered to the Father, hence it means saying no to an ego-centered existence. This is of course not possible if to begin with religious have not opted for Christ as the absolute and total love of their lives. In regard to the Pauline charism, such a prophetic witness is vital in the culture of the media, which are used not only as tools for material gain but even more, for domination. In fact, one of the first things dictators do when they seize power is to take over the media and use them to enslave the people through the manipulation of information and mind control. These go counter to the fundamental purposes of media, which are instruments for the communication of the truth and for the building up of free and mutually trustworthy dialogue that is a necessary ingredient of communion. There is one other significant aspect of Pauline obedience which flows from the nature of Pauline mission, and that is the emphasis on its corporate dimension. It is known in Pauline life as “mutual and organic obedience” and is symbolized by Paul’s metaphor of the body and its head and members. Again the Constitutions provide the relevant norms: We live obedience by becoming involved in an intelligent and active way, linking our participation to that of our sisters in mutual and organic obedience (C 54). Just as in the one body we have many parts and each part has a separate function, so all of us, equal in personal dignity and vocation, have different gifts bestowed by the same Spirit for the building up of the entire body (C 123). With a strong sense of responsibility, of justice and of belonging, we place our gifts at the service of the common ideal: we actively participate in the research, elaboration, accomplishment and evaluation of apostolic programs, surmounting individualism and the concentration of power (C 28, emphasis added). The service of authority… rests on the principle of corresponsible participation, from which subsidiarity and decentralization derive (C 125, emphasis added).
In the formation to Pauline obedience the task of formation to powerless power is most explicit. It is to be imparted from the earliest stages of formation. How can this be done? The following indications will have to be borne in mind:
1. Ascertain in the formand the presence of a mature sense of self-determination and personal freedom. Whatever limitations she may have in this matter should be attended to, and growth encouraged and assisted. 2. Verify the formand’s capacity for self-transcendence. The ongoing struggle between egocenteredness and self-transcendence is a lifelong process, but there should at least be the capacity for choosing and carrying out the demands of selfless giving and loving with the heart of the crucified Master. 3. Include in the formation projects from the earliest stages onward the training for leadership on the pattern of Christ Master-Servant. 4. Promote corresponsible obedience, sharing of gifts, collaboration, and the capacity to go beyond “individualism and the concentration of power” in oneself (C 28). The gradual development of the capacity for teamwork is imperative for the media apostolate, which cannot succeed without the skills of networking and collaboration. It is also a demand of Pauline obedience.
Community: “In fraternal communion” A song by Michael Card, a composer-singer of songs on the Word, expresses the kind of power upon which fraternal communion is based: THE BASIN AND THE TOWEL
And the call is to community… In an upstairs room A parable is just about to come alive And while they bicker about who’s best With a painful glance He’ll silently rise Their Savior-Servant must show them how Through the will of the water and the tenderness of the towel. Chorus:
And the call is to community The impoverished power that sets the soul free In humility to take the vow That day after day we must take up The basin and the towel
In any ordinary place On any ordinary day The parable can live again When one will kneel and one will yield Our Savior Servant must show us how Through the will of the water and the tenderness of the towel. Bridge:
And the space between ourselves sometimes Is more than the distance between the stars By the fragile bridge of the servant’s bow We take up the basin and the towel23.
We come once again upon the key words “service” and “love” which mark powerless power. These key words define the spirit and the praxis of community life among the Daughters of St. Paul. Other Congregations do not seem to need many structures for living together,
and confine their expression of fraternal communion to a more spiritual bonding. Each member has her apostolic expertise and can exercise it efficiently without the help of her sisters. Some religious women in our time live in apartments by themselves, and if there is any networking it is with lay people working in the same field. But the mission of the Daughters of St. Paul, which deals with communication, requires that the members live together and work together. The media apostolate cannot be exercised without the networking and interconnectedness of the members; this is a law of media before it is a spiritual structure. Pierre Babin expresses this reality clearly: You can write a book on your own. In the [electronic] media you cannot work alone.… Firstly, the interconnectedness … is demanded by the nature of the task. Electronic technology does not master us but, where we experience our interdependence, it can make a body of us. Any script is an image of this interdependence: words, pictures, music, sound effects are minutely timed and if the sound engineer so much as sneezes, you have to start again. At the end of a training course at the B.B.C. several participants were not given the diploma and yet they were among the most able and creative students. The reason: ‘This work demands first and foremost the discipline and control to work together as a team…’.24
The second requirement is what Babin calls “professional solidarity.”25 The emphasis here is on “professional,” that is, the solidarity is not simply a warm, vague sense of “what a great group we are!” It requires the discipline and hard work that are part of professional expertise. Our life-style as a group is not set up according to the requirements of personal development or of group dynamics but by what it is that we are producing for the public. Personally I have fallen flat on my face each time I have tried imposing upon a production team the style or rules of management training groups. Our problems are quite different: the demands of the discipline; the need to respect roles and artistic temperament; the need to learn patience at times of stress, control of one’s irritation or panic, respect for lowly tasks, life in the studio... things that go wrong and things that have to be celebrated.26
Babin comments that what creates a team is a common goal and the shared concern about the quality of the production which is the service to be rendered to the audience. The third ingredient is nothing less than friendship, which is the paradigm for powerless power: If you have high-grade technology you also need a high degree of personal and affective involvement. Our life in the studios, times when we are being creative or meeting people in a journalistic context—each of these demands human warmth, the optimism of hope and deep good will. A media person has ‘human warmth’: a media person has lots of friends. Among them I believe that the media person has to have some friends. I would even say some people he loves at a really deep level. This is an intimate relationship based upon things we hold in common and things we believe in common. Without this dimension which is in a certain sense unspoken, I do not see how the media person can remain alive and creative in the depths of his or her being. More than this, I do not see how he can survive spiritually in this particular world which is made hazardous by so much excitement and affective freedom. The two basic charisms for communication are love and prophecy: you cannot have one without the other.27
The Constitutions go over the same ground though in different words. Some of these articles have already been cited above in various contexts, but they are equally significant here. Regarding interconnectedness and teamwork, article 27 states: “The mission that the Institute fulfills in the Church is accomplished by all the members together in a community
dimension and in an organized structure. This requires research, dialogue, collaboration, and coordination at all levels…”. Article 28 follows this up: there is no place, it says, in such an ideal, for domination and individualism: “…we place our gifts at the service of the common ideal… surmounting individualism and the concentration of power.” Professional solidarity, which is founded on shared goals and a common effort to serve the audience as effectively as possible, is known in Pauline circles as the pastoral dimension of the mission. It requires that Paulines give a disinterested service at which everyone collaborates with her gifts; it demands that Paulines work together, forgetting their own personal ambitions and self-centered aspirations, “so that dialogue can be brought about between God and men and among men themselves” (C.19). Friendship is a valuable component of Pauline religious life: “The sharing of joys, sufferings, and hard work will enable us to progress in mutual respect and friendship, help us overcome difficulties with courage and trust, and become a sign of communion” (C. 38). The GGFS sums the community aspect of Pauline life thus: We live in fraternal communion: the community is the place of formation and of mutual evangelization, where together we grow, strive towards configuration with Christ, and carry out the mission of the Institute. (GGFS 1.2.1)
The capacity to live in community is such a key aspect for Pauline life that it is one of the criteria for accepting young women into the Congregation: the person is to have “an open, sincere, and sociable character, and the ability to work in collaboration with others” (C 88, c). The formation that develops this essential requisite begins from the earliest stages, takes in the life within the group of formands and opens up to interactions with the wider community especially in the periods of apostolic exposure in the small, branch-house communities and in the larger community of the central house. Some specific formative indications would be: 1. Training in basic communication skills: dialogue on all levels, proper information-giving, honesty and sincerity in speech, objectivity and openness to seek the truth where it is to be found, capacity to give and receive corrections, and so on. 2. Growth in the ability to accept the unavoidable disillusionment that comes to a formand when she discovers that ideals learned in theory are not always carried out in practice by others, especially professed religious. 3. Growth of communities that are truly formative. Community life, as well as the other aspects of Pauline life, is not so much taught as “caught,” through example and witness that makes visible the otherwise hidden, humble, but central presence of Jesus Master-Servant-Friend, source of communion.
The formator-formand relationship This relationship prevails in the initial formation stages and is a privileged area for living out the interactions between Master and disciple that is the basic pattern of formation and fidelity to Pauline religious life. If Christ as Master lived the values of powerless power in relation to his disciples, the formator must live the same values. The formator carries out a service of mediation between individuals and the body of values proper to the Institute; her function is to guide persons to vocational maturity.… This does not take place
simply through instruction, but almost by “osmosis”—through participation in an authentically Pauline life, which is manifested by means of an intimate relationship with the Master and a selfdonation lived in a spirit of gratuitousness and commitment, love and fidelity. (GGFS 1.7.4)
The formator’s role in many respects is similar to the role of the guru in Hindu Catholic ashrams, in which the human master represents the one true and absolute Master, the Sadguru, Christ, who is the true center of the community of disciples. The human guru, being his representative, prefers to be known by some other term such as acharya, which means “teacher.” Cornille notes: While some ashrams only verbally refer to Christ as guru in prayer and songs, others dress the blessed sacrament (sic) in orange, place it on a leopard skin, and hang a mala (Indian prayer beads) and a garland of flowers around it while chanting the words: Om Guru Hail, have mercy on us, world Guru, highest Guru, true Guru, protect us; the first Guru, the one-only Guru, bliss Guru, have mercy on us; great guru, Lord Master, Om Guru, protect us. (Words on a poster in the Christa Preme Seva ashram in Poona and the Jeevan Dhara ashram in Jahairikhail.)28
Furthermore, the uniqueness of Christ as Sadguru in comparison with the Hindu guru consists in his coming as servant and his call to his disciples to become no longer servants but friends. Vandana states that “the most striking difference in Jesus the Sadguru is that he comes as one who serves”29 This is illustrated in the equivalent of the Hindu guru-puja or worship of the guru in some Catholic ashrams. The guru-puja is a complex of ceremonies, the main ritual being the veneration of the feet of the guru through washing, anointing, and laying flower offerings at the guru’s feet or by his sandals if he is no longer living. Cornille says that in the Jeevan Dhara ashram, the human guru receives no such tokens of absolute power from the disciples: …the holy sepulchre and a picture of the shroud are garlanded. Rather than having her own feet washed, Vandana [the human guru of this ashram] washes the feet of all those present emphasizing that “Jesus, the Satguru, instead of having his feet washed, as would be expected, himself washed the feet of his disciples, and told them to do as he had done—a symbolic gesture showing his willingness to serve and love, which means his willingness to die.” [Vandana, Waters of Fire (Madras: The Diocesan Press, 1981) 99] Vandana thus emphasizes the difference between the average Hindu guru and Jesus Christ and the merely representational function of the human guru in Catholic ashrams.30
The following description of the human guru by J. Rajan could equally well be applied to the formator: he is “…a person who has experienced God and is able to lead others to that experience. He is the Mediator between God and man, and should be of spotless character. He is the representative of God and the disciple is expected to respect the Guru and see God in him.”31 Cornille gives specifications to this basic description: While the Hindu guru is often characterized in absolute terms as “God-realized,” the Christian guru is said to have merely “a certain depth of religious experience.” While the Hindu guru refers to his own experience, the Christian guru refers to the experience of Christ [Vandana, “The Guru as Present Reality,” ibid., 355] And while the Hindu guru is believed to be “established” in a state of realization, the Christian conception of the human guru is more dynamic: the guru is moving with the disciples toward the ever-receding end. … While the guru may have had “an experience of God in the depth of his being,” Amalorpavadass insists that the quest is a relentless one, in which the guru, rather than being “on the other shore” moves along, ahead of, but still with the
disciples. Amalorpavadass defines a Christian guru as one who is a true disciple of Christ, who possesses the spirit of service and self-giving love of Christ, and who lives according to the values of Christ. In this sense all Christians are called to become a guru.32
With this background, the requirements for a formator and the ideal formator-formand relationship outlined in the C/D and the GGFS can be understood along the lines of powerless power. Previous quotations from the GGFS have described the formator as a mediator who has developed an intimate relationship with Christ Master, and lives her role in a spirit of service, self-donation, gratuitousness, commitment, love and fidelity. The Constitutions expand on this basic sketch thus: The formation mistress is a respectful companion to each individual in her personal journey. She will search out the will of God with the individual and help her to discern the authenticity of her call. In this person-to-person relationship that is sisterly and true, the mistress listens, enlightens, encourages, and loves even to the point of personal sacrifice. (C 84)
The important and indispensable role of the formator requires training for persons set apart for this service. “The selection and training of those responsible for formation is of fundamental importance” (C 85). Other related formative indications would be: 1. Building up a formation team that truly functions as such, in mutual trust, openness and collaboration. Such teamwork allows for ongoing dialogue, peer supervision, constructive criticism, all of which are directed toward the greater good of formands and members. No formator, however qualified and capable, can adequately meet the formative needs of every individual under her care. What she may lack, others in the team may make up for. 2. Possibilities for supervision by qualified persons, given to formators as an ongoing resource for them to grow and be supported in that growth which is indispensable if they are to carry out an effective service. 3. Possibilities for updating and renewal. If needed, a break from the role is to be given, not only for study but also for rest, recuperation of energies, detachment that safeguards the formator from falling prey to “professional deformation.”
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS This chapter has proposed a guiding perspective for the formation project of the Daughters of St. Paul, by which Pauline formation is viewed as formation of disciples to Christ Master’s “power in powerlessness.” As a foundation for this proposal, an idea was given of what a formation project involves, as well as an overview of the communication culture in which the Pauline identity and mission are rooted. Essential elements of the Pauline formation project were then treated in succession, always keeping in mind the perspective of powerless power. In the analysis, what surfaced was the presence of this perspective already in congregational documents such as the C/D and the GGFS. Power was not the explicit organizing principle of these documents, but is a viewpoint not alien to them. This fact supports the choice of such a perspective in the task of Pauline formation, all the more so because “power in powerlessness” also is the key to inculturating Alberionian Christology in the Asian traditions of the spiritual master.
NOTES 1 It would be interesting to discuss the history of religious life in the Roman Catholic tradition with a view to showing that this kind of life is similar in many respects to the monastic tradition that exists in Asian religions. Its relevance to the topic of the doctoral project is found in the fact that very often the monastic tradition is linked to that of the spiritual master, around whom disciples gather, responding to a personal call to leave everything and follow the master in order to attain salvation. However, such a discussion would bring the presentation given in this chapter too far afield from its main goal. For a thorough, profound study of religious life which includes this aspect, see the two-volume series Religious Life in a New Millennium by Sandra M. Schneiders, particularly Vol. I: Finding the Treasure: Locating Catholic Religious Life in a New Ecclesial and Cultural Context (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2000). A third volume is still being written, to complete the series. 2 The greater part of this section is taken from a talk given by the writer of this doctoral project on May 10, 1997, to the Pauline Family of congregations and institutes founded by Rev. James Alberione. The occasion was an anticipated celebration of the 31st World Communications Day for 1997, and the point of departure for the talk was Pope John Paul II’s Message on the theme “Communicating Jesus: The Way, the Truth and the Life.” 3 Jacques Ellul, “Foreword,” in The Technological Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965) vi. Emphasis added. 4 Ibid., 423. 5 Silvio Sassi, “The Total Christ for the Century of Global Communication,” in Jesus, the Master Yesterday, Today and Forever: The Spirituality of the Pauline Communicator – Acts of the International Seminar on “Jesus, the Master,” Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996, English translation by Andres R. Arboleda, Jr.,(Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1997), 518. 6 Silvio Sassi, “The Media’s Transformation of Post-Industrial Society,” p. 2 of an unpublished talk given to the Daughters of St. Paul at their Seventh General Chapter, Ariccia, 1995. English translation by the Daughters of St. Paul translation committee. 7 Ibid., 11. 8 James Alberione, “Ecumenical Prayer to Mary,” in The Prayers of the Pauline Family, trans. by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, U.S.A. (Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1991), 227. 9 Sassi, “The Total Christ,” ibid., 524. Translation by the writer of this doctoral project. 10 James Alberione, Spiegazione delle Costituzioni: instructions of Father Alberione during the special spiritual exercises of the Daughters of St. Paul, Ariccia, 1961 (Rome: Daughters of St. Paul, 1962), 232. Quoted in Thoughts: Fragments of Apostolic Spirituality, trans. Aloysius Milella (Philippine edition – Pasay: Daughters of St. Paul, 1996). 11 Sassi, “The Total Christ,” ibid., 525. 12 James Alberione, Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae: Charismatic History of the Pauline Family, trans. Mike Byrnes (Rome: Societa’ San Paolo Casa Generalizia, 1998), articles 23-24, p. 41. 13 These appear on an introductory page regarding Pauline Formation, in the GGFS, p. 19. 14 C.S.Song, “Oh, Jesus, Here with Us!” in Asian Faces of Jesus, ed. R.S. Sugirtharajah (London: SCM Press, 1993), 141142. 15 Kosuke Koyama, “The Crucified Christ Challenges Human Power,” in Asian Faces of Jesus, ed. R.S. Sugirtharajah (London: SCM Press, 1993), 153. The whole chapter (pp. 149-162) is relevant to the subject being presented in this section. 16 Ibid., 153-155. 17 Sandra Schneiders thoroughly develops the theme of religious chastity in Vol. II of her work on Religious Life in a New Millennium. The title of the volume is Selling All: Commitment, Consecrated Celibacy, and Community in Catholic Religious Life (New York: Paulist Press, 2001). Many of the ideas treated in this section are inspired by her presentation. It is to be noted that she prefers the term “consecrated celibacy” to “religious chastity,” because “chastity” is a more generic term applicable to other states of life. 18 Paul Molinari and Peter Gumpel, Chapter VI of the Dogmatic Constitution “Lumen Gentium” on Religious Life,” trans. Sr. Mary Paul Ewen (Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1987), 84. 19 Sandra M. Schneiders, Selling All: Commitment, Consecrated Celibacy, and Community in Catholic Religious Life, Vol II of the series Religious Life in a New Millennium (New York: Paulist Press, 2001), 127-128. 20 Ibid., 129. 21 Ibid., 131. 22 Cf p.81 of this chapter. 23 Michael Card, “The Basin and the Towel,” in Poie’ma [audiocassette] (Brentwood, TN: The Sparrow Corporation, 1994). 24 Pierre Babin, “The Spirituality of Media People, The Way Supplement 57, Autumn 1986, 52. 25 Ibid., 53. 26 Ibid., 52-53. 27 Ibid., 53. 28 Catherine Cornille, The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation? (Louvain: W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 157-158. 29 Vandana, “The Guru as Present Reality,” Vidyajyoti 39 (11975) 353. 30 Cornille, ibid., 180. 31 J. Rajan, Christian Interpretation of Indian Sannyasa – dissertation on Bede Griffiths, 238. Quoted in Cornille, ibid., 178. 32 Cornille, ibid., 164-165. The references to Amalorpavadass are taken from the brochure of Anjali Ashram.
CHAPTER SIX THE SPIRITUAL MASTER AND THE THEME OF POWER IN FILM
The Asian spiritual master tradition appears not only in printed studies but also in films. This chapter offers samples of movies that bring out this tradition as well as the key perspective of powerless power in contrast to power as domination. In terms of content and perspective therefore, this chapter adds nothing new to what has been treated in the earlier chapters. However, there are advantages to seeing that same content and perspective developed in another medium which in modern times is often more formative (or deformative as the case may be) than the print medium, especially for young people. Much has already been said about the living tradition of the spiritual master in Asia, but the younger generation may not have studied or been concretely part of this tradition. Inculturation is not only for foreign missionaries attempting to insert them-selves within Asian culture; the local people themselves need to know their own traditions. Given the fact that young people today are more influenced by audiovisual and electronic media rather than print, the significance of their cultural heritage may dawn on them first through their contact with movies. In the Asian Pauline community, many of whose older members as well as formands are converts, the choice of the Catholic faith means detachment from what is not Christian in their culture. Structures and ways of thinking that are distinctly European, particularly Roman in character, are to be embraced as essential to the Christian faith. Even now there may still be reactions against attempts to look into the wealth of native tradition, as somehow endangering the purity of the faith. The irony of this situation is that the films which most influence the local members to take a deeper look at their traditions are Western in origin. It seems that Asians still depend on the impetus of Western thinking even about their own traditions. And Western thinking may not be accurate in all respects. It is important for formation to acknowledge the value of films to start Asians along the path of claiming their own traditions. However, Western films can only be a starting point; Asians must then go ahead and learn more directly about their own traditions, making use of the abundant material and experiences that already exist. The Western understanding of these traditions must be checked for accuracy and fidelity to the culture. The films chosen for analysis in this chapter are Western in origin except oneâ€”the Chinese film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. They are more available, more popular, wellcrafted technically, and they are in English. These facts make them easier to use for the purposes of this doctoral project. Ideally, however, their insights should then be compared with equivalent local films that are scripted, directed, and acted out by people who are part of the tradition; in addition, they are in the language of the people. Making use of films in this way is highly formative. It is also what can be expected of a congregation that makes use of the media to communicate the Good News. The list of films to be analyzed is not exhaustive, but all of them are concerned with the figure of the master and his relationship with the disciple, as well as with the power perspective. Some of the films are noted for their over-all cinematographic excellence and have been nominated for an Academy Award. Others are rather superficial in content and presentation,
but they are perhaps more popular than the films of the first category; this means that the values they communicate have influenced a wider audience. not only in the West but also in Asia.
Format of Film Analysis The presentation is structured according to the following outline. Synopsis
This is essential if not everyone in the audience has seen the film, though it should be the rule that the film is viewed previous to the encounter. It would be ideal if the film could then be seen again after it has been discussed by the group. The summary of the content is accompanied by basic information about the film: actors, producer, director, scriptwriter, date of production. Commentary
The focus is on the content and perspective of this doctoral project. Key scenes
These are video clips of portions from the films, that bring out the Asian spiritual master tradition from the perspective of power. They accompany the commentary and are also for use in the actual discussion of the film. The connection of the specific film to chapters of the doctoral project is indicated in this part of the analysis. The chapters that are most enriched by this audiovisual dimension are Chapters Two and Four. Questions for reflection and discussion
These are intended to guide the assimilation of the values in the film in order to have a clearer focus for the analysis.
Films selected for analysis: – Karate Kid I, II, III – taken together since they are part of a series and bear the same message in regard to the focus of analysis. – Kundun – Holy Smoke – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Karate Kid I (1984), II (1986), III (1989) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Producer: Jerry Weintraub Director: John G. Avildsen Writer: Robert Mark Kamen
Karate Kid I introduces the viewer to Daniel La Russo (Ralph Macchio), a young, fatherless teenager who moves with his mother from Newark, New Jersey to southern California. There he is the target of bullying on the part of Johnny (William Zabka) who is angered by Daniel’s relationship with Ali (Elizabeth Shue), Johnny’s ex-girl friend. Johnny and his gang are students of karate at a local school run by John Kreese (Martin L. Kove). Kreese’s methods follow the model of violence and personal victory at all costs using aggressive, brutal tactics not only for self-defence but also for attack of the enemy. Daniel cannot defend himself against these bullies until he meets Miyagi (Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita), a Japanese gardener and handyman who turns out to be a formidable karate master, but committed to principles of non-violence, wholistic concentration through meditation, and Zen-like techniques to develop self-defense into an art. For Miyagi, fighting is the last resort when other means fail. Miyagi agrees to teach Daniel karate according to his principles, which Daniel finds difficult to understand and apply, but which he experiences as effective in the long run. A karate tournament at the end of the film pits Johnny against Daniel, with the odds stacked against the latter. Daniel wins, however, and becomes the reigning karate champion of the district. Karate Kid II brings pupil and mentor to Okinawa, Miyagi’s place of origin. Miyagi’s father is dying and wants to see his son, and Miyagi is forced to break his self-imposed exile of 40 years to return home. The viewer little by little gets to know the reason for this exile: his childhood sweetheart Yukie (Nobu McCarthy) was pledged to marry Sato (Danny Kamekona), Miyagi’s friend. Rather than stand in their way, Miyagi chose to leave, and he thinks that the two have married. But Yukie had always loved Miyagi and the wedding never took place. Sato has nursed anger and hatred for Miyagi and sees his return as an opportunity to fight Miyagi. Daniel for his part runs afoul of Sato’s nephew, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). The clash between Sato and Miyagi, and Chozen and Daniel, highlights the different philosophies that govern their skills at karate. The film ends with victory going to Miyagi and Daniel. Karate Kid III sees Daniel and Miyagi back in southern California. After Daniel’s success against Johnny who had been Kreese’s prize pupil, Kreese finds that students have abandoned his karate school. He vows revenge and finds a friend to help him: Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), a martial arts expert and a tycoon whose wealth has been built up through questionable practices such as toxic-waste dumping. In the meantime, Daniel has an experience of disillusionment with his master’s non-violent philosophy, expressed in cryptic utterances and actions. He plays right into the hands of Terry Silver, to whom he goes for instruction in the art of self-defense. Terry Silver brings out the latent violence in him and teaches him to fight with no holds barred. Daniel later realizes his mistake and goes back to his former mentor. In the meantime, a tournament is arranged by Silver and Kreese, by which Daniel is supposed to be defeated and his title taken away from him. Overcoming his fear and sticking to fair play following his master’s teaching, Daniel ends up winning the fight.
Considering the focus of the film analysis, the Karate Kid series could be entitled: “Two Masters—Two Models of Power.” Chapter Four of the doctoral project will be better understood if accompanied by this analysis. Miyagi represents power based on the Eastern philosophy of contemplation, harmony within oneself and with the environment, into which framework is integrated the art of self-defense or the defense of others through methods of nonviolence, and fair play. The competitor is never automatically “the enemy to be attacked.” Kreese and his friends represent power as domination of an enemy. Its methods are violent and ruthless; one stops at nothing in order to win—even if it means killing the enemy. As a master, Miyagi uses humor, paradoxical statements, and other tactics to shock his pupil out of his habitual way of looking at the world, in a manner similar to that of Zen masters. His aphorisms and wise sayings drawn from Eastern traditions are especially evident in the second film. At the same time, he is self-effacing, very human, and uses his martial-arts skills only when needed, especially to save Daniel from danger. It is a pity that Daniel, though he loves his master and opens himself up to his teaching, does not seem to have truly imbibed that teaching. There is no profound inner change in him from the first to the third film. In regard to the master-disciple relationship of Miyagi and Daniel, the two figures could be analyzed in the light of what Chapter Two says about the figure of the ideal master and that of the ideal disciple. Key scenes
The key scenes have all to do with Miyagi explaining or demonstrating his type of power and his ideals of life. They are scattered throughout the three films of the series. In contrast, the other type of power exemplified especially in Terry Silver comes out more strongly in the third film where Silver trains Daniel to fight according to principles directly opposed to those of Miyagi. Questions for reflection and discussion
What do you personally think of the two types of power as embodied in the characters of the Karate Kid series? Which type of power attracts you more? Why? Can you identify with Daniel’s struggle to choose between the two types of power? Do you have experiences that reflect that same struggle in other contexts? Would you be able fully to accept a teacher like Miyagi? Do you think the values he stands for are unrealistic and sentimental—all right for a movie but not as a basis on which to build one’s life? Do circumstances determine what “power response” one will need to apply? Have you known or heard of actual people who have walked Miyagi’s path and who have gone to the point of giving their very lives to be faithful to their ideal?
Kundun (1997) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Producer: Barbara de Fina Director: Martin Scorsese Writer: Melissa Mathison Musical Score: Philip Glass
The film tells the story of the present Dalai Lama of Tibet, spiritual and political leader of his people, from the time of his discovery at the age of two as the legitimate successor of the preceding Dalai Lama, up to his escape from his country into exile after Red Chinese communists took control of Tibet in 1959. Commentary
Considering the portrayal of the figure of the Dalai Lama, this film could be entitled: â€œMaster with the Heart of a Shepherd.â€? It could accompany the presentation of Chapter One of the doctoral project, as well as of Chapter Four on the two alternatives of power. The fact that this film deals with a historical figure who is still alive gives the analysis an added impact. The film is clearly sympathetic to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, as well as to Buddhism which was, and still is, their source of strength to cope with the Chinese invasion and its consequences. The communists are depicted as arrogant invaders exemplifying power as domination at its worst. The rest of the world is shown as largely ignorant or indifferent to Tibetâ€™s situation; world politics did not deem it expedient to intervene in what was happening in Tibet. More than 35 years have elapsed since the Chinese takeover of Tibet before a film like Kundun was produced to make the world sit up and take notice. The Dalai Lama remains in exile. Regarding the technical aspects of production, four actors were taken to play successively the role of the Dalai Lama, from childhood up to young adulthood. None of the actors are famous but they all give an outstanding performance of the role assigned to them. Martin Scorsese does an excellent job of directing this film, which was considered on all counts one of the best films of the year. Key scenes
The scenes that depict the mysterious ways in which the new Dalai Lama is revealed point to the extraordinary importance of this figure, who combines spiritual power with political leadership over his people. These scenes set him above his fellows; he comes close to being treated as a god. At the same time, the Dalai Lama appears in a more human light, and there are scenes especially when he moves toward young adulthood in which he seeks to be more knowledgeable about the life of his people. He also demonstrates great interest and openness to world events and to the ideals that underlie other cultures beyond that of his own country. With great suffering he hears the news of Chinese atrocities done to Buddhist monks and nuns as well as to the rest of the Tibetan populace. He feels real anguish when he has to make the choice between two alternatives: whether to remain in Tibet and suffer and die with his people, exemplifying the shepherd who gives his life for his sheep, or to go into exile and continue to provide them with the living though physically distant figure of a leader who can be the focus of their hopes and who can represent their situation before the world.
The scenes of the Dalai Lama’s confrontation with worldly power as exemplified by the Chinese and their leaders are especially effective to bring out the radical difference between the two types of power discussed in Chapter Four. Questions for reflection and discussion
Can the Dalai Lama as depicted in this film be considered as a master with the heart of a shepherd? Do you think he exemplifies what Alberione says regarding Christ Master-Shepherd? What do you think of the mysterious ways in which the successor of a Dalai Lama is chosen? Do you feel at ease with the adulation, the unquestioned submission accorded to this Master, who becomes almost a god for his people? Does it help that he is also depicted as human, compassionate, open, able to suffer with and for his people? What do you think of his decision to go into exile? Was it an escape to save himself or an act worthy of a genuine spiritual leader? Have you experienced the difficulty of a similar choice demanded of you in your life? Could your decision to be converted to the Christian faith, and then to enter religious life, reflect the same dilemma that the Dalai Lama had to face? How did your family and friends regard your decisions? Or perhaps, have you tried to help other people—a member of your family or one of your friends—who found himself or herself confronted with a similar dilemma? What advice did you give?
Holy Smoke! (1999) Country of origin: U.S.A. Producer: Jan Chapman Director: Jane Campion Writers: Anna and Jane Campion
Disillusioned with her life style and with the lack of values in the Australian society of which she is part, Ruth (Kate Winslett) goes to India seeking answers to life’s deepest questions. There she meets a guru and has a profoundly spiritual experience that brings her peace. She joins the circle of disciples that have formed around the guru. All this upsets her mother, back in Australia, who feels that her daughter has been brainwashed and is now part of a dangerous cult similar to the Moonies, Charlie Manson’s Family, the community of Jim Jones, and other such groups. She risks the terrors of a trip to India to persuade Ruth to return home, telling her that her father is gravely ill and may die any minute. Ruth believes this and returns home, only to find that it was all a ruse to get her to return and to “save” her from being exploited by the guru and his followers. To be sure that she receives the best help possible, the family hires an expensive cult deprogrammer from the United States, named P.J. Waters (Harvey Keitel). He comes on the scene exuding immense self-confidence, and assures the family that three little steps and twenty-four hours are all that would be necessary to cure Ruth of her delusion. He brings Ruth to an isolated house in the desert, the better to work at breaking down her defenses.
What happens is that he begins to be sexually attracted to Ruth. His façade of total command over the situation begins to crumble. The tables are turned and the viewer realizes that there has been a shift of power from him to Ruth. The end of the film shows Ruth back in India, applying the principles of love learned from her guru to dedicate herself to the service of India’s poor. It is a big surprise to find that her mother has opted to join her, implying that she too has been converted to the love that her daughter exemplifies. Waters, instead, returns to America, marries his assistant, and is shown at the end caring for their twin children. Both express their love for each other, which now goes beyond sexual attraction and is marked by mutual respect for the different paths each must walk. Commentary
The Western tendency to lump together and confuse the genuine Asian spiritual master tradition with cults is brought out clearly in the film and in some of the reviews of the film. All the suspicions and prejudices of the Western mind against the guru tradition emerges in the reaction of Ruth’s family to her new way of life. The fear and rejection of the entire Asian spiritual master tradition depicted in Kramer and Alstad’s The Guru Papers, as discussed in Chapter Four, emerge in this film. The irony of it all is that the guru tradition sketched out briefly—perhaps too briefly?—at the start of the film is eventually shown to be more sane than the supposedly more healthy life style of mainstream Western society represented by Ruth’s family, which reveals itself as banal, hypocritical, sex-ridden, hedonistic and dehumanizing. Jane Campion skillfully brings out this thesis through humor (which at times becomes satire), through caricature, and through the exposure of contradictions inherent in the Western position. Redemption is only possible through genuine love and service, and whatever real love is present in the film is linked more with the guru tradition rather than with the Western way of life. The film also attacks the concept of the man of power, master of the situation, able to manipulate people toward the direction he has chosen for them. Ruth’s helplessness and vulnerability in the clutches of such power is eventually shown to be more truly liberating and life-giving. At the end, her feminine power prevails. This aspect of the film would appeal especially to feminists. Key scenes
In line with the focus of the analysis being done, this film could be entitled: “True and False Gurus.” The maternal concern of Ruth’s mother to save her daughter from the clutches of the sinister Indian guru—shown in the scenes at the start of the film—is genuine though misguided because of the prejudices bred in her by her culture. She assumes that her daughter is to be rescued and is willing to spend a fortune to bring this about, but she does not truly explore Ruth’s situation, and what it was that led her to seek peace in a different culture where spiritual values are lived more explicitly. One short scene, among others, depicts this profound failure to be interested in and to grasp the values that Ruth has found in the guru tradition. Ruth is shown surrounded by a circle of her male relatives and friends, who chant “We love you, Ruth.” The viewer cannot help but feel that the circle is actually a prison, not a means of liberation.
The stifling expressions of oppressive pseudo-love are contrasted to the genuine love advocated by the guru. One scene in the latter part of the film shows Waters, who has fallen in love with Ruth, begging for her care by writing on her forehead the words, “Be kind.” This appeal touches Ruth and reminds her of her guru’s teaching. Her attempt to apply this in her situation helps her overcome her anger and antipathy toward Waters and all that he represents. A comparison of scenes should also be made between those depicting the image of Waters at the start of the film, in which he appears as the arrogant expert and master of the whole situation, and those scenes showing how that image collapses gradually toward the end, when he is revealed as weak and vulnerable, comic and pathetic, in need of compassion and understanding, and therefore more truly human. Many film critics feel that Anna and Jane Campion provided an ending of the film as an artificially tidy resolution to a messy situation, that this ending is not warranted by the theme of the film. The last scenes of Ruth and her mother in India, and Waters as married and a father of twins, are important for reflection. Questions for reflection and discussion
Sum up the issue of power as depicted in the film. Where does true power lie, according to this film? Do you share some of the Western suspicion about Eastern gurus? Can you justify those suspicions by having read serious and objective accounts, and perhaps also by having had actual experiences of real gurus in the West or in the East, who have deformed the authentic Asian tradition of guru? Did the film do anything to clarify your thinking or change your attitude in this matter? How would you classify Ruth’s guru—true or false? Would you say that the writers’ final statement represented in the ending of the film, is in keeping with the basic thesis of Anna and Jane Campion? Why or why not?
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Country of Origin: China, Taiwan, U.S.A. Producer: Columbia TriStar Director: Ang Lee
The central symbol around which the story revolves is a 400-year-old sword called Green Destiny, which belongs to the greatest warrior and master of martial arts, Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat). He is weary of fighting and wishes to pass on the sword and the skills in its use that he has garnered in his career. To his long-time friend and fellow fighter, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) he entrusts the sword, to be handed over to an old friend, Sir Te (Sihung Lung). It is evident from the first scenes when Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien meet, that a mutual love exists between the two, though it has remained largely unspoken all those years and is expressed only in non-verbal though eloquent glances. The sword is almost immediately stolen by a mysterious thief skilled in martial arts. Most of the spectacular and breathtaking scenes of martial arts revolve around the efforts Li and Yu
Shu make to recover the weapon, which in the course of the story will be stolen more than once. In the struggle to recover the sword, Li runs across an old enemy, Jade Fox (Pei-pei Cheng) who had killed Li’s old master years ago and whom Li wants to kill to avenge his master. She turns out to be the nurse of the mysterious fighter, a young woman named Yu Jen (Zhang Zi Yi), daughter of the governor. Yu Jen has learned what she knows of martial arts first from Jade Fox, but has on her own perfected her technique, and both Li and Yu Shu, skilled fighters though they are, have their hands full fighting with her for the sword. Li sees in this young woman the disciple to whom he wants to pass on his superior skills, but she rejects that offer of discipleship, preferring to be her own master. This attitude leads eventually to tragedy. Jade Fox gets hold of Jen and through her, gets to Li, whom she pierces with a poisoned arrow. Only Jen knows how to concoct the antidote, and she is allowed to go and prepare it. She arrives too late to save Li, who dies in the arms of Yu Shu. At the end, seeing the havoc she has wreaked in the lives of others because of her pride, Jen gives up her own love and her very life, by jumping over a cliff. Commentary
It must be stated at the outset that the theme of “master and disciple” and the power perspective are not the main concern of this film. It is made in the framework of a specific genre in Chinese tradition and follows its trends. The film also skillfully weaves together different genres: martial arts, the detective story, two love stories, comedy, drama, historical narrative. However, though it is not a central concern, the master-disciple relationship is readily available for analysis within the context of the film. The sword is clearly a symbol of power that is used to subdue and to kill. Li Mu Bai has used it to defend and to seek justice for others. But after years of exercising the kind of power that the sword represents, Li Mu Bai is weary; he longs to go beyond fighting and to move toward peace, and love. He is willing to surrender the sword and share what he knows of martial arts, and he sees in Jen that ideal disciple who can benefit most from his guidance. He has had other disciples but no one equal to Jen. Jen refuses to be Li’s disciple, or to be anyone’s disciple, however. She wants to be master in her own right. From this perspective, the film might be called “A Willing Master—A Reluctant Disciple.” Chapter Two, which deals with the master-disciple relationship, and Chapter Four, which treats of the two kind of power, will be better understood in the light of how Li and Jen relate to each other. Technically, the film is outstanding from every point of view, and the acting is superb. Awards have confirmed this judgment.
In regard to the power theme, some scenes stand out. For instance, the conversation between Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien regarding his weariness with the kind of power he has been exercising and his realization—reached after an experience of life in a monastery—that life has other more precious elements to be developed. His struggle is that he has not yet fully renounced to his way of life; attachment to certain goals and attitudes are in the way. Jen’s hunger for personal power emerges gradually as the story unfolds, and reaches a climax after the fight scene on bamboo treetops in which Li proves to be master but with a symbolic gesture offers her the chance to be taught by him. She rejects the offer, falls from the treetops, and into the clutches of Jade Fox. The scenes with Jade Fox reveal this woman’s long-standing grudge against Li’s and her master; she wanted to be taught, to be accepted as a disciple, but the master “taught me nothing; he only wanted to sleep with me.” This is why she kills her master, and this is the reason for Li’s desire to kill her as a means of avenging the death of one who has also been his master. At the end, Jade Fox has a grudge also against Jen who has gone beyond her mentoring and taught herself advanced techniques in martial arts. She wants Jen to join with her and share her superior knowledge of the art, but Jen will not have this. The struggle for power ends in disaster. Li and Jen die, as well as Jade Fox. Questions for reflection and discussion
Do you sympathize with Jen and her concern to be free of any master and to exercise power on her own? In this film three of the four experts in martial arts are women: Yu Shu Lien, who runs a school where martial arts are taught, Yu Jen, brilliant fighter, largely self-taught and eager to prove her worth as an independent expert in the field, and Jade Fox, frustrated in her attempts to develop the art for her personal goals, and consumed at the end with hatred and the desire for revenge. Does the fact that these three are women in a field traditionally reserved for men have something to do with their attitudes and approaches to power? Does anyone of these three women show characteristics of an alternative power based not on domination but on love? In terms of the master-disciple relationship, would you say that Li never achieves full stature as master because the disciple he chooses rejects him? Would he too have qualities of the powerless power that is a alternative to worldly power? Examine the subtle indications of the ideal master-disciple relationship in this film, perceived even in the failures to achieve it.
CONCLUDING SYNTHESIS The above outline for analysis and discussion of the films selected, if followed as an integral part of the presentation of specific chapters in the doctoral project, will prove the efficacy of audiovisual means to highlight and emphasize the contents and perspective of the project and to achieve its formative goals. More films could be chosen, particularly “Asian” productions.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS This general conclusion to the doctoral project does not need another attempt at a synthesis of the contents treated in the project. For every chapter, a concluding synthesis has been provided, and first of all, an outline of contents has been given in the Introduction. The project has been developed faithfully according to that outline. The detailed table of contents, too, is a synthesis of the ground covered. What the author of this doctoral project wants to concentrate on at this point is to say something more of the concerns that have served as underpinnings of the entire project. These concerns have been referred to as the “guiding threads” or directions that have allowed the project to unfold according to its goals. These guiding directions are summed up in certain key words. One is inculturation. The next is dialogue, which is a condition for inculturation. The third is formation and its adjective formative. The fourth is communication. Inculturation refers concretely to the following: the inculturation of Alberionian Christology, center of Pauline identity and mission, in the Asian context. It also refers to inculturation into communication culture, which is the context for that identity and mission which the Daughters of St. Paul are called to carry out as a service in and for the Church and humanity. Inculturation cannot happen without dialogue: first of all, between Alberionian Christology, centered on Jesus Master-Shepherd, Way, Truth and Life, on the one hand, and on the other, the Asian traditions of the spiritual master. Because this project is exploratory and not exhaustive, the Asian traditions have been narrowed down to only some specific Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Part One of the project has laid the foundations for this dialogue with its three chapters on Alberionian Christology, on the selected Hindu and Buddhist traditions of the spiritual master, and on specific trends such as guru Christology and the ashram experience. Secondly, the dialogue will also have to be done between Alberionian Christology and communication culture; this is allowed for in Part Two of the doctoral project. However, this level of dialogue is less developed than the first level of dialogue mentioned above. Perhaps the basic question that this dialogue with communication culture can attempt to answer is: why was Alberione so concerned with providing his Pauline apostles called to evangelize in the communication field, specifically through media, with the spirituality of Jesus as MasterShepherd, Way, Truth and Life? Other questions flow from the above: why is this spirituality so indispensable for Paulines now, at the start of the third millennium, when the world is gripped and shaped for good or for ill by escalating technological developments in communication media? Why should Paulines give this image of Christ as their core message to humanity at this time of its history? These are questions that await a further treatment beyond the parameters of this doctoral project. They will be part of the recommendations given below. The dialogue essential to inculturation must be formative; formation is the goal of the entire doctoral project. This formative intent makes Chapter Five—the longest chapter and the key chapter—that which presents in detailed practical terms the proposal of an approach to the total formation project of the Daughters of St. Paul. In dealing with these concerns, a key perspective was adopted which—it is to be hoped— at this point has proved to be indeed of key relevance to the whole doctoral project. It deserves its central place in the title of the project. It has to do with the theme of power, suggested by the term “Master” common to the Alberionian Christological tradition as well as to
all Asian spiritual traditions. “Master” is a “power word.” Chapter Four deals specifically with this theme of power, and shows that in both partners of the formative dialogue—Alberionian Christology and some Hindu and Buddhist traditions of spiritual master—power emerges as two-sided. On the one hand is power as the world and the human heart knows power: the urge to dominate, subjugate, control others who are seen as actual or potential threats to an existence that aspires to be centered on self, to be autonomous, self-sufficient, superior. On the other hand is an alternative power, founded on self-transcendence as the ultimate meaning of life in its fullness and that brings happiness. For this abundant life the human heart also feels profound longing. The desire may be stifled or misdirected, however, to the extent that human beings still hold on stubbornly to ego-centered fulfillment. This alternative power is described as power in powerlessness. It consists in a power so powerful that it remains undiminished even when it is shared as fully as the recipient of that sharing can take it. This power is self-forgetful, it pours itself out, gives itself away, empowers others with its very own dynamism, lifts up the powerless to its level and makes them friends, subverting the superior-inferior paradigm by becoming servant, even slave, to one’s friends. It does not draw back from the pinnacle of self-giving, which is to die that others may live. This alternative power is already found in some Asian traditions of master, such as in the bodhisattva of the Buddhists and in the kalyanamitta of the Hindus. However, “power in powerlessness” is most clearly seen in Jesus Christ, incarnate Son of God, who lived as a man for others and gave up his life on the cross so that human beings might have full access to that life. This fact, Alberione says, makes Christ the only Master, the unique Master with the heart of a Shepherd, the Way, Truth and Life for humanity. Power in powerlessness is therefore an effective key perspective for the dialogue that leads to inculturation of the Alberionian ideal in the Asian setting and in the culture of communication imbued with worldly categories of power. It is an effective key perspective also for Pauline formation and the project that guides that formation, to the point that the author of the doctoral project can entitle Part Two as “An Asian Formation Project from the Power Perspective,” and can give to Chapter Five the title “The Pauline Formation Project as Formation to Power in Powerlessness.” The fifth chapter is the most original portion of the doctoral project; however, what it proposes is not arbitrarily imposed. An analysis of pertinent congregational documents such as the Constitutions and Directory and the Guidelines for Formation and Studies shows that although the theme of power and of power in powerlessness was not the explicit organizing framework of these two foundational documents, they are part of the content and perspective given on the various elements of the Pauline formation project. Because this formation project reflects the thought of the Founder, the power approach and perspective is not unfounded but ultimately Alberionian. In the light of the key perspective, Chapter Six—”The Spiritual Master and the Theme of Power in Film”—has offered subtitles to the different films analyzed as a formative pedagogical tool to accompany the presentations of various chapters of the doctoral project. These subtitles are as follows: Karate Kid I, II, III – “Two Masters—Two Models of Power” Kundun – “Master with the Heart of a Shepherd” Holy Smoke – “True and False Gurus” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – “A Willing Master—A Reluctant Disciple.”
The doctoral project is exploratory in nature. It offers a starting point, and opens doors for further development. It invites to more dialogue for better inculturation. The practical recommendations that follow suggest how that further development may be facilitated. It may be good also to mention at this point that the key perspective of power in powerlessness is also open to other related vital interests of the Asian (as indeed of the whole) Church: the development of an Asian theology and Christology, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, evangelization. The doctoral project could not take in all these related questions; it has been faithful to its more limited goal of formation, and Pauline formation specifically. However, this fidelity is not a closed circuit, it is open to larger questions and concerns, through its chosen key perspective of power in powerlessness.
Recommendations Regarding inculturation and dialogue
The word “inculturation” has appeared with increasing frequency and urgency in the documents of General Chapters (meetings of representatives of the whole Congregation held every six years) down to the most recent, that of the year 2001. The appeal is most strongly voiced in the Asian continent, where the greatest number of local vocations are found. The time seems ripe to foster the dialogue that can facilitate the felt need for true inculturation of the Pauline charism. What are some concrete steps that need to be taken? 1. Clarify what is meant by “inculturation.” It includes but goes beyond external changes such as the adoption of the local manner of dressing, of liturgical worship and prayer forms, of a style of life more in accord with local culture. It does not mean only the adoption of the local language, indispensable as this step is. Inculturation means re-expressing the Pauline charism in terms of the culture under consideration. 2. Come to a better understanding of “inculturation” and “interculturality,” two processes that simultaneously operate in the Asian context, where every country has its own culture unique to itself in many aspects. Realize that the congregation has already opted for international communities with members from different countries who are challenged with inculturating in the local culture where they find themselves, and at the same time with relating interculturally among themselves. What concrete steps can facilitate this dual responsibility? 3. Face squarely the greatest deterrent to dialogue in the Asian setting, which is: what language or languages are to be adopted in official communications—in continental encounters, in written and audiovisual documentations—to facilitate mutual exchanges of ideas, projects, and a sense of being Asian, not simply a representative of a particular Asian country? The Asian Federation of Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) long ago opted for English as its official language. The Daughters of St. Paul have up to now kept two languages as official: Italian and English. One or the other choice (that of the FABC and that of the Paulines) does not resolve all problems. Skilled translators and interpreters will be needed, though even with this, the intercultural dialogue will be slower and more fatiguing. What matters is to make the option that seems to be most suitable at this time, and accept the necessary limits of the situation. 4. Continue with the structures that already for a number of years have been adopted for dialogue, that is, continental meetings on essential aspects of Pauline life: spirituality, mission and administration, formation—which can cover topics such as consecration and community as well as strictly formative concerns. Actual experience of such encounters will indicate how to improve dialogue on the continental level and help the Asian members to know one another better.
Regarding the need for research and study
Various issues and projects need to be studied more profoundly. The theme of this doctoral project is an example. The proposal to view the formation project as formation to power in powerlessness needs further discussion among Asian Paulines. Another proposal, that of inculturating the Pauline charism in the culture of communication, mentioned earlier, needs to be examined and discussed by Asian Paulines. What steps would be needed to make these studies and discussions possible? 1. Choose Paulines in the different circumscriptions, who show aptitudes for scholarly research, and give them the opportunities for study to help them develop those aptitudes. Entrust them with actual research projects that will serve not only the need of their circumscription, but will also be of use for the growth of an Asian perspective on whatever issue is at stake. These Paulines should have a solid grounding in their own cultural traditions, as well as in the Alberionian tradition. 2. It is to be hoped that they are able to be competent in the required languages for study and dialogue. 3. From time to time, encounters among these Paulines should take place on the continental level, for dialogue and sharing of insights on their findings about the inculturation of Alberioneâ€™s charism in Asia. 4. These Paulines should be skilled in involving the members of their circumscriptions to participate and collaborate actively in their research. The capacity to give the right information at the right time, to share their knowledge with their fellow Paulines, is vital.
There are numerous problems to be faced in carrying out these few recommendations. The task of the inculturation of a charism in the context of intercultural dialogue on a continental level has already been started, and enough experience has been gained to individuate the concrete problems involved. Asia is perhaps the continent where the challenge is most felt, even as it is seen as urgent for the good of the entire Congregation. It seems that in the not so distant future, if the trend in a slow but steady growth of Asian vocations does not abate, the face of the congregation will be Asian. If Asian Paulines are faced with the responsibility of contributing significantly to assure dynamic fidelity to the Pauline charism, they must at this juncture feel and face this challenge together. Other continents, such as South America, have blazed the trail in this matter years ago, facilitated by the existence of a common language, Spanish. Can Asian Paulines learn from their experience? Dialogue with other continents, such as Africa, is also imperative. Though numerically much less than Asian Paulines, African Daughters of St. Paul also have their valid experiences of inculturation and interculturality. The task is formidable but not impossible if Asian Paulines truly believe in it, are willing to make sacrifices for it, and are able to build up a shared hope and mutual trust that the God who called them to this task is faithful and walks the journey with them.
The sources concerning the charism and spirituality of the Daughters of St. Paul, particularly Alberionian Christology, and concerning Pauline formation, were chosen from the abundant material produced on this topic by writers and researchers of the Pauline Family of congregations—to which the Daughters of St. Paul belong—in the Center for Pauline Spirituality, Rome. Important primary sources of James Alberione’s writings were made available for study to the author of this project also because for the last five years she was part of an international study commission set up by the Daughters of St. Paul on Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life. The research regarding the Asian guru tradition and guru Christology and related topics (interreligious dialogue, missiology, evangelization, inculturation, etc.) was carried out particularly in three libraries: - that of the Loyola School of Theology at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines; - that of the Gregorian University, Rome; - that of the Centro Pro Unione, Rome, where the writer of this proposal completed a research tutorial on the theme of the doctoral project under the Center’s director, Fr. James Puglisi, in November 1999. The sources marked with an asterisk indicate the core material that most profoundly shaped the thinking behind the entire project, particularly from the perspective of power in powerlessness.
I. WORKS ON ALBERIONIAN CHRISTOLOGY AND PAULINE FORMATION A. Writings of Giacomo Alberione BOOKS * Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae: Charismatic History of the Pauline Family. Trans. Mike Byrnes. Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1998. Italian Original: Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae: Storia carismatica della Famiglia Paolina. Edizione critica e ampliata a cura di E. Pasotti e L. Giovanini. Roma: Casa Generalizia della Societa’ San Paolo, 1985. * Donec formetur Christus in vobis: Appunti di meditazioni ed istruzioni del Primo Maestro (1932). Andrea Damino, ed. Roma: Societa’ San Paolo, Casa Generalizia, 1984. * The Prayers of the Pauline Family. Trans. and printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, 1991. Italian Original: Le Preghiere della Famiglia Paolina. Roma: Casa Generalizia Societa’ San Paolo, 1985. * The Publishing Apostolate: Handbook of Formation and Apostolate [L’apostolato dell’edizione, 1944]. Trans. by Mike Byrnes. Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1998. Italian Original: L’apostolato dell’Edizione: Manuale direttivo di formazione e di apostolato (1944). Edizione a cura del Centro di Spiritualita’ Paolina. Milano: Edizioni San Paolo, 2000. * Ut Perfectus Sit Homo Dei: Month of Spiritual Exercises, April 1960. Trans. by Mike Byrnes. Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1998. Italian Original: Ut Perfectus Sit Homo Dei: Mese di Esercizi spirituali, Aprile 1960. Edizione a cura del Centro Spiritualita’ Paolina. Milano: Edizioni San Paolo, 1998. ARTICLES, TALKS, MEDITATIONS, CIRCULARS Alle Figlie di San Paolo, Meditazioni e Instruzioni – Gli anni della seconda guerra mondiale 1940-1945. A cura del Segretariato Internazionale di Spiritualita’, Roma. Figlie di San Paolo Casa Generalizia, 2000. Alle Figlie di San Paolo, Meditazioni e Instruzioni – Gli anni dei primi viaggi internazionali e della seconda espansione 1946-1949. A cura del Segretariato Internazionale di Spiritualita’, Roma. Figlie di San Paolo Casa Generalizia, 2000. “Anno di particolare santificazione.” In Carissimi in San Paolo: Lettere – Articoli – Opuscoli inediti tratti dal bollettino interno “San Paolo” e dall’archivio generalizio (1933-1969). A cura di Rosario F. Esposito. Roma: Edizioni Paoline, 1971, 1353-1404. “Gesu’ Divino Maestro.” Capitolo I, Sezione III: “I Grandi Cardini della Spiritualita’ Paolina,” in Carissimi in San Paolo: Lettere – Articoli – Opuscoli inediti tratti dal bollettino interno “San Paolo” e dall’archivio generalizio (1933-1969). A cura di Rosario F. Esposito. Roma: Edizioni Paoline, 1971, 557-572. “Verso un’Enciclopedia su Gesu’ Maestro.” In Carissimi in San Paolo: Lettere – Articoli – Opuscoli inediti tratti dal bollettino interno “San Paolo” e dall’archivio generalizio (1933-1969). A cura di Rosario F. Esposito. Roma: Edizioni Paoline, 1971, 1195-1254.
Thoughts: Fragments of Apostolic Spirituality. Trans. by Aloysius Millela. Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1974. Philippine edition: Pasay, Daughters of St. Paul, 1996. Vademecum: Selezione di brani sulle linee qualificanti del suo carisma. A cura di Angelo Colacrai. Milano: Edizioni Paoline, 1992. B. Commentaries, Studies, Bibliographies on Alberionian Christology BOOKS Ferrero, Giovanni. Uno solo e’ il vostro maestro, il Cristo. Vivere la sua dolce amicizia. Milano: San Paolo Edizioni, 1993. Giovannini, Luigi. Gesu’ Maestro nella produzione teologica ed esegetica degli ultimi anni. Ariccia: Seminario Internazionale su “Gesu’, il Maestro,” 1996. Kaitholil, George. Jesus Way, Truth, Life: The Spirituality of Father James Alberione. Boston: St. Paul Editions FSP, 1985. Lamera, Stefano Atanasio. Gesu’ Maestro VVV: Appunti. Alba: Edizioni Paoline, 1949. Pasquero, Fedele. Gesu’ Maestro di orazione. Roma: Edizioni Paoline, 1949. ________. I Will Follow You: Meditations on Jesus the Divine Master, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Trans. Edmund Lane. New York: Alba House, 1992. *Roatta, Giovanni. Gesu’ Maestro. Roma: Pia Societa’ Figlie di San Paolo, 1955. Ugenti, Antonio. Gesu’ Via e Verita’ e Vita: La spiritualita’ del terzo millennio. Casale M: Edizioni Piemme, 1990. ACTS OF SEMINARS AND CONVENTIONS and other unpublished material Equipe del carisma FSP 1980. L’annuncio di Cristo Maestro nell’intuizione di don Giacomo Alberione: La missione paolina. Roma: FSP Casa Generalizia, 1980. Sequela di Cristo Maestro nell’intuizione del Fondatore. Roma: FSP Casa Generalizia, 1980. Sguardo su Cristo Maestro nell’intuizione di don Alberione: la preghiera paolina. Roma: FSP Casa Generalizia, 1980. *L’eredita’ Cristocentrica di Don Alberione. Atti del Seminario Internazionale sulla Spiritualita’ della Famiglia Paolina. Ariccia: 16-27 settembre 1984. A cura di Antonio F. da Silva. Milano: Edizioni Paoline, 1989. *Jesus the Master, Yesterday, Today and For Ever: The Spirituality of the Pauline Communicator. Acts of the International Seminar on “Jesus the Master,” Ariccia: October 14-24, 1996. Trans. by Andres R. Arboleda. Rome: Society of St. Paul General House, 1997. Italian Original: Gesu’, Il Maestro, Iri, Oggi e Sempre. La Spiritualita’ del Paolino Comunicatore. Atti del Seminario internazionale su “Gesu’, il Maestro,” Ariccia, 14-24 ottobre 1996. Roma: Casa Generalizia della Societa’ San Paolo, 1997. *Acts of the Continental Meeting on the Formation of the Daughters of St. Paul: Integral Formation of the Paulines of Asia/Australia. Manila: 15-26 February 1999. Ed. International Secretariat for Formation FSP, Rome. Perino, Renato. “Esiste una pedagogia paolina? Gesu’ Maestro e il ‘maestro di gruppo’ secondo don Alberione.” In La formazione paolina integrale. Atti del convegno, Ariccia 1976, 28-52. Roatta, Giovanni. “Il Maestro, chiave di volta dell’istituzione paolina.” In Mi protendo in avanti. Alba: Edizioni Paoline, 1954, 173-292. ________. La Famiglia Paolina sul Cammino di Una Parola di Dio (Gv XIV, 6: ‘Io sono la via e la verita’ e la vita). Ariccia: Centro di Spiritualita’ Paolina, 1973. Da Silva, Antonio F. Il cammino degli esercizi spirituali nel pensiero di Don G. Alberione. Ariccia: Centro di Spiritualita’ Paolina, 1981. C. Basic Documents on the Formation of the Daughter of St. Paul Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul. Constitutions and Directory. Official approved trans. Daughters of St. Paul General House. Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1984. Italian Original: Costituzioni e Direttorio. Roma: Casa Generalizia Figlie di San Paolo, 1984. General Guidelines for Formation and Studies. Rome: Daughters of St. Paul General House, 1995. Italian Original: Ordinamento Generale della Formazione e Studi. Roma: Pia Societa’ delle Figlie di San Paolo Casa Generalizia, 1995.
II. WORKS ON THE ASIAN GURU TRADITION, GURU CHRISTOLOGY AND RELATED TOPICS BOOKS *Abhishiktananda (dom Henri le Saux). Guru and Disciple: An Encounter with Sri Gnanananda, A Contemporary Spiritual Master. Rev. ed. New Delhi: Indian Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (ISPCK), 1990. Anderson, G. H., ed. Asian Voices in Christian Theology. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1976. ________ and Thomas F. Stransky, eds. Christ’s Lordship and Religious Pluralism. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1981. *Carman, John B. Majesty and Meekness: A Comparative Study of Contrast and Harmony in the Concept of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994. Carmody, Denise Lardner and John Tully Carmody. In the Path of the Masters: Understanding the Spirituality of Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and Muhammad. New York: Paragon House, 1994. ________. Mysticism: Holiness East and West. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. *Cobb, John B. Jr. and Christopher Ives, eds. The Emptying God: A Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1990. Cox, Harvey. Turning East: The Promise and the Peril of the New Orientalism. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1977. *Cornille, Catherine. The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity or Opportunity of Inculturation? From the series: Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs. Louvain: Peeters Press, 1991. Cornille, Catherine and Valeer Neckebrouck, eds. A Universal Faith? Peoples, Cultures, Religions, and the Christ. From the series: Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs. Louvain: Peeters Press, 1992. Coward, Harold, ed. Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1989. *Dhavamony, Mariasusai. Christian Theology of Inculturation. Rome: Editrice Pontificia Universita’ Gregoriana, 1997. ________. Christian Theology of Religions: A Systematic Reflection on the Christian Understanding of World Religions. Berne: Peter Lang, 1998. Dupuis, Jacques. Jesus Christ at the Encounter of World Religions. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1993. *________. Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1997. Eilers, Franz-Josef. Communicating Between Cultures: An Introduction to Intercultural Communications. New enlarged ed. Manila: Divine Word Publications, 1992. Fernando, Antony. Buddhism and Christianity: Their Inner Affinity. Second ed. Sri Lanka: Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue, 1983. Grant, Sara. Lord of the Dance and Other Papers. Bangalore: Asia Trading Corp., 1987. Griffiths, Paul J., ed. Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1994. Hanh, Thick Nhat. Living Buddha, Living Christ. New York: Riverhead Books, 1995. ________. Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha. Trans. Mobi Ho. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1991. Karotemprel, Sebastian, et al. Following Christ in Mission: A Foundational Course in Missiology. Pasay: Daughters of St. Paul, 1996. Kasper, Walter. Jesus the Christ. Trans. V. Green. London: Burns and Oates, 1976. Kitagawa, Joseph M. Religions of the East. Enlarged edition. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976. Knitter, Paul F. Jesus and the Other Names: Christian Mission and Global Responsibilities. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1996. Kopp, Sheldon B. GURU: Metaphors from a Psychotherapist. New York: Bantam Books, 1976. *Koyama, Kosuke. No Handle on the Cross: An Asian Meditation on the Crucified Mind. London: SCM Press, 1976. *Kramer, Joel and Diana Alstad. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1993. *Kuster, Volker. The Many Faces of Jesus Christ: Intercultural Christology. Trans. John Bowden. London: SCM Press, 2001. Lefebure, Leo D. The Buddha and the Christ: Explorations in Buddhist and Christian Dialogue. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1993. *Macquarrie, John. Christian Unity and Christian Diversity. Indiana: Graduate Theological Foundation, 1996. ________. Jesus Christ in Modern Thought. London: SCM Press, 1990. Panikkar, Raimon. The Intrareligious Dialogue. Rev. ed. New York: Paulist Press, 1999. ________. The Unknown Christ of Hinduism: Towards an Ecumenical Christophany. Rev. and enlarged ed. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1981. Patrul Rinpoche. The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Kunzang Lama’I Shelung). Trans. Padmakara Translation Group. Second rev. ed. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.
Robinson, John A.T. Truth is Two-Eyed. London: SCM Press, 1979. Scherer, James A. and Stephen B. Bevans. New Directions in Mission and Evangelization 2: Theological Foundations. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1994. Song, C.S. Tell Us Our Names: Story Theology from an Asian Perspective. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1984. ________. Third-Eye Theology: Theology in Formation in Asian Settings. Rev. ed. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1990. Sugirtharajah, R.S. Frontiers in Asian Christian Theology: Emerging Trends. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1994. Tesfai, Yacob, ed. The Scandal of a Crucified World: Perspectives on the Cross and Suffering. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1994. Thich-Thien-Tam (Dhamma Master). Pure Land Principles and Practice. Singapore: Amitabha Buddhist Society, 1997. ________. Pure-Land Zen, Zen Pure-Land. Letters from Patriarch Yin Kuang. 2nd ed. Trans. Thich-Thien-Tam et al. Ed. Forest Smith. New York: Sutra Translation Committee of the United States and Canada, 1993. *Thangaraj, M. Thomas. The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1994. Toolan, David. Facing West from California’s Shores: A Jesuit’s Journey into New Age Consciousness. New York: Crossroad, 1987. Van de Weyer, Robert. Guru Jesus. Springfield, Il: Templegate, 1976. Vandana, Sister. Gurus, Ashrams and Christians. Bombay: St. Paul Publications, 1989. *Whitson, Robley Edward. The Coming Convergence of World Religions. U.S.A: The United Institute, 1971. Wilfred, Felix, ed. Leave the Temple: Indian Paths to Human Liberation. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1992. Zaechner, R.C. Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1997. ARTICLES Ahn, Byung Mu. “Jesus and People (Minjung).” In Asian Faces of Jesus, ed. R.S. Sugirtharajah, 163-172. London: SCM Press, 1993. Amaladoss, Michael. “The Pluralism of Religions and the Significance of Christ.” In Asian Faces of Jesus, ed. R.S. Sugirtharajah, 85-103. London: SCM Press, 1993. Barnes, Michael. “The Guru in Hinduism.” The Way 24 (April 1984): 146-151. Bhatt, Bhiranand. “Authority in the Guru-Sishya Relationship.” Jeevadhara 6, no. 34 (July-August 1976): 360379. *Bosch, David J. “The Vulnerability in Mission.” In New Directions in Mission and Evangelization 2, ed. James A. Scherer and Stephen Bevans, 73-86. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1994. *Boyd, James W. “Buddhas and the Kalyana-mitta.” Studia Missionalia 21 (1972): 57-76. *Clooney, Francis X. “Christ as the Divine Guru in the Theology of Roberto de Nobili.” In One Faith, Many Cultures: Inculturation, Indigenization, Contextualization. Ruy O. Costa, ed. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1988, 25-40. Conn, Joann Wolski. “Dancing in the Dark: Women’s Spirituality and Ministry.” In Women’s Spirituality: Resources for Christian Development. II Edition. Ed. Joann Wolski Conn. New York: Paulist Press, 1996, 9-29. *Dhavamony, Mariasusai. “The Guru in Hinduism.” Studia Missionalia 36 (1987): 147-174. *Devasenapath, V.A. “The idea and doctrine of the guru in saivism.” Studia Missionalia 21 (1972): 171-184. Durckheim, Karlfried Graf. “The Call for the Master.” Parabola 14, n. 50 (1989): 4-13. *Irudayaraj, Xavier. “Christ—the Guru.” Jeevadhara 2, n. 9 (1972): 241-249. ________. “The Guru in Hinduism and Christianity.” Vidyajyoti 39, n. 8 (1975): 338-351. ________. “Interiority and Liberation.” In Leave the Temple. Maryknoll, NEW YORK: Orbis Books, 1992, 116124. *Koyama, Kosuke. “The Crucified Christ Challenges Human Power.” In Asian Faces of Jesus. R.S. Sugirtharajah, ed. London: SCM Press, 1993, 149-162. Kyung, Chung Hyun. “Who is Jesus for Asian Women?” In Asian Faces of Jesus. R.S. Sugirtharajah, ed. London: SCM Press, 1993, 223-246. *Mlecko, Joel D. “The Guru in Hindu Tradition.” Numen, 29, fasc. 1 (1982), 33-61. Prasannabhai, C.M.I. “Sadguru.” Vidyajyoti 40 (1976): 315-319. *Smithers, Stuart W. “Spiritual Guide.” In The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 14. Mircea Eliade, ed. New York: Macmillan, 1987: 29-37. Song, C.S. “Oh, Jesus, Here with Us!” In Asian Faces of Jesus. R.S. Sugirtharajah, ed. London: SCM Press,
1993, 141-142. *Vandana, Sr. “The Guru as Present Reality.” Vidyajyoti 39, n. 8 (1975): 352-357. *Wayman, Alex. “The Guru in Buddhism.” Studia Missionalia 36 (1987): 195-213. *Wilfred, Felix. “Images of Jesus Christ in the Asian Pastoral Context.” In Any Room for Christ in Asia? Concilium Series 1993/2: 51-62. *Zago, Marcello. “The Spirituality of Dialogue.” Pro Dialogo 101 – 1999/2: 233-247. III. Works on Various Related Themes BOOKS Ellul, Jacques. The Technological Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Malone, Peter with Rose Pacatte. Lights, Camera… FAITH! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture. (A Movie Lectionary – Cycle A). Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2001. Molinari, Paul and Peter Gumpel. Chapter VI of the Dogmatic Constitutions “Lumen Gentium” on Religious Life. Trans. Sr. Mary Paul Ewen. Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1987. Oesterreicher, John M. Walls Are Crumbling: Seven Jewish Philosophers Discover Christ. London: Hollis and Carter, 1953. Polasky, Sandra Hack. Paul and the Discourse of Power, Gender, Culture. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999. Schneiders, Sandra M. Selling All: Commitment, Consecrated Celibacy, and Community in Catholic Religious Life.” Vol. II of the series Religious Life in a New Millennium. New York: Paulist Press, 2001. ________. Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. New York: Crossroad, 1999. ARTICLES, TALKS Babin, Pierre. “The Spirituality of Media People.” The Way Supplement 57, Autumn 1986. Sassi, Silvio. “The Media’s Transformation of Post-Industrial Society.” Talk given at the 7th General Chapter of the Daughters of St. Paul, Ariccia 1995. Trans. Daughters of St. Paul. IV. Audiovisual Electronic Materials AMITABHA BUDDHIST SOCIETY MATERIALS A Bouquet From the Garden of Buddhism: “Wisdom of the Buddhas,” “Destiny Can be Changed,” “A World Free of Conflicts” (based on the talks of Ven. Master Chin Kung); “The Love of Life.” Singapore: n.d. Video CD’s. A Good Teacher Practising the Bodhisattva Way – Overcoming Greed and Anger. Speaker: Venerable Wu Ling. Queensland, Australia: 23-28 Jauary 2001. Lecture Series of 6 video CD’s. A Path to True Happiness. Singapore: n.d. Audiocassette. Taking Refuge in the Triple Jewels. Venerable Master Chin Kung; read in English. Singapore: August 2000. Video CD. Why Did It Happen? Based on the work of Venerable Master Chin Kung. Talk by Ven. Wu Ling. Singapore: August 2000. Video CD. OTHER MATERIALS Bernard, Charles. Analisi dettagliata di Donec Formetur. Talk given to members of the Daughters of St. Paul International Research Commission on Jesus Master, 1998. Audiocassette. Card, Michael. “The Basin and the Towel” in Poie’ma. Brentwood, TN: The Sparrow Corporation, 1994. Audiocassette. 6 films in videocassette: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Holy Smoke! Karate Kid I, II, III Kundun