Spiritual Reflections by Fr Roderick Salazar SVD
Three Biblical texts form for me
The Start, the Summit, the Spur
Of SVD Spirituality.
They are the first phrases of
Gospel According to John
First Letter of John.
In the beginning, God…
In the beginning, the Word
What was from the beginning, the Word.
God must always be in the beginning
Of anything anywhere anywhen.
God must always be in the middle
Then only can we meet Him in the end.
WITNESS TO THE WORD
is how I see and sum up SVD Spirituality.
Three related, companionate words explain:
WITH. WITHIN. WIT.
Why did Jesus call His apostles?
A quick answer is “to send them out to preach.”
Oh yes. “to cast out demons”, too. Yes.
But really, not mainly. Not primarily. Huh?
Ask Mark. Read the Gospel he wrote. 3:13-20.
First, Jesus called – those He wanted.
Second, those who were called – came to Him.
Third, He appointed them and named them.
“that they might …”be WITH Him.”
For Shakespeare’s Hamlet,
“To be or not to be” is the question.
For the SVD, Christ’s religious missionary
Not just “to be” BUT “to be WITH” is the quest.
First and foremost, COMPANIONSHIP.
Only after comes the Mission.
In the mission must remain COMPANY with Him.
The root of the words “company”, “companion” is
PANIS – the Latin word for bread. PAN in Spanish.
A com PAN ion is one with whom one shares BREAD.
Breaking bread with the Word is Eucharist.
Breaking the Word in prayer is preaching.
No companionship with the Word, no mission.
In the beginning, God.
What and how to preach?
From actual encounter with the Word in prayer.
No prayer, no preaching.
John explains: What was from the beginning –
What we have heard,
What we have seen with our eyes
What we looked upon
And touched with our hands –
The WORD of life
Which was made visible,
We have seen it and TESTIFY to it
And PROCLAIM to you the eternal life
That was with the Father
And was made visible to us…
The ROOT and SOURCE of WITNESS TO THE WORD
Is actual encounter with the Word in prayer –
Seeing, hearing, touching.
Only when rooted in this actual being WITH the Word
Can one TESTIFY to it, PROCLAIM IT, WITNESS to It.
No such actual, personal encounter with the Word,
No prayer, no intimacy — no real preaching.
In that encounter with the Word, John says, is JOY.
In that intimacy is fellowship with the Father and
With His Son, Jesus Christ.
To preach and proclaim that intimacy is to have
That JOY complete.
Until the Joy is preached, proclaimed, shared,
The Joy is not whole and entire, complete.
So the intimacy between PRAYER and PREACHING.
What then is SVD Spirituality?
It is WITNESS to the WORD.
Jesus CALLED those whom He WANTED.
They CAME TO Him
He APPOINTED them so they might
BE WITH Him
And He might SEND THEM OUT TO PREACH
And TO CAST OUT DEMONS
HE called them BY NAME
Simon, whom He named Peter;
James the son of Zebedee,
and John, the brother of James
(whom He named Boanerges: Sons of Thunder);
Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew;
James, the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus;
Simon the Canaanite;
And Judas Iscariot – who BETRAYED Him.
To preach is to proclaim what one has heard
And seen and touched and experienced:
The Word of Life.
Without this personal intimacy with the Word
All preaching is hollow. Is empty. Is like a gong.
To preach is to proclaim what was prayed on.
Not to pray is to BETRAY the Word.
As Judas did.
To be SVD is to WITNESS TO THE WORD.
To be or not to be – SVD:
This is the QUESTion.
This is the QUEST.
WITNESS! (verb) –TO THE WORD
This is Arnold Janssen’s RE-QUEST.
To be WITNESS (noun) TO THE WORD
May this be our continuing BE-QUEST.