General Theme for the Jubilee Year
“Alive to the Spirit of Fr. Claret: Remember, Rejoice, and Rejuvenate”
General Objective for the Monthly Recollections
“Remembering the blessings of the Lord for the fifty Years, being grateful for the growth achieved through pioneers and contribution of all the members, we rejoice in the Claretian vocation and move forward with strength and renewed vigour to face the emerging frontiers after the example of Claret.”
Specific Theme for the Month of April
“Missionaries in the Forefront”
The XXV General Chapter Document, “Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel” begins and ends with the phrase “We are Missionaries,” emphasizing the missionary identity of each Claretian. The specific theme of this month’s meditation, “Missionaries in the Forefront” is closely related to the contents of this document. The document enumerates six charismatic traits without which our missionary “activities will lose fragrance and they’ll be like plastic flowers” (Fr. General). The charismatic traits invite us to carry out our mission: 1) rooted in the Spirit, 2) inflamed by the Word of God, 3) assuming the mission as a community, 4) reaching out to the poor with the joy of the Gospel, 5) collaborating with other people, and 6) with an openness to the whole world (cf. MS 34-75). I would strongly recommend that each member of the Claretian Major Organisms in India read the II and III parts of the document,“Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel” (Nos 34-75) as part of this month’s recollection and evaluate his personal life and mission in its light.
1. Mathew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2. MS 65: “We resolve to be – with Jesus – a Congregation “going forth” (cf. Mk 1:38) which receives the call of the Church to the pastoral-missionary and ecological conversion: we commit ourselves to form – under the guidance of the Spirit – communities of witnesses and messengers; we will take care to be men of deep spirituality who – open to the recommendation of Pope Francis to the Congregation – adore our God the Father “in spirit and truth” (cf. Jn 4:23) and embrace the processes of transformation that the Spirit grants us. And all of this, we want to live in the joy that is born of God (cf. Aut 444, 754), which Mary, our mother, experienced (cf. Lk 1-2) and which is characteristic in receiving the Gospel. There will not be privations and adversities (cf. CC 9, 44) that will prevent us from living and proclaiming the beatitudes of Jesus. The Spirit of our Father and our Mother will speak for us.”
3. Points for Reflection
1. Jesus Christ was the greatest missionary, sent by the Father, to proclaim his love and salvation for his people. Jesus was aware that he was sent by the Father to reconcile the people with God and bring salvation to everyone. At the age of twelve, Jesus told his mother that he must be busy with his Father’s business (cf. Lk 2:49). During his public ministry he openly told his disciples that “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work” (Jn 4:34). He completes the works of the Father through his suffering and death. After his resurrection he sends his disciples to continue the same mission of doing the will of the Father. As missionaries we participate in the same mission and so must be aware always that we are missionaries, called and consecrated, to continue the mission of Jesus, in the footsteps of Fr. Claret, our Founder.
2. St. Claret considered himself as a missionary formed in the forge of Mary’s immaculate heart, an arrow of her arm, sent against the world, the devil and the flesh (cf. Aut 270-271). He was motivated by the deep desire for the salvation of the sous. He says that “the power of this idea has made me work in the past, still makes me work, and will make me work as long as I live, in converting sinners, in preaching, in hearing confessions, in writing books, in distributing holy cards and pamphlets and in having familiar conversations” (Aut 9). Claret was supported in his apostolic works by a deep apostolic spirituality. He was a contemplative in action. Amid the activities so absorbing and varied, he lived an intensely contemplative life.
3. We live in a time of transition and changes. It is important that we recognize and acknowledge the rapid changes and paradigm shifts that are taking place in our society and prepare ourselves to answer the needs of the emerging situations. As missionaries in the forefront, we need to explore ways and approaches to make the Gospel understandable and acceptable to our generation. When I am writing down these reflections COVID 19 is ravaging the world and our beloved country. We are experiencing one of the biggest crises of our life time. As missionaries what is our response to this situation? What would have been the response of Jesus? What would have been the response of Claret? Our methods and approaches should be relevant to the struggles and visions of our people.
4. As Indian Claretians we can be very proud of our legacy. Our presence in majority of the Indian States as well as in many other countries all over the world loudly proclaims that we are missionaries in the forefront. We need to keep up this spirit and for that I would propose the following things to do.
i. To remind ourselves constantly the “definition of a Claretian missionary” and meditate on it to rekindle and remain “on fire”, “to spread the flames” and “to set everyone on fire with God’s love.” (HAC 32).
ii. To live our missionary vocation with enthusiasm, with joy and with more passion, constantly kindling the fire of God’s love poured in our hearts by the holy spirit (cf. Rom 5). Take continuous efforts to get rid of all that extinguish the fire or douse our enthusiasm.
iii. To redefine our life style and approaches to the mission in the light of the emerging challenges and demands. We should not bury ourselves on the sands of worldliness and bow before the attracting idols of power, position, possession and the likes. Our vocation is not for satisfying our desires or fulfilling our plans but to transmit God’s love to his people.
iv. To be creative and imaginative to find answers to the vexing problems in human hearts, the worldliness and godlessness of many and the indifference of those who think that religion has lost its meaning. Our life must prove that faith in God is still relevant.
iv. To radiate the joy of the Gospel in today’s world so that we really become “the epiphany of divine love for the world” as St. John Paul II described of the consecrated people.
4. Points to Ponder
1. Do you see traces of our charismatic traits in your personal and mission life?
2. We are missionaries and how can we live our missionary vocation in today’s situation?
3. Do you see any dichotomy between your inner life and action, between your commitment
to community living and commitment to your apostolate? 4. Is my life seen by the people as ‘the epiphany of divine love’?
Fr. A. Alex cmf
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