In reading about the life of St. Daniel Comboni, the Rule of Life of the Comboni Missionaries, and his many letters and writings, there are several themes that are present over and over in his thoughts, decisions, and actions. Each one of us is called by baptism to respond to Jesus' mandate to “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Mk 16:15). We can learn from St. Daniel how to live for Christ and others by sharing in St. Daniel Comboni's dream.
Total Dedication (and determination of faith)
“Blessed be the Lord. Have no fear. Our lives are in God’s hands. Let God do with them what God wills: we have irrevocably sacrificed them to The Lord. May God be blessed.” [Writings # 434]
In baptism we promise and dedicate ourselves to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are called to be a missionary, to spread the good news to all we meet each day through everything we do and to love and serve others
The missionaries keep their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, loving him tenderly, seeking to understand the meaning of a God who died on a cross.
Mystery of the Cross
The cross was the privileged source of energy for St. Daniel’s generous commitment in mission. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt. 16:24).
The works of God must be born and grow at the foot of Calvary. “The Son of God could not show us his infinite wisdom more clearly than in making the Cross. The great Works of God are only born at the foot of Calvary. I would be very indebted to you if you would pray to the Heart of Jesus that he send me an abundance of crosses: it will be a sign that they will be followed by a great number of souls gained for the faith.” [Writings # 2325]
I am happy with the cross that borne willingly for love of God generates triumph and eternal life. (Last words of St. Daniel Comboni)
“The Cross and very great tribulations are necessary for the safe-keeping, establishment and progress of the works of God, which must always be born, grow and flourish at the foot of Calvary..” [Writings # 5258]
Jesus said “Follow Me” (Mt. 16:24). Following Jesus is not always easy. He promised to be with us and to give us his Holy Spirit. He will give us the power and energy we need to be the heart and hands and voice of Jesus Christ in the world, seeking ever deeper understanding of His Love and his call.
We may not always realize it, but it is the crosses, the difficulties and trials of our life that draw us closer and closer to our God. The rhythm of life, death and resurrection is reflected in our lives. We live with the cross but look for the resurrection.
From the first homily of St. Daniel Comboni as Pro-Vicar of Khartoum, 1873:
“I have returned among you never again to cease being yours and all consecrated for your greater good in eternity. Come day come night, come sun come rain, I shall always be equally ready to serve your spiritual needs: the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the young and the old, the masters and the servants will always have equal access to my heart. Your good will be mine and your sorrows will also be mine. I make common cause with each one of you, and the happiest day in my life will be the one on which I will be able to give my life for you. – I am not unaware of the weight of the burden I have to carry, since as shepherd, teacher and doctor to your souls I shall have to watch over you, educate you and correct you: defend the oppressed without hurting the oppressors, reproach errors without antagonizing those who err, denounce scandals and sins without ceasing to show compassion to sinners, seek out the corrupt without weakening to vice; in a word, be a father and a judge at the same time. But I am resigned to this in the hope that you will all help me to carry this burden with happiness and joy in the name of God.” [Writings #3158-3159]
St. Daniel challenges us to live the words of scripture, “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” We may not be able to go to Africa, but we can share our talents and personal gifts with the Comboni Missionaries for the good of the mission.
Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Rule of Life of the Comboni MIssionaries in chapter 3 says that "in the mystery of the Heart of Christ, the missionary contemplates, in their fullest expression, Christ’s inner most attitudes and makes them his own; his inconditional giving of himself to the Father, his all-embracing love for the world and his involvement in human suffering and poverty." [Rule of life 3.2]
God’s Love is an amazing gift to us. We can hardly take it in. Jesus told us that we should love one another as he loved us (Jn 15:12). It is not easy to love everyone we meet, yet Jesus asks us to share his love and mercy with those we meet each day. Jesus wants us to care about His people near and far and to give of ourselves to those in need. Jesus needs our talents to show God's love for all.
Other promotional materials on St. Daniel Comboni:
“A Man for Africa” tells the story of this man, St. Daniel Comboni (1831-1881), who in fifty years succeeded in showing so many people how to love the Africans. Tonino Falaguasta Nyabenda, editor of the monthly magazine “Piccolo Missionario” adapted a short biography of St. Daniel Comboni using the texts of Ruggero Y. Quintavalle and the drawings of Taner. This English translation was made by Patrick Wilkinson and David Glenday and it was printed in Italy by Novastampa di Verona in 1981. The song used in this video is “Comboni’s Call” by Open Arms dedicated to Fabrizio Colombo.