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Rome, in the Service of Propaganda Fide January 13-19, 19241 Retreat, Rome, Villa Carpegna 'TODAY, January 18, the .1Feast of St. Peter's Chair, it is three years since I began, under obedience. my work as President for Italy of the Propagation of the Faith in the World.'
Anyone who judges me from appearances takes mc for a calm and steady worker. It is true that I work; but deep in my nature there is a tendency towards laziness and distraction. This tendency must, with the help of God, be forcibly resisted.
To humble myself constantly I will always tell myself that I am a lazy fellow, a beast of burden that ought to do much more work and get on with it much faster, and so deserves to be beaten. I must be particularly careful not to procrastinate but to do at once what is most urgent. In everything, however, I must keep and impart to others that calm and composure with which alone things can be done and done properly. I will not worry if others arc in a hurry. He who is always in a hurry, even in the business of the Church, never gets very far.
Episcopal Consecration March 13-17, 1925: Rome, Villa Carpegna, Preparation for my Episcopal Consecration
I have not sought or desired this new ministry: the Lord has chosen me, making it so clear that it is his will that it would be a grave sin for me to refuse. So it will be for him to cover up my failings and supply my insufficiencies. This comforts roe and gives me tranquillity and confidence.
I am to be a Bishop: so there is no time, to prepare myself: mine is a state of perfection already acquired (acquisita), not still to be acquired (acquirenda). 'It is the duty of Bishops', says St. Thomas, `to be perfect and teachers of perfection'.2
This is a terrifying thought for me, for I feel and know myself to be very helpless and incapable! Another reason for remaining humble, very, very humble!
The Church is making rue a
Bishop in order to send me to Bulgaria, to fulfil there, as Apostolic Visitor, a mission of peace. Perhaps I shall find many difficulties awaiting me. With the Lord's help, I feel ready for everything. I do riot seek, I do not desire, the glory of this world; I look forward to greater glory in heaven.
Now, forever, I assume also the name of Joseph, one of the names given me at my baptism, in honour of the dear Patriarch who will always be my chief protector, after Jesus and Mary, and my model. My other special protectors will be St. Francis Xavier, St. Charles, St. Francis de Sales, the patron saints of Rome and Bergamo, and the Blessed Gregory Barbarigo.
I insert in my coat of arms the words Obcedientia et pax (Obedience and Peace) which Cesare Baronius used to say every day, when he kissed the Apostle's foot in St. Peter's.3 These words are in a way my own history and my life. 0 may they be the glorification of my humble name through the centuries!
Papal Representative in Bulgaria
November 27-December 2, 1926: Retreat, Monastery of St. Paul, Rome
I have been a Bishop for twenty months. As I clearly foresaw, my ministry has brought me many trigls. But, and this is strange, these arc not caused by the Bulgarians for whom I work but by the central organs of ecclesiastical administration. This is a form of mortification and humiliation that I did not expect and which hurts rue deeply. 'Lord, you know all'.5 I must, I will accustom myself to bearing this cross with more patience, calm and inner peace than I have so far shown. I shall be particularly careful in what I say to anyone about this. Every Lime I speak my mind about it I
take away from the merit of my patience. •
'Set a guard over my mouth, 0 Lord.'6 I shall make this silence, which must be, according to the teaching of St. Francis de Sales,1 meek and without bitterness, an object of my selfexaminations.
November 9-13, 1927: Retreat at Ljubljana, Slovenia. House of the Jesuit Fathers
It is my nature to talk too much. A ready tongue is one of God's good gifts but it must be handled with care and respect, that is, with moderation, so that I may be welcome and not found a bore.
In my dealings with all, Catholics and Orthodox, high and low, I must always endeavour to leave an impression of dignity and loving-kindness, a radiant kindness and a pleasing dignity. To these people I represent, however unworthily, the Holy Father. It must therefore be my aim to make him loved and esteemed, even in my own person. This is what the Lord desires. What a task I What a responsibility!
To make myself more useful in my ministry in Bulgaria I must apply myself with special care to the study of the French and Bulgarian languages.
I have noticed certain things this year which convince me that I am growing old and that my body sometimes shows signs of its frailty. This will make the thought of death familiar to me, rendering my life more joyful, active and industrious.
December 20-24, 1928: Annual retreat at Babek on the Bosporus. Villa of the Lazarist Fathers It is not difficult for me now to understand that the beginning of sanctity lies in my total abandonment to the Lord's holy will, even in little things, and that is why I must insist on this. I do not wish or ask for anything beyond obedience to the dispositions, instructions and wishes of the Holy Father and the Holy See.
I will never take any step, direct or indirect, to bring about any change or alteration in my situation, but I will in all things and at all times live from day to day, letting others say and do, and suffering whoever so desires to pass ahead of me, without preoccupying myself about my future.
April 28-May 4, 1930: Retreat at Rustchuk, in the house of the.
Passionist Fathers The trials, with which in recent months the Lord has tested my patience, have been many: anxieties concerning the arrangements for founding the Bulgarian seminary; the uncertainty which has now lasted for more than five years about the exact scope of my mission in this country; my frustrations and disappointments at not being able to do more, and my enforced restriction to the life of a complete hermit, in opposition to my longing for work directly ministering to souls; the interior discontent with what is left of my natural human inclinations, even if until now I have succeeded in holding this under control: all this makes it easier for me to enjoy this sense of trust and abandonment, which contains also the longing for a more perfect imitation of my divine Model.
All around me in this great house is solitude, absolute and magnificent solitude, amid the profusions of nature in flower; before my eyes the Danube; beyond the great river the rich Rumanian plain, which sometimes at night glows red with burning waste gas. The whole day long the silence is unbroken.
With the grace of God, I feel, I want to feel, truly indifferent to all that the Lord may decide for me, as regards my future. Worldly gossip about my affairs makes no impression on me. I am willing to live like this even if the present state of things were to remain unchanged for years and years. I will never even express the desire or the slightest inclination to change, however much this may cost me in my heart.
Ohcedientia at pax. That is my episcopal motto. I want to die with the satisfaction of having always, even in the smallest things, honoured my obligation.
June 18-21, 1931: Retreat at Bujukada on the Bosporus, at the house of the Conventual Franciscans
1 am in the fiftieth year of my life: therefore a mature man on the road to old age: perhaps death is near. I have achieved very little in half a century of life and of following a priestly vocation. I feel humble and ashamed before the Lord, and ask his pardon 'for my countless sins',5 but I look to the future with imperturbable and confident serenity.
September 4-8, 1933: Retreat in Sofia with the Capuchin Fathers
My prolonged mission as papal representative in this country often causes me acute and intimate suffering, but I try not to show this.
I bear and will bear everything willingly, even joyfully, for the love of Jesus, in order to resemble him as closely as I can and to do his holy will in everything, and for the triumph of his grace amid these people, so simple and good but, alas, so very unfortunate!
All in the service of Holy Church and the Holy Father and for my own sanctification. 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."9 August 27-31, 1934: Retreat at Rustchuk with the Passionist Fathers The circumstances of my ministry, as it has taken shape during ten years in Bulgaria, do not atiVise or permit me to do anything more than I am already doing—at least for the present. Su I must go on living from day to day.
I will offer more lovingly to Jesus the life I lead here and the restrictions I have to set on my outward activity and my whole life of more intense prayers for the salvation and sanctification of my soul and the souls of these Bishops and priests, and for the wider diffusion and penetration of the spirit of charity in this country where everything is so harsh; for the edification and religious advancement of the Catholics and for the enlightenment and blessing of this Bulgarian people, so sadly misled and yet so richly endowed with capacities for service in the kingdom of Christ an don IS
his , .
la a s PEI. invited by Cardinal Van Rossum %Litt" the approval of Benedict XV, who knew him personally, Fr Angelo RonLalli began his work at the Propaganda Fide in Rome, as president of the Central Council for Italy of the Pontificie Opere Missionarie. 2 cr., ST., II-Ilae 185. B. irr corp. 3 Cf. Angelo Ronealli, It Cardinale Cesare Baronio . Rome. telizioni di Mo4riaThce Tdetifteereatot Tao. f 19(64' reC). U4r6s.e was the
Abbot. Dom ildefonso Schuster. 0.S.B., later Cardinal Archbishop ot Milan: also making the retreat was the Bulgarian priest Stefan Kyril KtutelT. who will consecrated Bishop, in thc church of San Clement in Rome, on 5 December.
56 jPosahnIrn211: 17. 3.
Cf. St. Francis de Salm Introduction to the Devout Lite. III, 30. 3 Ct. Offertory of the Mass. a John 21: 17.