Each us has a path to travel. Often the path is quite different from what we might expect. There are always challenges and sufferings along the way.
This path is no easier for Christians, for those who have invited God into their lives. Paradoxically, it might even become more difficult. For those who choose the life of a foreign missionary, the path will certainly lead to distant lands, sometimes places of discord and danger. And this journey of their lives might even include the violent death of martyrdom.
PIME has 18 martyrs. These men set out on their missions seeking dialogue, conversion, and service. Each one also accepted the chance that he might be called to give his very life for the missions.
As the missionaries depart for their assignments, they recite a prayer as they receive a crucifix. A portion of it states their willingness to give all:
“…And so I have decided, with your help, to strive, at the cost of whatever toil, hardship or sacrifice, even that of my life, for the salvation of souls…”
One PIME missionary, Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, was martyred on this date eighteen years ago in the Philippines. Known for the work he did among the Muslim and Christian communities there, he loved working with youth. He was shot after leaving the Silsilah Center, where he was teaching a session on dialogue. (His story is told in Crimson Seeds, 18 PIME Martyrs, a book available from us here in Detroit. Leave a comment if you’d like a FREE copy.)
Fr. Carzedda lived out the missionary promises he made, even to the point of losing his life in a country far from his native Italy. Is this the path he would have chosen for himself?
We don’t know. What we do know is that he chose to follow Jesus, and that he was not alone on his journey.
Is Jesus leading you down an unfamiliar path? Trust Him. It is unlikely that your life will end in martyrdom, like Fr. Carzedda’s did, but it will certainly be filled with difficult twists and turns. But when Jesus is on the path with you, at least your destination is clear.