In a time of intense difficulty in the period following the foundation of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione had what he later called a dream. It came in answer to his prayer and self examination in the face of setbacks. In this dream Alberione heard Jesus telling him: Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here I will cast light. Live with a penitent heart. When he described this prayer experience to his spiritual director, the latter told him: “Be serene. Dream or otherwise, what was said is holy. Make it a practical program of life and light for yourself and for all the members” (Abundantes, 154).
The words in various translations of the Latin original appear in all of the chapels of the Pauline Family. Since the words were “heard” in a dream, I often wonder if we do ourselves a disservice to think of them as distinct phrases separated by punctuation or line breaks. In the following guided examination of conscience I’ve taken the liberty to play with these elements.
Do not be afraid … of your failings, or the failings in the world around you.
+ Even if I cannot put it into words or understand it myself, can I bring my deep-down uneasiness before God?
Do not be afraid I am with you … you are not alone, I am with you. I AM. I am faithful.
+ Do I work out difficulties on my own, or with everyone else but God?
I am with you from here … Here in the Eucharist I am your nourishment & your source. Here in this community which I form around this altar—I am with you here.
+ Jesus is with me here—but where am I? Am I here, or am I stuck in the past, or living in the future?
From here I want to enlighten … I am your light and I want to use you to enlighten others.
+ Do my words and actions reveal Jesus or do I obscure his compassion, his truth?
I want to enlighten, live with a penitent heart … Let my example challenge you in your inmost heart. Always live in an ongoing conversion.
+ Am I honestly trying to live the way Jesus lives? Where do I fall short?
Live with a penitent heart, do not be afraid … do not be afraid to acknowledge sin and darkness – atone for it.
+ Do I bring the failures of the world before God in prayer?
+ Do I bring my own sins to the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly?
Photo credit: Sean Mayer