Motivated by the climate of the Pauline Vocation Year, in order “to rekindle the gift of God” that we have received, it seems to me an excellent opportunity to ask ourselves some questions: what sense does the presence of the Brothers of the Divine Master today have in the Society of Saint Paul and in the Pauline Family? Do the young generations of Paulines know who these “Brothers” are? What vocational attraction can they exercise on them? Are the Brothers perhaps a remnant of the past or can we hope for the rebirth of this vocation, which the Founder loved to call “the backbone of the Society of St. Paul”? (SP, 1937). Certainly, many Paulines will protest in front of this series of doubts, so I would like to immediately launch an anchor of salvation and give back hope and meaning in favour of this vocation.
When Primo Maestro insisted on the way of life of the Brothers, asking them to “live in a greater silence, almost a little secluded; to live in recollection awaiting their things, in simplicity, yet in docility, and always ready for what the Lord disposes ...” (Alberione, Meditation of 3-4-1962), he intended to insert people, in the context of the Pauline community, who are able to live the essentiality of the consecrated life, free from “spiritual worldliness, which consists in seeking, in place of the glory of the Lord, human glory and personal well-being” (Pope Francis, EG 93). But is this not perhaps the need and the challenge for our time?
The Founder knew very well that in the “Pauline body” it was necessary to introduce a special group of people called to be witnesses to a specific need of our mission: to be first of all disciples of the One we wish to announce. It is true that every Pauline, if he wants to be an apostle, must first put himself in the school of the Master, but it is also necessary for someone to live this gift with more intensity, as a witnessing and “memory” for all. This was precisely the “strategy” of the Founder: the various components of the Pauline Family are distinguished by some particular charismatic gifts, but they do not have the exclusive, they must only be witnesses and memory because all the others live that same gift. Therefore, it will be easier to discover the richness and the actuality of the vocation of the Brothers if one discovers the mystical dynamic that animates them. Blessed Timothy Giaccardo thus defined them: “They are the signum (sign) of devotion to the Divine Master and they are also the embodiment ... They are the Heart of the House; to hit them is to hit the heart, to neglect them is an endocarditis, to corroborate them is to fortify the body” (Timothy Giaccardo, Q27 TG, 7-7-46). Being, therefore, the heart of community life is not a trivial matter; it is more than enough to justify a vocation. The Brothers, seen in this light, can rediscover their living space, that is, living in the style that the Founder had so much recommended: “they will not make much noise, but they can spread the pleasing odour of Christ (bonus odor Christi) everywhere” (SP, 1937).