“Do not aspire to the dignities and ecclesiastical benefices, yes God does not call you to them, like Aron; and if the divine Providence does place you in them, consider with great frequency the heavy weight that falls on your shoulders, so much respect for yourself and the others who are your subjects.”

(Notices to a priest who has just done the Ignatian exercises. Vic 1844; p. 5).

OCCUPY THE LAST PLACE

“But not so with you” (Lk 22, 26).  Jesus said this to his disciples after watching closely how the people of his time rivalled each other for power, privileges and social hierarchy. He affectionately urges them not to consent to such temptation. He reminds them that the goal of his vocation is affability in mutual service. The authority (power) and the privileges are not bad in themselves; but when they become an absolute value and are used to oppress others, they are inherently perverted.

The animators of the Christian life come from the people of God to be at the service of the same people. To provide this service they have to get in tune with God and not think on a merely human level. Therefore, those who receive the call to be the animators of the faith of others should never use the power and the privilege of their position to obtain in this way honours, titles or economic advantages, for themselves or their relatives. Their vocation obliges them to have a plus in an attitude of service and in an outpouring of love.

When Fr. Claret, in his autobiography, makes the list of the founding group of the Congregation of Missionaries, he concludes: “… I, Anthony Claret, was last of all. And, indeed, they were all better educated and more virtuous than I so that I felt happy and content to consider myself their servant”. (Aut. 489).

Are you ready to assume joyfully the ecclesial service that was asked of you and to make the seed that was planted in you bear fruit, without stopping to consider the greater or lesser brilliance that you can take with you? If they have entrusted you with a service guidance or government, do you know how to avoid the search for personal gain and opt to help lovingly the people entrusted to you?