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.
Dialogue between Alberione and Asian Traditions of the Spiritual Masters.