Virtues we should cultivate

Some virtues we should cultivate to grow in our missionary Spirituality

-Fr. Aquilino Bocos,

Besides the evangelical counsels and the virtues indicated in our Constitutions, there are other dynamisms, which spring up from our charism, and should be especially cultivated if we want our ministry to be prophetic. They have been mentioned with different words during the (Spiriuality) Congress. I will just list them.

a) Vigilance or “seek in all things”. To live with our eyes open according to what is happening in our world, keeping our eyes and hearts open according to what is emerging as the most urgent for the Kingdom and its justice, in order to save, what is exposed to danger or to loss, to accomplish the will of God our Father. How could we be good missionaries without perceiving the cries and the murmurs of the surrounding reality? This seek in all things implies a double attitude: that of contemplation and compassion, as was highlighted during these days. Those, seeking sincerely, will end up being converted and taking on new initiatives.

b) Interior freedom, selflessness and availability for the mission. No one is able to fly without the wings free, if he has tied himself by egoistic concerns. Great aspirations come from hearts that are free. The prophets were the freest men in their hearts. Missionaries who are free are always ready to leave what prevents them from undertaking new paths: the prophecy of renewal calls for itinerancy.

c) Generosity and commitment to the cause of Jesus. It is the missionary ardor, the apostolic charity, which we will meditate in the Eucharist. I recall here just two texts of the Founder.

In the pastoral Letter that he directs to the people of Santiago, Cuba he writes: “Do not doubt, children, in the Bishop who takes care, as he should, to meditate on what Jesus Christ did and suffered to save souls, it enkindles in his heart such a fire, by means of this meditation, that it does not allow him to be at peace or rest; and just as fire to powder gives force to a bomb or bullet, and makes it forget its natural gravity and tendency to be at rest and quiet, thus, and even more so, the fire that is enkindled in meditation in this way impels the Bishop, who forgets himself and goes to where the Spirit of the Lord directs him…”2

Almost at the end of his life, he writes: “Aflame with this same love, apostolic missionaries have reached, are reaching and will continue to reach to the ends of the earth, in order to preach the word of God; thus they can rightly apply themselves the words of the Apostle Paul: Charitas Christi urget nos (2 Cor. 5: 14).. The charity or love of Christ spurs and impels us to run and fly on the wings of holy zeal”3.

d) Collaboration, working together, sharing the mission. It is not a matter of strategy for efficiency; it is dynamism, a virtue proper to any Claretian. The best way to root out individualism is to promote collaboration that presupposes openness, dialogue, tolerance and generosity in order to sustain all that is positive in our life and work.      

e) Our fortitude and persevering fidelity. Our mission is filled with risks and difficulties. It presupposes much renouncing and a lot of courage. A strong missionary is somebody who has his face turned to the future, knowing where he is going, not being stopped in the face of risks and traps. He tackles them with earnest mind and hope. The perseverance to which I refer to is in relationship to creative fidelity, which helps us to give priority to what is essential and to try to obtain it. What is important for our world is the prophesy of fidelity.

I am sure that you have your own considerations about this Congress. I think we all agree that what we have seen and heard helps the whole Congregation grow in its missionary life at the beginning of this third millennium. May the Holy Spirit who has enlightened our mind and enkindled the hearts of our brothers in order to share their spiritual experiences, continue helping us to journey with the People of God among whom we want to be witnesses and servants of the Reign. The Congress comes to an end but the task to renew our spirituality goes on.

Excerpt from the document of Spirituality Congress: Our missionary Spirituality along the Journey of God’s People, 2002 P. 41.42

2 CLARET, A.M.: Carta pastoral al pueblo. Escritos Pastorales. BAC, Madrid, 1997, p.198.

3 CLARET, A.M.: Selfishness Overcome, Works of Saint Anthony Claret: Volume III, Spiritual Writings, Claretian Publications, Quezon City, Philippines, 1991, p. 493.