For prayerful reflection on our charismatic identity
Our Charismatic Identity-6: In the universal mission of the Church
XXIV General Chapter: Men on Fire with Love
47 Whoever loves Jesus will feel loved by the Father, will radiate and testify to his love and will bear much fruit. Our Founder, captivated by apostolic zeal “yearns and strives…to make God better known, loved, and served” (Works III, p. 493, cf. Auto. 233). This zeal of Claret, fruit of the outpouring of the Spirit (Rom 5:5; CC 39-40) knows no bounds: his spirit is “for the whole world” (SL, p. 179).
XXIII General Chapter: That They May Have Life
4. At the dawn of the 21st century the Church invites us to “start afresh from Christ”, “to put out into the deep”, to enter into a “time of renewed ‘creativity’ in charity” (cf NMI, 50; SAC, 10). Jesus’ words “That they may have life” inspire our response to the Church’s call. Our vocation and prophetic mission places us at the service of life.
General Plan of Formation
27. Our mission acquires its meaning within the universal mission of the Church. Throughout the ages, the Church, impelled by the Spirit, has endeavored to fulfil the mission charge of Jesus: Go into the world and proclaim the Good News to every creature. Its mission consists of prolonging the saving mission of Christ, by evangelizing all peoples through witness and word. We make this universal mission our own through our distinctive missionary charism. We have been called to communicate the integral mystery of Christ to human beings. We fulfil this charge by raising up and consolidating communities of believers, wherever the need is most urgent, timely and effective, not allowing ourselves to be tied down to our native land, but rather being docile to the Spirit and obedient to mission.
Word of God (Acts 8:26-40)
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.” So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along that way. He was an official in charge of the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians; he had come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was on his way home. He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and catch up with that carriage.” So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. This was the passage of Scripture he was reading: He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered; like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, he did not open his mouth. He was humbled and deprived of his rights. Who can speak of his descendants? For he was uprooted from the earth. The official asked Philip, “Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point. As they traveled down the road they came to a place where there was some water. Then the Ethiopian official said, “Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptized?” Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy. Philip found himself at Azotus, and he went about announcing the Good News in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Autobiography of Claret
120. In many passages of the Bible I felt the voice of God calling me to go forth and preach. The same thing happened to me while I was at prayer. Thus it was that I determined to leave the parish and go to Rome, to present myself to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith so that they could send me anywhere in the world.
198. This need for being sent to a particular place by a bishop was something that God himself helped me understand from the very beginning. Thus, no matter how evil and demoralized the towns I was sent to, great fruits were always obtained, because it was God who sent me to them and prepared them and predisposed them for me. Missionaries may rest assured, then, that they should go to no town, however good, unless they go under obedience; but that under obedience they should not hesitate to go to any town, however bad. As far as any possible difficulties or persecutions are concerned, let them have no fear: God has sent them through obedience and He will take care of them.
48. In carrying out this mission, our missionaries should use all means possible, but they should above all foster a sense of catholicity that will lead them into all parts of the world and make them open-minded, receptive and respectful of the religious and cultural customs and values of the people. Their missionary work should be directed mainly to those who most need evangelization or to persons who are or should become agents of evangelization. If any individual or group is led by a missionary spirit and wishes to collaborate with us, we should be glad in the Lord to have them associated in our apostolates.
49. The members of our Congregation should be fully committed to the work of the Gospel. Therefore, they leave their own families, remembering that they have a Father in heaven whom they must please before all others. They should also be on guard against letting an inordinate love of their own country and culture prevent them from adapting to the ways of the people they are sent to evangelize. Moreover, so as to be freer to fulfil their missionary calling, they should avoid becoming entangled in partisan politics or in causes that may be a hindrance to their vocation.
For personal reflection and prayer
- Are you willing to be sent to any part of the world as a Claretian missionary?
- How do you live your belonging to a missionary congregation?