My Vocation Story
By Fr. Bibin Mathew, CMF
Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí.
I have now been a Claretian missionary priest for six satisfying years. Many are the blessings I can thank God for. The Providence that guided me this far is so amazing.
I was born a millennial in India, a land that is widely known for its antiquities and diversities, superstitions as well as deep religious fervors. Ever since I was a boy, catholic priests and missionaries were my strong fascination. The distinct missionary outfit, their nobility and power to inspire faith stood out in my thoughts. They taught me at school. I often imagined being one like them. Providence led me to the Claretians. I loved the courageous Claretian family, its community living, the simplicity of life, its commitment to urgent missions of the Church. My family had so great an appreciation for the Claretians that it led my youngest brother, Tibin CMF to consider becoming a Claretian missionary as well. He is going to be ordained a missionary priest this year.
Fourteen long years of formation grew my love for the Congregation and its charismatic heritage. While serving in the formation of aspiring students, I had an intense desire inspiring me to go as a Claretian missionary to distant lands to serve Claretian Missions. I was sent here to the U.S. to serve our province’s mission here.
“Servants of the Word, Partners in Hope” I think truly summarizes the Claretian Mission here and perhaps in all the many countries we serve. The creative responses of our missionaries continue to give courageous witness to Christ bringing hope and add to the richness of the Catholic Church.
It is under the maternal care of Mary, Mother of God that the Congregation has always ventured into unchartered waters of cultures and communities to thrive. I feel excited thinking of the awesome ways the Lord has guided me.
The last twelve lines of Henry W Longfellow’s remarkable poem The Psalm of Life that I read during my college days come back to me often:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
It is totally adventurous to be a Claretian Missionary. St Antony Mary Claret wrote: “[A Claretian missionary] … is a man who unceasingly expends himself to light the fire of divine love in the world. Nothing stops him.” To this day, it is this undying fire and unstoppable courage that kept generations of Claretians going… and I trust in that fire and courage too.
Are you called to give courageous witness to Christ in the urgent missions of the Church? Our Vocation Director can help you discern the answer. Contact him today!