Pope Francis constantly is
challenging a world enveloped in the globalization of indifference that
missionary zeal must be enkindled. Jesus reminds us with a heavy heart:“The harvest is rich, but the laborers are
One of the powerful motivational forces
that can move us to do great things for the Lord, to work strenuously in the
vineyard of the Lord for the purpose of saving souls is to read, meditate and
to imitate the zeal of the saints.
MISSIONARY SAINTS: GET TO KNOW
THEM!The Church presents a plethora of
noble and holy personalities that we call “Saints” who have given their lives
to gather in the harvest of souls as missionaries. Let us mention just a few:
St. Paul, St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter Claver, St. Peter Chanel, St. Damien of
Molokai, St Frances Cabrini, St. John Neuman, Blessed Francis Seelos, St.
Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis de Sales, St. Anthony Mary Claret, and St.
Therese of Lisieux.
These brilliant stars that shine so brightly
in the firmament of heaven (using an image of Hans Von Balthasar) had two
things in common: a burning love for God and an insatiable love for what God
loves most—the salvation of immortal souls. Indeed the saints understood the
teachings of the angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas:“One soul is worth more than the whole
created universe.” One immortal soul, and that is your soul and mine, was saved
by the most Precious Blood that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ poured out to
the last drop as He hung on the cross that first Good Friday!
Indeed if we truly love God with all
of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, as the Gospel challenges us to do (Lk.
10:27), then we should love what God loves most: THE SALVATION OF IMMORTAL
We would like to pay tribute to one
missionary saint who should be taken as a splendid model for our modern world,
whose feast day we celebrate every year on October 24: SAINT ANTHONY MARY
This man accomplished extraordinary
miracles of grace because of his great union with Jesus and the Immaculate
Heart of Mary.His accomplishments
should inspire all followers of Christ to move from a slow, mediocre, tepid and
lukewarm state to fire for the love of God. Remember the last words Saint
Ignatius said to St. Francis Xavier before he embarked on his fervent
missionary adventure: GO SET ALL ON FIRE!!!
St. Francis Xavier
One of the great hallmarks of the
sanctity of this man of God, who was both priest and Bishop, was his tireless
zeal for the ministry of the Word of God. May Saint Anthony encourage all
deacons, priests, Bishops, as well as the laity to do all they can in their
power to teach, preach and spread the Word of God.This great missionary saint was keenly aware
of one of the principle reasons for the falling and sinking into sin and the
loss of souls was the widespread ignorance especially among so many Catholics.
Today in Europe, USA, and many other
so called “Catholic countries” paganism is reining; agnosticism leading to
atheism is spreading like wild-fire; even the growth and diffusion of satanic
cults and the worship of the devil is becoming more and more prominent.May Saint Anthony Mary Claret and his prayers
launch us into a renewed desire to preach, to teach, to catechize, to evangelize—in
a word, to be true missionaries. Time is of the essence!
The Fire burning in his heart
MISSION PREACHING!Saint Anthony Claret never wearied as a
fervent missionary to preach in season and out of season. He did it all!He taught children catechism. He preached
popular missions to the adults, aware of the fact that the first catechists in
the family as well as teachers should be the parents!Claret would preach retreats to Religious
nuns; how important is the renewal of Religious life in this year dedicated to
the Religious Life. He taught priests and eventually became the founder of the
Claretians, servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
PURPOSE OF HIS PREACHING.The purpose of his preaching was always the
same—to glorify God, the conversion of sinners, the perseverance of the just
and the ultimate salvation of their immortal souls.
A TYPICAL POPULAR MISSION: THE MEANS
ST. ANTHONY MARY CLARET UTILIZED—below is a list of means that Saint Anthony
Mary Claret would use in his missions to praise God and save souls. Let us pray
for a renewed missionary zeal in the Church right now!
1.PRAYER.Claret, following in the footsteps of the
prior missionary saints, relied heavily on the tool of prayer. He would pray
for his missions.Furthermore he would
try to get as many people to pray for his mission as possible: children, nuns,
lay-people, the sick and suffering, all possible categories. The fervent and
abundant prayer that preceded his missions would water the apostolic soil for
an abundant harvest.
2.INSTRUCTING CHILDREN.Jesus said: “Let the children come to me for
the Kingdom of God is as such as these.” He would teach the little ones about
the love of God then he would give them a holy card and the following day the
parents would show up at the mission. Like Claret, today more than ever we must
teach and catechize the children while they are young; if not the world, the
media and modern education will poison their little minds.
3.ADULT INSTRUCTION. Claret insisted on
teaching the adults.They are the
primary teachers of their children. However, nobody can give what he does not have.
Could it be that since the second Vatican Council that one of the greatest
failures of the Church has been in a failure to educate the adults and parents
in their catholic faith? Professionals must undergo constant ongoing formation;
call it PERMANENT FORMATION.Should not
adult Catholics pursue a constant ongoing formation??? If you like should we
not be intent upon forming “Professional Catholics” in the faith? As Doctors
and Lawyers and Teachers must know their trade, Catholics should know and love
Jesus and be able to bring Him to others, starting in their own families
Fulton Sheen: the Holy Hour is the Hour of Power
4.SERMONS.St. Anthony was a superb preacher of the word
of God. Let us pray for priests that they make a constant effort to grow in
their desire and capacity to preach the word of God to the hungry people. Jesus
said: “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes forth from
the mouth of God.”(Mt. 4:4)Venerable
Archbishop Fulton Sheen offers one of the keys to success for priests to
accomplish powerful and efficacious preaching—the HOUR OF POWER.May priests and Bishops accept the challenge
of Sheen and undertake to make a daily Holy Hour in front of the Blessed
Sacrament. Fire will issue forth from the heart and lips of such a priest!!!
5.THE IGNATIAN EXERCISES. Having spent
some time in formation with the Jesuits, Saint Anthony Mary Claret was totally
convinced of the power and efficacy of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
of Loyola to help many to order the disordered in their lives, to learn the art
of meditation and contemplation and to purify their conscience by means of a
well-prepared and profound Sacramental Confession.
6.BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS. Part and parcel
of the preaching and missions of Claret was the distribution of books as well
as pamphlets. Before arriving at the place of mission Saint Anthony would study
the terrain to see what was most needed spiritually and morally, then he would
distribute especially short pamphlets to educate and meet the need! How many
souls have been converted through the reading of good literature? Saint
Ignatius of Loyola is just one of many! He read the lives of the saints and
felt motivated to imitate their holy lives.
7.EVERYDAY CONVERSATIONS.Another means to teach, catechize and
evangelize for Saint Anthony Mary Claret was the simple device of talking
individually to anybody that God put in his path about God and the spiritual
life. Every soul he saw as precious in God’s eyes and he was ready and willing
to do all to bring every individual soul back to God by talking about God and
the spiritual life. Look at your life now and the many contacts that you have.
Most likely there are people that you meet on a daily basis that are confused,
muddled, depressed and ignorant of all that refers to God and the salvation of
their souls. Maybe, in imitation of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, you are the one
to lead this person to the Light, and that light is Jesus Christ the Light of
Let us conclude with an excerpt,
taken from the Liturgy of the Hours (October 24th) from a preaching
of the great Saint Anthony Mary Claret. Hopefully these words will enkindle in
your heart an ardent desire to make God known and loved and an ardent desire to
save immoral souls:
Claret's love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary
“For myself, I say this
to you: The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he
desires and works with all his strength to inflame all men with the fire of God’s
love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty, he labors strenuously; he welcomes
hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks
only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his
labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and
the salvation of souls.”