Monday, April 4, 2011

Chaminade: Man on a Mission

Our Lady of Good Counsel
Being on a mission means being sent by some one else to achieve a certain purpose determined by the sender. The mission of Christ, for example, was to bring to a world in dire need the saving word of God's love for it, and to lead it into a positive and loving relationship with a God whom it had rejected. Every mission in the Church is in some way a particularization of  that mission of Christ, sharing in it, an explicitation of it in the concrete reality of time and space.

Several insights characetrized Blessed Chaminade's understanding of his mission. First of all, a careful attention to the signs of the times, for they are providential signs. He was a person of great prudence and never in a hurry to act. He placed his intellegience at the service of love. He looked at the situation, weighed it in faith in order to discern God's call. That was his attitude in the face of the great Revolution, of the exile he was forced to endure, of the foundation of the sodalities. He waited patiently for the realization of the dream of Saragossa where he saw "as in a vision" the foundation of the religious institues as a means of rechristianizing France. Over twenty years later was that dream facing reality: the Marianist Family (he called it the "Family of Mary"), composed of laity, priests, religious, single persons, married couples, young and old, all dedicated to a common mission, Mary's.

Whatever he did, it was for the purpose of making Jesus and Mary better known, loved and served, "fully convinced that we cannot lead people to Jesus Christ except through his most holy Mother." "Our work," he said, "is grand; it is in fact magnificent if it is universal, it is because we are mssionaries of Mary who says to us: 'Do whatever he tells you.' Yes, we are all missionaries. To each of us the most holy Virgin has confided a mandate to work at the salvation of our brothers and sisters in the world."