Holy Family Cristo Rey High School
“The Passion of Christ has challenged me through the years, first of all, to grow up. And this has come through community life. I believe that being a religious and living in community does not exempt me from the realities of what it is to grow up as a man. And I believe, very personally, that the Passion of Christ in my own life has carried me through times of immaturity to a greater maturity.”
Questions and Reflections
As you entered into the Passionist Community, what are some of the things that have been formative for you within the Passionists?
Well, I think one of the formative things is learning that I can’t live passionately if I don’t have a passionate inner life. I found the ways — the creative ways — that we pray and we meditate and contemplate are very attractive to me. That became a real source of creativity for me, so, I’d say our prayer life is very creative. Secondly, missionaries, especially missionaries who have been willing to go beyond the domestic states to other countries, have been a real witness to me even though I have not done that. I find their witnesses incredible.
Identification of the Passionist charism has evolved over the years, from the idea of having devotion to the Passion, to dedication to keeping the memory of the Passion alive in the world and in our hearts.
What influence has this had on you?
I’ve always found a deeply personal commitment to our charism as devotion, to enter into all that is involved in that mystery: the activity of Christ—so public—doing good works and doing works of justice, the threats of death to him, the unfortunate rejections he received, the resistance. I have been devoted to that. So, when the phrase “Memory of the Passion” became more of a contemporary term, I found myself pretty much turned on by memory in the sense that the memories I had of Christ working in my life are memories of his Passion. And his Passion has enabled me not only to work with zeal, but also, I believe, I have been protected by the Cross of Christ. It’s a whole new way of looking at Christ’s passion and death as a protection that we carry with us. I believe, through the years, especially working with at risk young adults in areas which we consider dangerous, I have felt protected by the Cross of Christ and his Passion.
If a young man told you today that he was considering the Passionist Community, what would you say to him?
If a young man approached me about being a Passionist, I would say to him… “Get ready for a real adventure of the heart. Get ready for a real commitment to touching the hearts of people.” I think Passionists touch the hearts of people in a very unique way, and that is through the insights that can come in people’s sufferings. I said insights rather than obstacles because I think often times suffering is seen as a tremendous obstacle and actually an end to life. In reality, because of the Passionist charism, because of the gift that we have for the Church, we see that sufferings are actually an entree into new life. I think that’s the adventure that I would invite young men to. The adventure of being a Passionist, living passionately the will of Christ, especially, for the most abandoned.