PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, August 18, 2006

 

Missionary


I never knew I would pesonally meet someone like them in my lifetime. I only get to read about them, hear about them: St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Damien of Molokai, Francis Xavier, St. John Bosco, St Francis of Sales, and the first apostles. But now P.S. is aspiring to be one of them - missionaries of Christ, potential martyrs. A teacher at Don Bosco Technical School, he has been approved by the Salesians to go to Papua New Guinea as a lay brother. Everybody knows what it means to give your life to the missions. You end up giving your whole life, sometimes literally. "Death is not a dim prospect," P. himself put it quite bluntly, half-joking.

If things push through as planned, P. will be joining the league of that young Jesuit priest who had died recently in Cambodia saving the lives of the young victims of war there, as well as those two guys our parish priest told us about who had been beheaded for distributing Bibles in Muslim Saudi Arabia. Beheaded. Decapitated.

Like figuring in a scene in Tarzan, it is a chilling prospect - to be eaten alive by some horrible cannibalistic tribe dwelling in the far reaches of the Amazon or Papua New Guinea rainforest. Especially to us whose day-to-day questions suddenly become vacuous in the face of P.'s decision. How will I improve in my craft? What will be my next job? What shirt best suits me on this day and that? Where and with whom will I watch this concert and that movie?

With P.'s story, suddenly my questions in life were: Where am I so far in my "walk with the Lord"? Am I bearing fruit as a Christian? Will I give up my life for the Lord? Am I living a life credible enough to evangelize, like, two billion mainland Chinese?

I count myself fortunate for personally meeting a courageous would-be martyr as P. I've read somewhere that martyrdom is one sure way of going straight to heaven. Why not, indeed? A martyr's blood has a way of making fertile an arid ground to which the seeds of Christianity are planted.

I pray hard for P.'s work and that he comes home alive and well. Besides, there are too many men to tell the Good News to, and too few chosen to spread the word like that.

19??

Update: P. came home alive and well a year or two after.


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