|FATHER JORDAN – THE TRUSTWORTHY MASTER |
On June 13-15, 2008, at the CFD took place the formation session dedicated to spirituality of the Founder of the Salvatorian Society. The session from the cycle School of Spirituality of Father Jordan, entitled “From apathy to spiritual passion. Spirituality for our times” was given by Rev. Alessandro Pronzato, outstanding Italian Catholic writer, who has been preparing the popular version of biography of Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan.
The meeting ended one day before the 160th birthday anniversary of the Founder of Salvatorians and Salvatorian Sisters (June 16th 1848), which opened the Year of Father Jordan announced by the leaders of the Salvatorian Family.
With the help of Rev. Alessandro Pronzato the participants of the spiritual retreat based on Jordan’s Spiritual Diary, could approach the mystery of Francis Mary of the Cross, in order to see him not only on the outside, through the prism of what he has done, but to attempt to answer the question “who he was?”
The Spiritual Diary – compass for the soul
For Jordan his Spiritual Diary was like a compass to his soul. It indicated the main goal, main direction of his aspirations and actions, which was the greater glory of God and salvation of souls. Jordan began writing his Diary when he was 27. From that time on he kept it constantly at hand in order to always remember what was the most important.
Spiritual Diary, that special kind of compass, does not allow to forget the goal, which consists of one’s own salvation and invites to be watchful in daily life, that each spoken word and each action were motivated by the glory of God and salvation of all people. The Diary considered as a compass, which differs from satellite navigation, does not indicate exactly geography of a given place and does not show precisely the way, by which you can reach your goal, but encourages you to trust, that God in your daily life will show you the way and means needed for realization of your goal and for responsible following the will of God.
First to pray then take action
Already the first conferences allowed to observe Jordan as a man totally fascinated with God’s desire, that everyone attains the knowledge of truth and be saved; as a passionate, who without this passion cannot be understood. The Founder of the Salvatorians, who came from Gurtweil, Baden, was a man of contemplation and action, who before taking any action, humbly prayed the Almighty God.
Close relationship with God and Saints
Rev. Pronzato emphasized Fr. Jordan’s excellent familiarity with the Bible, which is easy to notice in his Diary. It was the fruit of frequent reading and meditation on the Word of God. Rev. Pronzato indicated, that the Servant of God not only invoked Saints as his Patrons, but also meditating on their lives, he fele encouraged to follow their example (see SD I 156, 3 - 158, 8).
Never ceasing to begin
Our retreat giver recalled the words of St. Francis of Assisi, which Fr. Jordan wrote down in his Diary few years before his death: “When will we begin once and for all to love God with our whole soul and our neighbor as ourself?” (SD III 23, 2). These words witness that continuous aspiration to something more, aspiration to sanctity, which characterizes Saints. Father Francis from Gurtweil and Francis of Assisi never ceased to begin anew, and therefore we may follow them.
Respecting every person
The lecturer highlighted the remarkable sensitivity of Jordan toward each person he met. Jordan’s respect resulted from his awareness, that all people were redeemed by the Blood of Christ: “Consider no one as insignificant, because all are redeemed by Christ; always consider what you have done for your neighbor as done to Jesus” (SD I 21, 3); “In every person, see the immortal soul purchased by the most Precious Blood, and never look down upon any person” (SD I 133, 3).
Not wasting little occasions to do good
Reading Jordan’s writings one may feel encouraged to use insignificant daily occasions to do good, which are so easy to skip over while expecting more spectacular ones. Sometimes it is easier to perform good deeds away from one’s daily environment, away from one’s family.
Jordan like his Patron Saint
Jordan loved St. John the Baptist, his Patron Saint (the prophet according to A. Pronzato possessed the supernatural gift of disappearing): „He, Jesus, must increase, and I must decrease”). Jordan often encouraged others to be humble: “Do not come to the fore if it is not necessary, but love rather to be hidden and unknown. That will help you to make much progress” (SD I 62, 2).
Fascinated by the Saint of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi and his words were often recalled during the session in context of humility, joy in difficulties, remarkable sensibility toward others and attitudes in Jordan’s spirituality.
Not satisfied with substitutes
Father Jordan felt, that his desire for the Unlimited One, can be satisfied only by All and therefore he continuously aimed at the Source, in order not to risk satisfying his desire at the broken cisterns mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah. For him the source was the Eucharist, close reading of the Holy Scriptures and prolonged prayer.
Man of passion
Jordan was a man of passion, which shall be understood in two ways. He was full of zeal for the greater glory of God and salvation of souls and at the same time he was willing to undergo and suffer anything necessary to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. He knew, that there is no real love without suffering, no fight without effort or even wounds.
Called to suffer much than to do much
The secret of fruitfulness of his apostolate Fr. Francis M. of the Cross saw in the Cross and suffering: “The works of God prosper only in the shadow of the cross” (SD I 163, 6). The following words express his willingness to take his cross and even his awareness, that he was called to carry it: “… Paul and other chosen servants of God were chosen and destined by God more to suffer much for Him than to do much, for the service of God and, likewise, the apostolate, consists more in much suffering than in doing” (SD I 167, 1).
Ready for all, that all may be saved
Many times in our Founder’s Spiritual Diary appears the word “all” which expresses his spiritual approach. Jordan sees himself as a debtor of all people and for their sake he is ready to undergo anything: “O Jesus, O Savior of the world, look, look, here I am! Help me! … that all may be saved, I am ready for all; (with the help of) Your grace, I (will) bear all” (SD II 47, 3). He is filled with desire that everyone be saved (“Oh, that I could save all” – SD I 149, 3), but he entrusts himself to God, who is the giver of every vocation. Often he declares himself ready before God to fulfill His will: “here I am, You may send me.”
Zealous like prophets
Reading Jordan’s writings one may think of prophets such as Elijah and Jeremiah, filled with zeal for the glory of Our Lord. No wonder then, that Francis Mary of the Cross, burning with zeal for the salvation of souls, makes his own the words of St. Francis Xavier, great apostle of Asia: “As long as there might be a corner of the world in which God is not loved, I could not enjoy a moment of rest” (SD I 166, 6).
Called to encourage zeal
But Jordan desired, that others become filled with zeal just as he was. He wanted, that the passion present in his heart, which moved him to action, could be shared by his spiritual sons and daughters, who follow him.
Trusting in God totally
Jordan’s confidence in God is particularly evident, which prove his words written in his Spiritual Diary, just as this simple note dated 1908: “Confidence in God – confidence in God - confidence in God – confidence in God – confidence in God – confidence in God – confidence in God – (SD II 116, 5) or reflection from 1891: “A man who directs his steps only according to the calculations of human wisdom will never be able to build on the extraordinary help of heaven, he will never accomplish great things” (SD I 200, 1).
Struggling with God like the Old Testament Patriarchs
It would be difficult to remain indifferent while reading the words, which appear in Spiritual Dairy twice (see SD I 202, 1-204, 3 and SD II 51, 1-53, 3). It is entitled: “Pact … between the Almighty and His lowliest creature,” which was written by Jordan on November 1st 1891, Solemnity of All Saints, and then renewed several times. At first glance it may give impression of haughtiness, but in reality it expressed remarkable confidence and above all, Jordan’s extraordinarily close relationship with God. It recalls the picture of Moses or Jacob, the Old Testament patriarchs, negotiating and struggling in prayer with God, until He blessed them or their people.
The trustworthy master
In one of his first conferences Rev. Alessandro Pronzato said: “I have read the entire Spiritual Diary and while reading I was deeply moved. I must admit though, that if there are any pages, which really moved me, these were the last pages, where Father Jordan does not quote other authors and Saints. Without desiring it, he was then becoming the spiritual master himself … He gave us the lesson, without ever pretending to be our master. We look at him and we really can seriously treat these words, make them our own, because these words are not simply the fruit of study, are not the fruit of culture, but they really present the way he followed, and all the discoveries and suffering, which makes Father Jordan the master, who is really the trustworthy one.”
PSz / translated by AB