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2. Cry the Gospel with your life
Do you really know what it means to follow Brother Charles of Jesus, 'the Universal Little Brother'? Like him, you must be prepared to love everyone throughout the world, making the salvation of all the work of your life - a work you will carry out above all by prayer and desire.
Do you realize just what this vocation demands and what its consequences are?
The Love of the Heart of Jesus was so great that it took in the whole world. To return this Love, you must be ready to go to the ends of the earth ' crying the Gospel ' with your very life, rather than by your words.
To be a Saviour with Jesus and to 'cry his Gospel by your life,' you must be ready to leave your family, background, country, language, customs, way of thinking and all you hold dear. You will then be able to belong to those you have been sent to by making your own their language, customs, and even their mentality, however different from yours they may be.
You must become concretely one with your new people. Wanting to love is not enough, for you must become one with them in all the hard realities of life.
You will not always be understood. Your own people, your own race may hold it against you, saying you have deserted or betrayed them, and your new family, who you have chosen with so much love and loyalty, will find it difficult to believe in your sincerity.
To prepare yourself you will have to study, perhaps for years, the language, customs, religion and the authentic culture of the people God has chosen for you. And no one, absolutely no one, must be excluded from your love. You must not forget those who are the hardest to reach, in countries and also in situations that seem impenetrable or hostile.
Fear of failure or danger must never hold you back:
You should choose to live among the poorest and most forgotten, where no one else would go » among nomads or other ignored or disregarded minorities. Look at the map of the world and see if you can find a handful of people scattered over a large territory and difficult to reach for those with a different form of apostolate. You must really choose to go there, otherwise no one else may ever come to tell them that Jesus loves them, that he suffered and died for them.
The Good Shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one lost sheep.
So do not listen to those who tell you it is a waste of time to travel the world over looking for the lost sheep because there are huge numbers of people waiting for you elsewhere.
Christ died for the lost sheep. He paid for it with the price of his Blood.
This is in fact your vocation.
To live this vocation, you must be ready to do without and to follow Jesus,
'going where he would go in search of the lost sheep, the farthest away, the most forsaken brother of Jesus, the most disabled, the brother in the greatest spiritual need, in the deepest shadows of death,'as Brother Charles wrote. Do not be afraid of all you will have to face in order to reach them: long, tiring and dangerous journeys and
'all that men may think, say or do against you.'
Have you realized what all this will mean in the way of physical suffering due to the change of climate, food or customs? You may also find spiritual disappointment, because you may never see the fruits of your labour. Most of the time you will sow and not reap; like Brother Charles of Jesus, perhaps you will never see a single person come to Christ because of you.
You will have to be able to accept insults and mistreatment. Do not be afraid of the difficulties and the sufferings inevitable in your life as an apostle. Be glad if you have the honour and joy of suffering, and of being disregarded and ill-treated for the love of your beloved Brother and Lord Jesus:
Then let us bless God and thank him for he gives us the grace of all graces, the favour of all favours, that of giving him proof of the greatest love.
'A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.' (John 15:13)
'It is the grace of all graces, the joy of all joys, the greatest joy that one can receivein this world and which will be followed immediately by the eternal joy of the other world.'Brother Charles of Jesus, meditation on Psalm 21 )
With this in mind you will not flee persecution and you must be prepared to die without putting up any resistance unless you are asked to do otherwise through obedience. You will give your life in union with Jesus' sacrifice as you offered it on the day of your religious profession.
Inspired by Brother Charles...