Novena in Honor of St. Joseph Freinademetz

Day 8. That all may be one: the Missionary Community

When Joseph was appointed superior of the Divine Word Missionaries in China, among his many duties was the task of caring for the physical and spiritual wellbeing of the missionaries. During a retreat he said to them: “Our life is too short and our time too precious to be squandered in a useless way.” The missionaries who listened to him knew that their superior was only expressing in words his own radical commitment. This was what everyone admired about him in his own life as a missionary. At the end of the retreat he returned to the same point: “A good religious is by nature a good missionary and vice versa. The relationship between these two vocations is the same as that between the grain and ear of wheat, or between heroism and victory.” Let us ask God that through the intercession of St. Joseph we be a hospitable community.

Reading from the Gospel according to John 17:20-23

Reflecting on the text, we recall some of St. Joseph’s thoughts:

  • He wrote to St. Arnold: “In general the mood of the missionaries is very good. We are delighted that all have been admitted to final vows. Given the way things are at present I think that this has been the best decision.”
  • Regarding the missionaries’ stay at the retreat house he commented: “After a year spent out in the world, it is the community life joyfully lived in the observance of the rule, spiritual reading, study and meditation that renews the missionary.”

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you:

  • for calling Joseph to follow your Son, the Divine Word, in the missionary task of proclaiming the Good News to the people of China.
  • for the gift of your Spirit which filled him with love for your Son and which compelled him to dedicate himself fully to spreading your kingdom among the people of China.
  • for the missionary witness of Joseph, a man of humility, sincerity and complete detachment.

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit we ask for ourselves:

  • the missionary love of Joseph to go out and meet those who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • the zeal of Joseph for the word of God to unite the hearts of all people.
  • the hope of Joseph to fashion among diverse peoples, one community in the one Spirit.
  • the openness of Joseph to follow Jesus’ example of total commitment to the poorest, and those in greatest need.
  • the desire of Joseph to learn well “the language of love, the only one understood by all humanity.” Amen

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