Reflections
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Blessed Pope John Paul II

 

A True Model for Religious Missionaries

 

A missionary strategist of the highest caliber, John Paul II sincerely believed that the gospel must be preached to all people around the world. In his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, the Pope says, 

“The heart of the particular Church must be set on the contemplation of Jesus Christ, God made-man, and strive constantly for a more intimate union with him whose mission she continues. Mission is contemplative action and active contemplation. Therefore, a missionary who has no deep experience of God in prayer and contemplation will have little spiritual influence or missionary success.” 

In Redemptoris Missio he reminds us that “An essential characteristic of missionary spirituality is intimate communion with Christ.” From contemplation a missionary gets the strength and courage for action.

Fr. Jojohn Chettyakunnel, M.S.

 

 

Pope John Paul II in India
According to Pope John Paul II, every consecrated person is a contemplative. In his address to the consecrated women in Maipu (Chile) on April 3rd, 1987 he says, “in order that the regions aspect of your life be obvious and fruitful, it is important that members of the Institutes of active life take upon themselves a serious reflection in order to bring about an authentic synthesis between action and contemplation." He said that there is no conflict between work and contemplation. Both should be integrated.

 

Pope John Paul II at prayer
Before everything else, Pope John Paul II was a man of God, a person of deep faith in his Creator. Despite his intense activity around the world, despite his interaction with millions of believers, admirers, friends, acquaintances and co-workers, John Paul II was very much united to God. 

 

His closeness to people came from his closeness to God. As a missionary he travelled to every comer of the world. He consistently spoke out against wars, abortion, and exploitation of workers. He denounced violence and conflict and proclaimed peace, courage, hope and the need for a globalization rooted in solidarity. His life was an alternating rhythm between time spent communing with God and time spent with God’s people. 

As a contemplative he understood his prophetic role in the world. At all levels he raised his voice with courage to denounce the evil of our times. He was the voice of the voiceless. He considered all life as sacred. He deeply believed that life deserves respect whether in the womb as a male or female child, in a mentally or physically handicapped person, in a terminally ill patient or in an elderly person or a criminal.

 

The world had a glimpse of his great humility when he apologized for the sins of the Church in the past. He shocked some, surprised others, but won the admiration of the world. He set a great example of forgiveness as taught by Christ when he forgave Ali Agha, the man who made an assassination attempt on him on May 13,

Pope John Paul II at Youth Day
1981. Only the real follower of Christ and one who is united with Christ can forgive like this and can apologize like this.

 

John Paul II could relate with all kinds of people. He was a true missionary Pope. He travelled around the world. With his pontificate the papal image has changed and has been brought closer to the people of our day. Even though some criticized his many travels, he explained, “Since the Bishop of Rome is the primary herald of the faith, he has the primary responsibility for the spread of the faith throughout the world.” 

 

He considered himself not only a pastor to the Catholic community, not merely a leader for the Christian world but a spokesperson for humanity. He was a universal brother. For us La Salette Religious Missionaries, Pope John Paul II is a beacon light both in our Religious life and in our mission. May his spirituality of Pope inspire us always.

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Our Community: The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette are deeply rooted in the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette which occurred near the hamlet of La Salette in southeastern France on Sept. 19, 1846. The Missionaries were founded in 1852 by Bp. Philbert de Bruillard, Bishop of Grenoble, France, and presently serve in some 25 countries.

Our Province: The Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas, was founded in 2000AD and is one of several provinces in the congregation. The members of this Province serve mainly in the countries of Canada, the United States and the Region of Argentina/Bolivia.

Our Mission: Our La Salette ministry of reconciliation responds to the broad vision given by Mary at La Salette as well as in response to the needs of the Church. As reconcilers, we together with the laity take seriously Mary’s mandate: “You will make (Mary’s) message known to all (her) people.”

 

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