Dear friend, greetings from Taiwan: “Be merciful like our Father.”
To tell the truth, my initial vocational experience was strongly linked to an experience similar to that of the Good Samaritan, on the road from Jerusalem. After attending a youth mass, I was returning home with a friend. A young man came up to us, asking for money to eat… during those years I attended the school near my house, and didn’t carry money. Overcoming many presumptions I told him, “money I do not have but we can share dinner at home;” and he came with me. The immediate reaction from my parents was somewhat confusing. My mother offered him a blanket or clothing, a shower or some extra food. He declined and left after sharing dinner. The next day a friend and I were looking for him in the neighborhood and asked a small group to help us find a place for detoxification, and contact with his family…
When someone asked me why I had done this, I could only say that it was consistent with the readings from the Eucharist that day; “when I was hungry and you gave me to eat…” Much water has passed under the bridge since then, but that experience is a restless well, that once in a while shakes and questioned my life as Claretian Missionary… Am I still coming out of my confort zone? Do I still question the conventions and traditions, overcoming presumptions? Am I a wall or bridge?
In recent years my missionary life has evolved in an environment if not hostile, at least “difficult” for evangelization. In China, we are welcome, but not our ecclesial affiliation and beliefs. During nine years of being a missionary, I have encountered constant brackets of what I believed what was good or bad, adequate or inadequate, to accept it an to be “what God wishes.” And that is perhaps what consists of the Christian vocation, which is differentiated: give me permission to do what God wants, like Mary, like Peter, like the Samaritan, like Francis or Anthony Claret… it is true that from time to time, I see with God or God sees in me, that we do not agree on some options, especially when it hurts me and requires me to change my position, but if I don’t turn to God or give to God, including my life, then how can I invoke his name? How can I call myself a Christian?
The God in whom I believe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus; the God of Claret is a God who enjoys breaking down walls and building bridges… to open and close windows and doors that are small, and that is sometimes a God of grand designs, who at times makes us uncomfortable. We would like a God that conformed to be part of us, yet is engaged actively and passively to be all in all. In this plan of the kingdom of God, there isn’t room for a half-hearted vocation.
Fr. Paco Carín CMF
Major Superior of the East Asia Delegation