Fr. Superior General's Message
AN IDEAL FOR WHICH I AM PREPARED TO DIE
From Nelson Mandela to Abraham Lincoln, these revered leaders' words remain poignant and powerful decades after they were first uttered. Such is the power of history’s greatest speeches, the inspiring, heartrending, excoriating addresses that transcend their historical moment and stick with all of us no matter how many decades or even centuries have gone by.
One of the most memorable speeches in modern history comes from Nelson Mandela, the man who fought tirelessly against South African apartheid. His revolutionary work led to his wrongful arrest in 1962 on charges of treason and inciting the public to strike against the government. Mandela was sentenced to life in prison and delivered this incredible three-hour speech in defense of his aggressive actions against his government’s racist policies during his trial in Rivonia on April 20, 1964.
The Highlight of his speech is : “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
In October we remember St. Therese of Lisieux- our Patroness, Fr. Basilius- our Founder and many more who cherished high ideals in their lives for which they were prepared to die. St. Therese was able to say that she would continue to love God even if she is in hell. Her Autobiography is full of examples of high ideals in life for which she was able to sacrifice many things and she became a martyr of love.
St. Therese narrates the temptation she had just on the eve of her first profession of Vows – “I did want to do God’s will, even if it meant going back to the world; that would be better than doing my own will by staying at Carmel.”
The Billet de Profession composed by the Saint and worn on her heart, according to custom, when she took her Vows reads: September 8, 1890. “Jesus my heavenly bridegroom, never may I lose this second robe of baptismal innocence; take me to yourself before I commit any willful fault, however slight. May I look for nothing and find nothing but you and you only; may creatures mean nothing to me, nor I to them - you Jesus, are to be everything to me. May earthly things have no power to disturb the peace of my soul; that peace is all I ask of you except love; love that is as infinite as you are, love that has no eyes for myself, but for you, Jesus, only for you. Jesus, I would like to die a martyr for your sake, a martyr in soul or in body; better still in both. Give me the grace to keep my Vows in their entirety; make me understand what is expected of one who is your bride. Let me never be a burden to the community, never claim anybody’s attention; I want them all to think of me as no better than a grain of sand, trampled underfoot and forgotten, Jesus for your sake. May your will be perfectly accomplished in me, till I reach the place you have gone to prepare for me. Jesus, may I be the means of saving many souls; today, in particular, may no soul be lost, may all those detained in Purgatory win release. Pardon me Jesus, if I am saying more than I have any right to; I am thinking only of your pleasure, of your content.”
As we honour these great personalities, we are challenged day by day to cherish high ideals in life for which we can be ready even to die. Only then we shall be committed to the core. Can we identify some of these core values – Our Congregation? Religious Life? Priestly Ministry? Community Living ? Our people ? Our Institutions ?
Can we become COMPASSIONATE WITNESSES FOR THE LITTLE
– an ideal to be little and serve the little with great compassion and commitment ? A firm resolve is the need of the hour.
With Warm Regards, Festal Greetings and Best Wishes,
Fr. Francis Kilivallickal CST