By Debbie Bolin, Sedalia, Missouri Companion
August 17th, 2014
Fr. Dave Matz sent us an email a couple of weeks ago asking us to send him “What we do “as Companions. As I began thinking about all of the activities that we do, I think it would be easier to say what we don’t do…but let me give it a try…
We are teachers…in Confirmation, RCIA, PSR, of music and dance, of Social Justice, of the Catholic Faith.
We are Volunteers…at soup kitchens, at Open Door, at Hope House, at the sheltered work shop, on councils, in choirs, accompanists, liturgical ministers, and volunteer in pre-schools and in offices.
We work for hospice, standing beside those going through Chemo Therapy and Cancer treatment. We help members of our families that are going through difficult times, either physically or mentally.
We are Compassionate people reaching out to all of the people around us to help them have better lives and in doing that, our own lives become richer.
I believe that as Companions to the Precious Blood we live the Corporal and Spiritual Works of mercy…by Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead, admonishing the sinner…but be careful about throwing that 1st stone…Instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries…Jesus never said it would be easy… and praying for the living and the dead!
There you go!! Fr. Dave! That’s what we DO as Companions!
In the book, “Tattoos on the Heart” written by Fr. Gregory Boyles he writes, “Let no daylight separate us,” only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased! We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless (the unborn). We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop! We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that one day will come when we stop throwing people away.”
Mother Theresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just “forgotten that we belong to each other!”
With Kinship as the goal, other essential things fall into place; without it, there is no justice, and no peace. What is “Kinship”? It is related to or in relationship with another person. If you are in a relationship with another person, you care about that person and what happens to that person! Kinship—is not serving the other, but being one with them. Jesus was not “a man FOR others”; he was with them!!
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second one is similar: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ We can’t love someone we don’t know. If we want to love God, we need to meet him and spend time with Him…in prayer…by speaking to Him as our friend and in listening…We can come face to face with Him in the Sacraments, particularly in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we can meet Him in the person of Jesus Christ as often as we like.
We also meet Jesus in each other. It is because God first loved us that we are able to love one another. Sometimes it is a challenge to see the face of Jesus in our neighbors and to love our Lord Jesus in the person before us, or next to us, or in traffic or in line at the grocery store or the convenience store. This is who we are called to be as Precious Blood people… as companions!
As Fr. Joe Nassal wrote in his Founder’s Day Address, “Blessed Are We” he says, “Our founder, St. Gaspar had this sense of being blessed, of being loved by God. As he wrote, “So let us strive to love the one who loves us so very much. May the heart of Jesus be the center of our lives, our mystical cell, our ark of refuge (#2598).” This sense of being blessed gave Gaspar all the courage he needed to give birth to The Missionaries of the Precious Blood and begin a new adventure for the realm of God.”
Many of you have probably heard or read that Fr. Timothy Armbruster and I, took a group of High school students on a mission trip to Chicago to go and work at the Precious Blood Center of Reconciliation this summer. We were welcomed with open arms by Fr. Dave Kelly, Fr. Denny Kinderman, Sr. Donna Liette…Fr. Timothy has met his match with Sr. Donna and her unbounding energy!!! , Sr. Carolyn Hoying…that name might sound familiar, Cousin of Fr. Vince Hoying…and Mike, Diana, Johnathan and Lamonte. We began our stay there with a meal…of course… and prayer. As many of you know…The PBMR is known for Circle prayer…where questions are asked and answered depending on the topic at hand and with the use of a “Talking piece” everyone has the opportunity to speak or not, and everyone has the opportunity to listen and be heard. One question that was asked was: “What are your expectations for the days ahead?” The answers varied… from meeting new friends, to hope for a changed understanding of our relationship with all people, no matter where they come from or their ethnicity, their color or gender! We are all God’s people, made in His image and likeness! This is who we are as Companions and members of the Precious Blood and this is what our founder St. Gaspar preached and lived and wrote about!
This summer and in my life, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, their love, their compassion and their hospitality have helped make ME and ALL of us who we are today and who we will be in the future!
Just one more story…as my husband Mike can attest to…I have had a great summer of travel, relaxation and celebrations. Another experience I had was the Precious Blood Retreat at St. Joseph College, in Rensselaer Indiana. It was a family re-union!…of those who you know well and who know you and a welcoming with open arms from people you have never met. We prayed, worshipped, celebrated and even cried together. Fr. Barry Fischer brought Pope Francis and St. Gaspar alive for us! The retreat, my friends…is an entire other reflection! But as Missionaries and Companions of The Precious Blood, with the examples of our Founder St. Gaspar and our Pope Francis, we are called to be Eucharistic people… to live the whole Eucharist, to be transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ… to be His hands and feet, to do the work and proclaim His word. To be the example of Christ in this world, so we can see Jesus and be with him in the next!
By Debbie Bolin, Sedalia, Missouri Companion