St. Gaspar called each of us to be “a furnace of charity.” We shouldn’t be afraid to go beyond what we think we are capable of doing, for in God all things are possible.
By Fr. Denny Kinderman, C.PP.S.
St. Paul prayed to the Father that the Ephesians (and ourselves) would be strengthened through the power of the Spirit, and to have the strength and courage to “win over the weak.” How to “become all things to all, to save at least some” (1 Cor 9:22).
Martin Luther King Jr. called for people, strengthened by that Spirit, to be “radicals for Christ!”
St. Gaspar, who founded the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, wrote, “For a missionary and for anyone else who is being formed for our Institute, it is not sufficient just to have some sort of sanctity.” Rather, we are to have what he called “mature sanctity,” which he says is “to be even-minded in every circumstance, with every person, in every place, and at all times.” Gaspar says that we are called to a special perfection.
For these, and many others, to become a radical for Christ or a fanatic, a rebel, strengthened by mature sanctity, was not for their aggrandizement—but for the kingdom of God and to the glory of God. Or, as St. Maria de Mattias, foundress of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, called it, “an adoring life stance before our God.” Maria Anna Brunner, foundress of the CPPS Sisters of Dayton, saw it as never ending, with the hope to “continue this good work even in eternity.”
In Luke 12:49, Jesus said, “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing!”
We too are each to be a “furnace of charity,” according to Gaspar, who prayed that God “inflame our souls with holy zeal!” It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us, making us more confident and assertive as we go about our ministries to the glory of God in an adoring stance before our God.
Gaspar calls us to be people “led by the Spirit.” With divine drive and dynamism dwelling within each of us we can do all things. With God all things are possible because God is in charge. God has it all under control! “The one in you is greater than the one in the world,” we read in the first letter of John 4:4. Or as Paul tells us, God “is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us!” Maybe that little light of mine isn’t so little after all.
So no one in the Precious Blood family needs to hesitate to go beyond: not only beyond our comfort zone, but into the unknown or to be about what we feel we are not prepared for. We do so with confidence before our loving God, “from whom every family is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit” (Eph 3: 15-16).
We would do well to dream the dream that Gaspar and Maria and Maria Anna desire for us, and the dream of Jesus that the earth be blazing. To fail to do so is death. John Paul Lederach writes: “it is the death of accepting and accommodating to the way things are, instead of living as if they could be different.”