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Jaime Bonet Series 3 with David Rolo, FMVD
By Emy Abaya
The Jaime Bonet Series Going to the Roots offers fascinating and inspiring glimpses into the life and spirit of our founder. The third talk of the series was another “deep dive” into the heart of Jaime. Entitled, “The Missionary Profile of Jaime Bonet,” the talk was given on February 26, 2022 by David Rolo, FMVD, our Spanish misionero based in Vietnam.
David successfully brought to light the elements of Jaime’s missionary personality, drawing not only from Verbum Dei’s documented history but from his many personal experiences as one who lived with Jaime during the last few years of our founder’s life in Loeches, Spain. The anecdotes and personal stories were a treasure trove, giving us a clearer picture of Jaime’s missionary character.
Sources and Influences
The missionary seed was planted in Jaime by his parents, who were models of faith in catechism and apostolic work. This seed of missionary love was later nurtured by his vocation and apostolic experiences.
It was interesting to learn that there were many other sources that influenced his unique style of carrying out the mission. Influenced by Ignatian spirituality, he sought spiritual exercises, mindful that people needed the best version of himself to accompany them. In the spirit of the Ignatian motto “ad majorem Dei gloriam,” Jaime believed in looking for the glory of God in everything we do, saying that we preach to bring others close to God and we pray to discern only the will of God. Another Ignatian motto which Jaime adopted was “En tanto en cuanto” (“as long as”), which means that one has the freedom to do anything in mission—as long as it is good, and as long as it is good for the mission.
Jaime also drew inspiration for mission from John the Baptist--who always pointed to Jesus, and not to himself—and from St. Paul, who strove to create Christian communities and form apostles.
Jaime was known to have a strong character. Thus, it was remarkable to learn that mission was not always easy for him in the beginning. Mission and preaching was always a personal “fight.” As an apostle, he struggled with his own frailties on the one hand, and on the other, the call to preach the Word of God. The struggle would get so bad that Jaime would turn very ill moments before preaching. “I am a sinner, and yet I must speak about You, Jesus.” This, David said, was how Jaime felt.
For Jaime, everything revolved around mission. The Verbum Dei motto of “hacer hacer” (to enable others to make) stemmed from the desire to look for people committed to pursue and promote the mission and to form them as apostles. The term “motorcycle spirituality” grew out of Jaime’s habit of travelling from town to town on his motorcycle to preach the word of God, constantly working on more effective ways to transmit the truths of faith.
Jaime’s missionary spirit was based on a strong spiritual experience. He always insisted on prayer. “If you have to preach for one hour, you have to pray for two.” His boldness, courage and zeal for the mission are akin to his fidelity to do the will of God. For him, nothing was more important than to do God’s will and he strived to form people in the same way. He urged everyone to do mission because in mission, one consecrates one’s self to God. “Mission is consecration and consecration is mission,” David echoed Jaime as saying.
Full of passion, Jaime’s preaching was charismatic and always testimonial. He saw preaching as a dialogue between God and the people, in which the preacher was a witness and intermediary. He had a special ability to “read” the people who listened to him and adjust his preaching accordingly. His passion was such that he wanted as many people as possible to hear the preaching on the Word of God, and receive, as well, personalized “accompaniment” (follow -up, guidance, and spiritual direction) in their journey of conversion.
Perhaps there are many more elements of Jaime Bonet’s missionary personality we have yet to discover from his writings and meditations. For now, which missionary trait would you choose to emulate?
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