Learning from Arnold Janssen

READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

Every January 15th, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) celebrates the feast of its founder, Saint Arnoldus Janssen. This brief article aims to offer a new interpretation of Arnold Janssen's spirituality in the midst of the world today. Our experience with Arnold Janssen, whether through the narration of his life history or the prayers he left, truly confirms how close his heart is to the heart of Jesus. Arnold offered his heart to God and allowed himself to be a servant who always says 'Yes' to God.

First, Arnold Janssen's heart is one that has a hopeful spirit. There is hope that can be scorned, but not afraid to fail. There is faith and love that can be blamed but still survive because of the embers of hope. From the narration of the history of SVD, we know that when Arnold was about to express his plans to establish a mission house, he was heckled, ridiculed, and considered insane. "Either he is a saint or a madman?" In the face of ridicule and pessimism, he only muttered softly in total submission to God: “If this house is successful, then this is truly God's work. But if this intention fails, then I will pat my chest and humbly say, I am not worthy of receiving such a great gift.”

These words describe his total surrender to God. Arnold truly put his hope in God. Arnold believes that God never sleeps; God never lets Arnold fend for himself. If this is truly God's plan, then he will also complete it. We know that God answered his hope and faith. God never looks away and disappoints those who rely on him. God never breaks the hearts of those who put their love in his heart. "There will come a time when people will look at you with scorn and consider it a virtue to kill you," said Jesus. But the Lord Jesus also made a promise: “I have painted you in my hands; you are mine. I will be with you until the end of time."

Second, Arnold Janssen's heart is filled with love and faithfulness to God. If love is king, then loyalty is the crown. Arnold lives it. He is an ideal example of a true lover who is truly faithful to his vows of love. He is a person who surrenders his life to God, dedicates his life to serving God, and carries out his missionary duties with pleasure and serenity. He is a missionary of love, called to extend God's mercy to the world. He gave his love and loyalty to God, and God answered that love.

Here we know that Arnold was showing us how to be a faithful man of God. Amid a season of dissent, when people are negligent and so easily forget their pledge of allegiance, Arnold's life example is a self-mirror that awakens people from the pleasures of forgetfulness and negligence. In the past, Arnold showed his love and loyalty amid various challenges at the start of SVD; perhaps for us now, our loyalty and self-constant desire to continue to love are shown through alignments and clear options by prioritizing the last people in our ministry.

Prioritizing the last means allowing oneself to be a servant to people who often lose and are defeated; being a servant to people who are often excluded, impoverished, victims, and people who are always placed as the last. Or, in Jesus' words, in the story of the final judgment, putting the last first means being willing to be a servant for foreigners, naked, poor, hungry, widows, and orphans. Our awareness of the presence of people who are categorized as the last must always lead to our responsibility to them. Their faces urge us to act fairly and responsibly. Responsibility means being willing to shoulder their problems and answer their needs.

Third, Arnold Janssen's heart is the heart of a believer who lives life with gratitude. Arnold Janssen is a person who is 'Alleluia from head to toe'. In such gratitude, he allowed God's will to guide his life. His heart is an example of a disciple of God who lives his mission gratefully and is willing to accept the risk of discipleship. There is no love without pain, and there is no give without loss. Love will crown and crucify us. Only a heart that is burning with love will be able to accept the risk of loving.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with