ASCETICISM IN THE LIGHT OF INDWELLING

THE HOLY TRINITY – BLESSED ITALA MELA – ASCETICISM IN THE LIGHT OF INDWELLING

Introduction: 

Beata Itala Mela
Bl. Itala Mela ObSB (1904 – † 1957)

Blessed Itala Mela was born on 28 August 1904 in La Spezia to Pasquino Mela and Luigia Bianchini; both were atheist teachers.[1] She spent her childhood in the care of her maternal grandparents from 1905 to 1915 as her parents worked and her grandparents prepared Mela for her First Communion and Confirmation; she made both on 9 May 1915 and 27 May 1915 respectively. [2]

 

The death of her brother Enrico at the age of nine (27 February 1920) challenged Mela’s perception of her Christian faith, and she wrote of her feelings to the loss: “After his death, nothing”. As a result, she eschewed her Christian faith and slipped into atheism. However she had a sudden reawakening of her faith on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec. 1922) after rediscovering God; her faith deepened with the motto she took being: “Lord, I shall follow You unto the darkness, unto death”. [3]

Mela became a member of FUCI in 1923, where she met future pope Giovanni Battista Montini and Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster at the meetings there; she also met the priests Divo Barsotti and Agostino Gemelli. At such meetings, Monsignor Montini and both the politicians Aldo Moro and Giulio Andreotti served as major influences upon her.

Mela passed her studies in 1922 with recognition of being a brilliant student and was enrolled at the University of Genoa on the following 11 November, where she later received a degree in letters in 1928 as well as in classical studies.

Mela experienced her first vision of God on 3 August 1928 as a beam of light at the tabernacle in a church of a seminary at Pontremoli, beginning a long stream of visions in her life. She departed for Milan at this time, and chose as her confessor Adriano Bernareggi. Her true calling as a Benedictine oblate came in 1929 and solidified to the point where she commenced her novitiate. It concluded on 4 January 1933 when she made her profession in Rome in the church of San Paolo fuori le Mura making her four vows. As a sign of her new life, Mela assumed the name of “Maria della Trinità”. Mela returned to her hometown in 1933. From 1936 she received ecstasies and visions. Her mother died in 1937.

Mela presented an idea for a memorial to Pope Pius XII in 1941, and the pope accepted the Memorial of Mary of the Trinity. In Genoa from 5–15 October 1946, Mela composed a series of spiritual exercises for the benefit of the faithful; the exercises were well received.

Mela died on 29 April 1957; her remains were later transferred to the La Spezia Cathedral of Christ the King in 1983.

ASCETICISM IN THE LIGHT OF INDWELLING

“GLORIA TIBI, TRINITAS” 

imageedit_60_7947019118Living the indulgence is living one’s baptism. It would be a grave mistake to believe that calling souls to nourish their life with this adorable mystery is to call them back to a special “devotion”: it is rather an invitation to them to live by the grace that Baptism has given them, to penetrate the divine reality promised to us by Jesus: Veniemus et apud eum mansionem faciemus. [4]

We forget too much that Jesus himself left us this teaching and instructed the disciples about this mystery before leaving them: [5] let us not forget that the great religious “instruction” left by the Apostles to the first Christians consisted in an incessant call to this divine gift that with Baptism they had received. [6] The light that illuminates us in ascesis in the august Trinity is not new; also in this we can say of Jesus: exemplum dedit nobis. [7] It would be interesting to search in the Gospel for all the passages that the Master’s “Trinitarian” teaching hands down to us; but it will suffice to remember that, when Jesus wanted to exhort the Apostles to perfect charity, when he wanted to obtain grace for them, he drew in the bosom of the Holy Trinity. the example: ut unum sint, sicut ego et tu, Pater. [8]

St. Paul incessantly repeated his admirable templum Dei estis [9] to his disciples and commented on it in his Epistles, without fearing to illuminate the souls — even induced, as soon as “started” — on the sweetest dogma, the possession of the Lord, one and three, in their spiritual sanctuary. The tone of our religious instructions has greatly abated, generally: we are afraid, we might say, of reminding their souls of their gift, and often we prefer to divert them to devotions which, although good, are not essential. It so happens that many religious themselves, many very fine people and I would go to say many priests practically ignore the Indwelling. Their knowledge of dogma is purely theological and abstract: they do not ignore that God is in them, with a perennial spiritual presence (as long as they have grace), but they do not think in the least to use this wealth in their ascetic effort.

Their spiritual “strategy” is often complicated; but, while performing so many meritorious works, they forget to turn a simple glance of grateful love to the one who made his sanctuary of their soul. [10]

God wanted to live in the closest intimacy with us. He was not content to leave us in the Eucharist the possibility of receiving the humanised Word for a few moments in our hearts, but wanted that, once the “physical” presence of Christ [11] had disappeared, the soul would not remain empty or alone, but enjoyed the presence of the three Persons without interruption. And while God gives us this intimacy, we refuse to rejoice in it, to draw from it those gifts of light and holiness that it instead is destined to bring us.

Enlightening the souls on this great mystery, making them “sensitive” so to speak, is a great work. It is continuing and commenting on the work of Jesus, who obtained for us the gift of grace with his death and that the indwelling promised as the supreme reward of love for him, of our “grafting” to him: [12] “whoever loves me, the Father will love him, and we will come and make him our home”. [13] Perhaps currently none of our Lord’s promises and the heavenly realities of the Christian life is more than this wrapped in the darkness of a practical oblivion among the faithful themselves.

I. SIN

The soul that has understood to carry within itself an ineffable gift in the triune God, comes spontaneously, no longer out of fear but out of love, to hatred of guilt. Serious sin appears to her as a horrible profanation of the templum Dei Vivi. [14] If the profanation of the tabernacle, in which Jesus rests, presents itself as a frightening madness, no less serious it seems to tear it from itself, losing its grace, the divine Guest. That the Trinity withdraws from her, that an abyss stands between herself and the one who gave herself to her, and made her a cabin, a monstrous hypothesis appears to her. The soul understands that it is more understandable to sacrifice every human desire, every affection, every dearer thing, rather than sacrificing the possession of the one who divinises it. The “rather death than mortal sin” no longer appears to her as a rhetorical phrase and too easy to be repeated without conviction, but as the expression of a profound conviction, of an unshakable will. In trials and temptations the soul clings to God, makes its centre its stronghold, seeks to penetrate into the Trinitarian mystery the secret of love which has redeemed it and which wants it glorified in the heavens and draws on this contact with the the secret of God is the strength to resist the enemy. It contemplates the Father who created it and gave it to the Son to redeem it; he contemplates the Word who perpetuates his offering to the Father for the salvation of men in the bosom of the Trinity; he contemplates the Holy Spirit who sanctifies it, who has previously enriched it with the Sacred Septenary [15]: he feels that he is the object of an incomprehensible love, he feels that if she alone existed in the world, for her alone they would consume themselves in the divine mystery the mysteries of an infinite love. And in these lights the hypothesis of a rebellion against God, of a contempt for the love of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit seems to her a terrible aberration. When he ignored his gift, he was perhaps less frightened by the hypothesis of a split between her and a God thought far away, in the remote skies, a God with whom in time he could have recovered in peace: the very thought of Jesus in the Eucharist could be hunted (there are souls who no longer enter the Church, to avoid being in front of Christ physically [16] present when they want to betray him). But if the soul has understood what is Grace and the Inhabited, it trembles more at the thought of snatching away from herself her divine wealth and rebelling against someone who lives not only next to her, but in her.

In this light the same venial sin and the imperfection felt [17] appear to her much more serious than what she previously thought. Even a small “no” to the beloved, possessed in every moment, seems very sad to her. It needs to cling to the Word “in sinu Trinitatis” to answer perpetually to the Father “Amen” who accepts all his will. Every resistance is a dissonance between the soul and the Lord, every “no” is a discordant voice in the temple where God elevates to himself a canticle of praise.

However small the “no” do not deprive the soul of the divine Guest, they nevertheless deprive it of a more intimate possession of him and his love, and resound like an irreverent voice in the depths sanctified by the canticum gloriae.

The more the soul penetrates its gift, the more it is dragged not only to disobey God in nothing, but to be docile to every inspiration. The voice of the Holy Spirit makes itself heard more and more: the Spirit of love asks her for the works of love. Small or large, it doesn’t matter: they have an infinite value [18] because they are suggested by him, and the smallest “yes” of the soul is a heavenly offering in sinu Trinitatis. The soul pronounces it tightly to the Word in the ardors of the Holy Spirit; and then the small “yes” is lost in the perennial “Amen” which in the name of all the redeemed the Word traces back to the Father. The “yes” becomes worthy of being presented to the Father himself: the Father bends with immense love on the soul that wanted to witness to him his fidelity, according to his small strengths. And because every yes, however small, the donation of divine charity increases for the soul, establishing between her and the Trinity closer relationships of love and ineffable intimacy.

2. PRAYER

There are very pious souls and even religious and priestly souls who completely ignore one of the sweetest experiences of the inner life: prayer related to the dogma of the Indwelling. Without a doubt, feeling the Trinity in oneself, contemplating it, losing oneself in it in passive prayer, belong to the graces that the soul receives if and when it pleases God. But there is no doubt that many souls they would be more willing to receive them if they were more educated about the setting to give to their piety in relation to the gift they have. It is necessary to invite souls to an active effort of intimacy with the three Persons, so that they can more easily reach the happy age when the Lord manifests himself in their depths to their rapt gaze.

3. RECOLLECTION

The pious souls, the religious, the priests, who so often complain about the dissipation of a forcibly tumultuous life, would find ineffable consolations of recollection, if their theoretical knowledge of the Indwelling turned into a practically living it. A glance at one’s soul amid the agitations of a congress or a meeting, a thought to the Trinity that in the depths of the soul glorifies itself in the unalterable peace of the divine life, could help a soul, even immersed in the apostolate more ardent, to keep the contact with God. Contact, we notice well, not only useful to keep the soul in an atmosphere of silent adoration even among the noise of tiring days, but very effective to save the soul from excesses of activity, from errors and from falls, often frequent even in works of zeal. This rapid meeting of the soul with its God, this tightening to Him for an instant inevitably obtains a gift of enlightenment to the soul itself. The soul will see that she is about to do or to say something that displeases the living Lord in her, she will see another something to replace her, and will avoid the dangers of dissipation much more easily than with complicated spiritual strategies she has devised. This contact could be a simple look at God in depth, for souls who are not entirely inexperienced in intimacy with him, for others they may be more inclined to vocal prayer, a Gloria, a prayer (also taken from the Office of the Trinity) an inspiration, any word spoken to God with loving attention, murmured as an act of charity, of request and offer to the Lord present in us. How many times, for example, in pronouncing the Glory, do we think that our praise is gathered by the Lord so close as to be the reviver of our soul? How many times does our distracted gaze rise to the material sky, without the soul ever fixing it in that sky which is itself (caeli sumus)? [19] How many even the most profound souls, they would have a scruple of forgetting certain particular devotions (certainly good in themselves and useful to them, if they help them to rise to God), but they are never reproached for forgetting completely that the grace of their Baptism and the sacraments gave them the Trinity, and that this gift is not enough to know it abstractly but it is right to live it? How many souls who would not forgive (rightly) themselves to abandon the worship of our tabernacles, where Jesus pertains to his physical presence among men, do not even know that they must forgive themselves for despising almost (even if unknowingly) a presence spiritual [20] of God in them, no less admirable, not less rich in charity? How many souls think that, if we can normally be too little at the feet of the Word made flesh, can we always worship him in us in his unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit?

4. SILENCE

From this contact with God silence comes with relative ease, which would surprise many monks, unfortunately sometimes accustomed to considering it as a painful ascetic constraint. This immediate thinking in itself brings the soul, even the least sensitive, to reverent adoration. As any person, even a poorly formed person, feels that he lacks reverence with inopportune chatter before the tabernacle, every soul who thinks of the Indwelling seriously, is inclined to silence many useless words and above all to respect silence, in the hours fixed by the Conventual or personal Rule , as far as possible.

These are the hours in which the soul can more freely make contact with the Lord and surrender to the joy of intimacy with him, joy not always felt, but always wanted by the soul aware of his gift.

Silentium tibi laus. [21] Fidelity to this mortification can bring unsuspected donations to the soul. Is it possible to ask the apostolic souls to exercise silence? Without any doubt. A useless, restrained question, a mortified curiosity, an interesting conversation interrupted with grace, when it captivates us the most, a delayed dear visit can give the soul immersed in active life the graces that the exercise of a strict silence often conquers the cloistered. God compensates for what anyone can give him in his state. And if apostolic souls sometimes lose precious gifts, they can blame it on their infidelity for this minimal exercise of silence, which reproduces the reigning one in the bosom of the Holy Trinity. In this divine bosom silence and praise are combined, peace and creative and sanctifying activity are arranged: a wonderful lesson for every soul that knows and wants to learn it.

St. Benedict considers silence not only as a means of union, but as an expression of the supreme degrees of humility (and therefore of perfection) achieved by the monk. [22] The great contemplative was not unaware that contact with the Lord reduces the soul to silence. If it stands next to him, it is instinctively inclined to moderate “the expression of itself”. This form of self-denial will be from the beginning only external, while the soul will still speak to God. But degree by degree the silence will envelop it, proceeding from the outside to the inside, until the age in which its prayer itself it will only be a profound silence. Then from the soul the maximum of praise will rise to God: it will live in fullness the “silentium tibi laus”. This will be the blessed age in which, let us note it well, the contact with the indwelling Trinity will have reached the maximum intensity, the age in which the soul will not only be able to search for God in itself with an active effort of recollection, but to contemplate it in self, for a particular manifestation granted by his love.

5. THE HOLY MASS

We cannot deal with the great Eucharistic liturgy, without having first hinted at the atmosphere of silence that the soul must form in order to live the Indwelling. It can be assumed that no soul could penetrate the Trinitarian light with its liturgical prayer, if it had not first sought to grasp, among the thousand echoes of the daily life that pervade it, the echo of the divine praise which God elevates to itself in her . In the Holy Mass the soul sees sensibly reproduced the mysteries of love that are celebrated in her in the bosom of God. The Word renews his Incarnation and his Immolation to intercede before the Father. He consumes his oblation in the fire of the Holy Spirit. And with the Word, in the Holy Mass, all the faithful who penetrate the profound meaning of the sacred liturgy are offered and presented to be sacrificed to his glory; Jesus does not renew his sacrifice by himself: he embraces all those who with him want to become a single host, so that the unity of the Mystical Body with its Head is not an abstraction or a grace received almost unconsciously, but a reality lived by each soul. It is the Holy Spirit that illuminates the elect on these ineffable mysteries, which communicates to the generous souls a spark of that consuming charity that holds the Word to the Father in the bosom of the Trinity; and that pushes the Word to perpetuate under the Eucharistic veils the annihilations of his Incarnation and his Sacrifice. The more a soul makes contact with the Trinity in itself, the more the Eucharistic liturgy will appear to her as a luminous expression of the heavenly liturgy and the mysteries of charity that are consummated ab-eternally in the bosom of God. The liturgy of the Mass will appear to the soul as the perpetual realisation of the Ecce venio pronounced by the Word in sinu Patris. [23].

    

The soul will somehow understand the infinite love that holds the Father to the Only Begotten Oblate to his gloria usque ad mortem and will also be given to understand that this love is also his inheritance, his possession, because the Father considers it in the unity with the Head of the Mystical Body: the more the more generously he identified himself with this divine Head through love and pain.

6. THE HOLY COMMUNION

The soul will then feel the need to unite with Christ in his Eucharistic participation in the Mass. It will understand that only Jesus will gradually be able to reveal to her the mysteries of divine life: and that close to him it will be given to her to descend into sinu Trinitatis. Never as in the moments of the Holy Communion can he hope to be the object of the love of the Father and of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: never as in these moments will he dare to offer himself to the Father to glorify him in the fulfilment of his will. She can ask Jesus to introduce her into the divine shrine to love the Father with him and to be enveloped by his love. Jesus, through his bloodless sacrifice and participation in his table, will make him less unworthy of this entrance into the bosom of the Holy Trinity. I do not want to speak of a “sensitive” grace: but of the real grace that each Communion can give to the soul who knows how to ask for it and who is aware of receiving it. Since Jesus cannot be united with a soul without holding her in Sinu Patris, it is we who receive these graces without understanding them and who often do not even bother to penetrate them. We love to express our thanks to Jesus in language that is often too rhetorical and we do not know well what he does in us and for us when it comes down to our hearts. Through the veil of his adorable humanity we would reach the Holy Trinity, if we knew how to tear this veil with our faith. We would then contemplate the Word incarnated in his unity with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, and we would understand that to cling to Christ is also to cling to the Father and the Holy Spirit: “He who has seen me has also seen the Father”. [24] This is why a Christocentric piety is also a Trinitarian piety. We are at the heart of dogma and faith in its hinges: “Unity and Trinity of God, Incarnation, Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Such piety is eminently “sacerdotal”. Who, more than his priests, does Jesus want to introduce into the mystery of divine life? To whom will such mystery be revealed that those who represent him to his brothers? Alter Christus! If a priest has to copy in himself what is possible the Master, should he not penetrate in him, the Word, in the heavenly sanctuary, to take part, so to speak, in his life in sinu Trinitatis? This life offers no less than the “human” life of Jesus, the subject of meditation. The mere thought of annihilation which human life represents for the Word and of the love from which it originated would be enough to nourish an entire priestly life with divine charity, zeal and sacrifice.

In sinu Trinitatis the priest will allow himself to be blessed with the charity that is God, so he will allow himself to be imbued with the enlightening and consuming action of the Holy Spirit, to communicate his enlightenment and ardor to the faithful. In sinu Trinitatis, close to the Word, he will implore forgiveness from the Father for sinners, the gift of a growing grace for the just: in sinu Trinitatis will contemplate the work of the Redemption, of which he was elected dispenser and minister. In this abyss he will understand that one thing is essential, the glory of God, and he will learn to converge towards this supreme end.

His vocation will seem to him truly heavenly, similar to that which the Word made his own to bring humanity back to the Father. Moreover, the priest will want to become unum with Christ for the glory of the Father and the salvation of his brothers. And the more this unum becomes reality, the more Christ will reveal to his priest the mystery of his divine life, of his unity with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.

7. THE DIVINE OFFICE

The Divine Office becomes, for the priests and the faithful who live the indwelling, the favourite prayer after the Eucharistic one. It is the divine prayer itself, the prayer that Christ raises to the Father through his Mystical Body, the prayer suggested by the Holy Spirit.

In the psalms, in the prayers, in the lessons the soul will catch the splendour of the eternal truths and the perennial aspirations of men. In them he will now hear the echo of the offerings and requests of the Word, now the echo of the Father’s promises and will. The Glory repeated at every step will call the person who is praying to the thought of the eternal Glory that resounds in the heavens and that God raises to himself in his soul. The Office is no longer then a grave and unwelcome burden, a task to be dealt with as soon as possible, but the centre of one’s piety, the means to join the praise that tacitly perpetuates itself in the depths of the soul sanctified by grace. The believer then feels that, if not always this praise can resound in the material temple, he can always be poured into the mystical temple of his soul to envelop the three times Holy as of a spiritual incense. The faithful will yearn to repeat this marvellous Sanctus which is the Divine Office in the depth of his heart, as the Blessed and the angelic Choirs repeat it in the highest heaven. [26] He will repeat it not only in his name, but in the name of all the brothers, trying to identify this little human Sanctus with the true Sanctus, the one that the Trinity repeats to itself, the only one worthy of being presented to it.

8. ORATION

It is difficult to say how much influence the cult of the uninhabited Trinity can have in the development of prayer. The soul that knows (and remembers) to carry the Lord within itself, is inclined to look deep into the light. It is necessary to put the faithful in contact with the three Persons, they must be taught to make prayer an intimate conversation with them, a heart-to-heart rest with God. It is possible to demand that everyone can “hear” this heart immediately and pray without text help? No, certainly. S. Teresa used meditation books for seventeen years. But it is necessary to teach the faithful to look closer to them, in them, the Master. The Holy Spirit, with his gifts of wisdom, intellect, and science, marks our spirit with a divine seal. How much do we remember that these gifts are ours? [27] How much do we draw from this wealth to penetrate heavenly things and earthly things in prayer? Is it not rather a richness abandoned in the depths of the soul, while we complain that we are not able to understand divine things? How many times does the love of God for us seem elusive only because we never think of grasping the ineffable centre and reality in the bosom of the Trinity? How many times the Father of heaven seems too far to gather our aspirations, our intentions, our pain, and we do not understand that he penetrates our soul with his love and waits for us to speak to him as the Son to the Father! How many times do we beg for comfort, light, help from a thousand people, without having in mind to resort first of all to those who are in us to be the Friend, the Support, the Master, as well as the Sanctifier! To those who alone can give others the grace to help us and enlighten us! Many souls would suddenly simplify their meditation and above all they would enliven it, if at the end of the reading they would look for the object of their sighs and their ascent: the only one, the true Master. Many souls would soon see the veil fall and would close the texts forever to listen to the inner lesson, more effective than the most sublime treatises. I say “many”, not all of them: at least many that, unlit, lose precious graces.

9. CHARITY

I have already written repeatedly that one cannot raise one’s gaze to the Holy Trinity. without grasping the essence of divine life: charity, the gift that will remain forever, when faith and hope themselves will no longer have reason to exist. In relations between the three Persons, the person praying grasps the expression and the supreme reality of love. As I wrote for the Holy Mass, it is the vision of the Father that bends over the Only Begotten of the Son who offers himself to the glorification of the Father with an exception pushed up to the incarnation and death of the Holy Spirit, the very knot of the love that overflows from the divine bosom over humanity: it is the Father who loves in the Son all men, elected as brothers of Christ; he is the Word who loves the Father’s creatures until death, at the Eucharist, at the Sacraments all; it is the Holy Spirit who leaves them the supreme gifts of love and of the Holy Septenary.

Considering the mystery of the Trinitarian life, the soul can no longer doubt that it is loved and can no longer hesitate to repay love with love. Abyssus abyssum invocat: [28] it will tighten with filial tenderness to the Father, with inexpressible gratitude to the Word, with profound devotion to the Holy Spirit. To a love without measure will want to respond with the greatest love of which a small human heart is capable. This charity will lead, as I have said, to the hatred of sin, to the docility of inspiration, to the generous offering of oneself, to the glory of God. The Word will be in the latter thing the supreme Master. This charity will overflow from the soul onto the brothers as from the Trinity itself onto the world. We will love his children with the Father, the redeemed of Jesus; with Jesus we will want to know the most generous deductions to the Mystical Body; with the Holy Spirit we will want to enlighten, comfort, strengthen the brothers. They will be the three Persons who will act in the Apostle who wants to make their life their own, as much as possible; it will be particularly the Christ who will choose among the elect those who he especially wishes to “prolong” his humanity and to continue his work as Saviour in preaching and sacrifice. How many hardships, how many ungenerous, how many laziness would fall if we thought of making the divine life within us our own, and we learned, from the triune Lord, to love without respite, without limits, without conditions, to give ourselves even if misunderstood and misunderstood, as he who is so misunderstood, to forgive and give us again and again, as one who does not refuse at the slightest hint of pain and desire and who often prevents even this “nod”! How much respect for the souls sanctified by grace! How much desire to give the Trinity to those who are in sin, to reveal its presence to those who ignore it or forget it! How much apostolate of true interior life, of true holiness! The apostle has only to sink his gaze into the bosom of God to understand the supreme reasons of his work and the perfect donation that it requires, to draw above all in God himself the charity, the lights, the strength that every conquest requires. And if every believer considered the mystery of the Trinity not as an abstraction, but as a living source of light and love, every believer would become an apostle. Christ himself cannot be understood except in his relations with the Father and with the Holy Spirit and in his unity with them.

It must not be forgotten that Jesus considered it a mistake in them to love him and to think of him in himself, as removed from the heavenly Father; and Jesus tried to correct this misconception, calling the disciples to see him in his unity, and in his relationships with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves him also loves the Father, whoever saw him also saw the Father: in the supreme prayer he entrusts the redeemed to the Father; it is necessary that he be glorified in heaven for the Paraclete to descend: and the greatest promise for the disciples is the coming of the three Persons in their hearts: Veniemus. [29] It is Jesus himself who invited us to draw from the Trinity the model of charity: “Holy Father, that they may be one, as we also are.”. [30] Before leaving the Apostles, Jesus invited them to raise their eyes higher than they were for him in his humanity. He led them to fix them in the mystery of his divine life so that from his unity with the Father they would learn to be one in the consummation of charity. This was the testament of the Master to those who first would have to love the brothers until their death to preach the truth to them. One of the greatest pupils of Christ, St. Paul, admirably learned the lesson of the Master and translated this “unity” between the members of the Mystical Body, which has its example in the Trinity itself, with divine language. “Who is sick that I am not sick? Who is burned that I do not burn? Gaudere cum gaudentibus, flere cum flentibus”. [31] The faithful are one body; the pain of one is the pain of all, the merit of one to all belongs. Each of us is not isolated, everyone must pray, love, suffer on behalf of all the brothers, because the Lord loves to consider us in unity, the perfection of love.

10. HUMILITY

St. Benedict [32] places the exercise of the presence of God as the foundation of the scale of humility: it is the first degree of ascent. We could not live this presence better than worshiping the Lord in our soul. Adoration will not only be a formal act, but a lived reality, when the living soul in her soul will learn to sacrifice the ego. The ego is basically sick of pride: it wants to “assert itself” with its thoughts, its will, its affections. The soul is sanctified by the presence of the one who is infinite perfection. But somehow the ego would like to separate itself from its Lord, to live independently of him, against him; it is the pride of the creature beside the Creator. The first form of humility is the abnegation of the I before God. Saint Benedict himself makes the monk ascend from the exercise of the presence of God to the acceptance of his will in all forms. It is the self that gives way to the Lord. It is the creature that humbles itself before the Creator. To bend before him, to bend first of all in the depths: to sacrifice one’s own thought, one’s will, one’s affections to make those of him our own. The soul sacrifices its way of thinking, of wanting, of loving, and makes God’s own: a fundamental attitude of humility. It draws in itself, as a temple of God, this divine “way”: or rather in the one who inhabits it. Let the ego be transformed by God: throw it into the bosom of the Holy Trinity because his way of thinking, of wanting and of loving becomes divine. There is no true humility, without this profound immolation of the self on the altar of the heavenly liturgy: this sacrifice is indeed the very essence of humility (often asking oneself: I consider this person, this event; God in me would consider them in the same way? I love this other as the Lord and with the Lord, or there is duality “Duality is the I that wants to live against God, it is pride.”

External virtue is nothing but a consequence of this indispensable act of inner renunciation. We will not stand up in front of our brothers if we have recognised the infirmity of our ego and the need to sacrifice it to the Lord so that it does not offend him. Every exaltation would be a lie and a denial of the truth that lives in us. (Humility is truth not only because, as we habitually say, it is recognising our true weakness, but also because it is our losing ourselves in the bosom of the one who is the true self; it is nourishing ourselves with such true in thought, in the will, in the affections, to the point of identifying ourselves with him, to the point of living in him in him in perfect unity and in the complete sacrifice of the self).

Only those who, having recognised the misery of their own nature, abandoned the ego to God in the humility of truth; only those who recognise this poverty among their brothers and at the same time the divine wealth that can come to them from this abdication, can reach a “sensitive” unity with the Holy Trinity. The more this “recognition” is profound and “convinced”, the more the Trinity manifests itself to the soul because the soul is more united to the truth. Pride places a thick veil between the soul and the Lord, even if it is not so serious as to separate them decisively; because pride is opposed to truth and denies it. “If you do not become like children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” [33]: not only in the kingdom which is Paradise, but in its anticipation which is intimacy with the Lord on this earth.

No soul can enjoy a true and tenacious intimacy with its God, even though so close to it and living in it, if it is not humble, at least in the will, if not in practical reality (in it the perfection of humility is difficult to reach, for the tenacity of self-love).

But when the soul, recognising its nothingness, its blindness, its inclination to evil, will have asked God to invade it and to communicate its perfections to it, when it has learned to want to be the last of its brothers, like the Son Prodigal, then the Lord will introduce her into his kingdom, manifesting himself to her deep down and revealing to her the most sublime mysteries of his life.

11. ABANDONMENT

From the abandonment of the inner ego to God, it is easy to pass to abandonment in the external life. This is also a form of humility. The Lord who lives in us cannot want evil for us. The soul that is his temple is precious to him more than the richest material temple. Omnia cooperantur in bonum iis qui vocati sunt sancti. [34]

The “holiness” is perhaps not in its fundamental meaning the possession of the Holy Trinity. in grace? God wants or allows everything so that the soul may always be more united to him, so that he may become more and more his. He wants nothing more to communicate to his creature, in this intimate giving whose value we will understand only in heaven. Omnia

cooperantur. In difficult moments of life we ​​do not seek sterile pity and let us not lose heart. The Father of heaven is in us: in us is the Word who in his earthly life preceded us in the way of sorrow, in us is the spirit of fortitude and counsel. Tightened to the Word, under the impulse of this Spirit of love, we repeat to the Father; “in capite libri scriptum est de me ut facerem voluntatem tuam: Deus meus, volui” [35] “Omniapossum in eo qui me confortat” [36] “In eo qui me confortat.” What an abyss of light, if the soul thinks that this “comfort”, this support, is in itself! The more we abandon ourselves to him, the more he will abandon himself to us. And this “abandonment” of God always takes place, let’s remember, in the depths. There are many ways, but the fullness of the union is always marked by the undisputed kingdom of the Trinity in the soul; the seeds of Baptism then reach their maximum development. And when God has thus abandoned himself to a creature to be admirably possessed on this earth, the abandonment of the creature to him is no longer difficult. Then the qui me confortat is fully true, because in the full light the soul sees that “everything” really cooperated in its holiness. However to reach this age in which abandonment is sensitive love and praise, we must first exercise it in the shadows of faith. “Blessed is he who has not seen and believed.” [37] Adiuvabit eam Deus vultu suo [38]: the Lord will help the soul in the often terrible trials of his ascent with his adorable presence: this presence will be first sought with an active effort, believed with the top of the will in certain dark hours: us we will abandon ourselves to the Lord present in us but hidden: one day he who has been faithful to seek God in the dark and to abandon himself in his arms, without feeling his loving and reassuring grip, may perhaps have the gift of being supported by the contemplation of he in the supreme manifestations of his love.

12. THE RELIGIOUS VIRTUES [39]

a. Chastity

The exercise of religious vows can become much brighter if considered in the reality of grace. There is no need to stop on the exercise of purity in the light of Indwelling, on the need to preserve the baptismal “consecration” of the templum Dei. Every profanation of a temple is sacrilege. Perhaps many youthful souls would not know certain falls if they were conveniently enlightened on the riches that Baptism placed in them; we must not be afraid to preach the greatest dogmatic truths to the young and the people; the dogma must not be impoverished. Experience proves that even children, educated in elementary form on the gift they possess in the Indwelling, acquire the sense of the gravity of any desecration of the templum Dei. St. Paul otherwise admonished the early Christians, and to cure them of the depraving passions, from which some could not free themselves, put them in contact with the divine reality of grace, which Baptism had given them. We have impoverished our pedagogy; and we must realise with fear that the appeals for respect for nature, for the preservation of health, for obedience to a God so little “ours” in certain preaching no longer shakes souls. But apart from the exercise of purity, without which there is no grace and therefore indwelling, the love of chastity develops in the light of the indwelling. It is preserving everything for God, our physical and spiritual being, it is wanting to know only his love because the union is deeper, the intimacy greater and quieter.

b. Obedience

Obedience has its great example in the Word, descended from the womb of the Holy Trinity. to take our flesh to fulfil the will of the Father. No soul that is lost in the contemplation of this annihilation will feel the yoke of obedience as unwelcome and unreasonable. From the contemplation of the Trinity every monk will feel supported in the hardest trials that monastic obedience can reserve for him. The exceptional Venetian of the Word will echo the exceptional Venetian soul before those who represent the heavenly Father: omnis paternitas a Deo. [40] It is still the Holy Spirit who suggests to the soul this perennial “yes” to every order: because the “yes” must spring from a spirit of love and not of fear. He will be the one who will make the soul thirsty for obedience, because it is a single spirit that traces the Word back to the Father in an incessant oblation, and with the Word all those who want to be close to him. Unus Spiritus, unum Baptisma. [41] Every hesitation vanishes, every rebellion goes out, every fear disappears, if the monk reflects that the heavenly Father has communicated his paternity to the one who represents him and that like the Word he gives himself to the Father perpetually and he has given himself up to the Incarnation and to the death; the religious must abandon his will and all his life in the hands of God’s representatives, under the impulse of the Spirit of love. Surrendering to every need, to every contradiction, to every misunderstanding.

Obedience can crush a soul. But no annihilation will be comparable to the one not accepted, but wanted by the Word in the ardor of the Holy Spirit.

c. Poverty

The exercise of poverty must also be raised. We give souls the awareness of the divine richness they possess, the full and practical conscience: immediately material things will be devalued in their eyes. When we know we possess the triune God in us, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier; when it is known, not through an abstract knowledge, but through a prolonged meditation on this ineffable reality, it is difficult to be able to firmly attach oneself to earthly things: it will remain a sensitivity for them, of course; but it will be easy to sacrifice them, in order not to sacrifice to them a greater intimacy with God (intimacy, let us remember, irreconcilable with every attachment). Many religious would not lose their way due to their irreducible affection for their little things, if they reflected that they had in their hearts the Creator of all things: if they understood that such affections put a veil between them and the Lord and that to renounce possession or desire for diminished objects, they renounce to draw more broadly from the divine treasure that grace places not next to them, but in them.

But he must also remember that intimacy with the Lord detaches from creation and even teaches the love of creation. The soul that lives in contact with God feels the “cult” of all that surrounds it, because everything belongs to it, everything is made sacred by this belonging. But this love, this respect, this care of everything are completely supernatural. The monk who severed all ties between his heart and created things [42] has made ineffable bonds between his heart and the Creator, who, in his divine liberality, restores everything to his love: a heavenly love that does not it is more separation, but unity with essential love.

13. MORTIFICATION AND PAIN

The Word is now glorified in his humanity at the right hand of the Father. In the name of his bloody sacrifice of a day and of the bloodless sacrifice renewed on the altars incessantly he intercedes for us: ad interpellandum pro nobis. [43] But his intercession can no longer be accompanied by the oblation of suffering. And Jesus asks the generous souls to “complete” his passion, to prolong his painful sacrifice in their flesh and in their hearts. Adimpleo ea quae desunt passionibus Christi. [44] If we consider the Only Begotten made flesh and sacrificed for the salvation of our souls, we cannot escape the desire to participate in this immolation and to carry the weight of our sin: ours, of each of us and of all of us. The soul that lives in contact with the Trinity, finds in the divine mystery the fundamental reasons for all its sacrifice. With the charity that draws from the very bosom of God, he clings to the Word and offers him his poor humanity, because in it he can atone and merit, not only for her, but for all the brothers. A “little” creature carries in the bosom of the Trinity august a “small” humanity, so that in the ardors of the Holy Spirit it may be presented by the Word to the Father, close to him, disposed to him, and become in the eyes of the Father a single host with the Only Begotten. The more the soul is generous in its offering, the more the Spirit of love will tighten it to the Word and in the divine brazier the host will be consumed for the glory of God. In proportion to his desire the creature will receive the grace of pain; in proportion to her generosity, her strength will be increased to seek voluntary immolations and to undergo divine trials.

But it is precisely this that teaches souls: to bring their sacrifice into the bosom of the Trinity. There they will learn to consume it before the Father, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, in union with the Word; there they will learn to know the secret of joyful immolation. Because in the bosom of the Trinity there is no pain: divine life is unalterable peace, it is perennial joy, it is praise of glory, laus gloriae. In these depths the pain, while remaining sensitive to the creature, which otherwise would no longer be such, becomes praise. The soul no longer suffers it, yearning to be freed from it, but loves it, wants it, because it is the inheritance that the Word left it by ascending to heaven.

He brought with him the adorable humanity he had assumed for us: we cannot find it except in the Eucharistic mystery through faith. But something the Word could not take with him: something has left us: what the glorification had deserved for his Flesh and for us the grace. It is the pain that Jesus placed in our hands, so that until the end of the centuries it is our pride and our wealth. He gave it to us so that we could hide our poor humanity as a royal mantle: because we made it our own with humble joy, trembling at the thought that it was his, eminently his, because he chose it as a means for Redemption. “All my things are yours”. [45] Our, but like all things, which belong to him and to us together.

We take this supreme gift of the Master and to him we bring him back to the bosom of the Trinity, to him, the Word of the Father, one with him and with the Holy Spirit: so that this gift does not remain unsuccessful, but for him to be presented to the Father and become precious to his eyes. Then the pain of a small soul still becomes the pain of Christ, of the humanised Word, and is transformed into a source of grace. For it many sins are canceled, many donations of light granted. The soul that made the Indwelling the centre of his life, obtains to a thousand other souls the supreme grace and possession and intimacy with the Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit. For this reason pain is transformed into praise and is an expression of the laus perennis, which resounds within God. It does not interrupt, but perfects the song of the soul which, losing itself in the Holy Trinity, has transformed its life into a perennial Eucharistic liturgy: Eucharist means, let us remember, thanksgiving.

“Living the indulgence is not an extraordinary thing but the logical consequence of our baptism” (ms. 39, 141).

PRAYER AT THE HOLY TRINITY [46]

Blessed Itala Mela Ob.S.B.

My God, Blessed Trinity, I thank You for the Light and Love of which – with infinite mercy – you have filled my soul, for the vocation and for the gifts you have given me in Your Church, wanting in It and by It I was enlightened and sanctified by my first steps in Your ways to the comforting Word of Your Vicar.

But I thank you again, O Blessed Trinity, for all the thorns I have found in my path and for all the tears I have shed: thanks above all for the present annihilation of my soul and my life. For infirmity and poverty: for every heavy duty to my body and my spirit: for solitude, isolation, detachments: for every misunderstanding and humiliation: for the obscurities, the uncertainties, the anguishes, the renunciations of the ‘soul: for my own misery and incapacity to give you that perfect love from which I would like to be consumed: for the human defeat of my whole life and all my aspirations: for every test you have chosen and sent to my little soul , I thank you, O Lord.

Do, oh Lord, that from this profound annihilation my prayer rises to You: indeed that this same annihilation expresses the incessant adoration of my being completely offered and sacrificed before Your Throne. Let me not try to escape from the sanctifying Fire of sorrow, but in silence, immobile on the Altar of Sacrifice, united with the immolated Lamb, He offers me to Your will in the fullness of abandonment and charity, until the last moment of my life. Let this oblation be my little tribute to Your Glory, be it the supplication that I offer You for myself and for all the souls linked to my vocation, so that You may guard us in the Truth, which saves from every illusion and every error, in charity ready for every sacrifice and every work. Give us the perfect intelligence of Your Will and the Fortress to accomplish it without uncertainties and without deviations: keep us in that perfect unity which is a pledge of Your divine Presence among souls.

1. Listen to the prayer that we address to you for Your Glory and grant not to our merits, but to the groans of Your Church that new gift of Light and Grace that You promised to enlighten and sanctify the souls in the immense travails of the present hour and of the dark future.

If it is necessary for this the sacrifice of my life, in this Feast of St. Peter, which is the feast of Your Vicar, I renew to you the oblation already to you one day presented by the hands of Mary Immaculate. The intercession of the Virgin Mother and of the Apostles Peter and Paul accompany my offering and make the perfect consummation less poor. On that blessed day, renew My mercies for me and let my heavenly praise begin, an echo of the hymn of adoration, thanksgiving and love raised to you, the triune, by all the souls who will receive the grace to consciously possess you in yourself and to live by this possession.

“… We must not forget that betraying our vocation to holiness is also betraying all those whose salvation is linked to our immolation” (MS. 39, 118).


The Spiritual Experience of Itala Mela, a Life Incandescently Immersed in the Trinity by OSB Aldo Piccinelli

[1]. “Venerable Itala Mela“.Anon, 2019. CatholicSaints.Info. Available at: http://catholicsaints.info/blessed-itala-mela/ [Accessed March 25, 2019].

[2].  “Beata Itala Mela (Maria della Trinitá)“. Anon, Beata Itala Mela (Maria della Trinit. Santiebeati.it. Available at: http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/91607 [Accessed March 25, 2019].

[3].  Itala Mela (28 August 1904 – 29 April 1957), Servant of God. IDLE SPECULATIONS. Available at: http://idlespeculations-terryprest.blogspot.com/2007/05/itala-mela-28-august-1904-29-april-1957.html [Accessed March 25, 2019].

[4].  John 14:23

[5].  At the Last Supper. See John 14:17

[6].  Romans 5:5; 8:9-27; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 3:16 s.; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Galatians 4:6; 5:22; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:8; 1 John 1:1-4; 2:20-27; 3:24; 4:16 etc. 

[7].  “He gave us the example” – Cf. John 13:15.

[8].  John 17:21

[9].  “… You are the temple of God…” Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16 s.; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16. 

[10].  Itala makes a bitter observation here, rather than a reproach. At the beginning of her spiritual life, she had made the sad experience of St. Teresa of Avila. The Saint tells (Autobiography c. 18, n. 15) of having presented herself to a theologian to expose the “meaning” of a presence of God in itself, in order to have advice on the way to behave. That theologian (“medio letrado”, half-subdued) ruled that God “was not in the soul except by grace”, and that is that in the soul there was only one effect of the action of God (Grace, in fact) , not God personally. S. Teresa said: “I could not believe it, because it seemed to me that God was truly present, and I felt sorry for it. Finally, a great theologian of the glorious Order of St. Dominic took me away from this doubt, telling me that God is actually present , and explaining to me how to communicate to us. And I was consoled “.

[11].  “Physical Presence”, “Spiritual Presence”: both are real and personal presences, but here, by “physical” presence Itala also means presence of the body, of humanity, of Christ, presence of the Incarnate Word, in opposition to the presence, real also of the only divinity that one has in the Indwelling. It is clear that here Itala does not use scholastic technical terminology, but uses the word of the Italian language according to the current use to indicate a fact: the real presence of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, which comes to cease with the corruption of the species of bread, while the real presence of the three Divine Persons by virtue of the Indwelling remains (see the following period and later, in No. 3 The Recollection: for too little time we can worship present in us the Word made flesh, while always may we adore the Word in our unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit in us present). Itala does not pose the theological problem of the “way” of being present of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist.

[12].  St. Paul conceives Baptism as a kind of graft that unites us vitally to Christ, so as to make divine life flow in us (Cf. Romans 6:5; 11:17-24).

[13].   John 14:23.

[14].  2 Corinthians 6:16

[15]. The “sacred septenary” (see the Latin text of the Sequence of Pentecost, stanza 9), consists of the seven “gifts of the Holy Spirit”, which are supernatural dispositions that the Holy Spirit, giving himself to us in the Indwelling, infuses he gives us, because we can accept his sanctifying action without resistance. They are actually the result of a deep love for God, infused and increased by God himself, who puts us in “harmony” with the infinite Love which is the Holy Spirit, and makes us docile to his inspirations and motions, beyond purely human intuitions and motivations. In Italy this reality of the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit seems to be evident in his attitude and his constant behaviour, especially in recent years (see “amore Supernae Caritatis inclusa,” pp.234-240).

[16]. See note 11.

[17]. The perceived moral imperfection is the omission of a better good that we perceive as such, for us, now, while we prefer to choose a minor good. In the dialogue of love between God and us, imperfection is, after all, the rejection of a greater gift that the Lord offers us, to choose a lesser one, but according to our taste, it is the expression of our voluntary total availability at divine heights.

[18].  Itala herself explains the meaning of what she calls “Infinite value”: we are certainly not the ones who give this value to our actions, but the Spirit that is in us. By virtue of the Holy Spirit that animates our life, even in the most humble manifestations, it becomes “spiritual”, and participates in the certainly infinite dignity of the Holy Spirit, which thus introduces it into the Trinitarian life.

[19].  “Siamo il cielo” di Dio. Cfr. anche Sr. Elisabetta della Trinità. (Cfr. Lettere 102, 107, 112, 134, 159, 217 e l’Elevazione alla SS. Trinità in Writings by the Postulator General of the Discalced Carmelites, Rome 1967). The idea is already found in the Fathers of the early centuries, although these insist more on the soul as “image and likeness” of God, while Sr. Elisabetta and Itala Mela insist more on the Indwelling as a habitual, immediate, personal presence of God in us.

[20]. See note 11.

[21].  “For you silence is praise” or, as Itala freely translates (see letter to P.P. in Lucciardi, Itala Mela, Rome 1963 p. 234) “silence is our praise”. Here Itala speaks of silence as an ascetic exercise. It is obviously not a question of refusing to communicate with one’s neighbour, but of an exercise of humility, fruit and coefficient of recollection, nourishment of the interior life, and, ultimately, a condition for greater availability to God and to the brothers. But Itala goes beyond this ascetic dimension of silence to grasp its mystical dimension: the “emptiness” that God himself operates in the soul to open it to his invasion, cf. St. Gregory of Nyssa and his “silent praise” (Hom. VII, P. G. 44, 728).

[22].  See Rule c. VI, On love for silence; c.VII, On Humility: ninth and eleventh grade; c. XLII, On silence after Compline; c. IL, On Lenten observance.

[23].  Cf. Hebrews 10:9. 

[24].  John 14:9

[25]. CfPhilippians 2:6-8.

[26].  See Isaiah 6:2-3.

[27].  We have been given and therefore have become our own, we can dispose of them according to their intrinsic purpose, which is to make us ever more docile to the action of the Spirit, more available to his needs for holiness. (see footnote 15).

[28].  Psalm 41:8. The expression: “an abyss calls the abyss” in the psalm is part of a poetic description of the place of exile, which with its torrents in flood and its falls, increases the sadness of the faithful forced away Sanctuary of God and from the festivals that gather the people there. But, having become proverbial, the expression can mean the effective call of love (as here) or even the danger of the slippery slope of vice. Itala, quoting it, means that the infinite love of God solicits our response of total love.

[29].   John 14:23; cf. John 8:9; 12:26. 44:50; and chapters 14, 15, 16, 17; 1 John 2:22 ss.

[30].  John 17:11-21 s.

[31]. Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep”. The doctrine of the “Mystical Body”, whereby the Church is like a supernatural organism where the faithful are intimately and vitally united to Christ and between them, where the unifying and life-giving principle is the Holy Spirit, is fundamental in all Pauline teaching : see for example: 1 Corinthians 10:16 s .; 12:12-30; Ephesians 1:22 s; 2:14-16; 5:23-30; Colossians 1:18-24; 2:19; Romans 12:4 ss. etc. See also Pius XII, Mystici Corporis; Vat. Il, Lumen Gentium n. 7.

[32].  Itala refers to the rule of St. Benedict (c.VII), but to gather indications valid for all Christians, and not only for monks, considering humility rather than a particular virtue, such as the ubiquitous basic attitude of the soul before God, according to the whole ascetic tradition.

[33].  Matthew 18:3.

[34].  Romans 8:28. The complete text in the translation of the vulgate is “Scímus autem quoniam diligentibus, who were called (saints) according to his design.” “Saints” is an explanatory addition of the vulgate: The “Elect”, the “Called” for St. Paul are Christians called to faith and justification.

[35].  Psalm 39 of the Vulgate, 40 of the Massoretic (see text on p. 545 of the linked PDF.); cf. Hebrews 10:5-9.

[36].  Philippians 4:13 “I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me.”

[37].  John 3:2-9.

[38].  Liturgical verse that was recited, before the reform, for example, at Terce and None of the Office of the Virgins: “God will help him with his presence”, “showing his face”. It echoes Psalm 46:6 (Vulgate 45:6).

[39].  In the following three paragraphs, Itala addresses monks and religious, to show how it is easier to live their specific vows in the indwelling reality, but what Itala says can have spiritual utility even for the laity: chastity, obedience, and poverty are Christian virtues, before being the object of a particular religious commitment.

[40].  See Ephesians 3:15, and Romans 13:1 (here: potestas instead of paternitas): “every paternity is from God”.

[41].  “Only One Spirit, only one baptism” (cf. 4:4 e 5).

[42].  The detachment of poverty is not contempt or disinterest for earthly realities, it is not egoistic evasion, but a place everything and every value in their place.

[43].  See Hebrews 7:25: “always living to make intercession for us”. Itala cites the vulgate: “semper vivens ad interpellandum pro nobis – always living to intercede in our favour”.

[44].  “… and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh …” (Colossians 1:2-24). It is not a question of adding something to the redemptive value of the Passion of Christ, but of associating oneself with the redemptive work of Christ to cooperate in the realisation of the divine plan of salvation, in the place and in the measure foreseen by God himself.

[45].  John. 17:10. It should be emphasised that Itala manages to transfigure the same suffering that becomes “the inheritance” left to us by Christ, “our pride and our wealth”, the “royal mantle” that covers the poverty of our human nature. Christ did not eliminate the pain here; he did much more: he bent him to serve salvation and gave us the faculty and ability to do the same.

[46].  Itala wrote this “prayer – offering” on St. Peter’s Day 1941. The previous April 21st Mons. A. Bernareggi, in a private audience with the Holy Father, presented 9 Itala Memorials which we published in Quaderno № 5. April 29, only eight days later, the Pope, through Cardinal Maglione, Secretary of State, sent Itala a letter of approval and blessing. The “prayer — offering” that we publish wanted to be an implosion of light for those who, at the invitation of Pius XII, they would engage in a trinitarian study movement, in order to prepare a Document that the Pope had made Monsignor Bernareggi hope for. There were in fact several writings on the subject: on Catholic culture “(Fr. Giuseppe Filograssi s.j), on” Christian Life (Fr. Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.), on “Spiritual Life” (P. Teresio and P. Gabriele of SM Maddalena O . Carm.).