pen portrait of a missionary

i have been thinking about ideals. during our claretian retreat, i have been thinking about claretian ideals. there are many sources of ideals from our missionary congregation: st anthony claret’s autobiography, the consititutions, directory, general chapters, provincial chapters, the vows.

as st anthony named us “sons of the immaculate heart of the blessed virgin mary” somehow, mary’s heart is also an ideal.

all of these sources help and guide us to love in our very particular style of life.

but today i am re-reading the pen portrait of a claretian:

…a Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set the whole world on fire with God’s love. Nothing daunts him; he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, and rejoices in suffering. His only concern is how he can best follow Jesus Christ and imitate Him in working, suffering, and striving constantly and single-mindedly for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.”

there are times when i am totally inspired by these words. there are times when i read them and think that it is a description of a religious super hero.

goal oriented? yes. lofty? indeed. ego centered? not one bit. single-mindedly? once in a blue moon

for me, it keeps me focused on jesus’ promise of the cross as we follow him. suffering and death are rarely chosen from our will. usually the cross is just thrust upon our shoulders. then we lumber forward, fall and get up, fall and get up.

sometimes, survival is the best i can do.

Holy Spirit, give us the graces we need this day to best follow jesus. give us the gifts of wisdom and courage to take a next step. renew us in the ideals we profess. guide and lead us with a joy that goes deeper than any fleeting feeling. plant your peace in our hearts. amen

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