Here is my next article for the magazine, Precious Blood Family
As sons and daughters of Gaspar we are to carry in our hearts a special devotion to the Word of God, and a desire to share it with the ends of the world. We belong to a community that dedicates itself to the service of the Church through the apostolic and missionary activity of the ministry of the word. (1) St. Gaspar and his missionaries were a source of continual renewal for the priests and the people, mainly by preaching missions and retreats. (2)
Gaspar encouraged the people to see the mission as a unique and extraordinary opportunity. We are subject to many voices each day and the mission was the one opportunity to pay attention to the voice of God. A Mission is one of those extraordinary means of God's providence whereby our most loving Father seeks to call people back to repentance and to a sincere renewal. Such a period of time is referred to as the acceptable time during which the Divine Lord, in a special and most abundant way, pours out upon souls his heavenly blessings. (3) The mission was the focus on the good, the intent of God, God's hopes and dreams for the individual and for the community.
The focus of his missionary activity was conversion, reconciliation and awakening from sleep. The social and political forces of Gaspar's time had left towns and villages in great disarray and upheaval. There were deep divisions, and life was marked by bloodshed and violence. Gaspar's crew of missionaries was armed with only the Word of God, but their presence was enough to awaken in the townspeople a longing for the peace and healing God desired. This is the time when God is calling out to you, that God is showing you the disillusion of earthly things and that they are nothing more than sheer vanity. How is it that we cannot be awakened from that profound sleep of death that oppresses us! How can we be so deaf to the many words of advice! Oh! The ineffable goodness of our loving God who, rather than hurling bolts of lightning toward us in righteous justice and condemning us to perdition, is rather moved with compassion toward each sinner. (4)
Gaspar had a profound sense that he was sent by God for this purpose. He could not shrink back from what he knew God desired. A weakness of spirit was an insult to God who had given everything. If the missionary focused on his own gifts he might fail, but knowing that it was God's work and that God would see it through any struggle or difficulty, the missionary could show the courage of a young David or Mary who were called by God and who prevailed in their weakness. This time, he is sending me to you my listeners. Weak, indeed, is the instrument that is being used, but I am consoled by the thought that his divine mercy will be evermore triumphant. The Lord was always accustomed to select weak subjects to do his work of bringing relief. (5)
We Missionaries, Adorers, Companions and members of Unio Sanguis Christi, we carry this vision of Gaspar as dangerous memory, knowing that each encounter is that significant moment Gaspar imagined, that each of us is called to the same awakening, and that even in our weakness we are sent with God's Word to the ends of the earth.
I wish you the faith of an Abraham who left all things for his God and with his actions demonstrated the interior truth of his sentiments. I wish you the courage of a David fighting Goliath, and, speaking of the New Testament, I wish you the constancy of the Apostles when they received the Holy Spirit. (6)
(1) Normative texts
(2) Normative texts
(3) Letter 900, no date
(4) St. Gaspar, Spiritual Writings, Vol 1, Introduction to the Holy Missions, Volume 16, p. 458-459
(6) St. Gaspar, Scritti, At the conclusion of a Mission, Volume 9, No. 61, pp. 208-209