The Most Important Phrases of St. Camillus for the Formation of a Religious and his Encounter with the Sick

Paper given by Fr. Lucio Albertini at the meeting of the communities of East Veneto in Mottinello, 18 November 1982

I do not believe that St. Camillus ever produced a school of formation for religious life (at a practical, operational and care level, without any doubt…and very much so! As a great teacher), and yet from his ‘Writings’ flower all the theologically most valid and effective subjects needed to achieve an authentic formation and maturity for service to the sick.

Two motifs dominate and recur with extreme frequency in his ‘writings’: the ‘glory of God’ and ‘love of God’.

‘Glory of God’ is a phrase of vast breadth and the highest point of love for God: ‘His Greatest Glory!’ It is being aware of the presence of God in us and around us; it is entering into harmony with this presence in our activities, making our lives a glorious proclamation of God.

As Teillard de Chardin teaches us, this is not an easy journey, indeed it is a burdensome one: like the journey of matter that advances through its own opaqueness towards the light of consciousness; like an impetus from the inside of the earth that moves towards flowering in the light of the sun; and like the lymph that rises from the soil to reach the top of a tree. This rising towards life and consciousness leads us to the revelation of man, to the revelation and liberation of what limits his dignity, and thus to solidarity with sick people, people who are poor and people who are need of help to recover their personhood.

I like this testimony so much! At a meeting a father with a family told us that he had shown his four children a grain of wheat before sowing it. He asked them what was inside that seed, hoping that they would answer him “life!” But the smallest child, his daughter (aged five), amazed everyone by answering: “there is the glory of God!”

Yes, indeed, a seed, as well, is full of the glory of God. Everything is full of the glory of God but needs those who proclaim this with their mouths and their lives: like a jar of alabaster that needs to be opened for its scent to be released; like a women who has the fruit of life in her womb and needs the hands of a midwife to bring it into the light.

(P. Cantalamessa).